walk in love

There's some people in your life that have an impact on you that doesn't fully hit until years later, and you find yourself sitting awake in the middle of the night with an unintended mixture of emotions as if all the crayons in your crayon box have been mixed into one giant crayon - and it produces a single messy color that you're just not quite sure how to react to.

In 9th grade I had a science teacher who changed my life more than any other person I have met. He was a man of purpose and quick to shine love into the lives of the numerous students that walked in and out of his door each day. He was unashamed and steadfast in his dedication to love, and would have put his life on the line for any one of his students. Unexpectedly, however, a terminal disease abruptly took his life one day and I found myself suddenly digesting the weight of the situation. Three years later, and I'm still digging through the impact he buried into each one of us. I guess that's what happens when you target someone's heart each and every day; when your message finally sticks, it sticks deep. 

I have a sticker on the back of my computer that simply states: walk in love. Every day when I open and close my screen, I look at those three words and push myself to follow in Mr. Way's footsteps, to walk in pure and sincere love for all those we interact with each day. I wish I had a fraction of the courage to stand up for love in the way Mr. Way did. It's only now that I'm beginning to realize how truly beautiful his purpose was in and for all of our lives.

I've been doing a lot of thinking and writing in the past few weeks trying to really sum up my life's purpose and what I feel called to in the future. Many of my unpublished blog posts include lists of semi-random words thrown together to attempt to define that purpose. But tonight, as I was reading through a past letter from Mr. Way, that purpose jumped out at me from off the page. All I can do is add three simple words to the end of it... 

~ live a life full of joy
~ live a life full of love
~ live a life full of hope
~ live a life full of inner and outer peace
~ live a life of character and integrity
~ live a life that is a strong, positive example for others
~ live a life that makes a difference to others
~ walk in love

This song is for you Mr. Way, I miss you and can't wait until the day I see you again... 
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Getting off the bike

When I got back from christmas break back in January, I returned to find that my bike had been borrowed by some unknown individual (ok, yeah, I guess it was stolen). I didn't worry too much because the MSLS bike co-op had a few extras that I got get. After a week or so of riding the bus (and getting sick of paying 20 kronor each way) I finally grabbed a bike from the co-op. Things seemed to be pretty good until the last little bit of my journey home when the chain decided it no longer wanted to stay on the gears. From there it went down hill and soon the bike was making some odd clicking noise and randomly deciding to jam the pedals. So I walked that one back and the following day I got another bike from the co-op and attempted to ride that one home. Sadly, that one didn't make it much longer and decided to skip as I pedaled, not the most fun when trying to bike uphill.

I soon began stock-piling bikes in our apartment's front lobby (I'm sure the roommates loved that one) and went back to the bus. But the wallet once again didn't care for that and I eventually found myself walking back and forth to school (a 30 minute walk back and forth). God was really trying to tell me something I guess. Ever since I've started walking, I've been able to clear my head so much easier and life has felt so much more richer.

It's amazing how determined we are sometimes to make things go the way we wanted - often oblivious to the solutions that would truly benefit us and those around us.

I was listening to a song tonight by Phil Wickham called "Divine Romance." Phil is one of those guys that, once you see him sing live, the songs take on a completely new meaning. He has the ability to make an audience feel so incredibly happy as they sing along. The lyrics of this song are fairly simple, but really resonating with me and the walks I've been having recently.

The fullness of Your grace is here with me
The richness of Your beauty’s all I see
The brightness of Your glory has arrived
In Your presence God, I’m completely satisfied

For You I sing I dance

Rejoice in this divine romance
Lift my heart and my hands
To show my love, to show my love

A deep deep flood, an Ocean flows from You
Of deep deep love, yeah it’s filling up the room
Your innocent blood, has washed my guilty life
In Your presence God I’m completely satisfied 
What makes you completely satisfied? What are the moments where you just can't contain it and start singing out loud and dancing for all those on the street to see? I used to think those moments only occurred when life was completely in line and god started answering some of those pressing questions on your heart - when you started to see those answers being realized. But rather, I'm learning that that satisfaction comes from knowing you are heading in the same direction as that which god is leading you. By getting off the bike, and walking with my own two feet, I've been able to experience that presence much more clearly than ever before.

Looking back on decisions I've made, I wonder how many of those moments were on the bike or on my feet...

Perhaps the bike sometimes gets in our way of showing our love. We focus so much on trying to get somewhere, that we forget to stop and rejoice in what has been given to us. I have been extremely blessed this year and am forever thankful for the relationships and bonds I have made with individuals from around the world - I only wish I knew how to show a fraction of that love I have experienced.

Thinking through this has lead me to 1 Corinthians 13 - one of those passages that is such a comfort (and challenge) to return to.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love is patient - I have been learning a lot about this one recently, and I find it a continual struggle to be entirely patient with some of my thoughts and feelings. I tend to get passionate over things quite easily - which I thoroughly enjoy :) But it has the ability to impact my patience and lead me to overlook the slower things that take time to fully comprehend. I came across the following two quotes that really spoke to me:
"Patience is passion tamed." - Lyman Abbott
I was reading somewhere that the reward of learning to be patient, is patience. Perhaps I sometimes wish for a more visible outcome from this type of love.

Love always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres - Trusting is tough. The hope part I think I'm getting down, but there seems to be that little voice inside me that tries to instill a voice of doubt and uncertainty in others, causing me to not fully trust. This has always been an issue for me when working on projects. I enjoy what I do too much, and have no problem (at least I like to tell myself that) with working long hours on projects that resonate with me. But for a long time, I didn't fully trust others to take an equal part in that work, and throughout my time at Penn State would often try to do much of the projects myself. This past year has been an excellent opportunity to quiet that voice inside me and learn to trust those around me. It makes it easier when I am surrounded by passionate and skilled individuals, but it's starting to rub off in other parts of my life as well. 

LCBC had a sermon recently touching on this and explained that specifically in relationships (although I'm sure it applies to all other parts of our lives), there is always a gap between what we expect from someone and how they actually act. And the difference between happy and unhappy individuals is not the size of that gap or whether one exists, rather it is how we choose to handle the gap. Do we make the conscious decision to assume the worst in others or believe in the best? Believing in the best in others, even when everything inside of us tells us the opposite, tells those around us that we believe in them, we trust them. And showing that level of trust has the ability to narrow the gap between expectations and actions.

How are you showing your love?
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Engaging Action!

Boo for not updating this blog in a few weeks - I'll get better, promise. However I wasn't entirely unproductive during my writing break, I've been working on my thesis research and we just launched our website last night!! Check it out and if you or someone you know are interested in our project, please get in touch with us!


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