48 Hours

It seems just like yesterday that I was preparing to move out here to Okinawa, anxious about what was to come. The fact that that was 8 months ago is staggering. Now I’m in a state of anticipation as I now wait to come back to California.

As my time comes to a close in Okinawa, I’ve been in a state of reflection of all I have experienced and learned. I had come to gain several skills here that I think are so cool to have been able to learn. I mean, I learned how to drive on the left side of the road. That’s so cool! I got the chance to teach overseas and learn how to live in a different society & culture. I also have learned about myself and my place in the Kingdom of God, and how the Church is a beyond just a physical location or a specific group of people.

When all is said and done, I will miss the life I established here, especially the relationships I made. I’m not one for goodbyes and this is one aspect of moving that I never like to face. The families I got to know and the people who lovingly invested in my life out here are so precious to me and the season of life I experienced out here. There’s never an easy way for me to say goodbye. One thing that gives me joy is that I know I will see my precious Church family again one day. I had the joy of getting to have a send-off dinner with these dear families and friends, and it made me joyful to see how much God blessed me with them involved in my life out here in Okinawa.

Until then, I’m filled with joy about getting back home to California and reuniting with my family & friends. I get to look forward to a new job and stage of life where I will learn what I can do now that I’ll be back in my hometown where dear friends and family awaits!

Two Months In

As I finish up the final day of February, I can’t help to think of how fast the time is passing. It felt like yesterday that I was preparing for Thanksgiving, let alone try to think about Christmas. The last blog post was one of many emotions and thought processes. Now that I’m two months into the new year, this blog post is to be one of hopeful outlooks.

It would be a lie that the last two months were easy. They were not. So many rushing emotions and sudden life-changing moments that expanded my understanding and perspective of the world, constantly crashing against and over me. Letting those emotions not overwhelm me was a struggle in itself, but by the grace of God, I persisted. Maybe not 100% unscathed, but wholely aware of the growth it’s forced me to experience. Beyond the smiles and laughter of my vlogs on Facebook, in all transparency, most of my days are not smiles and laughter. I get tired and cranky, frustrated and impatient. My brain feels like it can’t focus on anything, there are so many things that I feel I should do that I can’t seem to organize effectively. The lack of organization then leads to nothing happening except frustration. But like I had mentioned, this post is focused on the hope that springs up for my tomorrows beyond those frustrations. 

One of very few things in my life that truly affects my life is the concept of hope. Knowing that regardless of the current circumstances, there is hope for a better tomorrow. Now, I’m not saying that it’s an easy thing for me to grasp on the spot during a struggle, but it’s one thing that I know my future is built upon. Even when it feels like I’m caught in a storm that seems to have no end, hope anchors me down. Regardless of the struggles I seem to face during my time here, having patience and facing the realities of loneliness, I’ve been given the opportunities that many dream to have. There is a hope for change and a sense that those struggles are temporary. 

And through it all, God has been consistently faithful. Looking towards all that will be happening in the immediate future and the nearer future, I’m taking the stand to hold on to hope. This hope takes root in knowing that despite all my failures, struggles, and constant doubt, I’m protected by a loving and holy God that wants what is best for me. Sometimes those struggles are what is best in order for me to learn and grow. I don’t need or want my anxiety to have control over me, neither do I want the moments of sadness to stretch farther than needed. So as we continue into the new month, I encourage you, dear friends, to fight through the icky post-new year funk (this is just as much of a reminder to myself too). And besides, isn’t the new month the beginning of spring? Spring is a time of new, beautiful things. Grasp onto hope for this year and the excitement of what the rest of 2017 will bring. Encourage one another and help each other in order for hope to take hold and take root in each of us.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  — Philippians 4:4-9

2017

As I went through the first day of the New Year, I couldn’t help but reflect all that happened in 2016. Let me tell you, it’s a doozy. I know for a fact that many would agree that 2016 was a rough year. And “rough” is a complete understatement for how much hurt and struggle we went through and put others through. In simplest form, the year was a roller coaster with more downs than ups (and for those who know me, you know that I absolutely hate roller coasters so obviously it was rough).

2016 was not easy in any form.
Yet I also have to remember not to discredit the ups of 2016 either. I had the blessing of being able to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree & a teaching credential in 4 years with manageable student loans. I hit 22.5 years of life (a new record!). I met an amazing man and he encouraged me to be confident in my decision to step out as I moved out to a foreign country on my own in order to accomplish what it is that God has for me to do. I’ve grown my sphere of worldly knowledge. I’ve learned to drive in cars with the steering wheel on the right side, and drive on the left side of the road. My Church family has grown in size and my heart feels so full because of that. If I had all the time in the world, I’m sure I still couldn’t list out all the ways God had moved in my life when I didn’t realize He was moving.

For New Years, I’m not much for making resolutions because I’m so awful at keeping them, like most people. But with this time of the year happening, it’s been something thought-provoking. I don’t want to make resolutions that I won’t keep after 2 weeks, but with how much struggle I went through in 2016, I wanted to resolve myself to a few things. Here are 3 for now:

  1. I want to resolve to love fully and completely just like how God loves me. That love can be shown through actions, words, and most of all through a passionate pursuit of God in all I do.
  2. I want to resolve to seeing my health and mental wellbeing as a way to show honor to God. If I’m healthy, physically or mentally, I’m able to do what I’ve been called to do for the Gospel.
  3. I want to resolve to embrace the changes life brings with the full confidence that God oversaw all that would happen and that I’m not alone in anything I do. For too long my anxiety drove my faith instead of the other way and I desire to change that. I don’t want to be a passive participant, I want to be an active one. I would take each day one step at a time.

I’m looking forward to what this year will bring and the people I will have by my side as we take on the new year. As we go on into the new year, there is something that I learned the past 4.5 years that sums up the perspective I need to remind myself to take this year. I want to strive towards this and hope that the following words will help you put into perspective the things that you may be struggling with to help you knuckle down on making this year the year you finally make those life changes and allow God to move:

Maturity is a matter of choice; discipline is a product of maturity.

So, what are some things you want to resolve to in this new year?

In Honor of Blake Withers.

May the godly wisdom of seeking to learn more about Christ, setting goals, & spiritual disciplines that you taught me be something I strive to apply and teach others for the rest of my life. I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you again.

Thanksgiving

“It is good to praise the Lord…” –Psalm 92:1

“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.” — Psalm 106:1

I am thankful for:

  1. My salvation–without Jesus Christ I have no hope or purpose in life.
  2. My mom, dad, and brother–I miss you and can’t believe that this was our first Thanksgiving apart.
  3. Andrew–I miss you so much. I’m grateful for our constant messages and Skype calls. Your love and care for me continually astounds me, I count myself blessed by you.
  4. My education–without it I wouldn’t be able to do what I love to do.
  5. My friends, both here and in the States–you all give me such a sense of love and encouragement that helps remind me that I am never alone. You all are so dear to me.
  6. Okinawa, Japan–thank you for pushing me out of my bubble constantly, even when I don’t want it to. Also, thank you for letting me catch Farfetch’d on Pokemon Go.
  7. My apartment–I have a roof over my head that provides shelter and the opportunity to have a space of my own to grow & learn how to make my own. Even when I have to duck whenever I go through the doors.
  8. My job–even during the moments of heartaches and overwhelming frustrations, I’ve been given an opportunity to work as a teacher and to learn how to become better.
  9. Technology–I can make blog posts like this for all those who care to follow my journey and to be able to talk to family and friends even when I can’t be there in person. And that I can still watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade from all the way out here (even if it’s late and my laptop screen is almost busted, ick).
  10. And lastly, I am thankful for each day I wake up. Even when I’m dead tired and don’t want to do anything, even when I honestly wish that I didn’t wake up, God ordained it that I would wake up and breathe. That means something and I shouldn’t take it lightly, something that I’ve been doing too much of lately.

So, what is it that you’re thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

2 Months

The view of the sun setting from my place. Beautiful, huh?


Well, I know it’s been awhile since my last post so here’s a run-down of certain days on what’s been happening here in Okinawa thus far.

Wednesday, October 5th: I got lost finding bus in the morning, almost took the wrong bus, and arrived to work an hour late. Andrew can vouch that I was complaining the whole time I was going through this. Not my finest moment, I have to admit, but when I told the office staff what happened, they laughed! That snapped me out of my disgruntled mood and actually take to heart what my boyfriend told me about it being a learning experience. So I went exploring after school for the best way to the bus stop, and also found some cool cafes close to my place and decided to try out the phenomenon here known as “Taco Rice.” I definitely can see the hype of this food. 10/10

Thursday, October 6th: I learned my lesson well–I got to work 30 minutes early. On the way to work, I also saw protestors outside one of the military bases on the way to school. They had signs that said “go away Marines!”, “no war zone!”, “no more osprey!” A very sobering moment for me, made me realize that there is a movement that wants the military out. I further want to explore more of that situation later on during my time here.

Monday, October 10th: Off of school for Columbus Day. I slept in and it was beautiful.

Friday, October 14th: PAYDAY

 Saturday, October 15th: Went shopping for some more things for my place, got lunch at one of the cafes I found while exploring the previous week (see picture below of the amazing choice I made), and then partied it up at Comic Con Okinawa with a dear friend. Such a fun day!


Sunday, October 16th: Usher. Free concert. Middle and high school nostalgia. 6 feet, 1 inch of great concert advantage. What more did I truly need to be convinced of? 

Wednesday, October 19th: Let’s just say that I learned the important lesson of how vital it is to take out the trash as often as possible. I don’t really want to say anything futher except that I just really really hate flies…

Thursday, October 20th: My students are going to be learning how to sign the song “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” for our school Chrsitmas performance on December 17th. The fact that I can teach my students American Sign Language is awesome! Plus, I was officially connected to the Internet at my place now and I’m so relieved! Literally had to run back to my place on the way home from work because my bus arrived late and the men that were there to install were waiting for me. #I’mSorryThatI’mAwfulAtSchedulingThings

Saturday, October 22nd: I had a lazy day. I only left my place once and that was to check if I got mail. It was wonderful. May do it again sometime…

Now we’ve come up to Sunday the 23rd, today. It’s now over 2 months here. It’s 11:45pm, I’m sitting on my bed with my new fitted sheet on my huge mattress, and truly realizing how thankful I should be for all the love and support I have been given.

I’m going to be honest and say that my time here has not been the easiest,  it’s been draining and challenging. I wish I could just sleep my days away at times. My students push my buttons like crazy and it’s so frustrating. It’s hard to get up in the mornings because I’m just so drained and exhausted. Yet even on those days, there is something that happens during my day that reminds me of why I’m doing this, why I’m here, and that there’s always change coming in the horizon.

Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers. 2 months down, 9 more to go!

Apartment Livin’

I’m typing this out on my phone since my laptop is being a jerk. Also I don’t have wifi yet, so using phone data to post this will make due for now. It’s my third night in my apartment (wow, I sound like such an adult!), playing For All Seasons on Spotify, and actually feeling like myself for once. It’s a feeling that I haven’t felt for some time due to basically being a sickling this past month. The fact that I can almost breathe through my nose is a victory in itself. But the biggest thing that is pretty great about tonight?

That’s right folks, I cooked


Okay, I just may have cooked things that were in my pantry (a can of tuna, a can of Goya kidney beans & 2 Knorr packets of Spanish rice, all mixed up into one nice little rice dinner), but it was actually good. My apartment feels hot, but that’s because I used the stove and my apartment smells like Spanish rice. Not a bad smell. It’s definitely better than mold. Plus it reminds me of home, something that I’m glad that I can have this apartment experience.

Now all joking aside, the best thing about tonight was the view of the end of tonight’s sunset from the balcony outside my room.


Incredible, isn’t it? You probably would have never guessed that there was a category 5 typhoon that passed by not even 48 hours ago. A typhoon that, if it had not moved westward from the main island of Okinawa, would have caused serious damage. I’m so thankful for God’s protection over us here, but my heart also aches at the destruction that one of the smaller Okinawan islands, Kume-jima, experienced from an almost direct hit. Please keep them in your prayers as they address the destruction they experienced under Typhoon Chaba.

Seeing that sunset made me stop and just stand & marvel at the changing colors in the sky as the sun sank lower. This same sun is going towards you all in the States who are greeting the day I’m saying goodbye to — Tuesday, October 4th.


This is after the sun pretty much set, and you could see the brightness of the moon through the clouds passing by. (Side note: the clouds pass by fast here. It’s crazy!)

I couldn’t help but just take that moment to realize my present. I’m in Okinawa. I’m living in an apartment I’m paying for through my full-time teaching job. This is my life as I know it now.

I definitely won’t deny that I’ve had my ups & downs this past month and half. And if I am honest, I would describe the perspective I had of my time here as more negative than positive. And to be even more honest, I will continue to struggle with keeping positive and relying on the One who brought me to this place. Yet through it all, God remains constant, unchanging, and faithful. Thankfully my life is anchored to Him and not myself, otherwise I wouldn’t have made it this far on my own. All credit goes to Him and His depiction of love & mercy in my life through the church family He surrounded me with in Okinawa, and family & friends who are back in the States.

For those who have been faithful in your prayers for me, something I cannot begin to say how grateful I am for, please pray for me to have wisdom over my apartment. Just like everyone, this is going to be a “first apartment” kind of experience while I’m here. I’m asking for peace and patience as issues are being addressed. Secondly, please pray for God to move through me as I continue to teach.

Thirdly, transportation. I’m looking into having to take the bus to school while I figure out other transportation methods, that I have options that are doable. Fourthly, my health. I don’t get sick often enough to be considered a sickling, but this past month and a half have made me feel otherwise. My physical strength has been beaten at and drained to the minimum. I’m not sure if it’s my body’s reaction to getting acclimated to the environment, there’s just a constant sickness going around, or I’m allergic to something here in Okinawa.

And lastly, now that I’m living in a new place with new neighbors (some of them are teachers from the school too!), pray that God fills me with His love as I take opportunities to create relationships with them and not just hide away in my room like I’m used to doing.

I still miss California like crazy, specifically the people I hold near & dear to my heart. Yet now that I’ve moved into my own space, the burden seems easier to handle now. I have an outlet to express that homesickness, an outlet of creating my own little home for the rest of my time here. I can’t wait until I have wifi in my place (might be another week unfortunately…) so that I can show off the place during my next live stream after putting work into it. Until then, it’s just Facebook status updates, Instagram pictures, and Snapchats.

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” — James 2:17-24 

One Month

It’s been over a month now since I left California for a year-long step of faith.

I’ve been sick two times (I’m currently curled up on the couch with my big thermos full of chamomile tea & honey trying not to cough out a lung and trying to avoid looking like Rudolph from sneezing so much), I’ve cried more times this past month than I have in a matter of several months when I was in California, I’ve constantly questioned my life and decisions more times than I can keep track of, and I’ve never been so overwhelmed over not knowing a language before with the desperate wish of knowing it…

But I also have had many different experiences outside my typical ones.

  • I got to go karaoking and had an absolute blast so I plan to go again soon.
  • As much as I love my students, I’m still leaning towards teaching single subject English.
  • As terrifying as a typhoon sounds to my poor Californian soul, I really want one to happen to say I experienced one, but they keep avoiding the island so…
  • I tried cooked chicken cartilage. Not a fan.
  • I learned that I have a deep love for dragonfruit, and reaffirmed my deep love for fresh fruits in general.
  • I ate the most delicious lamb curry that I’ve ever had in my whole life. I’m not even kidding, it was incredible.
  • I added new songs that I’ve been introduced to/discovered here to my go-to Spotify playlist. My life background music is different now.
  • I learned that I actually appreciate the dry heat of California now…never thought that would happen, honestly. I still don’t like the heat of California though, let’s get that clear.
  • My students seem to think that 25-27 Celcius (75-80 Fahrenheit) in the classroom is freezing.
  • The Japanese/Okinawans don’t play around when it comes to celebrating birthdays, at least at this school. The class had a fun birthday celebration for 2 of the girls. And yes, you counted that right. There are 8 cakes.
  • Japanese food courts are so much better than American ones, by a long shot. It’s actually quite overwhelming.
  • I’m awful at keeping track of directions. (Side note: this is not a new thing, I just wanted to say that nothing’s changed).
  • I’m terrified at the thought of driving on the left side of the road. Pending to see how that dishes out later on.

Most importantly though, I learned that I’m not alone here, even in my moments of anxiety-induced panic and overwhelming fear of the unknown. I’ve been blessed to be a part of a body of believers, brothers and sisters in Christ, that have chosen to stand alongside me in my struggles here in Okinawa. Without them, I would feel so overwhelmed and discouraged. I would have given into my doubts & anxieties, and maybe even have scheduled an early flight home.

I’m not saying that I’m good now. I’m still struggling. I probably will still be struggling once I move into my apartment next week and even after I’ve moved; it could be this entire year for all I know. But regardless of the struggles, I’m reminded to not dwell in them as much as I honestly would like to. 

I’ve been placed here in Okinawa for a reason, and being the drama queen I sometimes am, I willingly stay stuck in my struggles and moping won’t make it any better. I have been relying too much on myself (I shouldn’t rely on myself at all to be completely honest) and not enough on the One who put me here in the first place. I’m not okay on my own, that is called pride and it’s dangerous to have in my life. I’ve been too arrogant in relying on my own strength and have stupid moments of belief that I don’t have any support around me when I fail, that I’m on my own. It’s not true. I need to continually remind myself everyday that those ‘beliefs’ are just lies. I have more support in my life than I can ever imagine.

Please keep me in prayer as I learn to overcome this season of doubt and fear though the power of Hope that’s found in the Gospel, and that I learn to be founded in Christ when things happen around/to me during this time I have in Okinawa.

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” — Ephesians 2:17-20

The Storm

Honestly, I have moments where I wish I could take back something I said (or in this case, wrote) because afterwards you realize, “Oops, shouldn’t have said that…” That was my realization these past couple of weeks, and it was first pointed out to me after my first day of school by my dear boyfriend (thank you Andrew, I promise that I was grateful that you grounded me even though I was crying because of it..)

For those who don’t know, my first week of school was not the best. Prior to coming to Okinawa, I applied to the school I’m working at under the knowledge that I was going to be teaching English through language, reading and spelling. As a credentialed single subject teacher, I was thrilled that I was getting the chance to finally do what my studies were all about, teaching and languages. Anyways, my last post was about the calm before the storm. Well folks, I got the storm, both literally and metaphorically. My metaphorical storm—I faced many types of frustrations, heartaches, and bad homesickness. My literal storm—an almost typhoon passed by this past week which was intense and slightly unnerving for a California girl to experience, especially with all the water falling from the sky that (from what I was told) was called rain.

I could use this post as a way to just further engage in the things that were really frustrating about my first week, but then again, why would I want to put myself back into a position of negativity by reliving the things that happened in the past? I’d rather exert my energy and writing for more important things, like the fact that I just finished my second week at the school and it was so much better than the previous week.

After Labor Day, I walked into the school with the brilliant news that I was getting my own class! Of course, I was prepared for the crazy schedule they had me on the first week (I was teaching second and third grade English along with one-on-one teaching for science to a second/third grader…it’s complicated…) so I had to get all my second grade lessons prepared quickly for my students. The first day with my second graders felt like a blur, in all honesty. I just remember how relieved I felt that I finally got my own class and that I could finally start to get to know all my students!

I’m thankful that I had the three day weekend after starting my job, it was able to give me a chance to take a breather after a difficult week. I took the time to refocus my perspective on what happened during that week and to get myself to snap out of the funk I put myself in by seeking out the Lord’s wisdom & encouragement from other people that are around me and involved in my life.

The week had it’s ups and downs with my homesickness still going strong, but it’s a slow but steady climb up that hopefully that will get my homesickness to start releasing its grip on me. Also, I’m still waiting on my apartment to be ready for me so I can move in. The date will probably be changing due to a financial situation that came up, but I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness over my time here by the people I’m surrounded with. I’m not alone and stranded to fend for myself, and that’s such a humbling, incredible thing to know!

Now that I’ve been here for three (three?!) weeks, I’m looking forward to the ups I will experience. Until then, I’m clinging on to Truth and the love & encouragement that those around me have been graciously giving me during this huge transition and life change.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Matthew 6:25-27

The Calm Before The Storm

I have been here a full week…that is seven days. Seven segments of twenty-four hour blocks of time. I start my new teaching job on August 29th (oh my gosh, that’s tomorrow for me…) as a full 2nd grade teacher to a class of twelve brilliant and adorable Japanese children. I also am recovering from a nasty episode of viral, and possibly bacterial, tonsillitis. For several days this past week, I could barely talk. I was on a soup, hot tea with honey, and cough drop diet. I’m pretty sure I lost some weight from not being able to eat basically anything since my rings are looser than before. I’m taking antibiotics three times a day after each meal. My routine couldn’t be any simpler right now, the calm before the storm…

It’s now Sunday evening. I’m sitting on my bed, figuring out what my lessons are going to consist of this week for my students. Or at least I should be. I’m obviously not doing that right now since I’m writing this post, but anyways…I’m sitting here. Tomorrow is my first day of school. Tomorrow is a day that defines the effort I have put in the past four (& possibly more) years. I graduated the end of May, and now I’m here. I’m sitting, here. My laptop is sitting in front of me, updating of course, because when would it be more convinient for my laptop to update? Only when I need it the most. It’s been updating for at least thirty minutes now…

It’s been about three months since I’ve graduated. I just now realized that I talked about my future so much then. I answered the standard questions of, “what are you going to do after you graduate?” or “do you look forward to finally start living your life?” I especially talked about what I expect or look forward to when I move to Okinawa, mostly the “why” of moving. That was three months ago. I am now at the start of my first full time teaching job. A teaching job that consists of subjects I did not learn how to teach, mind you, but that’s the beauty of the profession. You have to learn to always be on your toes and be willing to fluidly change pace at a moment’s notice or be swept up into the wave regardless. Either way, the change would be inevitable. I have now learned that first-hand in the context of my passion.

I hope the kids don’t notice how incredibly nervous I am. I know that they are just second graders, but they are also young individual people that have been put under my care and direction. That, my friends, calls for some major responsibility. I am quite excited, don’t get me wrong. The fact that I am finally establishing a passion of mine that I have been cultivating since I was a child is incredible. I get to be a genuine teacher! I get to set up my own learning space for my kids and get to be part of their learning experience. I’m going to be able to do what I love to do, but I’m still me. I’m anxious. I think of all the possibilities, all at once. I can’t help but think of what I need to do in all those possibilities, and I personally find it so tiring that my brain is so quick to jump there when in reality it should be quick to jump towards Christ.

I have definitely been reminded this week that my heart and mind are so quick to stray away from my Savior, yet that only in times of trouble and worry will I be willing to turn my face to Him. On the other hand, I also saw how quick I was to rely on my own strength when I was hit with an issue instead of making my response one that turns to Christ. God really hit me hard with showing me how fast I am to not fully rely on Him, and that definitely hurt my pride in a way that had to be done in order for me to see my own foolishness.

In all humility, I’m thankful He got my attention. I need that snap back to reality from all the homesickness I have been struggling with. I didn’t outright assume it would be an easy transition, but I definitely didn’t realize how hard it would hit me. I look forward to when I settle into my own place, that will definitely help me establish the role God gave here. My identity in Christ has been a consistent theme this week, my “outside” identity has been in a constant flux lately that I can only look to desperately cling to Him. My identity isn’t found in my profession or location, thank goodness.

Ah finally, my laptop finally finished updating. Took long enough. The formatting changed, quite a bit actually. I probably should use this to now refocus on what I actually should be doing anyways, which is finishing up my lesson plans for this week. I definitely could go on with my post, but it’s already rather lengthy and I need to be the responsible adult my mom & dad raised me to be. But maybe after I grab a quick snack…

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:3-6

Adventure Time

Wow, talk about a long day.

Here I am in Tokyo’s Narita airport, sitting in the waiting area for my final flight to get to Okinawa. The other two flights went as well as they could; well, the second flight definitely adds to my travel story for the mere fact that I almost was left behind due to a change in flight gates. God was definitely taking care of me when the attendants were looking for me. Talk about a workout, trying to run to another gate with a heavy backpack and a guitar case… I made the plane leave ten minutes later than the scheduled time, but it worked out in the end since the plane arrived in Tokyo a half hour earlier than the original time.

The time before I left for the airport at 1:30am Thursday morning in California was filled with such strong emotions, a good amount being a deep sadness in the realization of the level of change this new season of life is bringing. My immediate family is taking its separate ways, my brother leaving for Virginia, my parents to Florida, and myself to Okinawa, and I had the privilege (yet honestly the hardest position) to be the first to say goodbye. My dear friends and the fact that I won’t be able to see them was another level of realization that settled before I left. I didn’t know how much sadness I carried with me about these things until I had to face reality. I cried all the way to the airport, I was leaving behind the things I knew and loved. I embraced my emotions fully at that moment and were felt in their truest form.

Now I am looking on the other side of my travels. It’s about 3:30 in the afternoon on Saturday. I am going through all my emails, media notifications, and the like. I am in dire need of charging my laptop, but I am too tired to go downstairs right now. I’m hungry at the most random times, which honestly is not a new thing. I painted my nails before I left California, but traveling does things to your nails. Now nail polish remover has been added to my list of things to get soon…

It’s all too strange thinking that I’m not just visiting here like I would family in Costa Rica. This is an establishing of my life for the next ten months. I could very easily just live out of my suitcases, but what does that say of how I view my time here? I won’t deny that my heart is in California, but I know that I need to be willing to let my heart establish here in order to allow God to move in Okinawa. That doesn’t mean that my heart won’t have a love for my people in California, I just know that my present is here. My immediate future is still here. I can’t dwell in my past, that’s just asking for more struggles than my anxious self needs. I finally understand the concept that California moved on without me, I can’t expect it to pause just because I’m gone. I hope that God will continue reminding me of the need to move on, to look at where my own two feet are and knowing that the phrase “one step at a time” is what my life should be. Every morning brings new mercies and reminders of God’s faithfulness, my prayer is that that becomes my focus.

On another note, I look forward to the joy of seeing the school I will be working at on Monday, along with finishing up the documents for my work visa, and knowing the progress of my future home here. Until then, I have the joy and privilege of spending time with my dear friends and the excitement of making new ones. And boy, will God be faithful in using this time for His glory because it is a joy to be a part of that!

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.'”
Lamentations 3:22-24