“Seek Treasures of Faith Here and Now”

Throughout the Lenten season this year, I will be reading a daily devotional by Henri Nouwen titled Called to Life, Called to Love. This is just a reflection from Sunday during the first week of Lent.

I highlighted a passage that said:

       “When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.”

Patience is something I have an abundance of when it comes to other people. It takes a really long time for anything to aggravate. You could say I have some pretty long fuses. This is a great trait to have, especially since I’m planning on working with children for the rest of my life. But when it comes to personal situations in my life, I find it really difficult to be patient with myself. I always wan to move forward with my life because I feel like I’m stuck and stagnant without much progress taking place.

There are times in my life when I wish I was a little bit older so I could be out of college, married, and teaching in a classroom full-time. But when I start getting impatient and wishing for the future to arrive before it’s supposed to, I have to stop and remind myself not to “put the cart before the horse.” I just need to trust that God will always be with me and that he has a plan for me so I can reach my goals in life. I definitely know that he’s paving a path for my future because of all of the things I’m going through right now, and I need to trust in him, even when things don’t seem to be going “right.” (AKA: The way I want them to.)

Having patience with myself will definitely pay off in the end. I just need to keep chugging along and live life in the here and now. With God by my side, I’ll never have to be afraid of my future, and eagerly await the discovery of what God has planned for me in my long journey with life and faith.

 

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Spirituality of Place

This past Monday, I drove 20 minutes up river out of Estacada to spend some time with nature for one of my classes. I didn’t really have a specific destination, so I just ended up driving until I thought it was a good place to turn around and park.

This was the first stop on my day trip:

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Whenever I drive a little bit out of town, I’m always amazed by how different the landscape is. Estacada is such a  small town that’s trying to make it “big”  that you forget how beautiful the landscape is as soon as you drive 20 minutes or so up river. The landscape completely changes and it’s almost like you’ve entered the world of a post-apocalyptic book compared to the small town. There was one point during my day trip that I thought something was going to come jump out at me out of the woods because it was the perfect scenario for that kind of thing. I was walking alone up the road to the bridge pictured and all I could think of was the book “The Road.” Other than that one scenario, my trip was really lovely.

After about 5 or 10 minutes of watching the river on the bridge, I decided to drive back up river for a bit. Then, I ended up here:

 

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This is where I sat for a while and read the chapter in the book On Our Way that was all about creation. It was really neat to sit in such a beautiful part of Oregon and read about being thankful for the world God created and learning how to appreciate the world around us. The picnic area I took these pictures at was called “Big Eddy Picnic Site” and it was a little area off the side of the road that had a couple picnic tables, a barbeque pit, and an outhouse right next to this beautiful bend in the Clackamas River. The part of the river you can see in the first picture was vastly different than the part in the last picture. The first picture shows that the river was very calm and soothing, but as soon as you got around the bend a bit, there were some pretty big rocks and rapids that caused it to be pretty choppy.

As I was sitting there, all I could hear was the rush of the river. Everything else was so quite in comparison. I didn’t hear any birds or the rustle of the wind, until it started raining on me and I had to head back up to the car. While I was sitting near the river, I did see a Bald Eagle fly towards one of the trees on the other side of the river and land in a nest at the top. That’s one of the great joys of living in the Estacada area, since you rarely get to see Bald Eagles on a semi-daily basis.

Sitting out by the river alone was a truly meaningful and beautiful experience because it was a time I could sit and reflect on my life and do my homework in peace. I was also able to have some time to pray and think about God, and thank him for all of the wonderful things around me. One thing I thought about was the fact that I take the place I live in for granted most of the time, because I never really stop and think about the beauty of the nature I’m surrounded by. I am really blessed to be able to live in this area of Oregon, and be able to drive out and get away from everything that might be stressing me out at that time. Because of this assignment, I’m going to make a point of thanking God for the beautiful things he created more often, and continue to be amazed every day by the beautiful landscapes and sunsets he has painted for us.

My Song is Love Unknown

“My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?”

 

There is truly no better question than the one at the end of this verse. Why did Jesus die for me? A lowly human who has no great significance to my name. He died for me because he loves me. ME. It’s truly amazing that he died for me because he loves me for everything I was, everything I am, and everything I am going to be. There is no greater love than the love from my savior. And I am so grateful for it.

Ash Wednesday Service

This evening, I went to an Ash Wednesday service at my church and it was one of the most meaningful services I’ve been to. I’ve been attending Ash Wednesday services with my mom for the past 8 years or so, and they’ve made me think about my faith and all of the reasons Jesus died on the cross, but they’ve never been so clear to me before this evening.

Yesterday, my Human Development teacher talked about Ash Wednesday and was saying that by having the ashes be put on your forehead, you are being reminded that “From dust you came, and from dust you will return.” He was saying that this statement is a reminder that Jesus was put on this earth to walk with us as a human and because he was mortal, just like every single one of us, his death is something that we can relate to, simply because he died for all of our sins. This realization hit me so hard this evening, and I couldn’t quite explain why it was so emotionally striking this year in comparison to previous years.

We sang “What Wondrous Love Is This?” and that song always gets to me. Especially the first line that says: 

“What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!”

This line is so incredibly powerful because it makes you think about  Jesus laying down his life for us, and I think that’s incredibly beautiful. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than that.