what does that even mean? what does that look like? i dont know about you but, if i am acting "of the world" i want to be in it. and when i take a step back and see how empty the world can be, then i dont want to be of it. but how do you do both? how do i live as a normal, 21 year old, senior in college, and still not be of this world?
my heart wants to not be of it, but my flesh desperately wants to be in it.
my brain is split in half. half controlled by my soul, the other by my flesh.
"13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world."
- John 17:13-18
"15"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
- 1 John 2:15-17
so does that mean i dont love the Lord since i am fighting to not desire the things of this world? Am i in sin because i am trying to obey the law? do you see how confusing this is? oh but wait....
7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law,I would not have known sin...8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.For apart from the law, sin lies dead....
13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure...
15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin"
-Parts of Romans 7
but the beauty of the gospel is this- grace. but, there is a big difference in accepting the doctrine of grace, and abusing the doctrine of grace.
"For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
From now on, therefore,we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
Therefore,we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
- 2 Corinthians 5:13-21
do you get how huge that is? if i did, my life would look alot different. if i actually got the weight of that, if that truth really permeated my soul, i wouldn't be blogging about how torn my heart is. but praise GOD from whom ALL blessings flow. that he would BE MADE SIN so that in him, i, abby- a 21 year old, wretched sinner- might become the righteousness of God.
ps. i dont know why the spacing is all weird at the end... sorry.
so i have this friend, and she is PHENOMENAL. i had the privilege of living with her for 2 whole months last summer and can almost promise i learned more from her than she ever did from me. she blogs and it is one of my favorites to read. why you might ask? because of her vulnerability, perfect humor and wit, and her deep, deep roots in sound doctrine. all that is to say... read this. it is something that i have thought for SO long, but have had no clue how to put it into words. and, not to my surprise, she said it perfectly.
it is such a blessing knowing that things are not ending, yet it sucks when you realize something is over.
now that is has been a month since coming back to the states i've realized this: so much ended, but so much has begun.
when our team left for Thailand, we had no. clue. what he were in for. coming back i've realized that there are some areas of my life that will never be the same. and this is not based on some spiritual high- its biblical. (Hebrews 6:1-6)
the Lord revealed Himself to me in ways i have never before experienced. in ways that are still bringing me to tears. not wanting to leave Thailand is an understatement. there was nothing in my body or heart that wanted to come back, nothing at all. and i cannot tell you how much sin was in my desires...
i didn't want to come back out of fear. fear of how differently my life was going to have to be because of the things God revealed to me; fear of what people would think because of that; fear that i would be missing out on things for my senior year; fear that the work we had done in Thailand would be for nothing since we were there for such a short period of time; fear that ministry with certain girls there would not be continued; fear that people wouldn't believe the extent to which God had shaken me; fear that i would forget things: people, places, sounds, smells, the look in certain peoples eyes; fear of being a senior; fear of graduating and having left no impact on people; fear of not leaving my mark; fear of failing- failing my own expectations for myself and the expectations of others for me; fear in knowing that what i now feel called to do is the COMPLETE opposite of what my pride wants; fear of what my friends would think about me probably moving back to birmingham instead of doing something adventures and 'cool' like i always say im going to do; fear of missing the 'right' calling; fear of things being over. fear of new things starting.
i didn't want thailand to end for many good reasons, dont get me wrong. but the reasons that i was focusing on with why i didn't want to leave were all out of fear. i told some of my teammates that 'i am terrified of going back'.
and since being back- the Lord has continued to rock my world. i could not be more thankful to be back- back in the states and back in auburn. God has been so incredibly faithful to me. i honestly cannot put into words how incredible this first week and a half back has been. i could give story after story of answered prays that i have seen just within this past week.
thailand has come to an end. i am no longer there, i am no longer with those dear friends, and i am no longer learning about my God in ways that i never dreamt i would. but- my senior year has begun. my one last hoo rah to give all that i am to the girls that the Lord has faithfully placed in my life. and just as He placed Yohjo, Ann, Dong, Fang, Dong, Pim, Musik, Annie, Mai, Oui, Gigi, and many more in my life for only 2 months for me to learn what it means to love well and serve with all humility, i am now in auburn to do the same. there is nothing different. i now have girls, a whole sorority of girls, to love well and serve with all humility so that the power of Christ might be made known.
so as thailand is over, the lessons are not. this summer is over, the year is not. college is coming to an end, ministry is not.
it is such a blessing knowing that things are not ending, yet it sucks when you realize something is over.
p.s. i have an unhealthy obsession with my new apartment. seriously- the most ballinest apartment to ever hit the Plains. roommates included.
this post has been a long time in the making. i started thinking about how to write this one starting about 4 months ago. and since then its become pretty comical... i've had about 30 million conversations that i wish i could just transcribe what was said onto here to make my point.
boys. where's a girl to start?
i think its funny how no matter how long a girl has known another girl, or even if they 'technically' speak the same language. there is a universal language for girls and its called Boys. i may know a girl 5 minutes and we could have a legit heart to heart about boys. all my Thai friends... what was one of the most discussed things? you guessed it... boys.
why is that? why is it that girls love talking about boys? if you know- do tell because i'd love to know.
so why blog about it? well one because i just think its hilarious. but more so because some incredible things have come from those conversations. i have learned some pretty good life lessons after a good boy talk.
it seems like so many of my friends, including myself, have allowed the smallest things, the smallest comments from a boy that we found... important... to create a huge insecurity. insecurities of body image, personality traits, little quirky habits, the way we dress... you name it and i can promise there is a girl somewhere out there that has an insecurity because of it.
now, i dont want this to come off like i am on a rampant soap box about how i hate boys. because that is NOT the case at all. im not mad at any boy or anything. i just re-read what i wrote so far and it kinda sounded like the opening to a cheesy romantic comedy that you can guess the ending to in like 5 minutes and i sounded like the characters in those that sat at home stuffing their face with ice cream and complaining to anyone who will listen about how dumb boys are. so that is NOT the case. boys, i you are awesome.
it has just been really interesting to me to have conversation after conversation about insecurities and then as the conversation continues there always seems to be a comment somewhere in there that says something like this... "well... its just hard because i felt, like, i dont know.. unwanted by him" and boom. theres where we, as girls, think the problem lies.
every girl, no matter the age, or how much they put up a front saying that they dont... every girl wants to be treasured. every girl wants to be valued. every girl wants to be desired. that love thing i blogged about maybe a year ago... thats whatever THAT is that i dont know about yet. thats the thing that i know is out there but i just dont know it yet. and every. single. girl. wants it.
so what i've seen become a pattern in my friends and i's minds is this: when we get into a relationship with a guy... that is our desire. we are hoping that he will treasure, value, and want us. and the second it doesn't work out, we think- there must be something wrong with me. there must be a reason he wouldn't want to treasure me. to see me as valuable.
and in finally understanding this about myself i've come to understand some pretty incredible things about the Lord and just life.
1. where am i placing my identity and worth? why as girls is it so hard for us to understand that our worth is not comprehensible? why is it that we can't wrap our heads around the fact that we are fearfully and wonderfully made? that there is not a flaw in you? that the Creator of the universe made us in HIS image! why can't we allow that to sink in? why do we not understand that we are treasured! dang it, you are valued. you are wanted. you are so incredibly wanted! when all those insecurities sink in- why do we not see that there was a man who hung on a cross to declare his love for us? beauty is held in the eye of the Beholder... do we not understand that the Eye never leaves us?
2. that cant be our expectation. why? because guys dont need and cant handle that kind of expectation. boys aren't meant to "complete us". God is. it's not fair for us to place parts of our identity in something that is equally filled with sin. thats like just waiting for a bomb to go off. we have somehow got to get through to our head and heart that our identity has to be in Christ.
i said i was never going to post this, but i just cant resist... its way too good.
i've been avoiding this post because i didn't want to have to write about Thailand as a thing of the past. but, i've realized, the physicalness of it is a thing of the past, however, the lessons, the people, the clarity... those are still present.
i have been so thankful for the way that my friends have shown so much interest in my trip to thailand. they have been incredible to ask specific, good questions. but it has been a battle for me. every time i tell a story, in the back of my head is the thought 'you still just have no clue'.
there is no possible way for me to communicate in words what happened in my heart this summer. because there is no possible way to communicate what happens in your heart when you see people you love bowing down to wooden idols. and i cant translate to you the passion in someone's eyes when they are brought to tears over the deepest longings of their heart which they have been praying over for months, years... and have seen nothing happen yet, but still have total faith that the Lord is working. and there is no way i can describe the smells, or the sound of Pbaan's laughter, or the beauty of hearing a prayer in Thai... there's just no way for these things to be explained.
so as people have asked me questions and genuinely cared to hear my answers, i am still battling the selfish desire to isolate myself and say 'you just wont understand'
but, God, once again, has been patient with me, showing me so much through this. showing me that part of the greatness of what happened this summer is taking everything i learned and bringing it back to challenge my friends! it is bringing those lessons back and learning what it means for them to become characteristics that define my life.
so can i describe the impact that Pbaan had on my life? absolutely not. but just as she did for me, i can allow God to continue working in my heart so that my actions, my heart, my thinking, the way i love, the way i show compassion... all those things change and in turn will show you the impact that she had in my life.
and can i communicate to you the depth of impact that being in an area that is one of the top 25 most unreached people groups of the world had in shaping my vision for my life? no. theres no way. but i can prayerfully go before my Father asking him to continue this work in me so that my life will be a demonstration of that impact.
im going to be digesting all this for a long time. but as i sort through it all, i want to joyfully share these things with the people i love. i dont want to avoid it or dread the conversations thinking its only for those who really understand it. i want others also to benifit from P'Nai, P' Blaa, P' Rung, P'Yute, Mai, Arm, Pbaan, Aw, Earn, Preow...
thats what the body of Christ does, we work together. the eyes may never touch the ears, but they can learn from them! that may be a stretch.... but you get what im saying!
i've mentioned it before on my blog, but there is a clothing line that i LOVE. i have gotten the opportunity to help out with some stuff involving the company and that has caused me to fall even more in love with not just the clothes but everything behind them. it is so much more than JUST a clothing line... they just got in some of the pieces for their fall line and i highly recommend you checking it out! there are so many cute dresses that would be great for game days, rush, back to school, and more... here is the URL: