efci

Found Treasures

so, as i was cleaning/organizing my room, i found all my journals from when i was 8 years old until college. (obviously, the black ones being from college haha)

…& a bunch of other treasures that i kept from middle-high school including a paul frank sticker, my first concert ticket (mae @ biola), first disneyland passport, plane tickets to japan & taiwan, an all american rejects concert ticket, a christmas card from the boy i had a fat crush on for 5 years, a birthday card from my best friend, an “i love you” sticky note my white boyfriend secretly slipped into my backpack in middle school, and my booklet from my first winter retreat (EFCI, theme:“thirst”).

& as i flipped through my journal from middle school, i found this journal entry that i guess i wrote while i was fighting with my 8th grade boyfriend…..

….super hilarious. what was i thinking…..??? i’m glad my journal entries don’t look or sound like that anymore….

Here I am to worship

I slept throughout my whole ride back. I woke up and walked into my home church. The elders and Emily gave me a warm welcome. Once the worship team started to play, I walked up to the front. (which I normally am too shy/self conscious to do) 

Standing in front of me was a little skinny asian girl, with long straight hair. It was so reminiscent. She reminded me of me. I could tell she was real shy, just looking around and probably pressured and/or confused by all the other worshippers in the room raising their hands and singing/worshipping at the top of their lungs. And this reminded me of my other friend skeptical of contemporary worship settings.

This girl looked back and up at me. I didn’t want her to be scared. I didn’t want her to think there was a certain way to worship God. So I smiled back at her. The pastor then asked everyone to “split in groups to pray” and i knew this was my opportunity to reach out. Splitting into groups is always awkward.  She looked uncomfortable. I asked her if she’d like to pray with me and she came to me. I asked her for her name and how old she was, and she told me her name and that she was 12 years old. (and these were the only words i heard her say that night) That’s how old I was when I first came to church. I could vividly remember worshipping for the first time at that age. I felt scared and awkward and self conscious.

The other young girls behind me looked just as confused so I invited them over along too. And although I’m not on “the servant’s team” or an advisor, I gotta admit that I I got a little taste of it; and it brought me so much joy. We prayed out loud together. I closed in prayer. And it was lovely. And I continued to stand by this young girl for the rest of the night. As we worshipped, I imagined serving this church, my home church, EFCI. I’d so much love to do it. I love these young girls, and these silly middle school boys. (I don’t even know them) but EFCI was there for me, and I shall be there for them. I don’t want people to think that singing louder = more praise, and that there is a specific format to praise God. I don’t want people to feel like there has to be a certain setting and atmosphere to praise God. But I hope people see that praising God is when you have genuine appreciation and love for Him. and that it could be revealed through singing, music playing, dancing, giving, sharing, listening, designing, making, and/or building.

Dear God,

Today was a huge blessing to me. It has never felt SO good to go back to EFCI & see so many old friendly faces. I was so eager to go to church today, but also sort of hesitant to go to EFCI because I haven’t been there for so long, & assumed there’d be lots of awkward conversations.

But it was so… nice. There were so many young teen faces I’ve never seen before. I sat next to a young girl who reminded me of me when I was in the Vine. All dressed in black, trying to look tough. I was smiling the whole time because she was actually peering over my sketchbook as I was eagerly trying to listen to Chris Liu’s message. & oh - walking in to hear Chris speaking was such a blessing. (Chris Liu was my youth group leader/my first fellowship leader)

I love all my brothers & sisters back at this church, including those who I barely knew, but still waved a friendly hello to me. I have never had so many hello’s/hugs.

After the message, my mission teammates found me. I’ve never felt so happy to be hugged. It doesn’t matter that several brothers & sisters don’t know the details of my struggles; it was good enough to be in their presence. We all struggle in some other way, & most importantly, we try to help each other out & seek You. that’s all that matters. I freakin’ love fellowship.

——-

I’m really, really happy to be back at EFCI. To all my EFCI brothers & sisters - expect to see my face more often this summer. I’m going to be (co-teaching) sunday school for the restless 2nd graders. (seriously….where did all their energy come from?!) It’s going to be great; With the loudest girls, I’m going to deaf by the end of this summer. Mmmhm. & missions @ Mexico will be swell. I’m going to be teaching kids how to draw & finger paint. & in August, I’ll be doing VBS. (I sure hope I’ll have some kind of chipmunk cheeked chubby boy in my group…)

I’m excited.

Love,

Lilly

Fellowship love/weekend

Note: If you noticed, my posts have been very jumbled and disturbing. That’s because I’ve been having crap thrown at me every single day. I don’t know what God’s trying to do to me, but I’m sure he just wants to break me down and shape me up. and um, this blog is going to be super long.

Saturday:

I called my friend once I got back into the car. (…Costco jerks) I was sobbbbing. He told me to go to EFCI’s bible study because I needed brothers and sisters. Even though I was absolutely s-faced, I sped. I arrived just in time. 

As soon as John opened the door for me, I ran to Shannon and poured out. I felt super sick. I had a huge headache. My eczema was flaring up. My eyes were swollen. I was dizzy. (the daily symptoms)  Even though I couldn’t focus on the  lesson, God helped me get there. God provided me with the fellowship right after I broke down. (um, perfect timing.) Even though nobody really knew what was wrong with me ( “…you’re a wreck” says John) I really appreciated having such good brothers and sisters with me.  After we finished the lesson, I shared my problems to all the sisters during our prayer time and they sincerely listened to me. After that, they surrounded me and prayed for me. It reminded me of when I was sick at missions in Taiwan. And it felt just as amazing. Tiffany let me rest in her bed and she gave me a bag of Advil before I drove home.

Once I got home, I realized how empty it was. It was dark. Nobody was there. Teddy was taken.  I washed dishes and cleaned in complete silence. I was so scared. I fell asleep crying.

Sunday:

I woke up crying. I dragged myself to church (late). I stood embaressed, not knowing where to sit. But as soon as I looked to my left, Bryan and Melody invited me over to sit with them. It’s interesting how I barely knew them, but that they care for me so much.

After the service finished and I walked out, Hazel gave me lemon chamomile teas and throat-coat herbal teas and I received some hugs. I walked over to my sunday school class, feeling really awful that I hadn’t made anything for my kids, but Ruth found me, held my arm and walked with me to class. My missions partner Isabella came to help me teach since I was so weak. I felt like my kids were taking care of me, instead of me taking care of my kids. Teaching them was so fun. i’m going to friggin miss these kids. I don’t know if i can let them gooooo :(:(:(

My lesson plan:

(I find drawings very practical for teaching kids. it makes lessons funner for them, &  they love looking through my sketchbook.)

And this is the drawing Rachel drew for me in my sketchbook after class.

A flower and Mr. Fly guy

Monday:

Moving in = super painful. I wanted to go to a hospital or take some semester absence….. but thank God my friends and not so close friends have been checking up on me so much. (texting, emailing, caling, fb-msging) I feel so… loved. thank you, seriously. This feels good. Being spoon-fed and cared for, esp since I’m such a big crybaby right now. I know they’re not doing it out of obligation. but really just out of sincere love.

And now, I’m enjoying a cup of the herbal tea that Hazel gave me. I’m very, very weak. I’m starting to think that God’s physically tearing me down to force me to sleep early. because yes, I’m going to sleep now.

Auld Lang Syne

New Year’s at the Wangs’ was pretty amazing. I’ve never had so much fun for New Years. There was just so much joy. & every time i look back at these photos or talk about it with my friends, our faces brighten with such huge smiles. I think we’ve agreed to try & make the Wang’s new years party an annual tradition now.

Things that I learned at the end of 2011 that I’m bringing to 2012:

1. Pride breaks all types of families up (churches and households);  We must decrease & allow God to increase. (John 3:30)

2. Don’t take relationship advice from anyone who’s buzzed/drunk.

Happy 2012! <3

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.