Sunday, January 14, 2018

rooted and rested


I wrote, once, that every season has a smell.
I still believe it.

If I were to characterize the last few months in smells, it would be such a whirlwind. There would be whiffs of bagels from the business school and the musty smell of my Sensei's office.
I would smell paper and eraser shavings...sweaty running clothes and a whole lot of coffee.
Constant coffee, actually.
(Probably too much)

To be quite honest, I probably didn't stop as much as I should have to smell them.

I fell into the lie that busyness is necessary and that unless I'm running around doing something productive, I'm being lazy. 

That's not true, of course. 

I'd forgotten. 

There's wisdom in intentional stillness - there's growth in the quiet. 

I began the New Year purposing to slow down and to reject anxiety and to choose rest.
Effectively, to give myself a break.
I was wiped and refusing to believe it.

I determined to rediscover the art of slowing down and to remember all there is to be learned in the quiet. 
Quiet is quite beautiful, you know.

So far, it's been great. 

I'm sleeping more and seeing more and smelling more (again).

I missed it.

Throughout the process, I'm growing.
And as always, it's a good feeling.

I'm excited for the weeks ahead and the smells they bring because I know I'll be better able to enjoy them.

I know they'll be busy.
There will be 18 credit-hour smells, work smells, volunteering smells, and even some smells from Japan...(Yes, I'm going back friends. Be on the lookout for updates and pictures).

But I'm stoked and ready to sniff up a storm.

Bring it on, Spring 2018.

I'm ready for you...
One day and one smell at a time.

I can't wait to see all you hold.

Love always,

G





Friday, December 22, 2017

a hopeful undertone



































Sometimes it takes my breath away - the speed of the last 4 months.

It's been a whirlwind.

This semester has been tough. But it's been equally as lovely.

Once again, I laughed a lot, cried some, and learned a whole lot in the process.
さすがね。

I learned not to take myself too seriously...to put the schoolbooks down for a bit of fun.

I learned what it means to take a different route - to stand still while the crowd swarms toward internships and corporate career paths.
I'm learning to look into the face of my Creator to see where He would have me go.

I'm learning to release guilt, reject anxiety, and walk forward in joyful obedience.

I'm learning how beautiful it is that the Father desires to be intimate with us. He wants to be with us. Even when we reject him at our worst.
Hot dang, what Love.

I'm very thankful.

Stress is real. Homework happens. And the job search is intense.
We lose people we love, don't care as much as we should, and say things we don't mean.
People can be insensitive. Professors aren't always understanding.
Sometimes, I just wanna sit down and eat all the dark chocolate chips.

But there is goodness to be found.
Lots of it, actually.

This is how we root ourselves in the Father's delight - in repeating truths to ourselves and in choosing to believe in a bigger story.

So that's how I march on.

A soldier He has called me.
A soldier I shall be - lifted by a hopeful undertone and rooted in His delight.

Sorry it's been so long.

As always,

G

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Why Nanzan.
































People always ask me, “Why Nanzan?”
I’m never quite sure how to answer.
At first, it was the cost-value and the dates that matched perfectly with my plans. It was the amazing academic program and the promise of finishing with the ability to speak more Japanese.
Yes, the studies were wonderful - the senseis were incredible and I learned so much Japanese.
(I've started thinking in Japanese. It's all sorts of confusing.)

But, as my time at Nanzan comes to a close, I realize I was there for quite another reason.

Quite honestly, the academic aspects of my time in Nagoya are mere fragments of what I experienced there.
There was so much more to be learned...so much to be gained.

I've seen the Lord bring me friends who are so close, I can't believe I've only known them 6 weeks....friends who I know I'll connect with for life. 

I've seen the Gospel work vividly in this country, in this city, and in the lives of my friends.
I've felt the overwhelming weight of His love, been reminded of the clarity and truth of the Gospel, and gotten so many opportunities to boldly speak of that Love to those around me.
I have new vision...the Spirit is on the move. 
And He's been so good. 
さすがね?

Every time I leave this country, I always wonder how is it that a heart can be split so strongly between two opposite sides of the globe?
It's the weirdest feeling.
And even for the many times I've made this trek, it doesn't get any easier.
Japan is a part of me.


But even though I leave Japan, sad at the passing of such a golden season, I'm not completely forlorn. 

This is only the beginning. 

Yes, I leave Nanzan University with more than just improved Japanese and an over-stuffed suitcase.

I leave with teary eyes, a full heart, and eyes open to take in all that the Lord is doing.
I leave grateful. So grateful....
and so much better able to answer that ever-present question,

"Why Nanzan?"

Because the Lord knew I needed it.

That's why.
Because He always knows best.
And He is faithful to take good care of his children.

驚くばかりの恵みなり...

Always,
G


Thursday, June 15, 2017

some days.



















some days don't go as planned.
some days are helter skelter and not at all like you would have thought.

some days are tired days.
they are the days you wake up after studying late into the night...the days you can't drink enough coffee.

some days you wake up with no voice and a presentation to do.

those are the ゆっくりdays.
they are days for savoring.

they are the days you allow yourself to slow down - when you remind yourself to look up and breathe in that Japanese air you love so much.

these are the days you allow your brain a rest and take your time painting flowers in art class. the days you stay even longer after class to talk to the 75 year old sensei about his career as a famous artist and his time at Nanzan.
they are the days for squinty-eyed jokes and pouring through old art books together.

there are some days you spend too much time in conversation with your friends over white rice lunches.
those are the days when you end up running to your next class...laughing the whole way as you hold down each other's dresses.

they're days for breathless smiles and knowing glances - twinkly eyes and Japanese puns.

those are the days you decide that grades are important, but not as important as your gambaru...your effort. Those are the days you cut your losses and laugh with your sensei in stead of taking your imperfections too seriously.
and you find you actually learn more that way.

they're not perfect days.

no, they could never be.

but they're happy days.

and I'm thankful for them.

until next time,

G

"I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.  For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God." 
philippians 1:9-11

" 私は祈っています。どうか、あなたがたの愛が、もっともっと満ちあふれますように。同時に、霊的な知識と洞察力も、さらに深められますように。 10それは、あなたがたに、善悪をはっきり見分ける力が備わり、主が来られる日まで、だれからも非難されることなく、心がきよく保たれるよう願うからです。 11どうか、神の子どもにふさわしく、親切な良い行いができますように。それは、大いに主をほめたたえ、主の栄光を現すことになるのです。"

(ピリピ人への手紙 1:9-11)