Category Archives: Faith

“Your Kingdom Come” – The Lord’s Prayer

As someone who grew up in the church, I consider myself pretty comfortable around the Lord’s Prayer. I’ve heard sermons about it. I’ve recited it countless times. Like many passages, I easily quote it without really thinking about it. But yesterday the pastor at the church I attend here in Bangkok made a few points about the Lord’s prayer that I never really heard before. One in particular stuck out. 

For those less familiar with the passage, the prayer comes from Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13 when he instructed his disciplines on prayer:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from the evil one.

The phrase that really popped out to me from my pastor’s preaching was the “your kingdom come” part. Previously when I heard those words, I assumed they only meant something along the lines of, “Come back faster, Jesus!” 

But my Pastor pointed out that God’s kingdom resides in us through the Holy Spirit. Thus, “your kingdom come” is also a call to action. God, your kingdom come. Send your people. Be moving and working in us! 

In fact, the broader sermon discussed how the Lord’s Prayer goes hand in hand with the Armor of God. I don’t think I can do adequate justice to the subject, but it really got me thinking because the Armor of God is another part of the Bible I easily glaze by. But if we’re truly asking God to send us, we should be armoring up!

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Church Family

Especially lately, I often feel like my frustrations with Thailand keep snowballing into bigger and bigger drama where I just throw up my hands up in exasperation and count the days till I get to go home. But you know, there is one area where I have no frustration and only gratitude. One area I probably don’t talk about enough on this blog: my church family. 

I am so grateful for my spiritual family at Calvary Baptist Church in Bangkok. They’ve been my strength, support, and encouragement this semester. From opening my eyes to the plights of the countless refugees in Thailand to filling my Wednesday night with laughter and fellowship, this church has served as a rock in an often stormy and confusing environment. 

I’m often inclined to make sweeping statements like, “I only have 3 friends in Bangkok.” Which is true if I look at the students I connected with at school. But if you look at the people I see every Sunday and Wednesday, the people I talk and laugh and eat with, the people who get me out of my apartment and out of my head, I must have easily 3 dozen friends!

I have friends from the Philippines, from Vietnam, from China, from Japan, from Australia. Friends from the U.S. and, yes, even from Thailand! I am so blessed to have had these last three months with them. I will miss their fellowship more than anything when I leave. 

It is easy for me to focus on the negatives: a taxi driver who ripped me off, a class presentation gone wrong, the perpetual stink of sewer in the air. But woven throughout my experience this semester, God’s love came pouring out through His church. I cannot imagine this experience out them. And I cannot wait for the day when every tongue, every tribe, and every nation will gather and we will experience even better fellowship for all eternity. 


Happy (Belated) Resurrection Sunday!

Happy (Belated) Resurrection Sunday, everyone! I got back late Friday night from Krabi and discovered I had a presentation due Saturday morning. For better or worse, after staying up late finishing it, I showed up to class and the professor decided to cancel all presentations. 

On Sunday I attended a pot luck at my church. I brought root beer and Doritos, thinking it a fitting American combination. This was a mistake. The non-native English speakers couldn’t get past the word “beer” in “root beer.” I kept trying to explain it was soda, but no one believed me! Half the group refused to try it and the other half furtively shoved cans in their respective backpacks and purses without making eye contact. 

I convinced my friend Sunny to take a sip and after the teeniest of swallows, she announced: “Bitter beer!”

Which was, of course, the nail in the coffin. 

The pastor and his wife are from Texas and found the whole thing hilarious. To the rest of the church, however, I am the girl who brought two cases of beer to the Southern Baptist church potluck.

(Potluck being another confusing English phrase, half the church confusing it with “jackpot” and assuming some form of gambling.) 


A is good…but B is good too

I interrupt my travel adventures with a post I wrote 8 years ago because it occurred to me today…graduation season is coming up! So to all the graduates out there getting tired of being asked what you plan to do next, I hope these words resound for you the way they continue to resound for me.

Out of the Air

What if I were to be all deep and spiritual and say to you …God gives us choices. Your response might be something like, DUH. Of course God gives us choices! That is part of what it means to be human, why we are not robots, free will and all that stuff.

But if you are anything like me, your idea of those “choices” involves a good choice…and a bad choice. Take Path A and all this great stuff will happen. Take Path B and you will completely screw yourself and your future. Worst of all, you have strayed from God’s perfect plan for your life, so now you are damaged goods! Really, no pressure.

Recently I have been struggling with a decision that, while not completely life changing, was pretty obviously a crossroads. Panic ensue! I was fairly certain one of those paths must be God’s will, and the…

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Church Visit

I visited a church this morning and somehow ended up joining their choir, refugee ministry, and Wednesday small group. 

They regretted the choir invitation almost immediately. I told them I couldn’t carry a tune to save my life! But I said I figured I was an alto if I was anything and they said they desperately needed altos. 

By the end of practice, the lady standing next to me turned and said, “Well, at least you are an alto in your heart.” 


Unpacking the Summer

At the end of my adventures in Idaho last summer, I wrote a blog post where I talked about finding a new side of myself. I, bookworm and indoor aficionado,  learned to sleep under the stars, hike for fun, and white water raft. Part of the appeal of going to Colorado this past summer was the idea of further developing this new side of myself. 

And in a way, it was. I camped. I hiked. I white water rafted. (It is a lot more fun without the raft of paranoid middle school girls.) 

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Yet looking back, I would not say this was a summer of discovery. Rather, it became something more precious: a summer of remembering. 

Image may contain: 13 people, including Heather Sherrill, Shelby Hoovler, Alexavier Xue, Abby Welch, Haylee O'Hearn, Kathleen Mattina, Caroline Adams and Amy Buchmeyer, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Law school is stressful. It is a melting pot of emotions and nuances and feeling like a failure. I emerged war-torn and exhausted. Going to Colorado felt like a terrible idea. As the weeks leading up to my departure became days, I kept wondering if Young Life would really would miss me too much if I just…didn’t go? After all, they’d told me there were two legal interns. Maybe they didn’t need me?

Image may contain: Amy Buchmeyer, smiling, plant, sky, tree, cloud and outdoor

I knew better than to bail last minute, though, so I got on my plane, read 4 books, and started a truly amazing internship. What made it amazing? 

  • I had work that mattered and that I loved. 
  • I worked with incredible people who made me feel loved. 
  • I lived with 8, wonderful, sometimes crazy women who loved me and took the time to let me know it. 
  • I participated in an internship program that provided mentors, speakers, and a small group that all poured into me and left me feeling…you got it, loved
  • Finally, I got hour after luxurious hour to read and think and be alone, to truly love myself. 

Image may contain: 13 people, including Liz Knepper, Andi Seaton, Kathleen Mattina, Haylee O'Hearn, Shelby Hoovler, Alexavier Xue, Caroline Adams, Heather Sherrill, Amy Buchmeyer and 3 others, people smiling, people standing, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

The theme you should notice is that I was spoiled this summer. I was spoiled because people treated me like someone remarkable, someone smarter and funnier and more pulled together than I ever felt. They made sure to invite me to all their activities and never took offense when I declined to instead stay home and read. I always felt included but never pressured. And considering how many times I turned them down to read, that is saying something. 

Yet while I felt beloved for my reading and bug-killing abilities, I also felt the love did not stem from my personal attributes. I was surrounded by God-loving people whose love for each other stemmed from that love for God. Certain personalities might mix better and certain skills be more praise worthy, but at the end of the day, those things mattered less than the fact that each intern represented someone loved by God and thus worthy of love.

Image may contain: Kathleen Mattina and Amy Buchmeyer, people smiling, outdoor and nature

I was spoiled this summer because I felt unconditionally loved. I was spoiled because I got to do work that interested and excited me. I was spoiled because I got to live in the incredibly beautiful mountains with no humidity. 

I called this a summer of remembering. Why? Because it was a summer of remembering that my worth is not in what I do, or where I live, or what grades I get. It was a summer of remembering who I am when not stressed, not busy, and not networking. A summer of just being…me. Was it hard sometimes? Oh, you bet. But for all that, it was a summer beyond my expectations. 

The thing I want to take away, the thing I need to take away, is that this path wasn’t the most natural, the most prestigious, or even the most sensible. But in the end, it was the most fulfilling. God knew what He was doing even when (especially when) I doubted the most. 

Image may contain: 15 people, including Haylee O'Hearn, Heather Sherrill, Shelby Hoovler, Alexavier Xue, Caroline Adams, Amy Buchmeyer, John Sivils and Abby Welch, people smiling, people standing, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

 

(And because I couldn’t find the right place for it in this post, extra grateful shout-out to my awesome fellow legal intern, John, who now knows a lot more about Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, public sector labor law unions, and agency deference than he ever could have wanted, but who always let me interrupt him and patiently listened while I rambled away. Thank you.)


2 Kings 6:8-17

This past week, I heard an interesting talk on 2 Kings 6:8-17. The presentation was on how we handle crisis. However, re-reading the Scripture, another element of the passage stuck out to me. As a quick reminder: 

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he senthorses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Super cool passage, right? But here is what I want to know. Did Elisha always see the horses and chariots of fire? Think about how cool, and terrifying, that would be! Definitely something to ask him about in heaven.