A Glimpse of Mi Vida...

It started with a missions trip to Camden, where my life and perspective were changed and where this blog began. Life has been a roller coaster filled with its ups and downs and I'm excited for the adventure and discovering what God has in store, even though I really dislike roller coasters... I am a Lady in Waiting...

Monday, March 30, 2015

My New Tattoo: Hesed

The second of my new tattoos is hesed in Hebrew.

I have been spending the past five weeks studying through the book of Ruth with my small group. The book of Ruth is probably my favorite book of the Bible because I studied through it during my college single years (and even my single adulthood). The book embodies so much of the loving relationship between Ruth and God, Ruth and Naomi and then later between Boaz and Ruth.

God uses the word hesed to describe his own character. The type of characteristics that we should embody as His own.
"Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth; who keeps loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin." -Exodus 34:6

Hesed summarizes what God is like: loyal, committed, merciful, enduring, faithful, covenant-keeping love.
The act of hesed is often demonstrated from one person to a more vulnerable party.

The act of a covenant-keeping love is the key theme in the book of Ruth.

Ruth followed Naomi. She gave up everything for her, took on a new faith, and worked to provide for her mother-in-law. After Ruth's husband died, she had not obligation to Naomi. Naomi even urged her to leave, yet Ruth stuck by her side. She offered her a loving kindness unlike any other. She remained loyal to Naomi as she gleaned the fields and provided for her. Hesed requires sacrifice because it is not an emotional love (like I love chocolate cake... or anything chocolate). Hesed is an act of pure deep faithfulness and loyalty.

Hesed best embodies God's love because human commitments and good intentions often fail. However, God is the only one who can say, "I WILL NEVER leave you or forsake you."

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6

As I worked through the study, I loved the way that it introduced the actions of the book as hesed. I knew then that I would get hesed as one of my next tattoos. I just didn't think that it would happen less than three weeks later. 

The greatest example of God's hesed is sacrificing His One and Only Son for our sake, for our benefit and for the fact that as a sinful being that we sometimes cannot help ourselves. 

As I dug deeper into the book of Ruth, it wasn't about this romantic book of fairy tales like its sometimes embodied, but it was about a faithfulness of a loving God. A love with character and commitment.

Thank you Lord, for your loyal love. Thank you for your loving kindness, I pray that these symbols on my arm help me to forever remember that you are faithful. May I remember that you meet my every need, even when I fail to worship you. May I never be fearful of the future, but may I remember your love to pull me through each and every circumstances. May I rest continually in your loving kindness. I pray that I continue to learn how to offer a hesed love to those I encounter. May my future husband love me with hesed. May hesed become so engrained in my character as I strive to serve you, follow you and lead for you. 

Another reason I want to do a foot washing ceremony with my husband on our wedding day because that would be the perfect example of hesed. A humbling, beautiful and outward expression of our love for Christ and our love for each other and our commitment to forever together. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Girl with the Two New Tattoos: Come Thou Fount

Come Thou Fount

Most know this as a hymn that they grew up singing, if you grew up in an older church like mine. I have always loved hymns because they hold such depth of peace, love, grace and history of the church.
Come Thou Fount has always been my song- the song that has allowed such peace to wash over me throughout my life especially when it comes to missions and life transitions. God speaks to me through this hymn in so many beautiful ways.

As a young girl in church, during a difficult time the song spoke such volumes to me. As I've gotten older, different parts of this song speak such volumes. During difficult times in my upbringing, this song always helped me to hold on and to cling closer to God.

When I was praying about going on my first ever missions trip, I would be going to Camden, New Jersey for two months. My first time away from home would be living in the poorest city in the US and in the fifth most dangerous city. I was going with APU and had been accepted on a team and had a short period of time to accept the opportunity to go. My first Sunday in church since being accepted on the team, Come Thou Fount was the first hymn we sung. A peace washed over me, Camden is where I was suppose to go.

My time in Camden broke me in the best kind of ways. I broke down walls of self-doubt, it broke down walls of racism and stereotypes and it gave me a heart for children and for missions. It was a truly beautiful. I knew that I needed to return and as I sat in the church with the choir I was, what song did we begin to sing... Come Thou Fount. I knew in that moment I would return to Camden again.

I ended up going back to Camden three times over the course of two years. During my last time back to Camden, I had just lost my job and was leading a short trip to Camden. I was sitting in a hotel room on vacation with my family and channel surfing for something to watch. I turned on this Lifetime movie, and within ten minutes there was a scene of a man being out in nature and he began to sing, Come Thou Fount. I knew in that moment that I was suppose to go back to Camden for a longer term. I fought that decision for about a week or two until God revealed again what I was supposed to be doing with my now free time and freedom.
You can read more about that from an old post.

Right after I interviewed to go on a trip to Peru, I walked into my "new" church and what song was being sung. It calmed all my nerves and I felt a peace. I ended up going to Peru for two weeks then. When I was asked to go to Haiti after leaving my job, it played again.

I was at a benefit and I saw this gorgeous chalkboard sign that read, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Tune my heart to sing thy Grace!". I knew that I wanted to get another tattoo and I saw this and I knew. I didn't win the bid for that beautiful sign that night but I began scouring the internet and found the drawing (to the left) and I knew that the design was met for me. After trying to get several designers to redesign the art for me, the opportunity presented itself last weekend.

Even now, with my newly inked wrist. As work stress rises, I can't help but look down and feel a sense of peace as I read the lyrics. I pray God continues to tune my heart to grace as I deal with difficult work situations and circumstances.

I don't know how else or when the song will continue to speak to me and how peace will wash over me, or how God will continue to use this beautiful hymn to speak to me. But I know that it will.

I do know that I plan to have this song play at my wedding... whether that be during our first communion with my husband or when I wash his feet... maybe even when I walk down the aisle. I cannot wait to share the depth of this song in my life with my future husband.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I'll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I've come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.