Monday, December 14, 2015

Peace.

Today's message at church was about peace during the holidays. Why is it so hard to find peace during the Christmas season? Each year we make efforts to get our shopping done in advance, find ways to overcome family encounters and make sure everything goes according to plan. But then life gets in the way. We scramble around to do last minute shopping, find our family is not all on the same page about coming together or get caught up by other distractions.

It's easy to see how these circumstances can prevent us from enjoying a peaceful Christmas experience. Isaiah told us that with the arrival of this new King, also known as the Prince of Peace, a new lifetime of peace would enter the world.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! - Isaiah 9:6-7
Now the headlines around the world tell a different story. Terrorist attacks, mass shootings, political tensions, hate crimes. The list goes on. Jesus warned us against the troubles of this world.
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. - John 14:27
John MacArthur said it best in his sermon The Gift of Peace, "The peace Jesus is speaking of enables believers to remain calm in the most wildly fearful circumstances. The peace He gives has to be received and applied in our lives. If we lay hold of the promise of the very peace of Christ, we will have calm, untroubled hearts, regardless of external circumstances."

Pastor Mondy gave an example of why we often don’t find peace in our hearts. He pulled up a stool and stared at it. "Sure this looks like a strong stool. I believe this stool will hold me if I sit on it" It's easy find peace in joyful times but how do we hold on to this promise of eternal peace when we are given the bad news, mourn over the loss of a loved one or have trouble making ends meet. It's during those moments like that God's peace transcends all circumstances. We must sit on the stool. Whether it holds us or we fall, the peace of God remains the same. 

I can go on and on about today’s message of peace but I must catch some sleep. I strongly encourage you to read/listen to John MacArthur's The Gift of Peace[LINK HERE]

I hope you all find shalom (which I learned today means peace in Hebrew ) during the holidays. If you become anxious and need to calm your heart, read Matthew 6:25-34, one of my favorite passages. Have a good night! 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer Recaps: Dallas Symphony 'Mozart's Requiem'


Back in April as a birthday gift to myself, my sister and I visited the Dallas Symphony at the Meyerson Symphony Center. We were there to see Mozart's Requiem live, one of my favorite classical music pieces. If you've seen the movie 'Amadeus' you would understand. Although the movie wasn't entirely accurate, it told the beautiful yet tragic story of Wolfgang Mozart's life.


 This mass was written by Mozart right before this death and was left incomplete. It was said to be written to Count Franz von Walsegg to commemorate the anniversary of this wife's death.

As the orchestra played, the lyrics were displayed on the background right above them. Something about reading along as the choir sang made it even more special to watch. I found myself in tears just thinking about God's grace and mercy on us. I truly left like I was praying.
Grant them eternal rest, Lord,
and let perpetual light shine on them.
You are praised, God, in Zion,
and homage will be paid to You in Jerusalem.
Hear my prayer,
to You all flesh will come.
Grant them eternal rest, Lord,
and let perpetual light shine on them.
-- Introduction Lyrics 
Selfie before the concert.
This was the first visit to the symphony since elementary. I look forward to attending other concerts. Check out the video below from Dallas Symphony's website about this special concert. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Birthdays and New Beginnings

So far April is off to a great start!

Two weeks ago, I started a new job at a new company. I prayed countless of times for an opportunity like this and I'm excited to explore this new chapter. Most of April will consist of lots of training. At the end of the month, I'll be traveling to New York for a full week of more training. Can't wait!


Also celebrated my mother's birthday two weeks ago. Kicked it with her for most of the day. I took her out to dinner and surprised her with some family guests. My mother and I haven't always seen eye to eye, but I thank God for her life. Our relationship continues to improve and I have faith it will only get better. 


About a week ago I celebrated a special occasion. I got baptized. A video of my testimony played right before I was dipped in the water. As I stood in the tub waiting for my turn, I wanted to cry. Life has not always been sunshine and rainbows. Five years ago, I was a lost and angry child begging for an end to the pain. Since my encounter with my Christ, I've become alive again. My purpose in life is beyond anything I will ever imagine. I rejoice and have faith that it's no longer I who lives, but He who lives in me.

I have been crucified with Christ & I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. -Galatians 2:20

Monday,April 13th was my birthday. It was also the first day of training. I spend the majority of my day in a room full with strangers. I was a bit intimidated at first, considering I was the only female, but still held it down. Later on that evening, our new bosses took us out to dinner. We had a great time and somebody ordered me a desert with a candle and the group sang Happy Birthday.

This birthday signified a celebration of another year to be thankful for new life and new hope. I remain faithful that God has special plans for me and I can't wait to see what is to come!

Friday, January 23, 2015

First Marathon COMPLETE!


Last December I ran my first marathon. I also had the opportunity to share this experience with my best friend, Jarrah, who ran her first half marathon that day. I couldn't put into words the mix of emotions I endured during those 26.2 miles, until now. 


Months of training finally came down to this day. Since it was my first marathon I didn't know what to expect. I had no game strategy other than to keep running and hoping to cross the finish line alive. So I played it safe and ran at a slower, comfortable pace. Something I semi-regret because although I did run pain free for most of the race, my finish time wasn't that great. 


I usually run with music but the cheers from the awesome spectators were too loud to pass on. Around mile 6 I read a poster that said, "Embrace your pace." Simple yet comforting words for an anxious first-time marathoner. It was exactly what I needed to believe. 


Reaching the half way point was a small victory. The downhill that came right after was so refreshing and very much needed. The next 4 miles were ran along the White Rock Lake. It would of been a nice view had the weather cooperated that day. I had to dig deep to push against the cold wind from the lake. It was around that time that it started to pour rain. At this point I just wanted to wave the white flag.


Before the race started, Jarrah and I chatted with another runner about how excited we were for the race. He said that in a marathon, a runner is really running two races. A 20 miles race and a 6.2 mile race. He said the last 6 miles were pure mental hell and he couldn't be farther from the truth. Up until mile 20, I hasn't felt as mentally drained. By this time I've been running for more than 4 hours. I was finally reaching my breaking point. Soon I lost my pace group and slowed down even more.

Around mile 25 I began to cry. This came from a mixed of, "God, I'm almost done!" and "Wait! Nobody's waiting for me at the finish line!?" I really thought my family was waiting for me at the finish line but due to the weather and other circumstances, they couldn't make it. I had to snap out of it quick. One can't just run and cry at the same time, without struggling to breathe. I had to suck it up and push hard because I could hear the loud cheers from the crowds. The finish line was coming up. 

The most frustrating part of those last 2 minutes was that I could hear the crowd but couldn't see the finish line. Talk about a major tease. But finally I was done. 


I crossed the finish line like a rock star. I seriously held that pose for some good 30 seconds LOL. The thought of finally being able to walked seemed so relaxing but it was quite the opposite, at least for me. Walking after running a marathon was the worst pain I experience during that race. I could barely take a couple of steps after reaching the finish line. I was dying to find a bench, a sidewalk, anything I would sit down and rest. I finally did but then I walked around some more before I caught the train back home. I chatted with another runner on the train the whole way home. I didn't get his name but it was nice to finally talk to somebody after talking to myself for the last 6 hours.


I'm not gonna lie, marathons are just not for me. I think I'll stick to half-marathons and maybe run the full Dallas Marathon in December to close out the year. I do look forward to improving on my time and just enjoying this running journey the Lord has blessed me with.