Abandon Ship

Though one can’t argue with my mean backfloat, I do admit that I am not the most swim savvy person on earth. I mean just because you try out to be a lifeguard, and end up getting rescued by the lifeguards administering the test, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the worst… just means you need some improvement on your swim skills. (true story)

Even still… My lack of skill for all things swim oriented won’t stop me this time… I’m abandoning ship.

We’re all traveling on a boat in this great ocean of life. The sun shines some days and it’s easy sailing, storms rage other days, and the journey seems like it will consume us, but how many of us are not moving at all? Just stuck in the same spot in the ocean…day after day…year after year… as we watch other boats sail by.

Our boat has stopped sailing because of FEAR.

Maybe it was a devastating failed relationship, or complacency with the comfortable, or another tragic event that took place in your life that has stopped you from moving ahead.

If we want to move forward we need to ABANDON SHIP.

Sure, there are risks in that. What if we drown? What if something else comes and devours us in the ocean?

But what if we stay in that boat of fear? Will your life, will my life, forever be defined as a life of blessings and growth missed out on?

It may be scary for a while, but we’ll eventually make it to another boat, one that is moving ahead, and may even have some other people to enjoy the journey with. The boat we once called “safe” will be a distant memory, while we enjoy the life of freedom and joy that comes with trusting God and living by faith.

The reward is greater than the risk.

The reward is GREATER than the risk.

The REWARD is GREATER than the risk.

It has taken me quite some time to come to terms with that, but I’m trusting God to help me every single day that I feel I want to doggy paddle my way back into that idle boat. I want to keep swimming, and climb onto a boat that is moving in only one direction (“cuz you’re beautiful, just the way you are”…sorry cheesy tangent)…. ahead. I refuse to let the enemy win and miss out because of fear.

Faith is telling us to “Abandon Ship”. Will we obey?

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

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Agenda: Numb

taken from my journal 9/21/20

I don’t really know what’s going on inside of me. I feel so… numb.

I feel numb about all the sicknesses/deaths/accidents that have been affecting both sides of my family.

I feel numb about guys, about liking anyone, wanting to ever get married or have kids.

I feel numb about my future.

I also feel selfish. I hate feeling selfish, this false sense of entitlement that I need to be taken care of for once.

I feel worried about support, and if I will have enough to last another year.

I feel forgotten by people.

I feel forgotten by God.

I’m not really sure how to get out of this.

I don’t show it on the outside, and my mind constantly pushes it away, but when I sit and ponder, the feelings…the confusion…the numbness surfaces.

There’s one devotional from “Come Away My Beloved” that I keep on re-reading.

Resignation

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matt. 6:33

Incline your heart to Me, and attune your ear to My voice. For I would speak to you, and I have an urgent message to give you. Do not set out to establish your own designs. I have already set in motion My divine will and purpose, and I would not have you interfere. I am jealous of my children; They are Mine, and you shall not intrude in any way to hinder My plans from working out. Yes, you may do many things, but only that which I direct you to do can have My blessing.

Resign all into My hands- your loved ones as well as your own self. Be obedient to the still small voice. Your own imaginings may speak more loudly, but wait upon Me always. You will see the wisdom in this in due time. Fret not about carnal things, but concern yourself first and aways with spiritual values. Truly, My promise is still “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all the other needful things will be added to you.”

The bottom line is that I have to RESIGN it ALL. Fear won’t let me resign it ALL, but I know I have to.

Father, help me resign it all..ALL..into your very capable, loving hands. Teach me what it looks like again to seek your Kingdom first, above all else, daily. Forgive me for my disgusting selfishness that kept me focused on me for way too long. Work in me the desire and will to complete the works you have prepared for me since before time began.

I know the dawn is coming.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

Is It Always Best To Be Wise? (Travel Blog #2)

written 10/4/11 probably somewhere over the pacific ocean.

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Out of the 100+ seats on the Cathay Pacific aircraft, my seat happens to be the ONLY one whose television doesn’t work. Of course.

I was thinking… “Great! A 15 hour flight? I can catch up on almost every movie I missed this entire summer

After countless efforts of the, super friendly, flight attendants rebooting my television, reseating me (but it was next to a sniffling man, and a woman blowing her nose.. so I bounced from that seat), and the such… I still have not seen one movie… and it’s 6 hours into the flight.

So, I guess a movie is not meant to be on my agenda during this flight.

 I love being around Asian culture. I forgot about some of the quirky happenings of the Chinese culture. When I walked to the back to get the first flight attendant, I passed an old Chinese woman doing squats while holding the counter… immediate flashback to my month in China… all the, not workout, work out routines done by the seniors…the good, the bad… and the train ride from hell!

But after stopping myself from hyperventilating, I started to think about the awesome ministry we were a part of there…the English corners, the beautiful children, the loving underground church, the adorable puppies.

I’m not sure what I’m going to face in Thailand the second time around. I do know that flooding is a major problem right now, and so I am literally flying into a flood.

Talk about “not knowing what to expect”.

I do miss my friends and family already, but I know this is where I need to be… on this Cathay Pacific flight, which has the kindest flight attendants btw, headed towards Hong Kong, next to the most lovable old Chinese couple, who I secretly hope would adopt me, typing this blog.

One thing a lot of people have been telling me, praying over me, and what I have been asking for is WISDOM.

To know when to do what, and how.

Wisdom is the “lady”, in the Bible, that we should all chase after, and yearn for.

“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:6-7

 Wisdom... is something that a lot of us lack today.

While being forced to process on this flight (since my light doesn’t work either and I can’t read), I had an interesting thought.

 “How many people have used wisdom as an excuse for their fear, or their lack of faith?”

 “No, I won’t do that… because that’s not wise… or Yes, I have to make sure every detail of this trip, or of this service, or of this campaign is figured out because… that’s wise.”

I wonder how many of us hide our fear, and faith, behind the mask of “wisdom”

 Maybe it’s easier to say “ I won’t take a year off and do missions work…because that’s not wise” or “I can’t go back to school and get a degree, after all these years, that’s not wise.”… I dunno… reflect on your life…what things have you NOT done, or DONE for the sake of “wisdom”. And was it truly because of wisdom? Or was there some deep rooted fear and/or doubt involved?

When I was about 20 or 21, I used to go, with my church, to do outreaches in the projects. I was always drawn to the group of dudes sitting on the stoop, with their hoodies up.

“Hi. We’re having a concert at our church this Sunday, I just wanted to invite you guys.”

When I would find my way back to the outreach team I was with, they would ask me where I was, and I said “over there.” (pointing to where I was).

Almost in unison .”That’s not wise Bethsaida

O.k. maybe it wasn’t….

But I dunno… maybe “wise” won’t always get to the unreached.

Maybe we have to step out in faith a bit more, and do things that boggle our understanding, and common sense, in order to reach people who need to be reached.

 When God gives me wisdom, I want it to be genuine… not a cover up for my lack of faith or my fears.

That’s the thought process going through my mind right now… I wonder if those would be good questions for you to process through as well.

Only 8 more hours to go…then two more flights… then home =)

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

How Giving Up Luggage Enlightened Me. (Travel Blog #1)

written 10/4/11 on the airplane…probably over some country in the midwest.

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Every carry-on luggage that I see a passenger pull down from the stowage, and then put back in, adds one more ache to my heart. Boils my blood that milliliter more. Makes me want to punch someone that much more!

Here’s why…

When I walked to the check in line this morning, I saw a familiar face.  I used to go to church with her. She was kind enough to send me to a check-in person that she was friends with… and I got the hook up! I was thanking God SO much for looking out for me, even in the littlest things… like checking in.

So I was feeling great, blessed, money saved that I will be able to use towards a better cause than checking in an extra luggage, and then… it was boarding time.

As I handed the Cathay Pacific worker my ticket, some guy in a grey rain jacket, and walkie talkie, says “You’re going to have to check that in.

At first, I thought he was talking about my guitar, and I was prepared to have the faith to let it go into the wild abyss of checked luggage… I was expecting to hand it in.

But not only was he referring to my guitar, he was referring to my carry on luggage!

I was like “WHAT?” “WHY?” “I carry this thing on with me all the time! “No, I have valuable things in here!”

“Well take your laptop out, and now you’re really NOT checking it in.”

UGHHH… even typing the scenario gets me heated. Bethsaida from Brooklyn, was trying to think of every possible way to DEFY this rain jacket wearing ogre… maybe just make a run for it, down the boarding gate, but someone would be sure to catch me! So I just  conceded.

I had to pull off to the side, and rummage through my precious carry-on bag, and take out as much as I could carry. Because I needed it ALL. I have two layovers, I have tons of time to read, and work on stuff. UGHHH…

Dejectedly, I walked down the boarding gate, just horrified at the thought that my carry-on could potentially be floating in the eternal sea of  lost luggage.

I was really FURIOUS at that guy. I wanted to start praying those King David enemy prayers against that man (o.k.maybe I did a lil… don’t judge). I even started tearing up! (o.k. maybe I’m just overall emotional today, and sometimes my emotions come out at the weirdest times).

But I started thinking.

Lord, that man wasn’t fair, there were so many other carry-on’s my size, and he was picking on me!” “If I lose all my stuff, because of him, I’m going to find a way to get his name and get him fired!

In the midst of my pity partying towards God, the Holy Spirit reminded me that nothing happens in my life, unless God approves of it.

That rain-jacket, joy stealer, man, wasn’t greater than God. God knew that this would be happening to me, and if my carry-on gets lost, God will sustain me, and provide what I need.

Such a peace came over me, and I was able to sleep again in my awkward, comfortable position, for at least two hours.

While eating our lunch, of BBQ chicken and veggies, I started thinking (not that God’s character is anything like that man’s but) in our lives we have things that we KNOW we have to give up to God… like lying, pride, stealing, fornication, etc… you know, all the obvious things, like my guitar.

 But what is our reaction when God asks us for something we’re not expecting to give up? Something we’re used to carrying for so long? Or something that we don’t see any obvious harm in?

 How do we react? Do we defy his request, and dash down the boarding gate? Or do we, often times crying and with mustard seed faith, trust Him, and give Him what He is asking?

Even in the “little” things, like luggage getting taken away from me… I have to trust that God is in control.

He will NEVER take something away from us to hurt us… Nope… not ever.

He is good, and all that He does is good.

 He gives and takes away.

“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
      and I will be naked when I leave.
   The Lord gave me what I had,
      and the Lord has taken it away.
   Praise the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21

So in about 12 hours, I will see if I get my “valuables” back… and either way… blessed be His name.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

p.s. I got ALL my luggage.. all in mint condition.. all He does is good.

Stuffing God in A Box

I remember a couple years ago, some friends and I would meet on a weekly basis and watch an apologetics series by Rick Warren. It was a lot of good stuff, though I barely remember the specifics. But there was one line said by someone on the video that I can’t ever forget.I remember when I heard it, I wanted to start weeping because it was so true, and so convicting.

“Do we really believe everything the Bible says? Because if we did, we would be living our lives very differently.”

It seems like such a simple statement, and it is, but when the Holy Spirit highlights a truth in your life, you can’t go back to what you knew…not peacefully anyways.

I’m new to the whole “missionary” field thing. Though I have to be honest and say that I prefer not to be called a missionary, because I believe that every Christian is a missionary, and should be mission minded. God has placed each and every one of us in jobs, schools, neighborhoods, and areas to be a light of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately a lot of us Christians are more “me” minded than mission minded.

So yea, being new to the overseas missionary field, I know that veterans have seen and experienced things that I have not, will not, or have yet to experience. But I have noticed that a couple veteran missionaries seem drab of life, and/or passion and dreams.

I think we as humans all go through that. As a young child we have dreams, goals, and passions and then as we get older we have to face the reality that we may not be able to attain those dreams or passions we once had…like being an astronaut, or becoming a famous celebrity, or getting married at a young age…and often times we can allow those things to disillusion us, make us bitter, or jade us.

I wonder if that is true in the missionary world. Seeing the need around the world, the few workers available to meet the need, and feeling a large sense of responsibility…if that combination of things can jade us from believing…from having faith in a Savior who is able to turn water into wine, heal the blind, make the lame walk, and raise the dead.

Where has our sense of trusting wonder (faith) in God gone?

Often we can use the excuse…”I was believing God for something, and He didn’t do it.” But where was our hope truly? Where was our heart truly? For our own will to be done, or for our Father’s perfect will to be done?

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

How many of us have put our hope in a person, a thing, a circumstance, ourselves, and then when it falls through.. we blame God, and falsely discredit his ability to do ANYTHING…to do the MIRACULOUS.

Often people say “I don’t want to put God in a box..but“… well, my friend, you just did.

The disciple John tells us that there are not enough books in the world that could record all the wonders and miracles Jesus performed, and yet what does Jesus say:

““I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. ” John 14:12

So does Jesus mean that ladyboys can be redeemed into men of God? Does He mean that girls can leave the bars, and be transformed in their thinking by God’s word? Does this mean that a trafficker can be held dead in his tracks by an angel of God? Does this mean that we can heal the sick, raise the dead, see the lame walking, and free the captives in Jesus name?

YES.

YES.

YES!

And we can do even MORE in His mighty name.

Call me naive, or crazy, but I’m tired of putting God in a box. I’m tired of letting my own disappointments jade me from my FAITH, JOY, and HOPE in Jesus the Christ, and the abundant life He promises.

I don’t want to just read these scriptures. I want to live them out lest they become mere bedtime or Sunday school stories.

I’m ready to take God at His word, and let Him get the credit for it all. I’m ready to see His Kingdom come, here on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

I don’t want to just sing about a great big God. I want to live life KNOWING He is bigger, and greater. And wait in child-like, expectant faith to see Him be as awesome as He is

***What are some of the things that have jaded you in your faith? What was the cause of that jading? What aspect of your faith do you need a renewed sense of won der?***

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Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

p.s. if you would like to help support this endeavor to Thailand, please visit the Contact or Give tab at the top of this page.

This One Time When I Was Mute and Deaf…

The second the plane landed in the Tampa Bay International Airport, my eyes and nose started acting up. Blurred vision, sneezing…I knew right there that the allergens in Tampa were going to give me a run for my money.

I was able to speak at a women’s gathering, and my uncle’s church that weekend…pushing through the allergies. Many of the people, at both events, came up to me afterwards and encouraged me by saying what God had put on my heart to share with them was exactly what they needed to hear. It was encouraging and confirming.

Contrary to popular belief, the God of Christianity is alive, active, and speaking. He speaks every day, and He wants to speak to us individually. I’m humbled that God would work through someone like me and allow me to be an amplifier of His love to his children. Little did I know how grateful I would really be, and the lesson that was waiting for me to learn.

Currently, I am sitting in my bedroom with slight hearing loss in my right ear, due to my ear not popping from my flight yesterday. The reason why it got so clogged was because my allergies somehow turned into a type of  sinus issue where I can barely speak, and i’m coughing up phlegm (gross I know). I feel like my throat is scarred from the cough attacks, and my nose can’t seem to make up up its mind if it would rather run or be stuffed.

Aside from the pain, there is frustration that is welling up inside of me.. it has come and gone during different situations. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to speak, and sing… I can do neither of those at the moment, or for the past week for that matter.

I went to a Hillsong United concert this past Friday, and in my silence, and in me asking God why He has has allowed this in my life, what was brought to my mind, was the fact that the women and children I’ll be fighting for have NO VOICE. They have no say in anything.

They can’t speak up out of fear, ignorance, being naive, or no one caring.

The voice is so powerful

After the concert ended, one purpose driven voice started singing “Ohohoh” in the arena, and it was followed by thousands more joining in. It sounded like a majestic and powerful sea of united voices.

That one voice made such an impact, that the band came back out to do an encore, for almost thirty more minutes!

The power of ONE voice.

The powerlessness of NO voice

We have the voice of freedom, to speak up for those who don’t have t it. What are we doing with our voice as a body?

What are you doing with your voice?

Man, when my hearing and my voice come back, I’m going to be a rebel with a cause!

It’s funny how we don’t fully understand what we have until we lose it…

I went from being an amplifier of God’s love, to needing my voice to be amplified by another.

May we not lose our freedom, and our opportunity, to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.

“Speak up for the people who have no voice,
for the rights of all the down-and-outers.
Speak out for justice!
Stand up for the poor and destitute!” – Proverbs 31:8-9

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

oh and p.s. I’m now raising support for Thailand. I crucially need your financial support. If you click on the “Contact or Donate” page on top, you will see how we can be a VOICE together. Thank you ❤

What’s Wrong With Me?

It could be a lot of things..

Maybe I’m just a slow processor

Maybe I’m excited about Thailand in four months.

Maybe I’m in denial.

Maybe it’s because I come from a big city.

Maybe it’s because I got to spend time in L.A. with amazing friends and was able to process and get called out on a lot.

Maybe its because I’ve always viewed “change” as something exciting and comforting in my life.

Maybe it’s because I have an amazing family, and an amazing group of friends here in NYC.

Maybe it’s because of God’s undeserved favor on me during this transition.

Maybe it will all hit me hardcore in August, and my mom will find me in fetal position under the dining room table.

But right now I’m o.k.

Why?!

Should I be o.k.?

This re-entry thing… I thought it would be a lot more difficult. I thought it would be a lot more discouraging, depressing, heart wrenching, confusing, and conflicting.

What am I supposed to be feeling exactly?

There is wealth all around the world….there is poverty all around the world…same things I see in NYC.

The world race was a season in my life that God gave, and now He has seen fit to take it away.

It wasn’t the peak of my life, and I know it will not be the highlight of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I learned so much during those 11 months. Things that I want to live out, for the rest of my life.

Day by day…Step by step.

I was transformed!

But, when the thoughts start to come of “I miss…” I quickly start to thank God for specific things, times, and people from the race. I start to thank God for the time it, or they, were in my life… and what a blessing it was to me.

Perspective: dwell on what I miss, or thank God for what I had.

By God’s grace.. I’ll thank Him for what I had….and run forward with all the lessons those experiences gave me, storing them as precious jewels in the treasury of my heart.

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back” Phil. 3:12-14 (msg)

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I do have one major prayer request at this time. I need a church or an organization to help me open up a support account so that I can start raising support for Thailand. I need a separate support account, because I want  supporters to be able to receive tax deductible receipts. I’m in desperate need of God’s favor and wisdom. Please pray along with me.

thank you!

Agenda:love,

Bethsaida

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