Beach Tears – God is Still Faithful

 “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. “

2 Thessalonians 3:3

 

Its hard to believe its been over two weeks  since I arrive here in Kona.  I’m not going to tell you that every moment has been perfect. Like any week, there has been ups and downs.

I have a peace being here because I know that this is exactly where God wants me to be.  I have had tears these last few days because I know these six months aren’t going to be easy.

***

I sit on the beach, the sun kissing my pale skin.  I listen to the waves lapping up upon the dark grey sand, coming in and out like someones breath. Suddenly tears well up in my eyes as I go back to a different day in my mind.  The day was the last day of this past March . At this time I was sinking in a deep depression. Every little thing took effort; tears were many, smiles were few.  My sisters and dad had planned a trip to the beach with some friends at the end of spring break, and almost reluctantly I decided to go with them. My dad was thrilled, since I hadn’t been doing much of anything other than sleeping and crying. I was exhausted the entire trip to the beach.  I slept most of the way there and back in the car, and just lay on the beach most of the time we were there.  I watched my sisters have a grand time with their friends, and I cried because I wished I could find that happiness to be like them.  Tears trickle down my face as I come back to reality.  I am just starting to realize what I have got myself in to.  This is not simply a vacation or camp.  I have a long road ahead of me, I am far away from anything I have ever called home and I won’t be going home any time soon.  I am scared and overwhelmed.

***

I has been almost a week since my tears on the beach.  I have come a long way this week.  The lecture topic for the week was the  Father heart of God.  Early on in the week we were told to ask God which of his characteristics he wanted us to focus on.  Almost immediately God put on my heart how he is faithful.  He is the same day after day, always loving and pursuing me, even when I don’t feel it.  As alone as I might feel, he is with me, holding my hand.  This has been a comfort to me this week.  I know God doesn’t  promise that life with him will be easy.  On the contrary, he acknowledges that there will be struggles.  But he promises to be with me always.  There have been many tears this week, but I think that’s OK.  I have a lot to adjust to but I have a faithful God to help me.

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In Kona: He Restores My Soul

“He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

 He restores my soul.”

Psalm 23:2-3

My dear friends,

After over a year of anticipation, I am here in Kona!  It truly is beautiful here!  I couldn’t have asked for a smoother trip here yesterday.  Since it was my first time flying alone, I was fairly nervous, but the Lord sent me such wonderful signs that he was with me.  One of my fellow students in my program was on my plane, and I got a window see on the plane next to a very kind christian couple.  When I got off the plane, immediately there were people from YWAM there to help me!

Today is my first full day here, it is going well.  It rained hard this morning, but unlike the familiar icy cold rain found in my home in Portland, this rain was warm; full of life.  This rain felt good.  It started raining when we all gathered at the Plaza of Nations; all the new students uniting for the first time.  It rained all during our morning welcoming ceremony and orientation, then the rain lifted just as we were finishing worship and praying together.  It was as if the Lord was looking down at us and saying through the rain “I see you all gathering here in my name. I bless you all, keep doing what you are doing.”

I feel so at peace about being here.  God has made is unmistakably clear to me that this is where I need to be at this time in my life.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t feel scared or restless; that doesn’t mean that it is going to be easy.  The opposite actually, I know this will be very hard sometimes.  But I know that this is what God wants me to be doing, so it will be more than worth it.  I am doing my best to get rid of my expectations about these next six months.  I am trying to put aside my priorities, and make connecting with God my main priority.

When we arrived at the base, each of the students in my program was given a gift bag, with a card in it from our leaders.  In my card, I was given the word “restoration,” and the verse above: Psalm 23:2-3.  I have a hope that the Lord will restore my soul while I am here; I am going to do my best to be open to him, give him every opportunity to do so.

Plaque in the Plaza of Nations

Plaque in the Plaza of Nations

Gathering in the Plaza of Nations; right before the rain started

Gathering in the Plaza of Nations; right before the rain started

YWAM Motto: "To know God..."

YWAM Motto: “To know God…”

"...and make him known"

“…and make him known”

Thank you for reading! Please don’t hesitate to subscribe to my posts by email and check out my Go Fund Me page for updates on my funding.  I am going to try to be posting often with pictures and updates on what I’m doing and learning.  God bless you all!

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Moments Away…Ready For Something New

DSCN0128

 

The time has come. Seven hours until the new year, 38 hours until I step on the plane to Kona, Hawaii.  And while I still have a lot to do, I’m so ready. Ready for the emotional and physical roller coaster of 2013 to be finally over; ready for the island breeze of 2014 to rush over my body.

My take-away from this year? Simple: God’s plan is NOT my plan, of which I am so thankful for.  2013 has been about my expectations being ground to dust, to make room for things so much better. There is no way I could have anticipated the mountains I would climb this year, and as hard as it was, I’m glad I climbed them.  I have found my victory is Jesus.

This new years, I’m focusing on what is coming, instead of what has past. I’m focusing on the blessings instead of the valleys. I could talk forever about the lessons I’ve learned this year, but I have neither the time or energy.  For now I’m simply looking forward: to the new friends I will meet, the new lessons I will learn, the new places I will see, and most importantly, the new ways I will grow closer to God. Because I’ve learned when everything is stripped away, he alone matters.

These past few weeks I have been meditating on the words from the Valley Song by Jars of Clay:

While we wait, for a rescue, with our eyes tightly shut,

face to the ground, using our hands, to cover the fatal cut.
And though the pain is an ocean, tossing us, around, around, around,
You have calmed greater waters, and higher mountains have come down.

I will sing of Your Mercy, that leads me through valleys of sorrow, to rivers of joy…

 

Thank you dear friends for reading and keeping up with me! I am so excited to share with you about new adventure! Stay tuned for updates while I am in Kona! New Years blessings on you!

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New Zealand Bound!

 

I have some exciting news to share! Instead of doing the first part of our outreach tour in Hong Kong, my school leader has decided that will be traveling in New Zealand with the founder of YWAM! We will be spending the month of April touring and serving in New Zealand, and then spend May and June in South Korea! Below is a portion of a letter from my fabulas school leader, Maria Jackson.

DEAR STUDENTS,
WE ARE SO EXCITED TO MEET YOU ALL SO VERY SOON.:)

TODAY, ONE THING WE MADE DECISION FOR OUR OUTREACH LOCATION.
THAT IS, WE WILL NOT GO TO HONG KONG BECAUSE DOOR IS NOT OPENING.
BUT OUR YWAM FOUNDER LOREN CUNNINGHAM WANTS US TO TOUR WITH HIM TO NEW ZEALAND ONE MONTH OF APRIL.
SO TODAY WE MADE DECISION WITH HIM.
NOW OUR OUTREACH TOUR NATIONS WILL BE NEW ZEALAND AND S.KOREA.
WE ARE SO VERY EXCITED FOR YOU AND IT IS UNUSUALLY SMALL SCHOOL.
AND WE WILL HAVE 21 STUDENTS AND 13 STAFF. SO ALL TOGETHER WE WILL BE 34 OF US!

This news is so exciting for me! I am so at peace about going on my DTS, even though my health has been in question.  I have faith that God will provide what I need for this trip; physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially.  Please for continue to pray for me, I am definitely experiencing some spiritual warfare.  The devil can try to keep me home, but its NOT GOING TO WORK!

Blessing friends, hope you Christmas is peaceful 🙂

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Be Still and Know That I am God

“Be still and know that I am God,

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalms 46:10

Be Still…translated from the Hebrew word râphâh, which literal means cease, fail, idle, let alone, slack and to be weak or slothful.

Think about those English words for a moment.  Do they sound like good things to do?  Not in the culture!  In our present age, it is all about being the fastest and most efficient.  We strive to be self-suffocate, independent people.  Its all about how much we can do do do, to be there best best BEST!  Busy…has somehow become the new happy.  But it isn’t very happy at all.

From reading Psalm 46, it sure doesn’t sound like God’s idea of happy either.  Apparently, God wants us to slow down…stop and think if him.   This is does not come natural to me, this has been my struggle for the past couple months. 

I am different than a lot of people; I’m an odd combo, an oxi-moron.  I am a major extrovert…with some major depression.  What does this mean? It means I get my high from people.  Being with my friends, feeling connected and in the middle of whatever is happening is better than any drug for me. I can be physically and even mentally exhausted to no end, but when I’m with a big group of my friends, I become an energized social butterfly!  For a lot of people this type of situation can be overwhelming and exhausting, but normally it isn’t for me.  With some friends by my side…I’m on top of the world. But when I’m all alone; doing homework, riding the bus, trying to fall asleep…there’s a different side of me.  Its a sad, lonely, confused Heather.  There are few that have seen this side of me, which isn’t even really on purpose.  Its just the people that know me well enough to be spending time in a one on one setting who see glimpses of the depressed side of me.  For years I have had everyone fooled, thinking a was happy as all get out, and I wasn’t even trying to fool them!  Because I DO have great moments and I HAVE been blessed by a lot of things.  But for some reason, whether its by nature or nurture,  I can have a great night with friends and still cry myself to sleep that night.

This is one of the reasons why it so hard for me to follow the Lord’s instructions and “be still.”  Being busy is probably my greatest coping mechanism.  It isn’t very healthy, but its better than some of my alternatives, and it looks great.  When I have to hold yourself together to be busy, nobody gets to know how sad I am…including myself.  When I’m busy, with often very good things, I get to hide from my emotions.

I have been living the functional yet dysfunctional lifestyle since September.  Now, the school term is over, I am not working or dancing.  I have twenty days to get ready to go on my trip, but not much else going on.  While it should feel like a relief, and it does a little, it is actually very scary.  I feel like I am going through withdrawals from school…because at school I have so many friends and so I love it.  I am dreading this holiday season, because it has such bittersweet memories, but mostly, because it is suppose to be a time of rest.  And for me, resting means I have to feel.

A lot has happened to me over the past few months.  There have been very hard things happen, but I had to keep going, because I was busy.  There were always places to go, people to see, no time to be sad and cry.  Now it is different, I can’t be numb anymore.  I know that is going to be good for me, but honestly, it really stinks.  I pulled things together really well, and now I have to un-pull-it-together so that I don’t completely fall apart while on my missions trip!  Honestly…I don’t even know where to start, except by writing this post.  And by remembering that verse, meditating on that day and night. Tonight, that is what I am trying to do.

 

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Swing Dance Fundraiser Recap

On October 25th, some friends and I hosted an awesome fundraising event for my DTS: A Swing Dance Party!  We had a great turn-out, people of all ages and stages of dancing.  We definitively raised awareness for my trip and had a LOT of fun,  plus raising over $300! God is good! It was also an honor to dedicate the night to the family of Dave Huttala, who had died exactly one year before.  He was the dad of a dancer friend of mine.  Please enjoy these pictures of the event: Photography by my friend Dane Vandwiele.

 

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Rewind: All For You

 This is a song I wrote while listening to a sermon at church with my grandma.  I posted it on my personal blog “Choosing Joy” on November 25th, 2011.  I have been meditating on these works a lot lately! All based of scripture!

All For You

By Heather McClish – The Corpse Butterfly 

Verse 1:

       D                                  A                         Bm

I am strong in the Lord who sees past my sin,

         G                                 A

Who sees the few strengths in me.

             D                   A                 Bm

He has a purpose for my life that is good,

Em          F#m          G           A

He has a plan that I cannot see.

Chorus:

G     A      Bm        G2       A

All for you, make me all for you

                 G2             D                     G2   Asus    A

Build me strong, fill me up, help me shine for you

                G       A       Bm           F#m       A     Bm

For I know that your plan has a start and an end

            G                    D

I am yours, you are  mine

              E     E7     C2    G     A

I am beautiful to you

Verse 2:

D                            A                         Bm

I will trust in the Lord who longs for my life,

           G                                      A

Who wants to make beauty from pain.

  D                      A                     Bm

He owes me nothing and I owe it all.

  Em                 F#m        G        A

Redeemed by him it is all my gain.

Verse 3:

                    D                     A                          Bm           

I am loved by the Lord, who sees my heart,

             G                               A

My heart that is prone to wrong.

            D            A                Bm

I am nothing own my so this be my cry:

Em             F#m              G           A

My life is God’s and to him I belong

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Post Thanksgiving Update

Laughing...because sometimes the life of Heather is just unbelievable.

Laughing…because sometimes the life of Heather is just unbelievable.

Dear friends,

I am coming home from the Tri-Cities tomorrow and I NEED HELP! I have been very successful with Black Friday Shopping and have been able to get most of my Christmas/thank you gifts for people and a lot of new comfy/workout clothes for Kona. I got some new bed sheets and towels for my move also! I have been advice to get what I can here for cheap because everything is so expensive in Hawaii. So now I just need to sort everything out! I need to sort: what I am planning on bring to Kona, what clothes I am going try to sell, what items I can use for my next fundraiser or donate to my Grandma’s House, what items I need to put into storage, and what things go together to make nice Christmas gifts!

This is fun work, guys! And I have tons of yummy food to feed you and old things to give you if you so desire! But I do need help staying focused and lifting things. I also have finals week after next and need help studying! I actually enjoy my classes and homework, its just really helpful having someone with me keeping my on track and quizzing me.

I am sad to announce that I am having more health issues. I will not get into the nature of this yet because at this point there are a lot of unknowns…which is so frustrating! So my Go Fund Me site I would say is about half missions funding and half medical funding…crazy. I am excited to be ending my second day without any Dr./Urgent Care/ER visits…but I know it all will continue once I get home again. What I can say right now is that my right wrist is still giving me trouble (its is still obviously sprained/dislocated), I am very low iron and I seem to be having some heart trouble.

One more crazy hiccup in my life…my beautiful purse was stolen/lost on the bus on Tuesday! Yes, I have checked in with my bank. Yes, I have emailed Trimet. NOTHING! Finally I had all my IDs and cards in one place…then ALL GONE. Fortunately I still have my phone and keys.

So, here are the prayer/help as you can needs for right now:

  • That my purse will be returned
  • That I will have clarity concerning health decisions
  • That I will be able to focus and do well during finals
  • That I will be blessed with helpers to get things done; even the simple things are so hard sometimes
  • That my friends will be able to understand my needs and help me, especially financially
  • That I will be able to get on a good sleep rhythm
  • That I will be able to have good boundaries with certain people, no matter how much I love them
  • That I will have the energy and focus to get the important things done
  • That I will be thankful for many people and things I have been blessed with
  • That I will rely on GOD NO MATTER WHAT

I have several new blog posts in the works, including a Thanksgiving thankful post, and a recap of the Swing Dance Fundraiser…WITH PICTURES!  But this is what I have got for now. As much as I hate admitting it, I need help.

Keep updated with my Fundraising Site and Facebook Page, and of course for all my silly and/or deep thoughts on Twitter.

Blessings on you all!

Categories: Preparing for Kona, Right Now | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Downtown Girl

For a couple of years now my sister and I have had a running joke that the song Downtown Girl by Hot Chelle Rae is about me.  We laugh because while I am not a hooker as the song suggests, a lot of the qualities described I can relate to! If you don’t know already, I’m a REALLY typical extrovert. Depressed and dysfunctional, maybe, but extraverted all the same. So read the lyrics or take a listen, take a look into the life of Heather. And tell me what you think!

Ready for my day...DOWNTOWN GIRL! :D

Ready for my day…DOWNTOWN GIRL! 😀

She’s a weekend beauty queen of the black like clubs wearing out the scene 

Well I do love the weekends, but no, I don’t go to clubs.

You know her type, out all night

Yup, pretty much 🙂

Starry eyed for the dirty dream, always looking for the prince where the cash is king

Starry eyed? Yes. Dirty dream with a prince where the cash is king? I sure hope so not, although I think sometimes it comes out that way.  But anyone who really hangs out with me know that money is the last thing I care about.

On the boulevard in a big black car, She’s everywhere you are

Well I’ve never been in a limo, or any sort of big black (fancy) car. Normally its an old car, trimet bus, or as of lately, me walking with my “homeless gypsy cart.” I am everywhere you are however 😉

I smell her sweet perfume making rounds around the room 

I do hope I smell good as I make my “famous” rounds around the room 🙂

Cause she is a downtown girl a downtown girl 

I LOVE downtown Portland. LOVE IT!!! PDX makes me feel ALIVE.

Her lips are red and those hips are turning heads 

I have been rocking the red lipstick lately! I didn’t think I could pull it off but I love it! And as selfish as it sounds I love when heads turn when I walk through a room. This often happens when I am at a church service or a swing dance event! I’m always tearing through the room trying to find the people I love!

Living like a celebrity all the guys lined up and the drinks are free 

I’m not sure if the song is saying the drinks are free for the guys or the girl.  My drinks are NOT normally free, and I normally end up paying for everyone else too.  But that is because I genuinely like to!

She’s knows she’s hot but that’s all she got

This line makes me cringe a bit.  Half of the time I am convinced that I am an ugly skeleton, and the other half of the time a know I look damn good.  Sometimes I feel both at the same time! That was be beautiful paradox of my Corpse Bride costume for Halloween and my musical, I got to be super-skinny, scary AND pretty!

BUT. The idea of that being “all [I’ve] got” is really scary. That is my nightmare.  But I know that my looks is not all I’ve got.  I have a sense of humor, a joyful personality, and of course…MY SAVIOR!

Everybody knows she’s on the move with her six inch heels and an attitude

I actually almost never wear heels.  I say its because I’m too tall for heels, but its really that I just have a lot of short friends. And I’m a BIG klutz. But when I do wear heels, I do feel VERY sexy.  And I’m actually really good at walking in them, and dancing for that matter.  Hmmm…maybe I’ll wear heals today.

When I’m out and about…I DO have an attitude. It changes in nature, but I do.

To seal the deal she shoots to kill, but I’m not going down

This is another line I don’t understand.  I can be intense, but I’m not going to kill anybody 😉

Likes the attention gets the attention her name is on the bathroom wall

I’m an extrovert; I do like attention. I can’t lie.  And when I need it, I get it. But I’m trying to do it in the most mutually respectful way possible.

The party never over she’s always coming over even when the music stops

YES YES YES A MILLION YES! Most of the time, whenever a certain social event is over, I’m still ready for more.  And really its because I have a hard time going from lots of friends and excitement to NO friends and excitement. I just have a really hard time making that switch. That is why after swing dancing or another event, I’m almost always trying to get people to go out to eat or at least carpool home. I love that “winding down” time almost more than the actual event. And when I don’t get that “winding down” time, I normally end up bawling my eyes out while driving myself home all by myself.

All the boys staring at the girls, staring at the boys 

Its hard to admit, but sometimes I like it when the  guys are staring at me and visa versa! And I think that is ok and healthy!

Staring at the downtown girls the downtown girls

🙂

Categories: Right Now | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Transfer to Lines 32, 34, 35, 79 and 154”

Well, I was going to write a post entitled “I Have a Big Mouth,” which I think I will still write sometime, but I decided to write this one instead. Today I’m going to talk about riding the bus.

Public transit has a big stigma. I really surprises me how many people will ride public transit all over the world, but never in their home town.

I rode the bus for the first time alone when I was twelve. We were taking care of my aging grandma, who we couldn’t leave the house with.  I took the bus to my dance lessons. I didn’t complain, because I knew my mother was doing the best she could.  I didn’t have a cell phone, but neither did my parents. Sometimes it was scary, but I lived.

Riding the bus has never been my favorite thing to do, but it gave me freedom.  I wasn’t completely reliant on others for rides anymore. I had the power to leave a situation of I was uncomfortable or scared.

After doing some traveling with friends in europe, public transit seemed much less taboo to me. All of my friends and I were riding transit together, no matter how well off they were back home.  Even my rich friends had to walk sometimes. I thrived, because I had done so much of that already at home.

Most of the time, I really enjoy riding the bus now! It is more relaxing than driving. I love watching people, listening to music, and running into old friends. Bus riding is very physically taxing, but emotionally calming. Its the same route, the same people, the same automated messages. For so many people, its their rhythm, their routine.

I will always associate different bus lines with certain people or events. I was asked out on my first date on a 33 bus.  I listened to endless Group 1 Crew and TobyMac while riding the 35. You get the idea.

In conclusion, riding the bus is still not my favorite thing.  Sometimes I see people I don’t like; sometimes I get scared. Its a freedom and a responsibility. Its a gift and curse. But sometimes, its ok. Sometimes listening to early in the morning sitting on the bus and listening to that certain song while watching the city outside wake up is just what I need.

What do you think? What sort of stigma do you see public transit having? How do you think it varies from place to place? Don’t forget to pray for Sarah Evans and check out my new Facebook Page! Blessings to you all!

Categories: Rewind, Right Now | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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