Spring Blossoms

Portland holds a special place in my heart. As I was landing, the feeling was a little different this time. When I visited the first time, I think I was still so attached that I felt like I was coming home. At that time, I was also wondering if I had made a mistake in leaving… which was a step up from before when I wondered if I had made a mistake in attending.

I guess I just went down a fork from the road I was walking. What would’ve happened had I stayed at Multnomah? I am not going to consider what would’ve happened had I never gone because my experiences and my year at Multnomah is one of my most treasured times in my life. The second semester was difficult for me, but I always had amazing support from the faculty and staff and my amazing friends.

Seeing the familiar faces of Beatrice, Amanda, and Aaron made me feel like we picked up where we left off. But then… hearing stories about the lives of people I had known and how much it changed made me feel like I missed so much. I guess it’s kinda like what they told us during training when I was getting ready to go with ELIC in the summer: Our lives fork off for a while, and when they come back together, life kept happening for them like it did for me, and we have to learn to walk on that current fork together. I really worded that awkwardly, but well, whatever.

There are bitter memories, sweet memories, bitter-sweet memories. But that comes with any territory.

Taking a weekend off from work was great, though. I’ve only been back for about 2.5 months… but I’m exhausted. I’ve never experienced drama from the schedulers or schedulers lying about us to our managers. I guess I’m gonna be in the middle of that right now.

But even so… all I can do is stay in this job. In my most difficult moments, I got a job out of nowhere. It’s Disney. It was pretty much guaranteed. But I got my jobs within 3 weeks of applying vs. 3-4 months or more that everyone else waited.

Still….. I’m burning out so badly already. This week with finals, I was about ready to collapse. If I hadn’t taken the time out, I have no clue how I would’ve handled it.

I don’t know what I’m going to do in the end. I’m not going to quit without having another job… I don’t have the luxury to do that. Still, we’ll just have to see what God says, I guess. This semester was okay being in junior college and all. But… will I be able to handle it trying to take classes at CSUF in the Fall and Summer? I really don’t think so. My GPA has dropped significantly since leaving Multnomah. I’m thankful I still have financial aid. Hopefully no loans from here on out. Got enough of those as is.

I miss Portland. And Multnomah. But at this point… after 3 years of school elsewhere, it’s too late to transfer back. I don’t think God’s got me there anymore either. If I want to go overseas, I can’t expect that I’ll be surrounded by Christians 24/7. A state school will really help with that, I guess.

When you look back at my last few years of college, it really looks like a bunch of detours that I made, but I think that… it really was a straight road I was taking. Every school offered a season of growth and transformation for me. We’ll break it down here:

Multnomah: spiritual growth, physical independence, and spiritual IN dependence
FJC: reality check, break from freaking out
Hope Int’l Univ: spiritual testing, growth in discernment, learning to love (REAL difficult, I think)
CSUF: to be determined

I feel extra displaced now, I think. Dang.

Portland isn’t home for me. At least not right now… who knows, maybe I’ll retire there or something. But Portland is a very special place in my heart.

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The Phoenix is Rising

For nearly 20 years, I hated my name. Not because I had anything personally against it, but because I had found out at one point or another who contributed to giving me this name.

My name consists of two characters: 鳳 – phoenix—given to me by my father, 儀 – an appearance, apparatus, rites, ceremony—given to me by my eldest uncle.

Put them together, and my name means “an appearance of a phoenix.” This name was given to me by the two people I’m having the most amount of trouble forgiving, the two people who have shattered my heart countless of times, whether they meant to or not.

I had heard a sermon the other day regarding God’s promises. Does God keep His promises? Or does He give up on people if they don’t cooperate? A quote from the pastor said this: “A simple step of faith for you as you move towards what God has in your future is always rewarded with a God-spoken promise for the now.” For Moses, his future was leading Israel out of Egypt, and the burning bush was his sign. For Joshua, his future was leading Israel into the promised land and his sign the leader of the Lord’s army. For Jesus, it was drawing His children to Him and the cross. What’s my promise for the now? I dunno yet.

A lot of people believe that God gave up on Israel and doesn’t have to hold up to His promises to Israel anymore because He was just fed up at the fact that they wouldn’t listen and keep His commandments. Therefore, He made a promise to us instead.

God called Israel His bride multiple times in the Old Testament. If He no longer keeps His marriage covenant with Israel, He has divorced Israel. And if we are the bride of Christ….. the bride of Christ is married to a divorced man. It’s considered adultery in the OT and the culture. Take that, replacement theology.

God keeps His promises. A lot of us feel that we have a dream that was given to us by God… but it hasn’t been fulfilled yet. Is God faithful to keep His promises? You betcha. But we can’t look and focus on finding signs in the future when God gives us promises in the now.

I think that I-myself am a promise from God. Or well…… more than anything, my name is. My name means “the appearance of a phoenix.” My name was given to me by two men who would give me reasons to live up to it for years to come.

As we know, a phoenix in mythology lives up to a thousand years, and at the end of it, it ignites its nest and from the ashes, a new phoenix is born anew to live again.

Things have been thrown at me left and right for a long time. I’ve gotten burned. I’ve risen from the ashes. And I think that for the rest of my life, I will be affected by the people who named me. I will be praying for them for as long as I live, I suppose. It seems as though from birth, it almost symbolized that I would not have an easy life, but God’s promise to me lives in my name. I will rise from the ashes. That’s my promise.

I like when my friend calls me “Phoenix.” It’s a nice reminder of what I’ve been given. I like this nickname very much.

It’s only been recently that I started to like my name. And even more recently that I’ve come to love my name because of the promise He’s given me through it. It’s not a name that anyone can bear. James 1 tells us “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever [we] face trials of many kinds, because [we] know that the testing of [our] faith develops perseverance.” God has faith in us.

It’s a bit of a scatterbrained entry, but…… I can live with that. =)