Check out my other blog: Arugula Addict! I'll be writing about my journey to becoming a healthier person.

Friday, March 16, 2018


I bought Kiri today. It's a soft cheese that I grew up eating so it's a comfort food reminiscent of my childhood and one I very much enjoy eating today with honey on a soft roll-up Lebanese bread. Arriving at campus 30 minutes before sunset, since the orientation had finished early and we didn't hit much traffic coming back, I decided to take a quick jaunt partway down the hill and go to Green Market, the mom-and-pop shop frequented by the university dorm students, to pick up something for potluck the next day. I was craving potato chips so that was on my list. Along with Kiri.

I love Kiri. Except I feel guilty when I eat Kiri. See, I spent nearly half my life living on a campus where any kind of dairy product, eggs, processed foods, and cinnamon (yes, cinnamon) was touted as the food from hell. Or at the very least, if you ate it, you wouldn't live long and you would get cancer and die a painful death so you would experience hell on earth. If you managed to somehow, miraculously, escape that fate and die in your sleep, you would end up in hell anyhow because the consumption of cheese would keep you out of heaven.

I'm not joking, by the way. It may sound somewhat sarcastic, but during my freshman year in college at this campus I went on a choir tour and one of my classmates preached a sermon on the evils of cheese. It shook my fragile faith and worried my sensitive conscience. Now, in my late 30s, I still battle those voices that insist anything other than single ingredients will ruin my health for good.

I'm not against health. I practice it to the best of my ability. I just wonder, sometimes, though whether I would have had a healthier relationship with food and exercise if I'd grown up appreciating them rather than struggling to relate to them without a moral value assigned that was connected, albeit vaguely, to my eternal salvation.

I met a teenager at a recruiting fair today at a nearby high school. Picking up on his accent, I asked where he was from and found out he was from Alabama, but had just moved to Lebanon from Jordan. His parents were missionaries with the Parkview Baptist Church so I tried to find a way to connect our similar MK upbringing. He was quicker than me, though, to bring out a point I'd just been thinking about.

You know, when you move around so much, you soon find out that what is considered right and wrong in one place is not necessarily so in another. And so there are very few rights and wrongs, when you really think about it. Like dancing, for example. Baptists don't dance but it's not wrong. The blond-haired blue-eyed lanky teenager was in earnest. I jokingly asked if coffee wasn't allowed either, but he laughed and said his parents were addicted to coffee. I recommended an MK Facebook group and then off he went. Leaving me thinking.

The longer I live as an adult in a culture not my own (though what culture I would consider my own is a whole 'nother dichotomy), the more I realize that what I perceive as morally right and wrong, through the lens of my worldview, is not always the same as what others perceive as morally right and wrong. It can be somewhat unsettling, because it's easier to claim our principles as the bedrock standard for all others, than it is to allow ourselves to step onto the tightrope between our differences and consider walking to the other side. Or at the very least, not insisting you practice my way but allowing you to practice your way even if it feels wrong to me.

How this translates into the conflict I find within myself, though, is a greater conundrum. Certain standards were heavily drilled into my head for a significant number of years and, because I want to please and I hate conflict, I would ask for the Taco Bell burrito, No cheese, no sour cream, please and then go home and eat 12 mini chocolate brownies dipped into a tub of chocolate frosting. I grew up vegetarian, so dairy products were not portrayed to me as the greatest sin, but now that I knew better, and had more light, there was the added responsibility to live up to the light or so it were.

In all honesty, this is really quite ridiculous. When I think about things logically, I think my body is able to handle a cube of Kiri and a handful of potato chips easier than a deep dread of being judged and an imagination that pictures every cell in my body turning into a cancer cell upon being exposed to that cube of Kiri. It's not just the Kiri, though. It's the music I listen to, the clothes I wear, the movies I watch, the choices I make with my free time, the way I spend my money. My closest friends would look at me and shake their heads, wondering why I am so worried because I seem so responsible.

I recently discovered CCM and the many good songs that really connect emotions with God's truth that I have relied on to encourage me on my difficult days. I wear clothes that are stylish and flatter my figure, but that means they are not loose or 2 sizes too big or drab. I wear candy red dress pants to work and skinny burgundy pants when I go out. I feel really good in the clothes because I finally feel stylish. I go to the movie theatre to watch movies with my friends and I relish buying overpriced caramel & salt mixed popcorn or the fresh corn they season to taste right there. I travel all over Lebanon during my free time, playing hooky from work to go to the city's public beach, seeing exhibits and attending concerts and hiking in the mountains. I buy a box of Lindt chocolate for $10 and order lunch by delivery once a week and pay $20 for a book on trendy current Lebanese culture.

Someone from my former conservative life would look at me and shake their head, wondering how I could have become so liberal. They would ask me, in solemn tones, whether I had thought about how I was causing my brothers in Christ to sin by wearing clothes that caught their attention. They would remind me that movie theatres were hotbeds of sin. They would point to the need to reach the world and ask why I wasn't spending more of my free time in sharing GLOW tracts or praying at 2 am or witnessing. They would talk about all the self-supporting missionaries who were struggling to keep food on the table and insist I should send money to them instead of indulging in pleasures of this world.

Morally right? Morally wrong? Are the choices I make every day ones that have me headed straight on the pathway to perdition? Or does Jesus' admonition that He came so we could live life to the full mean we are free to enjoy this life also without guilt hanging over us? It's not something I have figured out yet but I know what I would like to do. Eat a cube of Kiri without worry.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fully Me

It's time to write. Sometimes I start a post and I have the first sentence perfectly prepared. Then there's times like tonight when it's nearly 11 pm and I should be reading or sleeping or doing my dishes but instead I pull up my 6-year old laptop that amazingly still works even after I've dropped it on the floor multiple times and eaten so many meals over the keyboard that I could shake an entire loaf of bread out of it and when I tried to clean the keys I managed to ruin the plus/equal sign and the delete sign, which is fine because I can just use backspace but when I'm trying to do my accounts I have to copy/paste the plus/equal sign from a Function and it really gets kind of annoying.

If I couldn't write, I think I wouldn't manage very well. I imagine if one day I got put in prison, in a dank mud cell somewhere in a jungle or on a mountain, that I would find a twig and carefully scratch it into a stylus and use that to etch words into the walls and on the floor. I have to write. Even if I'm not writing anything particularly riveting, or original, I still have to write.

Sometimes, though, I don't write. I have this ongoing tension in me when it comes to capturing moments. It's like taking pictures. I love the new selfie feature on smartphones and I use mine all the time so I can share my experience with my family and friends. In those moments when I really want to remember, I find myself frustrated, though, with the selfie notion.

See, I would much rather just experience the moment and then relive it later in my memory than revert to a grainy, dark-lighting, awkward smile or eyes half-closed picture or even one that looks great but is stilted. I feel responsible to take a photograph, just like I feel responsible to buy two jars of jam when they are on sale because I know I'll eat enough jam that it makes the deal worth it. But when I pause the moment so I can "just take a quick photo!" the feeling is gone. It's changed from being fully present and experiencing the emotions and excitement to posing so we can look good and wondering if I should upload it to Facebook or just share it on the family chat.

I'm on my fourth notebook since I arrived just over two years ago. Somehow life has been rather full of things to write about (and yes, I write the old-fashioned way, with a favourite .38 colour pen from Taiwan in a college-ruled notebook with a fun cover) so I write. There have been experiences, though, that I have not fully captured in a word portrait in my college-lined notebook. The sweetest memories are best remembered with the heart--not placed in sterile frames or inked out in darkest black on gray lines. I've bubbled over sharing those experiences with my family over the phone, and only in speaking do I completely recall and recapture each thrilling second, but the notebook only holds the briefest of sketches.

I used to wonder why the Gospel writers said that if they tried to write down everything Jesus had said and done, it would require many books. I understand now why. It's because they loved Jesus so much that every word He spoke, every behaviour, every mannerism, was dear to them and it was impossible to describe every one. They had to content themselves with highlight reels that best reflected each minute they treasured with Him.

Perhaps it is better this way, to let the essence of the memory distill in time. It both dissipates as details blur and engraves itself in my mind as the specifics are rehearsed over and over. The story deepens in meaning while holding a place for me to revisit to claim a piece of my identity that has now been touched by this memory.

Perhaps this is the TCK way then--reluctant to hold what is most precious to me in a photograph or a paragraph but rather to let it slip through my heart's fibers as it weaves together with many other memories slowly defining who I am. Because that is how I want to remember my life--not regret from choices made for me or ones I felt responsible to follow through on, but deep joy because when the moment came I truly lived in it. No frozen smiles. No attempt to write down every word verbatim.

Fully present; fully alive; fully me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Upside Down

I just finished watching a very thought-provoking documentary titled Against Me about 7 women in a Middle Eastern context who were struggling to get their basic rights and custody of their children in a system that refused to validate them as equal human beings. Granted, the scenarios were set within a specific religious context but the microcosmic glimpse into their difficult realities shook me up a bit.

I remember the first time I watched Not Without My Daughter. The book had sat for years amongst many other books on our packed bookshelves but when we bought the DVD and sat down to watch it, I was spellbound. And terrified. Reacting emotionally to what is the reality for an undefined number of women married to controlling men, I called up my American friend who was dating an Iranian man at the time. Have you watched this movie? Are you sure you know what you're doing? While both my friend and her boyfriend were Christian, so that their framework of reference was different than the one portrayed in the movie, I was still worried. Unconsciously, I stereotyped him just as people stereotype after major terrorist attacks.

My friend ended up breaking up with her boyfriend for other reasons. I found myself 15 years later living in the Middle East again and this time I'd come with the plan to stay indefinitely. God willing, I would find someone, settle down, have kids, and live the expected life. Somewhat naive, I didn't consider what it would mean if I settled down with someone from the country I was living in. If we were both Christian, then surely God would bless our marriage and everything would be okay, correct?

Til I watched the documentary and realized that my presupposition was not necessarily fool-proof. I'd gone with a friend who was passionate about women's rights and we discussed it in the cab ride home. Was it better to marry in a civil court only, so that religious laws would not prevail, and the civil court would grant more rights in the case of a divorce? If both parties were Christian, but the man decided to get a divorce, did the laws of that country grant the right of custody to him regardless of the woman's request? Was there such a thing as a pre-nup?

We weighed the balance of the Western model where women are awarded more equality in their rights with men, though this also brings more responsibility to contribute to the financial stability of the household whether through working full-time or even being the primary bread-winner in certain cases, versus the Middle Eastern model where men are expected to solely provide for the food/shelter/clothing for their family but women have less rights in society. Was one better than the other?

Did women have more power in the Western model, or was power necessarily defined by financial independence? Did buying power really expand a woman's freedom or was it restrictive because now she was expected to pull her weight in contributing to the family's financial freedom? Was the Middle Eastern woman able to more fully embrace her role as a woman who could trust in her husband to take care of her? Did she lose power due to certain legal limitations or could she use her feminine ability to manipulate and get what she wanted in the end?

Cultures and systems are set up to meet certain ends and in this culture, the woman may not make the final decisions but she also will not have the final responsibility. Of course there are different scenarios, such as where the father or husband has died and the woman has to provide for herself, though these scenarios still insist that if there is a male relative in the picture somewhere, he should consider it his responsibility to ensure that she is taken care of. Women are allowed to be the weaker gender.

It's an age-old story, the widow of Nain whose only son had just died, and Jesus giving him life. To my mind, now steeped in this cultural context, Jesus did so not only because He had pity on the poor woman who had lost her husband and now her son, but because He understood the culture and that she would struggle without a male presence to protect and provide. He healed her son in sympathy and she could once again hold her head high in society.

Perhaps this is why the laws give children to their father in the case of divorce. I am not agreeing with it one way or the other, but am merely attempting to understand the logic. In the context whereby the man is responsible for his family, it is logical to give him custody of those who need him the most--his children. His wife often returns to her family but if he has any sense of honour, he will have to provide for the ones who are a part of his very DNA.

In an ideal world, divorce doesn't happen. Of course this idealized view is not reality, so we come to the next step. Divorce happens, whether due to abuse, unfaithfulness, incompatibility, infertility, or other reasons. None of these cases make it easy for the woman and if she does not have a family to return to, it is even harder for her to manage, particularly with children.

Here is where the dilemma comes in. Should the children be awarded to the father merely because he may be able to provide for them better than the mother may be able to because of her status? Women often marry before completing an education, while men may be more educated than them. Or they may have a degree but no work experience, while men are expected to provide so they have a job. In many cases leading to divorce, the man is the primary perpetrator of violence or unfaithfulness or abuse in one of its many forms, and to entrust young children with malleable minds into his hands is not right.

A single mother with the poorest of capabilities but a heart rich in love is better qualified than a working father who can provide the sterile basics of a home/clothing/food but no emotional attachment to the child. This is my humble opinion and unfortunately it will not win any Oscars as it is based in an emotional rationale. Yet studies have shown over and over that what really matters to a child's ability to thrive and grow emotionally is that they are nurtured by a parent (parents if possible).

As with any society, there are no absolute answers to the question of what is right and what should be expected and what should we fight to change? I stepped out of the cinema this evening a little shell-shocked into the realization that laws can dictate a life that was never the intent to begin with. Those women never planned to get a divorce or to have to fight to see their children for more than 3 hours a week. They were not aware, they were not educated in the laws, and their lack of knowledge became their miserable destiny.

I used to pride myself on being educated on the various ways that women can find themselves trapped and I vowed never to let myself get into a similar situation as the brave women I knew who had to silently endure indignations they never deserved to even know. Yet I am realizing there are still things I have to learn and life is not as simple as we think it is when we are young and blissfully in love. Marriage is a solemn binding contract and should be considered as such. After all, for each of those seven women, the terms of the contract became an impossible vise that would grip them for the rest of their lives.

This must not always be so. We have to stand up, speak out, and silence those who have shamed women for asking for their right to raise and love their children. Regardless of religion or culture, children deserve to be taken care of by the one(s) who are capable of doing so in the best way possible. This is what should be determined by the courts. Gender should not be the determining factor; love and loyalty should be.

Monday, March 5, 2018

From Frustration to Anticipation

I'm waiting for something to happen. Now it's not guaranteed to happen, just like most things in life aren't guaranteed, other than being born and dying. But it's something I've been waiting for in a somewhat passive way for more than 20 years and rather more actively in the past couple of years or so.

For those who know me, you know I'm a Type-A personality so when I have my mind set on something, I set about to get that thing done. Whether it's booking a ticket for one of my many international ventures, buying my first smartphone, or preparing a meal for 20 people, if I decide to do something I get it done. This is good--except when it comes to circumstances that I cannot control. See, the Type-A personalities are also somewhat of control people too. They get things done because they know exactly how they want to get them done.

I'm learning that in life, there are times when being a Type-A is not necessarily the easiest. I often end up frustrated because I cannot control the people around me, I cannot manipulate circumstances to achieve an end result that I think is best for everyone, and I cannot decide what the outcome will be when it involves more than just me. Which is generally just about every day!

I was thinking today about what I'm waiting for and in the midst of my frustration, I suddenly realized something. I could choose to be frustrated with the waiting or I could wait excitedly in anticipation. Either way, the outcome would not change, neither would the time I had to wait, but my mood would most definitely improve.

I sat on the roof overlooking the night city and saw a commercial airliner slipping over the Mediterranean Sea. All I could see were wing and taillights as it glided down across the horizon but I knew it was a plane as every day I looked out my office window and watched planes coming in for a landing. My mind jumped ahead to the next trip I hoped to take and though I was eagerly anticipating seeing dear ones, instead of focusing on them I was thinking about coming home. It was still so far away but I was already anticipating seeing another dear one on my return.

It's like that every time I travel. I don't waste a lot of emotional energy being frustrated that I have to wait for weeks or months to see my loved ones. I spend that time being excited that the time is getting closer and closer until I can be with them. I know that all too soon the precious time with them will have vanished and I will be saying goodbye.

Perhaps God sees things like that too. Though I'm sure He wishes time would pass sooner so He can come and change this world into perfection, I imagine that He is waiting in eager anticipation for that day. He's excited because He knows what is going to happen. He's been waiting for thousands of years and it won't be much longer now until He can see His dream and our dream come true to be reunited forever.

So today I choose to wait in anticipation. Both for what I am hoping for and for what I know with certainty will happen. It's not much longer now. . .


Choices. Life is full of them. Some mundane. Do I wash my hair this evening or tomorrow morning? Some predictable. Do I eat beans or manaeesh for breakfast? Some fun. Do I go to the classical concert or the outdoor night market? 

I came home at lunchtime today with my head swirling with choices. I could eat a quick meal and head back to the office so I could leave by 5 but that would mean my oasis in the middle of the day would evaporate. I could sit on the grassy lawn, the green picnic bench, or a beige plastic chair on the roof and soak up some of the unexpectedly warm March sun devoid of summer's humidity. I could take a nap to try to catch up on some of the winks three rather pointed mosquitoes had taken from me the night before. Or I could write.

They say when you have a job you love, you never work a single day of your life. I'm not sure there is a job out there that consists of blogging about life but if there were, I would switch jobs in a heartbeat. Whenever I have free time, I write. To some it is a distasteful chore but to me it's a release of the emotions that sometimes have nowhere to go but into cyberspace. It is me documenting reality, archiving the beautiful and the difficult, so that later I can return and remember who I was in that moment. I will never stop writing because it is who I am. I am a writer.

I am also an executive assistant, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a TCK, an MK, a PK, a traveler, a European, an Islander, a woman, an independent person, a giver, a cook, a supervisor, a hiker, and a musician. Some of these labels I have chosen while others have been assigned to me. Then there are labels I have not yet received which I hope one day to have.

A friend sent me a quote that read One of the hardest battles we fight is between what we know and what we feel. The premise of this is once again found in the choices we make. My sister is constantly reminding me to replace negative thoughts with positive ones because she understands all too well my fear of believing in beauty, apprehensive that I will jinx life if I dare to dream yet unable to completely quash my optimistic spirit. Do I choose to bury hope so deep it cannot see the light or do I choose to believe the hundreds of promises that remind me God has a plan for my life that is good and filled with joy and hope and peace and love?

A dieter easily fills her mind with thoughts similar to this: If I eat that cookie, I will get fat. If I don't exercise one hour every morning before breakfast, I won't lose weight. If I don't lose weight, nobody will love me. The reality is that one cookie will not make a person fat but the negative thought then controls the behaviour which often leads to binging on 10 or more cookies in desperation. The reality is that a person can exercise in the evening if that fits better into their schedule and have similar fitness results but the negative thought results in feelings of hopelessness and the person ends up watching movies on YouTube in the evening instead. The reality is that those who truly love us do so based on our hearts and our personalities but the negative thought pushes the person into a constant cycle of insecurity and despair.

Contentment. Peace. Gratefulness. Belonging. Joy. This is what I want to choose so that my life will reflect the hope I have for my future and for now. Til what I know and what I feel harmoniously become a single reality for me. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Of Silver Spoons and Silly Tunes

It's this ache. The one that cannot be soothed by syrup-filled knafeh in a warm bun or a chocolate brownie. The one that doesn't disappear after an hour and a half talking with a friend and at the end I feel like I haven't even started to share the words that continue to bubble. The one that appears in bursts of memories that seem odd to miss, like the parking lot at Winco or the traffic lights by the Douglas Arco gas station. The one that drags me down so that I don't want to see people or pushes me out of my echoing dorm room to fill my free time with activities.

It's the ache that insists I am wrong to want what I want because really, God should be enough, and anyhow, if I want anything else then it's setting up that or them to be more important in my life if indeed I'm not content right now. After all, only God can fill that empty hole in our hearts. Except there's something wrong with that kind of reasoning. I think.

It's the ache that reminds me I don't do well on my own. I'm good at faking it, just like any other born-and-raised-in-the-church-Christian. I smile sweetly when well-meaning ladies beam at me at yet another wedding reception, saying We hope you are next! while trying hard to hide the hurt because it's not my choice to be sitting alone at a plus-one event. I sit silently at a Bible study that turns out to be mostly couples, comfortable in their years of being together, and I swallow the tears that nearly spill over because I wonder if that will ever be me.

It's the ache that makes me question if everything I've ever heard about God answering prayers is real because while I know intellectually it is, somehow it seems everyone else should have priority over me and I'm last on the list when it comes to finding a life partner. After all, other women seem to want it more, have waited longer, are more nurturing, and have their lives more together than I do.

It's the ache that is tied to the insecurity which has plagued women since the fall. We have this irresistible pull towards someone special but it is constantly playing tug-of-war with the reluctance to believe that a man could love us for who we are without expecting us to change. Unless and until someone commits, and sadly even after that, there is always the risk that they will throw something in our faces as an excuse to walk away.

It's the ache to know that I am needed enough that someone will want to connect with me daily, look for ways to show me they care, so I never question whether or not they want to be a part of my life. To stop questioning whether I am intruding, to stop second-guessing, and to let go of the fear that loving them will push them away.

I read a quote once that said, Never be afraid to be the one who loves the most. This is God's example to us, isn't it? He loved us first and He loved us most. If He had waited for us to love Him, I think His heart would have broken because we are naturally so selfish. We don't even understand what it means to love God fully or to be loved by Him. God shows me daily me how much He cares about me and within minutes I seem to forget. Does His heart also ache like mine? Does He long for me to hold close the beautiful ways He pursues my heart? Does He get discouraged when I focus so much on the things I wish I had that I forget the more precious things He gives me?

This morning, a friend texted me at work asking if I'd eaten breakfast. I hadn't, so he picked up a sweet treat on the way in, a favourite pastry that I hadn't eaten in months. At lunchtime, another friend mixed up the online order but the hummus with grilled vegetables and crackers were just what I wanted for my supper as I'd run out of fresh vegetables. After spending most of the day trying to book logistics for a business trip for two colleagues, we found the perfect flight itinerary and the budget balanced. A quiet evening meant I had time to do my taxes and my accounts--two things I'd been putting off for some time. Each special experience carefully personalized just for me.

Why is it so hard, then, to trust that if God can take care of the small things and is continually showing me in my life, that He can also take care of the prayers I've whispered for so long now? Why is it is so difficult to trust when I have so much evidence to trust Him? Psalm 91 says, He is my God, and I am trusting Him. There needs to be nothing more than the simple fact that He is God, He is mine, and this is enough to trust Him. Yet God, in His understanding of my forgetfulness, also gives me reasons to trust in Him.

Because He loves me. Maybe the ache must remain for a time longer but I can take courage knowing that in the midst of the ache, my Father is waiting to sit with me, comfort me, and remind me daily that He is listening. He will answer. And He will bring joy into my life above and beyond what I could hope for. He will make up for the difficult years and when He does, I know the ache will disappear. He placed it there so I would realize--I was made for more than this. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Years. The Locusts. X 7

Well, at least I get to be out of my office for 3 hours this afternoon, even if I'm going to have to sit through some very boring meetings, was my thought as I lugged my laptop, bottle of water, and phone to a comfortable auditorium seat in the middle of the room. I'd heard these speakers before and from my foggy recollection, they hadn't stood out as particularly interesting, so I was ready to spend some focused time organizing my rather-full work inbox.

An hour later, the gentleman had finished speaking and I had managed to whittle my inbox from 950 emails down to 875. I used the break to get some letters signed by my boss and then settled down for what I thought would be another couple of hours of similarly-styled lecture. It was not as dull as I'd thought but I hadn't heard anything particularly new. Til the woman stood up to speak.

Now, I can't tell you exactly what she talked about, though I recorded her talk to listen to again later. All I know is that I sat spellbound, my monitor dark, as I heard story after story about how God had worked miracles in the life of a woman who I'd always imagined had it all together but in reality was as human as I. I'd planned with a friend to go to an opera concert at a nearby university that evening, but we both agreed to skip it and stay for the evening prayer meeting. Her brother agreed, encouraging us that there would always be more concerts but it would be better to stay.

The prayer meeting lasted nearly 2 hours but time didn't settle into boredom as once again, the couple spoke about how God had shown up in very individual ways to them and to others. I began to recall stories in my own life even as I longed to have more of the experiences they were speaking of. What I had thought was going to be yet another set of standard-issue meetings had turned into an oasis that was quenching a very thirsty soul. I had been longing for several weeks to be reminded that God had everything under control and the words I heard were exactly what I needed.

7 times in John 15-16, Jesus reminds the disciples that they can ask for whatever they want in His name and it will be granted to them. Later, we read the verse in Joel 2 where it says that God will give back what the locusts have taken. Other encouraging verses include Jeremiah 33 where God says if we call on Him, He will answer, and Isaiah 55 where we are told that God's thoughts and ways are beyond what we can imagine.

Every time I try to accomplish something on my own, I get frustrated and I get stuck. Every time I give up and ask God to take over, sometimes without even being able to express it in words but simply am weary of trying, God brings such joy to my heart that I cannot hold it all. God knew I needed to stay tonight to hear the words He was waiting to speak to me. He knew I needed to be reminded that He pursues my heart and is longing to spend quality time with me. He knew that my decision to stay would be rewarded in a special way that I would not orchestrate but would remind me how very much He wanted to see me happy.

Yes, the locusts have taken away years I wish I could reclaim. Yet, just as Job remained faithful to God and in the end was rewarded in this life with twice as much as before, I am claiming the many promises God has given that if I ask according to His will He will grant my heart's desire. The desire doubled in joy to compensate for the years of the locusts. He has promised and He will answer.