A future and a hope

0816f0595255c51fd3e0e31ed8e9cc04On expectations and faith, by Hannah.

It’s incredible the places God can take us, if we trust Him.

My life is full of events that I “didn’t intend to happen” – unexpected catalysts that catapulted me into the place where I am today. Events that never would have taken place without a lot of soul-searching and prayer. Proof to me that faith is enough, and that it can move us in ways we never imagined to be possible.

I was supposed to be a nurse. At least, that is what some thought. (more…)

Raindrops and shared umbrellas

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On an anniversary and the story of a year’s happiness, by Hannah.

A week ago (on January 29th), I celebrated a one year anniversary with my husband, Masashi. Incredibly, the date does not signify our wedding anniversary, but rather a year since we’ve been together as a couple.

On a rainy day much like this afternoon, a young man offered me his umbrella, and more significantly, offered to start a relationship with marriage in mind. I had made his acquaintance through choir in church, but at first I didn’t notice him much. However, that same year our choir held a retreat, and we both attended. One early morning, I went walking in the forest with a friend, and we heard a strong voice. (more…)

The island life..

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On living overseas, by Hannah.

I have often been asked about what it is like to live in Japan. Immigrant, foreigner, visa-holder – call it what you like, there is a lot of curiosity around what it is like to move to another country.. and stay there. The expectation is that some people take a gap year, and many tour around to become “globally-minded” and well-traveled, but fewer put down roots in another country.

It took me a while before I felt credible enough to write about living here. There are lots of people who have lived in Japan much longer than myself (a Canadian co-worker of mine has been here for at least 20 years), and it takes a while to feel that you really belong, or have any right to a new place, beyond surface exploration. (more…)

Life is pain, highness..

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On weaknesses and blessings, by Hannah. While I have been called as headstrong as Joan of Arc, and despite having a background in dance and a few sports, I have never been a person particularly gifted with physical strength. My husband sometimes jokingly refers to me as the “pain monster” – meaning that I am almost always in some kind of pain. Whether it’s accidentally dropping a suitcase on my hip the evening after getting married (leaving a giant purple bruise that didn’t quite match my expectations of bridal skin-care), twisting my feet, a toothache, a fever, catching pneumonia – and so on and so on.. it’s his tongue-in-cheek nickname for his sickness-prone wife. (more…)

Until Even The Blind Can Read

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On communicating God’s truth and love, by Hannah.

Recently, a thought has been imprinted on my mind – perhaps a simple one, but nonetheless important. It is as follows: we do not have time.

These five words help bring clarity to so many questions, such as what plans to make. This is not an urgency in the sense of anxious, unnecessary hurry: but one that is purposeful, directing, and brings focus.

We do not have time.

There is no time to be aimless, self-centered, or wasteful. The earth is literally coming to an end, and people are dying in the thousands to go to an eternity in hell, while the rest of us are seemingly okay with it and perhaps feel slight embarrassment talking about our faith because other people who are dying and separated from God may think us foolish and pressure us to keep spiritual things to ourselves. What misplaced shame, to own the very access to heaven, but withhold its truth from others! (more…)

Our Spiritual Messiness

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On distraction and decluttering, by Hannah.

Somehow, putting a book closer to where I sleep makes me feel as if I will be more likely to read it. As a result, there is always a constant pile of books which accumulate next to my bed. In the U.S., this habit was easy to hide by shoving them beneath my bed-frame, but becomes more obvious beside my futon in Japan. Slowly, these books have encroached closer and closer, until recently I rolled over in my sleep to find that the books had actually joined me and were competing with my pillow for space.

It has been said that the things which we are committed to are what make our lives, and recently I have addressed commitment and resolve at this blog. We commit our lives to God, but there are certainly many specific things which we commit to each day. (more…)

Not Another New Year’s Resolution

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On becoming a new creation, by Hannah.

There is something about a closing year that lends itself well to reflection, and a well-known tradition in many cultures is the writing of resolutions for the upcoming year. Yet often, these goals are abandoned quickly.. perhaps even by the end of January. Resolve has become something of a mockery. We expect to do well at keeping resolutions at the outset of a new year, but then for the initial passion to fade, and our resolve with it. We expect to fail.

I think it’s interesting that, as was mentioned in this Sunday’s message at my church, the word passion is linked to the idea of suffering. (more…)