Mere Fragments #2 // New Beginnings

Hello. I am alive. I have not died. Despite my lack of writing, I am here now. I took an unintentionally long time away. There’s a comforting feeling coming back here, to this blog that has been around for awhile. At the same time, it has been so long that I feel like I don’t even know how to write a blog post. What is blogging? Where do I even begin?

It has been about eleven months since I left Taiwan. In that eleven months, a lot has happened. I currently live in North Carolina. I found a job as a barista at a local coffee shop. I really love it and the community that I’ve found there. My coworkers are the best. Wouldn’t survive those crazy work days without them. The locals who come in regularly are pretty cool as well. Between my coworkers and the regulars that come in, I have made some great friends.

I’m also getting close to being finished with my bachelor’s degree! In December I transferred my credits to Thomas Edison State University. I have one last course to take and then I’ll be graduating with a BA in History! It is crazy that I’ll be done with school in a few months. In many ways, my life has revolved around schoolwork for so long that it is hard to imagine what life will be like without it.

With school finishing up, my thoughts have turned towards the future. I’m in a weird stage of life. I have some friends who are college students, some that have graduated. I know people who are single, those who are married, and those who are having kids. As for me, I have no idea what the future holds. I have thought a lot about just getting through college, but not really past that. For sure, I definitely have ideas, but nothing is thought out.

In all of this, there’s plenty to be excited about and so much to be thankful for. In June, I got to be a part of one of my best friend’s wedding as her maid of honor. To be a part of my friend’s special day was absolutely thrilling. I couldn’t be more excited or happy for her. I love her so much. The wedding came together beautifully, despite the hiccups and craziness beforehand.

Weddings make me think of new life, fresh starts. It’s a time of new beginnings. It is a step into a new stage of life. Maybe, just maybe, this will be a new beginning for me. Every day, every moment is an opportunity to change. To do something different. To try something new. To start again.

The same applies to God. God has, is, and will always be here for us. He doesn’t abandon us even if we abandon him. That’s one of the most amazing things about him. God doesn’t leave us. He is there for us every single day. All we have to do is turn towards him. We don’t have to do anything. We don’t have to be anyone. God is here, wanting to hear from us. He’s ready to listen. Nothing is too big for him to handle. Maybe believing all this is hard. But here’s the thing, that’s when God steps in again. He helps us with our faith and trust in him. We can have new beginnings with God and he will help us every step of the way.

So here I am, hoping and trying to believe this for myself.

Hoping to lighten your burden,

Gabi

Invest Where You Are

Hi. It been a long time. I’ve come to this blank page multiple times, always planning to write a new post, but words have failed me. It’s been almost four months since I’ve left Taiwan, but it feels like years. I miss Taiwan. I miss what was “normal.” I miss my friends. I miss my students. I miss teaching. I miss church. I miss the struggle of using Chinese. I miss the convenient transportation. I miss bubble tea.

Now, I’m trying to adjust to this new “normal” in the United States. In almost four months, I’ve lived in three different states and I’m about to move to another state. I haven’t really settled down since Taiwan. Things have been kind of up in the air since then. I don’t know how long I’ll be in any place right now. Everything is very temporary.

I’m tired. So tired. I have ideas and dreams, but I have no thoughts onto how I’ll attain them. I don’t even know if any of these things are things that I should be pursuing. Where should I be? What should I be doing now? These questions cross my mind all the time. There’s this overwhelming pressure to just DO something, anything, but I find myself doing nothing.

Then I was brought back to my word of the year. Invest. Investing is probably one of the hardest things to do right now, but it’s probably now one of the most important things to do now. With COVID-19 that puts so many restrictions on what were “normal” activities and with my living situation being very temporary, making commitments and investing is hard.

Community is what we all need, especially now. As a Christian, it is even more important. We all need to invest where we are and find community. God has put each of us where we are for a reason, for a purpose. Sure, how we invest and make community will look different for each person, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

-Hebrews 10:24-25

I love these verses. Don’t we all want a community like that? One where people love one another and encourage each other? One where people can reply upon each other in time of need? That’s the kind of community that we could all use no matter where we are in life.

So that’s where I’ll start. I don’t know where I’m headed or what God has planned. I feel so very lost sometimes, but thank God that he is capable of using a broken mess like me. I don’t have to know everything, but I am capable of investing in the people around me. I am capable of building community.

Personally, it’s extremely hard for me to be present. I’m always looking towards the future. And I’m not saying it’s bad to look towards the future, in fact, it’s good to look ahead. But it’s also so important to be present. And no one should be looking so much towards the future that they miss the present, that they’re not really “there” to the people around them.

In this time of transition after transition, that’s what I’m going to work on. And I hope that this encourages you, wherever you are in your community building, to continue investing. No human being is perfect, but it’s encouraging to know that God continues to invest in us despite that. What an example we have to follow.

Hoping to lighten your burden,

Gabi

Word of the Year: Invest

we are already almost in the third month of the year. i barely feel like this year has started and we are almost a quarter of the way through it.

i say all of this as i see some kind of spider or bug crawl across my screen. ugh. apparently it is not cold enough to make all the creepy crawlies go away. i really dislike all insects. i love snakes and lizards, but i can’t stand bugs.

anyways, back to the topic. i didn’t have a word for this year as the year began. i felt like i could still work on the word that i had last year (that is, trust), but i think that’s how i’ll think about every word that i have. just because a word isn’t my “word of the year” doesn’t mean that i’m not still working on that word. it only means that it is not what i’m focusing on for the year. it’s still important.

well, i racked my brain for a word that would fit this year.

i first thought of the future, one which is full of unknowns. i know that the beginning half of the year i’ll be spending in taiwan. as for the rest of the year, i have no idea of what it is going to look like. of course, do we really know what even the next hour will look like? only God truly knows.

then i thought of the past, was there something that i could see from last year that i could work on this year? last year was full of travels and change and adventures and transitions. from home to australia to the u.s. to four countries in europe to the u.s. to taiwan where i’ve been living since august. so much has happened. it’s been quite the whirlwind of a year.

and that’s where i found it. something that was lacking from my life.

last year i was so focused on what was coming. i was always looking towards the future. and that’s not a bad thing. it’s good to look forward. you can’t always be in the present. then how will you ever prepare or make plans for the future?

in the same way, you can’t be looking towards the future all the time. how will your ever be present if your eyes are turned towards the future? can you truly live if you are unable to focus on the present?

this past year i spent way too much time focused on the future. even when i was home and not traveling or anything, i didn’t really feel “there” most of the time. i spent so much time last year adrift. never present, never home. i felt somewhat lost, always scrambling or looking for the next thing.

and from personal experience, that’s not healthy. i felt out of touch with the world and the people around me.

i want to change that. i want to be present. i want to invest in the people and the community that i’m surrounded by. i want to be someone who is “there” and active in the moment.

instead of always worrying about the future, i want to enjoy the moment that i’m living in right here and now.

so whether i’m in a place for a few weeks or a few months, i want to invest. God has placed me where i am right now for a reason. i want to make the most of my time, wherever i am.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

what’s your word of the year? do you struggle with being present? please, share your thoughts!