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

I’m a Sinner Too

these past few months have passed by so quickly. my time in taiwan is almost at an end. isn’t that crazy? i’ve been here for almost a year. in one way, it does feel like a year and even longer than that. in another way, it feels like i just got here.

if i’ve ever been absolutely certain of the fact that i’m changing, it would be now. i’ve been learning and growing a lot. more than i ever thought possible. what’s even more surprising to me is that i find that i have a desire to keep learning and growing.

i don’t want to stop going down this path. i want to keep walking/running down this road. i want to keep changing. i want to keep growing in my relationship with Christ. i want to know and understand more of who God is. at least, that’s how i’m thinking right now. but to be honest, i don’t always think this way.

sometimes i just want to give it all up. it’s too hard and overwhelming. i’m tired. all i see is my faults, my sins. i see how unworthy i am of God’s love. i don’t deserve a single ounce of it. i am a sinful human being. i’ve committed so many wrongs. over and over again i sin. sometimes, i just feel like a constant failure. i don’t think that i’ll ever be any better than i am right now.

let’s be honest here. life is not just what you see in those encouraging blog posts. it’s not the short, but uplifting, tweets you see on twitter. it’s not all those aesthetic pleasing photos with the perfect inspirational caption on instagram.

no. real life, sure, it can be like that sometimes. but all the time? no. real life is hard. there’s pain. there’s suffering. there are problems, issues. usually, i don’t see the reason why things are the way that they are. i don’t understand why i have to go through ______ or ______. to me, it seems pointless.

what can i do? i’m incapable of getting myself out of this rut. i’m stuck. does any of this really matter? does anything i do really make a difference? and this is what happens. sometimes, i can just see growth growth growth. other times, i’m all i can see is my ever-growing pile of wrongdoings. i go back and forth, from one extreme to another.

but that’s not how it should be. yes, i am a sinner. yes, i can not get out of this situation on my own. but this is where Jesus comes in. he paid the price for our sin. he took the consequence of our sin. that separation from God? that broken relationship we have with God? Jesus fixes that. he died to fix it. now, we have direct access to God.

we are broken, but he is whole. we are unable, but he is able. what’s even more important, he is willing. God is able and willing to save us. he wants a relationship with us. he loves us. though we fall over and over again, God continues to save us over and over again. he wants to deliver us, because he cares about us.

and that’s true grace. it is this that i can be encouraged by. i can find comfort in God because despite what i do, God wants to have a relationship with me. he will continue to pursue me no matter how often i fail.

isn’t that amazing? i can’t begin to comprehend why God would do this. i can’t understand why he would suffer so much for us. why does he love us? why does he even care about us?

but he does. he really does.

when i look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

-psalm 8:3-4

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

So This is the New Normal

time just flies by and now it is april. time is like sand. i try to hold on it, but it keeps slipping between my fingers.

things have changed a lot in the last few months. i know. it’s on everyone’s minds lately. the virus. the coronavirus. or COVID-19. whatever name you put to it, you can’t go a day without hearing about it (much less a few hours).

an unknown virus has changed life as we know it. everyone has been effected, whether in big or small ways. we can hope that things will go back to “normal” soon, but for now this is the new normal.

unfortunately, so many people are struggling in this time. we have people working in the medical field or working for the government or working in the food industry. there are more, like all the first responders out there. i could go on.

these people are essentially risking their lives day in and day out, some more than others. either way, there is always a possibility, always a chance that they could come into contact with the virus. they still work though, because they are needed and necessary.

then there are all the people without jobs. people who are trying to figure out how long they can survive like this. how will they take care of their families? their relatives? themselves? no one knows when things will get better. everything is up in the air.

but while many struggles are visible, there are some struggles that go unseen. those who have mental health problems. for many people, they now have to practice social distancing. they have to stay at home. if they go out, it’s only for necessities or the occasional walk…by themselves. for those who struggle mentally, i can’t even begin to understand what they are going through.

(thankfully, here in taiwan we have yet to practice social distancing. we are just trying not to travel a lot or associate with too many different people. and we’re always wearing masks and washing our hands.)

and lets not forget all the plans that were cancelled. weddings, graduations, birthday parties, and more. some of these were monumental events that people only experience once, but the virus changed that.

people are stressed. worried. anxious. the list goes on. and what is God’s purpose in all of this? i’ve been asking myself that a lot lately. and honestly, i’m not sure that i’ll ever know, not until i see God. that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t use this time for good.

there’s a lot of fear in the world right now. people are scared. while they have no hope, we, as Christians, do. we have hope. we may be scared, but we can act despite the fear. we know there is someone who is greater than this virus and he is in control. even if we can’t see him, he is with us. we may not know his plan, but we know that he is good.

“i pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

-romans 15:13

in this dark time, let’s be that light to others. send a text to that friend that you haven’t heard from in awhile. call up that person you’ve been meaning to talk to. it can be something as simple as that. you don’t know fully what people are struggling with. you never know when something as simple as a message saying “i care. i see you.” may make all the difference in his/her life.

Christ poured out his love for us. we can definitely take the time to show that love to others. small acts of kindness really do make all the difference.

and i hope that when things do go back to “normal,” that we, as a people, won’t. we will be changed. i hope that we learn something from this time. that we appreciate the small things. that we don’t take for granted the time we have with our families and friends.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

what have you been doing during this hectic time? what have you learned or taken away from this time?

You Have Meaning; You Have a Purpose

the rain continues to pour outside as i start to write this post. it has been cloudy outside ever since i woke up this morning. apparently the weather is like this because of a typhoon.

don’t worry about it much. typhoons are kind of a common thing here. it’s just another day of life in taiwan. typhoons are nothing special here. haha.

i love the sound of rain. the sound of the water falling and hitting the ground. it is very soothing. the smell of nature and the outdoors seems so fresh and new when it’s raining.

i’ve been learning so much lately. living in a foreign country where you know absolutely nothing forces you to learn so much at once. even the most basic things become complicated and hard. it doesn’t matter how much you prepare or how much you are expecting everything to be different and new, it still hits you when you are surrounded by it.

it can be overwhelming. legit so overwhelming. i don’t know how else to describe the feeling of being alone (though you may be with people, but only people you’ve recently met). the feeling of being thousands of miles away from everything you know. the feeling you get seeing all these different sights, experiencing all the different smells, tasting all the different foods, and just plain living an almost entirely different lifestyle from the one you lived before.

there are times when i feel absolutely exhilarated. i love it here. i want to experience everything. i want to try every new food and drink. i want to learn all the Chinese. i want to meet all the people. other times i am so tired. i miss having pizza. i miss being able to just “talk” to people. i don’t want to spend any time socializing. i just want to sleep or scroll through social media.

what is God’s plan for me?

what does he want me to do with my life? am i doing it? is what i’m doing right now really what he wants me to do? is there something more that i should be doing? am i missing something? my thoughts go around and around. i feel unfulfilled. dissatisfied.

other thoughts enter my mind. is anything i’m doing right now truly meaningful? it is hard to know whether or not something is meaningful or has any kind of effect if you don’t always get to see the results of it. that’s something i’m just going to have to trust God with. as long as i’m doing the work that he wants me to do, then it is meaningful. no matter how mundane or boring or normal it may seem.

and i think it becomes more meaningful, the more of yourself that you’re able to put into your work. God, no matter what we do, wants us to give our best. in everything that we do, we should give our best effort. now i’m not saying that you should over do it and give everything you have and then more to the point where you are literally hurting yourself. no. everyone has a limit. and that limit looks different for each person. you do what is your best for you. you give your all, in the way that only you can do.

wherever you are in life, i want you to know that what you’re doing. right here. right now. is meaningful. God has you there for a reason. you may not know the reason right now. and honestly, you may not know the reason until you’re in heaven with him. but that doesn’t make what you do any less meaningful.

you are you. there is only one person like you. and that’s you. you can only do what you can do. God gave you a purpose. and only you can fulfill your purpose. no one else is able to do it for you. everyone’s purpose looks different. each was uniquely designed for the person it was created for.

so don’t ever think that what you’re doing has no point. you don’t know God’s plan. only God does. and whatever that plan is, it is just what he wants for you.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

Love Makes All the Difference

another week of teaching has started. and i find myself looking forward to it. it’s exciting to see new life enter into this camp. this is an entirely new and different experience for them.

i hope that i can make them feel right at home. i have learned more and more that kids need love. they need love in order to grow and mature. each and every single person has so much potential if we only give them the encouragement and love that they need.

just think of the people in your life who have shown you love and pushed you forward. those people were important to you being the person that you are today, right? can you imagine who you would be without those people in your life? you wouldn’t be the same, would you?

so these kids. they need people who love and support them. i don’t know where they are coming from. i don’t know their stories. they will only be with me for a week, not even that, before going back to their schools. it is really such a short amount of time when you consider the entirety of their lives.

but life is made up of moments, millions of little moments. and all it takes is one moment. just think of those few moments that had such an impact on you that you still remember them vividly. that’s how life is. just because time is short, doesn’t mean that i shouldn’t put forth all the effort that i can give to make it meaningful.

“give your complete attention to these matters. throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.”

-1 timothy 4:15

so that’s what i want to do. i want to give all the love and encouragement that i can give these kids. every moment counts. they may not remember me. they may not remember this week. will that stop me? no, because you never know whose life you are going to impact. and i most likely won’t see how it impacts them.

but that is not what is important. what’s important is that i do my best to show them all the love and support that i can. what more can i do? that’s all i can do and it is worth it. they could forget everything, but i don’t think they’ll easily forget the love that was shown to them.

love makes all the difference.

so i hope that you have people in your life that you can rely upon for encouragement and love. and i hope that you can be the kind of person who loves and supports those who need it.

no matter what your situation, you can always rely on God. he is only true constant in your life. his love and encouragement are never ending.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

Word of the Year: Trust

did anyone else choose a word for the year?

i first heard about choosing a word for the year around the end of last year. and i found it to be a very fascinating idea.

for one, it’s not really defined with any set list of requirements or “must do’s.” so there’s a lot of freedom in that. personally, i love the freedom to make something your own.

but without defined terms or rules, it does open the door for that word to come in and be a part of more situations than you would think possible.

of course, i know that there’s a lot of things that happens in one’s life in the space of one year. not everything is going to be focused around that one word. but you will be surprised how many different circumstances and situations that one word does cover and effect.

anyways, those are just my thoughts on choosing a word for the year. as i’m sure you’ve already guess by this point, i chose a word for the year. since this is my first time trying to do this, we’ll see how it goes.

i wanted to talk a bit about my word for this year. trust.

a lot of things happened in 2018 that made me realize that trust is something that I really need to work on. trust is something that i don’t have a lot of, especially when talking about God.

trust is important. in fact, it’s essential. in fact, it is an crucial cornerstone in having a strong relationship with God. more than that, salvation itself requires trust.

in many cases, i’ve found that trust and faith go hand in hand. faith is “complete trust or confidence in someone or something” and trust is “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” they are both very similar in my opinion.

then as a christian, i should have the whole trust and faith thing down pat, right?

no.

definitely not.

as i have learned in the past year, i have a real hard time with trust. i’m quick to rely only on myself. a lot of the stress i deal with comes from there being no trust. everything is on me. i need to complete this. i need to somehow make this happen. etc. etc. etc.

and this brings me back to a point i made in my last post.

God is in control.

it is easier to say than to believe. this doesn’t mean that you can sit back and just believe that God will make happen what needs to happen. trust requires effort made from both sides.

and i’m not going to say that there is going to come a point in your life where you’re going to be able to say that you trust God in everything. i think for most of us (if not all) trusting God is going to be a constant work-in-progress. we’re going to have to continue to push to believe that everything is in God’s hands.

that constant effort is worth it though. to know that you are not in control of your life, but God is. what a relief that is.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

did you choose a word for the year? please, comment below! i’d love to hear from you!

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

i like to have direction.

don’t you?

isn’t it nice to have an idea of where you’re going? to have the path laid out in front of you? to know that this is where i’ll be at this point in time?

in reality, life is hardly ever like that. those people with their five or ten year plan, i applaud them. i can’t even imagine making a month plan, much less a ten year plan.

because more often than not, life seems to have a mind of its own. it throws things at us that we would have never expected. where i am right now is somewhere i would have never imagined for myself a year ago.

there’s hardly a time when i know what life is going to look like in a few months. i jump at the opportunities that pop up and seem to align with my passions. those kind of things just pop up though. there’s no telling when and where they’ll show up. so ultimately, i’m just taking things as they come. of course, there are certain things (like school) that i have an idea of where i want to be at certain times, but i don’t have much faith that they’ll turn out exactly the way that i think they will.

sometimes, this feeling of uncertainty, this feeling of no direction, terrifies me. what am i going to do with my life? how am i going to make a difference? God gave me this life. what’s his purpose for me? my fear of wasting my life is sometimes so daunting that it stops me from doing anything in the first place.

i feel like i’m caught up in this constant fight with myself. i have so many dreams and passions that i feel like i should do something with. there is so much that i would like to do, but the list is intimidating. and the fear of the unknown, the fear of doing the “wrong thing” and wasting my life is scary. not even knowing where to start is just another reason to not even try.

but you know, it’s okay to not know where you’re going.

it’s okay to have so many dreams and passions that you feel properly swamped by them.

it’s okay to be scared, because true bravery is acting out in spite of the fear.

it’s okay because your life is not your own. your life is God’s.

“don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? you do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. so you must honor God with your body.”

-1 corinthians 6:19-20

and God is in control.

God has a plan for you and he’ll make sure that you fulfill that plan. all you have to do is make sure he’s at the center of your life.

take those passions you have, take those big dreams and start small. God gave you those passions, those dreams. it may seem insignificant right now, but everything has to start somewhere. if you follow them, they will lead you to where you need to be.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

what are some of your passions? what are some of your dreams that seem so unrealistic, but you dream anyways?

Hello

whether you’ve come from either two of my previous blogs (here or here) or you’re entirely new and have never seen me before, hi!

welcome to my mess.

seriously, i’m quite the mess.

but aren’t we all in some way or form?

no one is perfect.

even still, we are significant.

we have the ability to change lives and make a difference.

so even in my mess i aspire to create change, the kind of change that has an impact in others.

i hope that this blog will be a place where you can find hope, encouragement, and inspiration. or, at least, you’ll get a laugh out of it.

because it is here that i hope to share my thoughts, travels, and all the mistakes i make and the lessons i learn in between.

i hope that you’ll join me as i grow and change. life is hard, i know. but i hope that my words will bring you comfort, even if it’s only a bit.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi