Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ireland Update #2

Maybe a question you'd ask me is what is Ireland teaching me? What am I learning here so far? What is Ireland doing for you or how is it impacting your life?
Great questions :)
I've seen a lot of ministry being a P.K. A whole lot. I've met a lot of leaders and talked to many pastors. There are very few people whom I talk to that when I leave the conversation I feel honored to have talked to them, but here I feel that way with most the people I'm interacting with on a daily basis. I can't get into all the details, but there have been so many conversations that I've just soaked up so much Godly  wisdom and information. I've simply listened and loved every second of it.

Ireland is awakening in me a ringing noise to remind me why I came here in the first place. Why do I do the things that I do? Why did I travel to a different country by myself for a month? What was I thinking? Everytime I've had a challenging thought such as that, God has placed specific conversations or words or Scriptures that all come down to something very critical and foundational. I've been challenged to hold onto my call with confidence and to think of how it effects my now, not just my later.
To keep it short, simple, and to the point:
In a weird sort of way, Ireland is reminding me of my purpose.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Worth Reading

I think sometimes we get terribly selfish. We go around and think that everything should cater to us, and everyone should remember us. Us. My. Mine. Me. The quote below brings me to tears every time I read it. 
Every time. 
It's worth reading.
Because it reminds me that it's not about me. My call is actually not about me. What I want to do isn't for my own benefit or accord. My call is for others. My traveling and hardships are to be shared. Who am I to forget why I'm actually here? To focus so much on myself that I forget that my ultimate goal isn't to serve myself? 
Honestly? It's not about me. I need to get over myself. 
Anything I do for the call is an opportunity to take part in the heart that God has given me. God gave this to me. God gave me this vision. It isn't mine to hoard, but it is mine to share. God gave me this life. It isn't to serve myself, it's to serve others.  God gave me this heart. It isn't mine to keep, but it is mine to give away.

"You know its not hard to see that there's this great imbalance and that things aren't right. You know I know that, but for me I suppose it really hits home when I stop and think about this moment because it's happening right now. In the same moment you have a generation who are sitting around entertaining themselves watching reality television, which to be honest is anything but real, while you have a child who is being prostituted behind closed doors and robbed of their innocence. It's not fair that we can go about consuming every single material option that comes our way while the widow and orphan are stripped of life's basic dignities because they're victims of a conflict that simply isn't theirs. It's not fair that we have a generation who are choking on their obesity while at the same time there are 30,000 children who die today for lack of food. It’s not fair that we have no problem going about spending $3-4 on what is basically glorified tap water in a bottle with a fancy label while you have entire communities who suffer at the hands of disease because the only water that they have access to is foul and polluted. It's not fair that we can sing and dance and jump around in our freedom and liberty when at the same time the slave remains captive out of sight and out of mind. It’s not fair that we can sit and watch the evening news from the comfort of our living rooms and pity those who lived where the storm hit or where the ground shook or where the waters rose and simply feel sorry for them, and then change the channel and get on with supper. Is it fair to walk past the homeless man and give him nothing in the assumption that he’ll spend it on booze or cigarettes or that you suggest that he goes out and gets a job? I mean, who are we to judge the alcoholic or the prostitute or the addict or the criminal as if we’re any better? Who are we to forget the downtrodden, or the oppressed or the marginalized while we go about chasing the dream? We see this imbalance and we amend “that’s not right, that’s not fair”, but all too often that’s all we do, because for us to do anything more is actually going to cost us something. Perhaps then it's fair to say that when we ignore the prostituted child, we actually lent our hand to their abuse. When we ignore the widow and the orphan in their distress we actually add to their pain. When we ignore the slave that remains captive that it's us who's entrapping them. That when we forget the refugee that it's us who's displacing them. That when we choose not to help the poor and the needy that we actually rob them. Perhaps the only fair thing to say is that when we forsake the lives of others we actually forsake our own." -Joel Houston, I ♥ Revolution

May I take what precious and little I have and throw it all away in order to chase whole-heartedly the purpose that God has set ablaze in my soul. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Forrest Beiser

I think a lot of times people think of the word "father" and automatically have a stereotype fill their heads. The word "father" can strike fear into some hearts and warmth into others. Everyone has that different adaptation of the word "father" in their heads based on their own father. I know today is Father's Day and that you are celebrating (depending on who your dad is) your father, but I want to take a moment and tell you about my father. 
And for those of you who don't have a dad or your dad hasn't been the best father, bear with me. You all know that God is the ultimate father, caretaker, and giver for you. If you don't recognize that your father and God aren't the same person, I fear you might go throughout your life with an incorrect representation of who God is. He isn't some angry, bipolar guy who loves you one minute and then despises you the next. He is perfect and loving. He is waiting for you to realize that He's been there all along; that His love never wavered and it's waiting for you. He longs for your embrace. 

Ok. I'll stop preaching. 

My father's name is Forrest Beiser. 
I've gone through my whole life thinking of my dad a certain way, all good things mind you. He was the pastor of my home church(and still is:), but for some reason I never had a hard time deciphering the roles of father and pastor because he was the same at home that he was at church. Both worlds weren't really worlds, they were one, solid living place for me. I grew up on a firm family foundation based strongly in the church. I grew up in ministry, working hard and learning as I grew up. My dad said from the very beginning that he was preparing me for ministry, and I look back and I can see that now. It is because of him that I can do all the things that I can, and that I possess half the talents that I do. He pushed me and pressured me, but because of those things, I grew and flourished. 
But that's not where I wanted to head for this post. 

So, I had this understanding of my dad that changed drastically this past year. Maybe one day I'll be able to go into all the details, but for now I'm sorry if you have a vague understanding of what I'm saying. 
Around September of last year things in my life got really hard. I can't describe exactly what was happening, but I can say that I had never felt more abandoned, hurt, and in complete despair. I don't mean to sound emo or depressed, but honestly, I had never experienced such depths of heartlessness and hopelessness. It felt like my world was literally falling apart. 
God had placed me perfectly where I needed to be at Zion. I think another large part of the reason I made it through was because of Zion. I was growing so much in the middle of that hard place I was in, and I still am growing from it. 
The bottom line of it all was that I was at a loss. I had no one to turn to, and for once in a very long while I felt just completely ... gone. 
There's no other way to describe it. I'm starting to tear up right now even as I type this, because thinking about it is frustratingly hard. The tears are for the frustration at myself, yes, but also at the gratitude that I have for my father during this time.

I called up my dad one night at the height of all my anger, loss, fear, and raw pain. I expected him to yell at me and be completely upset. I deserved it. 
But as I explained to my dad everything that was happening, everything that I was experiencing, and everything I had gone through he didn't yell. 
He didn't scream. 
He didn't scold me. 
He didn't say hurtful things towards me. 
He just... listened. 
And at the end of my heart's outpouring of complete anguish my dad said in a very soft voice: "I'm so sorry, Tabby. I'm so sorry. I love you."
And as I cried on the phone, my dad reassured me of his love for me. He expressed his care and heart. He described the grace, mercy, and love of God and displayed it through his own actions in talking to me. Throughout the next couple of months he continued this attitude. He never rejected me and he never said anything hateful. When I was having one of the hardest times of my life, he was only a phone call away. Consistent. Helpful. Honest. There. Both my parents were. 
A couple of months ago something hard came up again and I told him, and once again, he was there for me and he simply loved me.

My dad is my hero. I honestly am not sure what would have happened this past year if I didn't have him in my life. I am so, so, so thankful and my heart is simply filled to the brim with gratitude and love for him for everything he's done for me and continues to do for me. 

I love you, Papa. In so many ways, you saved me in that phone call last year. I can never be thankful enough. Happy Father's Day to the best Father in the entire world. Others will say their dad is the best, but that's because they never had you for a father. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Finally! An update about Ireland!

Hello friends! I am currently sitting on a couch in the living room at the Inman's house - a missionary family that lives in Derry, Ireland. It was quite the journey here (with long plane rides and all) but now that I am more or less settled in and almost adjusted to the dramatic time difference, I figured I would tell you what I've been up to! This is almost like a regular blog post! How odd.

What you probably figure about Ireland is only somewhat accurate. It is rather rainy and overcast, but the people here in contrast are very warm and friendly. Everyone is very considerate of each other and the accent is great :) The history of this city, and Northern Ireland in general, is extremely complicated and there's this division between the Protestants and the Catholics, but they are mostly only in a political sense, not necessarily religious. There are Protestant neighborhoods and then there are Catholic neighborhoods. I'm still catching up on it all.
There are some different slangs that I'm getting the hang of, which is class. If you give me a wee bit more time here, I think I might get the crack of things at some point. Like how "chips" are fries and "crips" are chips, or how I just tried to implement some of it in the first two sentences of this paragraph :)

Check out what a lot of planning is going into at the church!

My favorite thing that I've been a part of so far has been an outreach that they do Friday nights called Street Pastors. We set up a table downtown on a busy club street and handed out free tea, coffee, soup, and hot cocoa, talked with people, and just helped in whatever way we could. It was awesome! The pic below is the whole street packed with people at around 2am when the clubs let out. They don't exactly go home... they just kind of hang out and try to get taxis.

Yesterday I went touring with the Inmans at the Giant's Causeway(picture below) and an old castle in ruins by the ocean (the first pic you saw there's some ruins behind my shoulder!). It was really fun! And of course, raining the whole time. Yesterday was church! They hold church service in the downtown center, which is really cool and the pastor spoke about how God is our gardener and He prunes away at us so that we can grow. I really enjoyed the message. Today is my day off and I've pretty much relaxed all day at home, I think I'm still recovering from the midnight to 3am run of street pastors (totally worth it!).

Of course I would leave my cord that connects my canon rebel to my computer back home, but I have been taking pictures. The ones featured in this blog are off of my iPhone. It's amazing to see how long the battery lasts when you don't use cellular service or 3G. I haven't turned it off since I got here, only kept it on airplane mode, and it's just about on half battery now.

Do I have an Irish accent yet? I guess you'll just have to see for yourself when I get back.
Want to talk? Skyping and chat are pretty much the only way, and in Cali the best time is early afternoon like from about 1pm on.
Miss you all, but I'll be back in a jiff.

Oh, and meet one of the five kids I'm living with - Maggie. She's almost two. (:

Friday, June 10, 2011

For the rest of my life

I don't know about you, but there a few songs that I listen to and
I am instantly reminded that I am God's. That He is here. That I am not alone. That His presence can heal any wound. That only He can make me into all that I want to be. 
I read this morning a verse in Psalm 127 that says that if God is not in something, then what's the point (it's the Tabatha translation, or more like paraphrasing...)?
It was such a reminder to me, kind of like the songs. What's the point of me doing something if God's not in it? In that sense, there's no fruit of ultimate benefit for me if my ultimate goal is to be all that God wants me to be. If my ultimate goal is God, why do I base things in my life aside from that goal? If I know the truth what am I doing? 

And as I listen to these songs... as I close my eyes and God gently reminds me that He is at my side (and that's He's never left), I wonder why I forget. I wonder how I forget 
I forget that I'm worth dying for. I forget about the One who proved that I was worth dying for. I wonder why I resist someone so beautiful. As He whispers words of life to my soul (right to my soul), and I come alive in the fullest sense of the word, it's really then and only then that I find who I truly am.
Because my identity is in Christ and when I'm with Him, I'm reminded.
I belong.
My identity is that I am God's. I belong to Him.
And I also realize that that's exactly how I want it to be

"Wind of God come blow up on us
Breath of God come breathe within us now, within us now
Spirit of God come fall upon us
Like a fire, rise within us now, within us now"

{Second photo taken by my brother Isaiah:}
{Just so you know, the song at the bottom of this post inspired the post altogether :)}

Thursday, June 9, 2011

For your eyes only

This post happens to be only for people who follow my blog on their own - without me posting it up somewhere. I need your prayers, guys. It's day three in Ireland and I hurt my back yesterday. I hurt it really, really bad. It hurts to stand up, sit down, bend over... you name it. And you can imagine that when you've travled across the world to work somewhere and then it hurts to work, let alone do anything, it could be frustrating. So please, please, please, please pray for me. I'd really appreciate it. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why hello there

Sometimes, everything just hurts. Really, really bad. Who knows about pain? Heartache?
The real stuff. You want genuine? You want honest? You want the real?
Things hurt. You want specific? People hurt. They hurt me. They hurt you. They just hurt sometimes.
Pain is such a funny thing to inflict on each other, and it burns. It doesn't just come for a minute and then get back in the car and drive away. It doesn't throw a newspaper at your door and then bike off. It likes to slowly wade in while you aren't necessarily prepared for it. It will ring your doorbell, and at the first sight that you have at it you'll double back as if someone punched you in the stomach. You'll try to close the door but you're too weak. Punch after punch after punch. And maybe all this pain and punching in the stomach isn't necessarily relevant to the exact second where Pain's fist collides with your body.

Sometimes the damage that Pain inflicts is joined with his friend, Memories. The two like to gang up together sometimes, of course. They would. They work really well together.

So here you are, caught off guard at your front door with Pain and Memories repeatedly injuring you in the gut. They don't necessarily mean to. It's not completely their fault. You have to feel a little bad for such terrible creatures that create such perfect, awful harmony together. If only their roles could be used for the better. If only the notes that they create music with could end in a happy, positive way instead of a remnant of such heartache. It's the difference between sunshine and rain, good news and bad, a smile or a scowl.
Ah, the controversy of it all!
They mean well, too. They don't always come your way in order to ruin your outlook. They were once really quite innocent when you first had them, maybe even enrapturing. They had you right from the start, but the bad thing about it is that they still have you now.

I'd much rather be happy, friends. If you know me at all you know this to be true. I love to laugh and get excited. I love when it's sunny outside and you can hear the ocean waves in the distance. So I'm looking at Pain and Memories in the face right now and saying: What the heck?!
Not the most poetical of statements, to be sure.
But sometimes you just have to be frustrated at them for coming back to haunt you.
It's natural.
It's understandable.

It's ok to be frustrated.