this year, we went with international friend y to marathon souvlaki, b's favourite restaurant in canada. in between enjoying the garlic toast, souvlaki, fries, and tzatziki, we had the chance to ask b to share about her walk with Jesus. her responses revealed a depth and maturity that delighted and impressed us. here's a taste of what she shared:
what words of God have been an encouragement to you in the past year?
jeremiah 29: 11-14 — for i know the thoughts that i think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. then you will call upon me and go and pray to me, and i will listen to you. and you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart. i will be found by you, says the LORD, and i will bring you back from your captivity; i will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where i have driven you, says the LORD, and i will bring you to the place from which i cause you to be carried away captive.
philippians 4:6-7 — be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through christ Jesus.
isaiah 41:10 — fear not, for i am with you; be not dismayed, for i am your God. i will strengthen you, yes, i will help you, i will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
what have been the saddest and happiest things that God has revealed to you over this past year or two?
saddest: learning that i need God. it's not a sad lesson to learn, but all that it took to learn that lesson has been very sad. there's been so much loss and so many painful experiences. before we moved to montreal, i loved God, but i didn't realize that i needed him to live every day. now i do.
happiest: discovering that God knows what is good for me, even better than i do. i didn't think so at first — i thought God was wrecking my life — but he has given things i never would've thought to ask for:
- my friends (both from high school and the ministry at the university), all from different countries, which has given me so many windows on the world;
- my school, which gave me the chance to take advanced placement exams in 10th grade, afforded me a place to compete on the track team, is offering a trip to costa rica next year, features a public awards ceremony and honour roll list, supportive teachers, and so much more. it's a great place to be;
- international christmas. we were away in a safe place with people from around the world, who were mixing, enjoying one another, sharing their cultures, and becoming friends. it was all the goodness of ethnic diversity without the racism and segregation that so often taint it.
last year, you mentioned growing in joy and in reading the bible. how are you doing in those areas?
with respect to joy, i know there is a ways to go, but i feel more stable, happier. i sleep more peacefully.
with respect to bible reading, i've read matthew, mark, and luke, and i've read jonah in french, which was a lot of fun.
how do you hope to grow in the coming year?
i hope to trust God more. if i do, i expect to be less anxious and to have more hope that God will cause things to work out for good.