Monday, April 7, 2014

Nikon Lovin'

My True Passion

My love for language and internationals all in one beautiful park #intlfriendship #languagefreak #ilovemycity #cincinnati #lovethisplace (at International Friendship Park)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Seen it All

I thank my Jesus, for knowing what is going on. I thank him for knowing my heart, and everything inside it, all the time. He knows the pain in my heart. He is the healer. He knows the joy in my heart. He is the provider. He knows the worry in my heart. He is the comforter. He knows the love in my heart. He is the giver. He knows the passion in my heart. He is the fire.

I'm so thankful my God knows me. Down to the core. Even if no one else in this life ever will, He does, and will always be interested in me. He will always be interested in everything about me. If nothing or no one else gets close enough to experience or feel the depths of my heart, my feelings, my passions, my dreams, my desires; my soul will find satisfaction in that my Jesus has seen and felt it all. And he always knows.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Clothed with Strength

Jesus, your love has always been near to me. Thank you my precious, precious Savior.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Our Valleys

Instead of turning away, meet the valley head on, and go through it with Jesus. This is where Jesus is, and where he wants us, where he wants to grow with us! It's exciting, it's joyous, it's beautiful. To be in the place where Jesus wants us to be, alongside him. Therefore, we can face our valley with joy and peace. Trust the goodness and love of God, and ask Him about the valley. We don't have to hide that.

I'm in the valley. I've admitted it, and now I'm walking through it with Him. I'm there because of decisions I've made, and Jesus knows that and is ok with that.

What a gracious, loving daddy we have. What a sweet, loving friend we have to hold onto.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Need

If and only if I stand back, thank my Maker, and fall into His grace and His mercy every single day of my life, will I ever be able to honestly and humbly present myself to Him, and then walk in my royal inheritance, letting it deeply captivate my heart. For without humility, how can compassion exist? The two go hand in hand. Our Savior Jesus was humble, and in his extreme humility, his compassion flowed freely and unconditionally to all he came in contact with. Jesus, whose example we strive to repeat, is living inside us to let us know that He is our missing link. He is the one in whom we should fall upon. His grace. The grace that has been with us since the day he died for us and broke every chain that has ever or will ever hold us down and lie to us about our identity.

Admitting our sin is just the first step. It's another step to admit we need God's grace, every moment of every day. We can't pick and choose when and where we need His grace. We just simply need it. We need it to breathe. We need it to move. We need it to pray, to speak, to hear, to know, to believe, and most of all, to change. We need it most to change. I need it most to change.

Thank you Jesus, that you freely give it. This grace has already been given. And now we can walk in it with all the joy and excitement that it brings, for all of our days to come.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Beautiful Exchange

Why do I sometimes get worn out? I think this is obviously a natural feeling.

My passion is working with people who feel misplaced, people who need someone to talk to, someone who will listen. My passion is relating to international people, students, and their families. People who have come from far away places, to learn new and exciting things, and have no idea what journey they are about to embark on.

Many people are pretenders. I am. Many are looking around, trying to find acceptance. Many look to material things. But who am I? I often times do the very same thing.

This past year of my life has been very memorable, yet so much of it I have forgotten, both unintentionally and intentionally. My experiences have impacted much of who I am.

Thinking back, the only motivation that kept me going was my ability to cling to faith, to truth, and to simply drown myself in the very nature of God; His unmerited grace and perfect love.

I had never felt such a need for healing. I had never felt such a need for His grace. I had never desperately longed for restoration and freedom.

But I knew, that amidst the pain, the heartache, the disgust, the guilt, the shame, the emotional ups and downs; I knew Jesus died. I knew that truth. That is the truth that I held onto. He died. It was finished long ago.

One morning last fall, as I was walking to my 10am class, an older woman was walking about 15 paces behind me in the parking lot. We made eye contact and I said a friendly hello, then after walking a few more seconds, I felt a tug in my heart to talk to her, so I decided to, assuming she walking to her class too (she had a backpack). I slowed down my pace, turned around, and started a conversation with her about the weather. We then got into the topics of school and work. I found out she was a retired school teacher. Her name was Suzanne. We then started talking about what she was involved with at NKU. She told me she was Buddhist, and part of a Buddhist group on the campus for students. She invited me to their meeting, and we got on the elevator together. As I got off on my floor, we exchanged names, then she told me as I walked away, "It was so nice talking to you Maria. You made my walk this morning exciting."

This touched my heart deeply! In so many ways. She was sincere with her words, that's what made my heart melt.

It's in moments like these when I am most thankful for the spirit of God living in me. I know that is what made her excited. Christ in me. She was walking to her class that morning with a little piece of Christ. How could she not be excited? Her normal, mundane, morning walk to class was interrupted by the Creator of her world, the lover of her heart, her Father, her Savior and Redeemer. How could she not be filled with joy? How could she not desire more conversation, to walk more, relate more, want more? She needs Christ, her heart wants and desires Him. Her heart was created for relationship with Him.

It's a beautiful exchange.  And a joyous occasion to take part in.