Friday, May 22, 2009

Thesis Issues: For the Gospel of Christ!

Yup! God is using my last week - my last few days in the Grad Student Housing for His glory!!! :) It started with my roommate being friends with our neighbor downstairs. Our neighbor is from Thailand and is a grad student in the Animal Sciences department. She came up to our apartment to ask my roommate to proofread her methods section of her thesis. My roommate, an English As a Second Language instructor from Russia looked at it and said, "Well, my roommmate Katie wrote a thesis. Maybe she can take a look at it." Dum dum dum!!!! :) In comes me. I asked our neighbor some questions about her stats and stuff, and she asked me if she could come to me with more of her thesis. I was wrapping up my grad student awesomeness, so I told her that she could.

This led to several email exchanges, and times where I was at her house or she at mine working on her thesis. Through these times, she began confiding in me about issues with her committee, her advisor, grad school life in general, and other things. God prompted me with 1 Peter 3:15 to show her how I handled it in light of the hope I had in Christ. Through God, I did :) EEEEEEEEK! :) My neighbor told me that she knew God was there, in a general sense, and that He had helped her through her first year here with all its stuff.

God prompted me this week to have tea with her and give her a Bible at the end of the tea time. That happened :) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK :) :) :) All to God's glory, because it's actually harder for me to share my faith with friends because I have a fear that they won't be my friend if they disagree. Well, God is teaching me more and more and giving me more power to live out Romans 1:16.

ANWAY, something I realized was this: God uses everything, and I mean everything. Even writing my thesis. I thought that the Gospel going out with my thesis ended with me sharing with my committee (post-defense) that God helped calm me down during it. Nope. I mean, He used that, but I never dreamed that He would use my ordeal of editing, editing, and editing again (after Zeynep had looked over my thesis and edited it so much that every other word was in 'track changes') to help someone else, and to share with them the Gospel.

Lesson in point: God uses anything and everything for the Gospel if we let Him, and ask Him, "What do You want from this?" I could've just edited her thesis and wished her luck and went back to wrapping up the grad school life. But God wanted me to invest more time in her. He saw more than a fellow master's student needing a thesis looked over. He saw someone in need of Jesus. And He allowed me to see that.

As I go with my life, I can get consumed with this transition of moving into a job of some sort post-graduation. I need to continuously ask God to help me see things not just in light of my future job or what I am doing at the current time, but in light of the Gospel. I need His help because I don't normally see this naturally.

Praise God that the Gospel does not return void, and that God uses ordinary stuff in my grad school life & other things to reach His people whom He loves.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fear's Effects on Families and my Plea for an Intervention

Today at church, we heard this Mother's Day message. I cried within the 1st five minutes because our pastor spoke about how fear can paralyze everyone, especially women, because our role is entrustment of ourselves to another - whether it is a husband and/or God. He discussed implications of fear driving parenting: leading to harshness or intrusiveness. In HDFS terms, intrusive parents can create overcontrolled children who can express this in anxiety/depression or acting out.

Later, I read one of my other friend's posts about numbers of children / family declining in a recession and for government officials pushing family planning during a recession. Fear can effect a family by viewing the children parents are supposed to be raising for good as burdens that take away resources.

I have commented on that post saying that interventionists say that parents have a finite amount of emotional resources that have been built over time through their interactions with their parents, teachers, friends, their present marriage, and favorable circumstances in their lives. Unhealthy childhoods, marital problems, and unfavorable circumstances deplete this emotional tank, and the resources left must be distributed within the marriage, life in general, and parenting. In this view, if parents have problems in their marriage or are in constant poverty or crisis, experts must come in and help them fill their emotional tank and give advice on how to parent.

Support and advice outside the family are not necessarily wrong, and actually should be encouraged if this support and advice is followed with this Truth: That Christ came and died for our sins to bring us close to God. If we accept this, we have a strength that comes from Him, love that comes from Him and never runs dry if we rely on God to fill us.

This is true intervention because it comes from Truth, and its source is everlasting. He is a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows. He wants to repair marriages because He has ordained marriage to reflect His image on the earth.

This is why I pray that people in my field come to know Christ. Because they need His hope. This is why I cannot stay silent in my classes about the true hope people can have about about the hope the local church can and is bringing to families. This is why I cannot stay silent about hope having to come from outside ourselves rather than within. I have tried to draw on hope from within myself. It has always run dry. I either had to do anything I could to let out the pain, or shut down and block out the pain to keep going. With God as my hope, I lay my burdens at His feet and He gives me strength to keep going.

This is what I pray for when I think about families in my church, AWANA, or elsewhere. I pray that they can know God and God can be their true interventionist. This is also what I pray for myself - if God would have me marry and begin a family. I pray that we, along with other families will have a foundation in Christ. In Him, we have a reservoir of strength and love. In entrusting ourselves to Him, we have no fear.