Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weird. And He's OK With That :)

There are those moments when we are completely and utterly free--being who we are and feeling incredibly alive. There is a joyous rush of exuberance that seemingly travels from the soles of our feet to the very tops of our heads. Arms may be flailing, bodies may be twirling, snot may be flying out of our noses from uncontrollable laughter--whatever the case may be, we are free. Fear of judgment is non-existent; we are truly meeting face to face with liberty.

Sometimes this happens in the confines of privacy. Other times, these moments take place in the company of trusted, dear, life-long friends. There are even those moments when these occurrences happen around the presence of those we do not know, and oddly enough--we don't care.

Here is where a sense of sadness seeps in; these experiences seem to be the exception. We are way too aware of ourselves (mind you, when I say we, I'm just admitting that this is true for myself). We fear being rejected: we feel as though rejection of that one portion really reflects rejection of the whole. Suppressing these quirks, these oddities, really does suppress our spirits; it almost seems like those parts of us begin to fade. They don't come so naturally anymore; we almost have to go looking for them.

You know how good friends point out each others quirks? In those moments,  a strange happiness is experienced--wow, those things are noticed. It demonstrates how others care for and receive each other. I just think...whoa, God sees everything I do--all the weird, quirky, i'm-really-glad-no-one-was-around-to-see-that type of stuff. And the best part? He's watching with that twinkle of sheer delight in His eyes. He's watching me be fully me:

"For you created [our] inmost being;
       you knit [us] together in [our mothers' wombs]
[We] praise you because [we are] fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
      [May we] know that full well."

My hope is that there would be a deep sense and understanding of joy as we continue to step into more and more of who we already are.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

'Gainst the Grain

If you planted a seed in the soil and then started to tamper with it--move it around, dig up the dirt around it, etc... What would happen? Would that bring life to the seed, or would it disrupt its growth process?

Being still.

This goes against what many of us know and consider a normal aspect of our lives: busyness, hurriedness , overbooking, and multitasking.

It's funny what I am realizing more and more as I write this. Busyness, hurriedness, overbooking, and multitasking are all encapsulated in this issue of control.

Being still requires us to trust and relinquish control.
Being still also slows us down enough to feel. Frankly, sometimes feeling seems too much to bear. Issues are going to surface, and we're going to have to sit in them, and allow time for healing to enter into those places in our lives. The posture of stillness requires of us a commitment to intentionality. It requires us to give up many levels of comfort, and it also asks us to acknowledge our needs and weaknesses. Being still puts our spirits in a place of acknowledging the realities of our existence whereas being busy gives us a false sense of knowing how everything will turn out--it's a sorry attempt to safeguard our lives and futures.


Being still reminds me that the accomplishment of tasks and the meeting of due dates will not determine the course of my life. In fact, it reminds me that there is something far grander that IS in control. Even more importantly, it reminds me that my existence is not for the sake of self. I'm just a small part of a much larger, more magnificent Story.

Love, mercy, faithfulness, gentleness, joy, patience, etc... (you get the picture) have no room in busyness or hurriedness. Self takes the throne in those tendencies.
I don't belong in that throne, and I don't want to place myself there--even unintentionally.

Being still is a discipline. And it's one that I fight frequently. I fight it with excuses (yes, some of them would even seem justifiable or somewhat appropriate).
It's funny that I often run from the very things that give me life; being still and being in the presence of my Maker does give me life.

Being still allows me, allows us, to be refined. Feeling pain or discomfort in light of becoming better, stronger, and more whole is worth it. The old adage of 'what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger' is true for being still. It's not going to kill you.

I'm finding time--no, i'm making time to be still, and I invite you to join me. Yeah, it'll feel awkward and uncomfortable. But the result of this will be the building of a habit that will change our lives and how we live.


-love you
-provide for you
-guide and counsel you
-lavish gifts upon your life
-bless you
-teach you
-lead you
-heal you
-challenge you
-forgive you
-celebrate you
-delight in you
-speak to you
-draw near to you
-use you
-give you purpose

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Uganda Bound!

Hi everyone! I'm headed off to Uganda in a few months. Up until that point, the team and I will continue to meet, train and prepare for all which lies ahead.

Here's my support letter if you'd like to take a look-see. If you have any questions even after reading it, please let me know. I'd love to talk with you about the trip!:

Dear friends and family,

I hope this finds you well. This has been a year of many transitions, and through them all I’m continually being impressed with the importance of experiencing the breadth of life and culture around me, acknowledging the needs of a very diverse world around me, and intentionally finding ways to serve in these various environments.

When I first started going to ROCKHARBOR Church five years ago, I found myself deeply affected by a video clip that had been made after a team went to Uganda. I realized how there is need for help and restorative action in such a war-scarred country. In a place whose national past time is war, many families can’t remember what life was like before war. The conflict began in 1987 when a rebel army, known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), began fighting the Ugandan government. As the LRA lost soldiers to battle, they soon resorted to abducting children and training them as soldiers. Fearing abduction, many children fled their homes nightly. The children who ran from their homes walked miles to find shelter in hospitals, bus parks, virtually anywhere away from rebel camps. Recently, some families are fortunate enough to find refuge in government sponsored displacement camps.

Partnering with Africa Renewal Ministires for the fifth year ( ), ROCKHARBOR is sending another team this December to Gulu, Uganda. After much prayer, a long application and interview process, God has opened the doors for me to serve in this capacity. We will be leaving December 27th and staying there for two weeks. While in Uganda we will be doing hut-to-hut outreach, medical work in villages, praying with people in prisons, hospitals, and the community. Also, we will be given opportunities to work with Gulu Bible Community Church. My heart is that we would continue to learn to love more fully through this trip.

I have written this letter because I want you to be informed. Most importantly, I have also written that you might support me as well as the team through prayer. Please pray for the following:

• Strength for the team as we prepare & while we are there
• Team unity
• Flexibility and patience as we serve
• Outreach events
• Teaching the Word of God with boldness
• That we would have humble hearts and pray boldly to see the healing power of God
• For the hearts of those we will come into contact with
• Participation with Gulu Bible Community Church

I have committed to raise $4,000. If you would like to make a donation to my trip, please make a donation payable to ROCKHARBOR Church. Please do not write my name or the country anywhere on the check. You may use the included return envelope, which is already addressed and indicates that the donation is for my trip. If using your own envelope, please mail to ROCKHARBOR Church, attn: Uganda/Elizabeth Pham. 3080 Airway Ave. Suite 100, Costa Mesa, CA 92628. Please note that donations are tax deductible and are non refundable. All donations will go towards the overall cost of the trip; any excess funds will first help cover the team’s costs and secondly will be gifted to the ministry we are going to serve.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this letter and for partnering with me in this opportunity. I look forward to seeing how God moves during this trip and am excited to share with you when I get back!