2017: A Charmed Reflection
I’m sitting here with Barbara, and she just told me that there’s only an hour and twenty minutes left in 2017. So I figured I should hurry up and write this reflective piece. 2017 has been an interesting year. It’s interesting not entirely in a bad way, but not entirely in a good way either. As always, there are good moments and bad moments, and there are moments that came and went. An inspirational quote from a random search on Google states, “Live for the moments you can’t put into words.”
As I sit here and reflect on the year - the victories, the struggles, and everything in between - I figured I should somehow put things into words. I didn’t even realize that I did this until the last couple of weeks of 2017, but I’ve actually been collecting charms on my PANDORA charm bracelet for different moments of this year. Things and people I wanted to remember. So let me share them with you, in lieu of the close of one year and the beginning of a new one.
I started out with a bracelet from Gigi Kenney and a heart charm from Isabel Kenney. The Kenneys have been in my life for a long time, and they’ve seen me through different seasons of my life. I have been totally floored by the way they have loved me and supported me - even during the times when I was away. In those times, the times when I simply refused to come back to Jakarta, Gigi said something that stayed with me even until this very moment. It’s something I now say to teens who are moving away to college. “Tirza,” she said. “Whenever you decide to come home, IES will always be home.” Gigi, PD, and Isabel have made this place home. And this year, a very challenging year both for my personal ministry and the teens ministry, I have seen them stand by their word. They have supported me through giving up of the 8th floor and restructuring teens ministry and dealing with dramas. (Yes, pastoring teens will always include drama.)
One of my favorite moments with Isabel this year happened in a conversation with my intern, Dakota. The three of us were hanging out in the office. He was genuinely interested in my life and learning more about me, so he asked me a question. “Do you have any siblings?”
“Well… Sort of. I have people in my life who are not related by blood but are my siblings.”
“No, I mean real ones.”
At that, Isabel turned sharply to him and exclaimed, “Am I not real?!?!”
You, my dearest, are very real to me. And I love you.
The light blue shimmery charm that sort of glows in the dark came from PANDORA’s Disney collection. It’s the Elsa color charm. It’s pretty simple, actually. There has been times in my life this year where I had to consciously let go. Like Frozen’s famous song, I just needed to let things go. One of the biggest thing to let go was the old chapel and the teens lounge, and meeting the expectations of other people about what the teens ministry should be. I had a moment where I realized that it’s not my ministry. My ministry belongs to Jesus. He’s called me to this position “for such a time as this”, and he will guide me through the changes. It’s his call that I need to follow, the other stuff I just need to let go.
For all of you who now have “Let it Go” stuck in your head, you’re welcome.
These are my three travel charms from the year: a Greek seeing eye charm, Rome’s The Colosseum, and an Arabian coffee pot. I have always loved to travel, but I haven’t been doing a lot of that in the past few years. In 2017, I have had the opportunity to travel to Greece, Rome, and stop by the Middle East. I absolutely love Athens and Santorini. It was also on this trip that God taught me about peace. I definitely had a God encounter watching the sun rise in Oia Village. It wasn’t really about the tourist destination. It was more about being away from the busy-ness and really spend time with God. A retreat of some sort. And let’s be honest. I ate to my heart’s desire on this trip. Pasta and pizza in Rome? Yes, please! To an extent, April of this year was my Eat, Pray, Love trip. It was much, much needed.
The orchid charm is for my dad. My dad passed away three years ago, and life has definitely been different without him around. Towards the end of his life, I wasn’t as close to him as I felt I was when I was younger. You know, the whole daddy’s girl thing is great when you were little. However, sometimes, as we grow older, we realize that our fathers are human and have human tendencies and make human errors. And the little girls grow up to make our own mistakes and blaze our own paths and get our hearts broken. Deep inside, though, we’ll always be that little girl who will always have a sweet spot for her daddy. I miss mine. It’s tough to go through some of the milestones in life, ministry, and relationships without being able to share it with my dad.
One of my favorite photos of me with my dad is one where I was a baby and he was holding me amidst his orchids. He loved gardening and he loved animals.
And he loved me.
The heart charm that says "You are so loved" was a birthday gift from Wendy and Royal. Family isn’t always blood. People don’t have to be biologically related for us to belong to each other. In my life, I have had the privilege of experiencing it. This only child have been blessed with more siblings than she can ever imagine. I have been blessed with people who have stood by me through a season or multiple seasons in my life, and call me family. I’ve learned a lot from these kinds of relationships. I’ve learned a lot about God’s love. He calls us his own - adoption is in our heritage. And what a beautiful story!
The snowflake charm is from an unexpected friend and brother. I wasn’t planning on him, but he just sort of happened this year. A wonderful surprise, some might say. I think it definitely has something to do with the back of Arya’s car. We are forever grateful. People ask me if I’ve known Angga for years, and the answer to that is: no. We met at the end of January of 2017, I believe. In the backseat of Arya’s KIA Picanto. (There’s something about that car, I tell you.) And my life became about a thousand times funnier and more.. Unique. Sure, that’s the word. I asked him not too long ago: How is it that we can go from being absolute strangers to pretty amazing friends in less than a year? I’ve decided to stop analyzing this and just accept, celebrate, and thank God for the friendships in my life.
Oh no. I got it. Max! That’s the reason. ;)
There’s a charm on my bracelet that is in the form of a heart lock with a key attached to it. A lot of things happened this year. I made a lot of personal, ministerial, relational, emotional decisions this year. God has spoken to me at different times of the year. I’ve experienced him times and times again. The verse that comes to mind, though, is one from the Christmas story about Mary. Luke 2:19 states, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” While a lot has happened, and often I want to just talk to everyone about everything, there is wisdom in reflection and treasuring something. Keeping it until it’s time. Filing it until God fulfills the promises he’s made in regards to our call. This charm is a reminder of both God’s promises and the invitation to treasure these in my heart while I wait for God to fulfill his good plan for me.
Friends, I don’t know what 2018 has in store for me or for you, but I know that God is already in the mountain tops and valleys of 2018. He’s in the memorable moments and the seemingly mundane. He’s Immanuel, God with us.
Happy new year! Praying God’s presence on you and your journey in 2018.