Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nice and warm with tea and covers...

Bundled up nice and warm after a wonderful day of ministry

We worshipped all day today! It was incredible! I played the glockenspiel and sang. We played everywhere we walked - in the train, on the streets, in the busses, at the stations, above staircases, everywhere, worship worship worship!! Tomorrow at 11AM we are going to a 24 hour prayer, worship, and intercession time happening with this group called Burn. God is building my heart for worship every single day. Singing and playing music for me is extremely special. What a great day. Sweet dreams everyone! Or as Meg Ryan would say on You've Got Mail "Goodnight dear void"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Knitted Moccasins

Goodbye bare feet. Hello knitted moccasins.

So I'm in Berlin now. I've been here six days. Where to begin, there's so much to say. Its very cold! My fingers feel like ice cubes right now. But thats okay, I want to write. I am still getting over jet lag, but adjusting really well. The culture here in Berlin is very different than Australia. Everyone keeps to themselves. You don't see many smiles when you're walking on the streets or in the train. Most people have no expression and don't really like making eye contact with you, they know where they're going and they get there fast. The other day when we were walking to the train I was wearing color and as we walked through a crowd of people I noticed everyone was wearing black or grey, you would see the occasional colored scarf but overall there wasn't much color. I felt like I was the only one wearing color, for a split second I felt like I was in a movie clip. God is giving me a big heart for the people in this city. I am excited to "splash color on this grey city, and onto the hearts of the people in it." I feel like I could write a whole book just about my experience on the train each day. Our apartment is cozy. We live on the very top floor and there is no elevator in this building. I love stairs, really I do. At the train stations as well there are heaps of stairs, its fun. I have tea every morning, and multiple times a day in my yellow mug. I call my mug sunshine. I love being all bundled up inside when its super cold out. When the trees are bare and the windows are frosty. My mornings are quiet and my times with God have been unreal. He is so good to me. I can't believe I'm in Germany. I could go on about the simple sweet things, but what I really want to talk about is what God's been doing in my heart. Because to be honest, like I've said before, its not about who I am or where I go, its about who God is and what He does, its all about Him.

I realize my posts are always long, I'm not sure if many people read them, if you do I am so grateful. Its so good for my soul to write, and if one person is encouraged along the way it makes it all worth it. If you're that one, be blessed. This is my first time to really be alone since I left Australia and writing to peaceful music is so relaxing for me, so here goes...

Ok so I have a few stories to share. I got on the train and sat down in front of an old man with glasses and a big black coat. He had a serious face and seemed to have a lot on his mind as he looked out the window scanning the buildings and trees. A few stops went by then he got off and went on his way. I really have come to love public transportation. For a short moment in time you are in someone else's world. For a short second a whole bunch of people are in a rectangle thing called a train headed in the same direction. Individually everyone is in their own world but physically not alone. I wish I could make a movie about it. Ok back to my moment, after that old man left another old man came walking through the train doors and sat in the seat directly in front of me. I was sitting on the aisle seat with my ipod in, very quiet and at peace. He had a black coat on as well, a grey scarf all bunched together, he was bald and had glasses. His face was full of love wrinkles. When I first saw his face and looked into his eyes he was starring at the ground. I love observing people, sensing their heart, reading their eyes, praying for them. I see things in color all the time. I like to pray for people and often I ask the Lord, "What color is their heart right now? and what color do they need?" Many people here in Berlin seem to have greyish color eyes and hearts that are frozen with color inside just waiting to be set free. When I saw this man starring at the ground, when I looked into his eyes I saw a green color, green and blue. A few seconds went by, he was sitting directly in front of me a few inches away, so that can sometimes be awkward for people. I don't think it is but others sometiems do. He was looking his way and I was looking mine, then I closed my eyes because the song I was listening to was so beautiful. I smile, a simple smile, no teeth and close my eyes. When I open my eyes the sweet old man is looking directly into my eyes. He had the most loving face, his smile was gentle and his eye contact was sincere. It wasn't a flying gaze, his eyes were resting, he was at peace. I saw color in his eyes. Its rare you look at a stranger directly in the eyes for three full seconds in peace. People avoid lasting eye contact I've noticed. However this moment was unlike anything. I feel like most of the people here in Berlin have very grey hearts like I said before, no color at all. Its like their color is their, its just frozen. Its like this sweet elderly man was so used to people with grey but when he saw my eyes he knew my heart had lots of color, and it was okay. Because his heart had lots of color too. And for that short short moment we shared our color. It was the first genuine smile I've received from a German since I got here. God always without fail puts elderly people in my path. He knows I adore them. The more I travel the more I love people. I love the gift Gods given me to see color and think in color. Such a blessing. Another incredible moment...I walked into Starbucks, I wanted some tea and I wanted to write, and a taste of home since I used to work there. The line was kind of long and there was no English being spoken anywhere. It soon came my turn to order and I smiled at the lady and said, "only english" in German then ordered. She was sweet. i get to the checkout and this sharp looking asian was standing there speaking heaps of German too and I smiled and said "only english" to him as well. And he changes and says "oh okay go ahead.." I told him what I ordered and as he was getting my receipt he looks at me and says, "wow you have the most beautiful smile. keep smiling." I was completely taken back! Germans aren't quick to say something like that but this man did. I took three steps forward and waited for my drink and I heard the Lord say, "darling, i see you here in this crowd where you know no one, you are beautiful." Ever since August, since I moved to Australia, God has been speaking to me so much about Him as my Lover, my identity and worth, identity and worth, over and over again. Such a precious season. The most amazing journey with my best friend, a journey that will never end, never end.

I led worship at a youth group a few nights ago, the team and I. I sang and played the glockenspiel. I love singing with all my heart. I feel so comfortable on stage with a microphone. After the service several people came up to me and said how much they loved my voice and how beautiful it was. This one guy came up to me towards the end, he was extremely tall and had a fun knitted hat on. He walks up to me and shakes my hand and says, "when you were singing and when you shared part of your testimony God gave me a word for you." My face lit up because I wasn't expecting to hear that at all! I am so in awe of Gods goodness and blessing. He goes, "I saw you at the front of an army, the army was full of color and each person was holding a paintbrush for their sword and they were splashing color everywhere, and were worshiping through painting and song." and he goes, "and you were speaking to them, you were inspiring them through your art, your color, and your voice." After he says all that he just smiles and goes, "yea so I just feel like God wanted me to tell you that. and you are great by the way." My eyes filled with tears and I thanked him so much for walking over and for listening to the Lord and telling me that. WOW!!!! If you know me at all you can understand my WOW, even though that doesn't do it justice at all. This guy had never seen me before in his life. His picture God gave him confirmed so much! Like I said, this season had been so much identity for me. Just me and God, Him speaking to me about who I am and my worth. Who is Alicia, what does Alicia love, what is Alicia passionate about, and what is God calling me to. As I think about my passions, color color color, painting, worship, singing, love! Splashing color on people's hearts through love, painting and song all in and through a lifestyle of worship, I'm just blown away. For so long I thought that being different was a bad thing. I thought I was less special because I wasn't good at math, science, school was harder for me, I didn't want to be a doctor or have a big flashy career with heaps of money. But now I know thats not true at all. There is only one Alicia Grace in all of the world and that in itself makes me breathtakingly beautiful. And what I love, the passions God has placed in my little colorful heart are okay and lovely. I don't need to change or be someone else. I will never be a doctor or love math. I love art, color, and love. And I'm passionate about praise. Praising God. True worship from the heart. Being me is enough. That applies to everyone, you! Being you is enough.

Deep breath. I'm so thankful for the way I see and process the world around me. I have so many short film ideas in my heart and mind that I so wish could happen. So many things I could do with these thoughts and things God teaching me, the little things I write about. One day I pray, one day. If I can encourage you in anyway, get to a place where you love yourself completely, know your identity in God.

Those were a few little moments that I wanted to share with you. My nose, fingers, and toes are officially frozen. Its definitely time for sunsine. (tea)

Be so blessed wherever you are in the world dear family and friends. Thank you so much for every prayer, every thought. I definitely feel covered. As always, enjoy your moments and enjoy God. He's always waiting to spend time with you. He loves you so much and so do I! Ok I'm gonna go spend time with Jesus, drink some tea, draw, and put my pjs on. I will write again soon when I have time.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Flight details for Monday

Here's an update lovely friends and family back home. Please be praying for my team and I as we leave Brisbane and fly to Europe Monday morning! Here are our travel details.

Depart from Brisbane Mon 14 Feb at 2:40pm
Arrive at Singapore Mon 14 Feb at 8:35pm
Layover in Singapore
Depart from Singapore Mon 14 Feb at 11:50pm
Arrive at Amsterdam Tue 15 at 6:35am
About 4 hours in the city resting and sipping tea, then we catch a train that will take us to our final destination: Berlin!

The train ride is about 6 hours. We hope to arrive in Berlin by 5:30pm on the 15th. We have a band rehearsal that night we arrive at 7pm. We will be joining with a band at a church in Berlin for a huge worship night the following week! It's going to be incredible! After that rehearsal we will be able to settle in in our apartment and rest for the night. It will be a long time of travel but oh how I love traveling. Airports are my favorite place in the world! All of the money I needed was raised just in time today, God is so incredibly good! The current weather in Berlin says snow showers, which brings sunny skies to the weather inside my heart. I love cozy weather, boots, scarfs and knitted hats, leaving your footprint in the snow and catching small kisses on your nose as trees hibernate and everything seems quiet. I'm so thankful to soon be in a cold climate! It will be refreshing to leave the scorching Australian sun for a while. Beach and bare feet to snow and scarves. Thank you Jesus for warm weather, thank you for cold weather. Logistical stuff here at the base is going great, my main thing I need to do is laundry, pack, and clean. I have a little bit more paperwork to finish up tomorrow, but everything is almost ready!

Peace is possible in every moment and I definitely experienced that this week and today. This week was insanely busy and could have been stressful. At times it was, but when you take time to choose joy and you choose Gods grace over the worlds stress, you experience perfect peace in what could easily be a stressful time. So no matter what you go through, God has grace for that moment and His grace is enough and His peace is perfect and real.

I will update again soon. I love you guys. Thank you so much for your prayers!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ti Kuan Yin

These are my words from inside. I took a day off today. I needed to recharge.

How cool would it be to be like a tree firmly planted in the midst of a city full of chaos and motion? To be a peaceful encounter for a stressed out soul. A "how are you?" for someone who feels unseen. To be a simple, genuine smile for everyone that passes through your tea shop. People may never remember my name or me at all, and thats okay. What matters isn't what I receive, its what I give, what they receive. So many people focus on the big things in life. The big buildings. If it weren't for every little screw there wouldn't even be a building. I'm so passionate about the little things in this thing called life. The little individual flowers that make up a field. The little petals that make up a flower. I love finding beauty in everything. I love finding beauty in everyone. Everyone wants to be seen, heard, and appreciated. I went through a long period of feeling invisible and I know what that feels like. I also know what it feels like to receive a smile or for someone to say "how are you? you're wonderful." or even an "I love you." I'm passionate about bringing light, even if its just one tiny candle, to souls that are without light. If you have a dark room and you put one tiny candle somewhere in it, it may not be a spotlight, but it does light up the room. This is what I love. This is what I would love to do. A tea shop similar to starbucks, I'd love for it to be worldwide. Tea and fruit. Color and frozen berries. What would the tea shop be called? Hmm, 'You are wonderful: Tea and Fruit just for you' - 'The Dwelling: Tea Shop and Fruit' Oh I have no idea, haha. It's fun to dream. I'd have little sayings written on each mug or cup - you are wonderful. you are loved. you are precious. you are beautiful. I would give away my hoot hoots and turtles. Yes, these are things I write about, think about. It may never happen and that's okay, but what if it does?

I sat in Borders for several hours today. This particular Borders has three stories. I walked around, not in a hurry at all, looking through the aisles and searching for an empty comfy chair. The tea section was on the third floor. I gathered two books about tea and one book about China. Oh I just love reading about tea. Here in Australia there are a lot of Asians. A Chinese man sat across from me on the train. He seemed very sad. He had a book in his hand but his eyes didn't seem to be moving. He eventually closed his book and looked around a bit. We met eyes and I sent him a smile, but his face was blank. As he looking out the window I began to pray for him in my mind and sensed he was really hurting. I carried this man in my thoughts as I walked to Borders. For some reason I wanted to read about China. So I sat up on the third floor in this one comfy chair, occasionally I would rest on the floor. I read my tea books and fell in love with my book on China. I love this one quote from the tea book: "Sitting at night in a mountain pavilion, drawing spring water to boil tea. As the water and fire battle it out, the scent of the pine pillows through the trees as I pour a cup, bathed in light from the clouds. The profound pleasure of this moment is hard to convey in words to those of common tastes." -Ming Dynasty Literati

My moment in The Tea Centre. There's a certain tea for every mood. I like to think that. Ti Kuan Yin (the green style Oolong) meets my mood right now. I was going to choose the Earl Grey Blue Flower, but I decided on Oolong. My spirit is searching for calm. A calm like still undisturbed water. The flavor of this tea is deep and rich. The aroma is fresh and clean. I love oolong teas. Their aroma is fresh. This green oolong tea isn't speaking a lot. Some teas are very colorful and carry lots of flavor, meeting different emotions, like a bouquet of flowers. My tea right now, if it had to be one color I would say a teal. A soft blue green teal. For me, right now this tea carries only one flower - not a bouquet. This tea is quiet, which is just what I need. Quiet like me. It's a perfect cup of tea if tears were to fall. Tears are beautiful, when there are no words to be found, when your outside is frozen and your heart feels like crashing waves. Tears bring healing, tears release the built up waves. Thank you Ti Kuan Yin for meeting my mood. I can't put into words how much I adore tea. It's something to be experienced and appreciated everyday. What kind of tea meets your mood right now?

Go make yourself a cup of tea. Remember to cover your tea while its brewing! I love you guys. Thank you for reading.