Sunday, December 29, 2013

This new year....2014

At the time of writing this there are two days left in 2013. Every year around this time I like to look back at the year that has gone by. Because it's so hard to get somewhere new if we don't remember where we've been. 

This year has held so much. So much beauty. So many decisions and life events. It's impossible to sum it all up. So maybe just the highlights.

God has really stretched my faith this year. He's called me out of comfort zones and stepping out is still something that I'm learning to do. My summer at Teen Quest played a huge part in this. It was not only a summer of joy and fun, but of pain and frustration and growing through that. It was a lesson in trust and perspective. And in the end, I got to spend the summer with amazing people worshiping the God I love. And I got to see Him work in so many lives.

I can't help but think that this year looks much the same as last year. Still going to school. Still coaching. Still working with the youth. But it's not the same. In each area, things are growing, shifting, and I'm not the same person as last year. And what an adventure that has been! I've been able to experience a wonderful relationship with my boyfriend, go on adventures with my family, be in a wedding for the first time, and experience joy in unlikely places.

When the clock strikes twelve, I will look back at 2013 with a smile. It was a year of learning and growing and seeking God. Yes, it wasn't always a great year, but in the end, that's also the beauty of a new year.

And I'll look ahead to 2014 with hope. I'm excited for the journeys God will take me on, and the people I get to take them with. I'm looking forward to the joys that are hidden throughout the year, but I also know there may be pain. But I can look forward with hope because God has a promise throughout it all.

What has this year held for you? What are your expectations of 2014?

Praying that you have a happy and blessed New Year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Remembering....When Christmas isn't all it's supposed to be.

When the Christmas season isn't all that you hoped it to be, when it seems the days grow long and the magic fades, when the joyful carols seem to be replaced with rushing and business, remember.

Remember that that first Christmas day was the birth of a hope towards something greater. It was the birth of hope itself. And that hope was Jesus.

 We all strive for the perfect Christmas, but when we fall short, and the cold seems to seep into very your heart, remember.

Remember that on the very first Christmas, there was uncertainty. There was a journey. Not everything went according to human planning, but there was a star that guided them. That star still guides us today because we know the Light of the World.

When your Christmas seems to fall apart and there is fighting and the food is burnt or the decorations aren't right, remember.

We all have these Christmases, even if no one discusses them. They may happen every once in awhile, or they may happen every year. You may face Christmas with disappointment or discouragement. Sometimes we all need this reminder. Myself included.  Just remember.

What is celebrated on Christmas is so much more than one day a year. It’s more than the tree, or the decorations, or the presents perfectly wrapped (or not so perfectly wrapped). It’s about the enduring hope. While we may feel as though the dark night will never end, there is a hope. 

There is the Light of World.  Hold on for we can hope in something greater than one day a year. We can place our hope in the very One that was born that day to save us all.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Living with Eyes Wide Open

Every once in awhile, it happens. The darkness is peeled away as if it is a veil and we get a brief glimpse of pure beauty. That leaves us breathless. That leaves us in awe. We see how it's supposed to be. A moment where you finally get it. For a fleeting moment, it all makes sense. Sometimes these glimpses come through music, or a line in a movie, maybe what another person said. But for me, it most often comes through the pages of a book. I got a brief glimpse of something more, and again, this time it was through the pages of a book. More about brief glimpses of beauty I've found can be seen Here.

Eyes Wide Open by Ted Dekker.

I'll try to keep all the spoilers out but can't promise anything. I'll try to make my thoughts line up on the page, instead of being jumbled in my head, before (like all brief glimpses) they disappear.

The key line of this book would be,
"Our greatest challenge in life is remembering who we really are. Life is a cycle of remembering and forgetting. Do you know who you are?"

We let our eyes off of who we are. "But take your eyes off the light and you'll drown in the darkness you see. Darkness, as well as beauty, is in the eye of the beholder." So often we create fears, we create darkness (there is plenty of darkness out there that we don't create however.) because we lose sight of who we are. But what strikes me almost more than that is how content I can be in that blindness.

Why do we forget? I am a child of God, forgiven, loved and redeemed. But why don't I live in this identity of love and grace? Because I forget. Instead I look to what the world is telling me. The world is trying to make us forget. We need to remember. Because it's worth everything. It's worth fighting for. They will try to steal our light, our joy, our identities. We need to remember who we are. Because it will change our lives if we do.

With the law, with the rules, we are constantly trying to fix ourselves, to become better, to become worthy. But it was already taken care of. By Jesus. On the cross. My boyfriend recently said, "Our identity is entirely rooted in what Jesus has done- once for all. No takebacks." If we believed that....we could stop trying to be good enough and finally, really, live. If we believed love, if we believed we could be that love and receive that love....Surrender conquers all.

"The truth that if we have eyes to see, we can see we are beautiful. We've been put right a long time ago. We've just forgotten that. There is no further need for correction and there's really nothing more to know."

Let's remember who we are. Let's remember our identity. And live with eyes wide open.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

When you feel overwhelmed by life...

This summer has been an absolute whirlwind. So many emotions, so many adventures. It's flown by so fast and yet there are still a few beautiful summer filled moments left. And it's these I have to try to hold onto.

I now have my second semester's work in my hands. And it terrifies me a little bit. I know college students all over the country are going back, and most have much harder classes than I do. I know this. But it still doesn't make me less nervous. I'm worried about achieving a good grade, and being able to keep up and all that academic jazz. I know you've heard it before. So I'm just throwing it out there.

Also adding to this crazy summer has been new adventures. It's been great and wonderful. I'm looking forward to just following God and see where He leads.

This summer I've seen incredible acts of God, experienced beautiful community with people, have had encouragement given to me by so many wonderful people (my family, my co-counselors, my friends...), and now here I stand at the edge of fall.

With new trials and troubles on the horizon, new adventures in the making, and just the feeling of being overwhelmed by life. It's terrifying, yet beautiful.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A summer of incredible beauty

This summer was absolutely nothing I expected. At all. I knew I was going to be a counselor at a summer camp in Pennsylvania. I did not know that this would include planning pretty much everything, dealing with crazy (yet awesome) kids 24/7, a shaving cream battle where I would be decked from head to toe in the stuff, some challenges God put before me, and the awesome people it would include.

There were insane challenges for me and my comfort zone was definitely stretched but I look back at my time now and see only a wonderful summer full of God and His people. I experienced serving in ministry in a number of different ways. This helped me to get to know my strengths and weaknesses better and also gave me a perspective on how I worked with different personalities.

At the heart of every struggle I went through, there was a thread of intricate beauty. It was made up of working with a community of believers whose core purpose was to serve others. Every step along the way was someone to encourage, challenge and inspire me.

There are so many individual stories I could tell, but I'll do that over a few different posts. This is just the first to unravel some of my thoughts and feelings.

I knew this summer would be different, I knew it would grow my faith, I just didn't know how much. I didn't know how deeply it would set into my heart and take root there. How much I would value our times of worship, our late night runs to McDonalds, our times of devotions and most of all the people I was with.

And now that I'm home, it challenges the direction I'm going.

But God is good, and I can't wait to see where He leads next!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Fear and who I want to be...

I speak at a church tomorrow. If you know me, you know there are a few things I'm completely terrified of and tomorrow happens to include one of them. Speaking in public (by the way, the others include deep water that you can't see the bottom of, spiders, and of course failure because I knew you really wanted to know). Speaking in public terrifies me. My heart pounds, my legs shake, my voice gets all weird sounding. I'm terrified of it, completely horror-stricken. So why did I say yes? I'm still not sure really. While we were in Peru, speaking in front of others came so naturally. Yes, they didn't speak the same language, but some did. But I was okay with it. I think it's because I'm so scared I'll mess up and be judged. And in the meantime, I will let you know if I survive tomorrow.

Something that has really been on my mind is the kind of person I long to be. I wrote in my journal:

"I want to be awestruck by beauty. Swept into an incredible story.
Be able to find whimsy in everyday life.
Be so caught up with Jesus that every part of me is focused on Him.
I want to be passionate for God.
I want to have a passion to love and help other people.
I want to believe the very best about a person and to have hope rule in my heart.
I want so desperately to be that person in love with Jesus.
To have my life marked by whimsy.
To be an optimist, hoper of far-flung hopes, dreamer of improbable dreams."

There's a tip of the hat to doctor who in there, extra points if you can find it.

However, a little more in depth. Swept into an incredible story. When I read Bible passages sometimes I get a glimpse of this story. When I read certain books, I catch it there too. It's this longing, for something more. Something beautiful. And it's also a reminder I'm not home yet. But it's a longing and yet a reminder at the same time that there's more than the everyday wear and tear of life. There is real life one day.

My references to whimsy are from the book "Love Does" by Bob Goff.  An ability to look past the mundane and see beauty in life. To smile. To laugh. (By the way everyone should read this book).

But over everything, I want to have a love and a passion for Jesus that outshines every other part of my life. I want it to seep through everything I do. I want to be on fire.

This is a bit of who I want to be....

Monday, May 27, 2013

Why I've given up on this blog...

This blog has been dead for ohhhh, three months now. Which could be worse. It could, three months isn't that long. But it made me take a step back and examine why I never write in here in the first place.

I consider my self a writer. At the core of who I am, I'm a writer. Not a good one, never been published, no one even reads my writing. So how in the world do I consider myself a writer? Because at the end of the day, writing is what brings me joy. It brings me peace. I turn to pen and ink when I can't figure out life. Writing is a big chunk of my life. So having somewhere where I could present my passion to the world should thrill me, right?


It terrifies me. Because I've been writing for other people. The whole two people who may stumble across this blog in it's lifetime. And then I'd worry if my words were okay, if they presented right.

 So I've given up. 

From now on, I'm going to write. Simply write. And if no one ever reads it, I'm just fine with that. Because at the end of the day, I have to write. And this is a place to do it.

This is a new journey. To really write. To explore on this journey. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Aim of our Charge is....Love

There are moments that our hearts break. And this was one of them....

I was in Peru with a team of young missionaries (through YWAM) for a month. It was my first overseas mission trip and I didn't realize at the time how much it would change my life. But there was one moment in particular that will forever impact my heart and life.

It was at the very beginning of the trip. We went to a nearby open space, a run down basketball court, to practice our drama for the day. As we were practicing, a little boy and a little girl appeared. They shuffled down one of the little alleys that lead to the court, the boy about 5 and the little girl no more than 4. You could tell they were brother and sister. But that wasn't the part that caught us by surprise. The boy lead the girl by one hand and the other hand of the little girl was stretched out to the side, feeling for the wall. The little girl was blind. 

They settled down and the boy watched us a for a little, his sister glued to his side. One of our Spanish speaking missionaries went to talk to the kids. The little girl jumped when he spoke, she hadn't known he was there. They talked for bit and eventually the kids left. The little boy shepherding the girl close to him so she wouldn't get hurt by what she could not see.

As I look back now, the questions flood in. What kind of dreams and hopes does this little girl have? What will her future look like? What will her brother's? What is her family like? What was their story? What were their names?

To think that so many children around the world are looking for someone to love them.

1 Timothy 1:5 challenges us: "The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." ESV.

The aim of charge is love. Our aim is to love others. How are we doing at loving others? 

A really great way to put our love into actions is to sponsor a child. For $38 a month, you can save children from a life of poverty. We can give them dreams for a future. They will be introduced to Jesus  and given the blessing to go to school, get checkups and receive encouragement from their sponsors as well as the Christians who work at the Compassion center. 

This is one of the ways that we can put love into action. How are we going to show the world that our aim, as Christians, is to love others?

This post in a link with other compassion bloggers on which Bible verse inspires you to serve. Visit THIS PAGE to read other amazing blogs about being challenged to serve others.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

One Word 2013- Being

So for this title I almost write 2012. It's going to take me a bit to remember to write that! Well 2013 is finally here, with all of it's mystery and adventure. I don't know what this year will hold, but what I love about the first few days into a new year provides a rare perspective. You're close enough to look back but far enough to look ahead. As I sat with friends and we asked each other what all happened in 2012, I didn't have some big answer. But after I had time to reflect, how wrong I was...

As I look back over the pages of this year, I feel like it was a "behind the scenes year". I did so much learning and growing. I feel that this year was absolutely essential to who I am today. I didn't really think about it like that until now. But I'm not the same person I was last year. Subtle changes, little things, but they all add up into something bigger. All of the lessons that I've learned, while definitely not being east or fun, are lessons that I can take into this new year. I thought that nothing happened this year but it wasn't farther from the truth.

Something else I wanted to write about here was about One Word. If you've never heard about it, you can read a little more about it HERE. Instead of resolutions, you pick one word you want to work on. After a lot of prayer and thought, mine was.....


A little different I know. But it has a story. After a mission trip that was stateside and hearing a message on Mary and Martha. I wrote in my Bible "Being vs. Doing." While I was paging through my Bible, I stopped and and thought that was it. Being.

Jesus came by to stop at  Mary and Martha's house. They were friends. And Jesus was in the living room, talking. Mary, now she was at the feet of Jesus, hanging on His every word. Soaking it in. Simply being in the presence of her Savior. But her sister Martha was busy in the kitchen. Perhaps she was cleaning, preparing food, keeping bus trying to make sure everything was perfect for Jesus. She was so busy doing instead of being. (I wonder if Martha was the older sister?)....And finally, getting frustrated like any sister would, she out to Jesus and says, "Don't you care? I'm in doing all this work and she's out here sitting by your feet! Tell her to come help me!"  I can see Jesus looking at her tenderly and saying her name, "Martha, Martha. You're worried about so much but there is only one thing that really matters. Mary has chosen what is better, and it can't be taken away from her."

Ahhh, well. If I'm honest with myself, really honest, I'm more like Martha. Okay, who am I kidding, I would SO be Martha. Running around, making sure everything is perfect, so busy about doing that I miss the opportunity to BE. (The whole story can be found in Luke 10:38-42).

So that's my word. I want to concentrate on Being. And letting that be who I am, instead of be so worried about doing.

What is your One Word?