Her.

22 05 2012

I have been thinking of this lady lately.

Maybe it’s because I saw her a few weeks ago and all of a sudden, there was this interaction of questions, hugs and seeing her eyes that were naturally flowing again. I love her eyes. Gentle and loving. Deep compassion is seen through them.

We laid awake chatting away in the dark on a blowup mattress. She summed up our time together quite well here.

As we laid there in the dark, I told her that one day I hope to be like her. (At least I think it was then.) Not just like her, but kind of like her, in a ‘Dre way’.

She is a woman that is trusted by many many others. She has wisdom like crazy. She has lived life and has so much experience in so many things. She has an incredible network of people (which is my thing for sure). She is visiting people all over, all the time (even if a big chunk is her big family). She makes time for people. She connects well with people, anyone at that matter.

When you meet her, you think you’ve known her all your life. She’s so intentionalShe is genuine and gentle but direct in her approach. She is incredible at asking questions, even if they are flying at you like spitting bullets.

But I love that she just wants to know you. I love her heart and that she doesn’t hold her self back. She just cares for people, and cares to love them with where they are. I know she’s not perfect, but she is absolutely amazing, and I know it’s not because of her, but it’s because she has lived a life devoted to Jesus and God is blessing her greatly in her pursuit of Him. He entrusts many with those who are faithful with little.

I love her love for the gospel and how she always, always brings anything and everything back to the gospel.

I think He has grown the people who connect with her, because she has been so good at entrusting those people and their situations and trying to point them back to Jesus.

Darcie, you are an absolutely beautiful woman, and I love you. I have thought of you often as I miss you, even if I do drive around town with yours and John’s super cute picture on my dashboard. I love y’all so much. Thank you for loving and investing in me. You truly are such a precious precious person to me. (And so is Mr. John Newton). ha.

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Apathy, excuse the soap-box.

10 01 2012

(This post is super-long and random.)

I got off work super early today. Thankful that I made some pocket change. I tend to focus on how much more I need. I just paid $157 on student loans on Friday, then received a bill the other day for $71.00 and received two today; one for $467.00 and one for $701.00. For real?

Therefore, my world is being run by the mundane life. The day in and day out of just trying to keep my head above water as I need to pay all this school debt off; six years of stress and (somewhat) hard work, with no degree to show for it. Six years of friendships in different cities. Six years of trials that typical young college people go through. Six years of many tears and wandering lonely roads as I search for answers and truth and the meaning to life. Six years of walking through a wilderness… and through that wilderness, my last year was the most stretching. Juggling 24 credit-hours (and however only 12 would be accounted for), working 30 hours a week and fighting the depths of my soul in a very real spiritual battle of salvation. Oh how I would not have traded those six years of wandering, and especially that last years super intense battle for anything. Now that I am where I am. I had to go through that. I had to walk through that in order to get to this rich season. I now have six years of seeing the Lord’s hand and faithfulness and absolute and utter grace poured out endlessly over my life. Time and time again, He was just wooing me to Him, it just took some time for my eyes and heart to be open and receptive.

But now, I have to choose to continue to believe and fight even though the battle for my soul has been won. Christ has saved me, and given me new life! What an incredible joy that is! I sometimes wondered how Christians could be so joy-less and passion-less when they had been saved, and they have the greatest person fighting for and with them. He has given everything we need if we would just stop being lazy and apathetic and take our focus off of ourselves and onto Christ! If we would only read His Word; the truth! If only we could read those words and have them contineously sink deeper and deeper into the core of our being… letting it be the truth that is pulsing through our veins and truly being the beat in our hearts. His truth brings life, and far too often we forget and don’t care. I forget.

And here I am. A believer. Apathetic. Lazy. Bored.

I get caught up on how my life should look. How I thought it would look at this age. I would be either engaged (not married, that is age 25) and planning for a wedding. I would also somehow be on the mission field in some way. Either already packed up and gone or in the process of packing up. I thought I’d be living in some crazy little hut in the bush of Africa or do some type of mission work where I had very little to live off of, cause that is what super-Christians do right?

Hmmmm. No.

Somehow, somewhere, I think as children, we think super Christians are the ones who surrender their lives completely and head off to other countries and help poor people. Or they go off to some seminary and become some sort of pastor.

But God hasn’t called me to either of those. It was quite clear during those four day sin the bush of Africa; I am not called to live in a little hut for the rest of my life. I highly respect and definitely admire those who are called to that way of life. And those who actually do it. I am by no means bashing missionaries or pastors. We are the body, and we all make up very unique and different parts of the body. I am all for it! As long as the gospel is being shared; that is, every part of the gospel. Not just the ‘let-me-make-you-feel-good-that-someone-loves-you-and-has-plans-like-Jeremiah-29:11’ but also sharing that we are born sinners. We are born with an evil in our hearts, and that we.are.no.good.without.Christ. Yes, if that is being shared I am for it! And if discipleship is happening, and leaders are raising up the younger generation, you bet I am for that. I just so long for the day when God’s glory completely floods this earth. I have no idea how that will look. Seems like his glory and wrath will all be intertwined… my thoughts just simply cannot begin to fathom that day… anyway…

What has He ‘called’ me to? I have no stinking idea. I have been asking for years, for some sort of clarity. Some sort of passion or love for some cause or people group or something; anything! But that is also something else I think we as young people get caught up in as well. It is how we are taught. Maybe not all church-kids, but a lot of us. We have been taught/ continue to teach kids to ‘listen to God’s voice. What’s your calling? What’s your gift? Where are you going to serve? What ministry will you be a part of? How much money will you give?

It is all about us and what we will do. I think we need direction and goals in our lives for sure. That is one area I lack big time. I am not a very determined or goal oriented or even motivated type of person. I float more on the apathetic boat. Whatever comes my way, whatever door opens without me having to life a finger is the one I’ll choose.

But I think we need to stop looking high and low for our calling. I think our calling as a believer is quite clear and simple.

And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the ends of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

That’s it! We all have a calling. Those of us who Jesus has saved. Those of us who claim to be believers, but tend to float down the mediocre stream. We will be judged one day, and we will be weighed justly. I think we spend so much time searching and trying to hear some ‘special’ calling and… well I think this is quite huge! Granted, I think God definitely specifies our calling into categories such as pastors, missionaries, worship pastors, teachers, children’s ministers etc.

But this is the bottom line of each of those callings. You do not have to be a person in one of the above categories. He calls any and every believer to do this! That means students, moms, dads, garbage truck drivers, nannys, servers, bank tellers etc.

I think when you choose to look at Christ, He will make those paths clear.

I was challenged the other day by a friend of mine in high school. I lived with his family after I graduated high school for a summer. For almost six years I spend many holidays with them and made many trips to go back and see them. I have grown to love these four kids deeply as my own siblings. The oldest kid is in high school, my buddy Carson. He is in high school and has a passion to be serving the Lord and allowing Christ to have the glory for all the blessings and even the hard times in his life. It is so incredibly refreshing and challenging seeing his faith and how passionate he is about sharing it! The other day he said this… “I’m sick of everybody bein so down all the time! Honestly it shows just where God is in your life… Because if youre constantly complaining, or worrying, or bein negative all the time, obviously God’s not in the highest place he deserves in your life. Yeah I know crap happens…But seriously if Christ is truly your life, then NOTHING should bring you down b/c you can always rejoice in the facet that youre saved by a loving King. So while everybody else is worrying, complaining, and bitter, I’m gonna rejoice, cuz I know just who my God is, regardless of circumstances. **Psalm 146***”

Man! if that doesn’t challenge you, then I don’t know what will! God has been rocking my boat of apathy quite a bit lately, and He definitely did when I read this. The last month and a half I decided to sail away on this boat simply out of frustration. Frustration that I just want some answers. For some reason I felt (still sometimes feel) like I deserve them. I need them. I want closure. I want to be fixed, healed, whatever. I sorta-kinda gave up. I threw in the towel and hailed my white flag of surrender, and that only made things worse. It only drew me deeper and deeper into the waters of sin and disbelief.

Uhhh, self-centered? Just a tad bit. Melodramatic? Why yes, yes indeed. I can be good at that.

I shifted my focus. I took my eyes off of Christ and focused on what hurt inside. But Christ asks us to fix our eyes on Him! And HE will make our paths straight! If I would stop trying so hard to figure out what I will be doing in the future; what to do this summer, or if I need a new job, or what to do to make more money, or find a man, cause that’ll surely make me happy; or find some sort of far-off ministry to jump into because doing what I’m doing is nothing… if I would just stop thinking these things and just… go back to the basics; truth, I think my life would be far less stressful and have a lot more purpose and meaning.

I am in desperate need of a reminder of the basics:

-God has saved me. What an incredibly amazing thing! Seriously!
-I need to root my heart back into the soil of thanksgiving.
My life is a gift. His son was given to save my life; that is a gift. Every breathe I take is an undeserved gift of grace.
-He has given everything I need to endure this life through the Holy Spirit and the Word.
-I do have a calling on my life! he calls me to bring Him all the glory and to be a vessel willing to be a light and help bring lost people to His kingdom! It can only happen through Christ!

I love that when I go through hardships now, rather than a year ago, I am quicker at realizing what is going on. I know a little better how my heart works. My weak points; my triggers and the places that are too slippery to walk. I know what makes me want to instantly give up and quit. All my life I have been a quitter. Sports, music, friendships-anything really, I just quit. I rarely could be in anything for more than a year. I gave up really easily. Not only that, but then I just run. I quit and then get angry (another big sinful habit) that I quit, and run our of anger, frustration. I give up so easily, but that is why I am loving this book called ‘Relentless’ by John Bevere. I am being challenged to persevere. To run the race, and run it well!

Even though I feel like I already quite over a month ago… Christ is once again saying to me… Talitha Koum… get up… little girl GET UP! Step out of that sinking boat of apathy and follow me. As soon as you stand, look at ME, and nowhere else. When your eyes are fixed on me, I will guide you. Learn to trust Me… believe Me. Do not allow the whirlwinds of doubt, confusion or fear affect you. You are mind, and I will guide you… but you have got to choose to look at me, no matter the cost…

Talitha Koum…Talitha Koum…

And I respond with a shaky, yes. Yes. I will get up, and I will choose to look at Christ. Even though right now it hurts. It hurts to look at the cross because the tears of shame sting as they run down. The first of sin is the stinch that surrounds me… I am covered in it. The wounds that selfishness and bitterness are gaping open. The sleepless nights of un-forgiveness and bitterness are the dark shadows under my eyes… and I drag my beaten down and broken heart on the ground behind me…

But… yes, I may have caused all these things, but one step towards Christ and He can wash it all away. He catches those tears in his scars, and I am reminded He took all of this. All of this junk that I carry into the shadows of the cross; He has already taken it. All of this that I continue to meddle in even when I know it is wrong, He took… And yet,

He still believes in me.
He still chose me.
He still wants me.
He still loves me.

And…

I. Am. Still. His.





Relentless

5 01 2012

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I got a lot of books for Christmas. I tend to buy buy buy books, but I am so bad at actually reading and/or finishing them. I am trying to become better at sticking with them, but it usually takes months-years to actually finish one book. If I start one book, I usually start 6 others… literally in the last few weeks I have started five good reads…

But I think I will put them all on hold, and stick to one. I am going to pick one that I bought yesterday.

Relentless by John Bevere. I really enjoy his easy-read and just the way he writes is fairly easy to get through. It is not super complicated- yet thought provoking and challenging. I did not care for the introduction of the book, but the first chapter already has me challenged.

Chapter 1- Relentless “Finishing is better than starting.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NLT)

In this chapter he talks about how he thinks that a lot of Christians will not finish as well as they think they will. They just kind of coast the ‘Christian’ lifestyle without truly living it out. Granted, we cannot judge and say whether a person is truly a believer or not, but I do think you can see fruit or not… but even that is not solid fact that someone is a believer.

Far too many times, believers get tired of fighting the (good) fight and persevering through the tough times. I know I do. The smallest thing can rock my boat sometimes. I am a very emotionally-built person, but I know that those emotions are God-given, but that does not mean I can run free within that. I need to learn self-control and need to stand upon the Word. It is so hard for me. I am an incredibly sensitive person as well, and the slightest things will hurt, but they would not if I would learn to respond Biblically.

I find my days becoming more mundane and almost lazy.

I have a desire to change.
I have a desire to confess sin.
I have a desire to dig into the Word.
I have a desire to encourage others.
I have a desire to live a more gospel-centered life.

But what more is there to that? Having a desire, and actually doing those things are two very different things. I want to do a lot, to be a better Christian, to represent Christ better, but… if I don’t get up off my lazy butt and do it, then it is all worthless.

I have never been much of a motivated person. It takes a lot to get me motivated. But what better motivation is there than scripture?

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!II Corinthians 13:5 (ESV)

I desperately need to be checking myself. I am constantly slipping and falling, and failing quite miserably. But as long as I continue to get up, and seek the Lord and cling to Him, and move forward with joy, then that is progress. Christ asks us to persevere! He knew it was not going to be easy, for He travelled the most difficult road of all! He understands. Even when I feel like I desperately want to explain myself, and tell him or someone else why this just is not fair, and how much this or that hurts or why I just do not understand it, I should remember that He has faced this all, times a million… He has endured the greatest of trails and endured the wrath of His loving Father…

He. Knows. All.
And
I. Do. NOT.

I am excited about this book. About being Relentless in my journey, to continue on persistently and constantly without wavering in my faith towards the Kingdom. And I hope to encourage and bring others along this journey with me.

I want Christ to be glorified through the way I chose to live my life on this earth. I want to hear the Words from my Abba, “Well done my good and faithful servant…”. Those words will not come by coasting through my spiritual walk with sleepy eyes. They will come through the fighting and wrestling out the sanctification process. It will come through tears and victories. Knees bent humbly before the King and keeping Him on the throne of my heart. It will come through the compassion of Jesus’ eyes and serving with the picture of his scarred hands in the center of my heart. It will come with a confidence of the blood that saved me, and it will come with a faith that says “YES LORD! No matter the cost!” It will come rich or poor. Those words will come when my heart and mind can begin to grasp that this life is not about me and how good I live it, but it is about Him and how He is glorified through the way I live it…

Father, You have given me the greatest privilege to love through You. To represent who you are to this dying and broken world. May this worthless servant take advantage of that, and serve them with joy, for I am nothing, and I have nothing except You. Everything else is worthless…

In the morning
I bow down
As the sun rises
It awakens my heart
In the silence
I chose Your word

Jesus
You are all I want
You are all I need
More than anything
More than anything I can hold

In noontime
I seek Your face
As I lose sight
Of who You are
Lord You’re so faithful
In reminding me

Jesus
You are all I want
You are all I need
More than anything
More than anything I can hold

In the darkness
I cry out Your name
In the stillness
I remember Your word
In my weakness
You raise me up

Jesus
You are all I want
You are all I need
More than anything
More than anything I can hold

 





Prayer.

14 12 2011

Tonight, I was able to sit with three girls and talk about life. Talk about past experiences all across the board; church, testimony, family, *boys, friends etc. It was nice to sit with these girls that I really have not known but a few weeks, and to sit and just invest. Listening to these girls, my heart became so excited.Listening to them, I realized

This is where I am to invest.

These growing girls into women.
These growing boys into men.
These youth.
This church.
This. Is. It.

This is where the Lord has me, and it is so exciting to begin seeing more and more why I am here. I have never been so excited to come along side another group in the body of Christ, and invest IN that group. I was always looking at wanting to be invested INTO, but not willing or caring to do any of the gritty work or letting any of that be an out-pour out of my heart from what was going in.

After this conversation, my prayer life will get a little more exciting. I have more specifics on who and what needs prayer. The conversation helped me see a little more into this church and this body. Yes, it is not perfect, but this is where I feel the Lord has led me, and hearing the hearts of these girls and the kind of ‘this part stinks-but we are totally praying for this to happen’ was awesome to hear. To see the weaker areas, but to completely be looking at the positive and the heart in these girls that are prayerfully investing into those weaker areas.

Thank you Jesus for this time, this season. For these people and their hearts and passion for the Word, and to stand on truth and allow the truth to convict and challenge them towards You. I could not be more excited about this.

If you could be praying for this body, that the Lord would continue to unify and draw each other closer, and to be a little more intentional in challenging and praying for each other to grow. Pray for me, as I want to be more of a leader with these girls and that the Lord will give me discernment to go to the Word for everything, and not just throw out opinion-based answers that will ‘feel good’, but to be solid in the way I have been challenged and invested into the last year and a half. I have been given the most awesome examples of how to go about challenging and speaking truth, which is nothing but scripture, into situations and times of difficulty, and also times of triumph and joy.

I want to be able to give glory to the Lord for absolutely everything that is going on in my life, and I want others to know that it is He who is working in and through us, as His followers. I want to take no credit, but to know that the Lord is growing me and it is only He that is (hopefully) shining through and making Himself known…





Be All There…

23 11 2011

“Wherever you are, be all there.” – Jim Elliot

This is one of my life mantras. One of my favorite quotes that I am reminded of from time to time. Having been a ‘cross-culture kid’, it is hard to just be in one place. My sophomore year of high school was the first time in 7 years to go to the same school with the same kids. I have friends all over the world. I want to be so much a part of so many people’s lives daily, but it seems my closest friends live so far away.

I am learning however, that it is okay to still be a part of their lives whether it is once every few months of catching up through email, or talking on the phone once a week. I am where God has put me, and I want to give myself here. I am learning to not necessarily move on, but in a sense move on, quicker than I used to. It is harder to give of myself in new places, because it means building new friends, having to allow people to learn about who I am, where I come from etc etc. Sometimes it just seems like far too much work, so I would rather just be alone because I do not always feel like working.

But as every past place I have lived, I have found amazing people. I have found good friends, and now they are/ were a part of my journey. I want to learn to be so thankful for those friendships, and that God has allowed me the privilege of meeting those people no matter how short or long my season with them living directly in my daily life or not.

I want to look at life through gratitude and not regret. I want to be thankful for the many many blessings that I have been given, because I have tended to look at life in such a negative way.

Learning to be humble about the little things in life, because it is such an awesome way to remind myself of the gospel. The gospel that tells me I am nothing without Christ. Any good that is found in me, is because of Him that is within me. Any good that I receive is from Him. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…” James 1:17a. And when I realize that I am thankful for everything, the good and the bad, that makes me realize how much I cannot live this life without Him, and when I am thanking (or trying to thank) Him for absolutely everything, I am humbly being reminded it is not about me. How awesome is that!

So thankful for His grace upon my life. For His blessings that seem to be pouring out right now and thankful that I am able to see that He is the one giving them to me! It is not because I am an awesome person or anything, but it is simply because He can! He is so gracious to us!

I want to pour my life out into the people of Canton that I can. I want to love my far-away friends and I am thankful that I still can, but I want to learn to serve the people where I am as well.