A graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, who can't seem to stay in one place for more than a hot second. A lover of God and of people, laughter, good conversations with good friends, writing, music, student ministry, hope, and learning new things. This blog is about my life, and a place for my ramblings, as I seek God's will for my life, and strive to love others more than myself.
On Sunday after church, I threw some stuff in big bag (or 2), hopped in my car and made the3 hour drive to a military base near Virginia Beach to help Priscilla and one of her friends with their kids for awhile. Their husbands are both deployed and apparently the life of a single mom isn't exactly a picnic.
Between the two of them, there are 7 kids. an 8 month old, a 9 month old, two 2 year olds, 2 four year olds, and a third grader. That's 7 runny noses, 14 potential ear infections, 4 kids in diapers, 2 boys still getting used to being potty trained.
I never realized how much juice one house could consume in 1 day. I never knew how many diapers one person could go through in 1 day. I never knew there were so many things to whine about. I had no idea that a runny nose is a constant situation for a house with kids. I didn't know how cute chubby, naked babies are in the bathtub.... or how cute they are when they fall asleep in your arms (drool, snot, and all) I had NO IDEA the kinds of things that can be waiting for you when you change a diaper. I knew moms were hardcore, but I had NO IDEA exactly how tough, patient, and selfless you have to be to have kids.
I've also decided: twins are not for me. Seems impossible! The guy dressed in orange on "Yo Gabba Gabba" is a creeper. I like "Diego" and "Dora" the best. Sleep is precious. Poop is gross. Baby laughter is one of the best sounds. These military moms are making a huge sacrifice, doing life without their husbands so their husbands can protect our freedom... and that's incredible.
It's nap time... maybe I'll go read until the next round.
Ugh, it's so late and I can't sleep! I hate that... especially because I really love sleeping so much. I don't know why my body is resisting doing one of the things I love most in this world! I bet my subconscious is afraid to let me fall asleep because of the crazy dreams I've been having lately. I rarely ever have bad dreams... in fact there's really only one bad dream I can remember from my childhood.. when First Lady Barbara Bush tried to take over the world with one of those packs the ghost busters wore. It was scary.
But lately.. my dreams have been just plain scary, or intense to say the least.
Like last night, I had a dream that I upset the cashier guy at Panera. Now that wasn't too horrible, but he was sooo angry and in my dream I was soooo upset and worried that I had made him mad. I cried and cried about it.
Who the flip cares?! Why on earth was that so tense?!
But the other night, I dreamt my sister Sarah had a stalker and I tried to save her from this creeper. Oh man, he was everywhere we turned.
That was one of those dreams where you wake up and you're still freaked out.
What are some of the dreams you've had? Scary, funny, favorite...
So, today was another happy day in the neighborhood, as my wonderful friends Melissa and Travis welcomed their BEAUTIFUL baby Willow Grace into the world. Seriously, I think I'm going to request all my babies be born via c-section.. because Willow is gorgeous and I think part of that can be attributed to the fact that her face wasnt all smooshed and alien. haha. OR it could have to do with the fact that Melissa and Travis are two of my prettiest friends. Either way, she's beautiful. I'm happy to add a new non-niece niece to my family. Being a pretend aunt is too much fun! I'd be ok if my sisters started popping out kiddos though!
I don't know if there's something in the water these days, and I'm just not drinking it, but holy moly things are kind of crazy lately. Let me just break this down for you. In the last 2 1/2 months I have had: 3 friends get married. 3 friends get engaged. 4 friends have babies. 5 friends who are expecting babies. Of those 15 people, 6 of them are in my super close group of friends, a group one might label "my best friends."
It's insane. And, I'm not gonna lie, it's got me completely freaked out. It's like everyone's part of this secret club, a club that I didn't even know existed, let alone received an invitation to. haha. I was thinking, when I get back from my year in Africa, I'll be a month away from my 29th birthday! Jobless, unmarried, childless.... and all my friends will be living their happy suburban lives. :) How depressing!
I'm just kidding. I'm not really feeling that melancholy, I'm just being dramatic. It is weird though, and making me think I'm gonna need to find a boy and mack on him asap.
HA! Now, any guy that I might start dating is going to read my blog, think I just want to get married, and run for the hills. Awesome.
I know things happen in God's timing, and things that are meant to happen WILL happen... and things that aren't, God will give us the strength to endure, and thrive within those circumstance. I am confident of that... I think Satan's just trying to freak me out a little bit. In the grand scheme of things, with the sadness in Haiti, Sudan being on the brink of civil war, a good friend of mine's dad is dying... in the grand scheme, I am so blessed. I have so much to be thankful for... and my petty fears, though God hears them and cares about me, I realize they're so little when you look at the hurting world around us.
Please pray for that friend I mentioned. His situation is heavy on my heart. His dad was diagnosed with cancer around Christmas, but because of pneumonia, they're unable to begin chemo because of how weak its left him. Unfortunately, the way it looks now, he may never get the opportunity to fight this cancer, and pneumonia may ultimately (and soon) take his life. It's bad. Pray for a miracle. Pray for peace and comfort, and courage. This friend means a lot to me, so your prayers would mean a lot to me too.
So, this weekend, Mary and I met with our friend Kate over coffee. Mary and I have been friends since high school. We met in the 5th grade because our mothers forced us to play together. They figured that since they went to college together and then randomly reconnected when taking early morning walks through our neighborhood years later, that it was destiny that their daughters become friends. I forced our other friend Stacy to come to Mary's house... I wish I could say that from that moment on, we were inseparable, but that's a big fat negative.
It took Mary moving away and then coming back, to bring us back together in high school. I knew in 10th grade world history that Mary was meant to be my friend when I noticed she was sitting in class, looking attentive with her history book in her lap, looking like the innocent academic that she was... except that she was hiding a gossip magazine behind her book! The rest is history and Stacy, Mary and I have been best friends almost ever since. She's been a constant in my life.. a sister in Christ that has stuck by me through so much.
So, needless to say, it was so exciting to experience Sudan with one of my childhood friends. And now, to feel a calling to return to Sudan with Mary is incredibly exciting. We met with Kate on Saturday because she was the main team lead for our Sudan trip in November, and her experience with overseas mission work is certainly more extensive than ours... plus she's been a mentor and example to Mary and me since we started college. As Kate walked us through a timeline and the details of things needing to take place in the next weeks and months, the excitement began to grow, and the idea of returning to Harvesters for a year really began to become a reality.
We cant wait to get back to our kiddos.
Unfortunately, there has definitely been some uncertainty hanging in the air as Sudan is at the start of a pivotal political year (if you dont want to worry about us, definitely don't google Sudan in the coming weeks and months. haha!). Mary and I may be faced with difficult decisions about safety concerns and being wise as we discern God's calling on our lives. What if He calls us to return to Sudan despite the potential danger and turmoil? We could get to Sudan, and war and fighting are just a talk in the air... and it's Africa, so that talk is always in the air. Or what if we get to Sudan, and we face real danger for the first time in our sheltered, Suburban lives?
Or, what if we go to Sudan and have the most incredible year of our lives? What if we go to Sudan and God shows us more about Himself, His people, and His love than we ever imagined? What if we go to Sudan and we come back changed by the love and grace of a Father who chose to use us for His kingdom and His glory. What if..
I keep trying to tell myself that it's more dangerous to be here in safe America, but outside of God's will than in the middle of a country on the brink of civil war, yet tucked safely and securely in the hands of a God who called us there.
Is it ok to be a little scared, as long as I don't let that fear dictate whether or not I move forward?
Harvesters is a place of hope and new beginnings, and maybe I'm being naive, but it's hard to imagine it to be otherwise. Pray for Mary and me as we embark on this exciting journey, as we seek His will for our futures.
Praying for Haiti... and for a Loving and Compassionate Church
Wow, the earthquake in Haiti is just heart breaking. The pictures, oh the pictures have just made me weep as I've looked on CNN and other news sites. I remember during Katrina, kind of having a difficult time feeling too emotionally involved. I didn't really have TV at Liberty, so all I saw were pictures online, and I just felt so disconnected to what was really happening. People were standing on their rooftops surrounded by water, and yet I struggled to imagine the chaos and fear that led up to such a moment...
Now, even though I've not watched TV in the last few days, I look at these pictures and I see real people, people with stories, people with families, people with hopes and dreams. In an instant, everything changed. Haiti will never be the same. Generations will remember this earthquake and lament these days. 100,000 lives lost, and who knows how many people are left with permanent disabilities, how many children are left orphaned. The buildings and homes eventually can be rebuilt (although in such a poverty stricken place, that process will be slow), but for years to come, the people you meet on the street will bear the scars of the moment that forever changed their lives. It's unbearably sad. 100,000 people... I can't even imagine.
It's in moments like this, that all you can do is trust in God's sovereignty. Nothing happens outside of his knowledge or permission, so for this, for such a tragedy, God must have plans. So we cry out to Him our prayers on behalf of others, and cling to His promises, trusting that He is still good and He is still in control.
This is our time Church, to be the hands and feet of Christ.. to be a voice for the voiceless and a light in a dark place.
"The time is now, come Church arise. Love with His hands, see with His eyes, bind it around you, let it never leave you... and they will know us by our love."
Can I Get a Revolution? No? How About Some Resolutions?
So, I never write new year resolutions, mostly because I am lame, have trouble getting excited and passionate about things, and I hate to fail. It's hard to fail at something if you don't try.
How lame. Those are admissions I'm definitely not proud of, but hey it's the beauty of being brutally honest and self aware. This year however, I've got a few things on my heart that I want to work on in this new year. 2009 was not an awesome year for me personally. My last post, I was stretching to see the good in it, for sure. Ashamedly, I think that I wasted a lot of my time, a lot of God given opportunities because of my own selfishness, insecurities, and just plain laziness.
That's not okay.
So, in honor of the new year, here are a few things I'm going to try and do differently in 2010:
*I'm going to read the Bible all the way through. How Christian cliche of me... but that's one of the best things I was forced to do in seminary. The structure of my classes had me all over my Bible and by the end of my time at DTS I had read the Bible all the way through. I want to do it again... and again... and again. My homie John Piper has gotten to the point where he's read it through so many times, he associates certain parts of scripture with the seasons. Like, he knows he reads through Ephesians during the summer because of the memories he has associated with those times of study. How cool is that?!
*I have 50 more pounds to reach my goal weight (I packed on a few pounds in Sudan and over Christmas) and I want to be within 10 pounds of that goal before October 1 (tentative date for me to return to Africa).
*I want to de-clutter my life. Less is more right?! Learning to let go of things is scary, but when I look around my room, it stresses me out. Gotta fix that before I end up on that A&E show "Hoarders." That show is CRAZY! If your house is even a little bit messy, don't watch that mess, it will freak you out and you WILL lose sleep.
*I want to write more... not silly, random blogs (although I do love this blog, where I have a pretend captive audience at all times of the day or night) but Christ centered, spiritual growth type things... and creative poetry and song type things.
*I want to do a better job of loving people, especially my parents, sisters, and close friends that I often take for granted. The people I'm closest with are the ones I find myself losing my patience with or taking out my issues. Thats awful.
*I want to be more intentional with the people in my life. I don't want to be afraid to pray for my friends when they're telling me they're struggling or to bring up the Lord in conversations with them. I especially want to be more intentional with the people in my small group, and really experience what it means to "do life" with people.
I think I could probably go on and on with things that I'm hoping to change about myself this year.. there are a couple other things... but I havent really figured out an effective game plan for those things just yet. But this list, I've got a reading plan for my bible reading, an exercise plan and some friends to hold me accountable to help me on my quest to be skinny and hot (and mostly comfortable in my own skin), I've got ideas and plans for my writing and a fresh pretty notebook to make creative writing happen.... the loving people and being more intentional.... those are harder things to create an actual game plan for, but it's something that's become a huge topic in my prayer life and I'm hoping it will really begin to be carried out in my life.
The big thing is realizing that 2009 was a struggle because I tried to do everything in my own strength. I really struggled spiritually because I was depressed about a couple things that had happened and the uncertainty of where my life is going. 2010 doesn't have anything that is overwhelmingly promising, except hopefully my return to Sudan in October.. so it's not like I'm having this sudden burst of optimism. I'm really just realizing I cant continue on my own. I need to rely upon Him and trust Him with every step I take. I want to be more like Christ in all that I do... so committing to spend time in His word, taking care of myself, and loving His people are all steps that will hopefully lead in the right direction.
We'll see......... Here's to a better year. To God be the glory..
So, I just got back from Atlanta, Georgia where I attended the Passion 2010 conference as a group leader for some college aged kids from my church. This was my 5th Passion conference, and one of the best so far! There were about 21,000 college students crammed into a conference center, and holy moly what an incredible site that was to see! We filled the Atlanta Hawks' arena (uh, I think thats the name of their basketball team!) and then overflowed into another large room. With bands and worship leaders like David Crowder, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Christy Knockles, Steve Fee, Kristian Stanfil, Charlie Hall, and Hillsong United you know that the worship was INCREDIBLE! And then speakers like, Louie Giglio, Francis Chan, Andy Stanley, Beth Moore, and John Stinkin Awesome Piper.. the messages were off the chain as well.
I have a huge HUUUUUGE crush on John Piper. Like, remember back in the day when people would get magazines like Teen Bop and take pictures of Nsnyc or Backstreet boys or New Kids and post them alllll over their walls? Yeah if there was like a Pastor's Bop or the Theologian Enquirer, I'd cut out pictures and put him all over my wall too. haha. It's that bad.
Piper's big phrase is "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him." and so many of his sermons stem from the idea of God's glory being the most important thing we need to pursue. So I went to a breakout session he led where he talked about the holy ambition God has placed on each of our lives and how we're called to live out that ambition (which is different from the selfish ambitions of the world) for His glory. It was powerful.
Then in his large group sermon he talked about God being egomaniacal. Here's the text of the sermon if you want to read it. It was incredible. One of my favorite quotes that he used went something along the lines of, "Human beings know deep down inside that they're not made to feel significant... they were made to stand on top of mountains and feel stunned in insignificance. Self-forgetfulness in the presence of Greatness is the capstone of joy." And then when he said, "So from the very beginning, we see that God made his exaltation and our salvation one piece. You don't have to choose between God's glory and your joy, because the apex of your joy is praise, and the apex of his glory is grace."
Oh snap. I realized that after he'd finished speaking, I felt a little light headed... because I had forgotten to breathe for 45 minutes. haha.
On Sunday night Hillsong United led worship for a late night event and holy moly.. I'd never seen them live before, but it was so obvious that the Lord has ordained their ministry and blessed them with incredible gifts of song writing and leading others to the throne of God. When they sang the second verse of "Hosanna" (which means highest praise... and sang the words "I see a generation rising up to take their place with selfless faith. I see a near revival stirring as we pray and seek.. we're on our knees." It was overwhelming to look out across the arena to 21,000 college students pleading that the Lord would work in their lives and on their campuses and raising their hands in worship to their Creator and Giver of hope... it was beautiful. One of the most powerful corporate worship experiences I've ever been a part of. I wish that you guys could have been there.
The Lord showed me a lot about myself and my future, and my past for that matter while I was at Passion. I know I'm too old for these things... so I'm glad I got to be a group leader. I feel restored, refreshed, and hopeful about the future. I also feel like I have more clarity about going to Sudan in October for a year. I feel like maybe the whole reason I've been hanging out in limbo like this, is to prepare me for that journey. Instead of praying of whether or not I'm supposed to go, I'm now moving into beginning to make those plans a reality. I'm going to move forward until the Lord tells me to stop.