Verse of the Day

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Currently

Hello, blogworld!! Actually...I'm pretty sure my "blog audience" is mostly imaginary, since my last blog post has a whopping 1 page view. But, I am OK with that. Because I was reminded recently, as I typed out a "happy birthday" e-mail to a dear friend, how much I miss just putting thoughts into words via a keyboard. The sound of the keys and seeing the words appear and tweaking them to be just so...it's almost as inspiring as a blank sheet of paper and cool pens. So maybe I mostly blog for myself. 
Or maybe I'm just weird. :)

So I could try to go back and recount life up to this point, but the thought of that is overwhelming and a large part of why I haven't blogged so much in the last couple years. Therefore, I believe I will instead fill everyONE ;) in on my life ... currently.

Currently, I am sitting outside on our steps, enjoying some gorgeous 91 degree weather (for real, it's beautiful), a gentle breeze, birds chirping, the quiet company of my dog, and this lovely view:
(I'm not being sarcastic when I say lovely...if you don't agree, all I can say is: 1) the picture doesn't capture it and 2) it grows on you. :) )

Currently, my dad, Josiah and Jonathan are changing a tire on the Mercury. Which reminds me that Josiah now has his driver's license and I'm still adjusting to the fact that he can drive himself all over town. Without an adult. Oh, wait...he IS an adult. OK, still adjusting to that fact, too.

Currently, I'm soaking up every calm quiet home moment I can get because our summer is shifting into full gear, which means 8 crazy weeks of non-stop action for me between House of Faith, a church mission trip, House of Faith, my brother Caleb being home for his after-deployment visit (yay!), House of Faith, VBS (which I am NOT directing this year!) and House of Faith. Oh, did I mention House of Faith?!?!

Currently, I still love my job and all the chaotic beauty it adds to my life. I love that every day is different and there is no telling what any one day might hold. I love that we have the freedom and even the expectation to let the Holy Spirit take control of our moments and days, that we are people-oriented more than task-oriented, and that stopping to pray in our busiest moments is considered normal. I love being part of a team that works with excellence for excellence because we serve the Excellent One. I love working in an environment where no job is really thankless for long because everyone encourages and builds up those around them. I love that we are all about JESUS, knowing Him and making Him known. And...I am also thrilled with the fact that this summer, we actually have an "administrative intern", which means I get to share my work with a lovely young lady that is so far taking to all the paperwork/data entry like a duck to water and is going to help make this summer the best ever!! :)

Currently, my top four favorite songs are: 
Broken Hallelujah (by the Afters)
Glorious Unfolding (by Steven Curtis Chapman)
Fix My Eyes (by for King & Country)
King of My Heart (by Love & the Outcome)

Currently, I am constantly blown away by the reality of God's love--its height, depth, width and breadth; its reality; its presence in every detail of my life; the outrageous price Jesus paid to pour it out on me; the way Scripture continually speaks of it; the way the writers of Scripture obviously stood in awe of it; the way I am called to love like that.

Currently, I am  seriously missing my ridiculously adorable nieces and nephew, who were just here last week for a visit. Rachel seems to be finally figuring out the "Sister" thing, which thrills my heart to no end. Brooke, my oldest niece, nicknamed me "Sister" a couple years ago, and I hoped it would stick; there's been some confusion for Rachel, since she calls Brooke "Sissy"; but there is hope!! Raylan is just the most precious baby boy EVER (except Jesus, I guess); he doesn't say much except "hi", "no", and "yeah!", which he exclaims with great excitement every time he gives a high-five. It was rumored that he also says "Mommy" and "Daddy", but I never heard those words from him. All in all, they are sooooo darling and have completely captured my heart. Of course.

And last...currently, I need to finish this up and go inside and finish the game of "Dots" I was playing with my Daddy. And then I need to go to bed early. Because tomorrow starts another super busy week!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wonderful Works

"Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well." 
(Psalm 139:14)

My soul knows, with greatest certainty, that His works are wonderful. Knows it because I have seen it,
experienced it, 
tasted it, 
walked in it, 
lived it.

But what about when I can't see it?

What about the times when my soul is dry and thirsty, my heart fragile and broken and longing for something more?

His works are still wonderful.

When life is hard -- His works are wonderful.

When the way seems long -- His works are wonderful.

When life is not turning out the way I expected -- His works are wonderful.

When teenagers die and we at House of Faith have to walk through that valley with the families and other students and we are surrounded by pain and grief and questions with no answers...His works are wonderful.

So when I don't see it, feel it, taste it -- the truth doesn't change.
I just have to remind myself of it, rehearse it over and over until it is thoroughly, permanently, inerasably embedded in the deepest parts of my soul. To not forget in the dark what I have so clearly seen in the light.

So through heartache, pain, long days and lonely nights I will remind my soul of this reality it knows very well:
His works are WONDERFUL.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fear Not

Fear not.

Because God Almighty--
       the One who created the universe?
       the One whom victory meets at every step?

Yeah, He walks with you.
               He carries you,
                    He has chosen you,
                         He holds your hand,
                              He is your Redeemer.

Fear not.

(Isaiah 41, summarized and paraphrased :) )

Saturday, September 7, 2013

This Given Life

"The given life"...I'm not sure who coined that phrase, but I'm quite sure it wasn't me. :) Hudson Taylor called it "the exchanged life", A.W. Tozer called it "the crucified life"...it's entirely possible that Eric Ludy is the first person I heard call it "the given life", but I don't really think he came up with the name, either. Regardless of its origin, it's a descriptive name I am coming to love more and more for the life I live.

Jonathan Edwards said, "I have been this day before God, and have given myself, all that I am and all that I have, to God; so that I am in no respect my own. I claim no right to myself, no right to this understanding, this will, these affections that are in me. Neither do I have any right to this body or its members, no right to this tongue, to these hands, feet, ears or eyes. I have given myself clear away and not retained anything of my own."
"I have given myself clear away."
That is the essence of this given life I live. But something I am learning day by day is that this given life is intensely practical. It is played out in every moment, every decision, every relationship, every thought, every feeling. Having "given myself clear away" to God, the natural result is that He would use me, pour me out, in giving of myself to or on behalf of others. The "given" part of the given life is not the giving of me or my resources to others, but the simple fact that I am already given completely to God.

I don't have words for the fullness of the realization that I am not my own. I have given myself completely to God; therefore, He has every right to use me, spend me, give me away, take my time and energy and emotion however He wants to! I don't get a say in the matter! My choice is made by choosing to be His; the rest is 100% up to Him. And I cannot begin to describe the sheer joy and utter peace this brings. I don't have to fret over decisions, large or small; I simply yield and follow. God chooses how my time is spent. God chooses where I invest my energy. God chooses what my emotions are spent on.
The sweet reality of this given life is that
God chooses.
 
But it's not just some crazy, out there notion in my head, either. It leads me in all kinds of practicalities. For example...
  • I used to be SO okay with clutter and chaos. It simply did not faze me. Piles of stuff or clothes or paper everywhere, a room that looked like a tornado blew through--I was fine. I could work and rest and live in that environment with peace and even my own sort of efficiency. My stuff was "filed" in stacks, but I could find what I needed when I needed it!
    But then...God put His finger on this area and aspect of my life with a simple declaration: "I am a God of order." Since He's choosing in my life, if He wants a clean, organized room and office (since those, really, are my only areas of jurisdiction), then that's what He gets. So I started going through things, getting rid of things, organizing things...it's still a work in process (please don't look in my loft right now), but the craziest part of the deal is how He's changed my heart and desires in this area. I now need the order and organization He is bringing into my life, though not in a "I can't function if things aren't just the way I want it" sort of way (because that is equally unhealthy). Rather, it's more of a "I need to do all in my power to order my surroundings in a way that reflects my God, who is a God of order" kind of way. :)
  • My natural tendency is to take a rather lackadaisical approach to life much of the time. (Side note: I looked up "lackadaisical" to make sure I was spelling it right, and here's one definition: "lazy or idle,esp in a dreamy way". Ummmm....yeah. Especially the dreamy way. Did I ever tell y'all the story of how my dad once stood and watched me wash the same plate for 10 minutes? I love to create my own little world, and then live in it.)
    This usually applies mostly to how I spend my free time, and the effort I put into relationships. Again, God has put His finger on this area of my life through reminding me that my time is His, and that people are of the utmost importance to Him. So, there are some things I've had to cut out of my life (movies, TV, games on my phone, etc...not because those things are inherently evil, but because they were absorbing pretty much ALL my "extra" time). This, of course, is also how I've managed to have time to organize my room...see, it all fits together!
    I've also been working on being more intentional with my relationships...things like, getting up early in the morning to go play tennis or basketball with my brothers, or taking them out to breakfast sometimes on a Friday morning, or just learning to have real conversations with people instead of talking about things that simply don't matter in the long run.

Those are just a couple of examples of the practical realities God is leading me in as I seek to live out this given life...bottom line: He is SO good, and faithful, and amazing and I am loving the adventure of living a life that is given completely to Him!
One other note about that, though--something else I'm learning is that my definition of "completely" is being constantly advanced. When I was about 13, I gave my life "completely" to the Lord...but as the years go on, He continuously has to bring me back to His altar and show me things that I am holding back. So I give them to Him, and say again that I am "completely" His. But I'm pretty sure that as He keeps working in me, there will always be more to surrender.
Hey--that's part of the adventure!
 
(note: somehow, part way through this post, I accidentally hit some button that posted it. So to those of you that get it e-mailed to you...sorry! You might get it twice! :) )

Friday, May 24, 2013

It's Love

Hello, people! :) So, a friend recently mentioned my blog and I had an "oh, yeah" moment--like, "oh, yeah, I have one of those!" Then I got on to see when I'd last posted and realized it was a little over a year and a half ago. Wow, sorry, y'all!!

I'm working on learning to be more intentional with life, not letting my time and energy be so much controlled by "the tyranny of the urgent". I'm still definitely a work in progress!! But one of the things on my "live life on purpose" list is blogging, so I'll try to be more consistent with this!

For tonight, I'm just going to post something I wrote a while back. I've been, in various ways, a part of House of Faith for nearly 3 years now, but it feels somehow like I've always been there. :) One of my favorite things about HOF is the opportunity to be involved in TWO of the Backyard Bible Clubs, where we take Jesus into the yards of the elementary schools and the lives of the K-5th grade students who attend them. Every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon finds me out in a yard, checking in over a hundred children and then loving them however I can. Sometimes, it's crazy and challenging, but I love it!! :) Goliad, my Wednesday club, has been especially challenging this year on a number of levels, and I have been stretched and grown tremendously through it.

Our weekly programs that we have during the school year are over for this year, but this little reflection is something I wrote one Wednesday evening as I thought back over my day at Goliad BBC and the 150+ kids who are there that hold my heart...


I’m surrounded by noise and chaos when I see it. Kids are running wild, shouting, laughing, arguing—a fight is about to break out across the yard, a few kids nearby are building with marble works and chatting happily, a crowd of children runs up and surrounds me; some just to say hi, most with a breaking crisis to report. So-and-so called such-and-such this or that, where's Marci, this little one needs to go to the bathroom, where's Marci, I can’t find my backpack, where's Marci, can I have a drink of water, where’s Marci, that kid hit me…the list goes on. It’s easy, sometimes, to lose sight of why I’m even here.

But then—through the noise and the chaos, I see it. I see it in the big trusting eyes turned toward me like I can somehow "fix it", the smiles or concern on the faces in the little circle around me, and in a child’s face when I call them by name and they realize: they matter to someone. I hear it in the chatter of little voices who can’t wait to tell me about the silver teeth they’re getting next week, or their dog that took on a Rottweiler and won, or something that happened at school. I feel it in the arms wrapped around my waist, the little hand holding on to mine and the constant need to be near me, touching me. And it’s there in the older kids who come looking for me to give me a hug and say hello, almost like they’re just checking to make sure I still care about them, too. It's in every high-five, every hello, every hug, every hard-earned ounce of respect.

I see it. I hear it. I feel it. Why am I here? It’s simple, really: love. Because I love them because Jesus loves me, and He loves them, even more than I do; which is a lot!

So week after week I come back to the chaos. I answer the questions, I break up the fights, I listen to the stories, I hug them like crazy, I take them to the bathroom, I point out Marci at least a hundred times, I pick up trash, I deal with the issues, I point them to Jesus and every now and then I even get to teach a Bible lesson. ;) 

And in the moments of frustration when I wonder why I’m here, Jesus always finds a way to remind me: it’s love.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Only Trust Him/House of Fizzle

If you're looking at the title to this post and scratching your head in confusion while wondering if I've lost my mind in the 8 months since I last "blogged"...good, and probably. :)

House of Fizzle is an affectionate nickname for House of Faith. Because things are usually "fizzling" around here. Or something. I didn't come up with the nickname, I just laughed at Mindi and Eva the day I heard them answer the phone like that and then decided it was a fitting nickname somehow.

but I digress.

So...since it's been forever since I blogged, I guess a long, rambling post catching everyone up on my life is in order.

sorry.

Maybe someday I'll get around to said long, rambling post, but tonight is not that day. In the words of Inigo Montoya on "The Princess Bride": "Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up." :) So here's the summary of my life since January. For the really short version, just read the stuff in bold. ;)

February I started interning full-time (read: working for free...raising support) at House of Faith because that was unquestionably where God was leading me to work. It's been an adventure and a stretching, challenging time since then, but I still love it! :) Also in February, I made a wedding cake for a friend who was getting married. It was fun! :)

March...I don't remember any big happenings in March, other than my dad's birthday. :)

April started off with House of Faith family camp, and then had us making a family trip to California for a very special graduation ceremony as Caleb became a Marine--officially. :) We had a great time and we are soooo proud. And since we're talking about birthdays....Mom celebrated her birthday this month! The only other big event in April was that Amber moved into her own apartment.

In May, Josiah turned 15, I turned 25 (no, I didn't get anywhere near accomplishing everything on my list), and our House of Faith summer interns arrived! I was part of the leadership trio within the intern team (our official title was "intern coordinators") so this was a really big event in my life!

June and July will be combined for the sake of brevity...basically, they can be summed up in four words: House of Faith Summer! It was fast, furious, and fabulous! Being in a position of leadership among other young adults, rather than just kids, was a new and sometimes difficult thing for me, but I discovered that I kinda liked it. And I loved our interns! :) Over the course of these two months, we did Sports Camp, 2 Kids' Connections, 4th-6th grade Overnight Camp, and 7th-12th grade Overnight camp, complete with lots of planning and prep in the midst of all that! Also in June, Amber got engaged to Chase Bowman! :)

Then came August...which was supposed to be slower...but instead, in the first two weeks, I coordinated/directed VBS for the first (but probably not last) time in my life (it was great! :) ), and Amber got married to Chase Bowman! And I made her cake! And was her maid-of-honor! (the day after VBS ended!!! :) ) And I became an aunt! (Chase has an adorable little 4-year-old girl named Brooke with whom I am totally in love, of course!)

And now we're still in August, and my computer is beeping low battery at me, (oops, sorry...guess that isn't big news?!) and I got hired part time at House of Faith! Like, a paying job!! At a place I love enough to work for free. How awesome is that?! I am so super thrilled! Like one of our interns this summer, the dearly loved Christine, would say: God is real. :) I mean, I already knew that, but it's fun to see His "realness" in the details of my life.

And now...the "only trust Him" part of the title...in 4 minutes or less, 'cause that's all I've got before my computer dies...basically, it comes to this: that's been the theme of my year. From stepping out in faith to raise support and work at House of Faith, to being part of leadership with the interns when everything in me said, "I can't do this!", to coordinating/directing VBS--the same week my sister got married, in case VBS wasn't overwhelming enough!--to trusting God with my "I really don't see how this is going to work out come December" finances just to have Him give me a job doing what I love at a ministry I love with people I love... "only trust Him." That's all my life is about.

the end.

(maybe details on some of this will come later...for now, be happy. I thought of all of you. Whoever "all of you" are. :) )