Tuesday, November 30, 2010
And along the way, they saw God's hand work in amazing ways. Small? Sometimes. But amazing nonetheless. They learned lessons, cried tears, and rejoiced in the victories of those who they helped.
Reading her story was a breath of fresh air, and encouragement to see the life of someone who didn't change the world but changed the world of one child/person at a time. As I was reading I thought to myself how I hope one day I'll have a book like this. Little lessons along the journey of serving the least of these- the most precious in the eyes of the Father.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
My mind is going so fast and I'm remembering my post not that long ago about being still...need to remember that.
So because of my many jumbled thoughts, this will be a very random post. Because as of now this post has become a place to put them all so I can sleep and wake up and watch the wonderful Macy's day parade tommorow with my Daddy (and the rest of the family, of course, but it's always kind of been our tradition to watch it together even after everyone else gets bored!) AND eat way too much food.
I guess I'll start out with a funny story. I went to this Cardio Kick class at our gym today. I love going to work out when I'm home, especially going to different classes. I don't have alot of time for that at school. Anyways, I'd never been to that class before and well...I didn't know what I was getting myself into! By the end of the class we were wearing those big red mitts and practicing kicks and punches on eachother! Um, excuse me, but I don't kick and punch people. Even for pretend. Or even for excercise. I can find other ways to burn calories. But it was an experience, and now I can say I know how to properly kickbox. Just in case I ever decide I need to exert some energy.
God is doing some pretty big things in people's lives.
I read this post this morning on the Blocks' blog. They announced today that they're moving with 6 of their kids down to Guatemala to work with an organization that provides holistic care to the orphans of Guatemala. They currently have 3 schools and orphanages. I have read this family's blog for over a year now and am inspired, challenged, and encouraged by everyone. Amy asks questions all the time about how to live radically, her posts often resemble the thoughts of my heart. Her family has taken steps to live a life of reckless faith, resulting in 5 adoptions, numerous fundraisers for other adoptions, sacrifices, and now a move to Guatemala. They are really an inspiration to me and an example of how I would like to live my life. And, I'm not gonna lie, I would love to move down there with them lol.
This verse has been running through my mind today...
"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5
A verse we all memorized as little kids. I know I still think of the tune that goes with it. But I think as we grow older, those scriptures we memorized as children begin to take root. It's more than a verse to me now. It's peace, comfort, hope, and encouragement. The Word is so sweet. I'm so thankful for that gift God has given us.
I feel overwhelmed as we go into Thanksgiving tommorow. I am so blessed. I keep telling my family, "I'm so glad I'm home. I'm so glad I get to be with you." Because I am. I am truly so grateful to have this time with them. Being away from home makes me appreciate the simple yet most precious blessings of life so much more.
Sorry for the random post. I respect you if you made it all the way through! :-)
I pray that each and every one of you has a blessed Thanksgiving tommorow. Stop and ponder all that He has done for us- we have a marvelous Savior.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I CAN'T DO IT! And this is really an issue when Christmas is so close.
I wrote this poem today for my parents and was going to save it for Christmas but I can't! So i figured it'd be a little surprise if it came from my blog? Just tell me yes so I feel justified in revealing this early. And now I get to come up with another Christmas idea for them! :)
Anyways! That was just the introduction to the real post :)
(photography by Becky Anderson)
God has brought me on quite a journey in multiple areas of my life the past 4 months. One of them, though, has been bringing my heart to a place of true and genuine gratitude for my family. I have never ever been so thankful and dependent on my family as I have been recently. Without God and my parents, I wouldn't be doing life. The encouraging phone calls with them are often God's gift to keep my head up.
I have also never missed my family so much as i do now (which makes sense considering I've never lived away from home). And while this ache to be with my family hurts, it has been beautiful in growing in me a greater love and appreciation for them.
So today, as i ponder Thanksgiving, and the incredible blessings that God has gifted me with, my family is at the top of the list this year right next to God's faithfulness. Because He has been faithful to me. Oh so faithful. And one of the results of His faithfulness is allowing me to be born in the family that I'm in. I'm so thankful.
Dad, Mom, Noah, and Caleb- I love you guys!! See you in 52 hours :)
Never appreciated that goodnight kiss
So many things I didn't expect to miss.
Yet now that I'm gone I see just how blessed
I was to grow up in our safe, loving nest.
You gave me everything I could ever need.
Always so careful to guide and to teach
Now I have a safe place on a hard or bad day
To call and to cry and know I can reach
The familiar voice of my mom or my dad
My brother's funny antics that make me feel not so sad
This incredible gift of my family
Was one I've always had but just didn't see
Because sometimes you have to move away from it all
To appreciat the ones always there when you call.
Friday, November 19, 2010
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in all the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress."
I don't really have any profound thoughts or remarks (not that anything i say fits that category anyways haha), but i feel that these words speak for themselves. The Lord has just been impressing them on my heart. I was journaling yesterday and asking God how I could hear His voice. I've been trying so hard to read the word, seek wisdom, and in that moment I did hear His answer through the Word. Be still, daughter. And that's what I did. I just sat. Answers didn't fall from the sky, revelations didn't occur to me, but I just sat and basked in the presence and peace of the Lord.
Be still and know that I am God.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I feel like learning and gaining knowledge is the first step in anything. Before you create a solution to a problem you first must learn about the problem and how best to solve it. So...this was my effort to learn a little bit more.
The documentary is available on Netflix, if you have access to that. Otherwise, I think you can access it on the internet. It is time well-spent, you'll learn a little more, and who doesn't love seeing hundres of chubby China baby cheeks? :)
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Today I taught my first piano lesson.
I had agreed to teaching at the beginning of the year when I first visited the after-school program at the local community center here. Someone had donated 2 mini pianos and they needed a teacher. God tapped me on the shoulder and I said yes.
It took awhile to get things running, but the director and I finally were able to work out a day and time, and she picked out a particular child from the program. I was envisioning the sweet little 5 year old girl who can't stop smiling. Or the little Hispanic girl who I can barely keep from hugging. Or the darling African-American boy with the chubby cheeks and beautiful skin. But God had other plans.
He had picked an older boy for me, a 5th grader. A boy who comes from a rough family, a boy who has anger built up from all these years. The boy who yells at all of us everytime we play a game. The boy who has us all wondering how to handle him. This is the boy God had for me.
And so I went in today with my Walmart bag full of books, unsure of what to expect but knowing God had something good planned. And GOOD it was! The 30 minutes with this boy absolutely flew by. He tackled each note that I gave him, and insisted on trying it over and over again until he had it perfect. He was SO proud of himself. At the end of every step, I would praise him and he SMILED. SO BIG. It made my heart absolutely leap.
I can't wait for next Tuesday now. We're going to learn even more notes, and I trust that God will use his fingers on the piano to lead His people in worship someday.
Glory be to God.
I remember flying home from Guatemala this past summer with my dad just trying to debrief everything that God had shown me. Alot of my visions for the future and opinions i'd once supported strongly were being swayed and it was alot to take in. We were talking about the kids at Eagle's Nest, and how while we were there, 5 different missions groups came in. 5. In one week. That was like 100 different people coming into these kids lives. And 100 people leaving these kids lives on the same day. They all came in, hugged them, kissed them, told them how much they were loved. But then they left.
I watched Claudia attach to different people everyday. I wasn't her favorite anymore and it broke my heart. This was by far the most painful part of the trip, but it was also the most influential. I realized that while each and every one of those people (including my dad and I) were there out of the desire of our hearts to love the orphans and show Christ's love to the people of Guatemala, damage was being done to the hearts of these precious kids. They were being taught to attach and then pull away everyday, and that's just not healthy. They identify themselves with one "community" and then when they're gone they find another one.
Now- I am NOT saying that short-term mission trips are bad. Not at all. God uses mission trips to grow in our hearts a passion for His people, and Lord-willing this will manifest itself into lifelong service, not just a week. Will I still go on a short-term mission trip? Yes. Even back to Eagle's Nest? Yes. I am not advocating the Church to completely eradicate short-term missions. They're a pivotal part of furthering the Kingdom.
However, I think that this post just reminded me of the need for us to evaluate our mindset in missions. It is WAY more fun to go travel to a country and hold babies. Trust me, my arms ache to go back. BUT, when we think of these kids...would it be better to put the money towards another native nanny that could become a "mommy" to the orphans instead of us Americans coming in for a week and playing that role?
My dad and I were still discussing this on the airplane back home from Guatemala. Finally, I said, "We don't need people on mission trips. We need people to come in and adopt these children and give them forever families!" This would completely take care of the attachment issues with mission trips- there wouldn't be children to go get attached to because they'd be living right in your own town! Granted, there are some countries that don't allow adoption. But if the Church would join together and make it our goal to adopt these children then we wouldn't have orphans to visit after all. We could support eachother in our adoptions and the care of these children.
Sighh...i'll get off my soapbox now! Aren't you glad I have Spanish class in 10 minutes?! :) But...this is definitely something to ponder. And I'm excited to read the book mentioned in the post (When Helping Hurts: How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor and yourself)
Friday, November 12, 2010
As I drove back to school last weekend I listened to a Beth Moore sermon (love her!) on Hebrews 10:35. It says:
"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you recieve what He has promised."
She talked about how as soon as we lose confidence, be it the power of God, who we are in Christ, the hope that we have, we are essentially making room for the enemy. And as soon as we start losing confidence, this is a response to a lack of trust.
So as I drove I had been praying that the Lord would help me to trust Him for a revival. And that if a revival on my campus isn't in His will that He would show me how to live in a way that is radical and shows the light of Christ.
Since then, I have read the rest of Hebrews 10. The last verses talk about Christ's coming, and how there will be the faithful few who will be saved. The earlier portion of Hebrews 10 talks about the persecution the Christians experienced because of their faith.
I've been reading Radical by David Platt and have been very challenged so far. He really makes you ponder the American church, and how we are living our lives of complacency.
There's so much to think, question, and wonder when it comes to living the Christian life. Today i can't seem to express it all in a blog post. Maybe I should change the title from Confidence to confusion haha.
But nevertheless will I end this jumble of thoughts with confidence, trusting that God will manifest His Spirit among us. And that He will show us how we are to live in light of His glorious grace and mercy as we demonstrate His love to others.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I have been enjoying the last few moments of fall. The warm sun on the crisp day, the gorgeous leaves all point to His glorious splendor.
P.S.- I am having MAJOR photo uploading issues. So frustrating! But if you click on "view all images" it should take you to the album of photos.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
For the past year and a half I have battled some sort of low blood sugar condition. It is not a constant struggle but it is a daily part of my life. Some days I don't even notice it, other days I lean on God to carry me through and give me the energy to press on!
Early on I didn't respond very well to this trial. I still don't respond very well alot, just ask my family. BUT, I have learned alot this past year and have discovered if I combat it with Scripture the Lord will bless it. And so, I have meditated and pondered 2 Corinthians 12:9 and repeat it to myself constantly when my body reminds me of its brokenness. On an off-day my body feels very weak, but the these precious words state that in my weakness God will give me power!
"But he said to me, 'my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so Christ's power may rest on me."
2 Corinthians 12:9
Paul speaks in His scriptures about the "thorn in his side." He suffered from some ailment, though it's not exactly clear what it was. Regardless, you see in his letters that he accepted it as a thorn that God had placed there. I'm sure he prayed that God would release him from it, but he also realized that it was an instrument God was using to grow him and bring him closer to Christ.
As I look back over the past year I see that much of the change in me has been through this thorn in my side. I am learning an utter reliance on Christ, a surrender to His will, a reminder of the fallen world we live in, and an appreciation for the utter grace and mercy He gives so we can make it through each day.
So while it would make this day much easier to have a body that runs perfectly, that is not what God has for me today, and by His grace and the Word I have decided to say that this is His day and there is joy in that. I am here to glorify the One who made me, and Lord willing through my weakness, He will be made known and His power will rest on me.
Whether the thorn in your side today is a health problem like mine, a broken family, or a draining job may you find power in these words of truth as you let the Spirit rest upon you in the midst of your weakness.