Soooo goood

I’m newly obsessed with this blog: http://www.thefulltimegirl.com

 

Example of how her writing is speaking straight into the hearts of Christians everywhere:

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. 1 John 3:1a

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:10

I beg of you to realize that YOU are worth the wait. You are worth waiting on God to place a man in your life who will love you like Jesus does. He won’t be perfect that’s for sure, but neither are you. He will love God though, and He will strive to be all that God wants Him to be as a man of God. He will recognize his flaws and strive to be better everyday. He will challenge you to grow as an individual and as a godly example of a marriage that is a delight to the eyes of our Lord. Oh girls, don’t settle for some man who doesn’t know the first thing about putting God first. Don’t settle for some selfish guy who is “christian” in name only. I know they are few and far between, but open your eyes and look for the men who will be true. True to God and true to you. God has set them apart for us. It is our job to wait for them, look for them, and see them when they come along. They are looking for us…. let us be striving to be the women that God wants us to be so that we can be virtuous wives to be proud of.

*******

I am in love with a boy I’ve never met. And although I don’t know every quirk about his personality or even what he looks like, I do know what his heart looks like. Its beautiful, loving, giving, and pure. He is so tall that when he is on his knees, he reaches all the way to heaven. He is big enough to be gentle and great enough to be thoughtful. His shoulders are broad enough to bear the burden of a family. His lips are strong enough to smile and firm enough to say “no.” His love is so deep that it takes its stand in Christ and so wide that it takes the whole lost world in. This boy, although he is not perfect, strives to love selflessly and unconditionally. He inspires others, and he inspires me to be better every day, not so that I can earn his love, but so that when we meet… I will be the girl that he is already in love with. I know there is no perfect person, but I believe in a God who is able to do abundantly above all that we ask or think, and I’m in love with HIM too. He LOVES to give good gifts to His children and blesses those who wait for Him, and I will not settle for someone whose heart is not fully in God’s hands, or does not strive to be like Jesus every day. So, until we meet, I am in love with Jesus and my heart belongs to HIM ….. and this boy I’ve never met

 

Seriously, go read!! It also helps that I’ve been having lots of different conversations with Christian men lately about this exact topic.

Insanity

God is so incredible!

There is nothing else I can do but praise Him! I am so stupidly excited about Him answering my prayers again (and again and again)!! Insert definition of insane – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – thanks Albert Einstein. I pray and pray and pray and when God answers, I am amazed (and insane)!

God is sovereign which means He does His Will in His Time (aka not mine). I am blessed today to see God’s work thru my life. He answered my prayer from my quiet time this morning with a phone call from a dear friend this evening. My only reaction is one of worship and praise! I don’t know what else to do – I’ve even harassed my roommate whom is exhausted from traveling all week with how incredible God is. The best part? She just smiled and said that I was providing her with the same experience my friend was providing to me 🙂

Lord, please help me to continue to point people to the cross. Please help my relationships (with everyone in my life) to be glorifying to you. Thank you for doing work. Thank you for doing work thru me. Thank you for letting me receive the praise that you deserve.

In His incredibleness, God has also provided me a glimpse of the pain He must feel every time I sin and choose the darkness over His light. Another friend is struggling with the Lord (which is a familiar place for me) but is not finding hope and answers from Jesus. I want so desperately to pull her into the Light and I am so inadequate to do that. Only Jesus can. Only God can change her heart. Lord, please comfort her. Please help her heart to change to you. Please help me to be a tool for you to show how powerful and all consuming you are. And thank you for giving me shining moments of clarity about you. I know that I can never understand you completely and that you have a perfect plan for me which includes patiences and waiting. Please help me to remember your son Jesus in all that I do.

Pirates

Several friends and I went to see the Pirates exhibit at Union Station yesterday – it was good. It’s a National Geographic presentation on what piracy was like from a historic perspective found from the remains of the Whydoh ship that was wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod. You can see more information here.

The most amazing part of the exhibit was how present God was. There were no mentions of God in the actual exhibit materials but the people that I went with pushed me in my relationship with Him so incredibly that I have to write about it. Once again, I find myself amazed by my heavenly Father actually talking to me (maybe one day I will get it thru my head that He loves me enough to want to talk to me all the time if I would just listen).

Some back story: I’ve been struggling with being single. Most of the time I am totally content with where God has put me but recently I’ve had more and more mounting moments of dissatisfaction. God hasn’t given me whom He would have me marry. It’s HIS timing but I want it to MINE.

These moments are fueled by my attraction to a particular boy at church. This boy has not responded or reacted to any situation or conversation we’ve had the way that I thought he would. In fact, every time we talk I end up seeking God to be able to process or understand our conversations. I think this is one of the biggest reasons he’s so attractive. I’ve never been around someone like that before. These conversations have also revealed how broken he and I really are – we need the love and grace of Jesus Christ to make it and we’re both reaching for that with arms and hands wide open. I know that God is calling me to be his friend. NOT his girlfriend. his friend. I pray that my action would reflect God’s desires and not my heart’s.

So yesterday him, I, one of my best friends, another good friend, and one of his good friends went to see the real pirates exhibit. It was on my Kansas City Bucket List. The day was so normal and that was amazing. It’s funny – Christians are not “normal” when it comes to spending time with the opposite sex, especially if there is some attraction there. Women are trying to be patient and wait for whom God would put as the head of their household. Men are trying to be respectful of physical boundaries and learn how to treat women like the bride of Christ. Both are noble desires. Both lead to moments of awkwardness and distance. We over analyze and place too much faith in what we are saying or doing and how the other person will respond. Yesterday was blissful because I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing or worried about the response I would get. I was enjoying spending time with people.

And God was there. The reason I like spending time with this man is because he manages to interject God into the heart of every conversation we have. We were walking around reading about slavery and I made a statement that I was struggling to wrap my mind all the way around a society that trades in humans, that placed a monetary amount on a human being. And how did God let this activity continue to His people, to people made in His image. His comment was wanting to read and study the term “slavery” and how it is used in the Bible, what the derivative of it was, and if God intended for it to be used with so many social connotations that we’ve given it today. Wow – turn me right back around to God’s word when I was struggling.

After the museum we were going to get sushi for lunch but both sushi places ended up being closed (weird, it was 1:30pm on a Saturday but anyway) so we ended up eating at Chipotle. Chipotle is one of my favorite restaurants so I wasn’t complaining but I’m still craving sushi. 🙂

The excellent conversation continued. In normal flow of conversation, he asked me if I would be content with God if I knew He was never going to give me a husband? My response was “yes, I try to live my life each day as if that was my hope but that there were some days that I was going to be bitter or upset about it.” Thinking over this the last few hours, I think I was being truthful in my response but I do have some hope that God will answer my desire to be married and be submissive to my husband. I pray that God would guide my heart to be hopeful only in Him and His Son. I haven’t made an decisions about career or location or anything that revolved around marital status and I want to continue that trend. I am also incredibly thankful to God that He didn’t allow me to marry my ex-fiance. I would either be divorced or trapped in a un-godly marriage. To be so thankful to not be married helps me understand how thankful I should be with whatever God has in store for me.

Now, I’ve over analyzed every comment, look, text, and question that was brought up yesterday and come to several conclusions:

1. God has shown me an example of one quality that I want in my future marriage – the ability to have wonderful conversations with whomever I’m with that push me to grow in faith with God. This is my new deal breaker. This is also what God wants me to understand about seeking Him so that whomever I’m with will also seek Him.

2. When I give up control of a situation and just enjoy it, God is there and is working and is perfect. I need to remember this one more often. His faithfulness is flawless.

3. I need God’s help to be able to be friends with this man. I need God’s help to squash my heart’s desires so that I can let the Holy Spirit shine through me. That is truly what I want – for this man to get to experience the love of God through a positive friend relationship with a woman.

4. God is always guiding me, even when I’m not listening. I’ve been praying for weeks now about not understanding how to go from meeting someone to being married to them. God has answered my prayer by showing me how to spend time with people that fosters deep relationships and conversations and seeds of pursuit that are still focused on God. I’ve sinned in the past by loosing sight of God when I’m in relationships with men and they are not seeking God.

5. I am blessed. I am so incredibly blessed by the Grace of God and the death of His Son Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. The war is remembering Jesus.

Pouring

Sow righteousness for yourselves,

reap the fruit of unfailing love,

and break up your unplowed ground;

for it is time to seek the LORD,

until he comes and showers His righteousness on you.

Hosea 10:12

It’s amazing how much I like the rain – not the violent kind, just the soak-the-ground kind. I should really move to Seattle. I love how rain makes everything cozy; it’s easier to prioritize your life since you have to get wet to do it. It’s God’s promise of a fresh start and His love towards people. It brings me a sense of letting go.

It’s raining outside in Kansas City right now and it has brought a sense of calmness to my life that is experiencing torrential downpours. These are the stress-induced rains that require me to believe in God’s promise of love and fresh starts. If I choose to believe that what is happening in my life right now is the only thing to work and hope for, then I am doomed just like the raindrop trying to climb up the window I’m looking out of.

Like the ground outside, I am soaking up the rain and trying to use it to grow. I’m putting my faith in Jesus that I will be able to withstand the run-off.

5 P’s

Wednesday night was my first member meeting at church. It was a wonderful time to celebrate as a family of faith what has been accomplished with our building fund to date and to worship with God.

Kevin, one of our elders, said he has been praying for us using 5 P’s and encouraged us to do the same.

  • Plain – Lord, please come into my life in all the plain, mundane places. Please capture my heart while I’m brushing my teeth, preparing a document, walking to the car. Help me to search for you in the dark corners and wide open spaces of my life.
  • Pneumatic – God, please empower me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Help me to be like pneumatic equipment, always ready to fire for you in an instant to make a positive difference.
  • Passionate – I want to be passionate about you Lord in all that I do. People should see your face reflected in my actions. Father, please take over my desires and passions for other things and turn them to you.
  • Pleading – Lord help me to be a Christian that prays at every chance I get. Help me to understand the moments when I should be praying.
  • Plodding – Help us to trod the path you have before us, Lord. Help us to continue doing things as you would have us to fulfill your purpose.

 

Haiti

I promised to tell you about my membership interview at Redeemer Fellowship here in Kansas City. If you’re ever in the area and need some food for your soul, you should come in for service. (They also post the sermons each Sunday if you never find yourself in KC and need some spiritual healing too). This church has changed my life in ways only God can orchestrate and I am beyond thankful.

A year or so ago I was in a downward spiral of selfishness and bad habits. My friend (turned roommate) Rachel invited me to go to this church that she loves. I put her off for several months before I gave in and I’ve been there every Sunday I’m in KC since! I thank God daily for putting her in my life. I quickly signed up for the membership class, called Redeemer DNA, to figure out if I wanted to join a church again. I had struggled, and ultimately let myself blame God for actions of a church in Austin and had been using that as the perfect excuse to do whatever I wanted to…

Part of joining Redeemer is taking the class, another part is donating your time and talents so I began to read scripture during worship services. I love to speak to large groups of people, although I prefer to wing-it and not have anything rehearsed. I actually get nervous before reading when I have to say things correctly and even more nervous if the audience knows that I’m supposed to be saying. I find myself leaning on God to be able to make it to the front of the church without tripping and then pronouncing everything correctly without squeaking. It’s been a wonderful learning opportunity for me when I didn’t think it was really going to be.

The final part of the membership process is the membership interview with one of the pastors. “Membership interview” is really the wrong terminology but the english language (language in general) is inadequate to describe this situation. “Pastor meet-and-greet” gets closer to actuality but passes the cheesy line as well….This is not an interview because there is no judgement on if you get to be a member or not, no right or wrong answers. This is a conversation between you and pastor about what you believe in and where you stand in your life. They want to be able to call you by name on Sunday morning. They want to understand what you are struggling with so they can respond to it. They want to make connections and point you in directions of growth.

My growth came from a couple different directions during the course of this conversation. I was talking about how I’m feeling restless and how I’ve been praying for God to send me in his direction in regards to physically where I’m living, and not about living with Rachel or in an apartment or something else, but rather about what city and state and country I should be living in. We delved into the discussion about how I move around to avoid conflict and deep emotional connections with people – it’s easier to move than to tell someone why I don’t like what they are doing. I’ve been working on this but still have this sense of restlessness.

I then focused on trying to balance my work and my life and my faith. I compartmentalize events and escape them by going to work. If I don’t want to deal with something then I simply have to go to work and deal with something else. I have more control with work. I’m now balancing (most of the time) my work demands and creating space in my life for God to work.

All this space has left me with a restlessness on how to fill it. I’ve thought about joining another ministry team at church but just haven’t had one speak to me yet. Evan (my pastor) asked if I had ever thought about going to Haiti with the church for a mission trip. I quickly blurted two (ridiculous) responses: “I don’t like hugging babies, it’s not my thing” and “I question the effectiveness of doing short term mission trips because they tend to validate the goer and not the receivers.”

Evan smiled, got thoughtful, and told me to pray about it before explaining that this trip was to figure out how the church can me more productive in a long-term relationship with the Haiti Orphan Project. He suggested I consider going because of the leadership skills I have and that it was not all about hugging babies.

So I prayed.

And then I signed up to go on the trip. I leave April 30th and come back May 6th.

This is about glorifying God, loving children, and helping develop opportunities for other people in the church to do the same. This is not about me. This is not about my comfort zone. This is about hugging children because they do not have anyone else to hug. This is about learning how other people spend their lives. This is about listening to God work and move in my life and the world. If I pray for an answer and don’t like the one He gives me, I cannot keep praying for answers.

I ask that you pray for this trip. Please pray for safe travels, open hearts and minds, resilient stomachs, and for this to touch and move hundreds of people to action.

Wonderful Grace of Jesus

The wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin;

How shall my tongue describe it? Where shall is praise begin?

Taking away my burden, setting my spirit free;

The wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

 

The wonderful grace of Jesus, reaching a mighty host.

By it I have been pardoned, saved to the uttermost.

Chains have been torn asunder, giving me liberty;

The wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

 

More patient than my fight,

More faithful than my doubt,

Persistent though I run, O how his grace abounds!

Broader than my sin, deeper than my shame,

Stronger than my evil, O praise Jesus’ name!

 

The wonderful grace of Jesus, reaching the most defiled,

By its transforming power, making him God’s dear child,

Purchasing peace and heaven, for all eternity;

Ther wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

The wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin;

How sall my tongue describe it? Where sall its praise begin?