Monday, October 8, 2012

Life in the -ing

The changing of seasons always spurs me on to processing life. It causes me to slow. While taking a walk the other day I noticed all the vibrant colors. (Seriously so beautiful, I love how Christ draws us to Himself through the beauty of His creation.) One of the trees I noticed had some leaves that had turned to a shocking yellow. Looking a bit more though I noticed that some of it's leaves were still green. Just as the tree hadn't fully changed, I was reminded that He is always working, always changing us.


Perhaps it's because I am a planner and list maker, but I tend to want to live in the finish of something. To have something completed gives me a sense of accomplishment. Looking at the tree though, I was reminded that I need to live in the -ing. God is inviting me to live in the moment because He is in every moment.

He invites us each to a place of growing, pruning, delighting, working, resting and worshiping. I don't have to wait until a specified time, because I have the now.


At work we have been talking about being in and with Christ. It begs me to ask myself, "Am I being in and with Christ?" Are my roots grounded deep in Him? In His truth? Because if I'm not grounded in Him I have no chance of growing.


This journey is full of beauty. It's full of living, creating and adventuring. Yes, there are the times of hurting and wondering, and Christ will meet us there too. No matter what season Christ has me in, whether it is one of waiting or moving forward, it's for a reason and He is good.


I'm finding joy and beauty in the -ing of life. I'm finding that His processing, creating and refining are good. And I hope that if I ever get to the point where I think I have "mastered" or "completed" something, I pray that I will remember that I am the created. Always a work in progress. Living in the midst of God's hand at work is good, so good.

So here's to finding a full life in the -ing.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

to Journeying.

What an exciting journey it has been lately.  I never expected that I would be "here."  It is good though, so good.  Nearly 5 months ago I began working at Youth Unlimited.  Our focus and drive is to create faith-forming experiences for youth.  It's been such a blessing to be a part of what He is doing in youth.  It's good and I feel like I can see kingdom coming to earth.


And in just a couple of weeks I will head to Uganda and Kenya for a time.  I will be journeying with Stacy (who I toured with) and we will be going to see our kids from the Choir.  It has been about a year and a half since I have seen them.  While I'm trying to prepare myself for taller/older kids, I'm just not quite sure how to do that.  I picture them as the day we parted ways.  And I've seen pictures since, but that doesn't fill the in-between time of relationship.  


I'm envisioning our reunion.  To be welcomed into a country so far, so foreign to me, yet greeted by family.  It's surreal.  


I'm preparing to go.  Preparing not just my suitcases and gifts for the kids, but my heart.  I'm ready to pour out and love on these 23 beautiful children who so deeply impacted my life.  My biggest hope is that going and being there with them, they would know that I am there for them.  That I journeyed halfway across the world because I just wanted to spend time with them.


I'm reading the book "Love Does" by Bob Goff and this part fit my heart so well.  "I think a father's job, when it's done best, is to get down on both knees, lean over his children's lives, and whisper, 'Where do you want to go?' Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It's not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He's made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, 


"Let's go do that together."


Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011

I learned a lot in 2011.  Writing all these things makes me realize how much God has done in my life in just one year.  To be completely honest things didn't happen as I had planned or thought.  But my perspective is limited, God's is not.  I am learning to see the beauty in every moment.


So here are 11 things that I learned/realized/happened upon in 2011 (in no particular order):

1.  Change: change is the only constant.
2.  Trust: trust in the Lord with all your heart.
3.  Faithfulness: He is always faithful and asks us if we will be too.
4.  Letting go: there are some relationships that will fade.
5.  Embracing the moment: live in today, not worrying about tomorrow.
6.  Taking the step: even if others don't understand, take the step He is asking you to take.
7.  Contentedness: godliness with contentment is great gain.
8.  Memories Made: with friends and family.
9.  Transition: not as easy as I thought it would be.
10.  Confidence: knowing that I am His, nothing can change that, and I can't do anything to earn that.
11.  Growing: let your roots grow down into Him.

I am excited for 2012 and the journey that it will be.  I've been thinking and praying about what God has for this new year.

Some words that stand out are: 
Expectancy
Walking Alongside
and Journeying.

As 2012 nears I ready myself to live each day to the full, to find beauty in the unexpected places of life, to be grateful for the good and the bad, to worship Him with my whole self, and to be a beacon of His hope and light to the lost and hurting.

I hope that this new year for each of you will be met with hopeful expectation.

Christmas Eve


He has been and always will be.  
He wants to be YOUR 
Wonderful Counselor, 
Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father, and 
Prince of Peace.  
Won't you welcome Him in?

Friday, December 23, 2011

A wedding weekend

This past weekend one of my dearest friends got married!
After spending a couple of days with my cousins in Kansas City I headed to Springfield.  
  
It was a wonderful weekend full of wedding festivities:
 Going to Kai for sushi was a MUST.
 Bridal shower time.
 Those cupcakes were delicious.  
 Amy & Dan, the perfect blend.

 Bff Ashley at the rehearsal dinner.
 Day of the wedding!  First stop: Hebrews (favorite coffee shop ever) for some coffee and breakfast!
 At the church, the "getting ready" rooms were great!  

 Hair and makeup

 Haha not sure why they put this in the bridal room.


 bff
 Gorgeous bride!
 Waiting for the bride!
 Here she comes, isn't she beautiful?!?!
 Prayers
 First kiss
 The happy couple!
 Reception time
She caught the bouquet! 
 Saw Miss Amelia at the wedding!

I then spent the next couple of days with Ashley in Branson.

On my way home.  Don't worry, I was stopped in traffic when I took the picture.

A little last minute Christmas shopping with the little brother.  
Isn't this the best!?!?

Family Christmas party.

 It was cozy and wonderful.

My trip was wonderful and I loved seeing friends.  They are my kindred friends and even though I may not see them that often, I treasure the time we have together.  I'm so happy for Amy and Dan, I know that they will have a beautiful journey together.  

I'm looking forward to this Christmas weekend to celebrate and reflect on Christ our Savior.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One Year

A year ago today I stood in the corner of an airport dreading the moment that was coming when I would have to say goodbye to the kids and chaperones.  After getting a few last hugs the kids headed towards their gate.  Then the kids stepped onto the escalator and my heart sunk.  All I could think was, "now what?"  As I stood there with a few of the other aunties none of us knew what to do.  So we cried.  Then we headed to the empty and quiet bus, grabbed our suitcases, stepped off, and watched as our home drove away.

I often think back to tour.  How could I not?  Every day I think of my kids, my fellow chaperones, or the life I had for 15 months.

Things I miss:

the children, living life with them, watching them grow

the chaperones, the community and family that we became

tour life, the adventure of trusting for your daily needs and being grateful for everything whether you sleep on the floor or in a bed

starbucks, not being able to get to it makes it so much more rewarding when you do

the children

exploring this beautiful continent

the children

being forced to grow, you have no choice.

concerts

purpose


There are some days that I can hardly take it.  I miss them.  My heart aches for them.  Part of me hopes they don't forget, that they don't forget the lessons and experiences from tour, and that they don't forget me.

I will always think back to this day.  It is a day that is cemented in my heart.  Not just this day though, the 15 months leading up to it.  So forgive me if I talk about my kids or about my experiences on tour too much.  But I want to share what I experienced, I want to tell you about 23 beautiful children who love the Lord and are doing great things, I want to tell you about the chaperones that became my family, I want to tell you about the host families I had and the places I saw.

I look forward to the day when I can see them again, but this time in Africa!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankfulness

Thankfulness: 
conscious of benefit received; expressive of thanks; well pleased


This Thanksgiving I have much to be thankful for.  God has blessed me and poured out His loving kindness.  Praying this morning, I began to write down things that I am thankful to God for.  Some are major growing things that God is doing inside of me and other things are the simple joys in life.  {In no particular order}

  1. Shown Yourself faithful
  2. Grown in my trust & faith in You
  3. Given me strength & perseverance
  4. Taught me where my value comes from
  5. Provided for me to pay my bills
  6. Given me a roof over my head & food
  7. Revealing a community here in this place
  8. Opened opportunities to serve
  9. Blessed with good health
  10. Given me hope for the future
  11. Teaching me Your ways
  12. My 23 beautiful children
  13. The courage to listen to Your will and obey
  14. Memories
  15. The ability to forgive and forget
  16. A family that loves me
  17. The chance to encourage others
  18. A future in You
  19. Beauty all around me
  20. Your creation and the lessons it teaches me
  21. Travel
  22. That I am a reflection of You
  23. You are my Father in Heaven
  24. I am redeemed
  25. There is no condemnation in You
  26. For the dreams You have given to me
  27. Creativity
  28. An education
  29. The experiences I've had
  30. Friends and kindred spirits
  31. Peace of the mind & spirit
  32. Coffee
  33. Joy in any circumstance
  34. Tears
  35. Your guiding hand that never leaves me
  36. Plans to go to Africa (soon!)
  37. A church that is seeking You
  38. Living out who You have called me to be
  39. A heart of compassion
  40. That You have good plans for me
  41. Salvation
  42. Hope for a husband someday
  43. Abundant life
  44. My needs are met
  45. Grace & mercy
  46. Your Word that guides me
  47. Answered prayers
  48. Patience
  49. Family
  50. I am Yours
I have a great deal to be thankful for.  This week especially I am thankful for good reports about my kids back in Africa.  They are growing in the Lord and doing so well in school.  They are growing up quickly.  Here is a video of some of the girls from last Thanksgiving while we were at Mirembe House:



George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789:

"It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, 
to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection and favor."