Thursday, December 28, 2006
Okay, I'm off to work (NOT something that sounds fun in a snow storm!) and can curl back up in my jammies at 11 when I get off (dang it).
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
1) I got heartburn for the first time in my life today, I think. I don't know if I actually had it, but I took one bite of the onion I put on my sandwich and there was instant pain in my chest. So either I was having a heart attack or heartburn, and I'm gonna guess the latter.
2) I had the most amazing Christmas that I can ever remember!
3) A few days ago I started praying fervently that the Lord would show me the lies that I believe about Him so that I can see them and replace them with Truth. It has been awesome to see these lies revealed to me and then to see scripture tell me the Truth that counteracts it. Today I was focusing on the lie that the Lord is passive and I must carry my relationship with Him. I never realized I held that belief, but after recognizing it I see it everywhere! No wonder I get so weary in my walk with the Lord...I am not allowing Him to be my warrior and my savior!
4) I am cat sitting. I am severely allergic to cats. This is a bad combination. I cat sat a month ago and learned these facts, yet when asked a second time I (in a very co-dependent voice) said "sure!". So, here I am again, sneezing my way through life.
5) I made cookies today and they made my stomach upset. Well, maybe eating five of them made my stomach upset...
I love you all
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Last night Zeke woke up with a really bad coughing fit (he has a bad cold) and I got to spend 3:30 to 4:30 am sitting next to him. As I laid in bed trying to go back to sleep I was overwhelmed with gratefulness to the Lord. I had been afraid, as I went to sleep hours before, that I would not hear them if they woke up, or that if I did get up I would be grumpy and half asleep as I tended to them. However, I heard him right away and was wide awake. It is amazing the amount of compassion that is stirred up in my soul as I sit beside him in the wee hours of the morning. I had no thoughts of sleep I was missing, but was overwhelmed with compassion for him. I just wanted him to feel better! And, for anyone who has ever lived with me before, it is RARE for me to wake up and be compassionate. I usually need, oh, a few hours before I can be nice to anyone. So this truly was an act of the Lord. I was also afraid they would wake up before me and get themselves into trouble. But I woke up about 45 minutes before them and was able to get ready before they even woke up!
So, we have been playing all day and they are sound asleep. Tonight we are having a movie night! Yippee!
As I said before, I now can understand what Erin means when she tells me being a parent just never ends. I thought I got that before, but now I see. I haven't had time to do much for myself today...or really anything other than tend to their needs, which never end! Things are a mess and there is even throw up stains on the floor now, but we are all safe and having fun!
Well, they should sleep for another hour, so I am going to go have time with the Lord.
Friday, December 01, 2006
I don't have a whole lot else to post because I don't have a whole lot else going on in my life. Thanksgiving was so fun! I woke up that morning and watched the parade on TV. At two points I found myself bawling from excitement! There is just so much excitement in the air during the holidays and I apparently can do nothing but cry because of it. It was pretty funny.
Well, I just don't have much more energy, and I think I'm going to go to bed. We will see what the next few days bring :)
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I am going to spend the day with a very dear friend of mine, Erin, and her family. She is married and has two young children and the last six months they have taken me in and made me a part of their family. In fact, I spend at least one day a week with them, even though they live 40 minutes away! So when I told her my family wasn't doing anything, she said I must go with them. So, tomorrow I will join them and two other families to eat and play, and I couldn't be more excited!
Just this morning I was thinking how much I will miss the whole process of Thanksgiving. Even though I have a place to go, I won't get to be a part of the cooking and the fun anticipation I remember so much from being a kid. A little bit later Erin called to say she was going to bake pies and cook as much as she could ahead of time today and she wanted me to come spend the day with them while they did it! It was an answer to my hearts longings! So I got to spend hours today laughing, baking, cooking, making messes and watching squirrels get shot. My heart is so full!!
Monday, November 20, 2006
In the meantime I want to share some things I am thankful for today:
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I just have a quick post today. I started working part-time today at a preschool here in Lafayette. It is such a joy for me to be able to use my degree in very tangible ways, though I am thankful this is only a short-term thing :)
I just am writing to ask for prayer for this new job. There is a little girl there who is 4 years old and is having a really hard time. She will be in a very happy mood and then suddenly switch to very upset. While upset, she only wants to be held. At one point today, when she became very upset, she started saying she hates everything and it about broke my heart. Please pray that I would know how to minister to her little soul and that her family members would know Jesus.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
- it's snowing! it's been a LONG time since it has snowed in my life. little mexico just doesn't have much snow.
- i got to spend the afternoon yesterday with my teammate jen from mexico. it was so refreshing to be with someone who gets it when i talk about mexico, culture shock, memories and such. not to mention i just love her and being with her! i nearly cried when she left.
- i feel like the Lord has been moving in my heart in huge ways. (well, i do think he is always moving in my life, i just am a bit more aware of it right now. but anyway...) He has been stirring in me a passion for the lost. i feel like there are moments every day that i get a taste of things that are eternal and i am graciously reminded that i wouldn't want to do anything else with my life than serve the Lord. when i think about the way the Lord has changed my life and made me new i get so excited about the ways he wants to do that in other peoples lives as well. i could ramble on and on, but i won't. i'm just really excited about what i do!
- i have to (shamefully) admit that i never really think about what i read. i read a lot, and if someone i love recommends a book and read it with no hesitation. i am taking a sunday school class at my church on the book of colossians and this past sunday had a huge revelation in my life regarding books. towards the end of the class the teacher started talking about the movement of the emergent church. somehow we got on the subject of books and he talked rather negatively about an author that i really like. after more discussion, i found out that my teacher was very well educated in theology and that he had a website on which he reviews books and music and about a thousand other things. so after church i read through his website http://www.randybrandt.net/contend/. it was interesting to read his perspective, and i didn't necessarily agree with everything, but i realized that is good. since sunday i have been reading a few books and i find myself testing what i read against scripture and checking out the people authors quote. essentially checking to make sure what i read is quality, and learning to weed out things authors say that don't stand against scripture. it's been a fun process! i still love my favorite authors, but i'm learning to see things in their theology that i don't necessarily agree with.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
with that said, let me tell you officially that i am joining staff
with campus crusade for christ. more details to come...
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
You know, walking with God has been hard for me lately. It is one of those times in life when faith is a choice instead of just an instinct. It is hard to chose to put my faith in Christ instead of putting it in the television, food, people, myself, or whatever else seems good at the moment. So faith is a choice right now, and I am not choosing it. I came home from a meeting tonight and immediately started thinking about what was on tv. Then I thought, if I was walking with God right now I would chose to spend time with Him right now. But I didn't! I totally knew exactly what I was doing and yet still walked away from the Lord. After trying several things to make myself feel better (including my THIRD piece of cake for the day and checking my email for at least the fifth time of the day) I started looking up this info I needed on Student Venture. That led to reading about Staci and thinking about death. And thinking about life.
Death is one of the things about life that make me want to do full-time ministry the most. It is one of those times when I really start to think about what my purpose in life is. I firmly believe my purpose is to 1) know God and 2) make God known. When I think about the fact that I will die someday I realize that I do not want to waste my time on anything but knowing God and making Him known.
But the 99% of the time when I am not thinking about death, I tend to fail at knowing God and making Him known. I know the tv, I know good food, (haha, I know bad food and chose to eat it too) I am making my favorite musician known, and I am making my fish known. - I talk about my fish with other people more than I talk about God. Okay, maybe not always, but certainly the last month at least. -
This is mostly just rambling. A quick summary would be that 1) I've been contemplating life and death lately, 2) I am having a hard time choosing to follow Jesus, and 3) my hearts desire is to make God known and I AM FAILING AT THAT!
Thank you for hearing me.
Friday, September 29, 2006
We got some results from the surgery today and the news was not the best. I am not going to go into more details for her privacy, but we are disappointed to say the least. Please pray that the doctors would have wisdom for how to treat this latest development.
Thank you friends!!!
Friday, September 22, 2006
My mom's surgery went well, she is at home now recuperating. Please continue to pray for her healing, both physically and emotionally. I spent the day with her yesterday and today and I just wish I could take this away from her!
She will begin the next phase of treatment when results from some tests come back. Please keep praying for her.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
1) that the doctors would be surprised because the situation is much better than they think
2) that Jesus would comfort my mom and bring healing to her heart
3) that the doctors would be able to give us good answers and good direction for the next few months based on what they find tomorrow.
Thank you for praying! I will post tomorrow or Friday once we know anything.
For those of you still reading, I would like to share some things I have learned (well, it would be more correct to say I am learning them because I still am trying to process through it all). Tonight I shared with some women in my Bible study about the surgery tomorrow and how I'm feeling about it. Their reaction was to tell me that they know someone with cancer and that I just need to trust Jesus.
This has been a very common response when I share about this. And it has been a very frustrating response. As I drove home tonight I was praying about why it makes me so mad when people respond in this way and I have a few ideas.
1) Our society just doesn't know how to grieve themselves, let alone how to be with other people who are. People want to make me feel better and encourage my soul - they don't want to deal with me (or themselves or anyone else) hurting. So, they tell me, perhaps ultimately they are telling themselves, that I just need to trust Jesus and everything will be okay. This makes me so frustrated because I need someone to just tell me it sucks, someone to tell me it is okay to cry and be scared and sad.
2) There is an element of cancer being a very public and common thing. But it is also a very personal thing as well. So when I tell people my mom has cancer, nearly everyone knows someone who has also had cancer. I need to learn how to grieve on my own...how to live in the reality that my mom has cancer. My mom. But when everyone reacts by telling me how their so and so had cancer, it takes away from my mom and our situation. This makes me feel like what I'm going through isn't that big of a deal, and that makes me question my reaction to it. I am sad and scared and upset...but that is an over reaction if it isn't such a big deal (after all, everyone knows someone who had cancer). Plus, all these people smile and tell me they know someone who had cancer, but everyone's all right now. (or even if they aren't all right now, they are still going to smile about it as they tell me). So is something wrong with me that I'm not smiling and I'm not okay? I started to think as I drove home that part of this is my fear that I won't be okay after all of this. Am I going to be at a point where I can smile as I talk about all of this? Do I even want to be at that point?
I so badly want to learn through this how I can better be a resource for students, or whoever in my life goes through a similar situation. My prayer (and please pray it with me) is that I will never be the person that smiles and says "my mom had cancer, I know how you are feeling. Trust Jesus and everything will be okay". I don't want to forget all of this and turn into that person.
Which, I suppose, begs the question of what a good reaction looks like. And I don't know the answer. What I do know is the people who have been the most helpful have been the people that don't know someone who has cancer. One woman, after I told her, said she couldn't know for sure how I felt because she hadn't been there, but she guessed I probably felt like it was all surreal and scary. She could have guessed anything and I would have loved her. She didn't assume, instead she tried to put herself in my shoes. Then she asked me tons of questions about how I was doing, how I was feeling. Instead of telling me to trust Jesus, she told me it sucked and she was sorry. I know that I need to trust Jesus, but before I can trust Jesus I need to feel what I am feeling and give Him those emotions and fears.
Thanks for reading my rambling! I'm still trying to figure this all out. Please pray for my heart, and that Jesus would heal me.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
I am house-sitting once again for some friends of mine. They have a sweet dog named Rosey, who I put in her kennel about 10 last night. I read for a while, then went to sleep. I was in the middle of what I'm certain was a really good dream when I woke up to the sound of Rosey barking. I have actually never heard her bark before, so it took a minute to realize it was her. I tried to go back to sleep, thinking she would too, but after a few minutes she didn't. Here is where things got tricky...
I got out of bed and walked to the door, intending to go down and check on her. But then my over active hypocondriatic seen-too-many-lifetime-movies personality starting considering what might actually be going on downstairs. The two biggest possibilities were 1) she needed to go to the bathroom, and 2) someone had broken into the house and was trying to lure me downstairs so they could kill me. I, of course, decided option 2 must be the situation. At that point, I began to cry.
I decide I must find a weapon to defend myself. So I sneak over to the master bedroom, hoping there was a baseball bat or something under the bed. Finding nothing, I return to the bedroom I am sleeping in and try to formulate a plan.
I decide that if someone is in the house they would have known by now that I was upstairs, so I can either go downstairs and confront them, or wait until they come up and get me. The best option is to go downstairs. I realize I can't call the police until I really know something is going on, but I also know that by the time I am sure someone is in the house it will be too late to call. So I dial 911, but don't press send, and keep the phone in my pocket with my finger on send. On some level I knew that even if I called 911, it would take them forever to find me because it wasn't a land line, but it felt good knowing someone would know I was in danger.
At that point I begin walking down the stairs. About half way down, I start to think about how in lifetime movies the women always make stupid mistakes, like wandering out in the yard in her underwear after hearing a funny noise at 3 am. They are always asking for trouble. I realized I was making a lifetime mistake - going downstairs unprotected to see about some intruders. My next thought was to run out of the house and run to the neighbors. I chose to keep going towards the dog, even though my instincts were screaming to run.
I get to the bottom of the stairs and turn all the lights on, then slowly walk around the corner to where the kennel is. I walk through the whole house, checking every corner and finally decide no one was going to kill me. I let the dog out to go to the bathroom, then put her back in her kennel and make my way back upstairs. You would think that by this point I would have dispelled any unmeritted fears of my pending death, but as I entered my room I realized that the killer must have snuck upstairs while I was down and was waiting in the closet to kill me. It turns out he wasn't, and I crawled back to bed, falling asleep to the sound of Rosey barking and crying herself to sleep.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
1) I am still raising financial and prayer support full time. I have been learning a lot about myself during this process. I will write more about that later...
2) I am settled into my new apartment with my new roommate Jael. Ashley, the third roomie, will be moving in in the next month and we are so excited! It has been such a sweet blessing to be able to live in a community of believers after living alone all summer.
3) My family has had quite an interesting couple of weeks. I want to protect their privacy, so I won't give many specifics. But please pray for my family. One member of my immediate family has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and it has taken a toll on each of us. It is interesting how the world can be turned so upside down by one phone call. Please pray that God would perform a miracle, that my family would be united during this time, and that God would comfort our hearts as we mourn.
4) Yesterday I was telling a dear friend of mine that I am self-conscious a vast percentage of the time. We talked about it for a few minutes, and then she lovingly pointed out to me that this is a judgmental and self-centered way to live my life. At first I had that "i suck" feeling that comes up when I see sin in my life. But it quickly turned to joy as I realized God loves me so much that He would reveal to me things that aren't pleasing to Him and gives me what I need to turn from sin. So it was a huge wake-up moment, and I am excited! I am still thinking through this, so I will write more later, but for now I am excitedly thinking through my life, trying to find more ways I am self-centered and judgmental, so that I can confess it and be more who God wants me to be.
5) My birthday was Tuesday. I woke up to my sweet friend who lives in a country on the other side of the world calling me to tell me she loves me. Then my roomies brought me starbucks in bed, and the day just got better as it went! I love birthdays - mine and everyone else's - and love thinking about the people God has brought into my life these last 23 years. And I love chicken pad thai.
6) I just got the mail and I have a package from my friend Streit who lives in New Mexico. So, I should probably end this to go get it :)
Friday, August 25, 2006
Your prayers and financial support are crucial. God called me to help develop staff and students supernaturally and I believe He will provide supernaturally all the necessary financial support and prayer laborers to make this about Him and the Gospel touching every single life.
If God is leading you to join with me, then you can partner in a variety of ways.
- Commit to praying for me daily.
- Giving a special needs gift. (See below)
- Joining our monthly financial support team. (See below)
You can support me financially in the following manners:
- Send a check by mail and payable to:Campus Crusade for Christ Contributions P.O. Box 628222 Orlando, FL 32862 Please include a note that reads: Amy Brink #0574116.
- Make a contribution by phone using your credit card: Call 1-888-CRUSADE (option 1) Direct the person to make your gift toward Amy Brink #0574116.
- Give via the web using your credit card Give To Amy Here you can give special gifts or set up monthly gifts.
- Give via monthly bank transfer (EFT) Each month your gift will be transferred directly from your bank account to my Campus Crusade for Christ account. A record of each gift will appear on your bank statement. To set up an EFT click here to download a Bank Account Direct Giving Form. Under the "Please divide my gift this way" Enter "Amy Brink #0574116". Follow the other instructions on the form and mail to Campus Crusade for Christ.
Thank you for laboring with me!
Thursday, August 24, 2006
First, yesterday my director called and asked if I wanted to be on the DCC (Denver Christmas Conference) planning committee. DCC is a conference Campus Crusade puts on each year that over 2000 students in our region come to. (check out dcc2007.com for more info) I felt honored to be asked to be a part of that team! So today I headed down to the Adams Mark hotel in Denver, where the conference is located each year. Because we use so much of the hotel each year during our week long conference, we have accrued something similar to frequent flyer miles. So each year the hotel provides everything we need for this planning weekend. This means I am staying at this 5 star hotel for free and eating at places like Maggianos. And I am surrounded by wise Crusade veterans. It has been refreshing, visionary, honoring, humbling, and a joy to be here!
My next thought is about a discussion my team had earlier tonight. We ultimately decided that the phrase "blind faith" is redundant. If faith is not blind, then it really isn't faith. The only thing we know for sure is God exists and that we can have a personal relationship with Him. Outside of that, faith is blind. We step out each day with a thousand unknowns, all the while trusting God. More thoughts on this after I have had time to process it more...
And the last thing I want to share are my thoughts regarding my future. The last week or so I have felt a sense of urgency in regards to determining what the next year holds for me. My biggest decision has been if I should join staff with Campus Crusade for Christ, or if I should pursue other things with my life. The most difficult thing has been determining what the Lord wants me to do. (Not that I really know what I think I should do or want to do even...) A good friend asked me what verses I stand on that affirm the Lord's calling on my life (whether for full-time ministry or not). And I humbly had to tell her I had none. There are no scripture passages that grab my soul and encourage me to press on when it is hard.
So the next day, during my time with the Lord, I asked Him to give me verses that would affirm His call. So I did my normal quiet time and tried my hardest to read into every passage I read in order to find my "call". And, of course, nothing magically appeared. One of the passages I read that day, however, has stuck with me. I don't think it was until a few days later that it came back into my mind, but once it did it has stayed there. And it was really not what I expected. In fact, so much not what I expected that I kept telling myself that it wasn't the verse I have been given to stand on, it's just a random verse that keeps coming into my mind. I expected a very clear "serve me with everything you have" or a "follow the desire of your heart and i will give you everything you need" or even a "go ask your best friend and whatever they say is what I want you to do". Something clear :)
But instead, the verse that keeps coming back in my mind is Psalm 105:4 which reads "Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always". So what is my calling? To walk with God. To be so intimately in tune with Him that my every step is clearly shown to me because my heart is so aligned with His.
Now, this doesn't answer the question of whether or not to join staff. But it does answer the question of what to do with my life. I could be a teacher, a staff member, a doctor, a trash truck driver, a bum...it doesn't matter if my heart is aligned with Him because I seek His face. So, for now I will seek His face, trusting that He will show me what to do tomorrow, and the day after that, and the month after that. This is the verse I will stand on that will affirm the decisions I make and the work that I do.
Friday, August 18, 2006
But it hasn't just been a moving induced whirlwind. My heart has been all over the place. As I have continued to seek the Lord during this time of support raising I have been trying to determine His will. Does He want me to join staff with Campus Crusade after this year? Does He want me to teach? Does He want me to work for a church? Something totally different? I have no idea, but I want to follow His will. I was thinking last night that part of me does want to know for the sake of knowing, but a large part of me wants to know because I want to honor Him. I want my choices and my decisions to be glorifying to Him. And with support being so difficult this time around I am feeling that desire even more. I suppose I question whether or not He wants me here this year...or if my support being so low is an indicator of Him not wanting me here. Yet my heart leaps when I think about working with this ministry!
Perhaps all of that is to ask for prayer. Would you pray with me that the Lord would calm my heart and speak truth into my life? I want so badly to be walking in His will, to be hearing His heart speak to mine. Please also pray that He would bring in my support or make it obvious that He has other plans for me. I am not quite sure why, but the last hour or so it has felt very important to me to ask for prayer for myself. We will see what the next few days bring! Thanks for praying.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Today has been an interesting day. I don't want to write a whole lot about it, but after I wrote on here earlier I went to my brother's birthday party and then caught up with an old friend. He is a guy I dated in high school and I nearly haven't seen him since. And we talked for a long time. And I remember the reasons I really liked him. Only he's gay now.
I also spent a long time with the Lord. As I was packing things yesterday I came across my one-year Bible that I used for two years in college. So I read today and it was so good. It was from Jeremiah chapters 30 and 31. The absolute mercy, grace and hope that it describes were exactly what I needed to hear. I will give you some of my favorite parts, but you really should just go read those two chapters and remember how much God loves you.
Chapter 30:10-11, 17
"So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel, says the LORD. For I will bring you home again from distant lands... For I am with you and will save you, says the LORD. I will completely destroy the nations where I have scattered you, but I will not destroy you. But I must discipline you; I cannot let you go unpunished. I will give you back your health and heal your wounds, says the LORD."
"In that day," says the LORD, "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. I will care for the survivors as they travel through the wilderness. I will again come to give rest to the people of Israel." Long ago the LORD said to Israel: "I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with tambourines. Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria and eat from your own gardens there. The day will come when watchmen will shout from the hill country of Ephraim, `Come, let us go up to Jerusalem to worship the LORD our God.' "
Saturday, August 12, 2006
I feel...contemplative? melancholy? sad? I'm not sure what I would label it. I am sitting in the basement of my friends house, waiting to go hang out with the Lord and then go to my brother's slip and slide birthday party. It will be so cute to see all the kids playing in the water, sliding around, being silly. Who would have thought turning 30 could be so fun?!
Anyway, I just finished baby sitting and am working on support and thought I would take a break to write something here. I can't quite put a finger on what I am feeling. I don't feel happy, thought I don't think I feel sad. God has provided a place to live, rent for this month, and this amazing basement to stay in for free until I can move into my new apartment. He has provided support (and paychecks) for this month, thought next month is still waiting to be seen. I have all these things to be thankful for, all these things that were causes of stress but have now been worked out. I feel peacefull here in this place and I feel encouraged about what God is doing...yet something still feels off.
Maybe it's just the music I am playing...it's slow and thoughtful. Yesterday I went to my parent's house while they were gone and went through all of my things. In the last four years I have moved 5 times, and in the middle of that my parents moved too. So my stuff is all in boxes, and there are piles of boxes. "Mexico stuff" "Bustakappa stuff" "high school stuff". So my goal was to merge it all and then throw away everything I don't want anymore and pack the stuff I want into boxes to take to my new apartment on Tuesday. Maybe that is why I am in this mood. It was sad to go through all of my busta kappa things. I would stop and look at each thing, thinking about the house and the memories.
Then I went through my Mexico things, and that was even harder. The most difficult thing was looking through the cards and gifts the students gave me before I left. Adan made me a picture frame out of cardstock that says "friends forever" in English and in Spanish and then has a picture of him inside of it. Then there was the jellied goo thing Indira gave me which I haven't gotten around to eating yet. I just couldn't get myself to throw it away in April, so I stuck it in the closet and had to throw it away yesterday. And I cried. It was a stupid piece of nasty Mexican candy, and I cried when I threw it away.
Needless to say, I didn't finish going through my things. I packed all my clothes and books, and left the rest for another day. It was a joy, though, to come here to my friends house after that, and have her 3 year old son be waiting up for me in his pajamas. All day he knew that Mamy (what he calls me) was coming to stay the night and would be there when he woke up. He hugged me and promised to wake me up in the morning :). And today he said he loved me and he liked me.
Well, if you've read this whole thing you are a champ. I don't even think I am going to go back and proof read it...I just needed to write for awhile.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
I also have had some great time with the Lord the last few days. Here are some things I have learned...
2 Corinthians 4:7-10
Verse 7 & 10 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us...We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."
Verse 8-9 "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
I don't think I really need to say any more, just read those verses one more time and it should start to sink in.
Here is the other passage that has impacted my life greatly lately.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."
Right before I read this passage I was praying and told the Lord I needed Him to provide my financial support. I confessed that I was fearful that things would not come together and that He was not good. Then I read Psalm 37:34 "Hope in the Lord" and it cross referenced Psalm 34, so I went back and read that.
A friend asked me today how I was doing with my ministry partner development. I told her I felt hopefull, yet full of despair at the same time. I'm not sure how that is possible, but it is how I feel. The minute I quit meditating on these verses despair begins to sink in, then I turn to the Lord and He fills me with hope.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
The rest of these are from our first week in Durango
The bus...right after we left, and right before two of us started throwing up and the driver got drunk
The "home search" team, taking a tourist break :)
Random picture from the hotel room shower
I found this picture while I was looking through pictures of Mexico. It makes me smile. It is Matt Mitchell and I during our first week in Durango, outside of an internet cafe/ice cream shop. I didn't have a home then, and I don't have a home now. I'll tell you the story of homeless Amy in Mexico today, and maybe tomorrow I'll tell you about homeless Amy now.
We arrived in Durango on September 10th, 2005, very late at night. We paid off our bus driver to drop us off at our hotel instead of the bus station and quickly went to bed. The next day we woke up, had team church time in the basement of the hotel, and then made a plan. We wanted to be moved into a house/houses by the end of the week. So we split up into teams, one going to campus to get things rolling with the ministry, and one team to scout out places to live. The latter was my team...
We poured over newspaper advertisements for housing, talked to every contact we had in the city, and finally drove around town with Gabriel, a student the summer team had met. For three days straight we looked at crummy place after crummy place. Finally we found an apartment complex that was right between the two main university campuses we would be on, was right in our price range, and was in a safe neighborhood. After the other team got home from campus we walked them over to the apartments and we all agreed this was the place for us. There were two apartments available...one for the girls, one for the boys. The girls were going to each have to share a room with another person, and it was on the small side, but we would be right above the boys. And regardless, it was the best thing we had seen so far. The landlord's son had shown us the place, so we had to go eat dinner and then go back to sign the lease.
As we walked into the lobby of our hotel, the receptionist said that Jen, my teammate, had a phone call right that second. So Jen grabbed the phone and the rest of us went to our rooms. I settled in for some time with the Lord, and quickly realized I didn't feel peace about signing a lease on the place. So I prayed about it for a few minutes and finally just asked the Lord to provide something better in the hour before we were to sign the lease if the uneasiness was from Him.
As soon as I had finished praying Jen came in and shared about her phone call with us. That summer our friend Marta (from UNC) had been in Durango and had met with a lady about us renting her house. When Marta got back to the States she lost the lady's info and we had just written it off. Well, about two weeks before we left, unknown to us, Marta had found the lady's info and had emailed her, telling her we needed a place to live and the name of the hotel we would be at. The lady had just checked her email that very day and had called the hotel to ask us to come that night to see her house.
We start walking to her house and one by one we each share that we had been very uneasy about the other place. We laughed as we all shared things about it we didn't like, but were planning on just settling with! Not a single one of us had been honest that we didn't like the place. We get to this house and it is huge, in our price range, enough bedrooms for us all to have our own (though Sarah and Steph ended up sharing anyway) and plenty of space to have students over. The best part is, it was two blocks from the apartment complex we had been looking at, so the boys were able to get one of the apartments and be very close to us. The entire year I had no complaints about the house - it was perfect for what we needed!
Yet we had all been willing to settle on something that we all knew were wrong, just for the sake of finding a place. I know that God could have still done amazing things if we had lived in those apartments, but our large house provided room for students to hang out, have parties and lead bible studies. We even had Christian neighbors!
So, I'm homeless. However, I know God has plans. I know that He will unveil them at the perfect moment, just as He did in Mexico. He won't let anything happen to me that is out of His plan. I just need to keep spending time with Him, following Him faithfully.
My heart is longing to settle into my own home. I have been living out of a suitcase, in someone else's room, since March 29. And the year before that I lived out of suitcases as well! It has been over a year since I have seen my own bedspread, used my own pillow, seen my photo albums...you get the picture. Pray with me that the Lord would move soon. Things seem to work out, then they fall through. Which, as I learned in Mexico, is only a sign to me that He has something perfect planned out.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
God continues to work in my life in very tangible ways. He is providing exactly what I need each day, and I am honored.
What confuses me, however, is my own brain. Something amazing happened Wednesday - a miracle if you will. The Lord orchestrated incredible things in my life in a matter of minutes that I had been stressing about and trying to take care of myself for weeks. All I had to do was give them to Him and trust that He would take care of me. So Wednesday I trusted Him and Wednesday He provided. Then Thursday I forgot it all. I'm an right back where I started, worrying about big things and little things, trying my hardest to make it all work out.
You know, I am a teacher and I should know how people learn. I should know how to make lessons I learn stick in my brain and how to apply them to the rest of my life...that is what I would be helping children do if I was in a classroom! Why can I not get things to stick in my heart and mind?
I was reading in Proverbs yesterday and it might give me insight into this problem.
"How does a man become wise? The first step is to trust and reverence the Lord! Only fools refuse to be taught." Proverbs 1:7 (The Living Bible)
What I'm ultimately desiring is to become wise. Yes, I want peace and joy in the midst of the stress - I want my problems worked out - I want to grow in my trust of the Lord. But behind all of that is wisdom! Wisdom would apply what I have already learned to a new situation I am facing. Wisdom gives it over to the Lord, knowing He is in control and loves me.
So I must trust and reverence the Lord. In other words, I must fear the Lord. I must view Him as the awesome, almighty maker He is and trust Him to be good.
Somehow I don't think I am coming to a conclusion that works here, because I'm really back where I started (with some cheesy Christian words in the middle). I would love to Trust the Lord and give Him those things that stress me out, however I simply don't. What changes from one day to the next that dictates whether or not I am going to trust Christ and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit? Why can I not be consistent at this? I tend to be consistent at eating breakfast, checking my email, going to the bathroom, and blinking my eyes. But trusting Jesus is just not one of my things. And I hate that.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
I woke up feeling really low. I have been very anxious about housing and support and life in general and I finally hit a low point this morning. So I made a plan. I set the timer on my watch to go off every hour of the day, and I assigned a certain, specific thing to pray for at each hour.
By the time I walked in the door from work today, 3 of the things had been answered VERY specifically and several more were clearly in the works!
It's funny how as soon as I began taking things to Him and giving them to Him to take care of He began to meet those needs. And I am not a theologian, I don't even really know what I believe as far as the line between God working in my life and me asking Him to. However, what I have learned today is that 1) I become a lot less stressed when I give things over to Him in complete trust, 2) He took care of three of those things that were huge and stressing me out as soon as I gave them to Him to take care of, and 3) even the things that haven't been "taken care of" are suddenly not so stressful - I have peace again.
Praise Jesus with me for teaching me these things and for answering my prayers!!!!!
Friday, July 21, 2006
"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens."
and Isaiah 46:4
"Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
This passage floored me today. I was sitting outside of starbucks, enjoying the warm summer night and the lack of noise around me when I came across this verse. I had just been journaling and praying about sin and about grace.
You see, the Lord has been teaching me amazing things about grace, which I think I may have mentioned on here before. Today I saw my sin all around me. By the time my starbucks time rolled around I was feeling pretty crummy. I had lied to a good friend about something dumb, I had eaten enough for two people at dinner (I can't wait to be pregnant and be able to use that line as justification! Instead I am stuck with the reality of turning to food for comfort, dang it), I had been lazy and not worked on support at all, and I had checked my email more often than I prayed. Plus about a thousand other things.
So I'm feeling really gross and figured the best solution was to spend time with Jesus. Okay, I really thought the best solution was some starbucks, and then once I was there decided to spend time with Jesus. So I was journaling and praying through my sin and my junk with the Lord, and he reminded me of what I have been learning about grace. He reminded me that I am FULLY loved, even in the middle of all my junk. He could not love me more than he does right now, when I can see nothing good in myself. I don't even have to try harder to be a good person or to make up for my sin - I just have to be with him and enjoy his love and forgiveness. Thank you Jesus!
So I'm thinking through all of this and start reading in the Psalms. I read several Psalms, but spend more time thinking about anything and everything else. Then I come across 87:6. I read right over it, but something grabbed my attention in it and I went back and read it again. Then I got really excited as it began to sink in. "The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: 'this one was born in zion'". Nothing else matters any more. My past - long ago and even the junk from today - does not define me. My family does not define me. Instead, it shall be known that I am a child of Zion - a child of the kingdom of God!! My sin is no longer what I am known by, but instead through grace it is written for everyone to know that I am a child of the King.
And wow what an inheritance!
Monday, July 10, 2006
I have changed in countless ways since September 10, 2005. The person who got on the airplane that day never came home from Mexico, instead I did. I suppose it is safe to say that who I am today is better, healthier, more mature in my faith, however I am still grieving that other girl a little. Perhaps it is the stage of life that I miss. College was fun on so many levels, but my favorite part was doing ministry my senior year. I loved sharing my faith on campus and helping new believers grow in their faith. My confidence was in the Lord and I knew where I fit in to life. In Mexico my faith was shaken as I lived in this new world, with new people. I could no longer rely on coping mechanisms I knew so well, and I had to cling to the Lord in a new way. Total dependence on Him. It is good for me, but difficult to learn. I would even call it painful at times.
I think I was also troubled by the faith that I had then compared to the faith I have now. That summer I appeared to be full of faith. I was confident that the Lord would provide, I was learning things constantly from Him, and my hope was set on things above. What has changed? I still trust, I still learn, and yet things are different.
I am learning a lot lately about myself. One of those things is that I like to run from everything emotional or feelings oriented. I don't like to admit I have feelings, good or bad, or that something has effected me. I put on a happy face and push past it. Perhaps that is what my "faith" was last summer. (As a disclaimer, this is not a well thought out theory, just some rambling.) What if I was really just running from fear that the Lord wouldn't provide, fear that He wasn't real, sadness and discouragement about support? What if my way of escaping those feelings was to convince the world and then myself that I had faith the Lord would provide?
In that case, what am I longing for when I look back at that time in my life? Am I truly desiring the "faith" I had then, or is my heart longing for the freedom to cover up life? Maybe the second is true. During this time that I am realizing I run from emotions, I am also realizing that I have a lot underneath it all. There is a lot of hurt, confusion, pain, anger, and wounds that have never been dealt with. So, perhaps what I long for is the ability to sweep it all under the rug as I did before, and call it faith. That's what the girl who went to Mexico would do. But the girl who came home knows that only leads to death. I want to face it all, but I will do so with the freedom to feel grief over what has been.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Friday, June 30, 2006
From the minute I walked in the door I felt at home. They were so warm and welcoming I nearly forgot I was the new person! We had a two hour discussion on Luke 9:18-27 and then sat around just talking for an hour after that! My brain was so pleased that I had finally put it in a situation where it needed to be stretched (the discussion was a bit over my head) and my heart was so full just being around these people. I love being in a place where you know without a doubt that every person around you is walking closely with the Lord. Oh, my heart is just so full.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
i have some sad news. i read about an interview that j.k. rawling participated in, during which she shared a bit about book 7 in the series. she said that two characters will die, and she would not deny or affirm if harry was one of them! she alluded to the fact that she didn't want anyone else to be able to write about harry after she died. go on, cry a little if you need to, i understand.
here is a picture from when busta kappa had it's reunion last friday! what fun to be surrounded by such fun, encouraging girls! and, in case you haven't heard yet, miss carrie holmlund is getting married! YAY!!! we are SO excited for the first busta kappa wedding!
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
This picture is from our little adventure last Friday :). Use your imagination to figure out what we may have done with our dummy...I'll just give you clues that it involved 7 people, a trailer park, and a large truck...
Well, today I decided to not go to the offices and instead spend the entire day working on ministry partner development (MPD). I quickly became distracted at home and so thought it would be a GREAT idea to go to Panera Bread to work. I got lunch first, then spent some time with the Lord and THEN decided to get to work. As soon as I busted out my stuff a dear friend noticed me and came over to sit with me while she ate. I haven't seen her in probably a year and so treasured the time with her, I just didn't get any work done. So Sonja left and I settled in to work (now 2.5 hours after I arrived). I started up my computer and Anna Sanchez was online so we im'd and decided to set up a barbecue for Bustakappa. That involved planning the details, and then calling all seven other girls in order to invite them. So, an hour later we had made our plans and I once again set my mind to work. Then, very kindly, an employee came to tell me they needed the table for a reservation. So I left, without getting a single thing done, yet I had more peace in my soul than I have had in a long time.
Not only did seeing a friend, planning a party and eating a good lunch bring my spirits up, but my time with the Lord was the sweetest I have had in a long, long time. I start each of my times with Jesus by reading five psalms. (If you read five a day, you get through all 150 each month) Today was 96-100. Some days I breeze through them and go on to other things, but other days, like today, I get stuck and spend an hour there. Psalm 96:1 (yes, I got stuck on the very first verse I read) says something along the lines of "sing a new song to the Lord, all the earth...". The next few verses give reasons to sing a new song to the Lord.
So I read that and started to think about how this applies to my life. What is my old song, if I'm supposed to sing a new song? What is the new song? So I went back and read through my journal and tried to summarize my "song". I realized that all I talk to the Lord about is how He can better my life. "Please change my heart...please change these circumstances...please bring good things to my life..." You get the picture. I wrote out a new song to the Lord, and it goes like this: "Praise you, father, for you are good...thank you for all you have done...thank you for being good and sovereign...let me shout to the world, telling them your glory...". I had never realized how self centered my old song had become. I don't think there is anything wrong with asking the Lord for good things, but how much more is my heart satisfied when I focus on Him instead of my needs?
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
I went so quickly from trusting the Lord to using the Lord. My mindset slipped into not even praying about my support, because He would provide. Today I was driving home from the offices, thinking about all of this, and it hit me. Trusting and waiting are actions. Trusting the Lord does not mean ignoring a problem because He will take care of it. It means spending hours before His throne, allowing Him to transform me, pleading with Him to accomplish what He has promised. Waiting on the Lord does not mean sitting quietly until something happens. Waiting on the Lord means humbling my heart, crying out to Him and allowing Him to make me more like Him in the process.
Psalm 27 cleared a lot of this up for me.
13I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. 14Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD
I want my heart to be strong and courageous! And to me, a courageous heart stands boldly before the Lord, allowing Him to make me new and more like Himself! I want to wait well, I want to trust well.
Monday, May 22, 2006
I stopped by starbucks on my way to work today to hang out with the Lord. It was a process getting out of bed in order to be up in time to do more than absentmindedly throw on unmatching clothes. But I did it and I would lovingly label the entire experience culture shock.
First, it took me about 3 minutes to find a parking spot because there were roughly a million people at starbucks. So I go inside and there is a line of about 7 people in front of me. I'm thinking, great this gives me time to decide what I want. So I begin the process of weighing my desires against my upset stomach against my wallet. I'm hovering somewhere between a green tea latte and a shaken iced tea when the lady starts asking people in front of me what they want, "to get it started for them" while they wait in line. As she works her way down the line towards me my stomach starts to drop as I feel the pressure of a decision looming. I can't think, at this point, and just kind of look at the ground, hoping she will skip me. Then it comes - "What can I get started for you?" and without thinking I blurt out "grande mocha". Just like that. No hesitation, no thinking, nothing. Only, I didn't really want a grande mocha. I wanted green tea. I drank about a fifth of the dang thing and then got sick to my stomach. So I wasted $4.04 simply because she HAD to get something started for me.
I would like to thank the people of the United States for being so rushed that we have conditioned our poor starbucks employees into getting something started while we are still 7 people away from the cash register. I would also like to thank them for my new tongue fungus, just because.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
one was samson in judges 14. the reference was to the time he disobeyed God and his family by finding a wife from another lineage and it caused a lot of problems, but ultimately God was glorified as huge things happened.
two was the isrealites in psalm 106. we all know the story. they sought God, they abandoned God, they sought God, they abandoned God, etc.
three, four, and five were the story of peter as recorded in matthew, mark, and luke. we know this story too. peter denied Jesus three times after swearing he could never do such a thing. and then he wept bitterly.
that was it. these were all my concordance had to say about the subject of failures. so i can't help but think the definition of a failure should be someone who disobeys God. but that's not what i was looking for when i searched my bible. i was looking for examples of times people had failed at something they had set out to do or accomplish to see how God reacted, how they reacted. i wanted comfort and to not feel quite so alone. instead i found people who screwed up, but they were only labeled as a failure because they failed to obey God, not because they failed at a task.
i feel like a failure as a missionary, as a child of God, as a friend, as a human. i look at myself as a failure because i did things that weren't good enough, i didn't quite pass the test. i set out to battle and came home the loser-i failed.
i've been trying to come up with something hopeful to put at the end of this. but i've got nothing. i'll go back to peter for a minute. he wept bitterly. but then, in acts 2, he is walking humbly with his Lord and God is doing amazing things through his life. i can't wait until i get past the weeping bitterly phase of this all.