Saturday, November 29, 2008

One goes and they all go...

So tonight we had our all church decorating party. We set up a huge Christmas tree on the stage, at cookies, hung garlands, and listened to Christmas music. I was warmed watching everyone, men and women if you can believe it, hanging ornaments and singing joyfully. I was assigned the task of decorating our fellowship hall tree. It is a pretty small tree. I tried to make my own bows. WHen that failed I got my mom on the phone who attempted to "show" me how to make them. I soon realized that no matter how crafty my mom is, I just don't have what it takes. Every once in a while I can pop out a cute baby shower or bridal shower (or six) invitation, but that is about it. So as I sat staring at my charlie brown tree with it's pathetic bows, I noticed a string of lights that was flickering. I walked over and touched it which caused all the lights to go out. I shook it a little and they flickered back on but quickly turned off again. From decorating with mom I knew that one little light bulb often caused the whole strand to turn off. I carefully inspected each and every lightbulb. Literally, the very last lightbulb on the strand was unplugged (go figure) just enough to make the whole cord go out. I plugged it in tightly and WAHLAH (not sure if that is the correct spelling of that expression) the whole strand lit up.

It reminded me of when Paul talks about the body of each person is gifted specifically for the function of the entire body...the body won't work with three eyes and no arms...each part plays a part. When one part is lacking, the whole body has to work extra hard to bring functioning up to par. Just like the lights, if one person is unplugged, the whole body hurts. God has gifted each and every person to play a role in His plan. I think sometimes we can compare our own role to the role of others; rating each on a scale...but the truth is, every single part needs to be engaged and actively working. Our faith is not just for ourselves. When we are connected with God it effects the whole body...when we are disconnected it shows.

December is one of the busiest times of the year for me...finals, busy at work, church events and parties, and of course shopping. Let's make a pact right now that we will continue to make time for put ourselves aside and serve our Lord. Only in Him can we find rest...only in Him do we have true purpose...what is more important than that?

Friday, November 28, 2008

What Can Separate Us?

This blog is a place where our friends and our family can read updates about our journey with God...a way for you to get connected with how God is moving and how He is blessing us!

I can't believe it's almost Christmas! Someone in the crowds of Black Friday today said, "Have a Merry Christmas!" and I thought...wait a minute I am not even used to Happy Thanksgiving yet! But the truth is it really is almost here...and soon after that 2009! Thinking upon the last year of our lives amazes me. So much has changed since the ball dropped in January. I can remember praying 2008 in, asking God to grow me...asking Him to draw me closer to Him...asking Him to let me experience Him for who He says He is (instead of my perception of Him). As the end of this year approaches, I can say that He has answered that prayer...I have learned that God rarely makes sense, that His plans are completely different than mine sometimes, that I know nothing in the end, that I have no control...absolutely none...that there is freedom in being poor and needing God for every little thing, that God will take you farther than you ever thought you could go, but He will not let you over the edge of sanity, that He will provide, that He does not blink an eye when looking on your life, and mostly I have learned that He is patient as you learn all this.
I have felt like Peter so many times...walking on water one second and all of sudden stopping and thinking "HOLY MOLY I'M WALKING ON WATER IN THE MIDDLE OF A STORM." The transition of churches has been a time of TRULY relying on God (because there is no other choice). I think before this experience, I would confidently say that I rely on God for what I need...but not until our first day at our new church (Crossroads) did I really live that out. This experience has been something so incredible. I have never felt so partnered with God...never so sure of what I was doing...never so tired...never so on fire...never so homesick but never so understood...never so confident in prayer...God has answered prayer so miraculously. It has been hard, it has been sacrifice, but it has been fulfilling...What can separate us?

Matt and I both are leading ministries at our church...Matt the highschool students and me the college students. It has been so great to see our ministries growing every single week. I think we would both agree that this is to no credit of our own. The people at Crossroads are wonderful...and it has a feeling like that at Arcade (like home). I have become fond of the smell of the wooden pews and the floral carpet. I love the way the candle light flickers on the gigantic cross on our Tuesday night prayer meetings (and how freaked out I get everytime Matt climbs the faux rock wall to light a candle 30 feet up with no where to fall but into the baptismal tub)...We got to experience a few baptisms in that tub since we have been there. I have heard that before the last year there had not been baptisms for a while. God has provided us with incredible relationships that I am sure will be forever...people that bear your burdens with you...that cry just because you are crying...that hang out all the time. I swear the first 3 months we were here we could never go home after church...there was always some fellowship event being held. We even rented a huge slip and slide once...all the old men had a BLAST (not to mention myself!)

All that to say that God truly does provide. When we felt God calling us to leave Arcade, my heart was crushed. How could we leave the place that God first called our names...where my most intimate worship times have been...where my family is...where we have such an incredible support system (praise God for you and your support even now!)...a place so full of God? It didn't make sense to me at the time. When I walked into the doors at Crossroads that first Sunday I felt God, I heard God, and I saw Him... and that made it home. It wasn't better or was just right...just where God had been calling us to be.

I wish I could say that I did not have a million questions for God, or that even now I still do...but I know He is patient to answer them one by show me that I can trust Him (like he needs to prove it).