For the last 6 months, I’ve told myself that I will start writing.
Disclaimer: I do not consider myself a writer
But I love sitting and scrolling through my google reader and feeling like I’m in another life for just a little while. So from this day on, I am a writer. Brace yourself- what lies ahead will probably not inspire most people. But if you’re willing to read then I invite you to join me on this journey.
An update on the last chapter of my life. I graduated from the University of Georgia in May and am currently working three jobs (four if you count babysitting, and I absolutely think that mom’s should start getting paid a salary for raising kids— might not be a bad idea for us to encourage some mothers to actually raise their children. it could change a lot about the future of our country. tangent over) and looking for a full time position at a public relations agency or special events company in Raleigh, NC. I will move there in July and begin the next chapter of my life. Between now and then, my brother gets married, I go to Frontier Ranch and possible Minneapolis (I’ll let you know if that happens).
My goal with this blog is to begin to form my own thoughts on searching, questioning, longings, and the grace the Lord continues to wash me in. My father has always told me this: God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. This is my journey of filtering my life through this statement.
You’re invited to come along.
To God be the glory.
Each Advent season, there are always a few songs whose lyrics stop me in my tracks. This one gets me every single time:
To think of how it could have been if Jesus had come as he deserved. There would have been no Bethlehem, no lowly shepherds at his birth. But Joseph knew the reason love had to reach so far, and as he held the Savior in his arms, he must have thought,
Why me, I’m just a simple man of trade.
Why him, with all the rulers in the world?
Why here, inside this stable filled with hay?
Why her, She’s just an ordinary girl.
Now I’m not one to second guess what angels have to say, but this is such a strange way to save the world.
Joseph knew the reason love had to reach so far. I pray that this season, we understand the reason Love had to reach so far- the reason a mighty God would place his perfect son in the form of an infant- that we might know the love of the Father.
to god be the glory, great things he has done
Great things He will continue to do long after I’m gone from this place. So then why in the world do I put myself through the frustration and exhaustion of being a Young Life leader? Why has the Lord planted me in a high school full of girls who don’t understand my reason for being there? For the last three years, I’ve spent hundreds of hours in the car, many more hundreds on gas, replaced worn out tires that have traveled the 15 miles from my house out into the country countless times, and poured my heart and tears out before and invisible god traveling in my passenger seat.
When I came back from the summer, my prayer and dream was that 10 junior girls would fill the seats of the coach bus leaving from Athens, GA, on June 30, 2011, to drive two days to Frontier Ranch. I just knew that this was what God wanted and I knew that He would have to be the one doing the work to make that happen because I certainly couldn’t do it.
So when exactly did I forget that last part… “I certainly couldn’t”…
To be honest, I don’t know what has changed in my heart over the past four months other than the depth of my love for these girls and the level of rejection I’ve received from them. Truly, it’s a little shocking and unbelievable but completely understandable at the same time. They want to party. They want to taste the illusion of this world. They want to be all the way in every moment they can grasp because they know that each one flies by quicker than the last. They don’t want to tell their Young Life leader that they won’t be at club, or at breakfast, or explain what changed on their end.
I’m exhausted. I’m tired of attempting to be consistent. I’m sick of their masks. I want their hearts. I want their joy. I want to do life with them. I want life for them. I want to see their worlds turn upside down as they fall in love with God. Honestly though, a lot of the reason I’m a Young Life leader is not for the girls. I want so much for these girls and I spend a lot of time praying for them and pursuing them, but my reason for doing young life is not always for them. It’s for me. Almost every single sentence that I’ve typed so far has contained I, my, or me in one way of another. It’s obvious that I’m very focused on my own heart in all this- my heart, my thoughts, my feelings and prayers. And herein lies the problem, or rather the trap, because Young Life is not about me and it’s not about the girls I try so desperately to love.
Young Life is Jesus Christ (and don’t you forget it).
Well, it appears that I forgot. I forgot that my prayers in the morning while driving, my rejoicing in the little victories, my tears in the pain and heartbreak are all moments with Jesus. They are his prayers. They are his victories. They are his tears. Oh the grace that the Lord has chosen to lavish upon me. Oh grace that he chose me to stand in the overlap of his love and the world’s brokenness. Why am I so fixated on my self when there are countless graces that he longs to splash onto surrounding lives if only I will lay down so he doesn’t have to try so hard to get past me?
Keep your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is a hope for your future
Today, once again, I surrender to the work the Lord is already doing in each life I see. They are his. Sophie is His. Paige is His. Olivia is His. And I am His- I am His Beloved. I long for these girls to one day claim that name-The Beloved- as well. But they are not mine, therefore I can only continue to stand as a doorholder to the Lord God Almighty and continue to ask, beg, plead, pray, and watch as He moves.
to god be the glory, great things he has done
you are holy, great and mighty
the moon and the stars declare who you are
i’m so unworthy but still you love me
forever my heart will sing of how great you are
I know four people who have gotten engaged in the last 3 days. I’m not exactly sure when I came into the age of engagement but I guess I wasn’t paying attention. The past months have been amazing, and I’m coming into a time in my life of singleness— and humility. I broke up with my “significant other”, and now it seems like so many people around me are not only dating but getting engaged!
For a split second I slip into the pity party with the Lord, wondering why I’m single at this time when it would be so fun to share in the excitement with another. Humbled, the Lord quickly opens my ears to Cannons.
It’s amazing and beautiful that my heart, sinful, dirty, wayward, is the desire of the Lord of creation. He wants me! And the moment I hear this, the truth rushes at me like water from a fire hose. I can only take sips, and even those are more than I can control. I want to live in reckless love for my Savior as He loves the world through me, a tool in his hand.
Oh Lord, change my heart to long for the fire hose of your spectacular love that flows powerfully from the cross. May this life be your canvas, and may my heart pour out your grace on this canvas for the world to see. ”Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice… Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” (Psalm 51)
when i survey the wondrous cross on which the prince of glory died, my richest gain i count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride
forbid it Lord that i should boast save in the death of Christ my God. all loving things that charm me most i sacrifice them to His blood.
see from his head his hands his feet sorrow and love flow mingled down did e’re such love and sorrow meet or thorns compose so rich a crown
were the realm of nature mine that were an offering far too small.
LOVE SO AMAZING SO DIVINE DEMANDS MY SOUL, MY LIFE, MY ALL
(Disclaimer: this is going to be messy. Forgive me for neglecting the blog)
This summer I decided I was actually going to read the books I’ve been wanting to read but never seem to have the time for. I’m coming to the end of several right now, and The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning leaves me in tears every time I read of the pure grace of the Lord. I just finished it moments ago and needed somewhere to process…
Over the past few months since moving home to work, the Lord has humbled me in the most beautiful ways. One of which has been my (elementary) understanding of God. It sounds arrogant to say that I understand God, but by saying this I’m only really saying that I’m beginning to understand how utterly insignificant I am compared to the boundless, tremendous, eternal God that He is. And even more, understanding that my sin, my continual pursuit of my own desires, is not only forgiven but also unremembered by this same God who created the order of the universe. How can it possibly be that the One who thought up life itself also knows the depths of my soul— the beauty of the moments when my delight is in Him alone, as well as the moments of horror when I turn again to the lies of the Thief?
How deep the Father’s love for us? How vast beyond all measure that He should give his only son and make (this) wretch a treasure?
As I’ve spent the past few hours turning the final pages in this book, my mind wandered to a family member who continues to reject Love. Sometimes I find myself praying prayers for him asking God for protection. Other times I’m frustrated and feel like I have a place in the Kingdom to ask God to let him fall down in his own folly. Mostly, though, I’m pleading with the Lord to bring him home into His arms. One night as I prayed what literally could have been the millionth prayer for my brother, I said to God that I truly would give my life if it meant that he would come to know the Savior. And all too quickly my mind made a beeline for the Cross.
He already did.
God already did that, not only for my brother but for all. My heart tastes just a spoonful of God’s heartbreak for this broken world when my heart breaks for my brother. When I think about how far he is and how fast he’s running in the other direction, the burden settles in. Then I think about how much God longs for this world to know and accept His Love, and yet so many are running to the lies. The burden grows heavier.
But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God… When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant, I was like a beast toward you.
Nevertheless I am continually with you. You hold me with your right hand. You guide me with your counsel and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire beside you. My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
As for me, it is good to be near to God. I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
Praise be to God that He is always bigger and that He converts us (if we let Him) to the folly of the Gospel.
Song of Solomon 8:10 ”I was in His eyes as one who finds peace”
This past Sunday, as I was sitting in the chair at Watkinsville First Baptist, the Lord spoke clearly.
If we give God what we think is good, He will give us better.
Because He gives us himself.
Recently the Lord has been pulling on my heart, asking me to follow as he leads me out of one place and into another. It’s difficult for me to leave this place because it is good. But upon hearing these words, the Lord reminded me that my deepest desire is for Him. He alone is good, and he promises to give me himself. Therefore, how can I possibly stay where I was when he is wanting me- deeper, intimately, more beautiful than ever before in Him.
I woke up yesterday morning to a clear voice from Jesus:
"He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. He goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice" -John 10:3-4
Without a doubt, the Lord has been confirming this decision inside of me for many weeks. And now I am following. What a blessing to know His voice!
A few weeks ago, my Young Life team roadtripped to Destin , FL, for one of the best weekends of my life! Not only did we get to stay for free, but when we woke up Saturday morning, this was basically the exact view we opened our eyes to. It was lovely! Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Kaltz for welcoming 11 college students with open arms for a weekend of organized chaos.
I’ve always told my mother that I don’t want chairs at my wedding. I have this vision of these old church pews with quilts on them for my closest friends and family to sit on when I am married to the man of my dreams. Not sure who the guy is yet, but at least I’ve figured this much out.