Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To write all that has been going through my head since I last posted would be long, monotonous, and too much. So, I will just update you all on the lastest happenings. Plans to move to Seattle are getting somewhat solidified, although there are still a few things that are up in the air. There was a lot of frustration regarding it not long ago, but as always, God provided more than I even asked for and we will see where He takes this. If you think about it, prayer regarding my application would be much appriciated. I have not been accepted or rejected yet, and although everyone else tells me I will be fine, I am a planner and it is extremely hard to plan when you don't even know where you will be three months from now. I sometimes think God has a good laugh when He is trying to teach me patience. It has to be somewhat comical.

As I go on living my normal life after getting back to Jackson after my looooong break to Oklahoma, I simply cannot get these people off my mind:

I am so broken hearted for these people. I don't even know how to put into words what I feel for them..."The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Tast and see that the LORD IS GOOD; blessed are those who take refuge in him." The precious people of Haiti are in my prayers.

Monday, December 07, 2009

In Luke, Christ's first recorded teaching was when He quoted from Isaiah 61. He said, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Isn't it fitting that this was one of Christ's first teachings? Christ taught on some really great things throughout His ministry, but He seems to be making a point that this was His mission. This was the most important thing to Him. He was here to bring the good news, not simply to spiritually elite or to the rich or to powerful people, but to the POOR. He also mentions prisoners, the blind, and the opressed. Basically the rejects of society. And I noticed that all those words there are verbs. He is PREACHING, PROCLAIMING, RECOVERING, and RELEASING. He is not going to just walk up to them and say "I love you! I'm the Son of God." and then call His work done. No,He WAS love. He would never expect them to understand what love was when they had never experienced this type of love. He knew that words without action are meaningless. He showed them what real love is.

It reminds me a lot of how I need to approach ministry. I can't simply walk up to someone on the streets of Africa, tell them that God loves them and say that my work is finished. Of course, proclaiming God's love is important, but more than that, we need to BE God's love. If we are His hands and feet in this world, they will see it. They will come to know this love. They will begin to understand that this love is not simply words in an ancient book. It is alive; it is ACTIVE. It is all about serving the least of these. It is about loosing yourself in Christ so much so that you forget about yourself. As Christians, we are supposed to imitate Christ in all we do, and in everything Christ did, He served everyone around Him, including those who He knew would betray Him, even unto death. And yet, it seems so difficult for me to simply serve those who I am no better than. It is an interesting thing the human heart. How often we take Christ's service for granted when we ourselves can't simply stoop to a level of serving where we might be the slightest bit uncomfortable. It is our priviledge to serve just as Christ did, patiently, humbly, and all consumingly.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Luke 7:36-50

I just finished reading through John and I thought I would start on Luke tonight. I came across this beautiful passage of a sinful woman washing Christ's feet with her hair and being forgiven of her sin. I encourage you all to read the passage, there is so much in it that I could talk about, but I found this verse that just struck me. It is not typically how I have been taught to think. It challenged me to daily be laying all I have at the feet of Christ and be forgiven of my sin. I am not worthy to even lay at the feet of Christ and yet, He chose us to be His Bride. It's not an invitation to sin, yet an encouragement from Christ Himself.

"Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jesus Wept

November 15th was the sixteenth anniversary of my precious mother's death. Admitedly, I was too young to remember anything about her, so the pain I go through missing her is nothing compared to what my brothers and sisters, my dad, and all others who knew her go through. And it is difficult to say that I miss her because how can you miss someone you never knew? But after reading her journals, I feel like I have had a glimpe into her soul and I can read how sacrifically she loved her kids and her husband, how she trusted God with all she had. What I have learned about her makes me feel like I kind of know her. It also gives me this feeling that I missed out on knowing someone really really great and that's not really fair.

Anyways, I was having a difficult day just missing the opportunity to know her. It got to the point where I just said "God, I see that you have brought great things from this, but I don't care. Take them all back and give us our Mom back." Obviously, things don't work that way. But I just felt like a huge part of me was missing because I never got to know my mom. I started reading my Bible for encouragement and nothing seemed to help. I started thinking about when Lazarus died. Christ could have easily been there to heal him when he was sick and save Mary and Martha that pain. When He arrived, after talking to Martha, Mary found Him and fell at His feet weeping. And simply said, "If you would have been here, he would not have died." Then it said that Christ was "moved in spirit and troubled". He wasnt sad that Lazarus was dead, because He knew that He was going to raise him from the dead. He was moved by Mary's pain. He knew that this was going to happen, but seeing her in that state of pain was what troubled him. But it was interesting what He did. He didn't offer excuses for Mary's pain, He didn't apologize, and He didn't offer to take it away. He simply felt her pain with her. He wept with her. He was right there and simply cried with her. He walked through that painful season WITH her. Then he raised Lazarus from the dead.

A lot of times, the only thing that gets me through a painful season is knowing that Christ is walking with me. He has such deep compassion for me and He experiences my pain as if it were His own. This pain that Martha and Mary went through was all to show the glory of God and to bring others to Him. So, while a lot of times I just get frustrated and feel like it isn't worth it, I am reminded that God has a purpose in this. And that while God is soveriegn, He is also good. The Lord is good, and I will walk through whatever painful season I need to in order to show others His goodness and love. That is the cost of being a believer. But the reward is just too much to pass up.

I also am reminded by this story that as believers, we are to be imitating Christ in all we do. Do we have compassion like this? Are we moved to action by other's circumstances? Do we walk through seasons with others and feel their pain as if it were our own? I know it is something I struggle with a lot. Compassion is not my strong point.

Tast and see that the LORD IS GOOD..

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just some thoughts

So, I'll be honest, I always, I mean ALWAYS, skip over the parts in the Bible that inlude lineage. Don't most people? Anyways, I was thinking about Christ's and I decided to actually read it. I went to Matthew 1 and it started with Abraham. There were a lot of familiar names on the list: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Jesse, David, so on and so forth. I knew what these people were known for. Five women were mentioned. Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Uriaha's wife (aka Bathsheeba), and Mary. All very controversial women in their time.

Tamar was originally married to Judah's son who died, so she was given to Judah's second son. This son also died and Judah promised her that he would give her in marriage when his youngest son was old enough. Judah didn't come through so Tamar had to trick him by pretending to be a prostitute so Judah would sleep with her so she could get pregnant. I mean, even in those days, that had to be at least a little weird, right? If I heard of a woman pulling that in these days, I would jump to conclusions. Never in a million years would I think that she would be in the direct lineage of the One who conquered death, the One I call my Savior? No way.

Rahab was a prostitute. She was considered righteous for hiding the spies who were sent over by Joshua. "I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death." The part that sticks out to me about that is that she admits, the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. She believed in God and it was credited to her as righteousness. But a prostitute? As Christ's how ever many greats grandmother? I can't imagine.

Ruth. The widow who God redeemed through Boaz (Rahab's son). Wow.

Bathsheeba. Really? The woman who cheated on her husband who was at war with a king? Yeah. She's in there too.

And Mary. That sweet girl with a willing heart. She sacrificed more than anyone could ever know to simply follow God's will for her life. But still, pregnant before she was married, and claimed the Holy Spirit concieved this child in her? Okay, say Christ hadn't come yet and I was a Jew. There is NO WAY IN HECK I would believe her! Really? You're a virgin and you're pregnant? I would say she was either a liar or that she had gone completely crazy.

The hope that I get from reading about these women is that we ALL fall short of the glory of God. We ALL sin. And although our sin does temporarily seperate us from God, it does not, however, change how deeply He loves us. It does not alter His plan and it does not keep Him from using us for His glory. The thing that all these women have in common: a willing heart. They knew God and they knew that He was faithful and just to forgive them of their sins. These women sinned severly against God, but through them, my Savior was born. Through most unperfect, weakest of the weak women came the One with the power to overcome death itself. God can and use me, not in spite of my weaknesses, but BECAUSE of my weaknesses. His strength was made perfect in their weaknesses, and now in mine. He can do great things with just a willing heart. And we sometimes go through things that are not our fault in any way, shape, or form, and yet we seem to be getting punished for it? He can and will accomplish great things in situations such as that. Mary had Christ, for goodness sake. Surely I can trust that God will work my situation, which is nothing compared to what Mary went through, for His will and His glory.

Anyways, these are just some thoughts I have. I miss and love you all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I have been thinking a lot about marraige and dating lately. I went through a phase not long ago of simply wanting to be married and have children as soon as I could. Most of my sisters were married and young mothers and they have done such wonderful jobs. I just thought that it must be easy. I picked up a book that I had started a few months ago but never quite finished. The last few chapters were about marraige. After reading this, I realize that I have been looking at marraige and motherhood far too trivially. It is unlike any other relationship and both should be entered into reverently, soberly, and with much prayer. It is not an easy job. I have so much more respect for my sisters now. They put their roles as wives and mothers only below their roles as daughters of God. Just because they make it look easy, doesn't mean it is. The life of a wife and mother is full of sacrifice and unending commitment. I am young and a lifetime is a long time. I think I will enjoy my freedom for right now and trust that God will bring my husband in His perfect timing.

Just because my sisters were so lucky to find these amazing men that are their husbands at such young ages, doesn't mean that I need to find mine right now. I feel that in my rush to not be single anymore, I was lowering my standards. In my mind, I was settling. But after reading the poem below, I have realized that the man described in this poem, the one that is "all things a man should be" is not someone I will find by settling. And so, I will again make the vow to trust my God and wait for Him.

A Woman's Question by Lena Lathrop

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing,
Ever made by the Hand above?
A woman's heart and a woman's life,
And a woman's wonderful love.

Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing,
As a child might ask for a toy?
Demanding what others have died to win,
With the reckless dash of a boy.

You have written my lesson of duty out,
Manlike, you have questioned me.
Now stand at the bars of my woman's soul,
Until I have questioned thee.

You require that your mutton shall always be hot,
Your socks and your shirts be whole;
I require that your heart be as true as God's stars,
And as pure as His heaven, your soul.

You require a cook for your mutton and beef,
I require a far greater thing.
A seamstress you're wanting for socks and shirts,
I look for a man and a king.

A king for the beautiful realm called Home,
And a man that his Maker God, could,
Look upon just as He did at the first,
And say, 'it is very good'.

I am fair and young but the rose may fade,
From this soft young cheek one day;
Will you love me amid the falling leaves,
As you did 'mong the blossoms of May?

Is your heart an ocean, strong and true,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell,
On the day she is made a bride.

I require all things that are grand and free,
All things that a man should be;
If you give this all, I would stake my life,
To be all you demand of me.

If you cannot be this, a laundress and cook,
You can hire and little to pay;
But a woman's heart and a woman's life
Are not to be won that way.

To my sisters: A huge reason why I wanted to get married and have kids so early was because of you. I saw how amazing you guys are and how wonderful your lives are and I look up to all of you so much. But I just recently realized how sacrificial your lives are, and I look up to you even more. You guys are such great examples of wives and mothers that it is hard to not want to be just like you. I guess in some ways, I still am that five year old who wants to be just like her big sister, but with good reason :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this." -C.S. Lewis