God Thoughts

Summer Sabbath

Right before Akron Women on Purpose I hit a wall.  I assumed it was because of the preparation of the conference along with First Glance and life in general.  No biggy, I just needed to get through the conference.  And I did.  Then came the realization that I had 8  major events in a row that I was planning for each week following.  Ok, so I just needed to get to vacation, which I intentionally scheduled right after all of those events.   I got to vacation and realize that I needed more than a week of relaxation, and for the first time in a long time I had hit burn out.  Upon returning I engaged in more conversions that I want to admit of disappointing people in relationships.  This is when I realized I had gone too far, I was spread too thin, and I needed to retreat a little.  Essentially, I needed to fast from extra ministry opportunities and reprioritize relationships.  So that’s what I did.  I stepped back from most extra ministry roles, even one’s I was so excited about, and I pulled back on mass relationships to disturibute the little amount of emotional energy I have appropriately.

So here I am on a Summer Sabbath, trying to learn these words God keeps bringing me back to over and over in this picture.  IMG_7525

The funny part is on my last retreat day, which is a day First Glance gives each staff member once a month to spend with Jesus!  I knew I was in this season.  I knew I needed rest, so I planned to spend the whole day studying rest, and instead I was just so tired I kept sleeping.  And I sensed a gentle reminder from God to just be, to rest in him, and to stop trying to learn and earn and grow.  Oh man, the resting and being is so against my personality… but I think God is teaching me these words as part of a pruning process that will allow for more intimacy and maybe even fruit later on.  Here’s to my Summer Sabbath!

 

Decorating a Hotel Room

One of my many charming characteristics is that I really like things the way I like them.  I will get ideas and thoughts in my mind on how something should be and I strive until it’s that way.  Tim often teases me about it, knowing that if I don’t buy the exact thing I want, then I will eventually buy the “exact thing I want.”  He’s learned not to talk me into something that is “almost what you want.”  It’s not that these items are the nicest or most expensive, it’s just what is in my head and it’s hard for me to go with something different once it’s there.

But I have to be honest in saying I struggle with this trait.  I think of James 4:13-14

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 

It’s true, we really are only here for a little while.  Jesus talks about this not being our home, and yet I work so hard to make it comfortable and “exactly the way I want it.”  I compare it to decorating a Hotel Room.  If I said I was painting the hotel room I was staying in for a vacation everyone would think I was crazy.  Why would I spend so much time on something that isn’t permanent and isn’t going to last?  Why does the hotel room color matter?  And yet this is what I do here on earth.  Why do I spend my time and money on so many things that won’t last?  Not just physical items but so much time consumed in ways that don’t matter… that have no eternal value.

Don’t get me wrong I do desire and value rest & hobbies and do make time for those.  But   in the past couple weeks there has been several events in my life that have caused me to be aware of the spiritual urgency around me!   Since then there have been many desperate hours before God begging for Him to intervene.  But it’s also reminded me of this idea that I’m “decorating a hotel room.” It has caused me to pay attention to where the minutes of my day are going.  Last year I started saying yes to requests as long as it met one of two requirements.  1.  I got to tell people about the hope and love of Jesus OR 2. I would inspire others to do so.  This has been a great way for me to keep my time focused.  But on the small things… the day to day moments, I’m realizing I am wasting a some of them.

So I continue to try live with intention, and not decorate a hotel room.

**Don’t worry I found an app to keep track of time so I can do better 😉

Three weeks away… yikes

As I sit and write this we are three weeks away from Akron Women on Purpose 2018!  I’ll be honest in saying I woke up a bit nervous.  As I’ve said before, running a women’s conference is not my passion or call, not even close!

The reason I host this is because this is me being obedient to the next step.  This is something I feel God has asked me to do because I really believe that if every women is obedient to just the next step God is calling her toward, we would see radical transformation!  I know it!

Since this isn’t my natural calling, I am so reliant on God for all it – for speakers, for the details, and for those who are going to attend.  I take it all seriously, and since the beginning of the year I have been seeking God so intensely, eliminating anything that I could put in my mind or body that would prevent me from being in tune with Him.

Today I sat and prayed for the leadership team and started to pray for every seat in the auditorium.  I so desperately want this day to bring God glory!  I so desperately want women to feel empowered to go be on mission with Him!!  Can you imagine the amount of spiritual transformation in our city if every women was?!!?

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IMG_0274.jpgTruth be told, I also do all the things above to make sure I’m functioning out of the Spirit and not my flesh.  I do this to combat the desire to impress those who are coming, fight against the intense spiritual warfare that comes with hosting this event, and to make sure my motives are never based out of fear.  I am so very human and work so hard to stay connected to the God while leading this day.

My desperate prayer each day until the event will be that every woman will feel amazingly loved by our creator and would be obedient to the next step God is calling her toward.  

Monday Momentum – “Fear Not”

Over the summer I was out with my dear friend Kara, as we walked and talked I started to share about some of my own struggles and insecurities that had been happening during that time.  Through a serious of questions and conversations it became clear that the root of most of those situations was fear.  Then Kara asked me a question that I wrestled with for weeks, “do you know fear is an idol?”  I had thought about potential idols in my life with tangible things like money, houses, etc.  Even intangible things like status, jobs, or what people think of me.  But never had it dawned on me that fear could be one, and in that moment I realized it was.  Over the next several months God freed me from that, which is an amazing story coming in another blog.  During that time I came across this song, and the explanation of it.

God with us!

As a kid, God was always some distant being.  Over the years I have become fascinated with the fact that God created the universe and wants a personal relationship with me!  He’s not distant, but close!

I’ve thought a lot about that this past Christmas season, especially just having read the Old Testament where it talks about how people worshiped idols they made out of wood.

Isaiah 44:16-18
16Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
    over it he prepares his meal,
    he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
    “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
    he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
    “Save me! You are my god!”
18They know nothing, they understand nothing

    their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
    and their minds closed so they cannot understand.

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Not too long after reading this in Isaiah, we then went to a museum and saw these idols that also were once worshipped.  I couldn’t help but think of this passage where people worshiped an object that had no life and no power.

Compare that with the birth of Jesus.  God sends his son in the form of a man in order for us to have right relationship with Him!

20b an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

This is not an idol made of wood, but a living God!  It’s astounding to me all. the. time.

“Disturbing”

I was at Starbucks last week, and the women in front of me was quite upset that they didn’t have salt for the salty carmel frappuccino.  She begrudgingly ordered another drink and continued to talk about how upset she was that she couldn’t get the drink she wanted.  Then as she was finishing her argument, she looked to me as if to give a head nod in agreement as she said, “This is just disturbing.”  I wanted to say, “Disturbing is the fact that I went to a 17 year olds funeral recently. Disturbing is the girl I met recently who was brought here by gunpoint to be trafficked. Disturbing is the number of girls I know who have been sexually abused.  That’s disturbing.  You not getting a salty caramel frappuccino is not disturbing.”  I didn’t.  I didn’t say those words, but that’s how I felt in my being.

I’ve actually felt quite a bit of angst inside for weeks, angst because I know the hope and love that Jesus offers.  I know the good news that it actually is, and I so desperately want everyone to understand it.  Not because I’m right and they are wrong, but because Jesus really does fulfill!  Because God desperately and relentlessly loves them!  So He sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross and rise again so they can have relationship with God here on earth and for eternity!   This is the best news! I’ve always desired for people to know it, but when you start going to more young people’s funerals than old, the urgency becomes that much more vital.

I’ll admit some of this angst has turned toward fellow Christ followers.  I’ve tried not to judge, but you have to understand that I see the urgency so closely and desperately desire help.  The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few (Romans 10:13-14).  The angst comes when I see fellow Christians continuing to consume without applying it.  We grow, learn, grow, learn, grow, learn,… ENOUGH already!  We KNOW enough!!! We don’t need more information! We need to use what we’ve learned.  In all reality we could start teaching on day one!   I was reminded of this as one of our 14 year old students was boldly proclaiming the gospel to a homeless man on Kenmore Blvd the other day.  She knows the good news and doesn’t think twice about sharing it.

So I have to tell this good news.  I’m desperate to tell it to every student who walks through the First Glance doors.  And at times it’s tempting to say, “If just one student comes to Christ because of First Glance, it’ll all be worth it.”  But then I put all the students who have come to FG in the past two years in our prayer room to pray for them by name. It’s at that point I want to say, “Pick one. Who get’s to have right relationship with God?” When there are 1400 pictures, suddenly “just one” isn’t enough – not even close!

I’m aware not everyone loves teenagers from Kenmore, but I see so many Christians caring for themselves, caring for their churches, and caring for their inner circle while so many who don’t know Jesus are dying. And I know them. I literally know thousands of them who just needs someone to love and care for them, and the church is failing.

And my angst has come out.  With it I am realizing how much little things are little things, hence my desire to unleash on the woman in Starbucks.