Dec 31, 2008

Atheist's Article..

This is an article I stole from Phil.. who stole it from someone else lol.. but it's worth passing on! Here's the first part of the article.

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God

Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa's biggest problem - the crushing passivity of the people's mindset


hmm.. Interesting huh? You can read the rest of the article here... I would be interested to talk with this guy.. God's obviously doing something with him...

Dec 30, 2008

Who Were YOU a Year Ago?

So, obviously since it's the end of the year it's kinda naturally the time where everyone looks back and figures out the year.. and tries to make decisions for the next year.. So, my big question is:

Who were you a year ago?
What was going on?
What were you worried about, thinking about, stressing about?
What had your attention and focus?
What changed your life this year?

So, who was I a year ago?

Well, a year ago I "rang in the New Year" with Ash and Megan in Chicago.. it was one of my favorite New Years memories EVER! :) I was getting ready to go to Africa for the first time. I was a little worried about the dynamics of the trip, but SO excited that I was getting to go. I was stressing about my financial situation, both normally and with going to Africa.

My friend Lisa and I had dozens of talks about direction and God's path for us.. I needed her and God knew that :) (She also went to Africa with me:)

I was feeling "stuck" like I was in a situation I couldn't get out of.. and had no plan or vision for how I was going to get out of it. Which is weird because I LOVED my family, living at home with them. I LOVED working with our teens and being super involved in our church, and I really liked the time I was getting with my extended family working with them and getting to know them... But, at the exact same time, I felt like I had graduated and taken the easy route, moved home to work for family, so I felt restless. I knew I had this desire and passion inside me but I didn't know what it meant. I had a desire to do hard things with my life, but felt like currently I was doing the easiest well traveled path. Almost as though I was MADE for more, but had no way of attaining it. I felt blind and like I was in a heavy fog and couldn't see God working in my personal journey.

I was operating on the concept that it didn't matter how I felt... I KNEW God's call to us is to, "Love Him, Love others" so I was doing everything I could to do that, regardless of how I felt. But, even still I felt a little like I didn't have a direction.

January
I went to Africa for the first time. I LOVED IT!.. But, I was also frustrated at my/our lack of ability to DO more while we were there. I met two amazing missionaries that I love dearly, and I got to have some pretty amazing talks with them, and just really connect. I treasured that time with them :) I accidentally was put in the middle of a lion pride and got stalked by a crocodile... It was a GOOD trip, wonderful next step, although at the time I wasn't sure what to say about it.

February - April
After Africa, I became insanely involved all over the place. Looking back I'm not sure how I had time for ANYTHING... I got involved with a local martial arts school and taught karate a couple nights a week, I joined Compassionate Life Foundation as a board member, and became increasingly more involved with the youth group as other leaders became too busy or had other situations come up, I helped with the youth vision team, and joined the youth leaders small group, as well as help get the 18-30's group started at my church... Not to mention the random little things like doing a dance for church, interviewing/informing the congregation about my trip to Africa, chaperoning youth events for my best friend who is a youth leader at another church etc..etc.. When I think about it I had things planned every single day and every single evening for each week, and I had roughly one night a week where I could fit friends in for hang out time. Whoa! I was seriously trying to do my part to make a difference, and I've always felt more like I was "on my game" when I was too busy to think!

May
Most of the after work things stayed the same, but in terms of work, Labor Day consumed my life because of working for Covenant Cemetery Services and as odd as it sounds "Labor day is like Christmas for cemeteries" because it is INSANELY busy.. we will see 80% of our people that weekend alone. So, things have to be perfect and together, and if we want to do any sort of survey or coupons for stones, memorials, shepherd's hooks etc..etc.. that has to be in place before the end of the month. And, then there's the marathon weekend that feels like it kills you every time. This also marked my one year with Covenant Cemetery Services, and a dramatic shift in location...

June - August
Beginning of June, I shifted the way I worked for "The Company" as we all called it ;) and I went to part time, moved to Ohio and work for Camp Carl as a boat driver. haha That to me is one of the more random things I've done. I still offered my knowledge and services to the company... But, even though I LOVED working with family I was seriously doubting my abilities. I fought so desperately hard for everything, and was then told I didn't understand, didn't get it, was too young to understand etc..etc.. I began to believe it and it began to seriously effect my view of what I was able to do and what I was GOOD at. So, I went back to camp on a fluke e-mail that spiraled into a job offer. There was also a good chance I would be able to get a full time job in the fall, and since I love camp so much and I love the people I worked with I was PUMPED to say the least! I "went home" to camp and loved the ability to work hard, be outside ALL day long, soak up the sun (seriously I was the darkest I've ever been), meet new people, love on old friends, reconnect with myself, and get to know and laugh with hundreds upon hundreds of kids... I got to read a lot, laugh a lot, hang out with friends from college who I desperately love and missed like crazy! I learned to wake board.. almost broke my ankle.. wiped out on roller blades... and had THE most "American" 4th of July ever. I got to work with people who showered me with love and affection all the time! It was a GOOD summer :)

However, God and I did a lot of arguing throughout the entire summer.. I wanted direction NOW and didn't want to wait anymore. God told me to be patient. I was not thrilled with that answer and complained to him constantly. He essentially laughed at me and told me his answer was final. :) I still argued (man am I stubborn). I think he seriously made me wait until THE LAST MINUTE.. cause I found out the weekend before our last two weeks that things were not going to work out and I was not going to be able to stay in Ohio... So, out of "spite" I applied for about 20 jobs online over the weekend all over the world. I felt very "HA! See, I can do something fun and exciting cause I'm able to!".. (not sure why I felt this way though... or even WHO I felt this way towards lol).. But, none of them replied, and if they did it was "thanks but no." And, then I get a random e-mail from a non-profit in VA asking me to apply for the job cause I look like I have the qualifications for it. So, I did. Set up a phone interview for a couple days later... began wrapping up camp.. Drove home, flew to VA, interviewed again, flew home, got the job, accepted the job... went camping, moved Megan to Mass., packed and moved to VA.

September-November (Pre-Thanksgiving)
The first month was one of the... weirdest, loneliest, scariest, exciting, "green house" time with God that I've ever had. The first week was scary and lonely cause I seriously KNEW NO ONE. I couldn't get anywhere, and I couldn't understand the "real southerners" without reading their lips.. lol I had to adjust quickly to not being in the same environment, I never got touched (which seems like an odd statement, but I'm a touch person.. sooo...).. It was so incredibly good though, I got really acquainted with myself. I went from not thrilled about my 45min-hour drive to and from work to treasuring it and finding that time I covet almost more than any other time of my day... I get MY God time, Him alone is what I get while I drive to and from work.. It's great :) Then I found a Sunday school class, a small group, a roomie, moved again (only 2 miles though), found another small group, met a million people that are now my friends, figured/figuring my way around town now, did a couple service projects, got connected with a girl who introduced me/convinced me to go to Ghana, met the rest of the team, God said "Go" so I trusted Him and made plans to go. I prayed for about a month prior that God would really break my heart and I would FEEL Him. And I went.

November (Post-Thanksgiving) - Now
I went to Ghana, learned more things about love, service, submissiveness, support, faith, trust, and comfort zones than I have ever before. I saw practical examples of what I desire most, and was able to have my "aha!" moment in multiple areas God's been patiently trying to teach me. My life is completely different. I felt like finally dozens of pieces of my puzzle have all come together and I'm beginning to see the picture and it's beginning to make sense to me now. I feel God differently now than I did before. I see His plan, feel His heart, and desire Him more than I have ever that I can remember. Things that I struggled with have begun to take a back seat cause it's not important compared to my purpose and my mission. I've realized how truly, totally, and completely blessed I am. I have parents who everyone should know (and love clearly) :) I have a family that is one of the most supportive and loving families I know. I have friends who are pushing me to grow towards God like never before. I sincerely see the world differently now. Which is what I prayed for. :) I am content, I mean truly content, joyful, happy, and peaceful. I am not where I want to be because now I know what I want.. but I also know I'm where I'm supposed to be.. And that gives me contentment but also keeps my drive and passion alive and pushing.

So, a year.. Wow so much has happened. It seems like a whirlwind, and I am so thankful for God working on me even when I objected loudly. I am grateful for the dozens of times He told me "no" "not yet" and "be patient"... especially when it came to guys :) I am excited about this next year.. cause it's possibilities are ENDLESS!! I can't wait :)

Dec 24, 2008

My Joy in Christmas

I seriously have never been able to figure out how people don't like Christmas.. I mean what's not to like?!

I mean think about it.. This is when God SHOWED us that not only did He love us enough to create us, give us this amazingly beautiful world, and each other.. and not only does He desire for us to truly LOVE Him in return.. So, He has all that... and then He gives us the most important thing to Him!!... In the form of an adorable little baby boy :)

Then, on top of that amazing wonderful reason to be happy and excited.. we have the celebration of all of that! I mean don't get me wrong, sometimes family get togethers with extended family can be much close to world war III.. but I love them still. One of my favorite things is to just sit and watch them, laugh at their antics.. to truly take a minute to cherish and BE in the moment. I know it won't last forever and I love when my family is simply being my family :)

And, I have gone to probably 12 Christmas parties this year between work related ones and ones my friends have put together.. and I've loved every single one of them. :)

AND THEN.. as if all that wasn't enough to love Christmas.. Christmas day is just wonderful!... My family has such a great time just interacting and laughing and giving each other gifts. It's so much fun :) We laugh and exchange hugs, open serious gifts, joke around, we get each other things we've been needing or wanting for a long time.. Then, we eat good food and just hang out ALL day playing :)

It's great. It's why I drove 15 hours in terrible weather through the night.

Dec 22, 2008

Hmm..

I have a whole slew of things bouncing around in my head.. but I can't seem to get anything coherent or solid to grab a hold of. It's like I have a list of things I want to talk about or process through, but nothing that has solidified to even give me a starting place.

Some things I have been thinking of...

Hope isn't just "wishful thinking" it's a solid foundation.
Which then brings a whole new meaning to:
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." - Hebrews 11:1

Joy has nothing to do with happiness or circumstances, and actually is better described as the motivation... or even better the motivation despite terrible circumstances.

Dec 19, 2008

Who Am I?

At some point in everyone's life I think we wonder who we are.. Where do we get our value? You see it in teens all the time, they sway from one thing to another trying to find out who they are. Heck in all reality, you see it regardless of the age, I could list half a dozen people without even trying that are incredibly obvious about their search for value.

So, who am I?

Well, lets start with the basic obvious ones... I am Krista Paula Beata (be-ahh-tah). My name means Joyful Little Christian. I have the names of two of the most amazing people with strong convictions, stubbornness, beauty, love, and compassion that you will ever meet. (Someone mentioned once that since I already have 4 names I should choose a middle name to get rid of, keep my current last name instead of add a name or simply get rid of my current last name when I get married.. That was the worst most horrible idea I'd ever heard! It's like choosing who you love more..) I have two amazing parents who have taught me in every possible way the truth about this world and the truth about the meaning of life, and I go to them with anything I need help processing. I have 3 siblings who have instilled more qualities (whether good or bad) in me than any other people in my entire life; I consider them my best friends first before any other. I have a ginormous extended family that has taught me the importance of love, patience, community, and family. I have some of the worlds greatest friends who love Jesus and inspire me constantly, and have insisted on being my friend when I didn't even know I needed them.

So, those are the basics of me.. some of what has built my foundation. But, who am I? Who is Krista Paula Beata, Joyful Little Christian?

I am a wonderfully and beautifully made daughter of my Savior.
I am extroverted to the extreme.
I am joyful and full of genuine laughter.
I am observant.
I am good at making others better.
I am passionate and express it constantly.
I am loving.
I am always trying to understand people and why they do things.
I am stubborn and full of convictions that won't be moved.
I am independent yet reliant on others.
I am in love with my Sweet Jesus.
I am harder on myself then I convey.
I am always struggling with self worth.
I am easy going but easily excitable.
I am loyal.
I am still learning what it means to be a Christian.
I am learning what it means to be wise and not a fool.
I am unsure of my looks.
I am a quick thinker and use it to my advantage.
I am loud and laugh louder.
I am trying to figure out how to completely rely on God.
I am stronger than I realize.
I am weaker than I admit.
I am trying to figure out where God wants me.
I am blunt.
I am in a never ending battle with my worries and my reliance on Jesus.
I am confident and self assured.
I am still trying to figure out how to show true compassion regardless of how I feel.
I am a black belt.
I am seriously and truly in love with my Sweet Savior.
I am unsure of myself.
I am trying to figure out how to change the world.
I am devoted to my task of loving people for Jesus.
I am thankful for the hard times.
I am confident that God will use me.
I am always on the go.
I am animated.
I am learning how to operate with a hurting heart for the lost.
I am learning how to hurt for the lost.
I am learning how to love the lost.
I am learning how to serve the lost.
I am confidant of my goals.
I am defiant of the devil.
I am secure in the promises of my Lord.
I am figuring out how to move forward without knowing.
I am constantly praying that I will be who God wants me to be.
I am a never ending mix of who I am and who I am pushing to be.

I am Krista, daughter, made and seriously agaped by my Savior. I can never do enough, and I can never do too little.

I am His alone.

Dec 16, 2008

Laughter's Power

I got to thinking today after a co-worker commented on how a couple of our kids have mistaken my laughter as flirting... with other teens (haha.. yeah no). Much to my delight my co-worker (who is a girl) pointed out I act and laugh exactly the same around her, and the other teen girls, and our 60-something married couple we work with... So, clearly unless I am flirting with ALL of them I must not be flirting at all.. but simply finding joy in them.

So, mixing that very amusing story with the incredibly painful last couple weeks God and I have had, I got to thinking about the fact that even though I'm going through these things with God and it hurts.. I'm still joyful, and my laughter is still genuine. In fact, I'm laughing more, and I'm truly content.. (can you be joyful, hurting, and content at the same time?!) I began thinking about the things that change my feelings.. laughter is the biggest one. I can be in a terrible mood, lazy mood, depressed, sad, whatever I'm feeling laughter can change that... When I'm hurting laughter feels like it helps to heal it a little bit.. and at the very least it helps it to be a little more numb and less of the hurt itself.

I found this, and it makes sense.. "Research has shown health benefits of laughter ranging from strengthening the immune system to reducing food cravings to increasing one's threshold for pain. There's even an emerging therapeutic field known as humor therapy to help people heal more quickly, among other things. Humor also has several important stress relieving benefits."

I like the fact that my name means Joyful Little Christian... and I like the fact that it's true. Even when I'm hurting laughter can make a difference inside where there isn't much that can touch the inside.

As my lovely friend says "Laughter is inner jogging" ;)

Dec 15, 2008

To be still and know...

I am really struggling today. I hurt for real. For small things or for someone else's pain... tears will come to my eyes today. I just feel blah, like I need a huge long hug and a reminder that God is still in control, nothing has changed and the pain will go away.

We had to make significant changes at work due to our budget. It was pretty intense and I hurt for the people I work with. I feel guilty that decisions were made the way they were (even though I was not a part of it), and I am completely overwhelmed by the task ahead. I don't know how to turn things around and make them better.. in all honesty I'm not even sure where to begin. *sigh*

I miss my friend Kyle who died two years ago yesterday. Man did he love Jesus, and he seriously showed that love to all of us. I miss him.

I really just don't want to do anything. I want to be still, to know God is God and I am just me. In the last week I've gone to bed several nights just aching to be with Jesus... actually tearing up from the ache. Weird huh? I mean not really.. but kinda if you think about it. I've never felt that way before. I mean I've always wanted to go to be with Jesus, but I've never ached for it before. But, somehow in the last little over a week I just don't want anything but Jesus. I've hardly listened to the radio cause I've just needed time to talk to him.. or just be numb.. silent.. whatever. I keep getting frustrated that I don't have more time to do that. I keep feeling like I should know exactly where I'm heading like I should be close enough to Jesus that I could have an idea of what He's trying to teach me or where He's guiding me. But.. I don't.

For right now I just need to know Him. To know He is my God, my Savior, my Jesus, my Leader, my most intimate, my most fulfilling, and the most consistent thing in my life. But, I still would rather be there. I mean really, think about it.. if I cannot be doing what I'm made to be doing.. what I was CREATED for.. why wouldn't I desire then to simply be with Him instead? Makes sense when you think of it that way because you feel fulfilled when you are doing and moving exactly the way you were created to... and if you're not doing that, it's supposed to feel wrong or at least weird and off... So, if it feels weird and off, we're supposed to desire being with Jesus more than where we are currently.

The sucky dynamic thrown in there, is I think I'm supposed to be exactly right here doing this right now. Lameness. I'm supposed to do everything to glorify Him, be diligent in the small so I can have more later. But, I'm impatient and I just want either to be doing what I was created for... or to be with who I was created for.

So.. today I just need a big long comforting hug, and to be reminded that I'm safe, loved, ok, and that God is still my God.. He hasn't forgotten me, I'm not hurting for nothing, this pain is to shape me more, and all I'm supposed to do, is be me doing what I'm doing for Him.

To be still and know...

Dec 12, 2008

Ghana

Here is a video with maybe half of the pictures from Ghana.



I hope you can see what I saw, and begin to see with your heart why this so dramatically shifted my heart.

Dec 10, 2008

An Agnostic's Words

Today I had a conversation with a friend from high school. We met my first day, and he was pretty clearly gothic (before there was emo) and while he was nice, he was and still is agnostic. I used to joke with him that I was friends with him so that if he ever decided to shoot up the school he wouldn't kill me...:) Obviously that's not true, but it gives you an idea of the more relaxed nature of our friendship. I constantly invited him to youth group, and to my surprise he came.. several times!
Then I graduated high school, went to college, graduated, moved home, then moved to VA.. and didn't hear from him at all. A couple months ago he found me on Facebook and we've chatted a few times, he's made clear several times that he is still not Christian, and he is is perfectly fine being agnostic.. But, he keeps asking me questions.

Today out of the blue he asked me "so, do you think I am going to hell?" I was completely stunned at his bluntness, but I can't pretend half of what I believe doesn't apply so "yes, sorry." But, amazingly it lead into a great conversation and I was able to explain how Christians can be some of the MEANEST people you will ever meet, and sometimes even I as a Christian desire to run them over with my car... He said he could never be a Christian because he drinks, smokes, and swears sometimes... I just laughed and explained that it's not my job to police his life.. I am called to show him love. Once I said that he instantly went into how I am the most loving person he has ever known, and I am the reason he doesn't do drugs anymore...

I was shocked.

When I asked why, and pointed out I haven't talked to him in a long time, or done anything special. He responded with the fact that when he was getting pretty heavy into drugs at one point he began to think about times in his life when he was happy. He said the only time he could think of when he felt cared about and loved was in high school when we would talk or hang out at church. He explained how I am the only person that makes him believe there is a chance Jesus is real, and he appreciates the fact that I'm completely honest, but not screaming at him to know Jesus. We continued to talk and I explained my view on what Jesus has called me to do.. and even though he is screaming in Jesus' face that he isn't His, I am still called to love him and help him when I can. I told him that I am thankful every day that I do not have the job of judging others and their sins.

We talked about gays, and the hatred many Christians express towards them (which makes my heart hurt), we talked about drinking, smoking, swearing, and why I feel my job is to love only. Then he asked if he believed in Jesus would he still go to hell for drinking and smoking and stuff... and much to his amazement I said no, it would mean he has sin in his life like I do. I explained that whether I kick puppies or feed hungry children in Africa neither means I get to Heaven or go to hell... and there is a certain amount of freedom in knowing that my "goodness" is not based on me at all but Jesus. It was a great conversation, and I am so thankful that my parents have always pushed getting to know people for who they are, and for hammering into me that people are what is important.

Can I just say how humbling and completely scary it is to have an agnostic say these things about me.

Oh my sweet Jesus you need to take this one, please speak to his heart. I want him to know you, to feel what I feel. To experience what it means to love you and accept your love. I don't even know where to go with it, and I don't want to say something stupid and mess it up. Please touch his heart.

Dec 9, 2008

What Do You Desire?

So, I was having some serious God time on my way into work today (have I said how much I love my hour drive?!).. I realize the gas it takes to get to and from work every day is a lot.. but I truly love my car time cause it forces me to think.. and that always forces me to talk with God.

My thoughts today centered around What do I desire?... I sorta listen to the same 3 songs every morning (that is if I feel in the mood to hear anything beyond the tires on the road). But, these songs never get old.. Desert Song, Hosanna, and Came to my Rescue.. Today I listened to them as well as Facedown, and just sorta let my mind wander. Once the songs were over, I shut the radio off and I just started talking to God.. I wanted him to hear me and know what I was thinking.. (Obviously he does, but it means more when I actually tell him..)

So, here are my thoughts. I want to KNOW God, and I don't mean just have the head knowledge.. I want to experience Him. I want to be so in His face that regardless of how I'm feeling, angry, sad, happy, joyful, tired, numb, restless, excited, worried, troubled.. anything I want to be in His face whether I'm happy, shouting, crying, whispering, or simply just sitting. I want Him to guide my steps. I need Him, and I truly mean NEED. I feel empty when I'm not close to Him, I feel sluggish and as though I'm dizzy and disoriented. See the thing is, I feel the pull "from the world".. but it doesn't compare to how I feel when I'm in God's face. I want to be David (only without the murder and adultery.. or being a guy :) etc..etc..), I don't want my emotions and what I'm currently fixated on to get in the way of my speaking to my Sweet Savior. I desire to be content. I want to be so close to God that He fills my vision, and everything I see is through Him.

When you boil it down.. I just want Jesus.

I want to be content here, right now. I want to love my journey with Him, not just be focused on the goal. I don't want to miss opportunities or experiences because I was too blind to see where I was and what I should have been doing. I want people to SEE Jesus in me, I want there to be no doubt that I love Him. I don't want to be the person ankle deep in the ocean... I want to be the person rolling in the waves.

I want to see myself as God sees me. I don't want to feel like He messed up cause of whatever whatever, I just want to be able to be so in God's face that even when I look at myself I can see the me He intends for me to be... even when I do mess up.

I want to be in a constant state of living outside my comfort zone cause that is the only time I really let go of my skills, abilities, cautions, and just become flexible, mold-able and let God work using me. I love that feeling when you're amazed cause you KNOW you couldn't do it, and yet looking back you realize you didn't. That's when you feel God and know you're alive.

I desire Jesus alone.

Dec 7, 2008

Really?.. Compassion?...

So, there are these things called Spiritual gifts.. We are all supposed to posses them, but obviously to varying degrees. I took the test once with about 30 other girls to determine what our spiritual gifts are so we could see how we were the body of Christ and how we could aid each other. The test somehow ranked it all the way up to 100.. so, some girls had very low numbers all the way to very high.. each spiritual gift was put on the same scale. I had two tie with a 94 or 97 (it was a few years ago).. those two were encouraging and leading, followed closely (3 points behind) with teaching.. all the way down to my lowest.. at 64 with.. COMPASSION.. haha.. yeah my lowest spiritual gift is compassion. For those of you that know me it's no real surprise.. but it also explains a lot that it's my lowest at 64..

My mom explained it once when I was distraught at the fact that I felt I couldn't show Jesus with Compassion as my lowest gift.. What she pointed out is it's not that I lack compassion all together, just I am not the type who has compassion for everything. Often I will use my other gifts to help others "get out" of their situation. She said I am very compassionate for things that need it (hurting people) but not so much for people I "deem" not deserving (whiners).. Which is true if you whine suddenly my compassion for your situation is gone and I adopt a "suck it up" attitude...

But, then I asked my Sweet Savior to break my heart and I feel different. I still have the "suck it up" attitude when deserved.. But, I've never looked at someone and felt the pain in my heart. I've never heard someone tell me their story or how they are feeling and felt it in my heart... NEVER, I've never experienced that. At first I thought it was just my heart trying to have something tangible to explain my own hurting.. but then last night a friend said they felt numb, and while I didn't know the exact story (cause I didn't ask) I know enough to know what the topic was.. and I hurt, I mean I physically felt it in my chest. The type of pain and hurt that you feel deep down in your heart when it sinks in that you've lost someone you love... And then today someone was telling me their story and I felt it again. It doesn't last forever (praise Jesus I don't think I could handle that), I don't adopt it as my pain and hold onto it.. But, I've never been empathetic this way before. It's... uhm.. very weird to say the least.

A couple nights ago I was talking to a friend and he was telling me how he doesn't feel at all.. he just feels completely numb against God.. Not cause he hates God, but because he's wandered away slowly.. and can't feel Him anymore. I wish I could let him glimpse how I'm feeling. Let it wash over his heart for a moment. Not because I've made it and not because I feel I can solve his problems.. but because I've been there, where I was just going through the motions because I knew I needed to... but I didn't FEEL Jesus at all. I knew He was there because of past experiences, and I knew He was going to be there if I fell.. But, I wasn't feeling Him. I can't describe to you how much I wish I could open his eyes and show my friend the sunset I see...

Dec 6, 2008

I Want Jesus

Ok, so I realize my last several posts have been fairly heavy and serious.. but, as of right now that's what I have so this one will be pretty much the same..

So, it's Saturday.. at this point a week ago I was loading onto a plane in Amsterdam to take the last flight and I'd finally be back in the US. I was tired both physically, emotionally, and spiritually.. The weird thing is my heart still feels exactly like it did then. Last night I got to hang out with the people from the trip and it was so nice.. they get it. They were there. We laughed and talked and looked at some pictures and it was good. It felt like the relief you feel when you put a soothing cream on a burn.. it suddenly doesn't hurt so bad.

It was good that was yesterday cause when I woke up in the morning yesterday I was surprised by how suddenly severe my heart hurt... I seriously wish at this point that I could explain it.. I wish I could give a reason. I'm not sure anyone is quite understanding, especially since I can't explain why.. And, lets be honest I can't even really explain what it is. I do know I've never felt this strong of a visceral reaction from God when I asked for something. I mean I've had answers to prayers and I've felt him before.. But I've never felt it for this long, and I've never been at a loss for words on how to explain it.

What the heck is wrong with me?..

A WEEK LATER and I still feel crushed by the heaviness of my heart. I still want to cry for nothing. I still have the overwhelming desire to just drop everything and leave, go back, go somewhere new.. anything really. The weird thing is it has nothing to do with here.. or home.. I am good at what I do, and I can be here just like anywhere else.. But, for whatever reason I was not MADE for this, here, or home. I don't know why, and I'm sorry for those of you who keep taking it personal when I say I don't want to be here. This has nothing to do with you. This clearly has everything to do with me and me alone. God is speaking to me.. but I feel like right now he's letting me bleed out (in a good way).. You know the type of bleed out where you let the wound bleed for a while so that anything bad would be bled out. That's what I feel like is going on right now.. I'm bleeding so I'll be clean again and be able to heal correctly.

Hmm.. I really hope I figure out soon what's going on, what I'm doing.. and while part of me really hopes that I stop hurting.. part of me is treasuring the fact that a week later I still FEEL it. Especially since I'm not an overly emotional person.. and most of my emotions come and go quickly.. I praise Jesus for my joy despite how I feel.. It's harder to convey joyful right now, but I feel it, it's there.

I want my comfort to be in Jesus.
I want to be guided by Him.
I want to see His plan.
I don't want anything but Him.
I want to know HOW to do these things.
I hate that I have to wait for His timing, which means not right now.

I want Jesus.. that's what I ultimately want cause I feel differently when I have Him. When I feel Jesus my world view is different, I react differently, I see people differently, I have more compassion, and I even see myself differently. It's weird.

I wish so desperately and completely that you get the chance and choose to let Jesus do this for you and in you...

"Seek and you will find.."

Dec 3, 2008

Gentle and Quiet Spirit

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands," 1 Peter 3:3-5

I have always liked this verse, and I've always been fascinated by it and it's concept... But, I've always believed that it didn't apply to me because lets be honest I'm not quiet, and gentle only depending on the situation...

And then Gloria, my roomie in Ghana who had to leave a day early left me a note that said that I have "...an enduring sense of strength and love for adventure, coupled with the gentle and quiet spirit (not mouth, spirit)...." (haha..she obviously understands me a little huh?) I truly think it was one of the most touching things anyone has ever said to me, and it was given to me at the perfect moment.. and I felt it in the very core of who I am. So, then I began to wonder what does this mean and did this verse really apply to me also? I mean I can point to a multitude of women who have these qualities and I always admire them.. My mom being one of the most blatant examples of this in my life.

So, lets break it down then.. what does it mean if I of all women have a Gentle and Quiet Spirit?..

ESV, NIV, and ISV use the words "gentle and quiet spirit"
KJV and YLT use the words "meek and quiet spirit" ... now here's where I have to chuckle to myself because I LOVE the word meek, it's one of my favorite words of all time. In English the word meek means shy, timid, weak, incapable, coward etc..etc.. When actually the word was used to describe war horses and it meant "Power under control"... haha let that sink in for a second... Power. Under. Control. I love the word Meek.

Ok, so lets break down the other words..
Gentle,
Considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender. Not wild or turbulent, polite; refined. (Obviously there are a whole SLEW of other descriptive words.. but this gives you an idea)
Quiet,
Making no noise or sound, esp. no disturbing sound, restrained in speech, manner, free from disturbance or tumult; tranquil; peaceful, free from disturbing thoughts, emotions.. etc..etc..
Spirit,
An attitude or principle that inspires, animates, or pervades thought, feeling, or action. Temper or disposition. The essential nature of a person or group. (Again, there are a whole lot more.. but you get an idea where I'm going with it.)

So, then can this verse describe me?.. I think so. Not all the time, but as a general characteristic of who I am this can now describe me because of who God has been shaping and molding me to be. I'm not sure I could say that about myself even just a few years ago, but I've gone through things that I can see have created some of these characteristics in myself. So.. I seriously give God praise cause he's creating me to be this. He is creating me to be beautiful from the very core of who I am out. So, Lord let my hope be in you so that I can be beautiful the way you made me.

And as a side note... I like how tagged onto the end as part of a beautiful woman is one who is submissive to her husband. I didn't used to like that idea at all... But, the more I'm beginning to understand what that means, the more I really like it, and realize how purposeful and wonderful it would mean to be submissive.

Dec 2, 2008

Vulnerable

vul⋅ner⋅a⋅ble

[vuhl-ner-uh-buhl] –adjective
1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon: a vulnerable part of the body.
2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.: an argument vulnerable to refutation; He is vulnerable to bribery.
3. (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend: a vulnerable bridge.

This describes how I'm feeling. I've had several people ask yesterday and today how I'm doing.. and a couple I gave the brief 30 second answer cause that was clearly all they wanted. A couple I gave the 2 minutes synopsis of how I'm feeling before they got distracted.. and I rarely bring it back up if they don't remember to return to it.. And then there were the precious couple that asked, listened, and asked for clarification, then sat and listened intently as I stumbled through my thoughts and struggled for words to describe an accurate picture of my heart.

I'm not a fan of being vulnerable because it leaves so much out there waiting to be smashed and stepped on... especially by the unknowing or uncaring. And, I spend so much of my time trying to be strong for others that I don't know how to let others take care of me when it truly matters. The worst is when people by a few flippant words or sarcastic comment hurt you when you're trying to be vulnerable. But, interestingly enough that hasn't happened like I was braced for this time. I was surprised last night by the people who first asked me to share, then asked guiding questions, and lovingly and compassionately tried to hear what I was saying and offer comments and thoughts. Today I was asked how I was doing, and I laughed said well, but was having a hard time describing how I felt.. and instead of the typical "you'll figure it out.." they made time to hear me.. and when we ran out of time they scheduled when we could talk again. I can't express how loved that makes me feel. For someone who is a quality time and touch person.. that's.. there is no price for reactions like that. It's humbling when people express that amount of love towards me, because often I ramble when I'm trying to process and it causes me to revert back to being unable to talk in a linear patterns, which can be frustrating and confusing for some people... and I KNOW I'm doing it but I can't get my mind to work through my thoughts in a linear pattern, so I continue to process in sporadic patterns.

I'm trying so desperately to figure out what God is trying to tell me before the daily grind causes my heart to forget what I feel now. I want to get as much out of it as possible. I mean common if I asked for this.. if I asked to have my heart broken and God to truly touch me because I needed that from him... and he DOES it.. How could I simply let it slip away without doing everything in my power to scribble it onto my heart permanently? What a waste it would be to simply let the feelings pass and chalk it up to another "mountaintop experience."

I don't want to live my life giving God 10% of whatever and hoping he uses it. I want to live my life giving him every ounce of everything I can, and at the end of the day when I'm exhausted knowing God will bless what I've given him because it's everything I had.

Dec 1, 2008

My Crying Heart

At some point I will post a bunch of stories from Ghana.. but for now I just need to talk about my crying heart cause that's what I feel most right now...

When people ask how Africa went I have such a conflict of emotions.. The trip went so well, I loved it, it was different than any trip I've ever done, the team was awesome, I learned things I wasn't expecting, and I watched as Jesus showed up in the little things and big things... And then there's the part where I hurt so terribly inside that I don't want to do anything but cry. Me, the girl who hardly ever cries.. all I want to do right now is cry. Anytime anyone asks about Africa I have to push aside how I feel and the sudden urge to cry and say it went well (which it did). 

The real kicker is I asked Jesus to break my heart and to truly show up so I could FEEL him. And man o man did he do that! But, what I wasn't expecting is to have him do it in a way I can't explain. I have no words for how or why I'm feeling this way. I've never, not once felt this way after leaving a mission trip.. Granted every single time I want to stay, I don't want to go home, and I don't really miss those from home.. But, then I go home and I am so excited to be there and sharing everything with those from home.

The only way I can describe it is my heart is crying. I feel like it's in pieces and broken in my hands, and it's an incredibly vulnerable place to be at the moment because all I want to do is hide with Jesus. I don't want to talk about how I'm feeling. I don't want to tell people about my trip. I don't want to go back to my daily life... All I want to do is proclaim Jesus to those who don't understand his love and righteousness. The thing that I feel just as strongly now is that I can't do that alone. I NEED community and to work as a team, and I feel like I finally understand why.. The whole idea of needing the body of Christ was portrayed CLEARLY for me on this trip. Especially in situations where any one of us could have done something specific and it not be a big deal.. but when I decided to take a back seat to the rest of the group and choose to let them lead in different situations.. we worked flawlessly as a group. Not that I couldn't have done it or they didn't want me to, just that it worked better when we chose to take on different tasks to let Jesus shine. It's the concept that so much more can happen when no one cares who gets the credit... 

Right now at this moment I am hurting. I feel like I'm broken. I have no idea where I'm supposed to focus my attention to. I have no goal to aim towards. I now more than ever despise the typical America dream. I want to do everything in my power to make sure Jesus can use me. And in the midst of all of this I feel like I've been crying inside for days now, and I have no idea how to heal it except spending more time with my Sweet Savior...

I know now that I want to do missions, I don't care what kind, I don't care where, I don't care how.. but I do know that I cannot do it alone and while I'm single. I'm not saying I can't or won't do short term mission trips.. but I want missions to be my life, that's the only time I truly feel alive. The best way I can describe it is I feel like I'm dancing unrestrained and in a beautiful way that only God can truly appreciate because it's for him. I am not saying this as another reason I "want to get married and find my person".. Because I am content right now in that area, I feel like nothing will fill my hole like Jesus (which is true), but I know that regardless of how I feel about a guy, I NEED Jesus.. I don't NEED him. I slowly feel like I begin to wither away when I am not close or as close as I'd like to be with Jesus. I've never felt like I'm withering away without a guy in my life.

So, now where am I?.. I am sitting here with my broken, bleeding, crying heart in my hands. I am trying to reconcile the fact that I ASKED for this.. I just expected to know why I'd be feeling this way. I expected to know what caused it, a specific person, a situation etc..etc.. and instead I'm fighting off tears, and pushing forward when all I want to do is curl up and be left alone. I want Jesus and Jesus alone.. The best thing I can think of is the word Hosanna: "Lord save me because You are mighty and sovereign."

I have no words to truly describe how I feel. I have no way to figure it out. I have nothing except Jesus, and that's all that sounds appealing to me right now.

Nov 18, 2008

Captivated

So, currently I'm listening to Captivated by Shawn McDonald.. I love this song. The sound of the song itself is fun, light, and a slightly different pace than most songs.. but then there are the lyrics which are so descriptive.. try imagining each of these things.. it's a very vivid picture.

When I look into the mountains I see Your face
When I look into the night sky it sparkles Your Name

The wind in the clouds and the blue in the sky
The sun and the moon and the stars so high
That's what draws me to You

I am
I'm captivated by You
(You know that You do)
I am

I'm captivated


When I wake unto the morning it gives me your sights

When I look across the ocean it echoes Your might


The sand on the shore and the waves in the sea

The air in my lungs and the way You made me

That's what draws me to You
The wind in the clouds and the blue in the sky
The sun and the moon and the stars so high

The sand on the shore and the waves in the sea


The air in my lungs and the way You made me

The blood in my veins and my heart You invade


The plants how they grow and the trees and the shade

The way that I feel and the Love in my soul


I thank you my God for letting me know

Nov 17, 2008

Amazing People

So, while I'm extremely frustrated at things I can't control today, I am still amazed at the people God has put into my life.

I'm finding it amazing and interesting to see how God truly does knit people together that can cover for each other's weaknesses or for their low moments. It's fascinating to see how things are supposed to work when functioning in the "body." I think it's interesting how when I'm upset for whatever reason I end up talking with a friend who is very calm and collected, makes me laugh, or just is insistent on showing they care for me (even though that's a challenge to let them).

hmm.. God is so good.

Nov 15, 2008

Chivalry

So, after an incredibly long conversation with a couple friends about chivalry and why it's important.. I am having a real hard time wrapping my mind around it.. I understand the basics "Let me open the door for you" ok that's nice.. or the little more awkward "let me open your CAR door for you".. but I am having a hard time understanding the why behind it. Why would you want to do that for me?.. especially if I'm not your girlfriend? I can rationalize (or actually probably more irrationally explain away) why it's good for others, but what about me? I have a friend who not only offers to give up his seat for me, but moves.. and then stands there and insists I take it.. cause I've had guys offer their seats before, but I don't think I've ever taken their seat, cause it's a lot of hassle.. they don't move ahead of time so it just ends up being more work, and I like sitting on the floor, so it's just easier. When my friend Brit and I leave anywhere basically from our time hanging out he walks us to the door, and waits for us to leave. There are probably a few dozen other little things like that that he does that I'm not sure WHY he does it. Brit and I have both asked separately why, and while we've each gotten a decent answer from him, its still really hard for me to comprehend it.

Brit's big issue is why would he do something for her she can do herself?.. I've had this explained to me before, so this one isn't as big an issue for me.. I've sorta learned to graciously accept.. even though it can be odd I sorta understand so I'm ok with it.

For me I can't understand why he would do it for me, especially when I'm just a friend. I could understand those things being done for a girl he was interested in, gf, wife etc..etc.. but why would he do all those things for just friends? I don't know. He explained it.. but the fact that he kept pointing out there isn't an ulterior motive is where both Brit and I take pause. Not that we expect the reason to be conniving or with the goal of getting somewhere special, it can be a good ulterior motive.. but still how can there be nothing at all when it comes to chivalrous things?

And, see here's the thing, I don't have this desire to "be equal with guys." The bottom line is they CAN do things I can't, and there are things they are good at and like doing that I really could careless about, and vice versa. So, I don't object on the feminist's views, I just simply don't comprehend why it's important.

Don't get me wrong.. girls.. we.. I... like being treated special. Who doesn't like to feel important? Or like they are precious.. But, that's not the point, the point is why is it important to make someone who is just a friend feel special and important (in that context)...

It's just.. different, and not something I'm used to so it makes me feel awkward, or like I owe them something in return (which he was very quick to expel that idea). But, it's hard for me to just accept it without feeling like I should do something in return.

hmm...

Nov 13, 2008

Beautiful

Let me start by clarifying some things... I'm using this Blog as a way of putting down on paper what my mind or heart is mulling over. So, since usually those things are focused on trying to figure out what's wrong with me, what I need to improve, what I did wrong etc..etc.. most of this blog will be those things. So, in light of that please don't assume I am an emotional conflicted mess lol These are just things God and I are working through that I thought might be beneficial for someone else to see and read too... If for no other reason than to know you're not the only one thinking it or you meet someone who says something similar. :) Enjoy!

What is beautiful? This is something I've been thinking about for a while now, and I think this is such a broad question... I mean here are a few things I think are beautiful..

These are flowers from some friends.
And this is a pretty tree I saw the other
day while driving home from Brit's house.

This is a sunset I saw the other day...


To me these things I just find beautiful. An example of how creative, dynamic, and loving our God is.

So, then what about for people? Sometimes I feel bad for guys cause they just have no clue about what they say and how it effects girls. Even the most well intentioned guy makes comments that are meant harmless or as an observation and girls take it to heart.

The word "Beauty" is found 31 times in the Bible, and the word "Beautiful" is found 70 times in the Bible. So clearly this isn't just a topic that means nothing to God.. So.. How should we look at ourselves? Cause clearly we look at each other and see beauty, but for whatever reason we are blind to our own. I mean I can look at all of my friends and see how beautiful they are, some have these amazing eyes that dance when they laugh, others have smiles that you can't help but smile cause they are just stunning, some have these perfectly proportioned bodies that when you see guys around them is clear is attractive to them, or they have flawless skin, some have voices that are so easy to listen to, and others have the types of laugh that you truly hear the joy in it and can't help but laugh too, some have beautiful hair, And then some of my friends have all of those things and I feel more attractive cause they are MY friend ;) lol


"but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful." (Gen 29:17b)
"She (Abigail) was an intelligent and beautiful woman," (1 Sam 25:3b)
The entire book of Song of Solomon lol
"Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands," (1 Peter 3:4-5)

Clearly there are more verses, but these stuck out to me.. For whatever reason beauty IS an important thing to girls. I know that personally I want to know I'm desirable on the inside as well as the outside. You always hear it in church that it's all about the inner beauty which without the inner the outside means nothing.. it's vanity.. like a vapor.. and you can't get to Heaven by looking good.

But if it truly means NOTHING why would God have made girls with that desire to be beautiful? I mean it's not something we learn.. look at a 3 year old little girl who is all dressed up and is told she's pretty.. or the 5 year old girl who asks her daddy if she's pretty.. God clearly made that a part of our wiring.. The challenge is making sure all the wiring is working together correctly...

So, here's where I struggle... I view myself as average.. not super beautiful, sometimes not beautiful at all, but just average. Which is fine, I don't mind it :) Where I begin to struggle is when I'm told and complimented on all of the wonderful parts of my personality, character, walk with God, etc.. etc.. Told I am "the type of girl guys want to marry.." and yet I'm not found beautiful (no one has said that directly), but it's in the things they don't say.. Because by process of elimination if I am the type of girl guys want to marry.. and I'm not married.. or even close to it.. then there clearly is something missing right? And since the only thing they DON'T mention is the beauty that must be it. Right? There is always the "you're such a dynamic, interesting, and intelligent person it's going to take a special guy.." hmm.. I hate that saying cause it doesn't say anything... or when they say "I can't wait to see who captures your heart.." as though I hadn't thought about it yet..

I find that this struggle to reconcile this issue in my head has caused SO many problems.. The easiest one to point out is my lack of ability to take a compliment that I don't believe ("you look pretty"), I reason it away as them feeling like they HAVE to say something (like them being polite or something). It's only cause I dressed a certain way. I have an attractive ____ but not an attractive ____ (whatever those things are). Or, when the poor well intentioned guy makes a comment about another girl's beauty, the assumption that girls in general make is "she has that but I don't.." so we take it to heart...

It's complicated for sure, and I honestly feel sorry for guys cause they have to sorta stumble their way along trying to figure out what in the world is wrong with us lol

So.. Hopefully soon I will have found my aha moment for this, and I will be able to progress in this issue. :)

Nov 11, 2008

What is Trust?

How do you handle your stress? What makes it go away? I have a couple songs I listen to, which always help. The song I ALWAYS want to hear when I'm stressed is Gravity by Shawn McDonald.. There are so many memories from this song of being stressed out and listening to this song sprawled on the floor in a dark room.. (it really does make you feel better to throw yourself on the floor..lol) but the biggest stress reliever for me is to laugh with people I can trust. It's not the same when you laugh with people you aren't close with or don't trust much because you're still hiding exactly how you're feeling. You have that wall up where no matter what you're protected, the fake smile, the fake laugh, the hiding it in the subconscious so no one will see it on your face. Now granted even if I'm around people (a group usually) I trust I won't (if ever) say what I'm stressed about or even usually anything about what's going on, but I feel enough at ease to truly laugh instead of fake it. I do still try to hide it from my face or just hide it in general, although I've discovered that it's those weird moments when you're off in your own world just thinking that I apparently have it written all over my face. Sometimes I know it's just my "thought face" lol but there are times it's a real concern, stress, problem etc..etc..

It tends to throw me off a bit when people notice though.. Or more actually when they not only notice, but ask about it. Depending on what it is and who they are will depend on if I tell them.
Which brings me to a topic that my friends here in the VA and I have talked about a decent amount.. The whole concept of levels of trust... Apparently guys are fairly simple in the way they trust.. Either they trust you or they don't. Girls (or I guess I really am just speaking about me..) are very different.

So then.. I have I think 6 levels.. lol but let me explain...
1st.. The "I've just met you" level. You haven't proven that you won't hurt me, try anything. You haven't shown yourself to be anything more than another person. These people aren't even considered acquaintances. They aren't considered to be trust worthy at all.

2nd.. The "Acquaintance" level. These people are trustworthy enough that you know they won't try anything, they basically are people you like, but for whatever reason either don't know well, or they haven't proven trustworthy enough to get to know more about you than the basic surface stuff.

3rd.. The "Friends" level. This is a HUGE level for me... I mean I have a TON of friends, so a whole slew of them fall under this category. These people are friends, you hang out with them, laugh with them, and generally have a good time.. Some of these people you will share certain things with, but for the most part it's fairly easy going. There isn't a whole lot of 'pushing' each other. You don't use these people to bounce problems off of, and you generally don't talk about things that are close to the heart... They tend to be (as bad as it sounds) the only for fun friends.

4th.. The "Good Friends" level. I have a decent number of people I would consider good friends. These people have proven themselves to be trustworthy. They know you well enough to be able to read you at least in part. They can push you as a friend (most importantly the push you towards God type.. but not all good friends are that type of good friend). In general these people are trustworthy with most things, maybe not the big fears or the things that are touchy and close to the heart.. but they can keep secrets, have proven to be reliable, and have shown they truly care about who you are. Sometimes these people are simply people you have known forever, and you know where the boundaries are for them and where you can and cannot trust them, but you have known them too long, and been through too much to NOT say they are a good friend. This level is kinda a flex level cause with some people the relationship is a very reciprocal give and take friendship, and other people it is only one sided. And still other times these are the people who used to be best friends, but for whatever reason (usually distance or length of time since you've seen them and talked last) they aren't as close as they used to be.

5th.. The "Best Friends" level. Now, I know that this is kinda an odd level, since people still try to tell me that you have only one best friend.. but that's simply not true for me. I have a whole slew of best friends.. Granted there are different types of best friends, and I have people I call best friends that I will never stop calling them that because they were for a certain time period in my life.. So, I guess I feel like they deserve that title lol.. But, these are the people you can trust. They hold your secrets, they push you to be better, the relationship is very reciprocal, and these are the people who it's ok if they see you weak. These are the people who I know I can call on at any time for anything and they will be there if it's within their power. I can laugh with them, cry with them, and I can be in any mood and they will still love me. These are the people I get mad around, vent around, and the people who know my fears and insecurities. They feel free to call me out of things, and usually are the people I think of first when I am struggling, and as sad as it is the ones I think of praying for the most. These are the people who you can not see each other or talk for MONTHS and when you do it's like everything is exactly as it was :) I love these friends :)

6th.. This is the "Intimate" level. Really this is only for bf/husband... Because regardless there is a level reserved for one person. And when I say this level is reserved for boyfriend.. That does NOT mean I am "all his" until we are married simply being of bf status doesn't mean he automatically gets me.. it means there are things he will get to learn that others won't (once he has proven himself..).

So, those are the basic levels. Each person is clearly dealt with individually, but these are the basic categories I put everyone in. There are also more details and it's way more complicated
then it was described here.. but this is the basics :) And no, I probably won't say where you are... especially if others are in the room.

The Songs in My Head

So, I've realized recently that I wake up almost every morning with a song in my head.. Or more accurately a portion of a song, cause some times a few days in a row it's the same song, just different parts of the song.. Sometimes it takes me all day to figure out which song the couple lines come from.. Sometimes it pertains to what I'm feeling for that while.. or sometimes it feels like God's wake up call in the morning.. and other times it's just random songs that make me laugh or wonder where in the world it came from...

Recently these are the lines that have been in my head in the morning..

" I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
Though it's not easy
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting "

Then the next morning I woke up with the same song, but a different part:

" I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait"

This morning I woke up with..

"You've won my heart...
Yes you've won my heart..
At the foot of the cross.." Just those words, which is kinda funny cause they're out of order a bit :)

I have a dozen others.. but these are the most powerful for now :)

Nov 10, 2008

Eleazar Daviid


This is my beautiful new Nephew Eleazar Daviid (Duh-veed)

He is adorable and I'm more than slightly bitter that I won't see him til he's about 6 weeks old!!!

Being an aunt is possibly one of the coolest things ever... :)

Nov 7, 2008

Permeating My Mind...

So.. I had an AHA moment on my way into work today.. I love it when talking to God I get those :) I figured out why I'm such a pessimist when it comes to relationships.. I mean seriously, I am fairly optimistic most of the time, I can for the most part keep a positive attitude.. So, I keep trying to pinpoint why I am such a pessimist about relationships involving myself (not others).

I mean others can tell me plain as day "this is what's going on.. this is what we see, think.. etc..etc.." and I will have the most pessimistic view of it. And it really bothered me, cause it doesn't fit with the rest of my world view. I was convinced for a while I had a commitment issue, cause that was the only thing I could come up with. But, I figured it out today.. now I just need to figure out what to do with my new found information :)

I am not scared of relationships (specifically speaking of boyfriend/girlfriend ones).. I'm not scared of the work, the trouble, arguments, the sacrifice.. none of that cause my parents have an incredibly stable relationship, and I've seen them do these things. I'm scared, or more specifically TERRIFIED of what I have experienced every single time (obviously since I'm not married). I am scared of feeling the incredibly painful "your not the one again".. when for whatever reason I am not the one for him, not the right _______, not enough ________, too much _______... and I always take that and attack myself with it.. I beat myself up over it.. and every single time I've given over to letting Satan pervade my thoughts of myself. I mean there have been times it's gotten so bad that my dad stepped in and we screamed at each other cause I didn't know how NOT to do that.. and he was scared for me. (quick side note, while I NEVER want to do that again with my dad.. I've never felt so loved once I figured out what he did :)

**Let me be clear... no suicidal thoughts have ever entered my mind, I have never resorted to cutting, throwing up (ew gross) or anything like that...**

But, for whatever reason my thoughts become only negative about myself, all I can do is find my faults, and why I am not and will never be enough. I'm not pretty or beautiful enough, I will never be attractive to anyone worthy, I'm not smart enough, I'm too opinionated, I'm not kind enough, I don't know how to be submissive enough, I'm not small enough, I'm too tall and large, I'm not passive enough, I'm not compassionate enough, I'm not girlie enough, I can never be like her, I can't be like that.. just to name a few of them.. I go over and over these thoughts in my mind and I literally have nowhere to go, I can't distract myself from them, and I can't brush them off like I do for everything else.. I convince myself that I just need a little while to be "disappointed"... that tomorrow I'll be fine. When in reality it takes some serious intervention to alter my mindset. Satan CLEARLY knows how to get me. And, I mean clearly.. he knows precisely to the tee what I have no defense against, I don't even know where to begin to build the defense... Ironically without the "boy" in the picture these are not only issues I don't really struggle with, but I actually very much like the way I am, and am fairly proud of these qualities I posses (knowing I can always improve of course)... And until now Satan has done a really good job of disguising what it is I struggle with.. I mean common, clearly these things are not the same as having a commitment issue (which I was beginning to worry was the TRUE issue)...

So.. Now what?

I mean I recognize the issue, I realize what Satan's game plan has been all along now. Cause if you've ever been there when I've broken down into one of these things.. according to my dad it's very scary, and something he never wants to see again. SO, now I know.. but you can't just snap your fingers and decide that 23 years of something will just go away. That all the insecurities will be gone instantly..

So.. Now what?

Well, that's where my conversation with Jesus centered today. Cause, I honestly have no idea what to do now. I obviously have no idea how to Guard my heart.. which IS THE WELL SPRING OF LIFE.. How does anyone suck at something that is so important to life?! So, that's what I prayed.. God needs to do it for me, to protect my thoughts and emotions cause I don't know how. It's obvious I can't go through life like this... cause that would mean missing out on huge blessings from God, and a lot of inner turmoil. I need Jesus on this one. He's the only one who can clean out the decay and replace it with what I desperately need there.

My cry to my Sweet Savior this morning consisted of begging him to save me from myself. I can't do it anymore, and I don't know how to change. I am terrified of those feelings because the pain is more real and more destructive than anyone can describe. It's such a visceral reaction in my chest.. One that can't really be explained.. there aren't really words I can think of to describe it.

How do people without Jesus keep moving?

Nov 6, 2008

Why is it so Hard?

So, I was thinking about it on my way into work today.. Why is it so hard? Why isn't it easier to love Jesus? Why do I feel like I struggle every moment to show love? Why can't I just choose to do the best, be the best, show the best?.. and then actually DO that? I hate it! I hate that I have to choose between two great things instead of just being able to do it all.. I hate that I'm not better at being a faithful servant/follower of Jesus... I hate that the most I think.

I mean common lets be honest, most of the time we all feel like we are "good people" that we have done "good things" or that we "are better than most"... I don't want to feel like that, I mean I don't want to have this opinion of myself that I am lower than dirt (clearly because I am one of the women who serve as the "crescendo" of God's creation haha ;).. but what I want is to have TRUE humility.. and I heard it described as

"True humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less"

I want to have that. I want others to see my life and KNOW I live for Jesus. I know I am (for the most part) a joyful person (thanks to my name ;) but I want people to see it written all over my face. I want people to hear it in my laughter. I want people to watch me and see that I choose to love. I want people to see my bad days and see Jesus still...

I was thinking about this last night as I was sauntering up 3 flights of stairs to my empty apartment insanely late for the hour I have to get up... Why do I keep staying up SO late when I know I have to get up SO early?.. And right away a thought popped into my head..

"Because people are more important than things. More important than sleep, more important than money, more important than anything else..."

I smiled to myself as I opened my apartment door because my Grandma used to say "people are more important than things" even when one of us grandkids would break something she loved.. (and ps I still miss her like crazy) But, she said that so many times.. My parents have said it more times than I can remember. And, the reality is it's true, I would give up anything I could for those I love.. My dad always says the TRUE meaning of life is Relationships.. and it's true, your relationship with God and your relationship with others.. that's all there is.

Sometimes I know I push myself too far, I give more money then I can afford, I give up more sleep than is good for me, I give up more time than I have, I give up things I might need.. I stress about how to help others..

I want my friends and family to know I love them, that I go to great lengths to show them that love in a way that means something to them personally, that I am serving them in a way that means something special to them .. and I hope I am doing that to at least some degree. I want those I encounter to know they are important to me. Even if it's a small encounter.

and ps.. I'm so tired today, but it was worth the laughs and the time spent :)

Nov 4, 2008

Create in Me a Clean Heart

I'm not sure why, but this song came out of nowhere and suddenly I heard it over
and over in my head today.. My mom and dad used to sing it all the time around
the house when I was growing up.. Not to mention we had these Cassette tapes
and later Cd's :)

"Create in me a Clean Heart, Oh God, And Renew a Right Spirit within me.
Create in me a Clean Heart, Oh God, And Renew a Right Spirit within me.

Cast me not away from Thy Presence, Oh Lord.
And Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the Joy of Thy Salvation,
And Renew a Right Spirit within me." - Keith Green


"Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me." -Psalm 51:10

Oct 27, 2008

God Time

Do you ever just have those days where you are just frustrated and annoyed?.. It seems like today there are so many little things that have built up all of a sudden that I am just annoyed. I have been working really hard all day to not let those feelings rule my day or interactions with others... I know attitude is a choice and it can affect others, but for whatever reason today it is an incredibly hard choice to choose to have a good attitude.

I prayed the entire way into work today.. which has actually become quite a relaxing centering thing for me in the mornings. I have found that more often than not the radio agitates me in the mornings and I just need quiet time.. and since my wonderful new car is super quiet it offers a wonderful place for me to have it. :) I have also found that my 45min-hour drive is therapeutic because of my time with God lol My time with him isn't very structured (he clearly knows what does and doesn't work for my thought pattern lol). Often times I just go over the things that are on my heart.. I think about them, pray about them, complain about them, and ultimately (if it's a good day) give it up to him. I feel like I fight with him a lot more, but at the same time I feel like things "get done" faster now that I am doing this virtually every day.. Just like in any other relationship, even if you find yourself fighting more.. things are better than not talking at all or very seldom. It is a weird feeling when you feel like you have just had a 45 minute conversation with your sweet savior several days/weeks in a row...

One of the biggest things I have noticed is the "feeling" my heart has now. I can literally FEEL the weight of issues, but, I also can feel them scraped away when I give it up... it's odd. I can FEEL my heart joyful, like it has extra pep in its pump lol (or whatever I'm feeling has extra pep lol) It is like I am more in tune with the "fine tunings and noises" of my heart.. which is good, but on bad days can feel suffocating.

It's the weirdest thing too when some days I have SO MUCH to say to God, whether it is good or bad.. or I just need him to hear my plea.. or complaint.. or proposition for him (which still makes me laugh cause it's like the millions of times I have come up with hair-brained propositions for my dad and he just laughs at them). But, then there are other days when my heart is heavy, and I just have no words.. so I sit in silence and allow my mind to go numb and just drive..

Currently I feel like the main issue is patience.. Which is lame cause I thought God and I had dealt with this topic several years ago :) But.. nonetheless here we are again, only this time it is almost painful to have patience.. one of those things that you KNOW without a doubt is the better option, much more healthy, much more freeing, and yet you still want to fight it.. for no legitimate reason but to not HAVE to wait... lame.

Ultimately I will wait on my Sweet Savior.. but ironically he has to help me do that cause I can't even do THAT on my own strength... lame.

Oct 24, 2008

Friends

It never ceases to amaze me how much friends are God's fingerprints in our life. I am always blown away by how every time I'm struggling God always sends friends to be there to cheer me up, listen to me vent, they don't try to justify or correct.. but just let me get it all out, then lovingly remind me of things I know but have forgotten, or tell me things they've seen and observed, and given me their opinions without it being aggravatingly the same as all the other answers from people.. They push me towards God, encourage me when I'm trying to be in God's face about anything and everything I'm excited about, frustrated about, scared about, aggravated about, worried about.. anything.

And, the other thing that amazes me about it all is the depth you can have with people you never expected to have.. Like one of my friends, we've joked and laughed about how odd it is that we are best friends now... We both had the same view of each other when we met, and neither of us thought we'd be able to be friends.. But, true to God's humor it turns out we are so similar that it allows us to know exactly how to react, respond, love, encourage, and listen to each other.. Then there is the friends I've made here in VA.. I never would have expected to be so close to a couple people so fast.. I can just see God being like "oh my, this child need help..." It's different because there are little things that I'm not comfortable with yet (like hugging as much as I'd like to).. but that will come with time :)

Lord, thank you for being faithful. Thank you for filling my heart with you, and speaking to me with an audible voice through my friends. Thank you for comforting my troubled heart when I come to you. Thank you for letting me feel your presence every day. I truly want you to be my everything, but I don't know how... so please help me to know what that means.

Oct 23, 2008

My Turn

Do you ever just wonder when it will be your turn to experience something? Especially when virtually everyone you know has gotten to? That's kinda how I feel at the moment... I know "this too shall pass," but right now I can't help but have the same feelings of when is it my turn? And, on top of that there are all the feelings that follow that.

Here's what I know.. God has my plan already, and he's leading it. Not one time have I ever looked back and wondered "WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING?!" when I have seen God's path on the other side. I know he loves me, and I know I'm learning.

But, then there's the other side that's completely filled with doubts... I've realized recently that those all have to go back to God, and I pray about it EVERY SINGLE DAY.. but they are still there.. varying degrees every day. Some days I feel like they've disappeared completely and I can conquer the world. Then there are days I feel the weight on me and want to just hide and cry.

Insecurities are a weird thing, because no one else seems to completely get it. You can explain what they are.. even why they are there, and their responses tend to be shallow or they try to tell you how stupid you are for feeling that way (as if telling someone they are stupid ever has helped before).

I know I have Hope because of Jesus.. but I'm finding it to be getting progressively more challenging to find hope in the "desires of my heart".. I feel like that whole definition of insanity of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Lameness.

Lord give me strength to find you. Guard my heart cause I clearly have no concept of what that means. Help me to see myself as you made me, and not in the manner that I do. Help me to glorify you and love you the way I should. Help my heart and my head to feel you and see you. If things aren't supposed to happen then I need you to take away the feelings and desires cause it's killing my heart.

I love you Lord.

Oct 20, 2008

Desert Song

I feel like this song was written from the center of my heart.. First off it's beautiful, but also it's so vivid to me.. I feel as though I can truly feel what's being said. Also, the singer with the gray shirt on wrote/ sang this song after she lost her 1 day old baby because he was born 2 1/2 months early.. Her testimony with this song is amazing..

Beautiful.

Oct 13, 2008

Africa for Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving I have the chance to love people for Jesus in a practical way in a place far away. I love when I have opportunities to serve Jesus in unique ways, and I often seek out various methods in which I can express with my actions the love and gratitude I feel towards Jesus. This Thanksgiving I have the chance to go to Ghana Africa to serve on a short term Medical mission trip!

I know that there are things that can be done to serve Jesus here locally, and because of that I regularly participate in my local church, and serve in our community. Serving locally is one of the main reasons I chose to work at Patrick Henry; however, on occasion God provides the amazing opportunity to serve Him overseas.

This Thanksgiving holiday, from November 21 – 28, 2008, I am excited to be working in Ghana, Africa with W.M. Lord Led Missions. Our small team will be helping to plant churches in tribal villages, providing free medical assistance to nationals (the last trip cared for over 300 children and had 1,000 left in line when they ran out of supplies!), planning the addition of a desperately-needed Christian orphanage, and serving in any other area needed.

This trip clearly is a last minute whirlwind of planning and preparation, which is why I desperately need your help both in prayer and financially!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6 Please pray faithfully for physical and spiritual safety, as well as stamina for the packed week of work; for health and healing of those in Ghana; and for lives to be eternally changed.

I need to raise $2,000 for myself, while the team needs a total of $8,000 by November 15th! Please consider supporting us financially with whatever you can contribute for this mission. Please address checks to WM Lord Led Missions and note that all donations are tax-deductible.

Thank you in advance for your partnership in prayer and support of this ministry. It is truly a blessing to go to experience missions such as these, to share the message that has consumed my life, and to watch as the Holy Spirit use the same truth to radically change the people of Ghana for eternity.

"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."- John 17:25-26

Blessings,

Krista

Oct 8, 2008

The Color of Christ

So, I went to a new small group last night (I'm not forsaking my other one.. but a friend talked me into also trying this one since I had no plans for the night). We used Audio Books and listened to a part of Orthodoxy by Chesterton. We would listen for a bit, pause it and discuss, re-listen or ask questions. It was great lots of fun, very interesting conversation.. but the thing that stuck out the most to me was right near the beginning when Chesterton was talking about how Christianity unlike any other religion or way of life offers creativity, imagination, adventure etc..etc.. We talked about that and what we thought that looked like or how that played a role in our lives.. Which was a great discussion all unto it's own.. but near the end of the evening the question was asked how does this affect our walk with Christ (or if it does at all) and at what point does the "rubber hit the road"... I of course had a lot to say about that, and was asked to elaborate... but I've been thinking about it all day and thought I'd share :)

I think the point at which the rubber hits the road is different for everyone.. and it's meant to be that way. For example, I've made it abundantly clear that my passion, my purpose, everything I work towards (or try) in some way shows God's Love to others.. but that's CEARLY not the call someone else feels in their life. We were asked how we feel the book has "changed" our view of Christianity, and I said I wasn't sure it changed it so much as just reinforced it or added color to it... And that seemed to baffle the group of guys I was talking with cause they all asked for me to elaborate.. So, here's my visual representation...

When you see the picture below it's nice...















But it's nothing compared to seeing the exact same picture in color....















When you see it in color after seeing it in black and white your only real reaction is.. "wow"

So, my hope is that you find something that puts more color in your walk with Christ this week.

Oct 5, 2008

My Life's Call

Ok, so after some conversations I've decided I need to make perfectly clear (once again) what I know to be my life's call.

I will love people for Jesus. I will live my life in a manner that will be pleasing in his sight.. whether anyone else is watching or not. So, with that being said let me make some things CRYSTAL CLEAR.

I don't care about politics. Did you catch that? I do not care about politics. I don't care about which candidate will raise or lower taxes, I don't care which one has a better plan for pulling out of Iraq, I don't care that one has an uncontrollable pastor, and the other has an inexperienced VP choice... The only thing I do in fact care about? Abortion. That alone makes me vote this November, everything else is trivial.

So, here is why I feel I need to explain this: I don't care about politics (again in case you missed it). My voice cannot be heard through politics, oh sure the idea is great and there is one guy there representing me and a few thousand other people.. but really my voice isn't being heard. I can't call anyone in politics that has any real power and get them to take my call, they won't respond to my e-mails, and they won't set a meeting up with me to hear what's important to me. So, in reality my voice isn't being heard, it's being heard in mass (like when everyone "floods the gates of Heaven" and all prays at once.. you hear the mass, not the individual).

So, if that is the case, then why would I care to make my stance there? Why would I choose that as my outlet to make a difference for Jesus?.. It's pointless, especially since I don't care enough to understand it.. kinda like Chemistry. I don't get it, but I'm glad someone is there getting it and working at it.

If I can't make a difference in the souls of anyone.. much less millions, why in the world.. or for the sake of eternity would I choose to waste my effort there? Why would I sit here and debate over which party has a better "plan" cause lets be honest.. they can want to do all kinds of wonderful things, half of which will be compromised like everyone else before them.. and either way.. NONE OF IT SAVES ANOTHER SOUL FOR JESUS. How can I live my life of "one more for Jesus" or "Love people for Jesus" or "Live in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord" if I choose my way of doing that in a way that fires people up, gets them mad at each other or causes bitterness?... and that's on the person to person level! Where's the love there? What is the point?

The point? mmmm that's a good question.. Let me make something else clear to you... McCain, Obama, Biden, Palin.. none of them will "save" our country. The economy always takes a low after a while.. it will come back. But, again none of them will "save us"... The Bible clearly states that times will continue to get worse (did you catch that?.. continue to get worse).. So much so that blood will flow in the streets.. Granted I don't know if that's here or in the Middle East, but since I haven't seen any blood FLOWING in the streets then I am left to assume that it will only continue to get worse... which means it won't get better.. which means that my job isn't done.

November 4th is another day just like every other.. I get another opportunity to love people for Jesus, to show his love, to show his joy, and to show his caring nature. Why would I put my hope in Obama or McCain to give me hope of things getting better?.. That's stupid. I don't wake up every morning putting my hope on November 4th.. I don't wake up every morning putting my hope for January.. I don't wake up every morning with hope for getting married some day.. I don't wake up every morning hoping that I will have children some day..

I wake up every morning with hope that I will be closer with God than I was yesterday, and that I will live my life to please him, that I will love and show my love to anyone and everyone I come in contact with. THAT is what keeps my heart going every morning.

So, think about it, things WILL get worse no matter who is elected. Your "voice" is not being heard, and why would you choose to show Jesus to people through politics when it clearly isn't anything that has brought people to their knees crying out to Jesus?

And to be clear.. I will vote for McCain November 4th because he is against Abortion which is murder, but I am voting not because I feel I will make a difference or because I want to have hope for tomorrow but because I understand that everyone SHOULD vote.. So in the midst of this all I choose not to debate over it cause I won't change my mind and you won't change yours.. so why argue??

I choose love. Not sappy love, but true, raw, real, explosive, energetic Love.. Agape.