Tuesday, June 30, 2015

unordinary

A quote I read on my friend's blog says this: "The actions that will change your life the most are the boring, mundane, repetitive ones that you do everyday."

At first I definitely disagreed but as I re-read this quote again and again it began to make me think. Some things that people do everyday that make them the way they are, are so often overlooked. The way people get ready for school or work in the morning does make a difference. Just the way they treat themselves,spending time looking in the mirror or painting on makeup. The clothes they choose do make a statement about who they are and what type of group they want to belong too. The small talk they have with their co-workers and aquaintannces or the lack of laughter and love shared. The phone calls or lack of phone calls to family to tell them how much they love them. The music that is listened too while getting dresses or traveling or going to work. The good morning Jesus surrender prayer or the stress that comes with the daily morning grind. The time spent checking Facebook, watching their favorite show, or texting their friends. Their good night rituals-- these things slowly and surely make up hours of the day. This waiting, this mundane, these repetitive actions---

Slowly but surely they make up a person's reputation- after all isn't the mundane the only part most people who meet you will ever get to see?

Yet sometimes we are urged to define our lives by the unordinary- the extraordinary- the amazingly rare and beautiful, daring and brave moments. Sometimes we live for those moments. The summer concerts under the stars, the dancing with the guy or girl we like, the mission trip to Africa or Mexico, the vacation to Jamaica, the chance to go sky diving, or live through an earthquake.  These extraordinary moments make life spontaneously glorious.

How do we make the ordinary and the extraordinary clash into one beautiful piece of art? We let Jesus fan our fire until we are all consumingly His and a life with Christ is far short of ordinary.







Monday, June 29, 2015

Seen

To be known is to be loved. To be loved, is to be known, to be seen, to be understood- don't we all want that?

Dear 15 year old girl,

I see you. Even though you feel invisible and lonely; I think you are beautiful, smart, and talented. You tell me your cabin mates don't like you but I know that if you would just smile a little more and say hi, you would make so many new friends. You are a gem in a treasure chest.

I see you. I see through your short black dress with little leggings and mascara. I see the look on your face for longing. Longing for friendship, longing for intimacy, longing for acceptance. You are loved- if only you could accept that love.

I see you. I know you are overweight and insecure, trying to hide behind baggy t-shirts and to avoid any kind of athletic activity for fear of failing. I want to tell you that you are more than your outward appearance. You are worth fighting for. When you laugh, you make all your cabin smile. You are wonderfully and uniquely you.

I see you. The girl who does the right things, the one who is always volunteering and helping others. I see your love for Jesus and when you go up front to the pastor's call in front of all your friends. I see the way you are making a difference and changing lives already.

I see you. You are so skinny and you have beautiful hair but you spend an hour fixing it every day and coating your face just before your pool activities. I watch you glancing at the guys with longing. I see the need in your heart to be filled.

I see you and I care about you. I want to help you. I want you to realize that you are golden. You are something special. You are worth it. If only hugs, ice cream, and stickers could solve the wounds and scars on your hearts.

But I can't fix your problems. I can show you I care, and most importantly I can introduce you to the one who loves you.

To the one who knows each scar on your body
To the one who understands each thing that makes you smile
To the one who knows what kind of family you come from
To the one who sees the way everybody else treats you
To the one who knows you better than you know yourself
To the one who loves you crazily; Who is obsessed about you; Who calls you by your real name; Who wants to kiss you goodnight

This man is the one I want to tell you about. He knows, He sees, and He loves.
Will you listen?

Fighting in the army

"I'm no longer captured. I will fight. Left right left right I'm a soldier in the army of Christ. I'll fight; I'll fight for the rest of my life."  Will you really dear child? Are you fighting?At our summer camp we were blessed to have this young band come out and play for our tween week. Their name is Contagious Faith; check them out. The lyrics have really made me think.


Sometimes I feel like I am not strong enough to be a soldier. I feel so lonely and so spiritually weak to be leading people to Jesus. I don't feel qualified, capable, or ready to be "Spiritual Director" the title so easily deemed on me this summer. Only by God's grace, can I ever show His love and do a good job.

We had this open question and answer mic time with the tween campers and they asked me a few questions about my personal life and my walk with God. They asked me when I really got to know Christ and if I really read my Bible every day. I took the opportunity to be blatantly honest with them and tell them that my spiritual life is a fight-it's a battle that's not easy. I told them that I love walking with God but their are times when I don't feel Him near. I told them that it wasn't something easy and sometimes it seemed like I was just putting one foot in front of another. We talked about the fact that life is a battle between God and the Devil and sometimes it will be so hard; but the struggle will always be worth it.

We talked about personal choices and boundaries in relationships, movies, and music. Sometimes I want to give things up. It gets tempting to take control of your own life when thinks aren't going the way you hope. I think this song just really encourages me because it reminds me that I'm not the only one fighting. That all around the world, there are young people, just like me who are choosing to live a life worthy of a higher calling and that are making sacrifices for the life changing man named Jesus Christ. And when I remember that there is an army of youth; and our time is now; I am encouraged that I want to fight.

Even if it only be one step in front of the other- making it through each day one kind word at a time. I choose to fight the battle for Christ and do what I can to help others' join His side. And one day the victory shall be ours and heaven shall be a joyous celebration indeed.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Look Up

My summer camp job this year is spiritual director which is a great opportunity but it also means a lot of time in the office. Sometimes this makes me frustrated, because I love being outside with the kids at camp, down at the lake driving the boat, or playing sports with them. One of the things I am grateful for this summer is that I get to teach some of the smaller kids who live here at this camp how to swim. I teach a seven, eight, and nine year old boy and they are so precious.

One of the boys named Tony was so afraid of the water before he started swimming lessons with me. About two days ago he swam a few feet to the side and excitedly cried out "I swum I swum!" I was so proud of him! Sometimes, though Tony may get afraid in the water and feel like he is drowning. As soon as I see that he is struggling, I swim to get him and tell them "Keep your eyes on me."

If Tony keeps looking at me, he will automatically be treading water, just like I taught him to do and the treading water will last until I can swim all the way over to him so that he won't drown. However if he forgets to look at me or looks at the water below him because of fear, he will start to sink.

I think there is a great lesson in this story. You see, often we seem to feel like we are drowning. We think to ourselves "We can't do this" even though our heavenly Father knows that we can. Situations, waves, fears, insecurities cloud our mind and we cry out to God "Help me please; Save me".

Our heavenly Father always hears our prayers and I do believe that He always rescues. But sometimes he asks us to tread water for a little bit.

If we will listen to him in the storms or in our doubts as he cries "Look at me; Focus on me. Focus on me despite that death. Pray about it instead of worrying. Trust me with your financial situation." If we will hear his calm voice and we will obey keeping our eyes on heavenly things and not on this falling world, we too will swim even when we feel as if we are sinking. And surely, maybe slowly to our impatient perspectives, but certainly, Christ himself will jump into the water and rescue our souls.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Friday, June 19, 2015

There's a light at the end of this tunnel

"The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves..." Zephaniah 3:17

The other night I was feeling pretty confused and sad. I questioned God and asked Him What he was doing? I stubbornly told Him that I needed "to know answers now". As I walked outside I realized that the sky was flooded with beautiful stars. I don't know about you, but stars are like twinkling lollipops that just call out my name. So I laid down and chilled for a bit, then I found a good friend and we shared some thoughts. Finally I began to walk back to my room- with more peace in my heart. Just in the corner of my eye, I saw a special sign- a shooting star flying right by. I praised God and was immediately reminded that Jesus provides; that He saves; that He loves; and that night when we need it the most, Jesus will always come through for us.

I have seen Jesus provide for me in many ways. When I was once very sick in Peru, he healed me. When I didn't have the words to speak to staff or a child in need, He gave them to me. When I suffered through not feeling God at all, he provided friends who led me to Him. I am reminded that my Father has ALWAYS taken care of me and that I have no reason to doubt His plans for my life.

Even though it sometimes seems like I am lost in a tunnel and I have no direction. I know deep inside my heart that I would rather be in a tunnel with the Lord of Light then in a hole with the deceiving Devil. I know that although God's ways are sometimes hard right now, that He will prove faithful. I know that God has his hand on my life (and I know that if you have surrendered to Him he has His hand on yours too). 

If you feel like you are in a tunnel, remember that Jesus is the light and that He will help you find the way out. Here's some lyrics to the song by Third Day.

"Well I won't pretend to know what you're thinking
And I can't begin to know what you're going through
And I won't deny the pain that you're feeling
But I'm gonna try and give a little hope to you
Just remember what I told you
There's so much your living for

There's a light at the end of this tunnel
There's a light at the end of this tunnel for you
For you
There's a light at the end of this tunnel
Shining bright at the end of this tunnel for you
For you
So keep holding on

You got your disappointments and sorrows
You ought to share the weight of that load with me
Then you will find that the light of tomorrow
Well it brings new life for your eyes to see
So remember what I told you
There's so much your living for

There's a light at the end of this tunnel
There's a light at the end of this tunnel for you
For you
There's a light at the end of this tunnel
Shining bright at the end of this tunnel for you
For you
So keep holding on
Keep holding on

So remember what I told you
There's so much your living for

There's a light at the end of this tunnel
There's a light at the end of this tunnel for you
For you yeah
There's a light at the end of this tunnel
Shinging bright at the end of this tunnel for you
For you yeah
There's a light at the end of this tunnel ooh
For you, for you yeah
Shinging bright at the end of this tunnel
For you, for you
So keep holding on
Keep holding on
Keep holding on now

You got your disappointments and sorrows
I'm gonna try and give a little hope to you"

I know that Jesus will provide and that He will bring you light =)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

What do you want from me?

What do you want from me God
What do you want from me
Would you tell me yes or no
Which way you want me to go
What do you want me God
Oh what do you want from me

All I want from you
Is for you to wait on me
For you to practice patience
And wait patiently

I'll tell you yes and no
And I'll tell you by my hand
One step at a time my child
I'll show you the "I am"

What do you want from me God
What do you want from me?
I'm sick from worry
I'm down on my knees
Which way will I go?
And who I will be?
If only you could show me a sign or a dream
What do you want from me?

I know the answers child
And I have the perfect plan
If only you would trust
That I'm who I say I am
If you would listen closely
And follow day by day
Slowly I will show you
And you will know the way

-That's all I want from you, to obey.


The Story

"This is not a story full of action or tears... it is perhaps one of the most well known stories of all times....This is a story of how lives were changed. A story that still affects the way we live today. A story that changed my life. A story that I know, if you understand, will forever change yours. Welcome to "The Story".
For months my friend and I have been working on writing this story. I have never got to work on a script so long and so powerful before. I have seen this story in the very beginning, when it was just a bright idea and now I'm seeing this story in the eyes of an angel. I get to be the narrator- angel of the story and lead campers to experience Jesus in a new way.
Sometimes it's easy to read John 3:16 and not embrace what Jesus' death really means to me. Playing in this story is so special because I get to be a part of what Jesus has done. At the end of the play, I see campers' crying and kids ask if it's real and if it's true. If a guy named Jesus really did die for them. And I get to tell them, that it's true Jesus died because of them.

This story is what summer camp is all about. This story is what my life is all about.



Monday, June 8, 2015

Gratitude


Ever since my friend Rachel posted the words to the song Gratitude by Nichole Nordeman, this song has become my heart cry each and every day. The words just really speak to me. I love that it's surrendering our selfishness, our desires, our dreams and hopes and just truly saying to God "I'm going to praise you. I'm going to thank you no matter what."

Whatever you are needing, whatever you are begging God for: whether it be a friend, boyfriend, a job, wisdom, an answer to prayer, or healing, do you have the faith to thank God right now? Do you trust Him enough to give that thing up and thank Him for being enough for you?

If God says no. Is that ok with you?
Do you trust that He'll provide for you in other ways?

Will we give thanks to God for our challenges? For our struggles, for being made fun of, for being hated, because we believe that persecution teaches us endurance? Will we praise God for the hard parts of our life that keep us at night, the ways we have been wounded?

At summer camp, will we thank God for the annoying camper that asks too many questions, for the hyper girl, for the child that goes to the nurse every single hour? Will we thank God for the opportunity to love, for the opportunity to smile, for the opportunity to be a kid again? Will we praise God because we have the opportunity to change lives?

God change my attitude. Change my heart when I am selfish. Change my heart when I am tired and lazy. Help me to always praise you. May the campers and other staff always see Jesus in me. Thank you Lord.