Monday, December 14, 2009


Hebrews 5:8-9 "Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect..."

This is the second time now, in Hebrews, I've come across this idea of sanctification through suffering. It first came in Hebrews 2:10 (11-18), "For it was fitting that he [God] ... should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering." Even Jesus had to be made perfect through suffering. How much more do we have to suffer to be made perfect?! If we are to be like Jesus, then we must suffer. I guess this is what Paul understood and meant when he said, "that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead" (Philippians 3:10-11). "That by any means possible" - wow, Paul was willing to do ANYTHING to attain resurrection from the dead!

I wish I had the same attitude. That would definitely make suffering more endurable, or I would look at it completely different - as gain, like Paul did, and not as loss, like I do.

And he explains in other verses, such as Philippians 1:29, "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake" and again in Philippians 3:8, "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ." In Philippians 1:29, Paul makes it sound like suffering for Christ is a gift counted along with faith. Incredible, suffering a gift! And in Philippians 3:7-11, Paul goes so far as to say that his gain - what he had not suffered - he thought of as loss. He willingly suffered the loss of things so that he could have Christ, only Christ. He gave up everything in which he could take pride! This really strikes a cord in me. I do not want to give up good things just to suffer. I want to hold tightly to the good I have - I do as if it were my life. But Oh to have Paul's and Jesus' humility and surrender, to let go of all I hold dear to free my hands to take hold of Christ, to let go of whatever good I perceive to take hold of the only thing I know to be truly good at all times - Jesus. He is always good, and though I may suffer the loss of many things, at least I can be sure that I would not suffer the loss of the most precious thing - Jesus.

There is so much more about suffering about which I could write. Like 1 Peter, that I recently read - the entire letter is about suffering and hope in the midst of suffering, or Jesus' own words on suffering, such as in Matthew 10:16-33. I have only scratched the surface.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A story of a girl continued

For the beginning of this story, see Friday, December 4, 2009.

So distracted by her thoughts she has forgotten about the bright figure. Yes, no, yes, no - she is toiling within.
And just as she begins to lose hope, giving in to her value for comfort, she is gently startled out of her warring thoughts. A soothing voice breaks the silence, so beautiful, like she's never heard, echoed by a glorious host...

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you [He slowly moves towards her.]
And the waves, will not overcome you
[His eyes filled with great compassion.] Do not fear, for I have redeemed you
I have called you by name, [He gently cups her face...] you are Mine

For I am the Lord your God (I am the Lord your God)

I am the Lord your God

(I am) the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

For I am the Lord your God (I am the Lord your God)

I am the Lord your God

(I am) the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

I am the Lord (do not fear)

I am the Lord (do not fear)

I am the Lord (do not fear)

I am the Lord (do not fear)

When you pass through the fire, you'll not be burned

And the flames will not consume you

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you

I have called you by name, you are Mine

For I am the Lord your God (I am the Lord your God)

I am the Lord your God

(I am) the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

For I am the Lord your God (I am the Lord your God)

I am the Lord your God

(I am) the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

I am the Lord (do not fear)

I am the Lord (do not fear)

I am the Lord (do not fear)

I am the Lord (do not fear)

" But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life." (Isaiah 43:1-4, ESV)

Friday, December 4, 2009

A story of a girl

The disfigured, disgusting fingers wrap tightly around her arm. She's pulled along unwillingly and alone, then thrown into a cave! It's dark and she can hear the sound of water dripping slowly from the roof of the cave, splattering on the cave floor. The hands have let go only to grasp shackles bound by chains. They're thrown and come flying in the air, whirring as they move. ::Clink, clink:: They find their way to the little girl's wrists, fitting snug, first the right, then the left. Yanking her down, the chains fasten themselves to the cave floor, one is called Guilt, the other, Obligation. Bondage begins. A sinister laugh comes from the dark figure with the gangly hands, covered with filth and grime. A smile of pleasure is highlighted by the last light of day as the creature moves away...

The days creep by like years, and a year seems like a day. Time has been lost in the monotonous driving by the chains. She grows and grows, taking the form of a young woman, but the shackles still bind her wrists. They that once fit snugly have become small, cutting into the skin growing up around them. Many times she struggled against them, trying to wriggle loose. But all that came was pain and blood as the cold, hard metal dug into her writhing wrists. She learned to stop fighting the chains that bound her. Giving in to the driving force, she worked. Hope was lost, conformity set in. Her work has become so streamlined and almost effortless, but still, driven by her chains. Yet, it has become comfortable to her, after years of this kind of life. She has forgotten what it was like to work because she loved. Love.....maybe is was a faint memory of some reality gone forever. She lets the thought slip away as not to disturb her "peace".

A lighted figure appears, almost blinding her. So glorious and radiant, her heart leaps at the sight of him. Somehow she knows he is good and that he can remove her shackles and free her from bondage.

But she's afraid. Having grown up with these shackles, she feels they are a part of her. Her skin so accustomed to having them, it would tear and rip and bleed at their removal. She doesn't want to feel that pain; she doesn't want to face that reality.

But freedom awaits her soon after the pain of removal, why would she say no?
She knows that healing would come and her wrists would be restored...

...but it will hurt too much, she doesn't think she can bear it.

Love.....she could work because of love again! Her heart leaps at the thought. She'll do it, she'll say yes.

But oh, it will hurt, and she hasn't been out of the cave since she was a girl. What if...? What if...? What if...? She struggles within herself, wanting to be free, but scared of the unknown that would come. She feels so alone...

He awaits her decision...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My current (and long-standing) battle

"There is a price to pay, but there will be a greater price if we continue to drift."
(Wiersbe, Warren W.: Prayer : Basic Training. Wheaton, IL : Tyndale, 1988)

God, I confess my non-desire to pay that initial price. There are so many mornings like this one that I don't even think to stop and sit with you. I just want to start working and start checking off tasks. It is a struggle sometimes to even hesitate my mind in order to think of prayer. There is a great need for prayer and one of my deepest desires is to meet that need. Everyday I wish I could spend hours praying so that everyday I could pray for every one of my friends and loved ones. But there is a cost for prayer and it is sacrifice and discipline. And it is this sacrifice of time, God, that I so often don't want to make, so much so that my desire does not even evoke a thought about it. There are days when I don't think of it, and even fewer that I act on it, but the good news is, days of action are increasing in number. But I am not satisfied God, either that or I am not allowing myself grace. But if there is one thing Lord that deserves the smallest extension of grace in times of failure, it is the occurence of prayer. This is such a strong desire in me that it builds up when I don't pray until my heart is so heavy I am pulled to my knees to pray. It is the greatest thing in the world to STOP.....and pray - earnestly, fervently, relentlessly, warring on behalf of loved ones and strangers and by faith extending the reaches of the Kingdom - for we know that you work when we pray and our prayers will not be fruitless.

But Lord, I am not statisfied with my lack of action to prayer. I want to and pray that I would do this of my own choice and out of my deep desire and passion; I pray that my passion and desire would drive me to my knees so that never again will the weight of unprayed prayers be the thing that drives me there. EVERYDAY God, may I first sit at the foot of your throne and beg and plead for the lives and souls of my loved ones and those that do not know you. EVERYDAY may I traverse the earth with you in prayer, fighting with the angels on behalf of my loved ones that are so weak and beaten down they cannot fight off the evil and sin that is holding them hostage. And may I just sit with you, silent, in the comfort and protection of your mighty Daddy arms, more full of love than I will ever know or be able to comprehend. And may it be there Lord, that I find the strength to make it through the day. May it be there Lord that I am filled so that I might not run to what the world has to offer me to try to satisfy my soul. And there Lord may I always be reminded of my first love and husband, and of my single devotion to him, Jesus. May my sights be always agaze on him that I may live every moment as one who is unconditionally and passionately loved, NEVER forgetting that I am loved. Amen.

Hmmm. That was a prayer I wrote three months ago. I wish I could say that after that I was disciplined in taking set aside time to war on my knees for those that I love - I confess that I have not. But every word of that prayer still rings true in my heart and I desire it as much now as I did then. The thing I cannot understand is how I can have so much passion and desire for something, yet not have it show in my everyday life. Where is the disconnect? Where is the passion restrained so that everyday I do not get on my knees to pray? It may be likely that it is the same thing that seems to always get in the way of what I deeply desire - namely, my mindset that I must perform and work for my worth and acceptance. At the end of the day, if I didn't get much done, I feel horrible, like I am horrible. So as the end of the day draws near and I reflect on all that I wanted/needed to do yet is not finished, I push aside what is much more important to me so that I can try to accomplish more so that I feel of worth. *sigh* Does anyone else feel this way?

" O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?" (Galatians 3:1-6, ESV)

" For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all," (Romans 4:13-16, ESV)

" Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1, ESV)

It often think about these truths in response to this mindset of mine. The last verse, Romans 5:1, is maybe what I need to remember most - I am justified because of my faith, not my works, and have peace with God. I'm not sure where in the 12 or so inches from my brain to my heart exists the disconnect. My head knows these truths very well, but as is obvious from my constant working, I have yet to let these truths sink into my heart and believe them wholeheartedly.

Why do I constantly feel that I have to work for God?
I wish I could just work with Him.
Do I feel that I do not "have peace with God?"
I can't say that I particularly feel at war with Him.
Have I not accepted and/or do I not believe the Gospel?
It seems that maybe I have accepted it intellectually, but not yet believed it with my heart to the point of shedding this performance mindset.

How clear to me is my desperate need for the Gospel every day. Oh that I would accept Jesus' abundant grace and stop working, that I could eliminate this fear by working with God, dependent on His work for outcomes, not working for God, depending on my actions for outcome - that would make developing my team of ministry partners so much more pleasant and so much less stressful.

Yet I praise God anyway, because I know he is working in me. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I LoVe studying the Bible

I am very slowly studying Philippians. This morning I finally got around to considering the letter's importance in God's plan to create a community of redeemed people for his glory through Jesus Christ. I'll share my answer in a second, but about what I most get excited is the thoughts that come out onto the page! I think and hope they have been produced and guided by the Spirit, because I certainly can not come up with something that good on my own. Maybe because it's related to God's plan for redemption, but I get SOOO excited when I read it, it gives me such vision for life. Here's my little summary:
Paul periodically points his readers to "the day of Christ" - the completion of the good work began, recognition of the lordship of Jesus, the fate of destruction for enemies of the cross, and the hope of transformation for their bodies - keeping them focused on the goal. He begins the letter by telling them that God has begun a good work in them and it will be completed in the day of Christ. The rest of the letter encourages the readers to press on and "work out" their salvation until God completes the good work begun. He encourages them by mention of the many benefits they have, as Christians, in the current era/kingdom (Proclaimed Kingdom) - the help of the Spirit, their citizenship in heaven, the exaltation of Christ's name, the peace of God that is available now. In light of these benefits he challenges them to press on and work out their salvation, awaiting the Savior, Jesus. Paul summarizes these things in Philippians 3:13-16.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Moving and looking forward

If I were to be completely honest with you, I would say that October has been a month of polar opposites—appointments and no appointments, fun and heartache, freedom and worries. I know all of life is like that, but October has been to the extremes. Thank you for praying for safe travels to and from my conference. It was a great trip—very encouraging for the MPD and personal finance areas of my life. It was also great to see some friends from New Staff Training—I miss them a lot, but the phone helps some. However, home life seems to have been unraveling—my grandma is having physical health issues and it has stirred up things that were already difficult for me. Finally, I have made it home to do MPD. It is SO wonderful to once again be a regular attendee in my home church, to see my Family every week and to be encouraged by them. One family in particular are an incredible blessing, as they are housing me and making me a part of their family. :) On the flip side, being in such frequent contact with my family has intensified some of the personal difficulties I’ve been having. In summary, I praise God for moving me forward in the MPD process, but it has come with many personal difficulties, which have been almost impossible to separate from negatively affecting my MPD efforts.

So as I dream about future ministry, one particular group of students with whom I am most excited to work is athletes. “[A] coach or group sponsor will ask the [SV] staff to be part of the team or group.  The staff has the opportunity to get to know the students, speak into their lives, and most importantly, to share the gospel with them. This is a significant SV strategy, and we have seen evidence of its effectiveness for many years.” This brief explanation from our National Directors is what I have a passion to do. I recently heard a story about Chris McClelland, who is on staff in Cincinnati. Chris has been able to volunteer with the freshman football team. Recently, he was able to share the gospel as part of a pizza party outreach for the team. “I told them about my athletic career in high school and how I always hoped sports would bring me lasting meaning and satisfaction, but it never lasted. I then explained how some friends in college explained to me how a relationship with God through Jesus Christ was the only thing that would satisfy me.  I think the team was shocked that my past success did not satisfy me. They asked lots of questions about my life back then. At the end of my talk I explained how they could begin a relationship with God.  Five of them prayed to receive Christ! Praise God!” Stories like this fire me up and remind me of the passion that drives me forward. I cannot wait for the day when I will be sharing with you a story like that—and it will be to your credit. I sometimes get distracted by the dollar signs, but Paul helps remind me that I do not “seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit” (Philippians 4:17).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The cross was for God first?

"Am I excited about the cross because there God makes much of me, or am I excited about the cross because there I was purchased and freed to enjoy making much of the righteousness and the glory that is vindicated there, for me to see forever and ever? ... It is so liberating because I cease to be the foundation of my salvation. Rather the infinite worth of the righteousness of of God becomes the basis of my salvation. God's unswerving allegiance to uphold and to vindicate his glory for my enjoyment, is the foundation of my salvation. ... When God's exaltation of God in Christ is your joy, when God's exaltation of God in Christ at the cross is your joy, your joy can never fail."

Click here if you want to listen to the whole message and meditate on it yourself. Following is a very poor attempt to regurgitate Piper's message for you in briefer form and some of my reflections.

In this message, John Piper juxtaposes two "mindsets." By "mindset" he means mindset, emotional set, attitude set - a set all inclusive of our selves and our attitudes, which determines the way we view, respond to, and feel about the world - it is an orientation to the world. These two mindsets are the Biblical mindset and the secular mindset. The latter is one that begins with man, measuring all things by humanity, while the former begins with God, measuring everything by God. The one that you employ will determine everything you think and feel about everything, and Piper's message here is specific to the cross of Christ - what is the problem God is trying to solve in the sending and bruising of his son? Piper uses Romans 3 as his text for this message and speaks about God's righteousness.

"This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:25-26

There we see the answer - This was to show God's righteousness. The problem was that his righteousness needed showing, because he had passed over former sins.

Whoa. Take that in for a second. He had passed over former sins. So why is that a problem? God is being kind and that's a problem?

YES. God's righteousness would have gone down the tubes, so to speak, if he had not judged and convicted all of those sins he once "passed over." All would fall apart! By passing over our sin, God would be agreeing with our exchanging the glory of God for other things - the low value of his glory.

So Jesus came and was bruised so that God could glorify himself? Boy, that sounds egotistical, right? Maybe, but Piper argues that God's self exaltation is loving. And here we return to where we started.
When God's exaltation of God in Christ is your joy, when God's exaltation of God in Christ at the cross is your joy, your joy can never fail.

The cross was for God's sake, then ours. And it is for our sake because our joy is (or should be) in the worth and righteousness of God. *sigh* That's still a lot to take in. And the bottom line? It may be evident - it's all about God (the Biblical mindset).

So am I excited about the cross because there God makes much of me, or am I excited about the cross because there God makes much of himself? Oh, how so many view the former - the prideful, self-centered "gospel," and I admit to often being one who has held that view. I am prideful, and God, the past 6 months or so, has been revealing just how prideful and self-centered I am. The problem is that we often reduce the Gospel to a means to pump up our self esteem. Here in America it's all about how much good we feel about ourselves, especially for women, and there are always new confidence boosters and builders to self-esteem. But what's it worth, and more importantly, is it really working? I say no! When we base the cross on us we demean it's power and worth and validity. When we base the cross on us, our need for salvation, we ruin it for ourselves, especially our self-esteem. Because one day when we have a down moment, we realize we are not worthy of such sacrifice, and then it doesn't make sense to us and our self-esteem no longer has a basis. In reality, we have never been and never will be worth that sacrifice! But God's righteousness was worth it and it is to our benefit - to find life and love in God upholding his worth and glory and righteousness. AND THIS IS WHY our joy can NEVER be destroyed because God IS righteous and glorious and ALWAYS worthy. And our identity is in him and from him, and that should be from where we derive our confidence, our "self"-esteem - from God - God-confidence, God-esteem.

I could probably blabber on in circles with my unedited thoughts but I will spare you, hoping that this is plenty about which to ponder. Maybe when it has settled more in my mind and heart I will write further.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MPD follow-up conference

Yesterday I returned from a five day endeavor to Norcross, GA for my MPD (ministry partner development) follow-up conference. The main purposes for this conference was to follow-up the training I received this past summer in Colorado and also provide some stewardship training. Some added benefits included seeing NST (new staff training) friends and reconnecting and deepening those relationships. I think the MPD process groups were my favorite parts of the conference. During these times we got into small groups and discussed our experiences with the MPD process. It was encouraging to hear other encouraging stories and other discouraging stories, as well as sharing my own. The best part, however, was just being able to laugh with others about our experiences. Experiences that, outside this group of comrades, would not be seen as humorous. The evaluation of some of my presentation and MPD process was affirming. Throughout the conference we spent a large amount of time on stewardship training. I added many things to my knowledge of the topic and am excited to pursue some practices that I have not been doing. All in all, the conference was a great time of encouragement and fellowship. I have returned recharged and excited for this next leg of the MPD process!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Picking up where I left off

I was recently inspired to do a video update, and thought it a wonderful idea since it would likely be much quicker than me writing a whole bunch and you reading a whole bunch. So I hope you enjoy the quick video to catch you up on where I am at now.

I know I said I'd put up some pictures of the beach, but I ended up not taking any pictures of the beach that day, sorry. Anyway, I look forward to doing more video updates in the future, as they are kind of exhilarating and fun.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My new book journey

So I've had this book sitting on my bookshelf a couple of months and have wanted to read it since I got it. The rain was falling yesterday afternoon as I was preparing to take Emily to the airport and the gloominess gave me this strong desire to curl up and read a book. I was standing next to my bookshelf and this one book just kept pulling at me, but I walked downstairs to get ready to go. Almost ready to go, my mind returned to the thought that after I dropped her off I could just go somewhere and read for a little bit before returning to life. I thought of the book and couldn't resist running upstairs one more time to get the book, on the off chance that I decided to stop and read

Flash forward a little: I can't find a good place aside from home to read, so I just decide to go home and park it on the living room couches - the most comfy couches in the whole house, and some of the most comfy in which I've ever sat. The living room was not as quiet as I wanted but I trusted that if I were focused enough the TV would not bother me. On the way home the desire to journal had been growing. So I sat down and wrote a little to Jesus, using this book as a sort of writing surface. In the middle of a train of thought I played with the bead on the bookmark I had earlier placed in the book for use once I had read some. All of a sudden my current thoughts were interrupted by an idea. Whether it is from God or not, and whether that even matters, I don't know. I do know that the more I read about this book and what others say about it, I get more and more excited to journey through it. But I know it has the potential to be a hard journey for me and I would love for someone to go with me. My thought was, "I could read this through with someone else," and I got excited at that thought. Then as I read through some of the preliminary stuff, that idea of reading through it with someone else was confirmed. Brian McLaren says of this book, "[it] is a treasure to be read slowly and with your closest friends." The book is titled To Be Told by Dan Allender. My counselor gave it to me at the end of our time together and I'm really excited to read more about some of the principles she said she got from this book. I'll probably take it slowly as I usually need time to process these things (and I'm busy and I don't have a lot of time to read more books - I struggle just to read the ones for class. But this is important enough for me to make time for it in my schedule). I'm hoping it will change my life as I journey through it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Perfect Worship"

Here is a poem I wrote for English class in 12th grade. It's called "Perfect Worship."

Rain or shine you reach for the sky,
growing closer every day.
Your branches spread wide
touching every life with hospitality.

Deep are your roots
in the soil of truth,
drawing nourishment
from the Bread of Life.

Pruned with love,
watered with care,
even more faithful
each passing year.

Oh, how I wish
I could be like thee!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Miscellaneous and application update

Well, that is my first flat tire. It took a flat tire for God to get me to stop and rest a little. Usually it's not that bad, but sometimes he does need to do something drastic like that.

Previously I mentioned that I have a summer job. Well, what I think I have failed to make clear to most people is that I will be moving for the summer in order to work at that job. So tomorrow I pack, move an hour and a half away, and unpack. I hope I can get it all done in one day; and that I don't forget anything too important and have to make another trip.

I went to Islands of Adventure today with the students from my internship. It was lots of fun!

Ok, so now for the more lengthy and more important stuff - the application update. Yesterday I met with a woman on staff to discuss further some things I had written in my application. When I was filling out my application I was very honest (as I thought I should be even though it was unnerving). Some of the things that I mentioned came as red flags to the staff that was processing my application; which I completely understand. So this woman heard of this and wanted to talk face-to-face and get a better feeling of how I am doing with this stuff. It was a good conversation. But I am left more unsure than I was before. I am less confident that this is God's plan, but I don't have any other desires that come close to this one, and I don't know what else I would do if I don't get this job, so.....I still think I'll get it, I'm just not so sure. I completely understand their concerns, and identify/agree with one in particular - one very important one that I had not thought of before. I left with the feeling that I have a 50-50 chance of acceptance. (One thing I really appreciated was the woman's honesty with me, and thus, the reasons I know these things and more.) I don't know what is best and I'm not going to make that decision; I'm going to let someone else make that decision and pray that if this is not God's best for me that he would close the door on this opportunity. Sorry so vague, I just don't have much time to explain more, plus I don't know how much I would want to share, so yeah.... I hope to hear back from them by the end of this week or the middle of next week at the latest. Please pray that God would give these people his supernatural wisdom to know what decision to make. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

: )

This is my backyard...and yes, that is a deer just wandering through
it eating some dinner. Amazing.

Endings and beginnings

Last Friday marked the last day of my internship and May 9th will mark the end of my college career (at least for now). During my internship I actually ended up with the same teacher with whom I was during my first internship. As any internship is, it was a challenging and growing experience. But my favorite part was getting to know the students better. One thing I realized recently is that I would not make a good public school teacher, at least not now. I am too inclined to be a friend and spiritual mentor. Though I never discussed this with my supervising teacher, her final evaluation reflected this conclusion. Along with that realization comes the one that I may never teach. One of my dreams is to return to school and earn a masters degree and a certificate, which would probably lead to a different career. So the fact that I broke all the rules with this internship and that I might never use the professional experience can only lead to one conclusion - God did it. I don't doubt that he wanted me there for a reason. But what is that reason? My guess is what I liked the most - getting to know the students - and what I now hope to do. The end of my internship brought some sadness, but mostly excitement that I can begin a different kind of relationship with the youth that I met and befriended. I can finally be a friend and mentor, crossing boundaries a public school teacher cannot or should not cross. So though my internship is over, a new beginning is taking place - new relations.

Along with the end of my college career comes the dawn of a new career. I have applied to go on staff with Student Venture - the high school and middle school ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. It seems to match my current desires perfectly and I am really excited that I can actually get paid to do what I love. I will keep you posted as to how the application process is going. As of right now, I am waiting for a "We are processing your application" phone call. Even though this is something about which I am really excited, those thoughts of doubt have been creeping in. I cannot really say that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, because God has scared me with other dreams (the big ones, I have previously mentioned). Realizing that I will probably leave this career makes me doubt whether I should be in it at all, but at the present moment I cannot imagine myself doing anything else. I imagine myself in this career for a number of years, even to the point of, with it, fulfilling a dream God inspired. So there is much work to be done in Student Venture, but I foresee an end to that work and thus a beginning to something else. But that is many years down the road.

So for the time in between, there are mundane and exciting things. These few weeks until I begin my summer job I am just bummin' around trying to get my room and life back to organized before the time goes away again. I will also be attending many exciting events to include my own graduation! as well as a field trip, last day of school, wedding shower, bachlorette party, and two weddings - in the same day. So exciting stuff for the weeks to come. Along with that, hopefully I can casually hang out with friends, Jesus, and get some rest. Then starts my summer job. : ) I have the privilege of being part of a full-time youth ministry team for my home church - we call it Summer Staff. I am so excited for this endeavor and the possibilities of what God can do. He has already been giving me vision and ideas for the summer, which just excites me to the upmost.

*sigh* Much behind me, much ahead. Enjoy the pictures!

It's funny and scary how much I really look like a PE teacher in these photos.

Not the best picture, but one of my best classes. : )

Probably my smallest class, but some of my favorite people.

Bigger class = more challenging. But so rewarding when you actually make a difference.

Eating lunch with the students on my last day. It is definitely an experience.
It was so precious - one of my students as she was leaving the locker room that day asked me if I would eat lunch with could I resist!

I volunteered as the assistant coach for the girls' basketball team. This is our cake for our banquet.

The team manager and me. We spent many practices talking and goofing off - it was a lot of fun! She is such a cutie and is just an amazing person.

All my lady huskies!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Internship tomorrow!

Well, tomorrow starts my senior internship. I am so excited to be at the same school at which I was last semester. It is a wonderful school and I love the students I got to know last semester. I also love that it is close enough that I can ride my bike there. I don't know yet if I will be with the same teacher, though that would be awesome because I really like her students. It is crazy to believe I will be graduating in May. *sigh* What a journey this has been...and yet there is so much more to come.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

From then until now

The past five months I have been in a valley, moving in and out of the shadows. The brief moments of sunshine have been providing the joy for me to continue in perseverance. I hope that this semester I will finally walk out of this valley of struggling with my past.

Christmas Conference with Crusade was a sweet time of vacation, fellowship, and renewal. I had my interview for joining staff with Campus Crusade for Christ and today submitted the first part of the application. I now have 22 pages of forms to fill out about myself, so I shall soon be writing a book. I cringe at some parts of it because I must bring up the struggles that I have with certain sins. I know I'm not perfect, but I hate admitting it. I know they are not expecting me to be perfect, but I guess I expect better of me than what I am, and so I am slightly ashamed. Oh, if only I saw myself the way Jesus does.

School starts Thursday and my internship starts Monday. I'm ready for my days to get back to some regularity, though I hope that I do not fall prey to habit and compliance in my relationship with Jesus. I am still being prayerful about my money situation. Giving control to Jesus is so difficult, as I want to secure my own financial stability instead of relying on him. I have resolved to putting in some applications and leaving the rest up to him, and if necessary use money that I have saved to make it through until more money comes.

My group for the day of outreach during Christmas Conference. It was one of the best days of the conference, so influential. It was also a lot of fun getting to play with a few boys in the neighborhood; we really didn't want to leave.

A fun day of riding bikes with friends. This is when we stopped at a playground to rest and have our picnic lunches. Below are a couple of pictures of me showing off...they were so amazed, I found it amusing.

Bunny hop, yeah!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Priorities for the new year

Yeah, I haven't written in a while, not that it really matters because I don't think many people read this. One confession I feel like I should make, is that I probably will not catch you up on the things I failed to write about at the time. Sorry.

Today is my first day back from Unveiled (a.k.a. Christmas conference with Crusade). I spent a while talking with Jesus about the conference and about my priorities for the upcoming year. My number one priority is PRAYER. I can't think of anything that I want to develop more than my prayer life. And I can't help but see how every other priority will flow from this discipline. So if you are reading this blog, keep me accountable to this priority, because chances are you are on an index card and I care about you and desire to be a part of your life, even if it is only through prayer.

The past five months have been rough, for various reasons. My hope is that whether this semester is the same or better, I will deal with it differently, by being close with Jesus and responding in obedience.