Wednesday, December 23, 2009

the countdown to leaving...

I am leaving Austin in 10 days...

It is a crazy thing to think about. People keep asking me if I am ready to go - and I say no. I think I will be ready when I leave. But right now, I still have to pack for one thing, and there are still some things I know the Lord has planned for me here the next 10 days. I am not sure exactly what that is, but I look forward to seeing what God has planned - times to be spent with family and friends and hopefully some great conversations. Each day is one I need to cherish and seek God for how He wants to make Himself known that day and how He wants to use me, grow me and teach me more about Himself. Even in the past few days I am learning more, but it is an awkward time for me...just a mix of emotions.

Thankfully, the next ten days will be filled with fun times celebrating the holidays and enjoying my family and friends. I hope I also stop and take time to enjoy Christ in the midst of all of that. I am learning to grow in more intimacy with Christ. He is the only one who is always with me, and there is no greater intimacy I can find than with a God who created me and knows more about me than I know myself.

One truth that I find peace in as I leave is Deuteronomy 31:8 - "The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." To know that God Himself goes before me and will be with me and never leave calms the deepest fears in my heart as I rest in that truth. The whole idea that the Lord is with us - Emmanuel - amazes me. I have loved church the past few Sundays as we have talked about Christ coming to us to reveal the glory of God. So often other religions - and I find myself doing this too - strive so hard to get to God. The story of Christ is God striving to reach us. Thats an overwhelming truth that displays how much God loves us and wants to be with us. A perfect, holy, righteous and all powerful God wants me and you, not because He needs us, but simply because He delights in us and wants us to share in everything good He is. 

So at Christmas time we celebrate Jesus coming to the world to be born as a little baby, who would grow up to be a man and the Savior of the world - that we may know and believe that we are deeply loved. I pray that you all have a blessed Christmas with friends and family, and are drawn closer to the heart of the Lord during this time. Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2009

there is a time for everything...

I graduated from college on Saturday! It was surreal the whole time. It was also nice to have less than 40 people in my graduating class. I was very encouraged by friends and family and blessed by their kind words and for being there to celebrate with me afterwards. I can't believe I graduated from college. I don't really feel any different, but its exciting!

I will start Leadtime in 4 weeks. I will pack up my car and drive up to Independence, Missouri right outside of Kansas City and move into my new home for a year. I felt blessed on Saturday to have one of the Bigs in KC send me a message saying that they are praying for me, especially during this time of mixed emotions. And I sure have mixed emotions! I am excited - so excited - to go be a part of something I have wanted to do for 2 years now. I am looking forward to living in intense community and to be able to learn more about Christ daily and live out the gospel. I am excited to be somewhere I can use the gifts God has given me and to pursue things I am passionate about. I feel so encouraged and affirmed by people and the Lord that this is something I will enjoy. People believe I will do great things there, and that support from others is something greater than I understand - it is powerful and moving. To have people believe in you is empowering, and I am so grateful for each of you.

I also have a sense of fear. This fear overwhems me sometimes as I prepare to leave Austin and move to a city where I am not known by anyone really. I know that will change, but right now - I am scared. I have a pretty good understanding of the program and what to expect, but there are a lot of unknowns. I also hate good-byes, the feeling of losing people who I am close to here, not knowing what is going to happen with those relationships. There are a few people who I have walked through so much with, who have been there for me during tough times, whom I have been able to walk through some stuff with them, and I just hope they will continue to walk with me even if I live so far away. And I have hope that they will - it will just be different. And change is always something I struggle with. It is a time where I have always grown closer to the Lord, the one constant in our changing lives, but it is a painful time. I know the Lord desires to deepen my faith and trust in Him, and I need to do that. To place my fears in His hands and simply trust. So many times the Bible commands us to not be afraid or fear, but to place our faith and trust in the Lord, whose love never fails. However, I still have moments where I am nervous or afraid, or I start crying thinking about leaving. But it is good. This is a good process and something the Lord wants me to walk through to refine me. And I think it is something I need to talk about with the people around me and invite them to pray and walk through this time with me. We aren't meant to live life alone. This I know for sure. Sometimes I am afraid of asking people for help though - afraid of rejection, that I will burden them or push them away. But I am starting to find myself asking for help more and overcoming those fears.

I have more free time this next month. It will be a time to rest, hang out with people, pack and get things ready to leave. All mixed in with celebrating my birthday, Christmas, New Year's and all the good holiday stuff. This is always a crazy time of year, and this year, I feel like things are even crazier. So I pray that the Prince of Peace will be the focus of my heart, and that I will rest in His hands of grace. To be still and know that God is in control instead of worrying about what is going to happen. He has great plans and is making things beautiful in His time, and I need to learn how to trust Him. Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. He is holding me, and I need to rest and trust Him. I pray that I will. :)

"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven..." - Ecclesiastes 3:1

Thursday, November 26, 2009

once upon a time...

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a blessed day celebrating with family and friends. :)

I just finished my first batch of support letters, so they will go out tomorrow. Thus, I decided I should explain my story of how I came to hear about LeadTime and the journey the Lord has taken me on to get here.

Two and a half years ago I was working at T Bar M, a Christian sports camp in New Braunfels. One of the girls on leadership that summer was Ashley Dady, who became a dear friend of mine. At the end of the summer, she was planning on going to LeadTime, which at that time was in Denver. As she told me about what she would be doing, I had a desire to pray for her and the girls she would be ministering to.

That October, I was able to go to Denver and visit Ashley for a few days at LeadTime. That afternoon, I just hung out with some of the teenage girls at the house and heard some of their stories. I was so moved by what I heard, and by the end of the night, I went outside and just wept. There was so much brokenness, not just in the lives of the teenagers, but also in the lives of the people involved in LeadTime. So much pain and hurt, but there was a beauty about it that I was drawn to. I didn’t want to leave.

Soon after that trip, I decided to change my major in college to Social Work. I was a nursing major at the time, but spent most of my time in class journaling and trying to figure out what to do with my life. The more I heard about social work, the more excited I became. So I switched – and now as I graduate next Saturday, I know I made the right choice.

After I left Colorado, I began to write letters to a few of the girls I met at Shelterwood, the residential treatment program that LeadTime works with. One of the girls was Ashley’s little (they call the teenagers Littles, and those involved in LeadTime Bigs). She encouraged me so much through letters she would write back, and I constantly prayed for the teens and LeadTime class. I was able to go visit again during Spring Break with my mom, and one more time in May to see Ashley’s little graduate from the program. I felt so blessed to have had an inside look of the program, and now I am excited to finally be involved myself.

I applied to LeadTime over a year ago, and I tried to work with my school to allow LeadTime to count as my final internship. However, the school decided that I should stay in Austin for my internship, and I have spent the past semester working with teenagers in drug rehab. I absolutely love it, and know that the Lord has me in His hands. I have learned so much this semester and know that my time here has prepared me even more for LeadTime.

I am leaving on January 2nd to drive up to Missouri with my parents, and I officially will start the program on January 4. I am really excited to go, but sometimes I feel anxious or sad, because I know I will miss my dear friends and family in Texas. However, I must say, I feel so supported by every single person I have told about LeadTime. Time and time again I have been given affirmation that this ministry is something I will do great at, even by people that I just meet. I have such peace knowing that this is exactly what the Lord has called me to do, and I look forward to sharing how Christ moves and reveals Himself this next year. I invite all of you to pray with me and follow me on this sweet journey. I pray that you will be blessed and encouraged.

I am so grateful for all of you, for your words of encouragement and support, your love, prayers and friendship. I could not do this without you, and I know that each of you have taught me something about life, love and the Lord that He is going to use for His glory. I love you all so so much.

Feel free to ask me any questions. I look forward to sharing stories with y’all, and hope you will share some with me. I love snail mail (yes I do!) and voicemails and e-mails and comments, so please don’t hesitate to ask me questions, share prayers requests, or tell me about what the Lord is doing in your life! He is faithful and good and His love endures forever. To Him be the glory and praise forever and ever! Amen. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the truth will set you free

I graduate from college in 2 1/2 weeks! I am so excited!!! Then I have about a month to just chill, hang out and get ready to move to Kansas City! next blog will be the story of how I came to hear about LeadTime. :)

I am about to send out support letters for the program. And I am finishing up paperwork and getting details about what to bring and whatnot! It is hard to believe that I have only a little over 6 weeks left in Texas!

My internship has been good. I don't think I have fully engaged there as much as I could have. I can be timid sometimes and hold back. I have learned so much though, and I know my experience there is really preparing me for Shelterwood. Last week I heard so many hard stories, and witnessed a physical fight. It was a lot to take in in one day, but I know I am going to experience more stuff like that.

Personally, this has been a tough semester, but I am coming to see what the Lord has been doing through it all. Previously, I wrote about feeling like a freak in my friendships. And the Lord has shed some light on that, and while it has been painful and I didn't want to see the truth for a long time, I am more aware of my sin - and can find healing. Relationships are difficult when you are dealing with people. Everyone is a sinner and so in relationships that comes out. I have struggled with dependency in some of my relationships in the past - which was a very scary thing to come to face. I think immediately I felt so much shame, and was hit with fear that I can't do any relationship right. And considering that I am very relational, that thought scared me, and I felt like a complete failure as a person. However, shame has no place in our lives because Christ died to set us free from that. And He is healing me from that shame, too. His grace is sufficient. And I know I am not alone in this struggle, and by the grace of God, He can use me to encourage others as I seek healing in this. I think it is very freeing to finally admit it and have it exposed  and in the light, because then it no longer has power like it does in the dark when we try to hide our sin. I think sometimes I also don't ask for help enough either. So its two sides of the same coin - trying to find the balance between finding support from others and being okay on my own. We need other people, we need the Lord. And His grace is the only thing that allows good, close relationships to be possible. The Lord is so sweet to us. He is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I have so much more peace and joy. Hallelujah!

All that to say, I am a mess...a beautiful mess. All glory goes to the sweet Savior who came to set the captives free, bind the brokenhearted, and release the prisoners from darkness! Amen.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him...

The past month has been crazy, and tough. But the Lord has been so faithful through all of it, as He always is, and there have been some sweet times! I feel much more comfortable at my internship, and truly enjoy my time there every day. I am probably most known for helping the teens with their math homework. All of them are failing math except for one girl, who asks me for help every single day with her math homework. It makes me question the math teacher honestly...but thats another story. I enjoy getting to help them and spend time with them. I am going in today - on a Saturday - to help in study hall. And I am looking forward to it!

I only have 4 weeks left...I graduate in 4 weeks from today - from college! That is crazy to think about, but I am excited. Then about a month later I will be in Kansas City, Missouri for LeadTime!!!! This week a few of the girls who are already there contacted me on Facebook and said they are praying for me - which is so encouraging to know. I am excited to go, but I know I am going to miss my friends and family very much.

I went to Sea World a couple of weeks ago - it was so much fun! One of my friends works there and used to be an animal trainer with the sea otters and sea lions and just told us a lot about how things run and how to become a trainer and whatnot. We all agreed that if our planned careers fell through, we would all just work at Sea World as animal trainers. I would love that! It was amazing. One of my friends and I just sat in the aquarium forever being in awe at the various kinds of fish and sharks. They are magnificent creatures - all glory to the Creator. It was a sweet time of worship, laughter, awe and joy. I enjoy just being with people, so it was fun to hang out, laugh, dance, talk, ride roller coasters, and enjoy the Lord's beautiful creation. And we went through the Haunted Forest...and laughed the whole time! We are so going back...

At church we have been studying the gospel according to Genesis. I have loved it! I have been encouraged to be still and enjoy the creation around me. I have also been reflecting on how God made man in His image and likeness. I have been compelled to sit and enjoy who He is in the people I spend time with. Life is beautiful.

All that to say, I have graduation announcements, support letters and postcards from camp to send out soon! Its the holidays and lots of exciting times are ahead. And happening now. This week I had so much fun celebrating one of my friend's birthdays. We are having a little sleepover tonight, too - haha I know it will be great. Last night I went to dinner and bowling with my parents and aunt and uncle. It was such a fun and sweet time. My aunt is hilarious (if you ever have met her - you know) and there were cute little kids dancing and I saw a few people wipe out...I had some gutter balls, but when I did good I turned around and all four of my family members were clapping and cheering. I am so blessed by them and the support they give me - not in just bowling, but life. And seeing them was just a very clear picture of who they are constantly in my life - and I am so grateful for them. And I love them oh so much. I am going to miss them when I leave, but I am soaking up my time with them now! I know that everything is held together in Christ, and in His grace, love and peace I rest. I hope you all are well and knowing more of the Lord everyday! :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

shall what is formed say to Him who made it, "why did You make me like this?"

I am such a mess like always. There are so many things in life that I don't understand. And for some reason, I think about those things a lot. I am partially crazy. Or completely...

The past few weeks have been hard. This past week I was at my internship late one night, and the girls dorm was so dramatic. One girl had a breakdown and wanted to leave - just overwhelmed by being at residential treatment. Which I think is very understandable. I sat with her for a long time, but felt very ineffective, and after awhile was encouraged by one of the counselors to just leave her alone for awhile so she wouldn't work herself into a panic attack. It was hard to do, but I did. Later, two girls were so mad at each other they were screaming and cussing each other out...I think they would have hit each other if they weren't in separate rooms. Another girl was hurting herself and had to be in arm's reach of staff at all times. I felt at peace during this whole time, amazingly, and tried to help one of the other girl's with her math homework, though she was frustrated by all the drama. I left and just felt like I had no idea what to do in a situation like that, and realized that I am going to live more of that all next year. And I am looking forward to learning how to respond to all those things.

LeadTime is in less than 3 months. I am excited about it. Every person I have told about it has encouraged me and affirmed me so much. I love deeply and passionately. I don't understand why and who I am often doesn't make sense to me. Sometimes I hate how I care so much and how deeply I feel and think about things. I wish I was different, less serious, more fun and outgoing. And I know that I can have fun and joke around, but I know that I am deep. Which sometimes people say they admire...but sometimes - I don't like it. Yes I love deeply and think deeply - but I also hurt deeply. And people misunderstand me. And its hard because the people I have been close friends with in my life end up feeling overwhelmed, guilty in our friendship, like they aren't enough. They don't know what to do with me, and honestly - I don't either. It makes me feel like there is something wrong with me. And I feel ashamed. So it makes me sad. And frustrated. I just want to be able to love people and not feel like a freak. Because I feel that way sometimes...but the Lord is faithful to work in me and I need to seek Him and trust Him in all things. And I think that He is hurt when I think that I am a freak. And I've gotten frustrated with God before about my depth and asked Him why He made me this way. I clearly don't understand. And I need to be humbled to trust the Lord and know that He has a purpose and plan for me, that He thinks I am beautiful and precious.

But I am not there quite yet...I am still wrestling with who I am. I know I am a sinner and I want to pursue holiness and being conformed into the image of Christ. I also am made in the image and likeness of God to reflect His glory. How the Lord has made me, I have no idea. Who He has made me to be - I am still figuring that out. But I feel like my depth and passion to love may finally make sense when I go to LeadTime - at least I hope so. I just want somewhere to belong and not feel so different. I mean I have lots of friends in my life who I am so blessed by and grateful for, and love very much - too much I guess. I don't know...I am struggling, and thats okay. His grace is sufficient. And I am tired of hiding my brokenness and pretending like everything is okay and I have it all together. Because I am not. I am broken and confused and don't have it figured out or know all the answers. But I do have peace that transcends understanding. And I do know that I am loved by Christ and that He will be faithful to complete the work He began in me, is holding everything together and works for good in all things. And so I can wake up in the morning with joy in my heart and know that Jesus takes delight in me because thats who He is. And that is really all that matters. I can know Christ, and He knows me. And still loves me. Praise the Lord! And the Lord is in control and so I simply rest in His mercy love and grace - in His arms. And He never lets go, and understands me even when I don't understand myself. And I find so much comfort in that. Amen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

broken i run to You for Your arms are open wide

I broke down today on the way home from my internship. Actually, every Thursday I have cried once I got into my car to leave. I was expecting it. But the tears are so good and healing. I am sad and broken. I am the most tired on Thursdays. I work until 9pm on Wednesday nights, then don't get home until later and wake up at 5:45am Thursday mornings. I feel like I just go home to sleep and come back. And so I think I am so tired on Thursdays that I finally allow myself to feel everything going on. I feel overwhelmed by everything around me. It is a whole new world to me. Here I am at a residential treatment center for drug addiction and I don't know much about drugs and have never done them. I don't like to take cold medicine anymore because I hate how it makes me feel. So I don't really know how to relate on that level - but I know drug addiction goes deeper than that. And then I still am trying to get comfortable with other staff. I just don't really offer much of myself yet. I mean I like the people I work with, I am still learning what professional relationships look like. I don't think I will like that kind of relationship though - I like personal relationships the best and think they are all that way since we are all people. But thats a whole other story...

We are all so broken. Everywhere I look I see depression, anxiety, fear, shame, pain, bitterness, hurt. There is abuse, drugs, suicide, other addictions, loneliness. I see it in myself, too. And I see all this and my heart is broken, but not heavy. I know there is hope. I know that Christ can heal. He is mighty to save. His grace has changed my life. The truth of who He is, what He has done and His words have brought so much freedom and peace to my life. However, I am not always sure how to communicate that to the people around me. It's challenging when they mock Christianity and seem so resistant to it. And I honestly fear how they may respond to me, but more so want to represent the truth and gospel of grace - for them to know a God of compassion and mercy, not one of condemnation. I want others to know Christ, to know the Healer. And so I just am praying right now for wisdom and boldness on how to love like He does, and how to shine a light in such a dark world, how to offer healing to the hurting and broken. What to speak of the truth, for opportunities to speak the gospel, and for God to soften hearts to know Him. And I am learning how to accept His grace myself. I am in process, and its hard, but I praise the Lord for it all. Everyday is a new day, and I thank God for all that is happening because I know He will work for good in all things, and be faithful to complete the work He began in me. He is faithful in all things, and His love never fails. And that is what I cling to. He is my strength. Amen.

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."  - Psalm 73:26

Saturday, September 19, 2009

He has made everything beautiful in its time

I just finished another week of my internship, and I LOVE it. This week was sweet. I learned so much about myself, people, the Lord, drugs, addiction, brokenness, healing, recovery, life. I feel much more comfortable with the people I work with and the kids there. I was blessed to have some sweet conversations with some of the kids and staff. Each day I wake up excited for the day and what God has planned. It is exciting, intense, but so good. Thursday night I began to feel everything hit me, but it was sweet. As I drive home each night, I simply praise the Lord for that day to be alive. I am so much more thankful for each moment. Everything is a gift of grace, and I don't want to take any of it for granted, but to develop a heart of thankfulness to Christ.

I admire the kids I work with. They are honest and brave as they come to acknowledge where they have gone wrong and work hard to change. Yesterday, I got to sit an a group where they confront one another and hold eachother accountable for their actions. It is done in a way to help them, not condemn, but because they are concerned. They ran the whole thing by themselves, each taking responsibility for talking to each other and encouraging one another. It was incredible. They live in community. And its beautiful. I sit and listen to them talk, and it makes me more aware of my own feelings, hurts, struggles. Lies I believe about myself. Lies I believe in general. So I am being changed so much as well. They are awesome kids. They make me smile and encourage me a lot. I feel so blessed to be able to spend time with them.

And they are hungry for the truth. Yesterday some of them were talking about wanting to go to church on the weekends. Sometimes they get to go to the movies, or a sporting event like football or soccer games. But four or five of them talked about wanting to go to church. And only about a third of the kids were in the room talking about it and I am sure there are more. They wouldn't be forced to go by any means, but if they want to, why can't they? I actually think someone on staff already asked to take them, and got a no. Not exactly sure why, but it is definitely something I would want to look more into and ask about. But it was so encouraging to hear them wanting that, to know that Christ is at work. He is faithful and is the One who works and moves and draws people to Himself.

I've been humbled by my time at my internship so far, and I praise Jesus! And I pray that He would continue to humble me and allow me to see who I am and who He is, and how that all fits together. I keep being drawn back to the gospel, to my need for a Savior, forgiveness, mercy, grace. I have become aware more and more of my pride and inability to please God or stay away from sin. I am broken. That is how I began my journal yesterday morning because I am. But I love it. Because there is beauty in the brokenness because my hope is in Christ, and His grace covers me. And His love never changes, and I just want people to know that. In everything I do, I want to know Christ more, and to make Him known - to make His deep, unfathomable, unstoppable, constant and never failing love known. We are loved, and there is nothing we can do to earn it, nor anything we could do to lose it. I just pray that we would come to know it more and more.

To know Christ. I've been thinking a lot about the words of Paul in Philippians 3:7-11. "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead." That is what I want my life to be about. Amen.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

knock and the door will be opened

I started my internship this week for my last semester of school. I graduate December 5th, and until then I am interning 40 hours a week and taking a 4 hour class that goes along with it. Phoenix Academy is a residential treatment center for adolescents recovering from chemical dependency. I first visited Phoenix Academy on a field trip last semester, and it reminded me of Shelterwood. I originally was working with my school to allow LeadTime to be my internship for this fall, but they informed me in late April that they didn't feel comfortable placing me there. So I am at Phoenix Academy, and I love it. When I wasn't allowed to go to LeadTime as I originally thought I would, I felt peace about it and realized that God had a plan for me greater than I could realize.

I went in May to Phoenix Academy to set up my internship. After looking over my resume, my supervisor was concerned by how much I had worked in faith-based organizations - working at a Christian sports camp and interning at a church, and questioned if I still wanted to intern there. I reassured her that I did, and she told me that if one of the teens asked me what I believed, I would have to respond saying "Why do you need to know if I believe in God or not for me to help you?" I didn't really know how to take this, but have been thinking about it all summer. I don't really agree with what she said, but she also said we could talk about it so I was really excited.

My first day was this past Tuesday, and I was a bit nervous, but also felt at peace. I spent the first few days just observing everything, learning the names of staff and the teens there. It was a lot to take it, but I am getting a good feel for how everything runs. On Thursday, I was really tired, and just felt overwhelmed and unsure of how to be myself there and was very timid. Friday morning, I went to a coffee shop before I went in and spent some time journaling and praying to the Lord about how I felt. I was honest about my doubts, fears, insecurities. I didn't trust Him, I felt alone and overwhelmed. I wanted to be bold and know how to speak the truth about Christ and shine for Him as He created me to. But I had no idea how to do that and didn't know where this boldness would come from, but I asked for Him to provide.

I went in a little early and hung out in study hall with the students where I can help them with their homework. Two of the staff members were talking about Bibles, and one of them was looking for a good one for her teenage daughter. It was refreshing to hear, and I walked over and joined in the conversation. Then I discovered that another person on staff goes to Austin Stone, the same church as me. I was so encouraged just to know that, and I knew it was going to be a much better day, but I still had no clue what else the Lord had planned.

Later in the day, I met with my supervisor for and hour to talk about my internship. She asked me how everything had been going, and then asked me to tell her about myself. I never know how much to share when people ask me questions like that, but I just started talking about my family. And then I began to talk about my faith and how it is my everything. Knowing Christ is the whole reason I was driving to social work in the first place. She asked me how I felt about value conflicts I would come across working at Phoenix Academy, and I began to talk about grace. I kept thinking about how Jesus said He came for the sick, not the healthy - to save sinners not the righteous. And I also talked about the woman who anoints Jesus' feet as she weeps and pours perfume on them, then wipes them with her hair. The Pharisees are confused and shocked at why Jesus would allow such a thing, but He explains to them how she has been forgiven much and loves much. He then tells her that her faith has healed her. The teens at Phoenix Academy inspire me. They do the hard work of staring their mistakes and failures in the face and working with them. They are honest about where they are, when I feel like so many of us who seem to be okay are not. We try to look like we have it all together and are doing fine. We don't want to look weak. But we are. I am so messed up. When I begin to think that I am doing alright, may the Lord humble me to know that I am only a sinner in need of His sweet grace. Even my righteous acts are like fifthly rags before the Lord. But He loves me and accepts me just as I am, and He will be faithful to complete the work He began in me. It was exciting to share about my faith so freely with my supervisor. I am not exactly sure what she believes, but she told me that I can go to her anytime and talk about anything. It is encouraging to have someone who supports me and wants me to have the best internship possible.

My supervisor is great, but I will be spending more time with the case manager. He has been great so far and doesn't want me doing much paperwork at all, but supports me and wants the best experience for me as well. The people at Phoenix Academy have been so great to me, and I am so blessed. After I got back from meeting with my supervisor, the case manager was there and I needed to get my stuff out of his office. As I did, I was talking about my meeting with my supervisor. She had told me that we (the case manager and I) have similar beliefs. So we started talking about them a little, and he is in a weird place right now he said. Sounds like he is asking a lot of questions and looking into different things and different religions. I talked about grace again, and how it has changed my life the past few years. I grew up going to church but for so long I thought it was about looking good on the outside. Recently I have begun to understand the depths of my depravity and sin, and in turn understood the sweetness of Christ and the grace and mercy displayed on the cross. I cannot earn salvation and can't please God with my good deeds. I simply come as I am, broken and sinful, fallen short of God's glory to ask for mercy. And He comes to me, washes me clean and shows me grace to walk again with Him. I fail time and time again, but He never leaves me or stops loving me. Its crazy, but its the gospel. And its beautiful and lovely and brings peace to my soul. I will never be the same. And I just want people to know Christ, to know His grace, love, mercy. To be healed. To be known and loved.

All that to say, I wasn't sure how I was going to be myself or shine Christ in my internship, and yesterday - only the 4th day of my internship, I was able to have at least 3 spiritual conversations with people, two in which I was able to talk about Christ and the gospel of grace. I also sat next to one of the teens reading the Bible and was encouraged by Christ to know that He is definitely there. He provided opportunities to speak about Him and testify of who He is, and I have no idea how it all happened, but it definitely didn't have much to do with me. I hardly had to try. But I was so blessed to speak of Christ, and as I did I was reminded of the gospel myself, and how amazing His grace is, and how faithful He is to listen and answer our prayers - all for the glory of His Name.

I drove home in the rain singing worship songs in my car. One of my favorites from Chris Tomlin. "Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city. There is no one like our God." Amen. May Christ be made known in all the nations, His grace, love and gospel of truth. His grace is sufficient and He is mighty to save. And all I can say is...thank You.


Hey everyone!

I had several people encourage me to create a blog as I go off to do LeadTime in January - so here it is. I thought it would be fun to start one now as I complete my internship at school since what I am working with is related a lot to LeadTime. LeadTime is a year-long internship and discipleship program where I will be living with troubled teenagers in a Christian residential treatment facility. The program is connected with the program for teenagers called Shelterwood. Just a fun fact I like to tell people: How to Save a Life by the Fray (which also happens to be one of my favorite bands) was written about a teenager from Shelterwood. The teens are referred to as Littles, and I will be called a Big, along with the other people in my LeadTime class. I am really excited because I love living in community and have been so affirmed in going to do this by everyone I have talked about it with. I am thankful that the Lord has led me to this place and look forward to what He is going to do as He allows me to know Him more.

Most people start LeadTime (LT) in August and stay for a year. I however, am starting in January since I graduate this December. So a lot of other Bigs I will work with are already there. It is crazy to think about, but exciting as well. I will be in Missouri for all of 2010! I don't know if I will be in Branson or Kansas City, but hopefully I will find out soon. I will write more about LeadTime as time goes on...and will probably write the whole story of how I came to be involved in the program in December before I leave. I hope you enjoy!