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