Wednesday, September 22, 2010

clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet...

Hey y'all! I hope you are coming to know our incredible Savior Jesus Christ more through whatever He may be leading you. I am learning that I can only run to Him each and every day to find the grace and truth I am so desperate for. I am so grateful for His faithfulness, even in the face of my failures, struggles and fears. To Him alone be all glory & praise!

Things here have been a mixture of things - as always. I have enjoyed some incredible moments with girls - laughing so hard I cried, sitting in silence under the weight of pain and heartache, talking about life or the Lord or listening to frustrations, and overwhelmed by the chaos and emotions and drama that goes on everyday. Its quite the life!

Beneath all the stuff that goes on here, I have found a sweet peace in Christ. He is everything. People say it's all about Jesus - sometimes it seems cheesy or a church answer, but it really is the truth. All reality exists in Him, and He is the only source of true life. I have been blessed by some recent conversations with girls lately. A couple of them have really encouraged me by their response to the truth and desire to know Christ. I started to go through Ephesians with the girls last night. Only one of the girls came this week, but it was sweet one-on-one time. She shared part of her testimony with me and I did the same. Then we looked at the first 10 verses and talked about how God chose us before the creation of the world and has blessed us with everything! Its hard to really grasp and take in such rich truths about God's grace - and to think about how He has revealed the mystery of His will to us and plan to bring everything back together in Christ. I wanted to just sit in the awe and silence of the moment. Wow! It is too good to be true, but it is true and amazing! It was exciting to just worship God together and to enjoy the stillness of the night and then pray together for one another. I am really excited to continue to dig into the Word and a few other girls said they want to join us. I am so encouraged to see Christ working in their hearts and their desire to know Him. One girl here has recently told me that she wants to know the God I know. I am humbled, and so excited! I want my life to be an invitation to know and worship Christ. I want to draw other people into the heart of the Lord, to worship Him together. I think that is what life is all about. I am so grateful for the opportunity to do that here. :)

I love getting to see truth in the everyday experiences of life. I love metaphors and analogies, and my girls joke around with me about how I have a God analogy for everything. I am okay with that! Last week one of them fell out of her bed and broke a side table I have by my bed while I was off. When I came back, I realized that it was a bit lopsided...haha. They just giggled at this and I found the story out later the next day. However, the next morning I examined the table to realize their feeble attempts to fix it. They had taken scotch tape and wrapped it around the legs, then colored the tape with black permanent marker. I removed the tape while laughing. I asked them why they didn't tell me, and one girl said she thought I would be mad. Clearly, they don't quite know me yet. :) I thought the whole thing was hilarious! And I was quite glad my Little who fell off her bed didn't get hurt. And I saw a perfect example of how we relate to the Lord...

We as people are clearly broken. We are sinful at the depths of our hearts and completely depraved. We have a desperate need for a Savior. Yet, even though we know this, instead of coming to the Lord with our brokenness, we try to fix ourselves. We try to tape together the broken pieces of our lives and dress it up to pretend like everything is okay and we aren't broken. Sometimes we think God is going to be so disappointed with us and angry, when the truth is He is very aware of our brokenness, and has great compassion. The whole reason He left the throne of heaven to enter into our pain to rescue us from ourselves, our sin and shame. However, instead of experiencing the life Christ has to offer, we just walk around is pretty ridiculous. But we do it all the time. I shared this analogy with my girls and other Bigs because I love metaphors! ;) My girls thought I was crazy, haha, but I know the Lord is working in their hearts and I really enjoy them a lot.

I am very aware of this intense battle being fought over my heart right now. It has been very painful lately and overwhelming at times with the intensity of the emotions I experience in it. Hurt, pain, frustration, anger, confusion. I think Romans 7 clearly defines the war being waged. I see these idols my heart creates - longings for love, affection, attention, affirmation, approval, acceptance and comfort or control that turn quickly into demands and take me captive to my flesh. I absolutely hate it and am disgusted by what I see. And I feel entirely helpless and unable to change it and fix it, because I am. I am slowly learning to lay this all before the Lord, to not try to tape myself together, but to face the feelings I am experiencing, to feel the hurt, disappointment and pain and allow those things to draw me closer to Christ. I honestly don't want to face them. I want to go around the pain or avoid it or find a quick fix, but I feel the Lord beckoning me to enter the darkness, the valley and the unknown of the confusion because He is there and He is inviting me into it. He is patient with me as I am slowly being obedient to go there with Him. It reminds me of the song "If You Want Me To" by Ginny Owens - Currently on every playlist I am listening to right now. I may not know where He is leading or feel like He is there, but I will go through it clinging to His promises and trusting even when I don't understand and I can't see. Extremely difficult, but I know it will be totally worth it! You can pray for grace and obedience to this for me if you want. :)

Yeah so thats me & my heart right now. I am a beautiful mess as always. :) I know this entry was a bit long, but I felt the need to share what has been on my heart, I pray it will encourage your heart and spur you on towards Christ. He will meet you where you are and is faithfully working out what He began in you. May you experience more of His amazing love & grace today. I love you & miss you all. Feel free to tell me how you are or what is going on in your life. Much love always! :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

a beautiful collision

The past couple of weeks have been challenging. I can't count the number of times I have wanted to breakdown or run away, but I am still here and pushing through by the grace of God, which is enough.

So much change creates a lot of chaos, and I feel like I am in the middle of the mess. Since only 3 of us girl Bigs have been here for awhile, I feel like there has been extra responsibility. While people are getting used to working in the kitchen, we have been helping out a lot in there and also help out with everything in the house. One day, I wanted to scream because I felt stretched beyond my limits. After almost 7 hours in the kitchen, I came back into the house to be asked to do 3 different things in the first 2 minutes I was there. I was exhausted and drained in every way possible. Littles were frustrated with other girls, how things were in the house as new Bigs are learning how everything runs, and the house directors come to me for information and to do things, too. I was comfortable just going along with things before, but now I have been forced to really step it up. I think I prayed for this...and its a good thing, just hard. I never thought it would be easy, just actually walking through it makes me more aware of my own humanity, as well as my pride. Yikes! But God is graciously opposing that in me and breaking me down. Hallelujah!

I am growing in my dependence on Christ. I think that probably the greatest thing that could happen - the purpose in all of it. As more of my own selfishness and pride is revealed, I must draw near to Christ and ask that He change me and work in ways that only He can. Right now I feel so distracted by everything I have to do, that I think I miss Christ in it all. I want to be able to sit and engage in rich conversation with other Bigs & Littles. Lately, I feel like I have been running around like crazy doing things, making sure people have what they need. I have been blessed to really connect with other people at moments, but I wish I could do that more. Now that we get 2 whole days off instead of just 12 hours (hallelujah!), I think I will try to take a Little out each week for some one-on-one time. I did that last week and I loved it! Precious time without feeling pressure to be somewhere or do something.

I want to slow down...but its hard to walk into a house with 25 Littles who all want you to take them somewhere or get something for them or to simply love on them. I want to hold each of them, help them see who Christ is, that only He can satisfy those intense longings in their soul and that the other things they are chasing after is going to leave them more thirsty and empty. I don't know the best way to show them the gospel, but I am seeking what this looks like. I know I fail everyday at loving the people around me, at staying focused on Christ and resting in His grace. In the past, I would probably beat myself up for not living up to the standard I have set - but praise God that I feel more free to be okay with where I am, struggling, searching. Not knowing all the answers. Its not about the standard I set anyways. I still experience heartache and disappointment and frustration, which at times is overwhelming, but I have security and peace in Christ and can be okay not being okay knowing that Christ holds me together - if that makes any sense.

The Lord is faithful, even when I am not. He will complete the work He began in me, in other Bigs and Littles, in all of us. His purposes cannot be thwarted, so I am free to love, to risk, to hurt, to cry, to fail. I long for more. And I will as long as I live on this earth. I have a desire in me that nothing in this earth can satisfy. That is a scary realization, but its true of all of us, and as I begin to face this deep thirst, I can run to the One who satisfies. Christ is all I need. I won't be fully satisfied, not in the way I long to, until He returns to take us home. And so there is this ache in my heart, this longing for something, somewhere. I know it is for my sweet Savior, and I wait in eager expectation for the day I see His face. Until then, I know there is work to be done, people to love, and trials to teach me how to love the way Christ has called me to.

I want to love deeply. To love well. To love freely, passionately, powerfully. To give life, to reflect Christ, to offer Him in the midst of my own brokenness, weakness and failure. His love never fails, and He is what we are all so desperate for. Lord, teach me how to love - You and others. This is my prayer and heart's desire.

I miss you all and love you very much. I would love to hear how you are doing if you would like to share. Feel free to call me or email or whatever! May you know Christ more each day. Love, love and more love! :)