Peace

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“HE giveth quietness.” Job 34:29 Quietness. when everything else stops. when life stops flying by. when you can hear him in the breeze without the distractions of a million other things that dont matter as much. Just to hear HIM. speaking directly to my soul. Its different than anything else I’ve every experienced. It comes from the inside to the outside. from the inner depths of my soul, where HE takes residence. to the outer where everything is under HIS control but so often gets lost in translation.

In November (perfect month to move…sorry again dad) I moved to a new area of Omaha. (for those of you who know Omaha, Dundee) I moved in to a one bedroom apartment just a block from the main corner of this perfect little historical area in Omaha with a few cute shops and restaurants and of course the best ice cream parlor in town. Since I moved I have had little time to enjoy it. Its been tough to be going a million miles an hour and not get any kind of quiet. ever. learning to say no to things is one of the hardest things for some reason, and so I dont. Things, events, activities, have taken control of my life and its like a whirlwind that you just grab on to and hope it turns out ok. At some point in time though, you realize that 100% is not being given to anything and things are not what they should be.

In the past few weeks I keep hearing God saying to me:

“He giveth quietness”
“Quiet! Be still!”
“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Rest and quietness could mean a million things but when I think of these things, they speak of peace. Peace that isn’t understood by the outsider, by those just watching. Its experienced inside. It begins in the depths where HE is and won’t be shaken. peace comes from foundations. foundation built on HIM.

So today is a new day. So often I find myself saying things like well…it just isn’t my day. and today, I GET to say that. I am going to hope and pray that “today” is never my day. Today is a day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Today is a day desiring HIS peace. HIS rest. HIS quietness. striving in every moment.

Today is about finding HIM in everything. I want to see HIM. to feel HIM. I am HIS BELOVED and HE is MINE.

Today I feel his blessings, even in the funny things. :) And Im learning a lot about life looking differently. Its fun. its joy in the small things. its laughter all around if you take the time to notice.

This morning I got up and got to walked to an appointment.

Lesson #1 – Dont get anywhere too early when you walk. You don’t get to sit in your nice warm car until they open. you get to sit outside.

Lesson #2 – Don’t worry about showering, or maybe just washing your face after a snow. The snow ball (not exaggerating, not just flurries) that blows off the trees in the morning and smacks you in the face, (leaving a red, cold spot) does the trick.

Lesson #3 – after the gym, don’t worry about stretching. The sliding into splits, and then on to your face, does just fine…

Lesson #4 – Listen. He speaks into your soul, if you’ll listen to the breeze. To the sparkling snow blowing around you. He loves you so much. more than you could ever even imagine. HIS love is different. HIS love forgives all. Sacrifices all. loves all. gives peace to all. AGAPE love. HIS love.

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Mid week pick me up from 4th graders

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This week in 4th grade we took the state writing test. This is a 2 day test that we prepare for THE ENTIRE YEAR up to now. Here are just a few funnies from our tests! Hopefully you enjoy them as much as we did!! :) Happy Wednesday!! Parenthesis indicate teacher additions….

We got our big fat bags and carried them to the car.

I thought I was going to fait because the sun was hitting my face during the whole ride.

They knocked so hard like if their pants were burning and they needed to come in quickly.

I thought it was my sister looking for more food to get more fatter than she already is.

I felt like a pig in a jacuzi relaxing.

First I woke up and brushed my yellow-ish teeth.

I hit the water to hard and a piece of skin almost fell off.

SJ said “you are a wipe.” (wimp ☺)

We were about to episod. (episode? ……. explode?)

It was the boring 10:00am. It was writing time.

We have 2 days of writing for the state writing. Each day they have 40 minutes total. After 37 minutes on the first day, she has her brainstorming, graphic organizer, and a rough draft finished, this student raises her hand and says, “What’s the prompt again?”

We eat the cack (cat? Cake? You decide ☺)

I did a huge canyon ball into the pool!

This is the story about my epic idea.

We got to Miss B’s rom and we saw some of our friends. Mrs R said that we were begging to come. We looked at each other. We sat down. “We don’t beg to get what we want.” I said. We ask nicely, “I said. If that doesn’t work,” K said. “Then we go for plan b,” I said. “Whats plan b,” E asked. “Cry and get what we want,” I said. We laughed and Miss B told us to stop talking.

“Time to eat.” I went plum loco

Next, my brother sade (said) randly (ready) and get set and go! Go! Go! My brother and I ran, ran, ran intell we get mude. (muddy) I ran, ran, ran intell I get more mude (muddy) and I fall, fall, fall, and fall intell I as mude (muddy) as a pig.

But suddenly a chirping bird was beeping outside my window.

I saw an ice cream store. I was jooly. (drooly? Jolly?)

in the GARDEN

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God has been speaking to me about gardens and trees with all of their fruit and beauty lately. I went to the ONETHING conference in Kansas City MO put on by IHOP (International House of Prayer) this weekend and Misty Edwards came to do some of the worship. To say the least, it was incredible. The way God uses her to do worship is insane. She began to sing spontaneously about the garden. about HIS garden. The garden of Eden, a perfect, safe harbor for Adam and Eve to live and to be in constant communion with HIM. She wrote, ” I hear the voice of God singing over us as He walks among His people searching the hearts of men. He sings, “I want to be your companion, just like in the garden. If you’re looking for Eden, find it in Me. Find it in Me.” We sing it back to Him in lives lived in friendship with Him. It’s simple but profound; He just wants to be with us.”

I think about what that might have been like, to literally walk through a garden, created by GOD, and speak with HIM with every breath of my soul. Its unfathomable to imagine this beauty that HE created in the beginning.

We could compare this garden to the garden that HE created deep in the darkest, most inward place in our hearts, in our souls. HE asks us to dwell with HIM constantly in this garden. Somewhere that we can grow and be nurtured, where HE can take over, where he can infiltrate my life. This garden is not just mine, its all of ours. Each of us can have this if we would take the time to nurture the relationship with HIM. Oh how I want to spend more time, more energy there with HIM.

It prompts me to think about the garden HE has created in me and what that means. When I think of a garden I think of the work that is put in to make it beautiful. All the plants that are planted there. The work that it takes to plant a flower, a tree, to bring forth fruit.

A tree. the ground where a tree is planted has to be dug out. The dirt cannot merely be swirled around and just moved to the side. It has to be literally dug out with a shovel, scoop by scoop, until there is enough room for the seed or for the small start of a tree to be placed and to grow.

How does this apply to the garden of my life? the planting of fruitful trees that GOD wants to plant to bear fruit in my life? I have come to the realization that it can be painful. the scooping out of the old. of me. things that are not HOLY. But he wont stop until HE finishes this great work in me that HE started long ago. He is going to scoop out and HE is going to plant and it WILL bear fruit. My life will bear love. my life will bear joy. my life will bear peace. patience. kindness. goodness. faithfulness. gentleness. and my life will bear self control.

In John chapter 15 verse 16, it says, “You did not choose ME, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…”

God says that we will bear fruit and that it will last. After the tree is planted, it doesn’t take long to bear fruit….not. It takes years. It takes nurturing. And so as I ask, “How much longer God do I have to do this? I see no fruit here.” I recognize who GOD is, who I am, and I realize that the roots of the tree are growing. that the trunk of the tree is growing. that the branches of the tree are growing. Do I really want to bear fruit of a tree that has no roots? God wants us to bear fruit that lasts and so as I get frustrated with where I am, I realize that all I want to be is HIS companion. I want to be in the garden with HIM. So I will seek HIM daily, and thank HIM constantly that he is developing my roots. my foundation in HIM. a strong and sturdy foundation that will last, and will bear fruit.

How much longer?

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For those of you who know me, working out has never been my thing. No matter how many friends drag me along, how many 5k’s I join in “just for fun,” its never been my thing. I have tried and tried to make it my thing, and its just not. I constantly find myself wondering and asking, “How far?” or “How much longer?”

It seems to me lately that I have found myself asking, “How far?” and “How much longer?” in life. There is a desire that HE put in me a long time ago to get up and go (and not the working out kind). The get up and go to the nations and reach the lost. “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”(Mark 16:15) And so, if it were up to me, I would be “there” wherever “there” is, already. But the cool thing is, that its not up to me. And there is security in that. And there is a promise in that. God has an amazing plan but HE is also what Kelly Chadwick calls the “God of Arounds.” You see, in Exodus 13:17, when Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road [through the way of the wilderness] toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.

HE did it on purpose. To train them up. To make sure they were ready and that they wouldn’t turn back. God wants us all to be ready for HIS battle. But he has to train us up first. And so I find myself caught in this season of life. In a season of “How much longer?” but in a season where I know HE is training me up for something else and I am so grateful for this time. No matter how long, how hard, how stressful, it may be, I’m grateful.

And just “Like Jesus, we are not of this world,”(John 17:14-17) and so being comfortable in it is not what HE has planned but I know HE is with me. He reminds me everyday.

Humility

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Isaiah 66:2 says this, “My hands have made both heaven and earth, and they are mine. I, the LORD, have spoken!”I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.”

And so it is with humility, I would like to share a few things with you.

For those of you who waited to hear about my Guatemala trip, may have been disappointed. I never really got around to a full recap of the trip. I have letters and gifts for all of my financial supporters and prayer warriors, and they are still sitting in my apartment… just waiting for me to get the motivation to write thank you letters to each of you and send them out. I am so incredibly honored to be the hands and feet of Christ at a time when each of you were able to join in to this journey. Honored that HE chose me, cleared my schedule, and sent me into what and where HE only knew.

Have you ever planned out something completely, scheduled something completely, funded something completely, desired something completely, for it to turn out COMPLETELY different?

This sums up my summer in Guatemala COMPLETELY, along with all of the preparation before it.

There are a few verses in James 4 that were shared with me by a pastor on one of the visiting mission groups that led me to begin to understand what was going on.

“Why do you fight and quarrel? It is because your feelings are fighting inside of you. That is why you fight. You want something but you cannot get it. Then you kill. You want something very much and cannot get it. So you quarrel and fight. You do not get it because you do not ask God for it. You ask for it, but you do not get it, because you ask in a wrong way. You want to use it for yourselves and not for others.”

As soon as I got to Guatemala I realized that it was nothing that I thought I had planned for, nothing that I thought I had dreamed of, nothing I thought I desired, and so what did I do? I fought. I fought with things outside of me and within me, with God, with anything my flesh said no to, I fought against. It was a daily, constant struggle for me. This trip was planned COMPLETELY by God, but I jumped into the driver’s seat as soon as I got there. God had designed a trip that would scrape away at my securities that were found in things other than HIM. This was not my plan.

I didn’t let God do what HE had planned all along because i THOUGHT I had everything planned out perfectly.

I recently started reading a blog that spoke right to this trip that was as confusing as it was rewarding and I want to share one entry with you. There are a few details that are different from my trip, but so many that are the same. I didn’t know how to express it, until now in a blog entry from October 28, 2013, written by a woman named Kelly Chadwick, titled, “Where we establish ourselves” http://kellychadwick.org/establish-ourselves/:

“When I was 21 I spent a semester in Uganda. It was a combination of my thirst for adventure, my belief that I could change the world, a sudden need to escape from a certain boy, and that whisper that Africa breathes over you that you can’t quite explain unless you’ve been there. A recipe for disaster if ever there was one. It was good and bad and hard and lonely and different and lonely and stretching and lonely. In the end, I did some good things, bought some typical souvenirs, cried buckets full of tears and came home a little earlier than planned. It would be 8 years before I found my way back to the Pearl of Africa, many of them spent feeling like a complete failure because I hadn’t thrived when I had the chance. It didn’t look like I thought it would. I didn’t respond like I thought I would. Things didn’t go like I thought they would. Because the fulfillment of the promise doesn’t always show up just like we expect it to.

“But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Numbers 13:31-33

It devastates me to read this on the other side of the story. To see the Israelites with one foot raised ready to claim their soil, so close to living out the fulfillment of a promise made generations ago. And then to see them, one more time, miss the entire point and, this time, Miss the Entire Point. They couldn’t see past themselves. They couldn’t see past the obstacle. They couldn’t see past the fact that this was not how they imagined entering the Promised Land. They saw it as a gift to be given and didn’t see how this was a gift. But as critical as this moment was, I don’t think it was ever actually about this moment. No, this was about the Red Sea, the Manna, the Arounds, and the Foot of the Mountain; this was meant to be the culmination of faith developed, trust nurtured, covenant sealed and hope fulfilled. We cannot expect to ignore God’s provision in the wilderness, to exchange His Presence for that which is just present, to beg him to release us back into the hands of our enemies and then suddenly trust his leading when we arrive at the Land. No, we cannot expect our shallow wilderness sight to be developed overnight into eyes that see deeply when we reach the Promise. We are banking on the promise to elicit our response of faith, when the work of the wilderness is to establish it. We can’t get water out of a well we haven’t dug. And because, sometimes, the promise doesn’t look like we expected, sometimes we’re gonna need a well. We’re going to stand at the edge of fulfillment, feet poised to claim our soil, and we are going to find out if our response will be, “we can’t” or “we can surely do it.” The wilderness is for establishing ourselves as Those Who Trust the Lord. Those Who Wait on Him. Those Whose Faith Runs Deep. Those Who Take Possession of the Land. We will be worriers or we will be warriors, but the choice won’t be made in that moment. That’s what the wilderness is for.”

I was so sure that the moment I got to Guatemala, my life would be changed. That my faith would be changed. AND IT WAS, but not in the way I expected it. And so because of this, my journey through the rest of the summer and my journey into my return this fall has been a struggle. But MY FAITH HAS GROWN AS ONE WHO IS “{ESTABLISHING MYSELF} AS {ONE} WHO TRUSTS IN THE LORD. {ONE} WHO WAITS ON HIM. {ONE} WHOSE FAITH RUNS DEEP. {ONE} WHO TAKES POSSESSION OF THE LAND.” I am a WARRIOR. I am continually growing and changing and the process isn’t over yet.

So this is my thank you to those who supported me. To those that are continuing to support me.

I’M BLESSED

in the stillness, YOU are there

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I cannot begin to describe to you how good our God is. He is full of grace and is constantly pouring it out on us, time and time again. I have just been beyond blessed by people, situations, and by God’s constant presence. I am always being asked by everyone at home how things are going and the truth is that God has been refining me here. Sometimes with INCREDIBLY coarse sandpaper and sometimes just buffing me out with a soft cloth. Job 23:10-12 says,

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth MORE THAN MY DAILY BREAD.”

And the truth is that our faith grows AMID the storms. In the past month I have learned so much about where my security comes from and what it really means to be closely following His steps and the commands of His lips. So if you are wanting to know how I am, I’m blessed, and thats the only way to describe it. God brought me all the way to Guatemala to teach me, refine me, and show me how much I need to follow Him in my every step. As I began a new book today by Elisabeth Elliott called, “Discipline: The Glad Surrender” I found a short poem that really sums up one of the main reasons I think I’m here in Guatemala. It says,

“Said the Robin to the Sparrow,
‘I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.’

Said the Sparrow to the Robin,
‘Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.'”

And of course thats not true. He is our Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who will provide. We have this incredible, constantly providing God. But how silly we look all the time, constantly rushing around, never giving thanks, wanting things we don’t need, and worrying about how we are going to get the next thing we think we want. The truth is that He will provide every single thing we need if we just follow Him. And He wants us to know how important we are to Him. He created us in His image, to be like Him. ”

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow and reap and store in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. You are worth more than the birds!”

God brought me to Guatemala to teach me about stillness. Even though there is still noise, things going on, things to do, He has provided me time for stillness. He took me out of the rushing and worrying about everyday, mundane, things, to show me about being still in His presence. He is teaching me how to seek and to find Him in every situation, instead of only praising him for the great, or crying out to him in the bad. God loves us so much that He will do anything to get our attention, to remind us that he is in complete control, even taking us clear to Guatemala.

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1st Month in Guatemala

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I have officially been in Guatemala for just over a month! Time has really flown by! I really cant believe that its half way over! I am having a blast and have truly been beyond blessed by so many people and experiences that have drawn me closer and closer to Him. I cant even begin to describe everything so here are a few snaps from the past month!

I was blown away even before I got to Guatemala by God’s incredible creation. Then I got to stay in Guatemala City for my first night and woke up to an incredible view! Thanks John and Sarah for your amazing hospitality!
The next couple weeks passed by in a blur. The team from Omaha Calvary chapel arrived a few days in and blessed us enormously with their servant hearts and encouraging words. With such a large team, we were able to cover a lot of La Esperanza during our days doing street evangelism. The women spent a day at the women’s shelter ministering and pampering the women there. The guys got to help out at the orphanage that day. We invited many of our church families over for dinner to have fellowship with them at home. We spent a day in the schools and we started our after school program that happens every we-friday where we feed about 30 kids lunch, talk, read, and do activities about God, and then they have time for homework. After a week of work we got to have a little fun at the water park and the hot springs before they left.
Just over two weeks passed and our 2nd mission team from Ft. Lauderdale came in. They blessed us with a ton of language support, medicine for our medical outreach, wisdom and love for not only us but this community. With this team we also got to do a lot of street outreach to continue getting the word out about God and our church. We spent a day in the schools and got to really sit down and fellowship with the students there. We got to bless the women’s shelter again with worship, a teaching, small group discussions and a nice dinner. Our biggest day of the week was our all day medical outreach where people could come in from the community and see a doctor, dentist, or eye doctor for free. They also all got to hear the gospel. It was an incredible day where we were all stretched and enormously blessed while serving around 150 people. Sunday was a wonderful day with church and a lunch provided by the church where we just got to enjoy time with our church family. Our last day was spent at the water park and exploring downtown Xela. We are so thankful for all the work this team put in and miss them already!!

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and encouragement from home!

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