Thursday, June 16, 2011

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Our God is an awesome God. He reigns on heaven and earth with wisdom, power, and love. Our God is an awesome God.

I know I've shared my thoughts about the word awesome with some of you. It's an adjective I've been desperately trying to reserve for God alone. It formerly was a word I sprinkled in almost every sentence, but now that I have tried to limit its use entirely, it has so much power when I do use it. In sharing this with you, I realize that I have now opened myself up to some accountability if you hear me use it in any other context :)

Today, as I continue to sit in what God has done and taught me the past few days, the only word I can use to describe Him is awesome.

I know I've already talked about how God decided to unite a bunch of Nebraska girls together in New York. But, that's not all He did. He also decided that the only way for me and one of my aunts (who lives 3 miles down the road from me) to get together to talk would be to place us on the same flights to and from New York - without either of us knowing we would even be traveling there. I can't believe in coincidences when I have a God who plans things so perfectly. Without going into too much detail, let me just say I am so thankful for last night's flight from La Guardia Airport to Eppley Airfield. What a blessing it was to share intimately with each other.

After three days spent in close community with Godly women pursuing God with all their hearts, I feel so refreshed. I am constantly thankful for the surroundings God continues to put me in. In Omaha, I am surrounded by women who love Jesus. In New York, I was surrounded by women who love Jesus and have a similar calling for Africa at this point in their lives. God's world is either very interconnected or extremely small. Either way, I know and continue to meet the most amazing women in the world.

God has been challenging me to pray with faith and with confidence. Despite the many highlights and fun parts of the New York trip, the most powerful thing I was reminded of was that when I add Jesus to things, things will happen. When I pray, I should expect a change. So many times we fail to pray with confidence because we doubt that God will show up. And, what would that mean for us? That we are foolish. Our fear holds us captive and keeps us from experiencing the power of God.

At Relevant Community Church last Sunday we talked about how despite the fact that we are free from sin because of what Christ did for us, so many of us choose to live in self-imposed bondage. I think this same concept applies to our "wishing-well" view of prayer and once again I was challenged this week with it. Although we have power and authority in Christ and it is biblical that if we "we ask anything according to his will; he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him," we don't ask. We are paralyzed with fear that God - yes, the God of the universe - won't show up. Oh, but think about if He did show up. If we prayed prayers with confidence that God was going to do the things we asked. What would our lives look like then? How would our relationships be changed? How would our ministries be affected? Wow. With this re-energized mindset I'm excited to see how God responds to my prayers. I challenge you to pray, too!

He's awesome. And, leaves me standing in awe and wonder of Him. I hope that we have not too quickly forgotten that our God is an awesome God.

Other things I learned in New York or just made me smile:

  • The only happy people in New York are tourists.

  • Despite popular belief, the twin towers have not been rebuilt.

  • If you're lost, look confident-and even then people still know you're lost.

  • In Nebraska, things get quieter, slower, and less popular the later it gets. New York City is the opposite.

  • You only press the "stop" button on the city bus if you want off on a stop that isn't the bus's final destination.

  • No, you can not be in a street-filmed commercial, so don't ask.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

You will shine among them like stars in the sky.

My time in Pearl River, New York is coming to a close and orientation for my yearlong stay in Uganda has ended.

As I sit here and wait for my flight (which has been delayed...again), I am reflecting on the goodness of God.

Prior to heading here, I received an email notifying me that there would be another young woman from Nebraska on my flight to orientation. I think God must've laughed when I thought that was soooo cool! Because it didn't take more than 5 minutes upon my arrival to Africa Inland Mission's U.S. headquarters for me to meet another girl from Nebraska. It didn't take more than 5 hours after that to discover that out of the 16 women ages 18-23 here from all over the nation, 5 of them were from the Cornhusker state! Wow. God continues to amaze me in how He unites His team together. For anyone out there struggling, feeling alone, or on the outs, stand firm! We are united in Christ. It brings me great comfort to know that whether in the comforts of my Nebraskan home, in a hotel in New York City, or in a temporary house in Uganda, Africa, I am not in this alone. We, brothers and sisters, are fighting on the same team.

"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind."

Phillipians 2:1-2

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

It's official. Tickets are booked. I leave for Mbarara, Uganda on August 3rd!

It becomes more real every day. And, the more real my life becomes to me, the more I am reminded that I am merely a vessel of God's work.

God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.
- Martin Luther

I read this quote the other day, and it hit me right where I am. Instead of feeling discouraged and inadequate for the calling God has given me, I should realize that - nothing, inadequate, unprepared - is exactly what I am. Is there a better place to be? The less there is of me, the more there can be of Jesus.

In the words of my Savior, Himself, "... apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

Carolyn reminded me last weekend, "God doesn't call the qualified; he qualifies the called."

Praise God. This is good news for me.

A well-known fact about me is that I am in love with words. I can't explain how much I value them. But it amazes me how they are so simple, and yet so powerful. So easy to use, but bear so much weight. I love how we have the ability to shape and use them in powerful and meaningful ways. In January, I had a feeling that my word for this year would be steadfast. I had no idea what God was about to begin doing in me.

Steadfast: adj. fixed in direction; steadily directed; firm in purpose; unwavering

I've been tested in this. Especially, in this invitation to accept God's calling to Uganda. It's been the prayer of my heart, and yet there have been so many times where I've been faced with decisions that I had to continuously respond with "Yes, God".

Accepting God’s invitation requires remarkable courage, and all hell breaks
loose…It takes a steadfastness of heart to keep saying “Yes” to God. -Captivating by Stasi Eldredge

There's my word.

"And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen." - 1 Peter 5:10-11

Lord, give me the strength to continuously be steadfast for You, alone.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tentatively 61 days...

"...Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

I've been told that if you say something 3 times, it becomes truth to you.

"...Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6
"...Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

God is the ultimate provider, and I know He will see me through. This I am constantly being reassured of, yet how quickly the thief attempts to steal and kill and destroy. God has been so faithful to pull this whole process and ministry together in such a short time frame. It has rocked my world to see it coming together. Yet, as the day of departure nears, I am continually in prayer that God would quiet my anxious spirit and renew my mind each day.

Although I have a page solely dedicated to prayer requests, I would like to go ahead and post a few:

*financial support - it's coming...

*for me to have a steadfast heart that is full of faith - "For whatever is not of faith is sin." Let this be a constant reminder that I am weak, and He is strong.

*that the same peace and confidence that God has given me to sustain me each day to permeate in the hearts of my friends and family

To all and any who are reading this, I am so thankful for the support you have given and shown. I am encouraged each day through the interactions and conversations I am blessed to have with many of you.