Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quiet Days

Yesterday I had a QUIET day. This concept was introduced to me while I was attending Capernwray Bible School in New Zealand about 6 years ago. The idea is to spend at least 10 hours of total solitude-no phone, no computer, no music, no people-just you and God and a journal, and maybe a few books. I have tried to keep up the habit since then, though have found it quite difficult while living in downtown Chicago, traveling the world, and living at home. There has been litte opportunity for true quiet alone time since I left tour and I have been craving it. This weekend I was given the opportunity to house-sit for a family I used to nanny for. I am relishing in the quiet solitude. Yesterday I spent 12 hours just me and God and it was wonderful. I read the entire book of Matthew out-loud. If you have never done this I highly recommend it. God's word is powerful and life transforming. Something happens when you read it out loud like that. Towards the end of the day I decided to make a list of all the things I love in life, the things that make me who I am. I made a word web and turned it into a bit of an art project. I tried to load the picture but my computer is not cooperating.

Here is the list (in no particular order)...
Going new places
Ice skating
Talking with good friends
Walking in the rain
God's Word
Creating Things
Natural Beauty
Being outdoors
Encouraging others
Quiet alone time
Giving people hope
My family
Public speaking
The ocean
....this isn't a comprehensive list, but I think it's a pretty good one. A good reminder of the things I love in life and what I should be doing :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Everybody Has a Story

Indeed...everyone in this world has a story. If only we would take the time to listen to those unlikely people, we might see that God is at work and loves those that the world has forgotten. We might even see that we have a lot to learn from those quiet, unassuming people. Last night I joined some people from this hometown community of mine to help host a dinner at First Baptist Church. The guests were not so called important people, nor were they church members, or old friends, or missionaries. The guests of honor were those men and women in our community who have no place to call home, nobody to love them or care for them. They live on the street, in abandoned buildings, out of their cars, and on park benches. We see many of them each day sitting on the street corner with their signs, asking for money,, but we never stop to talk and ask them their stories. I ate dinner last night with a few very interesting men. The stories are sad, they are aggravating, heartwrenching, and more and more common. I realize that there is not a whole lot that separates me from some of these folks. Many were abused, forced into situations that tore them down and made them into something they did not want to be. I find myself lumping them all into one category and usually find myself believing that they are lazy, addicted to drugs, and probably lying about how needy they are. But I am wrong. It's hard enough for me or any other straight laced, hard-working person to find a job right now. How much harder must it be for a man who has spent 21 years in prison as a convicted felon and doesn't have the money to get a haircut or a decent pair of glasses? It's hard. He may have all kinds of skills and experience and good work ethic, but it doesn't really matter to most people when they see his record. I wish I could do more to help. We sent them off with extra food, blankets, tarps, jackets, clothes, toiletry items, and a smile. I invited a few to church on Sunday and they said they would come. I shall wait with hope and see if they keep their word. I don't have much to offer, but I can smile, I can give them Jesus, and I can do my part to feed and clothe those God brings into my life. There are people across the world in Africa who need my help and my love, but there are also people on my own street corner. I challenge you to look for the people in your life today who need a smile, a glass of water, and Jesus.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Transition is difficult and often character building. In a way I have been in a state of transition for the last several years. It's made change easier for me, but my body craves rest for sure. The past month has been quite a time of transtion for me. I have found myself excited about the future, thankful for the past, enjoying the present. It's a blessing to have friends who understand me through everything and know how to encourage me (thanks Laura!).

Laura and I attended the Urbana Missions Conference between Christmas and New Years which was an incredible experience. At this time in my life I was overwhelmed by the amount of people, but was able to strategically avoid crowds and still soak in what I wanted to. I know that I'm not ready to jump into another big adventure quite yet, but after a time of rest I feel that God has someting exciting in store. During Urbana he moved my heart and continued to build in me a desire to reach out to "the least of these..." On New Years Eve in an arena of 18,000 believers I praised the Lord and felt his Spirit moving. It was a spangle-dangle moment (thanks Mark for contributing this word :) We began to sing the song In Christ Alone and I cried. This song has great meaning for me because it was the song I was singing in Moody's Torrey Gray Auditorium when the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that I was supposed to attend the school. Once again I heard the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear. I know he isn't calling me to a specific place yet, but He was moving me to a commitment to live outside my comfort zone and to reach out to the most vulnerable and unloved in this world. That much is clear.

For now I am home in Oregon and this is my mission field. I don't know how long "now" is but I am at peace and resting in the Lord. People keep asking me what is next. I could choose to get annoyed since I don't have a solid answer, but I don't. I just tell them....right now I am resting, processing, re-getting to know my family (all who have grown so much since I left!), doing all the things I haven't been able to do in the last few years (grocery shopping, reading, sleeping in the same bed every night, cooking, and looking over old journals to see what God has done in my life). Thanks to a wonderfully generous family at church I have a truck to drive for awhile (yep..I'm a truck girl now!). It's nice to have the independance again.

So I hope you'll continue to read and see what God is doing in my neck of the woods. I plan to update as regularly as possible and pray that my words and my life bring some encouragement and inspiration to your life.