Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Living HIS Purpose

There is a great chance that this will just end up being the ranting of a typically-confused-almost-college-graduate... so bear with me....

I have always known that God's will for my life is to glorify Him and make His name known. I haven't had those moments where I freak out wondering, "what is God's will for my life?" I know that in whatever road I choose to take, as long as I am glorifying God, I am in His will.

All that to say, I have wanted to be an elementary school teacher for as long as I can remember. First time I remember saying it out loud was in third grade. So lets just say that I've dreamed of this since I was 8 years old. My whole life has revolved around this. Get good grades. Like school. Get into college. Succeed in college. Get into graduate school. Get Teaching Credential. Be a teacher.
I have seen so many of these things come to be in my life and I have felt on track in every way. I intend to use teaching as a ministry and to use my summer in ministry and serving those around me.

I have never doubted these plans of MINE.

Well, the last three weeks have been a whirlwind of emotion, challenges and growth. God has used many different avenues, people, circumstances, and even cities to get me a one-way ticket on a new train of thought. I have been challenged to think of doing something even greater with my life. I have NO idea what this means. God keeps surrounding me with people and putting me in situations to hear the same affirmations again and again: don't settle. I would've never thought that being a teacher and fulfilling my life dream would be considered settling, but I am starting to feel this way. I am freaking out and now I have to figure out what is next.

I will keep moving forward for now. Go to UCI. Get my teaching credential. But my eyes and ears are open.

I am willing to go and do whatever it is that will make my life matter for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just looking for the next move to make.

Convicted. Encouraged....... o yea, and slightly Overwhelmed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Created in Christ Jesus

Growing up, if someone would've asked me how I would spend my Spring Break in college I would never have guessed I would be hanging out with church planters and prostitutes in the city of Baltimore. And yet, this is where I found myself just last week during Spring Break of my Senior year.
While I am constantly learning and growing, God has used these past 4 service projects through ISP/USP at CBU to get my attention in an entirely different way. Each experience has taught me a specific new lesson that challenge me, even to this day. In Baltimore, God continued to break down my judgment and reveal my sin to me in a new way.
In Baltimore, the Gallery church gave us "Neighbor Training." This unique name comes from both Colossians 4:5, "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity" and also Jesus' response to two important questions:
What is the most important commandment?
Love God. Love Others.
Who is my neighbor?
Are you a neighbor? (Don't miss this... You ARE a neighbor!)
The gallery church is very intentional about being good neighbors to those around them in order to share the Gospel. They told us that the very fact that we were there displayed something about who God is. He is worthy of our time. He is worthy of our service.
A lot of our work in Baltimore was very practical (cleaning the church, organizing storage, taking inventory) but it is important to realize the implications of even these practical tasks. Jesus performed miracles because they: met a need, said something about who He was, and caused people to believe in what He was saying. Granted, cleaning is certainly no miracle, but the end results should be the same. Because of our service, God should be glorified and our testimony should be legitimized through action.
We were blessed to have some time to serve God through building relationships in the community. God took us each a step (or two) out of our comfort zone and the only thing we could do was love. Many of us on the team felt nervous, under-qualified and not able to relate on so many levels. We spent a day at a center, ministering to women in prostitution. We organized their donation cabinets, ate lunch with them, and also got to participate in the Depression 101 session where they talked about how they cope with depression.
The ministry of Jesus was received better by the tax collectors and prostitutes than those who called themselves righteous. "Jesus said to them, 'Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him." Matthew 21:31b-32.
It sounds strange, but Jesus was so edgy. We picture him sitting in fields with children and lambs surrounding him as He sings hymns. But there is so much more to the Christ of the Bible! This man went to the secret places, the places where the lowest in society could be found, the places of the heart that we hide from the world. After spending a day with these women, I have an enlarged heart for the lives that they live and an even deeper love for my Savior who saw their need. Many feel trapped and scared. Many have NO IDEA of the incredible value they have in the eyes of God. As I sat there listening to the heart breaking stories from the women, I fell more in love with Jesus Christ.
I learned that you can only walk with a person as far as the Holy Spirit has prepared them to go. Sometimes the best thing we can do is sit and listen. Sometimes we are called to greater action. Either way, we are called to be the help.
Ephesians 2:10
"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Good Morning Baltimore!

After hearing those three words sung to me for the past month, I watched 4 minutes and 24 seconds of musical chaos on Youtube to see what the buzz was about.


I will need serious prayer if people are singing like this {Hairspray} around me for the next 11 days J


My team of 8 people will be boarding a plane at 12:30pm tomorrow to go spend Spring Break in Baltimore (well, now I can’t even type the word without thinking of the song). We will be working with the Gallery Church to do “community development” (why yes, that is an ambiguous task… but we are excited by that, because it gives the Holy Spirit A LOT of room to move and work among us).

Wanna hear how cool the Gallery Church is? Okay… The vision: “The Gallery Church will engage people with the Gospel, mobilize thousands to love God wholeheartedly and to love others - all in order to demonstrate our love for God and people.”

Awesome right?

We will be gone from March 10-March 20.

Team members: Julie (leader), Myself (student-leader), Catherine, Aubrey, Chanel, Katelyn, Rochelle, Lorelyn

Note for the Detail Oriented: I was in fact supposed to go to Seattle this Spring Break, but as usual, God had other plans. I intend to visit Seattle at some point in my life but for now, we venture to Baltimore.
The photo below is a "moment-of-silence-meets-tribute-to" the former Seattle USP team :)
Rumor is... its gonna rain in Baltimore too so the umbrellas are still quite relevant.
Team Updates can be found at:
Team: Baltimore B
or... try this...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

21 and counting....

Today is the last day of my 21st year of life.
It was a good year... full of firsts and lasts, hellos and goodbyes, birth and death.

I could not have foreseen the things that this past year held for me, but I thank God for carrying me through the good and the bad.

I made it through being 21 and not having a drink.
I made it through my first experience in Africa.
I made it through my first full night baby sitting a three month old!
I made it through my last fall semester of College.
I made it through the death of my favorite man.
I threw my first Bridal Shower.
I challenged my faith and found out, more than ever before, that God is real and that He is good... all the time.

I have big plans for 22:
Move home.
Start working on my teaching credential.
Eat more corn :)
Stop planning so much and start living.
To cherish the ones I love while they are still with me.
Never stop praying.
Drink less Soda. Drink more water.
Watch the news more.
Read more books.

Thanks to all who walk through life with me. We don't know how long we have but I know that the time we have will be good :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Madness.

March {I'm going to go Mad}ness
March is upon us.
On top of being the month of my 22 birthday (March 6th- also the day that the first Oreo Cookie was sold in 1912 if you care), March holds:
Dr. Seuss's Birthday on March 2nd.
National Craft Month!!!
Outbursts of Senioritis.
Working on my Senior Capstone Project.
Ordering Graduation Cap & Gown and Announcements.
My final spring break of college (to be spent in Baltimore).
St. Patrick's Day.
Being angry at the man who invented Rubber Bands on March 17th 1845 that led to the irrational fear I have of them.
Playing Angry Birds to celebrate Big Bird's birthday on March 20th.
Cursing anyone who celebrates National Sing-Out Day on March 22nd
An Urban Excursion Trip to San Diego
Learning about world-changing women for Women's History Month
Using a Pencil on March 30th in honor of Brett Vowell and the fact that the Pencil with an Eraser was patented on this day in 1858.
Praying for the United States on March 31st in honor of the first US Map being published
*Hopefully* Acceptance into UCI's Multiple Subject Teaching Credential Program

And worst of all its National Nutrition Month...
Bradyn and I have already started with Jillian's 30 day shred (not every day but at least its something). But eating healthy? That sounds boring and hard. But for the sake of taking care of myself, I am willing to try to make some small changes to benefit my health. Don't hold me accountable. Haha. It is very likely that you will still be able to find me with a piece of candy regardless of the time of day :)
Girls gotta live!