I’m Going Back!!

After days, weeks and months of praying and deliberating, I have decided to go back to Honduras this summer. For my counseling program, we have to do three internships. For my first and second internship, I have been working with a play therapy center locally in Cleveland. I have loved the children that I have been able to see on a regular basis. Watching the change in them after what seems like something so insignificant, is incredibly inspiring to me. I’m thankful that I’ve had this opportunity.

This summer I will be able to embark on the final part of this journey of grad school – my third internship. My program is in Mental Health Counseling, and my emphasis has been on working with non-profits. This means I have been given opportunities to take classes relating to this field. The opportunity to go to Honduras is part of this emphasis. I will get to spend three and a half weeks working at an orphanage in Honduras, practically applying the tools and techniques I have been learning here. I will be able to adapt them to Spanish, to the children of Honduras, and to the completely different culture of Roatan itself. I will also be utilizing my little working knowledge of non-profits, and help Paul and Kim Dyar, missionaries in Honduras for five years now, with their church and ministry on Roatan.

I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to serve with these people that I have begun to build relationships with. Some of this experience will be completely new, and some of it will be like getting right back on the bike. I’m excited about all of it! I know that God has had this planned for me since the beginning, even though I am just now figuring it all out. 🙂

Please keep me in your prayers as I work this out, and as I leave. I will keep you posted as things get closer. My friend, Kate, also introduced me to this site that she has used previously to raise money for mission work that she has done in Romania! Please support financially if you can as well – being a grad student and traveling out of the country is rather costly!

I appreciate all of the support that you all provide for me – spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, relationally and more! I could not do any of this without you! I love you all!

http://www.gofundme.com/doqa4

Peace

You know those days when you sit with so many questions? All the weight of what comes next laying on your shoulders, and no real solutions in sight. These are the days when I wish I could tangibly hold Jesus’ hands and ask Him the answers that I know He has and has had planned for a while now.

But I am, in some ways, thankful that he does not give us all of the answers at once. I have sat in class with people who have to be the first one to answer the teacher’s question. Or those friends that give you the “perfect” advice for every situation you have going on in your life. But these people are not enjoyable to be around – as a rule…it’s exhausting. You almost want to tell them “just let it be”. My mom hates this phrase when we say it to her, but “stop freaking out, calm down.” She usually responds with “I’m not freaking out, but you’re about to make me start!”

I think the reason these people are frustrating to the rest of us is because, for the most part, we know that questions are ok. It is ok to not have all of the answers to every question immediately. Sometimes, we just want to sit with the question and think through the slew of possibilities. Isn’t that the beauty of life? This doesn’t mean never looking for answers or seeking out solutions, but sitting to seek Him for the right answer or solution.

Lately, I’ve been realizing that it’s not just the questions I’m asking in my life that make it beautiful, or the plans I am joining with God to make, but the people I am making these plans with for the future. Having a man of God in my life to challenge my ideas, ask harder questions than I ever wanted to ask myself, sit with me as I work out my questions with fear and trembling, this has been more of a blessing than I could have ever asked for.

Adults in my life have always told me that I would not realize flaws or faults in myself until finding that person to spend the rest of my life with. Well, they were right, and we’ve only just begun. It seems every day I want to squash my humanity when I act like a complete idiot, say something I wish I could take back the second it leaves my childish, selfish mouth. But something that I think my parents tried to explain and I did not understand was how this loving relationship could transform the way I see God and myself.

Philip has learned the intricacies of my personality these past six months. He is learning my weird moods, what each tone of voice means, how to interpret every one of my many faces, when to challenge and when to sit back. I’m learning these things about him too. But what I have found most incredible is the way our relationship has allowed me to get a slightly bigger grasp of God’s unconditional love. Through talking about the way we see God and the Bible and even talking through the daily and mundane things, I have learned more about Him and how He feels about us. Just a pure, selfless love.

I appreciate in the moments of craziness, the reminder that God has our best interest in mind. Knowing what good things we want for each other, how much more does He want good things for us?

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified yout to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:9b-12

I pray that God, in his glorious riches, would allow you understand and receive his peace more and more daily, through the understanding that He loves you so much and wants only the best for you. I pray that you would learn a little more about Him today, His plans for you, what it means to live only for Him. I pray that you may truly live a life worthy of Him, and pleasing to Him. Please take some time to sit with Him with your questions tonight – He wants nothing more than to be with you. I love you all and am so thankful for what you mean to me!

Healer

“You hold my every moment, you calm my raging seas, you walk with me through fire, you heal all my disease…I trust in You, Lord, I trust in You.”

Tonight, the words of this song rang out for me as I prepare to leave the country tomorrow.  It’s the first time in two years, but it feels like twenty. So much has happened in the last two years to shape who I am, what I believe, how I believe, why I believe. But I still believe. And I still trust in Him. I trust that He is in control and has my best interest in mind. I trust that He knows better than I the path that He has for me. Where do you need to trust Him that you are not?

Please pray for safe travels tomorrow. I love you all!

Honduras – June 2011

Hi all!

So sorry that it has been so long since I have updated. Since last updating I have:
– Begun a new job as a Resident Director in the Student Development Sector at Lee University.
– Gotten full swing into a Master’s program in Mental Health Counseling.
– Not been to Honduras in two years…

All of these above bullet points have led to quite a lot of development, growth, challenge and thoughts. I have wondered how Honduras plays into my future, what God has planned for me in Honduras, how Mental Health Counseling is going to play into my future, how Student Development will play into my future. All of these questions are crucial, and yet I am content. How is this possible?

I wish I could fully attribute this lack of fear to my own capabilities. But I know that’s not true. I have faith that when the time is right, God will lead to me to the next step. He has so far. There are a lot of reasons to trust God in my life. He has promised that He has plans for me. He has promised that He loves me and has good gifts for me. But I can also look back at the past to see the pattern in my life. There have been moments when I questioned whether I would be ok. But then, He opens a door or someone calls that He had connected me with….He is so good! So I have to trust Him.

This summer is even an indication of His blessings. I got called to work with a group that I translated with two summers ago. They are an incredible, generous, passionate group of people that I am so excited to work with again. They are supporting me. I’m also going to work with Paul and Kim Dyar again for a week before the other group comes – they are blessing me as well! It is unbelievable that God has kept these doors open through the relationships built over time. I am so excited to see what He does during these 3 weeks in me and what he speaks to me. He is opening up possibilities and leading me to new paths. I do not know what these days will bring but I am using these Scriptures as my starting point:

1bAnd let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I do not have to have all of the answers, I do not have to know where God will take me in the future, you do not need to know what the final result is going to be – we need to develop our relationships with Christ and depend on Him to take care of us. Trust in Him to guide us and come alongside us for the journey, through the good and the troubled times. Trust Him for your future as I trust Him with mine. 🙂

Please keep me in your prayers! Let me know how I can be praying for you throughout the summer.

Blown Away

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

I have read this scripture before, but never before has it hit me in the way that this song by Charlie Hall just did. Wow. My heart is breaking for those in Haiti right now, and my heart continually breaks for the orphans in Honduras that I think about daily. I keep their picture in my office so that throughout the day I am reminded that all that I do, I do for people, for love, to spread Christ, and in order to one day be with them in Honduras.

I want to make a difference. I want to invoke change in the lives of others. I want to inspire hope in others that only comes through the life of Jesus. But none of these things, none of these things matter or are possible without God doing them through me. I am human. I fail daily. I speak too quickly. I listen too little. My temper gets the best of me. And yet….

God uses me. God loves me. God forgives me. He renews His mercies daily for me. Why? I will never fully understand.

I remember reading John Piper and the words sticking out to me: God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.

God, I want to be satisfied only in you. No one else, nothing else will ever do.

Micah 6:8
Charlie Hall

Verse
You could feed the whole world with the crumbs of old bread
Spread the good news through dreams and stones
With a breath of the wind You could raise up the dead
But You ask us to go

chorus
Help us love mercy, help us do justly,
Help us walk humbly with You God

Verse 2
Forget not the widow, the orphan, and slave
O God please remember the helpless today
Call on Your children repairing the breach
There is no place too far that Your mercy can’t reach

Outro
For the children who sleep beneath cities at dark
let love go and touch them with your Father’s heart

Wow. Be blown away today.

Worth

Sometimes God speaks to me using strong, direct and powerful means like Moses and the burning bush. Sometimes he uses the silence of His still, small voice. Both ways have proved effective; either way, He receives my full attention. Friday night, he spoke to me through what shall be referred to from now on as the Blizzard of 2009. 🙂 I knew I was officially a Tennessean when I saw 6 inches of snow on either side of the road and considered it a blizzard!

In my head, I had the perfect plan for my Friday night. I knew a snowstorm was expected, so the drive was allowed to take, tops, four hours. I grew up in Michigan, I could handle a little snow. 😛 What I wasn’t counting on were hundreds of other Tennesseans who had never seen more than 2 inches of snow in their lives…I was stopped after 2.5 hours of my drive, after making great time…I was only ten miles away from my exit.

When the traffic stopped me, I was talking to my beautiful friend, Estella, about our consistent attempts to out-plan God. I did not immediately realize the irony of that conversation.

I plan a lot of aspects of my life. I “plan” when I wake up in the morning, when I go to bed, who I eat lunch with, where I hang out, what grades I make in my classes. I attempt to plan my future, how things will fall into place, who I will be there with, what exactly it will look like, but unfortunately it never works out exactly as I plan. Time and time again, God has told me that He has better plans, that HE knows the plans He has for me….and yet, I continue to try on my own.

On Friday night, I planned to be home in a set amount of time, have a certain amount of things to do before then. Instead, He wanted me to be alone, in my car, with nothing to distract me. I turned on a light and started reading what He had to tell me, things I needed to hear, things only for me.

Where does your worth come from? He was reminding me that mine comes from Him. I was reminded of Moses and his forty year journey through the desert filled with hardship and struggle. To what end? He died before reaching the promised land. I’m not saying we all need to plan on never reaching our dreams or goals, but what is the purpose in all of it? God calls us to follow Him, pick up our crosses and follow Him daily, no matter the cost and no matter the reward. Our reward may not necessarily be on this earth, though the cost of our sacrifice most definitely is. I am slave to righteousness, I am asked to consider hardships joy, I am asked to give all I have to the poor. We think our God should give us immediate satisfaction (of what we think we need), yet that is most definitely not how he works. Thank you, American dream for giving us unrealistic expectations of what our lives should look like. I long to get a glimpse of the world through His eyes, so I can begin to see me and this world the way He does.

God, help me to better appreciate that you love me no matter what I look like, how much money I make, what guy I am dating, whether or not I continue attempting to plan my life, fail to surrender to you completely, or forget what your love means to me.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

Hola and…privyet?

Well, I am currently working full time at a ministry center in Cleveland. Our office does multiple things – Christian tv (worldimpact.tv), Cry Out America (awakeningamerica.us/cryoutamerica), and the event I have my hand in most Empowered21 (www.empowered21.com). Check it. 🙂 I love it. It’s challenging, learning an entirely new system and way of doing things. But I love change and I love challenges. I’m enjoying figuring it out and developing creative ways to use my strengths and gifts.

Tonight is actually not about my new job, though I am extremely blessed to have it. Tonight is about my ESL class. Oh. My. Gosh. I LOVE it. It’s typically only hispanic people, which obviously I love. I teach the class in Spanish, plus English obviously. But tonight….there were Hispanics aaaaaand Ukrainians!! How much fun! So throughout the entire class, I was teaching everything in Spanish, then I had to explain it in English so the Ukrainian guy could explain what I was teaching to his nephew….

I never really saw myself as a teacher. I’m a little scattered and get excited too easily. But I really love teaching this class. It’s only one night a week so it’s not an every day thing. And people who are there really want to be there, they really want to learn English, desperately some of them. They ask me the hardest questions about grammar and pronunciation. They ask me questions I have no answers to. And I love it! I feel completely rejuvenated and refreshed. AND I got asked to translate for a conference next weekend! This just confirms my calling to Hispanic people over and over again. My entire week has been made by this one night. Thank you, God, for your affirmation and showing me your love in ways that only you and I understand.

trusting…

You know those times when your problems seem overwhelming and nothing will ever be better or resolved? Loving Jesus, I know that “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him…” But sometimes, you just feel like He doesn’t hear and that your problems are too big and that He doesn’t hear you. Or that they are too big for Him to even handle. Don’t think I’m not trusting Hi, but there are times when I forget He is in control and knows me and what I need better than even I do. I have had some let-downs as well as a lot of encouragement these past few weeks. My family, my Honduran family, my amazing friends, everyone has supported me and encouraged me. I’m so thankful for everyone. But these verses have comforted me more than anything. Louie Giglio quotes them at the end of the How Great Is Our God tour. Please read and be comforted, challenged, pushed toward our Savior.

Why do you say, O Jacob, 
       and complain, O Israel, 
       “My way is hidden from the LORD; 
       my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know?
        Have you not heard? 

  The LORD is the everlasting God, 
       the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
       He will not grow tired or weary, 
       and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary 
       and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, 
       and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD 
       will renew their strength. 
       They will soar on wings like eagles; 
       they will run and not grow weary, 
       they will walk and not be faint.

-Isaiah 40:27-31

I love my Jesus.

 

Magnificent beach in Roatan

None But Jesus

So I had a pretty amazing thing happen today. I was working part-time in the accounting office at Lee, but there was nothing to do. Rather than just sit there, I decided to apply for a few jobs. I finally found one that looked decent. This company was looking for bilingual customer service representatives. I thought that would be ok, get to use my Spanish, decent pay, more than I’ve made so far at Lee…so I send in my application, then get a call about an hour later from the hiring agency working for this company. Turns out the hours for the customer service job sucked….it probably wouldn’t work with school.
They wanted me to come in and do some tests – typing tests, Spanish tests. I went in to take the tests, knowing I probably wouldn’t take the job, but I always heard to take interview practice whenever you can. I was upfront with the guy and told him I probably wouldn’t be able to take the job, but he pretty much begged me to fix my schedule because he knows the people desperately need someone to fill the position. I stuck around chatting with the lady at the front desk and the guy I had been talking to. I finally told them I had to go, would call them, but probably wouldn’t be taking the job. Part of the way through this conversation, their boss had come into the room, I met him, but hadn’t really talked to him…
I get in my car, about to call Maria telling her I’m on my way back, when I hear tapping at my window. It was Ben, the guy I’d been talking to. “My boss wants to talk to you…..” “Why?” “He wants to offer you a position in OUR firm…”

Holy cow! I went in, had a twenty minutes conversation with Shane, the boss. He had me sold. They need another recruiter and partner, whatever my actual title would be. He wanted to hire me on the spot but I told him I had to consider it. I told him I have no business office experience except in Accounting, but I’m a quick learner. He said “business I can teach you, your personality cannot be learned.” Basically, he loved me and I HAVE A JOB!!!!! Praise Jesus. I’ve been praying about this, trusting, knowing He is in control and that things would work out. And look how they did. I had hoped that something like this would happen, that it would be a wham, in your face, cannot help but take this job….and look what happened.

Thank you, God, for your providence, for your care, for your concern over my minute problems. Thank you for loving me and taking care of me. Thank you for working things together for the good of those who love you.

Be encouraged. Whatever situation is going on in your life, whether it’s worked out perfectly or not, know that He is paying attention, He cares about you, He is with you every step of the way. I love you guys!

Nashville Reading

This weekend we’re in Nashville for my cousin Austin’s wedding. We consider him and his brother, JB, to be semi-big brothers because we lived close to them growing up. I think some of my favorite memories to look back on are all of the times at Auntie Marian’s pool….Austin and JB would see how long they could hold us underwater before Aunt Marian would realize what they were doing. I swear I almost drowned about 7.4 times.

It’s been good catching up with family, though. You know how you see family after not seeing them for years (some of them it’s been around 6 years), and there’s the initial, awkward “I don’t really know anything about you anymore…”. Thankfully, my Dad’s family is quite extroverted and easygoing, so there was soon playful banter, catching up on everyone’s lives, where they’re at, where they’re working, some of them where they’re living. It’s been fun. We even had some fun card games going where you shouted at each other. I do love my family.

Then, when everyone went to check into their hotels, I found a fun book to read. LOVE this. My Aunt Helen is a big reader like my Dad, so her shelves are chock full of amazing books. I picked up Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis, after it being recommended to me for years by my dad and recently by a few other people. These are some interesting/challenging things I pulled out of it. So far it’s a conversation from the Devil to one of his demons, just to put that in perspective if you’ve never heard of it.

-One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me…….Your patient, thanks to Our Father Below [Satan], is a fool. Provided that any of those neighbors sing out of tune, or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous.

-At bottom, he still believes he has run up a very favorable credit balance in the Enemy’s [God’s] ledger by allowing himself to be converted, and thinks that he is showing great humility an condescension in going to church with these “smug,” commonplace neighbors at all. Keep him in that state of mind as long as you can.

Wow, first two chapters and I’m already loving it. Why haven’t I read this sooner? Silly other books that pretended to be more important. How many times have I sat in church and been distracted from the pastor’s message because of how some lady’s hair looks, or distracted in praise and worship because of how badly the person behind me sounds when they’re praising their Savior. And how often has my judgment of others in church pulled me away from focusing on Christ and worshiping Him in those moments. Not new lessons for me, by any means, but just good reminders and interesting ways of thinking about them. I can’t wait to keep reading this book! Also, more Elisabeth Elliot quotes to come too – she is incredibly inspiring.

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