Burnout For Jesus

I felt a call to be a missionary when I was 17yrs old. It started with a concert put on by an organization called Operation Mobilization. I read a book written by the guy leading the organization (George Verwer) and I started filling out an application to join them. It was part way through the application that my heart sunk right to the floor…

They wanted to know if I’d ever struggled with depression.

Bummer. I had and I did.

At that point I actually allowed the question to stop me from moving forward. I can’t remember if I thought I might ‘get better’ and be able to apply later on or if I just lost hope in fulfilling this great calling.

Four years later I went to Bible college for a year because I thought maybe this would be the preparation that I needed to finally become a missionary. Unfortunately, I didn’t do very well academically. The only class that I passed the second semester of my freshman year was Christian Missions. It was in that Christian Missions class that I began to understand a little bit more about what missions might actually mean… but it was a strange lesson. A few books I read informed me about the experience of past missionaries; From Jerusalem to Iryin Jaya, Bruchko, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, and a book that pertains to ministry, A Man Called Peter. There were others, but these are the ones that stick out to me…. Continue reading “Burnout For Jesus”

What it Takes

Last week I had my first meeting with a Life Coach. You know what that’s all about, right? Of course.

I don’t want to speak too soon, but it’s pretty awesome. Digging deep into the root of problems is one of my favorite things to do. No, really. I mean it. I also like to eat ice cream and lay near the ocean and listen to the surf come in and out. I won’t say they’re all equal, but since I’m not eating sugar and the beach is several hundred miles away, I’ll settle for poking at inward hurty places.

Here’s why; God shows up. He just barges right into these situations and speaks the truth…. Continue reading “What it Takes”

To Build a Home

I’m grateful to realize that the story I’m about to share has already been shared with several friends in person. Living in Colorado and being so busy has made that a  near impossibility for the last year. I forgot what it was like to get to share a story so many times out loud that it gains something vital in each telling.

To begin, please imagine you hear swelling, dramatic music

I’ll start with age 17 when I felt called to be a missionary. I thought that meant I should go to Bible college and although I didn’t actually need to go to college, God used that year at Moody Bible Institute to work a lot into my life. After failing horribly in my classes and feeling horrible for a good, long year, God led me to an organization called YWAM (Youth With A Mission). I did a DTS (Discipleship Training School) for 6 months in 2003 and had a real experience in missions. During that time I came to the realization that what I really needed was a real home and community in the USA  from which to be sent.

I had no idea how to find a home, let alone how to become a meaningful part of community…. Continue reading “To Build a Home”

The Cycle of Surrender

There are predictable stages to my cycles of growth. Unfortunately several of these stages are so disorienting that each time they occur I feel like Alice sliding down the rabbit hole. And they are only predictable in retrospect. I guess that means they aren’t predictable, but identifiable.

I get lost in my head sometimes. Some places are dark and foreboding. Some thoughts are loud and overbearing and sometimes they lie.

I don’t mean that I “hear voices,” but my own voice, or the echoes in my memory of things other people have said- sometimes these become more vivid than the real world around me…. Continue reading “The Cycle of Surrender”

Into all the World

Many missionaries have specific countries or people groups “on their heart.”  God uses all kinds of things to inspire dedication and love in the hearts of his people for his people.

I felt called to be a missionary when I was 17. That was almost twenty years ago. When I speak in those terms, it seems amazing that it took me until just recently to realize where in the world my heart longed to serve.

Here’s where… the whole world…. Continue reading “Into all the World”

Convergence

My friend Susie and I drove to Chicago for Thanksgiving. This was not a short drive, let me tell you. To her praise, Susie did the majority of the driving.

We left Wednesday evening and drove through the night… took a slightly “scenic” route and got even more scenic somewhere in Iowa when we missed an exit. We survived and the trip there, though several hours longer than it should have been, was pretty miraculous and full of laughter. We drove through the suburbs and picked up my friend Dave and from there headed into the city… Continue reading “Convergence”

Birds Have Nests

The simple definition of sojourner is “a temporary resident”. To me the word conjures up so much more.

As we were reading Exodus, I was moved by the command in 23:9 which says “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”  God is talking to people of Israel who had spent the last 400 years as slaves in Egypt. They were clearly not treated like honored guests there, but driven hard. They were oppressed, to be sure.

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Anytime, too that either Exodus or Leviticus talks about a Sabbath rest of any kind, it mentions the sojourner or the “alien” among them… Make sure they also get to rest. Any guest should be treated like family. Conversely in Leviticus 25 it talks about what you should do when your own brother is too poor to own his home or even “maintain himself” (vs. 35), you are to treat him like a sojourner- you won’t make him work for you like a slave, but treat him as an honored guest.

There is God, being funny again. Treat strangers like brothers and brothers like strangers. It actually makes so much sense, right?.. Continue reading “Birds Have Nests”

Thus Sayeth

God speaks. This particular truth is one I have known for a long time. I experienced God speaking when I first started following Him at the age of 16. He spoke to me on my front porch while I was smoking a cigarrette. Since then, I have believed He would speak in many important (and “unimportant”) situations.

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The reason that I want to study this truth (this last week I did this specifically while studying Genesis) is not because it is new, but because I am learning this in a deeper way the last year. Several years ago I went through what seemed like a very “silent” time on God’s part. This lasted about 4 years. I’m sure He was not entirely silent, but hearing from Him, be it direction, comfort, correction or discernment, was VERY difficult. Looking back I know the reason, but still it was a confusing and painful experience.

For the last year and a half I have heard A LOT from God. He seems to be speaking all of the time. So when I came to reading Genesis and then deciding on a theme, I immediately thought of “God speaks”. Maybe as a way of girding myself up for any time in the future when I may struggle again with this reality. I find His communication so precious that I don’t ever want to lose it again.

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At the same time, as it is seen in Genesis, God speaks when He chooses. He says what He chooses and to whom He chooses. This is also super important to remember and hang on to. He is not a vending machine for direction or comfort. He is a friend, a master and all those other things that involve relationship….

 

Continue reading “Thus Sayeth”

Kingdom of the Heart (part 2)

Each week we have about 100 verses of Psalms as part of our assignment. I started way late yesterday and had just a little over an hour to get the Psalm assignment done. I was  bummed that I’d shoved this into such a tight space, because there is potential for the homework to actually be a really good time with God. So I did the out loud reading and  focused. I moved quickly but purposed to be present and take it all in.

This week we were to read Psalms 10-18. Of those Psalms, 18 is the longest. We’re supposed to read them all aloud, give them new titles, record what kind of Psalm each is and who wrote it and then do a “build” on one of the Psalms. The build is similar to the work we do for the rest of the books of the Bible in that we record observations, details, we interpret an observation and then do some personal application of that interpretation. Psalm 18 is, by far the longest. Clearly, I told myself, I would not be doing a “build” on that one.
But what do you know, that’s the one that impacted me the strongest as I read.

“I love you, O Lord, my strength.”…. Continue reading “Kingdom of the Heart (part 2)”

Kingdom of the Heart (part 1)

This has been a pretty intense week between Staff Conference and the book of Acts. I just barely got my work done and turned in on time, but pushing really hard all week (except for when I fell on my face Friday and struggled to regain motivation) was really worth it. Today I am really grateful and want to share two things I gleaned this week from the Bible. In two parts because it turns out to be a lot of words 🙂

Paul. I’ll be honest, in the past I have not been a big fan of the guy. I have often felt like there was no way I could uphold his standards. I mean, he went immediately from hard core persecuting Christians to proving that Jesus was the Christ in a very short space of time. He’s headed like a freight train in one direction, meets Jesus on the road to Damascus and BAM he’s headed the other way in an equally unstoppable manner.
There is something in Paul’s heart which encourages God to interrupt him and change his course. Paul heard Stephen’s beautiful speech (Acts 7) before the religious leaders killed him and maybe there was even something in Stephen’s face which deeply disturbed Paul. Maybe in his zeal for God he felt he was facing a powerful adversary and he himself needed to strike back with strength against whatever Stephen had. Until he met Stephen’s reason for preaching and realized that Jesus was actually the God he thought he was defending…. Continue reading “Kingdom of the Heart (part 1)”

Words with a Pulse

I’m undergoing some serious change here. I want to put it into words and share it but I’m not sure where to start.

One thing God is doing is making His word (you know, the Bible) like this living, breathing creature I carry around in my purse. I open it and it SPEAKS. Have you ever read a book that described something so vividly that you could picture it like a scene played out before you in 3D? It’s kind of like that, only it’s like I look at the words on the page (usually I’m reminded of a small piece- a phrase like “for the joy set before him”… and so I go to see what the words around the phrase mean) and it’s like they are being spoken into my ear and piercing deep into my heart.

The other day I was watching part of this video series called The Truth Project  and the guy quoted Philippians 3:7-11. As soon as I heard this (verses I’ve heard many times in the past) I practically jumped up and shouted.
Now you probably think I’m crazy but it struck me as exactly where I am and what I want.

Exactly…. Continue reading “Words with a Pulse”

Connecting the Dots

Work has been added to my plate. I met with a lovely lady named Deb on Wednesday and we talked about the YWAM Communication website. The goal of the site is to equip and connect communicators.
Last Fall when I did the School of Mission Communication with YWAM here in Colorado Springs, I was part of a group project to improve the look and workings of this website. It was a lot of work and although it was hard, I felt like I wanted to continue to work on it after the school finished since we were not able to make all of the improvements that were needed….. Continue reading “Connecting the Dots”

let us press on

Depression does funny things to the mind. Maybe funny isn’t the right word.
I have certain certainties in my mind and I know I’m not just having a bad day when those certainties pop up like a broken photo link in my heart and mind.

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But maybe there are good things to be found in the land of emptiness and question marks and broken links. It definitely leads me to pay closer attention, ask deeper questions, walk more gently with my feet, pray more thoughtfully.
Am I just repeating the things I always pray? Am I handing people comfort or advice out of some prepackaged place in my head?
Am I listening?

I am listening.
And tired, too. And restless…. Continue reading “let us press on”

I’m only sleeping

I find myself feeling empty a lot. Empty feels like a lot of other emotions but when someone asks me “What’s wrong?” and I can’t place why I feel tired/sad/lonely/frustrated/angry… I realize I am empty of energy.

Why am I so empty? I can think of several reasons. One is a lack of exercise. Since coming back to Colorado I haven’t worked out once. I took a much needed rest from routine but at some point rest begins to weaken me. Reason two is lack of sleep. It’s not that I go to bed so late, but I do go to bed late and then I don’t sleep very well. I wake up with very little time in the morning to breath and realize why I’m grateful to be alive before I head into a new and confusing job…. Continue reading “I’m only sleeping”

Midwinter Nights Walk

It was probably close to 50F when I left Jessica’s house a few hours ago intending to come home and possibly read or knit. The walk from Jessica’s to the house I’m staying is short enough that I almost do not have to experience the weather before I am back inside. Thankfully a light breeze caressed my cheek just halfway home and I took the gesture as an invitation to take a walk. In addition to the nearly warm night air, my tummy was very full from some delicious, spicy dish I had just eaten at Jessica’s.
Add to that a head full of questions, prayers and thoughts, and you have the perfect ingredients for a very good, long walk…. Continue reading “Midwinter Nights Walk”