Thursday, June 30, 2011

Morning Shmorning

I came across a fun website this morning. For some reason, I was typing in Mercy Notes on the web just to see what would pop-up, and along with my site, a name called Merry Notes came up. Looking the same, my eyes overlooked it and I clicked it. It turned out to be a site for a Square Dance Club. I'm sure the group is very good and has a lot of neat stories with their square dancing- but the whole thing just made me laugh this morning because I needed a lifter.

This got me thinking about the devotional Jesus Calling. I try to read it every day, and what makes it so special is that author Sarah Young writes as though the words are spoken as if from Jesus. Sarah says that these were like pages from her journal in how she felt the Lord speaking to her. They have encouraged me over the years to write my own devotionals. This is my second time reading the book, but it means something different as I go through it for another year. I remember where I was in my life while going through some harder seasons and being reminded of God's promises and the scriptures that go along with the heartfelt words and prayers on each page.

Below is a blurb from yesterday (I didn't read it on time yesterday). It reminds me of why it's so important to set my days off right, even though I'm not a morning person.

"As you get out of bed in the morning, be aware of My presence with you. You may not be thinking clearly yet, but I am. Your early morning thoughts tend to be anxious ones until you get connected with Me. Invite Me into your thoughts by whispering My name. Suddenly your day brightens and feels more user-friendly. You cannot dread a day that is vibrant with my Presence." - Sarah Young

It's funny, because I have been trying to slowly change up my morning routine. This goes against years of resistance. I know I will ultimately still be someone who, when I go back to having a demanding day-job and other major responsibilities during the day, will still be more apt to do more of my prayer time/reading, etc. at night because that's typically when I can think more clearly, but I'm trying to change this up some. Starting my day off right leads to refreshment throughout the day because I'm more aware of God with me and His leading, not mine.

It's interesting because during some of my more difficult work experiences and trying times in my life I KNEW if I did not begin the day spending some time with the Lord, even a bit of my chaotic morning time trying to get out the door, that the rest of the day would not go smoothly.

I've talked about author Sheila Walsh a little before, but in a radio interview she highlighted a simple practice of getting out of bed each morning and going outside to soak up the outdoors for a moment before she starts her day. This enables her to stop, take a breath, compose her thoughts and take them to the Lord, thanking Him for the day and what is in store.


I really like this. Being an outdoors person myself, I realize how many days I have the opportunity to get outside before going on the computer or starting a project and I just roll straight out of bed right onto what is next.
When I do that, I don't even give myself the chance to thank God for the sleep I just had, or pray for people on my mind, or for what He has in mind for me..

I know everyone has to find what works for them, if they are looking for ways to change up their routine or see more of God in their lives. I live in an apartment complex, and it's not always easy to jump right out of bed and go out the door to walk outside(with baggy, sleepy eyes). But, I know those first few minutes are precious before the writing bug or stomach pains hit me. So, I did the balcony thing this morning with bed hair and sleep clothes and all this morning. No problem that it's usually hidden, except for when people walk their dogs....hello neighbor friend dressed all nice for work!!! :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Tunes - Matt Redman, live event to check out

Piggybacking off of my post the other day on wonder , it just so happens that my Tuesday Tunes headliner is Matt Redman, focusing on his song, "King of Wonders." I think God planned that pretty well, because I came across this song as I wanted to find some lesser known of His songs (to me at least:) ).

I just love the lyrics in this song:

"King of wonders, we stand amazed
There's no other, other than You
King of wonders, You know the way to our hearts
And the more we see, the more we love You"
-Matt Redman, "King of Wonders"

From live video clips on K-Love (they seem to enjoy their own Tuesday Tunes as well), writings abut him, and through his music, Matt comes across not only a man with a sense of humor (and fun British accent), but someone with a strong passion for the Lord and helping people see more of God's faithfulness. In 2010, Matt returned to England to serve an unchurched area. I love getting a sense for how these worship leaders who are living out their callings in Christ are guiding others to do the same, whatever their lives and the Lord are asking of them to do for the Kingdom.
***
Even though this world is a WONDER-full place, when my world is full of every-dayness, I can remember He is Lord of that, too...King of Wonders big and small. I'm thankful for good worship and Tuesday Tunes and being able to explore another artist. Thanks for journeying with me!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Love and Tennis


Over the past few days, I've had the biggest tennis tournament of the year, Wimbledon, playing in the background. The sound of balls hitting the ground and players gasping for breath as they leap across the court are sounds I'm used to hearing.

I grew up playing a lot of tennis. I really enjoyed it and played it all the way through my Junior year of college. I'm sure it is still is a part of me although I don't play it much anymore.

I have a lot of memories from those years, especially when I was playing for teams: High school van rides to matches; one in particular where an adventurous teammate decided she would start driving the van around the parking lot to get our coach's attention- getting stung by a bee right below the eye in the middle of playing a point (it didn't turn puffy until later)- conditioning during the summertime in the hot sun- spending time with college teammates turned friends:)- more conditioning and playing indoors in college, too- because of cold, fall, Ohio days- traveling southbound with 9 + girls bunking together for spring break...long long matches.

For a long time, I didn't particularly want to remember those days, because I thought when I stopped playing like I was, I didn't need to think much about tennis anymore. After all, it would be hard to go back to those days, and so much had happened in between to prevent me from going back to the game and compete, so what was the point?

I've realized the point is I liked it. It was a blessing, really, all those years, to be able to do something that allowed me to be at peace and have so much joy. I know I could feel God's presence with me, and sense His awareness through those years, even if many of them were before I began to walk more intently with Him. My heart was at ease when I was on the court...I was alive.

I can very much relate to the quote by Eric Liddell from Chariots of Fire: "When I run I feel His pleasure."

I'm not a "runner," but I ran to chase those tennis balls down with everything in me.

Maybe that part of my life is over, and maybe it's not, completely. I still have an urge to get out there and play, even if it's not the same. I think for that part of my life I really did feel God's pleasure most when I played tennis. Now, I feel it more strongly when I do other things. More than thinking of it like a formula, what is important is that I am involved in those things that allow me to be part of what He created me for...big and small things, missional things, and those things that make me feel most alive...

Love doesn't have to mean nothing in tennis after all:).

I'd love to get your impressions - when do you feel God's pleasure?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Missing? : Wonder

I'm linking up (late) for Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday~ Or Simply Saturday:).

For five minutes...writing without editing. After spending some time with fun ladies last night at a writing group/girls night (thanks all!), I think I am back to enjoying this type of free exercise more. It's been awhile since I've wanted to write creatively. I've been focused differently here for awhile as far as writing goes, and just letting myself go with writing has been hard.

What is something that inspires you and allows you to let go, whether it be with writing or something else?

The topic today - Wonder.


I have a lot of ideas about wonder. I have always wondered about so much. Being a curious soul, I think it has been my nature to ask the question why for my entire life. My dad would probably tell you why was my first word. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. I believe I grew up thinking (and sometimes still do!) there was a reason for everything, and that all the intricacies of the world could be explained, every question answered, and all puzzles solved. Or at least I wanted to try. It was fun, anyways:). I like the process of such things. Maybe not in a mathematical way, but in the fashion of understanding.

I've come to realize that there are a lot of mysteries that we can leave in God's hands, and some that He allows us to know...but life and this world do continue to fascinate me. I think sometimes it is easy to think of all the complexities and problems and the things wrong because of the world we live in and get lost in the wonder of that, but somewhere deep inside is still a yearning to remember the heartfelt wonder, too. That childlike wonder.

I took a class in college about art, but it wasn't just any art thankfully (I appreciate art, but I'm awful at it). It integrated everything, kind of like the art of living...it was writing, visual art, storytelling, making crafts, etc. It was part of my education curriculum and, I would consider it an appreciation of creation and life and the wonder of a childlike spirit. It is still one of the best classes I've ever taken because it really was about part of who I am at my core. It helped me get back to that wonder that a lot of times goes missing and I don't want it to be so. When it does, I have to remember to look for it because when I'm operating that way, I know things are right and that is how God made me.

I remember one of the assignments was something about taking a picture that really hit you but would probably make no sense to other people. That was how the whole class was; just being your complete unique self. How often do I forget that I am uniquely and wonderfully made?

I wonder.


(Sorry, that was more than 5 minutes. I broke all the rules this time.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Journey Out of a Fear: 5 Things to Keep in Mind


For some reason, the concept of fear has popped up all over the place for me this past week... of sermons and small groups discussing the topic of fear illustrating that this is a universal and Biblical issue commanded so much throughout His word, "Be not afraid." On a radio program where author, speaker, and musician Sheila Walsh was interviewed. In her books, she speaks a lot about fear. In a distant whispers in my heart of past fears God has set free. Of gentle reminders where the Lord is still working in my heart in places.

I've had experience working with fear, both personally and in training for becoming a counselor.

A few things I've learned in the journey:

1) It's important to identify a fear before it gets blown out of proportion. Increasing awareness is vital.

2) There is value in writing down your concerns. Writing them down gets them out of your head, and can help you sift through which ones are legitamite and which ones you might be overgeneralizing. Sometimes, this can be a way to release your worries onto the Lord as well, like a prayer or worry jar. It is interesting to go back and see how they have changed or how He has brought you through them later on.

3) A lot of fears come from misbeliefs. Considering and unlearning unhelpful ways of thinking can be hard and usually takes effort and patience, but it's worth it.

4) While turning around your self-talk (the conversations you have with yourself or the old ways of thinking), replacing them with truth is vital.

For example, I used to have a fear of getting everything right academically. God used these methods of reconsidering my thinking to acknowledge that my perfectionism here was not in line with His truth. Even though it wasn't an easy 1-2-3 to get there, with time I acknowledged that it was necessary to let go of a mentality that kept me lodged in fear. I didn't have to have perfect grades. God was okay with me even if I failed. And I could also let go of what "man" would think of me as well if I didn't "measure up." God loved me not because of what I did but because of who I am in Christ.

5) Recognize why this truth is really life-breathing in the first place.
For me, if I don't realize why something like this is really valuable to me as a person and who I am in the Lord, I know that this isn't going to be something that finds its home in me. Take the example above. When I start to let the impact of it really breathe life into me, it has a tremendous impact. I don't feel the need to perform any longer. I'm freed up to really learn and get the most out of what I'm doing and it's not about the external pressure anymore. This was one example of something that I know wasn't really who I was at my core, because when the Lord helped me release that fear, I began operating from a completely different level. I was freed up to learn well and really balance my life much better, and not feel like I was struggling to work all hours of the night for the wrong reasons.

How has God helped you release your fears? How is He helping you now?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tunes~ Sara Groves

"I can't just fight when I think I'll win."

Why would Sara Groves be talking about fighting in this way? She speaks about her faith and her music and why she has been moved to engage with those who are suffering and be involved in the mission of International social justice to help victims of violence and sexual exploitation. She talks a lot about how she has "groomed" her personal faith in past years but asked herself to whom was she spreading Christ's love and sharing in His suffering?

She has felt called to help as one who can stand in the gap for victims of violence and sexual exploitation. She shares how some may not have an advocate at all and that by getting to know their personal stories and really understand that these are real people, she disbels some of the typical loaded ideas related to social justice.

She shares some of her experiences and reflections here. They have inspired her album Tell Me What You Know.

Sara Groves' acoustic and soft voice gives such clear lyrics. She tells a story with her songs. If you have given a listen to more than one, you will likely see a woman who is honest and real with her music and her heart.

I think like Sara said, it's worth fighting, worth suffering on well with others.

While her songs aren't 'depressing', this song is one of the more upbeat ones that makes me jump around and dance:). And still, the lyrics resonate with me. The courage of many does compel me.

This song was a strong reminder for me today - it was on a mixed album a friend made for me awhile back and it just popped up again for me today. It was an encouragement that the Lord has put a song in my heart and a courage and a passion for Him and for people, and somehow He reminds me of that in the most unique ways sometimes.

"Lord it's all that I can't carry and cannot leave behind
It often overwhelms me
But when I think of all who've gone before and lived the faithful life
Their courage compells me
And when I'm weary and overwrought
With so many battles left unfought
I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars
I see the shepherd Moses in the Pharohs court
I hear his call for freedom for the people of the Lord"
-When the Saints"

How have you found encouragement lately?

Monday, June 20, 2011

That is a large lobster...


So, I'm back from what really was a break in the action and nice time away from the hustle and bustle. With limited email availability (you're all thinking, how is that possibile??), it felt good to go on a mini-fast from the internet.

I have often joked that I like the idea of a simple time, back before we had all this instant access to everything and things moved a little more s l o w l y.

I was thinking about this with pictures. We don't really get pictures developed much anymore do we? Well, up until a few years ago I used disposable cameras (my mom still does:) ). It was fun to take random pictures and be surprised when you got them developed, and actually took time to leaf through them all. Of course, there would be some duds, but that was half the fun...looking at the pictures you took off center or when you cut off Uncle Tom's head. Those were the days...of course, now, like most things, digital makes a lot more sense, there are less surprises, but it can still be fun.

Like....

When trying to get a pic of a dolphin in mid-air!!



And...

When you don't feel bad about taking endless pictures of other marine life at an aquarium (hey, there were no signs that said "no film allowed"- guess the animals aren't camera shy?)



Above: That is a school of fish.




Above: Beware: That is a shark.


Check out a scene from the TV show "Gilmore Girls" where the main character narrates her adventures with slides:).

Gilmore Girls

How do you tell stories with your pictures?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A short Tuesday Tunes

Real vacation and time with the fam = blog vacation.

I'll be back in a jif. :)

In the meantime, I wanted to leave with some words from a song that I love and is timely for me right now.

Andrew Peterson's "All the way Home"

"All the way home
They followed the tracks that the saints have trod
By the grace of God
They walked in the rain of His mercy
Let it soak them down to the bone
And they splashed in its puddles
And danced in its streams as they'd go
And, oh, they walked in the rain of His mercy"

Any thoughts on this week for tunes that have caught your eye?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

On Confessions

Is it a strange confession that I have always been a little bit drawn to confessions?

Not like the, I-want-to-be-a-peeping-tom and sit in on your private conversation with your pastor or small group while you are discussing personal matters and sin issues, but stay with me a minute.

These days, writing can be very confessionary.

Here are some recent books out on the subject:

Confessions of a Shopoholic
Confessions of a Jane Austin Addict

Confessions of a Not-So-Supermodel (Which I've read, and it's a very good by the way! It's pointed to an audience of adolescent Christian women)

I feel like confessions help illuminate what is really going on or what someone is thinking. Plus, they might seem hard to believe, but not really, because a lot of times it reveals something you or I might have dealt with at one point or another as well and we can say, YES, I get it. Those are real struggles.

I don't believe in just looking at other people's issues and putting them on display and gossiping, or using them for ill will. But, what a lot of writers tend to do is display them for the gospel and show how it really reveals something in us that is universal. I know that for the times that I have seen these confessions, actually put out there, so raw, I have stopped in my tracks and said...."Wow, yep, that's me."



Have you ever had that feeling?

Prayer is an area that I have been focusing more on lately and when I found these and other confessions on this neat website , I thought I would post a link. It got me thinking...

I want to be more intentional to pray specifically either right away or that night when someone asks for prayer. Remembering that prayer can be anywhere and placing those people somewhere intentionally so they will be remembered throughout my week is important to me. I WANT to pray for these people. I want to stop being forgetful and let it slip through my mind sometimes, even though in the moment I am engaged and interested in their requests. I want to hold my word, and treat prayer as powerfully as I know it is.

I know being in community has really helped me see this, and has freed me up to bring my concerns to the Lord in a real way.

What has helped you connect and focus on some of your own questions that might be rising up in you?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Backwards...



Whether I want to admit it or not, backwards generally feels wrong to me.

I think I have to force myself to do things that are not of my natural way.

I'll never forget the time I rode my first train backwards. I was in Europe during my International teaching excursion, and I remember jumping on board with my friends. We were never exactly sure which way the train was going to go, so we picked a seat, and lo and behold, being direction dyslexic that I am, I picked the wrong direction.

It always gave my body a strange rush to go backwards, surging past the trees and rest of nature at such a fast pace. I never was one for backwards rollercoasters or the like. I like moving forward.

What about those moments in life when something causes you to swing backwards?

Sometimes those moments can show us life from a different perspective, but it felt good when on the next train ride, I was able to move forward again.

Linking up with the Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Welcome Wednesday

What's my word for today?

Community.

Even though I have struggled with community some throughout my life, because it sometimes jives with my tendency to approach things independently and with a get-it-done mindset, I am thankful for and relish community.

Here are some synonyms that really hit home for me regarding community per thesaurus.com:

Association
commonality
Center
Kinship
Affinity
Company

Community is all about relationship and what connects you...I have seen how what unifies me with others in the body has built me up and made me a stronger person. 20 or even 200 legs are firmer to stand on than just 2, right?




(Linking up for a Welcome Wednesday post)

What do you think of when you think about community?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: Christy Nockels

I love finding out more about artists who I have only heard here and there on the radio. Always the journalist, I love searching for the inside scoop on the whys in their journey and learning more about the heart behind their music.

Christy Nockels is one such musician. Her passion for helping others communicate in a special and intimate way with the Lord and letting His name be glorified in her work is evident in her music and as she speaks and writes about what she does on her website.

She’s very thorough in going through songs that have special meaning to her and describing the process, but keeps it fun and really lively with song previews and live commentary to help us get an idea of what she is after with her music.

I have recently taken notice to her when I heard, “Waiting Here for You” played often on the radio. Her voice sounds a lot like the female vocalists of Hillsong United, an Australian band who Nockels tours with at times. She also has sung “Hosanna,” a famous song written and performed all over the world by Hillsong United.

I have loved "Hosanna" for months now and really enjoyed Hillsong United, for more reasons than merely because they come from the land down under, but that does help:).

Christy talks about falling in love with this song because this generation can really take a hold of and embrace its powerful lyrics, especially when it comes to taking on a revival of faith and allowing our hearts to break for what breaks God’s heart.

"I see a generation
Rising up to take their place
With selfless faith, with selfless faith
I see a near revival
Stirring as we pray and seek
We’re on our knees
We’re on our knees

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
"

www.lyrics.com

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tackling the Issue of Time

I have a confession to make.

I have been in the process of taking inventory and looking at how I view my use of time. Imagine with me for a minute that time was a person. If this was the case, he would probably not like me very much. Often, I find that I can easily get side-tracked and don’t think enough about time, or I have tendencies to become overzealous with time, thinking that I can out-do him.

Which leads me to the question:


How do I tackle the issue of time? No, I am not talking about actually tackling time (I’m picturing football tackling here...). But, if this is an area you have looked at before, then like me, perhaps you are interested in looking at why this is an issue and what can be done about it in our lives.

In an article entitled “Procrastination: Conquering the Time Killer,” Steve Cable discusses time as a Christian worldview issue instead of merely a self-help topic. He says that time is an inherent concept in the Bible, especially because God transcends time, yet works in this world, which operates within the context of time.

God is also concerned with how we use our time, and our opportunities with others (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Cable talks about more than procrastination as a culprit for many individuals' struggles with time. He highlights the unease many feel with the use of their time. He asserts that people want to use time more wisely, although they are not practically putting this into action.

What to do with this tension?

For me, it has helped to recognize that it exists within me.


For a long time, I think I told myself that because I was a person with lots of energy and creative desire for effectiveness in certain realms, and that it was okay that time management did not come naturally to me. However, I saw that when I needed to, I could be effective, structured, thorough with planning in most, if not all areas of my life. Sometimes, it was still nail-biting to me, because I tend to have more of a flexible and adaptive personality toward life, but I know that I am more than capable of taking the necessary steps toward making better use of time.

I think sometimes it comes down to making a few key changes. This is an area I am attempting to work through currently. Even though my issue has been more on the other end of procrastination, and I tended to have unbalanced time in certain areas of my life, looking at Cohen’s instruction been insightful and encouraging to me.

I have been looking at 3 application areas:

Prayer ~ Praying about how God would have me use my time. In the past, when I felt like I had too much to accomplish and not enough time, praying that God would lead the way and grant me more than enough for all He has asked me to do.

Proper Priorities~ Checking myself and being sure that what I am doing is of significance, and yes, even keeping those dreaded lists that I used to hate making helps! Keeping the top priorities first, and making sure I don’t get off track by things that are due later.

Perspective
~ As much as my tasks and my daily life takes over, truly keeping a kingdom minded perspective, and remembering the call of why I do the things that I do has kept tasks from piling up for me and kept me grounded.


What are some ways you have found to be more effective with your time?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Whole Brained?

I was thinking about creativity today because I have noticed that my nature is to be an ideas person. Sometimes they come in a steady stream, or sometimes all at once. I have some neat books on this topic and one is called Writing on Both Sides of the Brain by Henriette Anne Klauser. In it she talks about many different ways of thinking about writing, and really using both aspects of your brain, both the orderly and logical left hemisphere and the more rhythmical and simultaneous right hemisphere. She has developed different techniques for using your whole brain, and I like that concept. Most of all, I like challenging myself to move outside my comfort zone, even if it’s in the category of my writing or creations.

I have loved to write my whole life. I’m betting a lot of you readers have done the same, especially if you have blogs or websites of your own. Here are a couple questions the author asks:

What are some words that immediately come to mind when you think about writing:
I said:
A passion
A process
A release
Grueling
Fun

Do you have other thoughts?


What would you like to change about your writing?

A couple years back I said:

I’d like to not feel like I have to follow the typical rules....

I don’t know why you got started in this space, but as I looked back at my own answers to the author's exercises, it was a pleasant reminder of how much my passion and purpose for writing keeps evolving, and that it is important to have fun along the way.




I’m sure the right-side of my brain will help me do that.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Everyday...


Linking up with Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Fridays

Everyday,

I’m starting to settle in a little more into welcoming this time in my life.

God is surprising me.

In each new experience, when I think I’ve started to recognize my need to surrender my expectations, He shows up in a new and fascinating way, almost as if to say, “Nope, did you think that was the end?”

Everyday, I’m learning new things about what God is asking me to do with my energies.

It’s refreshing to breathe and see balance in all of it. Not so separate are these everydays.

Not so good or bad, easy or hard, lightweight or a heavy burden, but they are many things all at once...and I see Him working in them all.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Being Known



Have you ever had polar opposite experiences?

Sometimes I feel like that is me.

I have written before about how I have worked with youth a lot. I started out in a place where I came together with some dear friends and was able to see the world's cultures mesh together in such a sweet way. This was a learning setting, and I although I was the teacher, I learned more from the little ones than I think they did from me.

Still, this place gets a brunt of jokes about being a home to much of the world's wealth(no, not America). It's beautiful, and the people there seem to have it all.

Yet, that wasn't entirely the picture I got from living there. I believe things are not always what they seem. Yes, it was spectacular, but I still believe there are a lot of needs, especially spiritual ones, to meet in this place, like many others throughout the world. No place is perfect either, and even for the children I worked with, no situation is without their share of difficulties. I remembered working with a family who didn't know English at all and the school I was teaching at, though International, primarily spoke English. It was hard for them, and I know they struggled a lot to make friends and to feel known outside of their home country.

I will never belittle my experiences overseas, because they have definitely been part of shaping me and giving me a more loving and culturally diverse attitude toward others, but I have also been challenged by my other experiences in recent years on the other end of the spectrum.

Working with people who have had or are currently thinking about where they are going to sleep for the next nights to come or worry about what their children's welfare has become a very real experience for me.

And, I know that oftentimes, the realities in America, as painful as they are, only pale in comparison to what is seen in other countries.

What can I do with all this now? Maybe God has or is starting to put a specific burden your heart?

I'm challenged by a couple posts I read by Emily Freeman today, one of them here:

She talks about how you can still meet needs here in this country as well as provide help overseas. Sometimes we may feel a bit paralyzed if we see others doing something and we don't have the resources, finances, or abilities to do the same.

There are always ways to help if we have the willingness and have found ourselves pulled in that certain direction. Emily talks about sponsoring a child through Compassion International. At one point, I sponsored a child through a different organization. Her name was Adela.
I'd like to do it again sometime.

Here is another resource to check out on the topic:

Hope Givers is a faith based, non-profit who helps restore the brokenness in the lives of orphaned children by going to places like India and creates Hope Homes to care for children and meet their practical as well as spiritual needs. In addition, the group sends out leaders who go to these countries and share the Good News.

There is a place in our lives for experiences on both ends of the spectrum, and even those in the middle. It's been nice to breath it all in, and I've been grateful for the the chance to spend time getting to know these people and places.

I think we all desire to be known...by friends ( ie: pic of fellow Swiss Miss and friend Mandy with me at our International School), by those who can be there for us amidst difficult situations, by a loving Father who never leaves our side.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thank God It's Wednesday!


There is a book I have loved for some time now called Finding a Job You Can Love by Ralph T. Mattson and Arthur F. Miller Jr.. I have related back to it at times as God has taught me more about how I am wired as it relates to work and my gifts suited for this area.

The book is great. Something that resonates with me is just the expression of "Thank God it's Monday!" (Mattson & Miller, 1982) when you think of the work you do. I have prayed that prayer many times after reading this book. A joyful prayer...that life would come together like that and my attitude would be one of joy no matter what I was doing. Even in the times we think our jobs don't mean that much and we're just trying to move on to the next thing. Even in the times, for students, when each week becomes longer to complete our programs, all the while still trying to reach out to people along the way. Even in the times, as mothers, when Monday means another week jam packed with school days and homework help and baseball games.

In looking back on the book, I think on how it asks you to consider some of your giftings in the field of work. I have recognized that work has made more sense when I see how I am able to collide the spiritual and secular. That sounds dangerous, but what I mean by it is that I really love reaching out to others in places where they may not have been exposed as much to the world of faith and are immersed in culture.

This can be a hard one, but I have seen that God often calls me to places where there is a lot of "hunger" in various ways...often physical or emotional. Through this, I have often prayed that He would bring out more of Himself.

In recent years, as I have made some career changes, I have heard a quote that relates to my journey.

"The place where God calls you is where your deep joy and the world's deep hunger meet." -Frederick Buechner

What do you think of this?

It makes me think of
Psalm 37:4


It is sort of a radical thought when you really think about acting this out in a practical way. For me, it had to come from the Lord. I had to ask Him to search my heart and I believe that He really put my desires more in line with what His purposes were for me...

I never knew I would enjoy working in fields where there was some deep heartache and real physical needs beyond what my own eyes had ever really seen. Maybe enjoy is the wrong world. I don't enjoy seeing people hurt like that. But I enjoy working with all sorts of people. I'm learning how to love people who are different than me. It's reminding me of how God loves me even though I can be hard to love, and even when I can have a lot of needs.