Friday, March 27, 2009

Les Mis & Word Twist

I should be packing...

School's out for 2 weeks!!! And you know how I celebrated? I came home to my favorite sweatpants, sang Sister Hazel loud enough that it probably made the neighbor's dog howl, cooked dinner, played some text twist (without feeling guilty for playing for 45 minutes), called my family, and read. What a wild woman I've become :)

I got to be a part of a miracle this week! Part of the aforementioned joys of travel week is seeing how God does the impossible with regard to travel visas. I'm responsible for getting visas for all of the students going away for spring break. One of the "toughest" countries drew many of us to our knees this week. A process that normally takes about a month was done in 2 days. By human law, reason, and logic, the student should not have been able to get that visa in such circumstances. Good thing we serve a God who is not bound by human regulations.

When I called the parents this week to tell them about the hangup, I was really surprised to hear myself say "I look forward to seeing this miracle happen" and realize that I actually believed it. Those aren't my words. On my own accord they sound quite cocky, but they weren't mine. My faith is characterized by doubt. It was God inviting that family and me to walk out on the water and not look down- to trust that He can do what we can't. Very cool.

Also very cool (on a much less spiritual note) that I will be in Evansville in 47 hours. Charlie's & BWW here I come!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Travel Week

Travel week is the week preceding a BFA school break… this week… the week to email every parent of boarding students to make sure I have the right flight information for all of them and then get bombarded with questions from those parents… the week to pray for and hope expectantly for miracles regarding visas… the week for flights to get canceled and then a mad fury happens to reschedule… the week of putting all the kids travel plans into one massive spreadsheet and then splitting them up into groups for van runs and assigning those van runs to dorm staff… the week for pulling together the travel plans for the 7 mission trips leaving on Saturday. Ahh, travel week… a task-driven and organizationally-minded, type A personality’s dream project: messy information that needs cleaning up and put into neat little boxes with or without bows on top.

I kind of like travel week except for the bombardment, visa scares, and hard-to-reach parents. So, I suppose it’s just the massive spreadsheet that I like; it’s a puzzle better than sudoku or crosswords because knowing the people (and knowing who’s always late, or who wouldn’t feel comfortable driving to a certain place) adds an extra dimension.

But to add to this travel week, the Personnel Office of normally 4 staff members is down to yours truly. Two are out for medical reasons. One is at a conference. The last travel week, I basically checked out from my Personnel responsibilities and just played with the puzzle. But, not this time! I’m ready to get on that plane to the States on Sunday. Just 5 tickets and 1 visa between me and two weeks of no self-imposed coffee drinking (yuck) to keep my eyes open just a bit longer.

Monday, March 9, 2009

My Chains are Gone

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine

I love this song and feel its truth resonating with my life more today than ever before. Everyone has made selfish decisions, got caught up in the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life. And for every single person and every single screw up, God's grace is sufficient.

Today I got to tell some friends about how God has and is transforming me, and it is just so stinkin exciting to see God working in and through me. I love it!!! It blows me away that despite how many times I mess up and how many people I hurt, nothing is beyond his redemptive capacity, and there is nothing he cannot use to cause growth and encouragement.

I feel like such a different person than I did 4 years ago. I am excited to look back and realize that but even more excited to be able to share the cause of that change. My chains are gone. I've been set free!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Doing Life

I love how God uses the crappy situations I always seem to put myself in to draw me closer to Him and remind me of forgotten truths and challenges.

In London a couple weeks ago, my friends and I stayed with an incredible lady with whom I got to have some great conversations. Even though we'd just met, the Holy Spirit and genuine desire to see a fully functioning body of Christ in both of us made it as if we could see one another through God's eyes instead of our own. I hope I was as much an encouragement and challenger to her as she was to me.

During one of our morning chats before anyone else was up, we talked about being single. She craves companionship and a godly male role model for her kids so much that it caused physical pain in my chest when I prayed for that for her. She is such a passionate and incredible lady, and I want so badly for her to have someone to share her tough prison ministry with.

As much as I long to have someone to do life with, I want it even more for her. And in that brief moment of unselfishness, she taught me a good lesson. I've heard sermon after sermon about singleness being a gift, a season, an opportunity, a time of preparation... and essentially, she was saying the same thing, but something in her words clicked differently in my heart. She made me want to be productive in my singleness by clinging to our God and spending umpteens of time with Him like I would a man. This is nothing new, nothing I haven't heard of or thought about before. But I haven't often seen it in practice. That singleness is a gift is something that women slightly older and more lonely than me say with a tear in their eye. But there was no facade with my new friend.

I don't like the awkwardness and giddiness of new relationships because I don't trust my own emotions very much. I don't trust the hype of newness and am quite adept at trying to rush through it to get to the part where we can just be together, in full confidence that both love God, love people, and love one another... not having to question the commitment. And THAT is how I saw my friend's day-to-day relationship with God. It's not new and wavering. They talk first thing in the morning about what her day will look like. She bounces ideas off of him, and they laugh at inside jokes. She calls him throughout the day without worry of annoying him. They work through problems together. They fight. They grow. She doesn't understand everything he says and does but knows without a shadow of a doubt that he has her best interests in mind. And so she trusts him and wants to get to know more of him every single day. They do life together.

She challenged me to embrace the same lifestyle, and I was so excited at the time... coming up with plans and ideas to help sustain the relationship and make it healthier and less one sided than it currently is. But, I'm an idiot and forgot all of that until today.

Because I am single right now, I have been sharing all those bouncing of ideas, inside jokes, multiple phone calls and email throughout the day, sorting through problems and such among a few close friends (in attempt to not wear any one of them out with the full force of my attention). Yesterday I hurt one of those friends. And today, when ideas, jokes, problems, and opportunities to argue and grow came up that I normally would've shared with that friend, I felt an overwhelming hole when I realized I couldn't.

But, although I am soooo talented at mangling good things, God is infinitely better at not only restoring broken relationships so that they are stronger than before but also saying “I thought we were going to do life together...? I'm still willing.” If I had not felt the holes, I probably would have wasted another day (and who knows how much longer) disregarding the opportunity to do life 24/7 with the creator. So although it really hurts to know that I hurt a friend, I am so thankful for God's faithful reminder.