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Monthly Archives: April 2008

The Verge of Life

I had a really good conversation with a really good friend last night. It was good to catch up with them. I’m so excited to see what the Lord is going to do through them…they have so many talents and such a wonderful heart of service.

This friend is always honest with me…but always in a loving way.
It was interesting because we started talking about the way I make decisions and why it’s hard for me to be optimistic. Their conclusion was that I am very idealistic but also very much a realist and that it’s hard for me to let things happen because I’m afraid they won’t be perfect.
I asked if they had read my blog a few months ago because that is the very thing I said about myself. They hadn’t…which confirms my theory, having someone outside of myself thinking the same thing.

Let me explain further since I never did in the previous blog:
Ok, the idealistic side of me wants to believe that everything can be perfect, and I hold out for these grandiose ideas; thinking that if I just wait long enough, and believe hard enough, and try hard enough…well, I’ll have perfect love, the perfect job, my perfect place in ministry…the perfect life.

Meanwhile…there’s this battle in my head because the realist side of me knows that that is not possible. This is a fallen world, populated with billions of fallen people. So nothing is ever going to be perfect. Therefore, I’m not going to find perfect love, (outside of Christ that is) I’m not going to find a perfect job, and there’s always going to be something I’m doing wrong in ministry….so I’ll never find my “perfect” place there either.

In themselves, these views are easy to combat. If I were simply an idealist I could just go on my merry way and pretend like everything will turn out magnificently one day. The hope and excitement for that end would keep me alive.

And, if I were solely a realist, I could settle for the fact that perfection is unattainable in this life and just be content to hope for the best; taking life as it comes and goes.

The problem is…I’m not one or the other…I’m BOTH!
In my idealism, I don’t want to do anything if I don’t think I can do it well.
And in my realism I tell myself I’m not going to do it well…and therefore I end up not doing it at all.

Is this starting to make sense to anyone?

But there’s still hope for me! I’m trying to rejoice in my weaknesses and let the Lord cover over my shortcomings. I want to view the world with caution; understanding what my risks are…but take chances anyway (even if they scare me or I’m not sure if they’ll turn out right) because the fear of not living is greater than my fear of failure or my fear of inadequacy.

*** I’m glad I don’t know how many people actually read this stuff….otherwise I may not be as vulnerable all the time. ***

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Posted by on April 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

I Spoke too Soon


The bad news is…I think I spoke too soon. I’m in the process of sending out my support letters for Full-time and in them I mentioned the seasons finally changing here in Willmar, MN. It was warming up for a couple weeks there for a while, and the grass finally turned bright green, and the sun was shining well into the evening. But now…well, now we’re in a “Winter Weather Warning”! What in the World? Apparently we’re going to get 3-6inches of snow tonight. Hello! It’s MAY in 6 days! This just seems wrong.

The good news is…I had a dream the other night that someone donated 55 hundred dollars to my mission trip and then I only had to raise 2,000 more! I’m going to assume that was a prophetic dream, and you guys can all fight over who it was about 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Truth Be Told…


I’m afraid of you.

The sun sets just like it has before
Though tonight it smells of love I’m sure.

I’m afraid you’re just like they say.
You’re here now but I know you’ll never stay.

The more I know, the more curious I get.
I could let you in but my heart’s not ready yet.

These days it’s hard to tell
What’s long behind me and what lies ahead.
Someday I may tell you
But tonight I’ll write it instead.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Update #1: Ministry Status


Well…I’m proud to announce that I an official Full-Time team member for CTI Music Ministries for the 2008-09 year. Starting in August my internship will be interrupted with a year of traveling the nation (and Canada) with a band. The full time program with CTI is much like the summer programs that I’ve been part of for the past 4 years. Only it’s longer and there are fewer people in your band. I will be traveling in a van with 6 or 7 other people, state-to-state. Playing shows at youth events, leading worship at various churches, and ministering at prisons across the United States. In addition, the full time program is used as the main tool for recruiting people for short term summer missions with CTI.

I have really enjoyed working in the office these past few months, and I will continue to do so until August, but I am ready to get back into traveling and playing music with a team. The teams that are on the road right now are seeing the Lord use them in incredible ways, and I am so excited to see what the Lord will unfold for our teams in the year ahead. You can check out the blogs from this year’s full-timers at Road Blogs 07-08

Please be praying for me and my team, that we would function in unity and good health, and that our passions would be for Him alone. pray for our safe travel, (we will have 2 overseas tours during the year as well) our spiritual growth, and for our attitude as we separate ourselves from every aspect of our lives in faith that we will be used by God. Please pray specifically for my health as well. We are all taking a huge step of faith by my going on Fulltime; it’s very rigorous and very unpredictable. But I’m trusting that the Lord will sustain me in this just as He has in everything that I have done in this life.

Oh Praise Him!

If you are interested in giving a one-time donation to my ministry, or you would like to become one of my monthly partners, please click here. Donate to Gretchen

*Please remember to put my name in the box that says “Staff or Team Member” so that your donations will go toward my fund-raising instead of the general ministry fund.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Update #2: Surprise visit to Montana


I haven’t seen my mom or sisters since Christmas, and it’s sad because I’m used to living just 5 minutes away from them and being able to see them whenever I feel like it…going to my sisters’ games and having meals with them. It’s definitely been hard in that aspect, being in MN while they’re 4 days away.

I was going to try to go out there for Spring Break, but the plane tickets were outrageous…so I decided to have some fun and plan a huge surprise after Spring Break. My mom was turning 51 so I figured it was the perfect opportunity to do so.

I had it all planned perfectly, and it went off w/o a hitch.
No one knew I was coming, not even any of my sisters. I had a family friend set up a day where he took my sisters to the mall in Spokane and then he told them that while they were there he was going to go have lunch with his sister. During his “lunch” he picked me up from the airport and we headed back to the mall to surprise the girls. I took my camera along so I could capture their reaction (I knew it was going to be a good one…who wouldn’t‘t be glad to see me?)

We arrived at the mall and found out where the girls were going to be coming out of, and I sat on a bench in the middle of the lobby. I had my hat on and my camera in front of my face so I was somewhat incognito. I was snapping away when they walked by. “Hi Ladies!” I said, still hiding behind my camera. They turned around and said, “Hi!?????” looking at me like, why in the world are you taking pictures of us in the middle of the mall?

And then I peeked around the camera…and this is what I got…

Followed by this…


It turned out to be a really fun, yet relaxing trip.

I loved hanging out with my sisters again; they always bring out the dork in me. And it was good to see my mom…I needed to see her to know whether or not she was really doing well.
We went to Emma’s track meet, saw a movie, went Kayaking, ate a lot of good food, and played a lot of Guitar Hero.
Fun Stuff!

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Update #3: More Realizations


I have always had this desire to write songs, but lately it’s gotten out of control and more consuming than I would like to admit. The people that know me really well know that I am a writer. I’m more confident in my ability to communicate while I’m writing than any other time. But what people don’t know is that I start songs here and there…and never finish them. I just hide them away in a box or in the back of my journals so no one will find them and laugh hysterically at my feeble attempts.

Usually, when a song doesn’t work out the way I had hoped, I can talk myself out of disappointment quite easily. lately however, it’s been really hard to do that. I think it’s because I’m here working for a music ministry, surrounded by people younger than I am who do incredible things with their talents. And I keep getting more and more frustrated with myself because all I know how to do is sing other people’s songs.

And I guess I’m trying to impress people. I want them to think the ministry made a good choice by giving me the opportunities they give me. But the truth is…there are a million other people who could offer this ministry much more than I do. That’s a very humbling reality to be honest.

I was driving to the airport last week (which is a 2.5 hour drive) and I was thinking, (in my selfishness)”Lord, what am I here for? What am I made for? What did you create me to do?” The response that I got was very familiar yet broke me all the same.

For ME. You are here for ME. You were created for ME. It’s not about you Gretchen. It’s about ME.

It was one of those things that I have always known but when the Creator of the Universe…Savior of the World…speaks that to my heart (even though He has a million times before) I fall apart. And I grieve inside over the fact that I would even have to ask that question.

So here’s my conclusion: I’m done trying to write songs and being angry with myself for not being able to play an instrument as well as everyone around me. I don’t want to miss being what the LORD created me to be because I’m too busy trying to make myself something I’m not. Maybe one day I’ll write a song; one that will make people feel the way I feel when I hear their songs. And maybe one day I’ll be able to play the guitar like Amanda Gonzales. But today I want to focus on being faithful with the things the LORD has given me for this moment.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2008 in Uncategorized