Category Archives: “Debriefings”

How Will They Know Unless We Tell Them?

In the past week I’ve had a  conversation with a 40 year old man who started cocaine at the age of 12, didn’t know how to read, and never went to school because of his prostitute/meth addict mother.  Another with a 30 year old woman who has been in and out of jail, got into heavy drugs WITH HER PARENTS, and has left her kids in random places for months at a time. Yet another conversation was with a 19 year old girl who cried every time she even got near a church because she felt the weight of her sins pressing down on her. She was wanting so badly to be a Christian and be “good again,” but was held captive by all the things she thought could never be forgiven.

The conversation with all of these people ended in the same way, with me saying, “You need to know that ALL of those things have already been forgiven, and the SAME amount of blood that is required to cover all your sins is required to cover all of mine”.
And that would be responded with something like this, “But what do I DO? What if tonight I acknowledge Jesus and receive him, and tomorrow my girlfriend wants me to do some speed with her? I don’t know how to be good”.

I would go on to encourage the fact that we can’t be goon on our own; that’s WHY we need Christ in the first place. We can’t wait until we’re good to give our life to him; if we did that we’d never know him. And it’s ok to take things one day at a time. It’s ok to wake up in the morning and say, “TODAY I choose Christ…Father, help me” and not worry about tomorrow. We’re a fallen people, and we’re not going to get better overnight, but the Lord is faithful and sure, and he will finish the work he began in us.

It’s sad for me to know that there are people out there who have only heard a message of condemnation. They’ve been told over and over, “you’re a druggie, you’re a criminal, you don’t go to church, you’re a terrible person” but no one tells them of the hope there is in Christ; no one tells them about mercy. They don’t understand that all the “things Christians do” (ie going to church, not doing drugs, or not sleeping around) aren’t requirements for being loved by God, they are an outpouring of OUR love in RESPONSE to his love.

Let us not be that kind of church. Let us show our love for God by showing love to others; recognizing our depravity but also humbly rejoicing in the mercy given by the blood of Christ.

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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in "Debriefings", Updates on The Gretch


Dying to Live

I think I’ve always known I was making this choice, but I’ve never actually been specifically confronted with it.

I went to the clinic today at the University, and I knew it wasn’t going to be the best check up appointment I’ve ever had, because I haven’t been feeling that great…but it certainly turned out differently than I had anticipated. As we were looking at my lung function (which, by the way, isn’t the highest it’s ever been…by a long shot…but it isn’t dropping, it’s kinda just sitting there) the doctor stopped, put down whatever he was looking at and said very seriously, “Just so I have this right in my head, you do understand that the life you’re choosing is probably costing you your health?”

I was almost surprised at what came out of my mouth, it’s like I didn’t even think about it, it was just there and I said it without hesitation (though I did get a little teary-eyed I’m not gonna lie). “Yes, I understand that. I know what the consequences are. I just love my life. I LOVE what I’m doing and I don’t want anything else”.

The response to that I very much appreciated, he said, “Alright then, you know many people go through their entire life, never being passionate about anything…I guess it’s hard to put a price tag on something like that…”

Now, I don’t want anyone to freak out over this. I’m not dying or anything (I mean, I am but…we all are dying) I’m just not up to the bar where “normal” CF-patients are at my age. But what’s new right? When have I ever done anything that was normal? Haha.

Test me in this…and see if I will not…pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” (Mal. 3:10)


Posted by on March 6, 2010 in "Debriefings", Updates on The Gretch


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Trivia and Truth

I was recently asked to share with the congregation how memorizing scripture has impacted me. There are a lot of things I could have talked about; several ways the Lord has revealed himself through me spending intentional time in His Word. But when I sat down to really think about what I was going to say; hoping that the Lord would give me something worth listening to, this is what He laid on my heart to share…

“It’s not about head knowledge. it’s not about knowing who was related to who in the old testament. It’s not about trivia. It’s about knowing the character of God. It’s about being able to stand up against attacks from the enemy and say, “No! The Lord brought the Israelites out of the desert, He’ll bring me out of this desert to”. How will you know how to love your wives like Christ loves the Church if you don’t look at how He loves? How are we going to stand in reverence before the Lord if we don’t know what makes Him awesome?

We don’t fall more and more in love with people by spending less and less time with them. Likewise, if we want to be a godly, reverent people, passionately in love with Christ…we’re not going to get there by not reading His Word and not praying and not taking advantage of His presence.

It’s not a legalistic thing-don’t let it become that. Reading the Bible won’t save you…but you will know God more. And isn’t that what we’re all meant for”?

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Posted by on January 18, 2010 in "Debriefings", Just thinking


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Journal Excerpt #3

IMG_0547I think this is #3, I suppose I could go check, but I’m too lazy right now 😉

This is something I wrote a few nights before I left for Guatemala this summer. I don’t know why I feel the need to share it…I just do. Maybe it’s because I want people to know how much I love this life I live, and this happened to be a time when I could put it into words somewhat eloquently. Most of it is word-for-word from my journal, other parts are things I’m realizing right now. Anyway…here it is (hope it’s not too long):

Recognize that when you come to love people in another place, there is always going to be pain-you will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place” –Miriam Adeney

That sums my whole life up right there: so much richness because of all the people I know and Love. much of that richness has been as part of CTI, and I don’t know why the joys of all that have been given to me. Why does He choose to pour out His love for me this way? He keeps pouring out love and my heart keeps growing bigger and bigger.

I spent much of my adolescence yearning to be part of something huge. I didn’t know what that something was until this moment. Now that I see it, it seems so obvious, I don’t know how I ever missed it before. It’s not being part of an organization. It’s not making a name for myself in this world. It’s not even being on stage, doing something I love…it’s being part of & loving the body of Christ. It’s having your eyes opened to all that God is doing ,all over the world. I don’t think I’ve ever felt smaller, yet more significant than I have this year. Smaller because I’ve seen, in so many ways, that God doesn’t need me to accomplish anything. I dn’t offer anything He can’t do on His own. More significant because he chooses to use me anyway. He calls me to take part of His love by serving alongside incredible people….so that I will know Him more. It’s overwhelming! It’s the most beautiful thing I think I’ve ever seen when people, who don’t know each other, come together and worship Christ by their service. And they learn what He meant when He said, “Man has no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Being part of a Fulltime team with CTI, and now leading a Summer team, I’ve learned what “laying down” my life really means. It’s not just saying that I am willing to die for someone. Of course I would say that! Instead it’s saying, “I’m going to die to my own desires so that I can look out for their best interests. I’m going to serve them in this moment by doing what’s best for them instead of what’s best for me…because that is love”.

Isn’t that what God did for us? Yeah He died an earthly death, but, in becoming a man, He died to His own rights as King of the Universe…for our good. Oh how different the world would look if we all took on this “attitude” of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11).

Christian (my co-leader of Awesomeness) added a great thought to our team-devotional time the other day (actually, I think he was quoting Paul Vasilko but…whatever). He said that if all 10 of us on the team are putting everyone else before ourselves, “then there are 9 other people putting your interests before their own”. That’s a cool thing to think about.

You know what else I’ve learned this year?  I’ve learned that my standards for love are NOT too high. I have this renewed hope in what I’m trusting God for.

I’m trusting Him for a huge gift that I don’t even deserve. I’m trusting Him for a man who is unashamed, in every way, of his love for Jesus. A man who fights sin at any cost. A man who delights in, and abides by, every word from the mouth of God. A man who is passionate, and loving enough to love the Lord more than he loves me. A man who will challenge me; to love more, to pray constantly…to trust my everything to the One who gave it to me. I’m waiting for a man who comes alive when he forgets himself. A man who I will be so proud of, not because of his talents or his job or his looks…but because I see Christ more clearly through him.

I’m sure there are a million things from this past year, that I will be learning for years to come, for now though, I’m rejoicing in these.

Thanks for reading my rantings.


Posted by on September 21, 2009 in "Debriefings", Just thinking


Hard Lessons to learn

Swinging at Illinois College

Swinging at Illinois College

Now that Full Time is officially over for me (though I’m moving into the summer program now) I’ve been trying my hardest to process all the things that have happened this year. This has probably been the hardest 2 weeks of my life. I hate knowing that I will never have the same experience again. Not with the same people, not in the same places, not doing the same concerts. I might have similar experiences, but it will never be the same as it was with CTI team 14:22.

I was looking back on my journal entries from right before I started the program, and all the way through the end, and I saw the same prayer over and over: More of You and less of me. Empty me. Rid me of selfishness. I knew all along that that was a dangerous prayer to pray, but I did it and I believe the Lord honored that prayer. I think there have been little ways He’s done that throughout my tours this year, but I think this week in particular, He’s showing me what I’m really asking of Him; the reality of that prayer I guess. All the sudden I feel completely invisible. No one sees me anymore. It’s like I don’t exist at all. Even my team members pass me by like they never knew me. It hurts…a lot. I’m seeing that in order for me to be rid of selfishness and emptied of myself, I have to understand how insignificant I am in this life. I have to be reminded that there is a cost to following Christ; there’s a dying of self. When someone dies on this earth, they eventually fade from our lives and we move on. If I’m really going to die to myself and live for Christ, then I will fade away. I will fade into the background until I’m completely invisible.

I am in no way necessary to the living of other people. There are a billion people in the world who can do the exact same things I can do and invest in people the same ways I can…and they can do it a million times better I’m sure. So whether I’m here or not God will still move in people’s lives. He will still soften the hardesst of hearts. He will still mend broken people and pursue the ones He loves.

I know, this is all very dismal and sounds pretty depressing, and it would be if it stopped there, but it doesn’t stop there! The joy is that God chooses to use me (to use us) even though it’s totally unnecessary. He chooses to use me in all my weaknesses and inadequacies so that I will see Him and realize He’s working in me. So that I can be part of what He’s already doing. So that He can prove his love for me.

It’s crazy because the very thing I asked for in the beginning of the year (to be made less so that He could be made more in my life) is the very thing that happened. I just didn’t realize it would be so painful. I didn’t realize there was so much pride in me that would fight this. My spirit wants Christ to be known, but my flesh wants me to be known. But it’s a battle definitely worth fighting, because one day I will live no more, and NO ONE will remember my name. Will I choose to sow into the work God is already doing and allow myself to be a “good and faithful servant” or will I try with everything I am to leave a “Gretch-Mark” that will certainly fade away? I want to choose the former. Besides, any mark that I might make on this world would be dust in light of His glory. Dust isn’t even worth looking at, but His glory…now that’s worth dying for.

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Posted by on May 29, 2009 in "Debriefings"


Journal Excerpt: Philippines 2008

I was just reading through my journal from a few months ago and I thought I’d share some of it. Hope you have a smile on your face when you’re done reading. I did. Smile because you're happy...and laugh always

Take me as You find me…all my fears and failures!

Praise the Lord that he knows all my fears, and all my failures…and yet He still takes me in. He still shows me love and mercy. Yesterday I had the joy of sharing a message (with Carl) again at a church here in Cebu. I started hoping that scripture recitation was somewhere in the future for ministry for me. One of the ladies there told Mary (our contact here in Cebu) that when I was done sharing scripture she was “full”, meaning she was satisfied. How awesome that He would use me despite myself! Hallelujah! You satisfy all of me! Thank you Jesus!


Posted by on April 5, 2009 in "Debriefings"


The Ocean

Island of Tingo, PIThere’s something about the ocean that makes me feel so…insignificant, yet satisfied all at once. I think it’s satisfying because I’m reminded of all the good gifts the LORD shares for our enjoyment…and to help us see Him as He really is. My feelings of insignificance come at the realization of how vast the ocean is, and how much wonder is encompassed there. How the ocean does exactly what it was created to do (rushing to His feet)…and here I am just a little girl on the shore, next to a billion other little girls, wondering what she was created to do.

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Posted by on January 26, 2009 in "Debriefings"