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Category Archives: Just thinking

I’m always thinking

The thing about break is that I have plenty of time to reflect on the things I’ve been part of in the past four months, and to let all the Lord has done in that time actually sink in. However, on the other hand, I also have plenty of time to realize that this year will be over before I know it…and what am I going to do then? This has been my life for the past 6 years.

That’s the hard part really, thinking about what I’m going to do next, because if I had a choice, I would do this until I die.  This life I live has become more than I’d ever dreamed of on my own. I am constantly reminded of how magnificent the Lord is, how faithful He is, how creative He is, how loving He is. What am I going to do when my job isn’t to talk about that every day? What will my life be like when I don’t get to meet people all over the country/world who inspire me to do something with this faith of mine? What happens when this platform that has been given to me is suddenly gone, and I have no clear authority to speak into people’s lives?  And what about these friends? When we’re not actively serving together, and we’re not in a position to get closer and closer through circumstance, and there’s a hundred other people for them to get to know…will they still confide in me? Will they still share with me all that the Lord is doing in their life? Will I still be someone to encourage them and challenge them and exhort them, or is this going to be an out of sight –out-of-mind type of deal?

I guess it all goes back to what I realized last year: that if He is going to become greater and greater, (which is what I want) then I have to become less and less. Yeah, it’s been fantastic feeling like my whole life has been for the sole purpose of telling people about it. And I absolutely love to worship; the fact that I’ve been able to do that all over the world is just incredible. I think my greatest joy though, is loving people. I love being there for people (whether I know them well or not) to talk to and to listen to, in their joy and in their pain. But maybe in order for Him to increase, someone else needs to move into all of that…and I need to move out.

I need to be ok with that, I can’t be jealous. And I need to remember that, if I’m still living, that means He is not finished with me. So maybe I won’t have the most exciting life anymore, maybe I’ll be done doing what I feel like I was made for, but there will be something else. The Lord won’t leave me to just be idle.

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Posted by on December 31, 2010 in Just thinking

 

Travel and Conversation

Since 2004 my life has consisted mainly of Travel and conversation. For whatever reason no matter where I am, conversation inevitably becomes about my having CF (Cystic Fibrosis).
It’s not at all surprising to me, though draining sometimes, I know it’s only because people are genuinely interested, and because they care about me, and because they are curious.

I figured I might be able to save some time and just write a blog about it. Besides, I’m about to embark on another full year of travel and conversation, so I’ve asked that the Lord confirm in me what my heart is concerning my having CF, so that when things come up, I’ll know how to answer respectfully. The thing that’s been coming up a lot lately is healing. I know I’ve written about healing before but this is how it pertains to me personally.
My entire life people have been telling me I need to be healed, and that I should always pray toward that. Never once though, has that been my idea or on my heart. I only ever start wrestling with it when people bring it up and tell me how things “should” be. To put it more simply: my healing has never been at the top of my prayer list. I just don’t think about it.
The thing is, I don’t want to get caught up with my attention on anything but the Lord. I just want to live this life He’s given me…to the fullest. I’ve always felt like having this disease teaches me to trust, teaches me faithfulness, teaches me how to suffer with joy. That it’s more of a gift and less of a curse.

If I realize what it’s like to really breathe, but lose sight of what it’s like to really love Him and rely on Him…it’s not worth it at all. I don’t want it. I feel like if I ask him to take this away it would be like saying it was never worth having it and that I don’t want to be part of it anymore. But… it has always been worth it.
Yes it’s hard; yes it’s painful; yes it’s scary; yes it would be a billion times easier to live w/o it. Still, why on earth would I ask Him to remove me from something that causes me to love Him more?

That being said, He knows me. He knows the plans He has for me, and He has full authority over my life; full reign in me. So regardless of what I want, I know He’ll do what’s best for me. And that is why I trust Him. That is why I love Him so.

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2010 in Just thinking

 

Just Praying

It’s one thing to be saved yet still go through life just “enduring” it. I don’t know why I get to be one who sees you this way. I don’t know why I get to be one who lives this incredible life. But I would die right now if it meant those I love could live, even one week, in the joy I’ve known. I’m humbled over and over, and over and over again, because of how you love me/us. Praise you! Praise your holy name! I can’t get enough of you. I want to always want you. I want to always, always be in awe of you. I know I will.

Thank you for this disease. Thank you for how it humbles me, and shows your power and your grace and your faithfulness and your provision. You knew exactly what you were doing as you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Praise you! Thank you that you gave me a mother who loves me and would do anything to see me live. I don’t praise you enough for that, and I don’t recognize the beauty of that enough. You are so amazing. Show us your magnificence in a way you haven’t before.

Thank you that I am the one with this sickness and not my mom, not my sisters, not anyone I love. Not because they couldn’t handle it, (because I’m sure they’d handle it better than I do) but because I hate to see them suffer or fear or worry. Praise you Jesus. You make no mistakes! You are God in heaven and you do whatever pleases you! I pray that I would be pleasing to You.

Amen. Amen.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2010 in Just thinking

 

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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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Conditional Love?

I have this friend (Ben Poust) who loves to argue. It’s never in a harsh or demeaning way, he just really enjoys not agreeing. He is probably the most intelligent person I know so I tend to get really nervous when talking with him…especially about religion. His Christian upbringing was much more intense than mine, so he knows a LOT more about theology than I do…which makes for even more intimidating conversation.

One time he said to me, “Ok, why would a loving God tell the people that He created ‘you have a choice to love me or not…but if you don’t chose to love me, you can’t be with me’. How is that loving?”

I don’t remember what my response was at the time, but pretty sure I wasn’t satisfied with it afterward. Why is it that it’s always a day later when we think of the “perfect thing” to say? In my case it took me over a year to come up with a semi-good answer to that question. I was spending some time with the Lord the other morning and something made me think of the conversation with Ben, and suddenly this really clear, cohesive, logical response started forming in my head.

Maybe it’s too late to share it with Ben, because that moment passed a long time ago (or maybe he’ll read my blog and fire back some dispute) but it’s worth sharing here for anyone who’s curious…

It’s like a parent telling their children not to do drugs. Now, I’m not a parent, but if I was, I wouldn’t be a good one if I didn’t warn them against drugs. I would say, “Kids, you can choose to do drugs or not to do drugs…but if you chose to do drugs, you won’t be able to love anyone but yourself”. By saying that I’m not saying that if they chose drugs I won’t love them anymore or I’ll disown them, I’m merely pointing out the nature of drugs/addiction. One cannot love anything outside themselves once they’ve conceded to drugs (or alcohol or whatever it is); that’s the nature of addiction; it’s the nature of drugs, they suck you in and you can’t get out until you leave them completely.

So it is with Christ. Him saying, “you can choose to love me, or this world, but if you choose the world you can’t have me; you can’t be with me”. It’s not a selfish thing He’s saying. It’s just the nature of sin and glory. If one chooses to deny His glory so they can be in the world (or live their life w/o any sort of accountability to God), they can’t be with Him because He is glory and glory cannot dwell in sin; it’s the essence of glory: the absence of sin. It’s not a matter of judgment, it’s not a conditional love, and it’s not a lack of ability on God’s part. It’s fact. It’s how good and evil work. It’s us with the lack of ability. We either love God and therefore become part of his Glory, or we don’t love God and force ourselves to be in His absence.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2010 in Just thinking

 

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Snow and Sickness

The first time  snow falls in the winter (or in the fall if you’re from the mid-west) everyone thinks it’s beautiful. It’s so light and fluffy and makes everything look clean; makes you want to cuddle up to someone and drink hot-cocoa by the fireplace. But, as time goes on it becomes a huge bother. You have to shovel your driveway. You have to start your car half an hour before you want to get in it. Yeah sure it’s fun to play in and make snowmen for a while but soon the cold makes your nose want to freeze shut, and your fingers fall off. And let’s be real, snow, and all that it brings with it, can be treacherous and deadly. One could get lost in a blizzard going from their barn to their house and  never make it back. Or they could hit a patch of ice while driving and go right into the ditch, only to be covered with snow… and no one would find them!

Lately, the Lord has allowed me to see my sickness in the same light, only the opposite way. This disease is treacherous. It’s deadly. When you first see it it’s ugly, it’s frightening, it’s so easy to lose yourself in it. But when I can just ride it out; when I can get past the ugliness, even in the dire times, there is beauty to be had.

There’s something beautiful in being brought to the end of yourself. There’s something beautiful to be seen in people loving you through sickness. There’s something magnificent in knowing that there is nothing I can do to stop this disease. I can only walk in the direction I’m called and praise the Lord for giving me the breath to do it.

There’s a freedom in weakness. It’s not a cop-out; it’s not a right to say, “Ok then, I’m just going to live my life carelessly and selfishly, while everyone around me works hard, because I’m dying anyway”. Everyone is “dying anyway”!  It’s an acknowledgment that  this is the life God gave me; this one. And I need to be a good steward of it! It’s an acknowledgment that I am not my own anyway, I belong to the Lord. If I trust Him; if I believe He loves me and that what He does is for my greatest good and His highest glory, then all the fear, and worry, and bitterness will melt away like ice in springtime. And everything becomes beautiful again.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2010 in Just thinking

 

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“Follow Me”

GuatemalaLast night I was praying for my friends (and for myself) who are considering doing a year with CTI , and I want to share a portion of that prayer here with you because I think it transcends CTI and applies to anything the Lord may be calling us to do in this life. Luckily I pray best when I write it out…so I’m just going to copy directly from my journal onto this blog. I hope you get something out of it 🙂

It’s so hard because Fulltime CTI demands that we place our life on hold for an entire year, with the risk that nothing will be the same when we return…but isn’t that what you asked of your disciples? to leave everything behind and follow you? when I look at it in that light, seems like the MOST logical thing to do would be to go.

I love that image. I can just see them, grown men, dropping whatever was in their hands; disregarding any plan for this day or the next, and following You, simply because you said “Come”.

Should we look behind us and weigh whether what we have is better than what You offer? Seems absurd. Everything we have  (if we saw it for what it really was) would look like garbage compared to what you call us to.

Still I realize when you call people it always looks different, and you certainly don’t call everyone to the same thing…but for those you are calling to do Fulltime, would you open their eyes to see it as the most beautiful opportunity they could be given. and would you give them courage to step out through their fear. and would you show them your faithful provision.

“What is more I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things, I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2009 in Just thinking