Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

Just found this saved in my drafts folder from over a year ago... A few weeks ago, the played a video at church with clips of 2-5th graders talking about how they hear from God. There was no question or hesitation in their answers. The answers varied from worship, read the Bible, through others, answered prayer and even just in being, but they all heard God’s voice.
I started crying because it was such a beautiful moment in hearing that these KIDS believe that God is real. It was incredibly humbling to know that many of these kids are so much farther along than I am in understand God’s voice.

I struggle with the question, Do I hear God’s voice? Do I even know God’s voice?

I have learned so much this summer. I think for the first time, I have felt the tension of living in two worlds. I have felt the incredibly strong pull of my earthly desires, but at the same time, the pull for ‘that which Christ has called me heavenward’. My life group has had the opportunity to become friends with some people at a homeless shelter. Do I spend more time with them, or do I go home watch my favorite show and get to bed early. Do I buy that shirt that I really do not need, or do I use that money to bless someone else. So many LGs were spent talking about having boldness and confidence is sharing the gospel.

Since Brazil last summer, I have had this tug on my heart. I continued to pray that God would make that clear to me. Months pass. The tug is still there. I have no idea what the tug is all about. Missions maybe, a few people told me they see me doing that. I started reading more blogs and hearing more stories of adoptions. There is that tug again. God’s heart is for caring for the orphans right? These things move me. I love hearing how people are willing to let go of themselves and jump into what God is calling them towards whether that be proclaiming the gospel here and abroad or adopting a child.

So I decide to apply for a missions trip with RH. There were only two coming up and one of the deadlines already passes…for the trip I was most interested in. The other deadline is a week away. I cant make that decision in one week. I pray about it, I still don’t do anything. The second deadline has now passed.
I come to the conclusion that I need to start walking. I spend so much time waiting around for life to fall into my lap. I just need to go and trust that God will direct my steps. The following Monday, I got an email saying the deadline has been extended.
Ok God is you? That afternoon I get in the car and there is a song on the radio with words saying “When you take that first step into the unknown, He wont let you go, So what are you waiting for. I turned my application in a few days later.

Going on this trip would require money I don’t have and don’t want to give up; vacation time I don’t have (again the money) and I would miss some events I wanted to be apart of. The more I process it, the more I realize I am in that tension of these two worlds again. Wont God provide? Isnt He worth it?
I cant not go after everything I learned this summer. I would be like ignoring all of it. I felt as if God was asking me to go on this trip.

So I wait to hear back if I am on the team. The more time passes, the more I begin to feel unqualified for this trip, the more I remind myself that if God is calling me to this, he will equip me. I then get the phone call saying we want a small team, maybe you can come on the Summer trip.

Honestly, part of me is relieved. The other part is upset and confused. Wasn’t this what God was asking of me? Didn’t I do it? I think what really got me was the fact that maybe I didn’t actually hear God….when this whole time I was convinced I did.

On Sunday, when Steve was talking about the future of RH Fullerton, he said something that stuck a cord with me. His vision for what this campus would look like was dead, but that doesn’t mean the vision itself was. God had other plans with the same components, it just looked differently. The tug is still there. Maybe it will just look differently in the way it plays out.


It feels like it has been one thing after another the last several weeks. I keep wondering when it will end. But at the same time, I am grieving the ending of this season of life (and fighting it a bit, I think). I was looking at the website of one of the speakers that will be at a leadership conference I am attending. On his blog he wrote, "I hate endings, no matter how “good” or celebrated they are. I associate endings with hurt. Hurt is the only word I seem to be able to come up with. Pain that doesn’t yet have an adjective. It just…hurts. I know I should be happy, I know an ending can be positive, my faith is clear it will all work out. But tonight, endings just feel like hurt. Hurt sounds like a little kid word. That feels like truth to me. Endings, while the transactional reality can be planned for, the emotion still strikes like a blow in the dark. I knew this day was coming. I’ve actually known from the beginning...".

That struck a cord with me. Hurt. I am hurting. I am hurting the loss of what has been an incredible chapter in my life. It has been one of stability and blessings. I have actually lived in one apartment for almost 2 years. I am completing five years at my job. My church just celebrated its two year birthday and I have been fortunate to be there from the beginning. RHF has become my home, my family. I have been able to pay off my student loans. I purchased my first car (yay for loans...again!). I had the ability to travel to Brazil, France, Canada and Israel. My life was normal. My life was predictable. I was set in my ways.

Several months ago, I knew I had entered a season of waiting. The only thing I knew I was waiting for was changes. If that was supposed to be a time of preperation as well, I failed! Because I would now say I have come into the a time of refining. And I only wish I was better prepared for this. I knew it was coming...at least I thought I did. Maybe I had hoped that things wouldnt change too drastically; that I would still have my safe, predictable life. I still dont know what this phase or the next will look like. Maybe the only thing that will be different is my heart. All I know is it hurts right now. A lot. It feels like God is stripping everything away. Everything that I found security in (apart from him). Everything that was my constant: my roommate, my apartment, my job.

I do have moments (few and far between) where I can finally get over myself and see the bigger picture. I just thought of the pain of childbirth, not that I have ever experience that. But I always hear about the excruciating, 'kill me now'pain that comes with child birth. But at the end (there is always an end to the pain) there is a blessing of a new baby. More often than not, I hear mothers say they would go through it all again for that child. I wonder how many would say that when they are in their twelfth hour of labor. I guess the point it is that the pain is necessary. For one, it is a reminder of how broken and sinful and desperatly I am in need of God to strip my heart of its uncleanness. But if we skip out on the pain, we miss the reward that is at the end of it all.

I dont know what God is doing. I wish he would clue me in on it just a little bit. Beacuse this sucks. And at times, I think He has, but the reality of that might scare me even more. Its so much easier to deal with pain and hurt when you know why. But I want what comes at the end. If I believe that my God is good and his plans are good, then I need this! There is more,whatever that may be, waiting at the end. He wants to give more. Lord, Give me more.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sunday is Coming!

It has been about a year and a half since I even looked at this blog. But recently something inside me desired to start writing in this again. Life is a funny thing. I just read over my last post and much has happened since then.

Much has transpired in the last month even. If you would have asked me five weeks ago what I thought life would look like next month, it would have involved a new job, new city, new life. A month from now, I will be in a 'new' city, with a 'new' life and quite possible a 'new' job. But it is a far cry from what I imagined it would be. And something inside me still thinks much 'newness' is still coming.

I wonder what God must think when He sees me. One day I am confident that God is guiding and directing my steps; I am filled with peace. Then literally the next day all of that is replace with confusion, frustration and 'What the hell are you doing God'. Oh, how quickly things change.

Easter just passed. Honestly, Easter has always been just another holiday. Growing up I am pretty sure I looked forward to the Spring Celebration that was held at the France Ranch more than Easter Sunday! Sure my parents made sure we knew the true meaning of this day, But when faced with sitting still to listen to the story of how Christ died on the cross for our sins, rose three days later, conquering death so we can have eternal life, while there were eggs filled with glorious candy (not to mention the 'golden egg', that we three were never allowed to find because we were the hosts...whatever...) taunting us just out the door, we all know were our minds were. And even though the Spring Celebration parties stopped many years ago, my mind was still there.

This week leading up to Easter was a profound time for me...and how easily I forget it, too. Palm Sunday, I was reminded of the now and not yet. We are living in light of eternity. What we see now is just a shadow of what is to come. The beauty of this world doesnt even compare to what is to come. The love we experience is just a shadow of what is to come. All that is broken, will be made new. All that is cursed, will be blessed. I am just a small part of the bigger story that God has been writing since the beginning of time. I was written with a purpose. The Author wrote my story for a reason. I have a role to play. And even though I have a hard time seeing past the crappiness of life I find myself in, it is pretty insignificant in light of the whole story, the bigger story. But even in that, the Author still cares about me. I am sure one day I will look back and see this time of life as one of those 'exciting twists and turns' that make for a good story. Or maybe this is a crucial turning point that must happen before the next chapter can be written.

Good Friday. The time where we are forced to sit in the reality of death, evil, our sins. My sin. My sin that I so easily justify. My sin that I blame everyone else for, but me. My brokeness that led Christ to the cross. Jesus died.

Saturday. Jesus is in the tomb. I spent this day being hurt, unintentionally by someone close to me; reminding me of the uncertainty, confusion and frustration of where I am at. I saw someone post on facebook, "Holy Saturday is an uncomfortable place of waiting, confusion and wondering how God could ever redeem this. Sunday always comes."

Sunday is here. Sunday is now. Sunday is everyday. Christ has risen. I have nothing to fear. He is making all things new. If I would just look, I could see glimpses of God is redeeming his creation all around me. For the first time, I had a desire and even a longing to celebrate. To celebrate more than just candy. My pastor always says, 'We are Easter people living in a good Friday world'. I have been looking at my life asking What the heck! But Sunday is coming. He will make all things new. Learning to trust in the one who had conqured death for me; the one who will fight for me.