Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Reflections on Raising Support

It's crazy to me that God uses something as uncomfortable, awkward, and at-times frustrating as raising support to bless me. To teach me and to grow me. To make me depend on Him.

The majority of the time I feel like raising support is so overwhelming. For two reasons.

One. The obvious. Asking people- friends, family, strangers, for money is hard. Especially when I look at the amount to be raised. (So, wanna support me? <--- See??? Awkward. Uncomfortable.)

This photo accurately depicts my reaction to
receiving support.
But reason number two; it isn't so obvious. It's been much more of a surprise and kind of feels like a kick in the gut. In the best way possible. Two is that it is so overwhelming to see how many people have come behind me. How many people sacrifice every month to invest in God's kingdom through me. How many people are now connected to and a part of the story that God is writing here at UW- Eau Claire.

God uses something as trivial as money to draw me closer to Him. And to show me that He loves me. I feel His love when I scroll through my account, looking at all the names of those who support me. I feel like a giddy little kid when I log on and see a new gift, or when I get to share with someone how God is using their support in students' (and my) lives. I know that He has provided every donor, every gift, and that it is His pouring His grace on me. He is proving His faithfulness over and over again.

So support raising can be uncomfortable and awkward... but it can also be fun, encouraging, and delightful. Just this week I made a bunch of phone calls and it was wonderful getting to reconnect with people, sharing what God's been doing and listening to how they've been growing as well. So not only do I get to feel blessed by God through the money side of raising support, but also through the relationships with people that I wouldn't get to experience as deeply otherwise.

I love my job! Bring on the awkward if it also means I get all the good stuff!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring Photoshoot

Some photoshoot madness happened recently... photographed by my amazing host sister. Check her out at Megan Nicole Photography!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fill it in.

Right now God feels _____________ toward me or with me.

Fill it in.

What do you put there?
Loving, compassionate, delighted, attentive, proud, affectionate?
Angry, disappointed, overwhelmed, sad, disgusted, irritated?


I've chosen that word- indifferent- more times than I'd like to admit. And although I don't think of it as super positive, I've never really seen it as a bad thing. Until reading this:

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference” –Elie Wiesel

So, God being indifferent about me would be one of the worst ways He could feel toward me (oops). And the thing is, this is NEVER true! God has never and will never feel indifferent toward us! He created us! 

I heard the idea recently that our deepest convictions come out of our wounds… they are what we feel and think when we lay in bed at night. So how have your wounds affected your view of how God feels about you? How does your answer to "right now God feels ___________ about me" feed into your convictions? And then what do you do with those convictions? How do you let them shape you? Your relationship with God?

What are the things that you feel and think when you lay in bed at night? How do you think these things line up with reality? That you are delighted in, cherished, and protected by an infinitely loving and forgiving Father. That you are never a disappointment, shock, or irritation to the One who created you, who chose you. This is reality. (Just check out Ephesians 1 if you don't believe me).

So, instead of filling in for God how you think He feels about you, why don't you ask Him? Keep your eyes open as you read His Word, be attentive to His still, small whisper. Ask Him to make you aware (through whatever means He chooses) of how how He really feels about you, what He thinks about you.

Jesus says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." So go after it confidently...

You might just be surprised to see how the blank is filled in. And I will bet that you won't find the word indifferent in there.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up

Here's what I'll be doing this weekend! Why don't you take a peek and join me?






Happy weekend! Go out there and do something unexpected this weekend! :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kingdom Dreaming

I just got back from a day trip to the Wisconsin Dells, where my director and I were finalizing some last details for the Dells Summer Training Program (STP). (Feeling lost? Check out this post about my summer plans!)

Wow. This summer is gonna be so stinkin' good! We met with a couple guys who run a really sweet ministry in the Dells that reaches out to the thousands of international students, as well as raises awareness for human trafficking, works with the Ho Chunk Native Americans and Hispanic populations in the area, and more! It was so neat to sit down with them for a couple hours and talk about God's Kingdom coming to the Dells.

Their passion was stirring, and near the end of the conversation the older of the two got teary eyed as he talked about the international students. "Wouldn't it be neat if all 3,000 of them just got a chance to hear the gospel? If each of them would just get the chance to hear about Jesus?" It was a beautiful time of Kingdom-dreaming.

Reflecting on our conversation, I am reminded of a passage in 1 Corinthians 4:20
For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
Boom. May this be our reminder today, and everyday. To seek His Kingdom first, and fully pursue that which brings His Kingdom down to earth, to your circumstances everyday.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things

You can call it a wish list, inspiration, or late-night creativity. I call it a few of my favorite things (at the moment, subject to change, in fact, required to change, always growing, morphing, ebbing and flowing according to my mood, the design world, and yes, sadly, even our culture.)

P.S. Pssttt... did you know that The Things That Makes Us Tick is on Facebook now? Check it out! (and go ahead and click that "like" button while you're at it!)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Brokenness Pt. 2: Helping Those Who Are Broken

The story of Jesus speaking with the Samaritan woman at the well found in John 4 has always intrigued me. It's not necessarily the fact that He chose to speak to her, although a huge social line at the time was crossed when he did- a male Jew talking to a female Samaritan. Or the fact that Jesus knew her past, that she had five previous husband and was now living with a man who she was not married to. No, it's not these incredible and even shocking events that really grab my attention.

It's the way that Jesus loves her.

He bestows mercy where there could have been condemnation. He gives truth where there could have been more lies. He offers living water, He offers Himself, He offers eternal life.

And she believed! She chose to drink from the living water that only Jesus can bring.

And my favorite part of the story comes in verse 39- "Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony." Our testimonies can be SO powerful! This one broken, seemingly insignificant, Samaritan woman led many to Jesus.

So, how can we help people in their brokenness? 
We follow Jesus' example. We bestow mercy. We give truth. We offer living water. 

But often when we offer living water, we try to do it on our own power. We run around with buckets of water, rushing from one parched, dying person to the next, spilling our buckets along the way. And when we do this, we're only able to give each person a sip before we have to move onto the next thirsty person. But what if we led people to the well, rather than running around with a bunch of buckets trying to bring water to them? What if we brought them to the source of living water, to Jesus himself?

You see, they don't need Jesus if I fix them. And in all reality, whatever "fix" I can offer them will only be temporary- at best, a bandaid on a gaping wound. Jesus is the only one who can really heal the brokenness.

It's like the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. When the butterfly is struggling to break free of its cocoon, it is building strength in its wings. If it were to have outside help, its wings would not be strong enough to fly and so the butterfly dies. So often when we see someone we love struggling to break free or to heal or to choose rightly, we want to help them. We want to split their cocoon for them! But in the end, that won't help, it will only hurt. We must entrust them to Jesus. We must point them to the source of living water. We must lead them to the well.

And when you are embarking on a journey with someone, leading them to the well, remember these two simple truths:
  1. I am qualified because of God.
  2. God uses me in spite of me.

Check out Pt. 1: Facing Our Brokenness here.
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