Saturday, July 31, 2010

Three Cheers!

Well its been a while since I've written - apologies everyone. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to write, and forcing myself to do it anyway seems like an injustice or something, so I just wait until I feel like I can actually put some of myself into again. Tanks for the patience!

I have some exciting updates to share!
1 - I have raised more than 100% of my support, developed my ministry partner team, and completed all of my training requirements in order to be hired - and before the deadline! I was actually the first intern in my region to complete all of this. I don't say that to emphisize myself at all, I actually feel like I really did nothing at all compared to what my peers have been faced with in raising their partner teams and financial support. But it does emphasize God's mercy and grace and provision in HUGE ways! He has provided me with many incredible relationships in three different communities, with people who love Him and who also love me and are incredibly obedient to His call. I can see how He has used years and years of my life to build a network of people who are now participating in His work with me, and I can't believe how blessed I am to have such a large group of people who are partnering with me in ministry. I pray the same for my other friends in similar situations, specifically Luke and Betsy.

2 - I'm moving to Knoxville 1 week from today! Still working out the last details of where I'll be living, but God has provided an incredibly opportunity in that area too, which I'm pretty excited about - I'll let you know how it all works out!

3 - The first thing I'll be doing on the job is a few crazy days of planning the semester/year. That's really exciting to me because I'll get to meet the whole staff right at the beginning of the year, so it should be an easier transition onto the team than if I had come in later in the school year - another big PRAISE to the Lord for providing my support in time for me to be a part of this! Also, part of the planning process is taking place at a lakehouse that some incredibly supporters of the ministry in Knoxville are letting us use, which has me pretty darned excited. Keeping my fingers crossed for tubing and waterskiing on the lake...
In addition to all of this excellence, the students who are involved in leadership with Crusade on campus will be joining us partway through the week, which means I get to meet several of our strong student leaders before school starts = YAY!!

All in all, some pretty exciting things happening!

Much love and thanks to all who take the time to read this small effort at a blog that is at least in some way interesting!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Flickerings of my Consciousness

Sometimes I have so many thoughts all at once that it is overwhelming. I feel the need to write - to express some of what is crowding my mind, but there's so much going on in there that I can't pick even what I want to write about! So I have decided to just let it flow across this keyboard, stream-of-consciousness style, and we'll see what happens. Hopefully some relief for my crowded mind, and hopefully something that at least makes a little bit of sense...

Excitement - I'm so excited about a new stage of life, a new city, new friends, new opportunities. Seriously, ridiculously excited - like to the point where I kind of what to jump up and down and squeal a little bit. Weird thing though, all of a sudden I'm gripped by paralyzing fear and the question - what am I doing? Do I really want to move again? Remember how hard it is to build strong relationships? How much time it takes? Do I really want to do this all over again, only to maybe move in a year or two to go to grad. school? All of a sudden I'm no longer giddy, but I feel like crying. What is that all about? And sadness too - my heart hurts for those left behind. I miss my Boiling Springs community. I miss Spartanburg. I know I will find new community, and I can't wait, but sometimes I feel like the one whose always moving on. I have so many friends living together in Charlotte right now, and part of me wants so badly to just move there and continue in this incredible community that I had for 4 years of my life... But I can't. Something draws me inexorably onward. Is this a bad thing? I don't think I have a fear of staying in a community long-term. I love putting myself fully into a community - that's part of why I'm so excited about moving to Knoxville - the opportunity to do this. I want to maximize my time as a young, single person. I want to take all of the opportunities that I can at this point in my life, but I feel that I am drawing closer and closer to the point where I want to stay somewhere long-term too. Put down roots that won't be yanked up again all too soon. But I also feel that that time hasn't quite arrived yet. So I'm still on the move - next stop: Knoxville!

Goals for my time in Knoxville:
Find a coffee shop that will become my own.
Join a soccer league.
Run a few 5ks.
Maybe do a mini-triathalon.
Host dinner parties.
Have a garden.

Other thoughts - Last night was a great time of hanging out with good friends from home. We talked round and round in college and immediately post-college fashion, about all of the deep crazy philosophical questions and ponderings that we have about life and faith and who God is. It was great. But I was also struck by how we can do this so much that we drive ourselves crazy. And sometimes I have such a longing for the simplicity that is also part of who God is. He is infinitely complex, but He is often found in infinite simplicity. And it is my experience that the most difficult questions and issues that I have with Him are most often resolved or at least put to rest (in the sense that I realize that they really don't matter nearly as much as I thought they did), through experience. I can have a million questions about Him, and then He'll bring me through some experience where He opens my eyes to His heart for me in this or that, and all of a sudden all of my issues with Him in this area aren't neccesarily resolved, but they seem irrelevant. Because I have seen His goodness, I have beheld the beauty of my God, and though I don't understand the reasons for everything, I am coming to trust the Person of my Lord, and His heart towards me and all of Creation. Simplicity.

Speaking of simplicity, I'm really excited for my friends Luke and Betsy and their upcoming adventures doing slum ministry. I recommend their blog.

I have written myself out of all of the other thoughts that were crowding my mind. Don't even remember what they were anymore. Nice. Congrats to those of you who had the perseverance to read this ridiculously long post! Have a lovely Wednesday!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sleeping with Roaches

The name of this post says it all. For real. Not. Kidding. This morning I woke up, looked over, and there was a cockroach crawling across the bedspread. Gross! This was after I had already killed a few the night before and sprayed my room so much that I was a bit concerned about the lasting damage done to my respiratory system.
I'm on vacation with my family in North Florida visiting extended family before a few days at the beach. I love coming here because it takes me back to my childhood. My whole family used to come down here every summer - aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents - and meet up with the rest of our really extended family (great aunts and uncles, 2nd and 3rd cousins, great-grandparents....). Our days were spent running around outside, getting bitten by mosquitos and fire ants, and doing a hundred random (and probably a bit reckless) things that became sweet memories.

I thought I'd record a few:

Swimming in a lake fed by underground springs where people come to see the vast amounts of alligators. Also, an old version of the Tarzan movie was filmed there.
Swimming in creeks where there were possibly alligators and definitely water moccasins.
Catching a million +1 frogs/toads/lizards.
Running around in the yard after the rain, sliding in huge water puddles and getting totally covered in grass and bitten by all kinds of bugs, but definitely not caring!
Countless hours spent swinging on the front porch swing (and countless cousins dumped out of it into the bushes because we went to high).
Picking zipper peas from the field in the morning before it got too hot.
Picking blueberries.
Learning to drive a riding lawnmower.
Going to Panama city every year and snorkeling and swimming all day; then going to what used to be Miracle Strip amusement park.
Fish fries = fish (obviously), baked beans, cole slaw, hushpuppies, cheese grits, fried okra and eggplant, sweet tea, some sort of incredible pie or cake.
10+ cousins using my aunt's jacuzzi as a swimming pool.
Realizing that I am related to probably at least half of the town in one way or another.
Shopping at the Piggly Wiggly and the Dollar General for any and every item that was needed.

These are a few memories that I have. Not the traditional family vacation, certainly not the most glamorous, but I will never forget these summers. They helped shape who I am, and whenever I come back, I remember that I come from these people - they are a part of me, just like these memories.

So, I will be thankful for my roots. Even while I am also thankful that I don't wake up every day at home with a cockroach in my bed! (REALLY, quite thankful for that!)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Abundantly More

I'm typing in my dining room as piles of suitcases, fishing rods, beach towells, etc. are being loaded into the family car for our annual trip down to Florida to visit family and take a few days of vacation. We're about to head out, but I wanted to post a quick update because I'm so excited!

I was a little stressed last week because going to Florida essentially means that I'm losing a week of the four that I have left to meet with people and build up my ministry partner team before leaving for Knoxville the first week of August. I was progressing well, but still had about 20% to raise when I get back, my list of people to call was getting smaller, while my list of people who I was waiting to hear back from was getting larger. Sometimes I'm not good at waiting, and usually end up trying to give myself at least some false sense of control over my situation by trying to imagine every possible scenario of what might happen, so that I can come up with a strategy of how to address each one.

Some people call this "being prepared: - it is their attempt at feeling quite clever and proud of themselves for what is, in actuality, a ridiculous practice. A more accurate description of this practice is called "worrying" or being a "control freak." And of course, if anything is true, its that I am certainly not in control.

So God, being the gracious and patient Father that He is, takes this opportunity to really just pour out His blessings once again. Over the last couple of days, I heard back from tons of people that I was waiting on, have multiple new monthly partners, and am now over 90% in my financial support! I'm still waiting on several, and have several appointments already set up for when I get back, so its looking like I'm actually going to have even more than I need!

God is so cool! He is Jehovah-Jireh - "the LORDwill provide"

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." -Ephesians 3:20