Thursday, August 25, 2011

30 years young...

i have to tell you i'm kinda embracing this whole 30 years old thing! i know, i can't believe i've been around that long either (at this statement my father would roll his eyes...). and i do have to say there is a certain apprehension with the big jump to 30, but so far i'm loving it. i could list all the reasons why, but i won't cause that's just not the point (though i am super pumped about an exciting new camera i received from my family - watch out world, here i come to take your picture!)...

anyways, as i've decided already to love the 30's just as much as i have the 20's i also had this fantastic thought while washing the dishes today (man i wish i could put footnotes on this blog, i'm definitely a footnote person... anyways...). so i'm washing the dishes, my least favorite household chore that i want to turn into time with God (i.e. - my need for footnotes... one of my favorite inspiring people, brother lawrence, who purposed to spend time with God in the monotony of life such as when he was doing dishes). OH MY GOODNESS, too many side notes.

the point is, i had this great thought... nothing revolutionary here - the more birthdays, the older we get the less time until we get to see our Jesus. like i said, nothing new here, but it was definitely a moment that made me think we should embrace our birthdays with joy and celebration. i know there are downs to the whole getting old thing, but as much as we can we need to focus on the future, once again long for home in our birthdays... each year passed by and inching towards our time and future with our Savior. i've got 30 behind me and who knows how many more (my dear grandpa made it to 97!) but in each year that comes i want to learn to long and grow more to yearn for that time that we will spend with Jesus. so... let's celebrate!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

moments of necessity

sorrow for the sufferings or trouble of another or others,
accompanied by an urge to help

to press upon the attention; present or speak of earnestly and repeatedly;
plead, allege, or advocate strongly; to entreat or plead with;
ask, persuade, or solicit earnestly; press, exhort

the quality or state of being urgent; need for action, haste, etc;
stress or pressure, as of necessity

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

pride and falling...

what a cabin and what a week! we spent our last trip with the high school students in beattyville, kentucky at sunshine camp, a ministry of kentucky mountain mission. the week was challenging, encouraging, uplifting... one of those that tugs at your heart. i felt that "lump in my throat" so many times throughout the week as i saw students care for individuals that need so much help. sunshine camp is a week of camp for individuals that have special needs. most of our students and leaders (including me) were counselors for the week... as a counselor you are assigned to one or two or even three(!) campers for the week. you are responsible to take care of them however they need it. our students did so great and i really did LOVE watching their hearts for God visibly displayed as they were compassionate and caring.

we have gone to sunshine camp two other times but never have i had the opportunity to be a counselor. it was so much fun to be able to be in this role this year. at the same time i really had a week where God challenged my pride and brought it to light in so many different ways. i went into the week with a nasty cold and was pretty worn out from our busy summer. nonetheless, i was ready to jump into the week, at least i told myself i was. so monday comes around, the students do great with their campers and i feel like i am doing such a horrible job with mine. she had some behavioral challenges and i felt like i was failing in every way to figure out how to work with her and help her enjoy camp... to get past those things, to get along, and to have fun... monday was a day of trying new things over and over and over again, to see what worked and to figure out how best to work with her. i kept seeing students and leaders alike, loving and enjoying their campers, doing such a great job, and again, i felt like i was failing at something others were doing great at... others that i should have been setting an example for...

i came to monday night worn out like i never expected. i don't know if it was so much the day but quite possibly a culmination of a full summer that made me feel so tired, physically and emotionally. as we were walking back to our cabin to review that evening's message, i realized that i was in charge of leading this time. however, during the message i had been so involved with trying to figure out how best to help janet (my camper) stay focused that i personally missed the message and all they were talking about. so i had this moment, walking back to the cabin where i just started crying. i felt like i wasn't doing what i should be able to do... what i need to do... what was wrong with me!? i don't do this... just lose it all of a sudden. i'm the leader here, why am i the one that is failing???

in those moments and in the ones to come, i was very humbled. i've never seen myself as a person that struggles with pride (which right there is my first problem!). i mean, i try hard not to be prideful or come across prideful, but for the most part it hasn't been a huge struggle in my life (another footnote... probably just because i hadn't chosen to or been forced to struggle). however, as i realized how much stock i put into being on top of things, keeping things together, being able to handle whatever comes my way on my own, to be a good leader in the group... i realized how much pride there was in my head and in my heart. i had to have help that night and i hated it. someone else had to lead the discussion time, while i brushed away tears that made me feel stupid every time they fell. i wasn't the shoulder for others, they gave me theirs and arms with hugs. i really felt cared for but at the same time i kept telling myself that this should be the other way around.

i had a moment that night where i was trying to get myself ready for the next four days. i thought to myself, "i'll show everyone that this was just a day and when i make it through the next four they'll see who i really am..." yuck. i hate that i had this thought. and i really hated it about a second after i thought it. what was i thinking??? I will make it? hadn't i been telling students to rely on God... to be sustained by him throughout the week? and here i was taking pride in the fact that i could be "self-sustaining".

moments like these where God reveals our ugliness are hard and defeating - something that was hard to take at the end of a long day. but at the same time trusting Him with the next four days (unsurprisingly) gave me much more confidence than resting in my own abilities (that had failed me that very day!). i do feel like even since we have been home this past week God has been bringing to light that pride isn't always just something that is visible on the outside, but definitely a disorder of our hearts and minds. i must not take pride in the things i am able to do or accomplish, even and especially in ministry. i am not the one who accomplishes anything in my life or ministry. over and over we MUST remind ourselves that God is the only reason we are able to move and breathe and accomplish anything!

i know this is getting long but as i read through proverbs it is crazy how often pride is talked about in relation to destruction and how much God hates it. proverbs 16:5 says "everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord..." not someone who is just egotistical in attitudes but someone who has pride in their heart (something that is not always visible to others)... even simply in their thoughts about themselves. i really do want to be a person of humility. may we all work to make sure that pride has no hold on us AT ALL!!! this week in kentucky was a start... but definitely just the beginning of a long journey in reworking my ideas about myself and God and how He is the only one that accomplishes anything through me. kentucky was a fantastic trip and i am so thankful for a week that challenged, blessed and taught.

"for i will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me..."
romans 15:18