Tuesday, June 5, 2007
i am now employed as the clinical coordinator at the carolina children's home. i work in a cottage with twelve boys. today is my third day on the job, my supervisor is out on vacation, and i have not been through orientation yet, SO i am pretty cluesless as to what i'm actually supposed to do. i have read through all of the boys' case files, and i have started meeting with the boys individually just to get to know them a little bit. i guess next week the real training will start. once my life gets stabalized, i will hopefully be able to resume my musings about the process of my life and my ever-so-slow holy disappearance.
prayer request - i am searching for a new church. please pray that God will lead me to the perfect place - a place where i can not only be served but can use my gifts to serve the body as well.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
school - FINISHED!
graduation - 2 weeks away
currently - packing up apartment
plans - move across town, stay in columbia, get a job
in case you haven't heard - i am not going to iraq in the fall. lots went into my decision not to go,
but i do feel confident that this was the right choice. i am not saying "no" to the opportunity
for forever, but just for now. i know some of you may be disappointed at this news, but rest
assured that this was not a rash decision and much agonizing prayer went into it. i will update
you more thoroughly whenever i get the chance.
pray for - the job interview i have on wednesday (May 2) at a children's home
much love to all :-)
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
he paid, said goodbye, and left. and as i sat there a realization washed over me. why on earth do we think it's such a bad thing to discuss money? the chinese woman merely wanted to know how much he paid because she was thinking about putting her daughter in daycare (i learned this from the next sentence or two of their conversation). the man didn't miss a beat, and simply continued the conversation. but i wonder what most americans would have done if she asked them that question? what would i have done?
i wonder if we're so private about our money because somwhere, deep down inside, we know we have way too much of it. i mean, why would we care if people asked us how much we spent on specific things like daycare (or car payments, or phone bill, etc. etc. etc.) unless we were ashamed of the amount and knew it was way too high? when i get a great deal on something (like the ipod i got for about $20), i don't mind telling people. in fact, i tell everyone. if someone compliments a shirt my response is usually "thanks, i got it for three dollars!" but when i've spent a lot on something, of course i don't tell how much it cost. after my experience in the chinese restaurant, i do wonder if it's because i'm ashamed to have things that are expensive, and somewhere deep down i know i don't have the right to spend that much money on myself.
so i'm still mulling over this experience and what it really means. beware next time you go to a chinese restaurant, because God might just teach you something about yourself, your culture, and Him.
Monday, March 12, 2007
tonight i went to see the movie Amazing Grace with my parents. i am deeply moved. the movie is about william wilberforce, the man who fought for the abolition of the slave trade in great britain for many years against great opposition, to see his efforts finally pay off after a lifetime of struggle. i wish i could go back and pause the movie so i could write down all of the incredible quotes . . . but since i can't maybe you'll just hafta go see the movie if you haven't already. i'm struggling to synthesize exactly what i want to write here, but i'll take a stab at a few things. i can't get over the "coincidence" that everywhere i've turned over the past two months i've seen signs of radical revolutionaries. i mostly don't believe in coincidence - i think it's the world's explanation of providence. so i guess God's trying to get my attention. as i watched the movie, i wanted so badly to BE william wilberforce (well, a few centuries later and without the curly wig). but you know what i mean - i want to actually make a difference in the world like he did. and then it kinda hit me while i was watching - he gave his entire life to the fight. it didn't happen quickly. it took a long time. and he gave up along the way (for a little while at least). but then he fought again, and he fought harder, even when he was sick and in pain. being a revolutionary isn't a phase that you can hang out in for a little while until something better comes along.
another thing that really hit me in the movie was toward the beginning. william (who is a Christian) is trying to choose between living for God (and going into vocational ministry) or remaining in politics and fighting for social justice. a really wise person (i don't remember which one in the movie) asked why he couldn't do both. i think that's an amazing question. why not? why do so many Christians feel like they have to choose between faith and action? i think that question shoud be taken a step further - no only "why not do both?" but "why on earth would we not do both?" as Christians we are called to fight against injustice. if we do so, are we not devoting ourselves to Christ? Christ stood up for people that others never even acknowledged. as i have studied social work i have become increasingly convinced that Jesus was a social worker of sorts. He cared about poor people, widows, orphans, slaves, smelly fishermen, and homeless guys (he traveled with 12 homeless guys for 3 years)! when we see things in this world that are messed up because of sin (and everything that is messed up is a result of sin), if we have the means to do somehting about it why wouldn't we? maybe it's because we're tying so hard not to see, because we know once we see we'll be obligated because of our relationship with Christ to do something about the injustices in our world.
social action is inconvenient. it takes LOTS of time, and most activists hit brick walls way more often then they make it over them. but as shane claiborne would say, if things are going smoothly then something must be wrong. hitting a brick wall is a sign you're running in the right direction. if you keep running hard enough, maybe you'll eventually break through (or find a way over, under, or around the wall). all i know is that i don't want to give up just because something looks impossible. i want to be like william wilberforce.
Saturday, March 3, 2007
let me give you a little background from the book, and then i'll tell you the idea. shane claiborne states: "It just makes sense not to have families on the street or in abandoned houses, especially when we have a spare bedroom"(p.193). a little later, he states: "It is much more comfortable to depersonalize the poor so we don't feel responsible for the catastrophic human failure that results in someone sleeping on the street while people have spare bedrooms in their homes . . . When we get to heaven, we will be separated into those sheep and goats Jesus talks about in Matthew 25 based on how we cared for the least among us. I'm just not convinced that Jesus is going to say, 'When I was hungry, you gave a check to the United Way and they fed me,' or, 'When I was naked, you donated clothes to the Salvation Army and they clothed me.' Jesus is not seeking distant acts of charity. He seeks concrete acts of love: 'you fed me...you visited me in prison...you welcomed me into your home...you clothed me'"(p.158).
i've also been thinking a lot about the church, and about how we're majorly falling down on our job. so i was wondering how we could begin to actually BE the church that we're commanded to be - the kind of church that cares for widows and orphans, feeds the poor, and actually sacrifices in order to show our neighbors that we love them. and the idea was born . . .
"ONE ROOM." that's what i'm calling the idea. maybe one day it'll be an organization, or an agency, or a movement. here's the vision - to go into churches, teach about Christ's love for the least of our neighbors, and to encourage the church to actually take up the cross we keep dropping merely because it is inconvenient. what if, in a congregation of 100 families, all having at least one spare bedroom, 2 or 3 would BE the church and let a single mom, a lonely old man, or a suffering family bring life to that spare room. what if 10 families would rise to the challenge? what if half of the families would decide to actually BE the church? what would those families look like? what would that church look like? can you imagine it? people really sharing, and people really having things in common? maybe it doesn't sound very american, but i think it sounds EXTREMELY Christian. IF Christ had a house (which He never did) do you think He would ever go to bed at night if there was an empty bed on the other side of the room and someone homeless a few block away?
so the vision is one for the church - a vision to challenge and empower spoiled americans to offer their rooms to cold, lonely, hungry people. maybe "One Room" doesn't sound like enough to make a difference, but if people throughout a church, a town, a city, a state, a counrty would ALL offer just one little room, imagine the impact! it would not only change the face of povety, but it would change the face of the church. the early church was swarming with poor people. Jesus LOVES poor people! so why are they missing from many of our churches? i bet if we invited them into our homes they would follow us to church!
let me know what you think. can you see the vision? it seems too big for me (but i guess God has never really asked me to do anything that i could ACTUALLY do by myself). maybe if some other people caught the vision too . . .
Saturday, February 17, 2007
if that isn't enough to get my brain sensors firing, i've been reading this book call revolutionary generosity. it's by this guy who has 3 children, and all of them are in full-time ministry. his daughter did medical missions in the sudan and narrowly escaped death. one of his sons is still in the sudan, and plans to be there for a long time. he records the stories of Christians all over the country of sudan who have either seen family members and Christian brothers and sisters killed for their faith, or churches that have been burned down, etc. his job is to make sure ALL of their stories are recorded, and everyday he risks his life to record the stories of the saints in sudan.
and then i just started reading the irresistible revolution. as if the other two books weren't radical enough, i had to go and get myself hooked on this one. (i really just have some incredible friends back home to thank for that - you know who you are ;-) lindsay told me when i started reading it that i should "be prepared to feel uncomfortable" and she was SO right. if you can read that book on a soft sofa in a heated apartment without feeling uncomfortable, there's something wrong with you. i really just want to hop in my car, drive to the nearest "community" (read the book and you'll know what i'm talking about), and move in.
so when i read these books at night, my mind races with thoughts and ideas and deep longings that i can't really explain to anyone who doesn't know what i mean, and for those who do there's no need explaining. last week it took me over an hour to fall asleep one night beacause i just couldn't shut my brain down. it reminds me of when i was a teenager. i used to lie on my top bunk trying to keep things as dark as i could so my sister wouldn't yell at me for keeping her awake. i even made her a curtian with blankets so i could keep the light on longer. i would read my Bible and read Chrisian magazines and write in my journal and pray . . . and i could stay awake for hours just thinking and wondering and praying and crying about how i wanted my life to count for something. then i went to college, and since then the nights have been few and far between when i didn't fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. not that falling asleep easily is a bad thing, but i have somewhat missed the rapid-firing of brain cells when i'm "supposed" to be in dreamland. the bad thing is, it's not so great if i fall asleep during the day because my brain wouldn't shut down at night. so maybe i'll read some nights, and get some sleep others. what i do know is that my brain feels alive, and my heart feels alive in a way it hasn't in a while. it's a good feeling, like i'm on the brink of some amazing revolution, and just like i prayed for as a teenager, i'm hoping God will use me in the revolution so that my life will count for something - not for my own glory, but for my own disappearance in Christ and His revolutionary plans.
Saturday, February 3, 2007
my mind is racing with much more on this topic, but perhaps the best thing to do is to refer to good ole c.s. lewis. he answers the question i've been asking myself about whether or not God really values safety with words from a few talking beavers. so here goes the conversation from "the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe":
Mr. Beaver: "...Aslan is a lion - the Lion, the great Lion."
Susan: "I'd thought he was a man. Is he - quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."
Mrs. Beaver: "That you will, dearie, and no mistake, if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."
Lucy: "Then he isn't safe?"
Mr. Beaver: "Safe, don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe?
'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
so if my Jesus isn't safe, how can i expect that i should be safe? He in fact has promised that life with Him won't be safe. but it surely will be good! like mr. beaver said, "who said anyting about safe?" but i know for sure life with Christ is good, and i want to follow that goodness nomatter where it leads.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
our bible study lesson tonight was about the cost of worship. and i can't think of a bigger cost than laying down my pride and humbling myself before the world - not just Christ, not just other christians, but THE WORLD. after all, they're the ones with the problems, right? WRONG! i mean, of course they have problems, but they also don't have Jesus. kinda ironic how, because i do have Jesus, i also end up with this pride issue. i think because i have Him, i'm somehow better. but i'm pretty sure the bible says Jesus saves the ones who are the most messed up. that way when the world looks at the "fixed" ones of us, it's pretty obvious we didn't have anything to do with the fixing.
so why is it that over the past few weeks i've felt forced to pray the prayers that i've been fighting against for so long? i mean, who wants to pray to be flattened by humility? i surely don't. but the CHRIST IN ME is jumping at the opportunity. so i guess i'll add humility to ever-deveolping list. after all, if i'm ever going to wholly disappear, i'll have to do it on my face before the throne of the Light of the World.
i'll close with a few lyrics from matt redman. this pretty much says it all. join me in praying to be humbled as never before.
"i lift You high and bow down low
how high can You be, how low can i go
You must increase, i must decrease Lord
i'll bow down and You will be adored"
Thursday, January 18, 2007
i was reading a few nights ago, and these words really hit me hard. i'll quote them here for your knowledge/pleasure/enjoyment.
"I understand that I am temporary, in this shell of a thing on this dirt of an earth. I am being tempted by Satan, we are all being tempted by Satan, but I am preserved to tell those who do not know about our Savior and our Redeemer. This is why Paul had no questions. This is why he could be beaten one day, imprisoned the next, and released only to be beaten again and never ask God why. He understood the earth was fallen. He understood the rules of Rome could not save mankind, that mankind could not save itself; rather, it must be resuced, and he knew that he was not in the promised land, but still in the desert, and like Joshua and Caleb he was shouting, 'Follow me and trust God!'"
why did this hit me? maybe it's the whole concept of purpose. i think i fool myself into believing that i'm on this earth for all kinds of crazy, glorious reasons. but really, God only sustains my life for one reason - to accomplish HIS purpose of rescuing fallen mankind (and of course bringing glory to Himself through the rescuing). that's it! when i cease to be useful in God's plan of redemption, my sole purpose in this world will be gone! so what does this mean for my life? at passion '07 heather mercer talked about "wasting your life" for the glory of God. ultimately, i think she has it figured out! because when God grabs hold of a life and seizes it for His goal of redeeming a fallen world and bringing glory to His own name, what God does with that life will probably look like a waste to most people. even other Christians will probably say things like, "isn't that wasting your talent?" or "aren't there other ways God can use you" or "why risk endangering your life when you can do much more for God if you're alive." REALLY? does God only use people when they're alive? ok- don't think i'm saying that God would rather see you dead than alive, but i AM saying that we can't presume to know God's will, and i believe there are many cases when God uses a death to accomplish His goal of the redemption of souls.
what does this mean for me? i wish i knew. but i do know that i need to focus more on what my life can contribute to God's goal of the redemption of mankind. and notice i said what MY LIFE can contribute, and not what I can contribute. what's the difference? it's not about what I can do for God, but it's about what HE can do with MY LIFE. if God's purpose for me is to live, and through my life to help bring about his glory in redemption, then great! i hope that's God's purpose for my life. but i think i also have to be willing to agree with paul that if God could use my death to bring about his glory in redemption, then it's His life to take. now THAT'S hard to say! my own self-preservation instincts are at war within myself, and it makes it even hard to type about being willing to die. but if i'm really devoted to God's glory and the redemption of men, i must be willing to lay it all down. i only hope that if God ever calls me to die, i will be willing. and in the meantime, as He's calling me to live, i must be willing to live in daily surrender, realizing that my life is His!
Monday, January 15, 2007
speaking of heroes, i'm also an avid watcher of NBC's show "heroes." you better believe i'll be watching next monday when they FINALLY decide to tell us what happens next.
so you're probably wondering what this has to do with this blog, which is about my journey with God and my desire to disappear into His glory. it pretty much all boils down to heroes.
i'm reading this book called "the one year book of christian history." it is divided up into 365 daily readings about key figures in christian history. some are people i'm very familiar with. others are people i've never heard about before, and probably none of you have either. yesterday i read about this guy named walter l. wilson. he was a kansas city physician who lived in the late 1800 and early 1900's. i would like to include a prayer from the book that wilson lifted up to the Holy Spirit:
"My Lord, I have mistreated You all my Christian life. I have treated You like a servant .... I shall do so no more. Just now I give You this body of mine, from my head to my feet. I give You my hands, my limbs, my eyes and lips, my brian; all that I am within and without, I hand over to You for You to live in it the life that You please. You may send this body to Africa, or lay it on a bed with cancer .... It is Your body from this moment on. Help yourself to it ...." -walter l. wilson
this guy is a hero of mine. i just learned about him yesterday, but he is a hero. he was able to pray the prayer that i so desperately want to pray. what would it look like for me to give God COMPLETE control of my body - to take it to africa or infest it with cancer? this is a scary prayer! but if i ever want to truly disappear, this prayer is one that i'll have to not only pray, but really MEAN. why is it so hard to give God something that is already His? why am i so possessive of this shell i call home? He is breaking through. He's taking control. He's holding my hand as He softly prys the controls from my fingertips. soon i feel like i'll be spinning out of control - well at least out of MY control. but i guess "spinning out of contol" is more like a dance when God is leading. i don't know where the next step will be, but the Lord of the Dance knows. the spinning may seem aimless to me, but He has the steps mapped out. i just have to fall into His arms and be absorbed in the dance, the spinning, the loss of control on my part, the masterful gaining of control on His. am i ready? can i pray the prayer?
Sunday, January 14, 2007
so here i am. i've always been a journaler. but i've never written for others to read. maybe by sharing some of the radical things God is doing in my life, it will encourage someone, somewhere, somehow to embark with me on the journey i'm being sucked into. all i know is this world, this life, this mirage - there's more. if Jesus was sitting in my house right now, would He be happy with my contentment? would what i've "given up" so far be sufficient?
to my friends who are on this same journey, searching for the way to disappear into the revolution that is waiting to happen, i'm with you. i'm waiting to disappear. i want to disappear. i want to be a catalyst that sparks a flame and then fades into the background while the flame burns uncontrollably. and then i'll disappear as the fire rages.
This blog is a testimony to the work that God is perpetually acting in my life. I am learning that when I think I've given enough of myself, I've barely begun. My prayer is that as God continues to grab hold of my life, not only will He become greater and I become less, but He will become ultimately supreme and I will vanish. This Holy Disappearance will be a lifelong journey in which, by the grace of God, I will become so wrapped up in Him that all of me will disappear and all of Him will SHINE