Thursday, July 8, 2010

If Camp Were a Marathon and I was a Runner...

So, I don't claim to be a runner, never have, and I probably never will. I do however, have friends (one Whitney Harris in particular) who I have heard talk about what it is like to run a marathon, and I haven't been able to help thinking of how much it sounds like working a summer of camp. Particularly this one. I'll try and explain to help you understand...

The 9 months leading up to the summer are very much like training. You are preparing your body, mind and spirit for what lies ahead in the summer. You are sometimes seeking the counsel of those who "coach" you in that preparation. You tend to be one big mixed up ball of emotions of greater excitement with just a little apprehension mixed in as the days draw closer for you to pack up and leave for 3 months. Training week is like that one last push right before the race begins and suddenly before you even realize it, the first registration day is there and you are off!

Week one you are usually ready to go...after all, this is what you have spent the last 9 months of your life preparing for right? But you are also trying to pace yourself, as you know you still have many weeks ahead of you. For me this summer, about week 3 I started to hit that point where it began to hurt a little. When you think to yourself...oh no...this is not good...especially when I have so much left ahead of me. You have to find your "rhythm" in a way...or "get your camp legs under you." And you keep running...and running...and running. For me, Week 5 I hit the wall. A little early you would think since it was just at halfway through our summer. It was difficult, I was tired, and it was a moment, where I admit that the thought of the finish line was what was keeping me going. And then, we came to week 6 and I think I hit a bit of a the "high" that runners talk about that follows running "through the wall." It's been a great week, one where I feel like I am finally really hitting a stride. I know there will still be moments when it "hurts," when I feel like I have nothing left, but it is remembering why I am am here that keeps me going. That and all those who come along to "cheer me on."

Yes...just like in a race, I have experienced turning that corner when I just don't know if I can go any farther, and then something happens that spurs you on. For me this summer, it was found in a visit from my Dad at Wake Forest, and in unexpected visit with a best friend in Indiana, in a brief hug at a gas station from my mom, in a dinner with a best friend in Texas, in a youth minister's prayer in a meeting, in a pint of chubby hubby ice cream from my SE, in an unexpected nap on reg day, in a moment when a student "gets it," and in moments and times when Brad & I are able to have "date time" to spend with one another and recharge. I am so thankful for each of these moments that have truly spurred me on as I am running this race.

The other good news about the race of camp is that you aren't running it alone. First, I take comfort and find direction in knowing that this is exactly where I am called to be by God. This is what keeps me pushing forth even when it gets difficult. I am also running this race with my husband and 24 other wonderful teammates that I am especially grateful for. It wouldn't be nearly as much fun without them. I also wouldn't be able to do it without them. I am thankful that we have been called to serve alongside each other during this season in life.

Finally, it is bittersweet for me to think about the fact that as this summer closes, so is my journey and "race" of camp. There is the sweetness of the joy you feel when you feel as if you run and you run well. The feeling you have as you strive to serve God in the best way you know how in the place He has you. There is also the bitterness that is felt when it is over. While you know there will be some amount of relief that sweeps over you, it will be sad I think, when the reality hits me that it might be the last race I am running here as God is calling to a new chapter and journey in life.

My hope and prayer is that I would run and finish well. That I would not save anything for myself, but that I would leave it all in the race. So now, as Week 6 is closing, I feel a bit as if I am running the final legs. This is the time that I know that the strength I find is not my own, but it is from my Father who loves me and carries me and gives me joy in the journey. I want to make the most of this time that remains. For now...I'll just keep running.

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider I have made it my own. But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3: 12-14

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Camp...Part 3

After returning home from camp in 2005, I moved to Nashville to take the job with LifeWay as a Program Specialist for Crosspoint and Centrikid camps. Now this thing called camp was a part of my daily life. Everything seemed to be new...I had a new job, I was living by myself for the first time, I was making new friends, and Brad and I were beginning a new relationship. It was both exciting and scary. It was definitely a new challenge and God was stretching me. I was learning a lot about what went into planning a summer of camp. I was also learning a lot about myself, as it was the first time I was really living on my own as a "grown up."

I had planned to stay in the job at LifeWay for two years, as that was the usual term for my position, but as things became more serious between Brad & I, we talked more and more about me moving to Birmingham, AL so we could live and date in the same city (he was in seminary at Beeson Divinity school at the time). As I considered and prayed about this possibility, I was excited but scared as well. I thought I had these two years "planned out" and I thought that I knew where I was going to live and work. If I moved to Birmingham, all these things would be up in the air again. As I was pondering these things, a coworker and friend reminded me that God had always provided for me. That it may not have always been on my time table, but that I could look back on my life and very clearly see that God had a plan in everything he had done and that He had always taken care of me and my needs. So I made the difficult decision that after I completed my 2006 summer of camp, I would leave Nashville and move to Birmingham.
2006- I had the opportunity this summer to serve alongside a great friend, Derek, who would be the director of the team with me as the assistant director. We began working together in 2003 and we had been friends ever since. This would be our 3rd summer out of the 4 that we worked, to work together. Our team was great and we made many memories as we traveled the country together. It was bittersweet knowing that it would be my last summer with Crosspoint. It was also difficult at times that Brad was leading another team and this was the longest we had been apart since we began dating. In the end, it strengthened our relationship, and it helped that we both fully understood what the other was going through during the summer.

As my summer began to come to a close, I was nervous and scared about what was to come. I wanted to trust in God's faithfulness, but it was hard to be patient to see how His plan would play out. I had been in conversations with someone named Roger about a camp called Student Life, but I had no idea how that would turn out. I didn't even know if they were seriously considering me for the position. I just knew that either way, I had a peace that I was supposed to move to Birmingham, even if that meant I couldn't see the whole picture yet. So, 2006 was the end of my time with Crosspoint. I am so thankful for all the experiences that I had there and the friends I made. I am most definitely a different person because of those 4 years. Maybe I will get to the next four before I leave on Sunday!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Camp...Part 2

I'm not sure how many years of camp I will get through tonight, but last night I left you hanging at the end of my 1st summer of camp in 2003. So here goes...

2004- When I returned home from camp to begin grad school, I admit that I had a bit of a rough time. I moved back home and began one of the most challenging semesters of my life. I was overwhelmed by loneliness and I missed the community I had found at camp. One night, one of my teammates finally explained to me what my problem was...I had the "camp funk" as he put it. Basically the time in which you are in detox from missing the experiences and the people you have lived life with for the last three months. Fortunately, I did make good friends that summer, who spent many nights during the fall on the phone with me "talking me off the ledge" persay in regards to grad school. I suddenly couldn't wait until I would leave again for another summer of camp. I waited not so patiently to find out what team I would be on and who my new teammates would be (and who I would get to spend another summer with).

In May of that year I left again for my second summer of camp on the Crosspoint Green team. It is honestly still one of my favorite summers of camp and one of my favorite teams of people. It is also true that your second summer is the best. You have been around just long enough for people to look up to you as a leader, but you are still "cool enough" to be "one of them." It was a few weeks into this summer that my director pulled me aside and told me that he "needed me to step it up." I admit I was a little taken aback and maybe even slightly offended. Me, ever the overachiever and people pleaser needed to "step it up?" But he was right. He pushed me to push myself and my leadership abilities. He taught me about what it meant to replicate leadership. He helped me to begin to put leadership theories I had learned in college into practice. He also became a great friend. (Here's a bit of hint, he later became more than that!) It really was a wonderful summer of fun new locations and great memories with great people. Again, I had convinced myself that of course THIS summer would be the last. After all, I would be graduating from Grad School and I would definitely have to find a "real job" after that, right? Of course again God had different plans than I did. He used some convincing from a certain director that I could give one more summer and that I should take a step to increase my leadership and apply to be an Assistant Director. So, I did.

2005- I was hired as an Assistant Director for the summer of 2005. I was also paired with my director from the previous year. We spent a lot of time that year talking about camp and how we planned to lead our team. I admit that I found myself worried more than a few times that year that maybe, even as excited as I was, that I may have made the wrong decision to come back for another summer of camp. I had no idea what I was going to do after graduation and that was more than a little stressful. Of course God had a plan for that too. Before I even left for the summer I heard that a position as an intern was opening at LifeWay in the fall with their children's camps. I applied, and a week before I graduated, was offered and accepted the job. Once again, God had shown himself as provider in my life.

As I left that summer I was excited about the new challenges. It was difficult being in leadership for the first time. I didn't understand why suddenly the girls on my team weren't rushing to tell me everything that was going on. I was now "in charge" and that sometimes meant feeling isolated in my leadership. But I worked through those growing pains and the experience continued to stretch me and challenge me. I was able to begin to understand what it meant to pour into and invest in the people who had been placed in my care on my team that summer. I would make another great friend who would later become my roommate and would also be one of my bridesmaids.

I also discovered that I may have more than feelings of friendship for that director who had been in my life. We were both facing times of transition in our lives after camp, but we both admitted that there were feelings present. So, that was a possibility that was awaiting me after camp. This was also the first summer I was leaving that I knew I would be back again the next summer, which was part of my fulfilling my new job at LifeWay. This was a new feeling of security that I had not previously experienced. I was also looking forward to the experiences I would have in my new job, as I would be able to see "the other side" of camp and all the preparation that would go into it. I was excited about moving to Nashville and I felt blessed that this "camp thing" that I loved so much was developing into something that looked a little more like a "real job." But to hear more about that, you'll once again, have to wait until tomorrow. Enough writing for tonight.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Camp's a word that has defined my summers for the last 8 years and pretty much my life for the last five. I never would have guessed when I showed up to work Crosspoint in 2003 that 8 years later, I would still be packing up to go to camp in the summer. I figured I would be a "grown up" by now. Funny how God always seems to have different plans. This summer is probably the last. Mainly because God has placed a new calling of teaching on my life that is bringing this camp journey to an end. I've thought a lot lately about the last 8 years of my life, about this journey that I have been on. So, I figured it might be cathartic to share it here. So here goes...

2003...A little background, the winter before I had traveled to the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City to be a volunteer. This journey opened my eyes and heart to the desire to travel more than I ever had before. Suddenly, my world was much larger than the state of SC that I had spent most of my life in. In October of my senior year of college I attended a global missions conference and it was there that I distinctly felt God calling me to give over my summer to him. That seemed strange. I was supposed to be a grown up, and get a "real job" so I wondered how me giving my summer to him would affect that plan. But I was open to surrendering that time to him. I heard about Crosspoint from a friend I was in the Sport Management degree program with and it seemed like a perfect fit. So, I turned in my application and references and waited...and waited...until I got a call that February letting me know that LifeWay camps wanted me to come be a Bible Study Leader and gymnastics coach for the summer.

I showed up to training week a day late because of my sister's graduation and I was more than a little overwhelmed when I arrived. Here was this team of people that were so excited I was finally there. Honestly, I was intimidated and I was nervous. But I was also excited all at the same time. By the end of Training Week I had been broken over bitterness and hurt that I had been holding onto from a past relationship. I began to truly understand God's grace in my life. And I had found a friend named MB who let me cry in her hoodie and would eventually stand by me as a bridesmaid in my wedding years later.

That summer I learned a ton and had a multitude of experiences. I learned about the simplicity of faith from the children I spent each day of camp with. I learned more about growing as a woman of faith from my female teammates. I learned that there were good, godly guys out there from the guys on my team. I went to states I had never been to. I taught little girls in gymnastics about self acceptance and I tried to help them understand how much God loved them just the way they were. I was able to pray with students who had accepted Christ as their savior. I felt as if I was exactly where God wanted me to be. Right in the middle of His will for my life. I loved it. I loved every minute of it.

I thought I would be a "one and done" aka a person who works one summer and then never works camp again. I thought that was the only summer I would possibly have to give since I was going to have to find a "real job" when all this fun camp stuff was over. I had no idea the plans God would have for me and how he would intricately weave this thing called camp into my life journey through the years. So, God closed the doors for all those "real jobs" I had been thinking about. And he left open the door to go back and go to Grad school at Clemson University. looked like I might have one more summer after all. And to hear about that story...I guess you'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Different Perspective

Tonight at church we looked at 1 Samuel 17 and the story of David and Goliath. Our pastor David Platt pointed out some things about this well known Bible story that I previously had not thought about. (He has a funny way of doing that a lot of times.) Before, I had always looked at the story of David as a story of bravery and standing up to your enemies, challenges and greatest fears. I thought of him simply as a courageous boy who would one day be king. At first glance, you might even find him to be a just a little cocky with all that trash talk about killing lions and bears. I had not ever really considered where that confidence came from or why he was so enraged by Goliath until tonight.

First, David was not scared of Goliath because he didn't see him as great. Instead, he saw his God as greater. I thought about how many times I have thought of my problems or fears and allowed them to grow to be so great in my mind, instead of being reminded that my God is and always will be greater than anything I may face. David was also enraged at Goliath because he was blaspheming his God. The one true God. I wonder, if someone blasphemes or my God, do I bow up in anger or do I cower in fear as Saul and the other Israelites did? David also operated out of a position of understanding that God had already promised to defeat his enemies and the victory was decided. The battle was not something to be questioned, avoided or feared, but something to go and be taken. So was David brave, yes, but only because he had the right perspective on the situation and the right viewpoint of God and what it meant to be a child of Him.

So how does this affect my life? Well, I hope it means that I will know what it means to live in a spirit of victory and to never allow my circumstances, problems, or fears to consume or defeat my spirit. That I would understand that I live with the power and strength of Christ who lives in me. The same power and strength that defeated sin, death and the devil himself. That is the strength that lies inside of me. With that, why should I be afraid? With that, what should I fear? The victory has been won by my mighty Savior and in the end, any "battle" he fights for me is all for HIS GLORY.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I already know...

First of all, I know I have been terrible about keeping up with this lately. School has been crazy, so while I have been keeping up with my Bible reading, the blog has suffered. But I am going to try and do better about keeping up with it too. I still have one story from Kenya I would like to share, but I will probably do that later.

This week I have been thinking a lot about Easter and what it means in my faith and my life. First of all, I am so blessed that a perfect and wrathful God would meet me in my depravity to provide a way into a restored relationship with Him through belief in his Son, Jesus Christ. I am undeserving of such grace and mercy, but blessed and thankful to have received it. Today at work and on my drive to Montevallo I spent time communing with God while listening to music. Music and songs have always spoken to me and today there were many lyrics that let me to the cross. One song in particular was written and performed by a young woman in our church. It speaks of how God already knows the end of our story. I am so happy that He does. So that even in the days when I wonder why the world is so messed up, I am reminded that God is sovereign and in control of all situations. Here are the lyrics of the song "I already know":

I’m closer than you can see

And my love is greater than you know.

Feel the weight of my mercy.

My arms are open.

And I already know who’s gonna save you.

I already wrote the end of the story.

You were made for me, and I’ll never leave you.

And in the end its all for My glory.

Your life is my melody,

Part of a song that I am singing.

In the dark its hard to see,

but there will be redemption in the morning.

And I already know who’s gonna save you.

I already wrote the end of the story.

You were made for me, and I’ll never leave you.

And in the end its all for My glory.

Cling to me and wait,

As I cover you with My garmets.

Can’t you see you are my clay,

And I’m the potter and you are carrying my fingerprints.

And I already know who’s gonna save you.

I already wrote the end of the story.

You were made for me, and I’ll never leave you.

And in the end its all for My glory.

And I already know who’s gonna save you.

I already wrote the end of the story.

You were made for me, and I’ll never leave you.

And in the end you will be happy,

And in the end, you will be with me,

And in the end, its all for My glory.

Pretty great huh? What a comforting reminder that He is mighty to save and He has already written our stories. What a blessing it is to be made for Him and to know that He will never leave us. I hope that I will live my life in a way that really is all for His glory.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Randy's Story

So, its taken me forever to get these stories out. Keeping up with school this time of the year has been tough. I also admit that my Bible reading through Levitical law and Numbers hasn't really been inspiring me to blog. I know its important, but I don't always know what to do with all that information! So, now to Randy's story from our trip to Kenya. Randy is a 15 year old boy that lives in the Kibera Slum area of Nairobi. The Kibera slum is the largest slum in Kenya and it is the slum that has received the most attention in American media. While the attention is good in some ways, it is also negative, since many of the people are either leery of or dependent upon aid and relief. We first saw Randy as he completed a marching presentation as a boy scout for our welcoming. I couldn't help but notice the infectious grin that lit up his face. We found out later that we would travel to his house in the slum for a home visit. As we followed Randy to his home, I couldn't help but think...this is his walk home...every day. Each day he walks through the rows of tin homes that are literally built on top of one another on the dusty dirt streets that also serve as latrines in some places. The thing that struck me the most about our walk there was that even among these terrible conditions, Randy wasn't ashamed to take us to his home. He was proud. He walked with his shoulders back confidently as he led his honored guests down his familiar dirt streets. When we arrived at his home, we were welcomed in the door by his father Frederick and his mother, aunt and younger siblings. It was so dark when we first entered, we couldn't even see where we were stepping to get into the home. I admit a cat that scurried behind my back in the dark gave me quite a scare. We all squeezed into this small maybe 8X10 home as this family graciously welcomed us in. (A sidenote...the monthly rent that was difficult for this family to come by, was approximately the same amount we had individually spent on lunch that day, approx $11). A small lantern lit the room, but it was not the only light there. The other lights came from the proud glow on the face of a father who was so proud of his son, and a son who has hope in his future. We spent time with the family and prayed for them. Again, I just kept thinking about how gracious and proud they were to show us their home. How thankful the parents were for what Compassion has done in their son's life. Randy again, walked us back through the slum to the compassion project. The slums can be disorienting, as everything looks the same and the sights and smells are abrasive to your senses. But we followed Randy as he confidently guided us back through his neighborhood. Randy is a product of Compassion. I have no doubt that Randy will do great things in his life, and hopefully bring change to the Kibera area. The only sad part...Randy doesn't have a sponsor. Randy represents thousands of children around the world who are faithfully attending the Compassion program and who are patiently waiting for someone to invest and pour into their lives. To these children, a sponsor isn't just someone who provides monetary support (although that is seen as a blessing) a sponsor is someone who believes in them, someone who tells them that they love them, someone who encourages them to chase their dreams. Randy, along with thousands of others are waiting for someone to start making a true difference in their lives. Will that person be you? If you are interested in sponsoring a child, let me know or visit If you are already sponsoring a child. Take time this week to write your child a letter. Tell them how much you love them, and how proud you are to be their sponsor. I really does make a difference.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Solomon's Story

On our second full day in Kenya we met a young boy named Solomon while we visited the Massai village. We were able to experience a "day in the life" while visiting his home. We proved to not be the most skilled at goat herding or milking. Solomon was originally brought into Compassion International as a part of their Child Survival Program or CSP. The child survival program is one of my favorite parts of Compassion's ministry for many reasons. First, CSP sponsors mother/child units from 0-3 years, the most critical years of life and development in many of these impoverished countries. The truth is, in many of these places, without the work of Compassion, these children would not survive their 3rd birthday. But because of the work Compassion is doing, mothers are learning about how to best take care of their children and help them not only survive, but thrive. Another thing I love about the program is the ministry it has with the mothers of these programs. All of the mothers that I have met are so grateful for the program and for all of the knowledge and the skills that they have learned. Compassion, as well as educating mothers on caring for their children, is also teaching those same mothers skills that they can use to produce income for their families. In Solomon's case, his mother was able to move their family from the small mud hut made of elephant dung that their family did occupy to a larger, nicer home. While still small by our standards, it was a great improvement over their former living conditions. Solomon's mother was able to provide this for their family because of the skills she had learned through Compassion's program. The CSPs of Compassion are making disciples of the mothers who are in turn, sharing their knowledge with their friends and communities. I truly believe that the children involved in CSP are the future of their country. I believe that they will be stronger and more confident adults who will grow up to make a difference in their country. Compassion is truly stepping in from the very beginning of life to break the bondage of poverty and release children from poverty in Jesus' name. I believe that Solomon will grow up to be a great man and make a difference in Kenya because of the work that God has done in his life through Compassion.

Currently you can make a one time or monthly committed donation to Child Survival Programs all over the world and you can help support this great work that Compassion is doing. I encourage you as this is a way that you can contribute once or on a regular basis to making a difference in so many childrens' lives around the world. Start making a difference in the life of someone like Solomon today.

Monday, February 22, 2010

To Be an Advocate

I have thought a lot lately about what it means to be an advocate...primarily, an advocate for children. A couple of years ago, I "officially" became an advocate for Compassion International which started my thoughts about what it means to be an advocate for children in poverty all over the world. My involvement with Compassion has a lot to do with why I am now becoming a teacher. Through Compassion I discovered my desire to make an impact in the lives of children, a real lasting impact, and what better way to do that then to become a teacher? Too bad it has taken me all this time to figure that out! Now as I am in classes about elementary education and becoming a teacher, I keep hearing that word...advocate. And I have thought more and more about what that means, both in the context of my heart for children around the world, as well as in the context of those students who will be in my classroom in the future.

As I think about children in my class one day, I think about children who will have little to no parental involvement in their lives. I think about children who may or may not have hot meals over the weekend when they leave school. I think about children who are struggling but desire to learn. I will not only be a teacher to these children, but I will be a comfort when they are hurting. I will be their voice when they cannot speak up for themselves. I will care about them not just as students or pupils, but as people who need to be invested in, cared for, and loved. I will be their advocate.

As I think about the children all over this world, many of which who live in poverty, I think of Susan, my sponsored child in Uganda. I think of a beautiful group of young girls in the Philippines that I spent an afternoon with giggling and playing. I think of children in Haiti that have hope, even in the midst of tragedy. And I think of the beautiful faces of children that I met recently in Kenya. As I was in Kenya, I realized that it is not by chance that I have heard and learned their stories. So, it is my responsibility to tell those stories. To be the voice for the millions of children who are not being heard. To love and care about these children enough to tell other people about them. So over the next few days that is what I will do. I will tell their stories. I will be their advocate.

I like the Webster's dictionary definition that defines an advocate as "one who pleads the cause of another and supports or promotes the interest of another." I hope that is what I can be for any child that God may put in my life or in my care.

P.S. I am still keeping up with my Bible reading too! Finally caught up from Kenya.

Today's Reading: Leviticus 11-14

"For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy."
-Leviticus 11:44

Friday, February 12, 2010

Eight Years Ago...

I went to the olympics. As a child I dreamed of going to the olympics as a gymnast. Obviously that wasn't really in the plans for me since I wasn't 4 ft 10 in and 80 lbs. But still, the olympics always had a special place in my heart. I get excited when the time for the olympics comes around and I still get a little teary eyed when the torch is lit or someone receives a medal. So, when the opportunity came along for me to go to the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, I was more than ready and excited. As a junior in college, I hopped on a plane for the first time since I was little with 14 other random people to serve with a group called More than Gold. While we were there, we served as Olympic volunteers. As I look back, it was a turning point in my life. Before then, I had never really traveled much outside of South Carolina and didn't really desire to go anywhere else. One trip on a plane to Salt Lake City and all that changed when the travel bug bit me and bit me hard. I think that trip was the first time that I really had the courage to take a risk and go somewhere God was calling me to go. It was stepping into the unknown and being okay with that. It was the step that would ultimately lead me down the journey that God has me on now. A short trip to Salt Lake City turned into what will be 8 summers traveling on the road with camp and events in 18 states. It turned into trips to Uganda, the Philippines, Haiti and Kenya. It turned into vacations of driving from Seattle to San Diego. It took me to places where I met my husband and some of my best friends. That one step, that seemed like a brief trip to the olympics at the time, became the first step in a journey that has been more exciting than I could have ever imagined. So each time the olympics roll around again like they did tonight, I get that warm and fuzzy feeling all over again. It reminds me of how far God has taken me in the past 8 years and makes me excited about what He must have ahead. Enjoy the games! I'll post about Kenya and Compassion over this next week.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Tonight is going to be a really short post. Headed to Kenya tomorrow to see the work of Compassion International. The reality hasn't even really hit me yet as I have been running around like crazy trying to get ready to go. Maybe it will hit me sometime between Atlanta and Amsterdam tomorrow! I am not really looking forward to the long flights, but it will give me plenty of time to relax and catch up on reading. We will jump right into everything once we get to Kenya and I am looking forward to all of the experiences we will have. Don't think that I will have a chance to blog while I am there, so I will be back on the 10th. Keep us in your prayers as we travel and pray that we will be an encouragement to the students and leaders of Compassion International Kenya.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I'm going to admit tonight that I feel like Job has been saying the same thing for oh...the whole book. So, I'm afraid I don't have a whole lot to share on that front. I am looking forward to church tomorrow so hopefully I will have a bit more direction as I read the rest of the book. I do really like feeling like I have feedback after each week of reading. It has been a good time for me and I feel like God is challenging me.

Guess I will take this time to share some random things about life right now:

*On Friday, Brad & I interviewed a girl for camp this summer who had come to Crosspoint...when we were working. How weird. She had actually only been a Brad's camps, but how strange that someone who was a camper for us in 5th and 6th grade is now applying to work camp in the summer. Geez I feel ancient in the camp world.

*I have been frantically trying to get things done this weekend before we head to Kenya. Preparing to miss almost 2 weeks of school is not easy, but I am grateful that I have the opportunity to go.

*On Friday, Brad & I tried a couple of firsts for us in Birmingham. A place called Newks for lunch and Yogurt Mountain for dessert. Yogurt mountain is great. You go in, grab a bowl and then you have about a dozen flavors of frozen yogurt to choose from. Then you can put whatever toppings on it that you want and they weigh it to see how much it costs. My favorite flavor combo was peanut butter with rice krispie treat...yum. My idea for them...they need to create a membership club where you pay a monthly fee and can go as much as you want for one monthly cost!

*A little over a week ago I got my lab placement for this semester. This spring we are all going to schools in Bibb County which = the boonies. It will be about a 45 minute drive, but thankfully I have several friends I may be able to carpool with. I was assigned Kindergarten though, so I am really excited. I think eventually I would love to teach Kindergarten, so this will be a good test!

*It dawned on me the other day that this summer I will get to go to camp and focus totally on camp and I got really excited. I took 3 classes online last summer and it was craziness. I still don't know how I did it. It was literally by the grace of God. He provided us with a great staff and me with great office ladies who I literally could not have gotten through the summer without. I am really excited that this summer my focus will not be split and I am looking forward to all the travel. This is last go round, unless God has some super crazy plans for me that I am not aware of yet. So I am going to make the most of it!

*My random thoughts lately...I'm ready to have a place to call home. Don't get me wrong, I love it here and I love our house. We are incredibly blessed. But ever since I graduated college I feel like I have been in a constant transition. Fortunately, we have stayed in one place for the last few years, but we still can't really put down roots as we aren't sure what we are going to do long term. So, whether it is here, or somewhere else, I am just ready to have a place to call home for a while. I know that God is already sorting out those details, and in the meantime I just need to be happy with all my blessings.

Well, that might be enough random updates for now. If I get any great insight on Job tomorrow at church I will try and share it. Guess that is all for now.

Today's Reading: Job 22-24

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The lord gave and the lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

The power of our words.

Tonight as I read Job, I thought about the power of our words. in chapter 19, Job says "How long will you torment me and break me into pieces with words?" Our words have power. They have the power to break down, as the words of Job's friends were doing to him. Or they have the power to build up and encourage. I have learned this fact as I study to be a teacher as well. I have learned that as a teacher, your words can have a permanent impact on the lives of your students. I have also learned this being a Compassion sponsor. For some children who are sponsored through Compassion International, the only words of love and encouragement they receive may be through the letters from their sponsor. I know from experience too. I remember times when important people in my life either built up or tore down my self confidence through the words they said. As Christians, our words have great power. Our words can either be a reflection of Christ or of the world. Our words can build up or tear down. We must always be cautious of our words. We must guard our heart and guide our tongue. Use your words to build up those around you each and every day.

Today's Reading: Job 18-21

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A few good friends...

Tonight as I continue to read Job I realize the importance of having good friends. Unfortunately, Job's friends were not being very supportive during these chapters. In fact, Job says, "I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. Shall windy words have an end?" Job 16:2&3. Not the best friends, huh? I had the opportunity to talk to a friend from camp tonight and I realized that I really should take more time to do that. I get busy, life gets crazy, and I use facebook as an excuse and substitute for keeping up with people. Its really just not the same. Tonight I took time to actually pick up the phone and call and it was so great, and so much better than "sort of" keeping up with someone via social media. I am sure that all Job wanted was just to have a good friend to turn to...someone who would tell him that everything would be alright. Or someone who would just sit and be with him (and not talk his ears off like Job's friends did). So tonight I hope that my friends know how important they are to me, even when I don't do the best job of keeping up. I also hope that I can do a little better at keeping up with people. God intends for and created us to be relational. And we are meant to have community. So tonight I challenge you too. Call a friend tonight. Write a note. Send an email. Do something to purposely seek out and encourage a friend. You never know how much they may need it, right at that very moment.

Today's Reading: Job 14-17

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

When God is silent (and men are not)

As I continued to read through Job tonight, I thought about the times when we seem at our lowest and God seems to be silent. So far, Job has continued to express his frustrations and cry out to God, but God remains silent. Have you experienced times like this? I know I have. I don't think that things have ever been as bad for me as they have been for Job, but I have been in situations where I have felt pretty hopeless and I wondered when God would answer my call. I know the truth is that he really never leaves us, but there are times when it sure feels that way. As I read Job I also think about the times when God is silent and we try to seek hope from man instead of Him. In these chapters, Job is seeking the help of his friends, and honestly, they don't seem to be helping very much. How much more discouraging is it to us when others we seek are not encouraging or helpful and do not speak words of truth in our lives. I think this reminds me that even when He seems silent, we must always ultimately seek and find our hope in God. And I continue to understand that just as God's words have meaning, his silence does too. God doesn't just sit up in heaven, twiddling his thumbs, wondering when we'll shut up long enough to listen. He has a reason for his silence. Maybe He is trying to teach us something. Maybe His answer does not fit in our time table. Maybe we just won't understand in this world. No matter what, we must hold on to our faith and trust that God's answers will come, in His time.

Todays Reading: Job 10-13

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A week from today...

I will be on my way to Kenya! I am so excited and blessed to have this opportunity to go on another trip to see the work of Compassion International. If you aren't familiar with Compassion, it is a child sponsorship program that is releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name. My involvement with Compassion International has changed my life. I will never be the same because of the experiences I have had with Compassion. In 2007, I traveled to Uganda, Africa for my first international experience and my first trip with Compassion. I admit before I traveled I was still a little skeptical. I just hadn't learned a whole lot about the program. After seeing the work that they do firsthand, I was sold for life. I was able to see how their ministry partners with churches in the poorest areas and how they are equipping these churches to change the lives of the people in these communities. I also learned that the greatest tragedy of poverty is not a lack of "stuff" it is a lack of hope for a future, and that is exactly what Compassion is providing to these children and families. In Uganda, I was also able to meet my sponsored child Susan and her mother. It was an incredible and overwhelming experience. I am so happy and proud to watch her grow up into a beautiful young woman of God. I know that God has great plans for her life. In 2008, Brad & I both had the opportunity to travel to the Philippines. And I had entirely new experiences with poverty. I had no idea that people built their homes over flooded rice fields and ride rafts of styrofoam or swim through rivers of trash and raw sewage just to get into the mainland of their communities, or that people built communities in graveyards. My family now sponsors a little girl named Mary Hart from the Philippines and I trust that God has incredible plans for her life as well. In the fall of 2008, Brad and I were also able to travel to Haiti. You can read in my previous blogs what a heart I have for that country, especially now in the midst of such terrible tragedy. Brad & I also sponsor a young man named Bens who lives in Haiti. We are pretty sure that he has been protected from much of the tragedy, but I am sure that he is still affected in some way. I pray that he will grow up to make a difference in his country one day. Although in all of the places that I have been the people are different and the landscape is different, two things are constant. One is poverty. It is like nothing that most of us have ever seen and it is nothing like anything here in the US. The other constant is the impact that Compassion International is having on the future generations of these countries. Compassion is bringing hope, it is bringing a future generation of leaders who will make an incredible difference in their country. Most importantly it is bringing hope to these children through Jesus Christ.

I am so blessed to be a part of Compassion International. It is a blessing to be able to be a small part of something much larger than myself. To feel that in some small way I am making a difference in the lives of others. That in some small way I am answering God's call to help the orphans and widows of this world. Sometimes it doesn't feel like much, but it is something. My heroes are the Compassion project workers who work with these children and are a part of their everyday lives. I ask you to join with me in praying for these people. Specifically for this week for those in Kenya. I pray that in some way I may be able to bring encouragement to these dear people as we are visitors in their country. Also please seriously consider making a difference in the life of a child through sponsorship. It is $38 a month and if we are honest with ourselves, we blow through that much money a month on trivial things like iTunes and Starbucks. That $38 helps support the needs of a child as well as pay for school fees and medical expenses. More importantly, it provides you the opportunity to build a relationship with that child. It is a relationship that will change your life as you are able to see them grow and change and have HOPE for their future. If you want more info about Compassion International, just let me know or check them out on the web at In the words of some friends of mine who are Compassion graduates, "So you want to change the world...PROVE IT."

Today's Reading: Job 6-9...I did read today!

"And he said, Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked I shall return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

Monday, January 25, 2010

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.

So tonight the reading shifts to the story of Job. Here are a few of my thoughts from reading tonight...

1. Talk about a bad day. In one day Job loses all his earthly possessions as well as his children. And yet, at the end of it all he says, "Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked shall I return. the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord" Job 1:21. I wonder if I could or would respond in the same way. To literally lose almost everything and still praise and bless the Lord takes quite a lot of strength. Strength I am sure that Job found in the Lord.

2. Just when he thought he had enough, there was more. Just as Job has lost almost everything, not his own health is attacked. He is miserable. Even his own wife tells him to curse God and die. and Job responds, "Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" Job 2:10. I think this is one of the things as humans we often struggle with the most. When things are going well, we are receiving blessings from God. But when things turn and we find ourselves in despair, we often feel that God has forsaken us. In truth, God is always with us. Even as Job was being attacked by Satan, God was still with Job. I believe that is the only reason Job could still respond in this way. That type of strength is not human.

3. Job shows his humanity. Job was tough, he really was, but his lament in chapter 3 was bound to happen. Who could blame him. Job is in such pain and despair he laments his very birth. Job is at a very low point. Job is struggling. Yet, we know that God is still with him. Job's circumstances have changed, but God still loves him, that remains.

4. The presence of satan is real. At the beginning of Job, God asks when satan presents himself where he has come from. Satan replies, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it." Job 2:2. Evil and satan are real. I believe he is just as present on the earth as he was when Job was alive. And while satan brings pain, destruction and despair just as he did to Job, he is still not stronger or more powerful than God. He never has been and he never will be. There are days when things are so bad on this earth, it seems that satan is winning, but that is never true. No matter how desperate things are, God is always in control. Always. He has already written the end of the story. And that is something we can take joy in, even in the midst of pain and tragedy.

So, while I have studied Job before, but I am looking forward to studying his story again. While it is a painful one, I think that there are also some beautiful pictures found in the midst of his suffering.

Today's Reading: Job 1-5

"And he said,"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I think that the picture of Joseph's forgiveness of his brothers is a beautiful one. After the death of their father Jacob, the brothers believe that now Joseph may take out his long built up anger on them all. To their surprise, Joseph's perspective is much different. Not only has he forgiven them, but he also tells them this, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about many people should be kept alive." Genesis 50:19&20. So not only was Joseph able to put the sins of his brothers against him behind him, but he was also able to see the bigger picture of God's plan for his life. There was no reason that Joseph had to forgive his brothers, most of us would have taken the opportunities he now had to cut of his support of them and their families, but Joseph chose to take care of all of them. I find this picture beautiful first because it is a familiar one. God has no real reason to forgive us. He didn't and doesn't have to do it. He didn't have to provide His one and only Son for us as a sacrifice for our sins, but He did. He loves us and He did. Because of this, our relationships can be reconciled to him just as Joseph reconciled the relationships with his brothers. I also think that is a beautiful picture of perspective. How even when others do evil against us, God can mean it for good. While there is often difficulty in the process, it can be exactly what needed to happen for the greater good.

So I wonder, and I ask these questions to myself as well, who do you need to be reconciled with? Who do you need to show the forgiveness of God to? What situation do you need to put into perspective and realize that maybe while difficult, God meant it for good? When we think about our anger or grudges, we must always remember that God forgave us when we were unworthy and undeserving. We should be willing to show others the same love of Christ in us.

Todays Reading: Genesis 47-50

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." Genesis 50:20

Friday, January 22, 2010

Joyful, Joyful we adore Thee...

I wonder how Joseph's father Jacob felt when he heard that his son was still alive and in Egypt. I wonder what thoughts went through his head on his journey there. I would imagine there would be disbelief, joy, and excitement that he would be able to see his son once more before his time on earth was over. I realize that the situation is very different, but I imagine that some of the emotions are the same for Jamie & Aaron Ivey and Dave & Kim Rhodes as they head toward Orlando, FL to pick up their sons from Haiti tonight. I can't imagine the whirlwind of emotions that they have felt over the last 10 or so days, from hearing about the earthquake to getting the news that their children are in fact on their way to the United States. I would be an emotional wreck. I am tonight and they aren't my kids! I feel pure joy tonight for I think really the first time since I heard about the earthquake in Haiti. My heart has been so heavy, but tonight is it light and joyful as it rejoices in something that only our great God could orchestrate. From pilots offering to charter planes to flights being held, God has been showing off today and tonight in his work to get these children home.

I do realize though in all the joy that tonight will also begin a time of transition for these children and families. These children have been in a state of unrest and upheaval for the last several days and are now flying to a new place where they will be with their new families and separated from those friends and people they have grown up with. I have no doubt that they will transition smoothly into their loving forever families, but I do realize that there will be moments of adjustment for all of these families in the days ahead. So I pray that God will continue to give these families peace, strength, and courage as he overwhelms them in His love. I also realize that while our friends are going to pick up their children tonight, there are many other families who are still waiting. And there are many new orphans in Haiti tonight who will need families to love them. So I pray for those families who are still waiting, and I pray that they will soon get their call to get on a plane soon. I pray that God would already be working in the hearts of people who will become families for those who are newly orphaned in Haiti. I pray that the Haitian government, once it stabilizes, will change some of their qualifications, so that more people who have been burdened will have the opportunity to adopt these children. I also still pray for the many needs that still exist in Haiti. I am joyful though and praise God as he has truly worked miracles in the tragedy of the last two weeks. Praise our Great God of miracles!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A heavy heart...

Today, I just have a heavy heart. Compassion International sent out its first reports from Haiti. Three of the five projects we visited while we were there were directly impacted by the earthquake. At least 100+ children have died and more are injured to varying degrees. It is news that is hard to hear. The reality is that I assumed news like this was coming, but you hope and you pray that it won't be the case. That somehow all of the children would have gotten out safe. But that is not reality. The reality is that Haiti will never be the same. Ever. It will forever be marked in some way by this tragedy. It is another scar that the people of Haiti will carry on their hearts. While it all breaks my heart, I still can't wrap my head around the fact that the pictures I see are of the places I was just a little over a year ago. That the beautiful hotel that we ate dinner in with LDP students is a pile of rubble. That a city has literally been destroyed. I know I feel that I am being redundant lately in this blog as it seems that all I can talk about is Haiti. But it is what is on my mind and heart. And today was tough to think about the faces of children we spent time with and wonder if they are okay or not.

I have to keep reminding myself that God is sovereign. He is in control. He will bring beauty from the ashes. He is healer and provider. He loves. He cares. He hurts too. I know that he is with the people of Haiti just the way he was with Joseph. That in both terrible and good times in Joseph's life, God was with him and had a plan for his life. It is situations like these that remind us that God really is the only one in control. We fool ourselves into thinking that when things are good that we had something to do with it, when in reality, all that is good in us and everything good that happens to us comes from God. So tonight I pray that God will bring the same comfort and peace to Haiti tonight as he did to Joseph on both his good and bad days.

Today's Reading: Genesis 41-43

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." Genesis 50:20

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

But the Lord was with Joseph.

So Today's reading continues the story of Joseph and not all is well. Joseph was a trusted leader in Potiphar's house until his wife was deceitful and blamed adulterous acts on Joseph and he was sent to prison. Even in prison, though it says "But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison...because the lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed." Genesis 39:21&23. I wonder what kept Joseph from thinking that God had forsaken him. He had not after all had the easiest life. It started out well, finding great favor from his father, but of course the downward spiral began when his bothers turned against him in jealousy and sold him into slavery. Then just when things were looking up, he gets caught up in all this mess and winds up in prison. He even tells Pharaoh's cupbearer to remember him when he interprets his dream, but he does not remember him when he is restored to his position. I just have to imagine that at some point, if I were in Joseph's position I would become frustrated or disheartened. But Joseph doesn't seem to feel this way. He seems to take everything in stride and believe that God really is in control. One of my favorite parts of this passage is when it says that God showed Joseph his steadfast love. I think sometimes I fail to remember that God and His love are steadfast. That even in the midst of chaos, craziness or disappointment, that the one and only thing that is always consistent is God and His love for us. Nothing shocks him, nothing surprises him and ultimately, He is always in control, even when are lives feel full of chaos. Our relationship with Christ is our foundation; it is our center. So that in the midst of it all, we remember that his steadfast love is our anchor. I am so thankful that in the midst of a world of inconsistencies that God and his love are our constant...always.

Today's Reading: Genesis 38-40

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." Genesis 50:20

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A glimmer of hope in the midst of tragedy.

Tonight's reading begins the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob (who would later be called Israel). Talk about sibling rivalry. I'm sure that Joseph was the typical annoying younger brother, and I am sure that it didn't go over well that he seemed to be the favored son, but was all that really enough to get him sold off into slavery? It would seem that Joseph's story would end in tragedy at the hands of his brothers. Since we have the opportunity of knowing what happens though, we know that this isn't the case. That instead, what was meant for evil, God would work together for good. That even in the midst of this tragedy, God was not taken by surprise, and he had a plan for Joseph's life. One that neither Joseph or his family would ever be able to imagine.

Again, during these days, my mind continues to think of Haiti. My prayer is that even in the midst of this tragedy that has happened because we live in a broken world, that God has not been taken by surprise and He has a plan. A plan for good. I hope that part of that plan includes that many orphans that are currently in the adoption process, who have loving families who have been waiting months and years for them to come home already. When the earthquake hit, many of the families waited to hear if their children were safe, and the ones who were, they pondered what this would mean for their children. All the papers that were filled out as part of this painstaking process were lost in the midst of the rubble. Would this mean that they would have to wait even longer for their families to be reunited? Or would it possibly mean that these children would be released to their families sooner? Yesterday, humanitarian parole was granted to the orphans of Haiti who were currently in the adoption process. I don't understand everything that this means, except that it does mean that there is hope that these children will get to be united with their families soon, maybe even in the next few days. Some families have already been united as their children were granted visas from the US embassy. Our friends and partners in ministry are still waiting. Aaron Ivey is a worship leader that Brad and I have worked with for several summers. He and his wife Jamie have been waiting more than 2 years to bring home their son Amos. Dave Rhodes is a minister who Brad and I have also had the opportunity to work alongside of at several of our camps. He and his wife Kim have been waiting for 2 years as well to bring their son Frankie home. Both of these couples have embraced opportunities over the last several days to speak on behalf of the many orphans who are in the country of Haiti. They have done all they can to bring awareness of the needs of these beautiful children. I can't imagine the fear, happiness, anxiety, and elation that these families must be feeling right now. I pray that God will bring peace among this chaos. I pray that these families would be united in the days to come. Time is of the essence in this situation, so I pray that these children would be on their way home for their families very, very soon. I pray that maybe this will be one of the good things that might come out of all of this tragedy. The idea that these children might be able to be loved on by their mothers and fathers so much sooner than expected seems like a ray of bright light and hope in the midst of the darkness that must hover over Haiti tonight. So please pray for these families along with me, as well as all the others who I don't know. Pray that Amos and Frankie and all their other friends will be on planes soon to join their families. I am so thankful that we have a God who can and does work ALL things together for good and who HOPE can be found in, in the midst of tragedy.

Tonight's Reading: Genesis 34-37

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant if for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." Genesis 50:20

Monday, January 18, 2010

A time called away from where we may want to be

This weekend I had the opportunity to work our Student Life Ski event in Boone, NC. It was a great event and good times spent with friends. But, with the busy and crazy weekend, I feel like I have gotten off my regular schedule. Nevertheless, I am trying to keep on track. Today's reading was more about Jacob and the time he spent away from home working for Laban before God told him to go back to the land of his father. It got me thinking about being called to places that we may not want to be at the time. In Jacob's situation, there were other circumstances, but still, generally speaking, I think many of experience times when God calls us to be in a place, whether it may be physically or emotionally that we would rather not have to be for that period of time. Sometimes it is being called away from what is familiar and comforting. Sometimes it is being called to a place that is difficult and disheartening. Sometimes it is being called to a place where we may be emotionally pulled and grown. Whatever it may be, it is important that we always remember that it is a part of God's plan. I think sometimes during these times we are tempted to think that God has abandoned us. That we have somehow done something to be punished, and maybe if we are good enough, we will be brought back into God's plan. However, God is with us all the time, and is ultimately always working things together for good. Jacob is fortunate that his story kind of comes full circle. He is called back to the land of his father and is reconciled back to his brother Esau. This was possible because of Jacob's obedience to God's call. So, I wonder, where God may be calling me in the months and years to come. I wonder if it may be a call to move to the unknown, to stay, or to go back to the familiar. No matter what it is, I hope that I can be obedient with joy in my heart. I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Today's reading: Genesis 30-33

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." Genesis 50:20

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Hmm...not real sure what to write about tonight. I have all sorts of thoughts rolling around my head. In regards to my Bible reading for the night, I'll be honest, some of it just seems so strange to me. Tonight's reading was about Jacob. First, he deceived his father and yet he was the one who ended up with the blessing. Then, he goes, meets Rachel, and he ends up being the one deceived and Leah gets caught in the mess. Then Leah is able to have children while Rachel is barren, and then they get in a competition of who can have the most children via their servants. Does anyone else find all of this a little strange? I guess in the end it is another representation of how God uses broken and messed up people to fulfill his purposes. All of this story will lead to what will become the lineage that is used to bring Christ to earth. It also shows that throughout history, we have all been and all are desperately in need of a savior. I'll admit though, it doesn't mean that there are still some things about these stories and people that I am interested in learning one day, oh well, guess that will have to come later.

On another note, my heart is still burdened for Haiti. I guess that is a feeling that isn't going to go away for a while. I am happy for the many miracles that have been happening there as people are rescued, but I also feel heartbroken for the many stories that don't end that way. All I want to do it go and adopt a whole family of Haitian children. I already wanted to adopt from Haiti and now it just makes me want to do it all the more, and soon. In all seriousness, I do pray that if that is a part of God's plans for our lives at some point that He would confirm and reveal those plans in His time. Regarding our friends who are currently adopting from Haiti, we heard tonight that there may be a small window of time where there is a possibility that they may get their children in days or weeks instead of months or years. Oh, how my heart yearns for them for that to happen! I know that God knows exactly how it all will play out, but I still pray that if it is His will, that may be the case. How wonderful it would be for those families to be united sooner than planned. Please if you have a moment, pray that these families may be brought together in the very near future.

Well, I guess that is all for the night. Not a ton of earth shattering thoughts, but I guess somedays that is just how it is. On a random note, I am currently in Boone, NC working a Student Life Ski event and I just had to go out in the hallway to tell a bunch of high school guys to stop running up and down the hallway. Oh, the joys of my job. Goodnight.

Today's Reading: Genesis 27-29

"And he believed the Lord and he counted it to him as righteousness." Genesis 15:6

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It just won't go away...

So, this heart breaking for the country of just won't go away. All day it has nagged and pulled at me. My tasks at work and notes at school seem a bit menial and unimportant. I know that there is really nothing that I can do physically to help right now. Brad and I have already given some funds to Compassion's relief fund, so now, we just pray. I guess I should remember that it may be enough. That it may be exactly what the people of Haiti need right now. I can pray and I can encourage others to do the same. I am thankful for the attention that is now being shown to Haiti. I am also thankful for friends who are having the opportunity to speak out, sometimes on national stages, about the many needs of the people of Haiti. (Tune in to CNN tomorrow morning at 7am central/8am eastern time to see an interview with one of the worship leaders we partner with throughout the year.) The sad part is, Haiti needed all this help before Tuesday, they needed it years ago. I thought it was interesting today when I heard a woman from the coast guard say, "they just seemed devastated and helpless from the tragedy," but they were devastated before this tragedy ever happened. So I hope even in all this bad, all this tragedy, that good will come. After all, that is what God does, right? He works ALL things together for good. I guess it is probably a good thing that this aching feeling inside won't go away. It means I care. It means I have love for a people thousands of miles away. My heart should break over something like this. So today, I did do my Bible reading, and its not that I didn't find any of it important, its just not what I feel like talking about right now. I just want to talk about Haiti. So that more people will hear. And more people will help. And more people will pray. So tonight I continue to pray for the people of Haiti. The window of time over the next 24 hours is critical for those who may be trapped and trying to survive. Join me in praying to the God of miracles. Pray that His light will fill Haiti's darkness tonight.

Todays Reading: Genesis 24-26

"And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness." Genesis 15:6

If you would still like to give to help the people of Haiti, you can see my blog from yesterday for the link for Compassion International's relief fund. You can also visit this link This will help an organization called Heartline Ministries. Heartline is a group that some friends of ours are adopting through and are working to help meet immediate needs in Haiti.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Heart Aches

Today, my heart aches for a place called Haiti. For those of you who don't know, Haiti is a short flight from Miami and is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. At first Haiti was a place I heard of because I knew of some people who were in the adoption process there. Last fall, I was able to visit Haiti and experience the extreme poverty first hand. I was able to visit compassion projects there, many of which had never had visitors before. Haiti is a dark place. Dark because of the voodoo that many have chosen to believe in. Dark from the extreme poverty and lack of hope you see at every corner. Dark because of the lack of education and professional opportunities. And yet, among the darkness, I did see light. Light in the eyes of children at Compassion International projects. Children who were learning to read and teaching their parents to do the same. Children who were learning how to recultivae their land. Children who are the hope for this poor country. This generation, they are the ones who I believed could make a difference and change the country of Haiti. Then yesterday happened. Yesterday Haiti was hit by a terrible earthquake measuring 7+. As if this country were not devastated enough. My heart breaks for the people of Haiti. It breaks for the children I met. It breaks to think that I may never know if a little boy named Mackenzie, who I was able to hold for a day and meet his family, is okay or not. It breaks my heart for the Compassion leaders who are giving their lives to try and rescue the lives of young children from poverty in Jesus' name. It makes me ask, Why? Why did this have to happen, and happen to these people? People whose sole purpose is just trying to figure out how to survive, and now have to somehow find a way to rebuild a country that was on unsteady ground already. Why?

And today, in my reading in Genesis 22 it says, "The Lord will provide." That is what Abraham named the place where God had asked him to sacrifice Isaac and the Lord provided a sacrifice because of Abraham's obedience. So, I pray that the Lord will provide in Haiti too. I pray that he will raise up leaders who will become heroes in their country. I pray that he will provide people like you and me who will give to causes that will provide relief to this struggling country in need. I pray that God will raise up people to pray. To pray for the people and children of Haiti. To pray that those small glimmers of light in the eyes of the children of Haiti are not extinguished, but grow brighter even in the midst of this tragedy. I pray and believe that as the Lord provided a confused Abraham with a sacrifice and as he provided all of us unworthy sinners with the sacrifice of his son, He will also provide peace and healing to this hurting country. Please join in praying with me.

Today's reading: Genesis 20-23

"And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness." Genesis 15:6

If you would like to donate to a cause I support and believe in, Compassion International, please visit the following link:

This disaster relief fund will help provide food and clean water, temporary shelter, basic sanitation and personal hygiene items, medical attention and preventative health care, and family reunification or counseling. I know that Compassion will use these funds to meet the greatest of needs. Please give as God leads you and give freely. Every little bit helps. Also, join me in including this link as a part of your facebook, twitter, or blog updates to help spread the word. We can all have a part in being the hands and feet of God and helping the country of Haiti during this time of great tragedy.

As I sidenote, Brad & I have the great blessing of sponsoring a young boy named Bens through Compassion whose home is in Haiti, thankfully, to our knowledge, he is okay as he lives in the northernmost coastal area. To learn more about Haiti and see some of the footage we took on our trip last fall, you can visit this link:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

As I read tonight in Genesis 17-19, specifically in Chapter 18, I thought a lot about Sarah and God's promise to her to deliver to her a son. Sarah simply laughs at this idea in her old age. This was clearly a dream that Sarah had long since given up on. A promise she chose to forget in her impatience in regards to God's timing. But God does deliver. Not in Sarah's timing, but in His own. I admit that this is one of the things I struggle with the most about God. His timing. Yes, I know its true and my mind understands, but my soul aches sometimes that God's timing would just correspond with my own. Like Sarah, I know there are times that I take a period of silence from God on an issue as a "no" when maybe it is just "wait." And its just like God to deliver when it is least expected. To give a son to an older woman who had given up on a dream. But then, it only shows his glory more. As if Sarah could have ever really taken credit for her own pregnancy, but here in this situation, it only makes God that much bigger and greater. It reminds us of those facts that we so often forget. I love when he states, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" in Genesis 18:13. What a reminder that nothing is too hard for our God. I think this story also shows that our God is one who keeps His promises. How often we forget that as well. How often we chuckle like Sarah when we think that God has forgotten us and our afflictions. How often we think he has neglected our needs and desires. How foolish we are to forget that God always, always, always keeps his promises. Praise God for all His great promises!

Todays Reading: Genesis 17-19

"And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness" Genesis 15:6

Sidenote for the night: I am not a fan of Lot. I don't know what it is about him, but every part of the Bible that mentions him I just find that he rubs me the wrong way. Offering his daughters to strange men of Sodom...and then his daughters decide instead of going and finding their own mate, they'll just sleep with their father? That's just one weird family line if you ask me. I know God works everything together for good...but really? There are just some parts of the Bible, and people in the Bible, that I will never understand this side of Heaven. But I guess, as always, it shows a picture of broken people in need of a redeemer. But still...a bit weird to me. That's my randomness for the night.

Monday, January 11, 2010

So many questions...

Why is it that so often when God calls us to something or tells us that something will be, we respond in a question? In Genesis 15, as Abram reflects on the promise of God to make him the father of many nations, and asks, "O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer or Damascus?" As the Lord again confirms his promise to Abram when he says "Look toward the heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them...So shall your offspring be." God also reminds him that He is the one that brought him out from Ur to this new land to possess. And again, Abram with the questions, asks "O Lord God, how am I to know I shall possess it?" Over and over again, God confirms His promise and covenant to Abram and how does Abram respond? He and his wife Sarai concoct their human plan to solve the problem and decide to have Hagar carry an heir of Abram. Oh Abram, oh Sarai, oh....US. Maybe we have never had this exact scenario play out in our lives, but how often to we draw impatient and forsake the promises that God has made to us for our own selfish ambitions? I often find myself antsy when thinking about what God may have for my future. I would like to say if God gave me the same confirmations as He did Abram it would satisfy me, but in reality, I too would probably ask questions. What is it about our human nature that causes us to be so impatient? Why can't we just trust, believing that God does have a plan for us and will be our provider? Why are we deceived into believing that our plans are better than the one who loves us and created us? This is so often our weakness. Especially when God is calling us or directing us. So I speak as much to myself as anyone else who may be reading when I say, Be still and know that He is God. that He knows us and His plans our best. Believe...believe in the peace the Spirit brings when God is directing. When I think about the idea of questioning God, it seems absurd, and yet, I know that I do it all the time. So the challenge is to just find comfort that He is God and sometimes that is all we need to understand.

Today's Reading: Genesis 14-16

"And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness." Genesis 15:6

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Lord said go...

Genesis 12 begins saying, "Now the Lord said to Abram, Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you." I wonder how Abram felt when God said this. Along with this statement, God also promised Abram that he would make him a great nation. That He would protect him and provide for him and his offspring. How exciting and scary all at the same time. While Abram was chosen and blessed, I feel that God makes similar calls on each of our lives today. He has a purpose for each and every one of us that often calls us away from the familiar. It sometimes calls us away from our family. I have experienced this a couple times in my life. Times when God called me away from the comfort of family and home to go to the new place that He had for me. Each time, while there was some fear in the beginning, I found peace in God's call and his promise that he would take care of me. Brad & I are now facing a "sort-of" transition in our life now. We feel at peace that this will be our last summer traveling during the summer with Student Life. We also know that it seems best for us to stay here in Birmingham at least until next May so that I can complete my degree in Elementary Education. From there we really don't know what will happen. We are trusting that we know as much as we need to right now. That if we knew what next year and the year after would bring, we would be distracted from where God has called us to be right now. So we are patient, and believe like always, that God has a plan and that the plan is good. We don't know now whether He will call us to "go" or to "stay"...either could be scary. Either will be new. We will either be going to a new place, or we will be in the same place in a new situation. So for now we trust. We do the best with what God has currently entrusted to us and we are at peace that for this day, month, year, or season of life, we are in His will. I am thankful for this year in our church. This challenge to grow, study the word, and learn more about the nature of God. I feel that for me, it is divine timing. Time to refocus, time to learn, time to grow...until the next time he says, "Go."

Today's Reading: Genesis 12 & 13

"And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness." Genesis 15:6

Friday, January 8, 2010

Not exactly what God had intended.

So, leave it to human nature to mess things up again. After the flood had passed, God instructed Noah and his family to "fill the earth" and he intended for them to spread into their own areas all over the earth. Of course, the sinful and obstinate nature of man would once again rare it's head in Genesis 11. The people were afraid of being divided, so sharing one language, they built their own city and a tower that would reach to the heavens. Silly man. God, of course, would see his plans set forth, so he confused their language and sent them out all over the face of the earth. No longer one family tree or a large city, but the nations. I wonder how often we are tempted in the same way as the people of Babel. How often we get stuck in our own social circles, churches, and our little corner of the world. And in the midst of it, we forget God's call on our lives to go to the nations. Don't get me wrong, there is a huge importance of Christian community in our lives. God intended for that to be present in our lives as well. But then our communities should care about those who are not included within it. We are called to care for and share God's love with people of all languages throughout all the earth. That is what God intends for us.
As another part of the radical experiment at our church, we are being encouraged to pray for the nations each day. I ordered a book called "Operation World, When we Pray God Works" to use as a guide and I just received it in the mail today. (Mom if you're reading I used part of my amazon giftcard for this book!) I look forward to learning more about the nations of the world over this next year. I hope that this book will be a tool to continue to develop my heart for the nations that God has been growing in me over the last few years in my experience with Compassion. If I can't go to all these places, the least I can do is pray. I hope that it will always keep God's call on my life in perspective. That the gospel isn't just for me or my community, but its for everyone. And one day, the nations will be brought together again, and we will rejoice in the glory of our great God.

Reading for today: Genesis 10 & 11

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27

Thursday, January 7, 2010

God's Great Protection and Provision

As I read Genesis 8&9 tonight I was reminded of the great provision of God in our lives. It what was the most cataclysmic event that had happened on the earth to this time, and God never left or forgot about Noah. The ark that God had instructed Noah to build was exactly what Noah needed to protect him from the storm and provide protection until the storm passed. Then Noah had the opportunity to be a part of God's new plan for the earth and a part of God's covenant that he would never destroy the earth in this way again. I am reminded again in Psalm 12 that says "You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever. On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness as exalted among the children of men." Kind of sounds like the world we live in doesn't it? Everywhere you turn it seems that you see something bad, something vile. Sometimes so much that our hearts can become hardened to these things. Sometimes our focus can completely be distracted by the vileness that surrounds us, instead of the protection and provision that God provides. That protection and provision may not come in the way that we would like. It may come in the way of a big smelly ark, but all the same, it is exactly what we need in our circumstances.

Before I finish writing tonight, I have a confession. I am really hung up on what is probably a really insignificant detail. Read Genesis 9: 18-28. Long story short, Noah becomes a winemaker, gets drunk one night, his youngest son finds him naked, son tells brothers, brothers cover Noah, Noah wakes up, Noah gets mad and curses the youngest son to be the servant of his older brothers. Hmm. I don't know about you, but this just seems like a really weird detail to drop in the midst of these scriptures. I even tried to read ahead and see if it makes more sense, but nope, it doesn't, at least not to me. I know this is probably a minor detail, but I get hung up on it, because I don't feel like there are really any completely minor details in the Bible. So, my thoughts...maybe it was a family story to show the relationship between Noah and his sons before going more into Noah's lineage in later chapters. Maybe it was to show the shame that Noah felt by his sin being exposed and the anger he felt because of it. Maybe it was to show that Noah was human. Even after being chosen by God to survive the flood and be a part of this new earth, Noah still messed up. I don't know. None of those thoughts are really theologically based on anything, just thoughts. Oh well, I'll try and not focus so much on the detail that probably isn't all that important, and focus more on God's protection and provision in my life. Thank you Lord for your hand that protects and guides me. Amen.

Today's Reading: Genesis 8&9, Psalms 12

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It grieved him to his heart...

"And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on earth, and it grieved him to his heart." Genesis 6:5&6.

Talk about the gravity of sin. It grieved him to his heart. That's a statement that slices through me when I think of the many things I must have done to grieve God. I think its easy for us to distance ourselves from Christ and to think he is a big God up there somewhere that just doesn't really care much about us one way or the other. But that couldn't be any further from the truth. These verses describe a time when God looked upon the earth and regretted that he even created man. His heart was broken. He was grieved by our actions. I think it always hurts more when someone we love disappoints us or hurts us. It is only because of His great love for us, that in turn he felt such great grief. The even crazier thing about the whole story...Noah. One man who found favor with God in the midst of all the mess. I know is says that Noah was "a righteous man, blameless in his generation," but I still wonder what else Noah did and what kind of person he was to be the one who gained favor for himself and his family with God. And what faith he showed. Really...God told him to build a huge boat because the earth was going to flood...when there had never even been rain before? Not only that, but God gave pretty specific directions for how to build it. I wonder if I would respond in the way Noah did, or if I would just think I was going crazy. It also makes me wonder...what crazy thing may God call me to do? It may not be quite the task he asked of Noah, but it may seem just as crazy to me. A little bit like me going back to school. Really? I already had two degrees in another field of study, yet, about a year ago, I felt a strong calling to go back and get a degree in order to teach elementary school. I wonder if Noah felt some of the same things I have. Crazy at moments and wonder why in the world I am doing it, but at other moments (and they come more often) feelings of complete peace and assurance that I am exactly where God wants me. I know going back to school in order to be a teacher seems miniscule in light of building an ark, but for me, it was at least an "ark like" calling. I've had to check my pride and learn how to be a student again, but I have also found great joy in finding something I am truly passionate about. Something I know God has called me to do. So I guess I'll wrap up tonight's thoughts with just a couple more. One, I hope and pray I never do anything that grieves the heart of God the way it was in this chapter. I can almost not bear the thought. Second, I hope I would have a heart and faith like Noah. That I might be willing to do the craziest of things that God may call me to do. Even putting that into words fills my heart with fear, as I think sometimes God's plans for me are much scarier than my plans for myself. I must always remember, His plans may bring fear, but His plans are always good. His plans are always BEST.

Today's Reading: Genesis 6&7

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27