Thursday, June 21, 2007

Walk with Jesus

I was sitting on the steps of the federal building in downtown Harrisburg the other day looking at people walk by when I saw a lady silently walking and carrying a sign that said "Walk with Jesus". She was just walking, not talking to anyone, not really even smiling but just walking and holding this sign out in front of her. I wanted to go after her and find out what she was doing. If she was raising money for some organization, if she was just trying to witness by holding this sign, or if she was on some spiritual journey of learning how to walk with Jesus.

After she had passed I sat there awhile thinking. What were others thinking when they saw her walk by? Were they thinking "Jesus freak"? Were they inspired like me by her openness to proclaim Jesus' name? Or did they even see the sign as they passed by?

Then I started thinking do I need to carry a sign to have people see that I walk with Jesus? Of course sometimes I feel like I am not doing a very good job walking with Jesus anyway. Sometimes I fail to remember that He is right there and I just need to turn and ask Him for direction. And sometimes I fail to remember that He is right there and all I need to do is reach out and grab His hand for comfort. And sometimes I fail to remember that He is right there and I just need to turn and talk to Him.

I think if I remembered to turn to Him and really walk with Him at all times I wouldn't need a sign. People would see that I "Walk with Jesus". And people might be encouraged, and people might be inspired or people might ignore it and not see it .

But what would really matter in it all........I would be "Walking with Jesus."

The good in the bad

Tonight I realized once again how certain I am of God's hand in my relationship with the love of my life. Over the last two weeks I would say that probably 7 of the 14 days have brought up hard issues between us. Questions, doubts, fears, insecurities and trust issues. Today brought another one (which I take total credit for). When the hard issue arouse my intitial reaction was I just want to escape. I did not want to deal with it. I wanted out.

I prayed though because usually I realize this is the only thing that makes any sense, the only thing that will bring PEACE from the Prince of Peace and the only thing that will make things right.

And then I waited.

And soon I was sitting with the love of my life talking our way through all the hard stuff. Loving each other through things that could have caused pain and hurt but were worked through with the covering of our love for God and our love for each other.

And it has been this way each and everytime the hard issues have arouse. We are open with each other, we talk and God works in our hearts to bring us closer to Him and each other. I am thankful for the hard because of the Joy and Peace it gives me and for the fullness and closeness it brings me towards Troy.

As Troy said tonight "Are you going to stop praying for hard things anytime soon?" (I have been praying the God would bring out the hard questions we need to ask each other now.)

I don't know I seem to remember some verses in the Bible about sufferings building character and Christ-likeness;). So maybe prayers of hard will continue.

All I know is that I am thankful for the hard and for the good and love it brings. And I am thankful for a boy who talks and works through it all with me with the help and guidance of the Lord of our lives.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lessons from Louisiana

Just a week ago I was in Louisiana standing next to some soap and bleach filled tubs washing juice boxes. Yeah you are probably thinking what in the world were you doing washing juice boxes in Louisiana? Aren't there houses that need to be rebuilt, painted and repaired? Aren't there people that have so many needs that need to be met even 2 years after the disaster of Katrina?

Yeah those were the questions that seemed to float through my head while I was scrubbing away. Why did God have me travel over 1100 miles to wash banana boxes full of juice boxes and spend my mornings playing with 3 years olds at Vacation Bible School?

At first it was a bit hard for me as I stood in the humid heat hands deep in the soapy water. I had assumed that going to Louisiana I would be doing the expected - rebuilding houses, meeting people who survived the storm and showing them the love of Christ by serving them.

I had thoughts that somehow those that got to go out and do the "expected" work were somehow getting a better deal than me. I felt like I was not really doing anything that would help anyone and my trip was somewhat of a waste. These horrible thoughts flooded my head and made me feel worthless and really be worthless to those around me. Thoughts not of the Spirit but of the voice of lies. And for awhile I let them win out.

Finally though I let myself hear the Spirit. Sadly it wasn't until the last day there so my lessons did not have much impact on my time there. But the lessons I learned are not ones limited to any time or place. And so I share them with you now knowing that they are lessons I need to keep hearing and keep learning and keep applying to my everday life in the midst of the mundane.
The first thing God showed me was that my duties and assignments in Louisiana did have impact. I remember one day playing outside with the children, looking around and realizing I was the only one there supervising 8 litte tots. I was needed and not just for looking after them but for the opporutunity to speak truth into their lives in the times when they needed to learn how to share and love one another. My duty of washing juice boxes was also just as important, as the task I was able to complete with several others in one week would have taken much longer for the two indiviuals who needed to get it done originally.
God also showed me that my task was important to the body as a whole because the juice boxes I cleaned filled the thirsty mouths of those who went out to work sites. A simple reminder to me of the many parts of the body of Christ needed to work together as one.
And finally my biggest reminder was that I need to open my eyes to God being everywhere. I think I really expected to really be "with" God by going out and working on a house and serving people in Louisiana.
And this is a lesson I need to learn daily. God is everwhere. He is with me at every moment and I just need to be open. He was there with me when I was playing with those kids and I could have been serving Him and worshipping Him just as easily there if my heart and attitude were right than I do in a Sunday church service. As Joanna Weaver says in Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World "What a goal! That the moments of our lives, no matter how mundane, become aflame with the divine."
I am thankful for juice boxes, little kids and a God who is bigger and mightier than to just be with those building houses:)

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The BEGINNING of Summer

While summer did begin on Friday, for me it will officially begin tomorrow morning at 8am when I am still sleeping because I don't have school for 2 whole months!!!

This summer brings much excitment for me for several reasons: It is the first summer I have someone special to go on picnics with and to sit under the stars with on beautiful summer nights. I will also be fininshing my grad classes after 4 long summers of studying and work. YEAH!

And who knows maybe by the END of summer even more exciting things will have happened! I will be sure to post The END of Summer blog to let you know:)

Enjoy the sun and your summer!