It’s Not What I Thought

Thanks be to God for His glory is within me!

I was going to try to start this post all catchy and stuff but then I realized I don’t need a tag-line to talk about Jesus. Being a Christian isn’t anything like I ever anticipated. 

I found the Truth in high school and called myself a Christian. But honestly, I wasn’t saved. I truly came to Christ on my own terms in September. Here’s the reality I’ve come to face these past few months: being a Christian is the most painful thing you’ll experience. 

I have lost so many people in my life whom I thought were good friends until I saw what a true, Godly friendship was through a girl I met in Cru named Joanna. After meeting and bonding with her, I stepped back to look at everyone in my life and realized I wouldn’t settle for friends who came to me when they needed something or only when my friendship eased their burdens. I wanted friends who sought me out when I was drowning from fear and faithlessness. But also friends who joyfully celebrated the big milestones. I wanted to be unconditionally, genuinely, and faithfully loved. 

I hurt my family. My nasty tongue and painful actions tore my relationships apart. I didn’t talk to the majority of my family for months at one point. And if you know me, you know how important my family is to me. Seeing how Jesus loved all people made me want to love my family better and be a better sister/daughter/cousin/niece. 

I have also had to face the reality of who I was before coming to the foot of the Cross. I was a liar, I used manipulation to get everything I wanted in life, I partied, and worst of all I hated who I was. Everyday. I struggled to look in the mirror so I hid myself in desperate attempts to get attention from anyone anywhere. And that hurt. Oh my, it was the most painful process to work through. To look at every aspect of my life and let Jesus change me bit by bit was so incredibly tough. 

Thankfully, God’s grace isn’t based on me. 

The “Christian lifestyle” looked happy-go-lucky from the outside. I thought being a Christian meant I’d always be satisfied and life would just work itself out. That I wouldn’t face anything too terrible and everything would be easier. But that’s not the reality of following Jesus. The mountains and the valleys grow us every single day. Everything the Lord places in our path is intentional, and the pain we feel is never in vain. 

He took this angry, hateful girl and turned me into who I’m still growing into today. I begged for change from the inside out, and I got it. I’ve learned to surrender, but not quit. All I had to do was take my hand off the doorknob, allowing doors to close so He could open others. Even my “bad” days aren’t that bad, because I know I’m loved and things can still be good. 

These changes have brought about a lot of joy and faithfulness in every outlook of my mind. I face challenges with an optimistic perception and laugh in the face of fear. I’m growing into this shell of a loving heart and soul that I’ve always had and it feels good. I’m thriving, not merely surviving. 

I mean, Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son for a reason. No matter what we’ve done, we can still come home because we are wrapped in loving,

         boundless,

                        endless,

                                      grace.

Here’s the Thing About Tahoe

It’s much more than a summer vacation

My excitement to live in South Lake Tahoe is seriously indescribable. I’ve been counting down the days since I got accepted in early February.

Yes, it is one of the most beautiful places in the US (definitely my opinion), and yes, it is going to be so much fun. But the thing no one understands is that no, its not a vacation.

This summer is going to be one of the most trying but growth-filled summers I’ve ever had. Going to Tahoe is a leap of faith for me, especially because support raising hasn’t gone very well. Being asked to take risks is counter-cultural and sometimes, against all odds, against all logic, we still hope. I am going to have to trust the Lord to provide the large amount of money I need to be there this summer. I will also be pushed out of my very comfortable bubble to pursue others with hopes of sharing salvation with them. That’s scary to me.

But one big thing I know about faith is that the Holy Spirit doesn’t do comfort zones. Jesus doesn’t want me to just be a believer, He wants me to be a participant. He wants and has called me to do Kingdom work.

Tahoe is a vacation destination that  attracts so many different people and cultures from all over the world. These are people who can hear the Gospel from students at our project, and we get to learn to talk about Jesus to complete strangers. I get to spend the summer having spiritual conversations, and this is something I will be able to carry with me for the rest of my life.

Tahoe Summer Project isn’t designed to reach the people in that city. This summer is about building my walk with the Lord and my ministry skills to be a Kingdom worker and fighter back on my campus or place of work so I can make a difference for Jesus. By spending a summer developing my faith, I can reach college aged people globally and that’s the biggest mission of them all.

I want to spend my life living missionally, but I know I have a lot of work and growing to do before I am well equipped to tackle language and cultural barriers to share the love of Jesus Christ within the unreached communities in the 1040 window. Joining Lake Tahoe Summer Mission is my first step to gaining the knowledge and skills to effectively meet people where they are at so I can share the life changing story of Jesus with any person I meet.

College students currently make up about 1% of the population, but we are the future leaders of the world. This is a time in our lives as young adults where we decide what our values are and where we stand spiritually and I want to be equipped to bring others closer to Jesus. I want to go to Tahoe to do all of these things (sorry Mr. Archer) and more that I haven’t even realized yet.

God often calls us to things and places that seem impossible to show us that they are indeed possible, we just need to trust Him in order to fulfill them. So, that’s where I am. I am trusting the Lord will provide through hearts willing to radically, sacrificially, and faithfully give towards my step into my calling as a missionary.  But also for people to be faithfully praying for my heart and willingness to serve the Lord by following His calling on my life.

I am going to Tahoe to to be changed and ultimately to change the world. And I really hope you’ll join me on this new adventure.

“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21)
Here’s the link if you’d faithfully like to join my team in this new adventure! 

https://give.cru.org/0917967

Seattle, I am really going to miss you.

Yeah, I know. I’m surprised too.

[Bear with me, this is kind of long. But this has been my reality for the last two months]

Anyone who has known me for any period of time understands that I look upon my life as an adventure in every way possible. My “innocent” prayer on the last day of 2016 has now brought about my newest adventure.

I thought when I asked God to reveal what He had planned for me, that I would just have a clear sense of direction on where to go and what to study after graduating from UW. I had no idea that He was going to take my hand and teach me how to walk on water.

I always joke about how Jesus must hate me because He loves to test my faith. This time wasn’t so funny. It was actually really, really messy. It involved ugly crying for days while I so desperately clung to my dream school in Seattle and this perfect little life I was building. But that’s the thing- I was building it. Sure Jesus was there with me, but my focus was on success and a future career. I didn’t ever check in to see if this was where He wanted me to be, and it turns out I’ve been doing this whole life thing all wrong.

My devotional has been diving into the concept of free will, and how He will be there regardless of our decisions. However, when we aren’t focused on Him, He just sits back and waits for us to relinquish control so He can take us into so, so much better.

My New Year’s Resolution was to stop being so scared of life, to start saying yes, and just pursuing the Lord with all I am. This lead to leap after leap of faith, knowing and trusting that I had the safety of His arms waiting to catch me.

I am starting to love the sound of my feet walking away from the things not meant for me. It’s still a daily struggle, but I am getting there. I have been called for more and I am going wherever He leads.

Which brings me here:

On January 5th, 2017 I submitted my application to transfer to Corban University in Salem, Oregon.

February 2nd, 2017 I got accepted into both this amazing university and my 9-week summer missions trip (within two hours!!).

Between applying and getting accepted were so many sleepless nights and tear filled days as I realized this reality of my life was shifting and I didn’t know what was happening. As a person who has every day of her week planned before Monday even begins, this was (and still is) a hard concept for me to grasp. But this life isn’t my own, and I know He is leading me into so much better!

As I sit here on the Corban campus, I am so in love with it. The people are so kind and welcoming, the campus is incredibly beautiful, and the one class I attended was actually super fun. This campus is the embodiment of Jesus’s love and support for His creation and it’s astonishing.

I am really going to miss Seattle and my amazing community- like I almost started crying as I wrote this. But I am even more excited to get to Corban and begin this new chapter. This next adventure is His, and I’m pumped (and somewhat impatient) to be spending the next couple of years here!

 

Let’s Go Back a Few Years…

When I saw wounded, He saw mended.

Story time!

On January 21st, 2012, I was at winter camp with my youth group as a high schooler. I had been wrestling with my identity and struggling with my will to live for months before this weekend event. I found myself crying at the foot of the alter during worship Saturday night and that’s when I met with Jesus for the first time. He said that I was beautiful and He was going to make me new.

I believe that in order to have a genuinely healed and faithful heart, we must first allow it to truly break before the Lord.

Looking back, in the moment, all I could see was pain and the wounds from all of the times I had fallen. You know what He saw in me? He saw purpose, and the priceless stories my scars would tell the world. Jesus saw my potential and I pray that I never lose the ambition to pursue Him wholeheartedly.

That was almost five years ago! There’s no way it’s been half a decade

 

If it were possible to go back with the knowledge I have today, I can fairly positively say I wouldn’t change anything. (I can’t be 100% because I am quite impulsive sometimes). My experiences were and continue to be stepping stones to a better life, and they’re all coming together into this beautiful creation. Jesus made a miracle of me- this broken girl who didn’t even know which way was up. He loved me at my darkest, more in that moment than anyone could in this lifetime. Jesus did His best work when my heart was shattered, which allowed Him to fill my emptiness with passion and adventure.

“After your season of suffering, God in all His grace will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

Thinking back to that night and everything I did to get myself to where I am now leaves me in awe.[WRONG]

Every decision was guided by His divine hand, and He is taking me into a future I can’t even fathom. My strength, my identity, my love and compassion come directly from the One who created my heart. This life is purely His, and I leave everything in His hands which has allowed me to see His hand in everything.

I can clearly see all of the doors God opened (but also closed) for my good in the end. Seeing the coordination of His timing is astounding, and inspires me to leave my life at the Cross and let Jesus take control. Instead of saying “Lord, I don’t know how I am going to get through this” I have begun to look at life and say “Lord, I can’t wait to see how you do this.”

If you think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this: you, my friend, are not that powerful. You are where the Lord wants you to be at this very moment; every experience is part of His divine workmanship. Don’t ever be afraid to trust your unknown future to our known God.

Be intentional about remembering that the work God does within us while we wait is just as important as whatever He’s preparing.

His timing, not ours.