Monday, March 31, 2008

Venting not Vente

So here's the deal with this post: it has nothing to do with Zeway. I needed to vent my frustrations with what I just saw....this is pretty raw emotion for me - no editing, no making it look and sound pretty. I think its rawness needs to show. These are thoughts that have been rolling around in my heart for the past 6 or 7 months, and tonight they won't hold inside anymore.

I just caught the end of The Bachelor, and I watched as a girl cried because she didn't get a rose, because she felt that "she doesn't open up immediately, and because she has a wall built up around her heart." She was upset because she thinks she didn't get a rose because she refused to give herself away to a man she'd only known a few weeks. THEN, if that weren't enough - the preview for next week ended with this BEAUTIFUL girl saying "I just want to get a rose. I want him to see me as beautiful." THIS IS THE PROBLEM!!! So many women who are absolutely BEAUTIFUL are totally and completely reliant on a GUY to tell them of their beauty. We are no one (so we think) until some guy comes along and pronounces us as pretty. Why do we as a species continue to allow another creature (fallen, I might add, just like us) to define us? To tell us what we are, what we aren't, and make us feel either on top of the world, or like we are being trampled on in a marathon. And the most sad thing of it all? It happens consistently to daughters of God. Women, made in the image and likeness of the Living God, falling into the trap of our identity being in those around us. It infurates me. It makes me want to grab every woman I see and speak of her beauty - speak truth into her heart of who she really resembles. Of the One who it really matters to resemble. We get sucked into believing lies that we aren't truly beautiful (pretty, cute, insert your own word here) unless we are told repeatedly by the men around us. My heart actually hurts thinking about how many women are being held in slavery to this idea. What is it going to take to allow us to break free? To break the chains that hold us captive to these thoughts that control us?

If you are a guy and reading this...I have a few thoughts - total freedom to take or leave them: Be careful with us. Speak truth into our lives, but don't feed into this mentality that unless you tell us we are beautiful, we're nothing. Remind us that our identity isn't found in you, or anyone other than our Creator. Love us for who we are, not who you need or want us to be. Remind us often that we are created in the image and likeness of Christ - and that it is enough. Remind us that He is and has deemed us as beautiful creations, and that we are daughters of the LIVING GOD! Remind us that what we see around us (media, publicity for the next best beauty product) isn't truth. And most of all: pray for us. Pray that God will redeem us from believing what the world is telling us, and that we will see ourselves the way our Father in heaven sees us. I once had a guy friend tell me that he was praying that I wouldn't believe the lies that TV and the world wants me to believe about who I needed to be - and I can't tell you how much that encouraged me. Part of it was the simple fact that it was recognized as a struggle we deal with, but mainly because I knew he was helping me to believe it wasn't true. By praying for me, he was helping me see myself as Christ sees me. So guys - know that it makes a difference. Even if you never tell us that you are praying for us - as we begin to see ourselves in new, healthy ways, we will know it.

*I realize that this post might sound like I'm totally there, that these aren't things I wrestle with. While I wish that were true, it's not. The lies, thankfully, come less than they used to, but when they hit, they still hit hard. I've learned that I have to have a foundation for truth to be built on, and once that is built, it's easier to resist the lies. This is my struggle, too.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


As previously posted, I've had many thoughts lately, just not the words to put them into. In the latest edition of Relevant, the founder of the magazine was writing about his vision and plan for creating the magazine, but his words ring true for many of our journeys.

If God puts a dream in you, by all means go for it - but on the journey, don't lose sight of Him. It's easy to get so busy doing things for God that we sometimes lose our relationship with Him.

Always keep tomorrow in mind, but never lose sight of the season God has you in today.

These two things have been standard in the process of my journey to Zeway, though there are times along the road where some air is released from the tires. It's in those times that He reminds me that Zeway isn't about me - it's about Him, and a community of people halfway across the world who need to hear of His love, forgiveness, and grace. I just happen to be one of the people He's asking to go. In those moments where I feel abit deflated, He reminds me that He has put these dreams and desires in me for a purpose, and He has grand things planned - but in His time. I'd rather jump into the next season, but I need to remain where I am in order to get to the next season. I can't get there without being here. I must keep my eyes focused on Him, and where He has me now, and what is to come will come. It's kind of like God's own money back guarantee, only He never has to refund us. And yeah, that's kind of cheesy, but it works. :-)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Few And Far Between

It's been awhile since I've posted, and to be honest, I haven't really had much to write about. I'm still in the waiting process of raising support, and it's been great, extremely nerve-wracking, and a million other things. Life is kind of happening all over the place right now, and while it's good, it's just a lot to take in. Good things, sad things, and extremely joyous things - many, many things. I'm waiting for a financial update, which I'm hoping to get in the next few days. Keep checking back - one day, I'll post frequently again!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ethiopia, Here I Come!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Weight of the Journey

I'm feeling the weight of life right now - my desire to be in Ethiopia, my desire make wrong things right in the inner city neighborhood where I work, and the heaviness of a few relationships in my life. God is teaching me so many things, one of which being obedience comes with a price tag. They are things I'd rather not be walking through, but I know it's part of the refining fire. Remembering that His ways are better than my ways is so much easier said than done. I'm realizing that there is a huge difference between knowing truth and believing truth, and there are so many times where I feel like I know it more so than I believe it. As I have conversations with close friends about some of these things, I'm slightly comforted by the realization that I'm not alone in all of this. We are mere humans - broken humans - and everyone goes through bumps on their journeys. We weren't promised an easy road, just a Guide to help us find the way. I'm thankful, but can't help but believe I'll be even more thankful on the back end of this particular stretch.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ethiopia Bound

Today was the big day for eighteen of my friends! (yes, there are only 16 here - we couldn't find the Stetler's!) They are currently sitting in the Dulles airport in Washington D.C., waiting for their flight that will take them to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I am so full of excitement for them - and abit of sadness for myself. I woke up this morning, feeling the exact same way I felt last year at this time, when it was our team going, and it's a great feeling being able to be that excited for others. It was hard leaving the airport this morning, though, without getting on the plane with them. I know that I will be going soon enough, and for a much longer stay, but my heart is already in Ethiopia - and there's nothing that will cover that ache. However - it's a beautiful thing to be able to be on this end of the trip, praying for them, knowing exactly what the team in Zeway will be doing/experiencing, restaurants they will be eating at, people they will be meeting, kids they will be playing with. To be real honest, that's the coolest part of this whole thing for me - being able to pray for them as so many of them prayed for us last year when we were there.

So, here's to Alissa, Jon, Amy, Nancy, Caren, Meredith, Johnny, Jenny, Dan, Michelle, Jordanne, Jason, Kelsey, Eric, David, Holly, Julie, and Sara!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Alabaster Jar

Over the past 24 hours, I've been asked by two different friends about going to Zeway this summer, and each time I reply, I begin by saying "the process is just really cool!" And it really has been. Looking back over the past few trips I've had to raise support for, it's been about going. This trip, however, I really feel is about the process. Not to say that I don't think I will be used, etc. once I'm on the field - I have no doubt that God has so much more in store for me once I get to Zeway - I just really feel as though there has been so much through the process of this trip that He is teaching me, and it's been simply amazing. Take tonight: I spent some time with a friend of mine, and as we were talking, the topic of support raising came about, and we agreed how it is a really cool part of the process - it beckons our trust and faith in who God is, and how He desires to provide for our greatest need. I've been blown away in the past week, with the arrival of two pretty big checks, and I realize that those big checks are beautiful and amazing, but they cause me to lose perspective of the smaller ones. I get caught in the bigness of things, and fail to remember that small always add up to big. As I'm talking about this with my friend, I think about Luke 7, where the woman interrupted a dinner party to see Jesus. She came with nothing but a bottle of perfume, and broke it over His feet. It wasn't about what she did or didn't have, it was about her heart. It's much harder to remember that giving is a heart issue, not a money issue. It is something worth trying hard to do: with each check that comes in, regardless of the amount, I want to view it as someone's alabaster jar, broken over the feet of Jesus, and poured out with love. I am grateful for any amount I receive - whether it be $5, $500, or anywhere in between, and I'm grateful to be more aware of the hearts behind the checks, rather than just seeing numbers. And it's defining moments like these that really shape the trip for me - it's not just about me going, but about learning along the way.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Time Goes By

When I added the Countdown to Zeway on the side, I thought it would take forever to see any difference. When I added it, there were 121 days. Seeing it at 108 today blows my mind. It seems like it was just a few days ago that I added it, and 2 weeks have gone by. Here's to hoping that the remaining 108 days go by just as fast!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Random Musings

Support has been trickling in for the trip - hallelujah! It's exciting to see that after so much prep, so many conversations about wanting to go back, it's really happening! I'm not sure where I'm standing right now, but as soon as I find out, I'll post it! Thanks to all of you who have given to make this become reality! (and if you'd like to give, just let me know. :-)

On another note - I can't seem to be able to make decisions for the life of me. This is a relatively new thing for me, and it's really frustrating. I'm not sure what the deal is, but I have several huge things looming in front of me that I need to give answers for before too long. And every time I think about those things, I want to have someone else make the decision, and just live with that. I understand that many people live with this feeling their entire lives, and honestly, I don't know how. It has been completely paralyzing, and I'm so afraid of making the wrong choice. Take today: a friend and I were out shopping, and we stopped in at Panera to get something to drink. I got my cup, walked to the fountain machine, and froze. Not only did I not know what to get, I didn't want to get the wrong thing, in case that wasn't really what I wanted. Then someone walked up behind me, and the pressure to decide was on. I went with Dr. Pepper - a good, safe choice usually. Not today friends. I should have gotten the Mountain Dew.

I'm a bit screwy at present time. :-)