Wednesday, December 14, 2005

RUN THE RACE


"Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
Hebrews 12:1

i keep hearing this chant over and over in my head "let us run with perseverance." the race has never been more clear to me than it has been in the last several months. there are times along the race when the path evens out and the scenery is absolutely breath taking and there is nothing but joy in the race. other times it feels like i'm running up a never ending hill and i'm so miserable and out of breath it feels like my lungs will explode. and there are still those times when the path is not easy or hard but all i can do is keep running because i know that there is nothing like finishing a race.

right now it feels like i've entered the wrong race. i wanted to come up to portland to see results. in my flesh i wanted to see people from st. john's packing out the theatre we meet in for church. i wanted to hear story after story of people's lives being miraculously changed. it's not happening the way i had expected. i'm not seeing the results i wanted to see.

on sunday mornings i see a scattering of lethargic people in a theatre. i see homeless people loosing the fight against their addictions. i hear story after story of families being torn apart. people that have come to red sea in search of freedom are leaving an environment where they have been poured into and loved to continue chasing reckless patterns of sin. i have a student who is now in jail who is tortured by his own guilt. another student who lies about having a relationship with her abusive father, and the list goes on and on. yet the chanting of "run the race with perseverance" beats on.

this wasn't the race i signed up for but it's the race i've been placed on. there wont be any pretty metals or fancy ribbons to be won while running this race. i may not see life change in the numbers i want or the way i would measure. one thing is for certain about this race, i will shed many tears and i will learn more and more what it means to love God and to love others. it's not up to me to judge the progress of what is going on here. it would be impossible for me to do anyway through my earthly lenses. my job is to persevere and continue to run the race through times of joy and sorrow.

Friday, December 09, 2005

FASHION 911


i was never a hip chic on the verge of the latest fashion trend but lately it's been so bad that i live in fear that someone will pop out of the bushes and drag me on one of those fashion emergency shows. fear or not, i'm still just a few seconds away to completely surrending to comfort and wearing nothing but pj's for the rest of this pregnancy. from the look of it i'm more than half way there anyway.

FRANKLES CONQUERS CHRISTMAS TREE


this tree was cut down by les in a national forrest about an hour away from our house. snow only an hour away and a $5 christmas tree!? i have to admit oregon can be pretty stinking cool sometimes. if you're wondering who the guy crouching in the back of the picture is, i have no idea. actually he's our friend warren who is also on staff at red sea.

SOMETHING ABOUT THAT LION


a couple weeks ago my pastor asked me who i connect with the most out of the Trinity. i found this a rather interesting question especially since i had never really stopped to think about it. for me it's easiest for me to connect with Father God and the Holy Spirit. i almost felt guilty for not being able to connect more with Jesus. Jesus was God and man you would think i would be able to connect with Jesus the most. Jesus was the one nailed to a tree for me, why is it so hard for me to connect with Him?

i got a free sneak peek of the movie narnia last night and i had an ah ha moment. there's something about the way C.S. Lewis told the gospel through this story that stuck a cord with me. maybe it's something about the way all of C.S. Lewis Narnia stories invovle children that capture my attention. or maybe there is just something about that lion that helps me to understand the simple truths about Christ.

we can hear truth over and over but sometimes it takes something to shake us to be able understand what it means. i've heard over and over how God just wants to have a relationship with me. i've told people this simple truth over and over myself. i believe this to be true but i get too wrapped up in checking off pretty little boxes or feeling guilty about not spending my time with God in a "correct" manner that i miss out on the sheer joy of just hanging out with God. i also forget that God desires to hang out with me.

God wants to hang out with me? this still boggles my mind. i have nothing to offer God, He has nothing to gain by a relationship with me and i know i can be a huge pain in the arse; yet He still desires for me to just hang out and walk with Him. i think i screw this up so much because instead of walking with God, i try to get Him to walk with me. how can i follow God if i'm constantly trying to lead?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

PAIN IN THE GUT


well, my spazoid baby has finally done it, he or she has bruised the inside of it's little home. i thought it was cute to joke about how this baby was going to bruise my insides. the pain is not so cute. sunday morning i woke up and was convinced i was going to have to be rushed to the hosiptal to remove my appendics. it turns out that my uterus was probably bruised and my body responded to the baby moving around and my moving around by having fun muscle spasms. if this pain was almost enough to bring me to my knees how in the heck am i going to give birth to a child without the use of drugs?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

WE'D LIKE TO THINK SO


this weekend heather visited us brown's up in portland. she said a simple statement while she was here that was very profound to me, "we'd like to think so." by itself it doesn't look all that special but it hit me like a ton of bricks. les and i have hit the bottom of our savings and we are officially living on the finacial edge. our church is doing the same and we can't even expect that the same amount that the church has agreed to pay us will be there this month. i have not always been debt free but i've never stressed about not being able to pay the bills.

i was chatting with heather about how i didn't think God would bless us with a house just to take it away from us. that's when she responded "we'd like to think so." i still live under the assumption that if i am obedient and do A, B & C that God will give me D, E & F. i never heard God's distinct voice saying that les and i will get to keep this house, that red sea wont tank, that we didn't move up here just to end up working at secular jobs. i don't know God's plan for us here. all i know is that He said go and we packed our things and went. i'm confident that no matter what happens He'll always provide for us. it may not be in the ways that i always expect and want but He'll provide nonetheless. i'm learning how to stand firm in my faith of God's goodness no matter what the circumstances may be.