Say “AAAAAHHHHH” then laugh…

“Faith is not believing that God can; It is knowing that He will”

That is on a wooden frame my Mom gave me my first year of Bible College. It sits in my kitchen on my microwave. You know the place where everyone puts wooden plaques. If I were to have a plaque that read my actual feelings…one would say this “AAAAHHHHHHHHHH”. On the bottom, in small print, it would say “I know, I know…moving on”. I would laugh every time I looked at it.

Confession – my faith has its moments of flat out weakness. I do believe that God can. I often struggle anxiously that He will (I know the bible tells me not to…). It’s a really good that His power is made perfect in my weakness (and that the bible says so)…because I am…weak that is. We go from moments of great boldness and faith, to moments of anxiety and fear. The weak moments feel ridiculous but they are still very real. Here is the kicker, those bold faith-filled moments are real…and there is life to back them up.

The Old Testament is full of “Remember what the Lord your God has done…now move on”. That is my succinct version. There is a bunch of “fear not” thrown around in there…God knew they needed it then. He knows I need it now…and still loves me!

I look back at my life and there is no denying God’s hand. There have been plenty of unknowns and ill-equipped moments where God has come through and moved in ways I could have never imagined. He has led us places we never thought we would go, provided, allowed us to experience some painfully uncomfortable moments, stretched us beyond our limits…and never for a moment were we EVER left lacking. In fact, we found a great amount of life there. He is FAITHFUL!

Sometimes I have to remind myself of that. Not for the sake of dwelling on the past…but for the sake of what is ahead of me.

So for those moments where the pretty plaque convicts me…and the one yelling is my honest feeling…I will remember this.

My God is faithful! He can handle my moments…even when “AAAAAHHHH” is all I got.

An Aggressive Hallelujah

An Aggressive Hallelujah – that is what has been stirring in this heart of mine.

In case you don’t know, the definition of Hallelujah is a short one – Praise the Lord.

If you are a King James kind of a believer, it’s Praise Ye…Ye!

Yesterday was a good day. I love Sunday’s! I love people coming together to worship.

What went through my head and my heart yesterday during worship was bold. I just wanted to yell it. It was not the first time. I will not be the last. It didn’t feel neat and sweet. It felt messy. It felt aggressive. It felt honest. I’m reminded of the youth service when Ray stopped in the middle of ‘With Everything’. The’ whoa-oh’ part is great. I love it. The reality is, sometimes, the only thing that feels appropriate is a yell…a good, honest, aggressive YELL! Read Psalms…it’s aggressive. Since David was called a “man after God’s own heart”, I’m going to call that emotion appropriate.

The song we were singing was Hallelujah by Bethany Dillon. It’s is a more mellow song…I didn’t feel mellow. Man, I LOVE what happens in worship!

“Hallelujah, hallelujah. Whatever’s in front of me help me to sing Hallelujah”.

I thought I was going to jump out of my own skin. There is more stirring in my heart and head than I know what to do with right now. I can’t say that there is anything wrong, there isn’t. There are a lot of thoughts, emotions and constant prayers. For me, those lyrics sum up much of my response. If I had to paint you a picture of how I feel, it would be me with my feet anchored, my eyes set and singing this at the top of my lungs in a sign of surrender…feeling undone and desperate. Believing I am right where God wants me. The only appropriate response for me in this moment is an aggressive hallelujah.

I think of everything my sister went through after our cousin passed away. I listened to the song she was listening to over and over again during the weeks after. The thought of her in those moments makes me cry. Knowing where she turned in those moments shatters me. What was it? Hallelujah by Heather Williams. I listened to the story behind the song. This woman wrote this song after losing her son. That is a bold and desperate Hallelujah.

Sometimes it is in the middle of God stirring something in your heart that you don’t understand. Maybe it’s a vision you have and the steps towards it seems obscure or non-existent. In the face of joy, sorrow, loss, blessing, good news, bad news, confusion, clarity and gratitude…

Hallelujah

I Couldn’t Imagine…and my ramblings about Austin

I LOVE calling Austin my home! I got teary eyed just talking about it not that long ago. I think it every time I go for a Saturday morning run downtown (and if you live here and haven’t run Town Lake at sunrise, you are missing out). I love running under the Mopac Bridge, looking to my right and seeing my city (and I tell Katie who runs with me, “Look! PRETTY!”…if you don’t hear me say it, it just looks dumb typing it). It’s pretty. I love the people. I love to listen to conversations at the water coolers along the route.

I’ll never forget leaving this city in 2007 with that knowing in my gut that someday we would be back. I asked God why he would give us a heart for a city, and then call us away from it. It doesn’t always make sense. It was for a season. There was a purpose in it. I couldn’t have imagined the time frame, just knew “someday”. I didn’t know this would be why we would come back. I didn’t realize that time away would shape, strip away, change, humble, challenge, grow and propel us. For the record, all of that was just the beginning. This part of the journey is NUTS. All of those fun words have been kicked up a notch…and by notch I mean the scale it was measured by is broken. I laugh just typing it because it’s TRUE! When God calls us to something new, when we follow, it rarely looks just like we thought…because it’s NEW! The hard things are harder. The awesome is far more awesome. The unknown to us, is still unknown. The risk is still there. The passion is greater and continues to grow. The weight is heavier. His grace is just as sufficient. It is all worth it!

I didn’t know that my heart would grow to love this city as much as it has. I couldn’t imagine this group of people joining us in this journey…the differences that make up the whole and those that God continues to add.

There are a lot of things that just a few years ago, I could have never imagined. I know that that statement will continue to echo as we move forward.

I leave you with this verse!

Happy Monday Everyone!

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen

Learning the Language of…

I’ve learned something over my short 29 years. We are all different. Not only are we all different; we communicate different, see things different, respond different…you get the idea. What is beautiful is when we take those differences, embrace them and recognize that God was purposeful in not creating us the same. Ray and I are different. It’s what makes it all awesome.

That being said, I’m making great attempts to learn a new language. It isn’t Spanish…that would be beneficial. I’ve spoken teenager, bible college student and a form of Christian-ese. If you’ve been in church for any amount of time you have probably heard of Gary Chapman’s Five Languages of Love. We all speak at least one of those.

The one I am learning is 3yr old Sophia Grace.

I tell you it is the hardest language I have ever attempted to speak. Cephas has his moments but he was never this opinionated. He has opinions…he just doesn’t have monster size meltdowns over them. Remember, he’s the kid who ran EVERYWHERE…there is always something. Also, Cephas is a boy. I know there are some things I just won’t immediately understand.

Sophia is my present predicament. I’m a girl and don’t fully understand the way her brain works. She has always been independent. I get that, however, she takes it to a whole new level. This is the same kid who wouldn’t eat baby food but the second she could put her own food in her mouth, she was golden (picking eating is not an issue…thank God).

She is a fashionista to a 3yr old fault. This, she gets from her cousins (not a bad thing but when it’s 3…it’s a problem). There is no telling her that tights are not acceptable when it is 100 degrees or a sleeveless dress when it is 40. I win when it matters and have learned to only fight the ones that do (tights, not such a big deal but freezing arms is worth the fight). We continue to learn the best way to respond to her.

Embrace the challenge….embrace the challenge…and conquer! Laugh if you must. It’s my reality and I laugh.

So, I am learning to speak the language of freakishly independent, opinionated 3yr old girl. We love her more than words. Because we care, it is important to recognize the ways God designed her unique without being a pushover in the name of celebrating independence.

I know I’m not alone. We learn our kids. They aren’t us. If they were, that would be a whole other list of confusions. They grow us daily.

I’m not the only one in this boat. I’m fully convinced it’s a massive ship of parents.

Feel free to share some of your stories…

Action…

It has been too long since my last post.

The reasons for my delay in writing are few. They aren’t complicated. 1. The time to write has been hard to come by. Last week was the longest and most exhausting week I’ve had in a long time. 2. I’ve felt like I was on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Articulating said emotions would have made as much sense as the emotions themselves. By the way, this (pretend you can see my face) exhausted doesn’t articulate well…trust me (just ask my Mom).

I am ok. Seriously!

There are some things that the Lord has been stirring in my heart for so long that I can’t take not taking action any longer. I was at a breaking point of frustration that I never saw coming. It hit hard. So hard it interrupted afternoon movie plans. I couldn’t even go see Machine Gun Preacher with my husband…the last thing I need is more inspiration. I’m up to my eyeballs with inspiration. It almost makes me sick. To just be inspired is an awful shame…

This is all the succinct version…you are welcome.

We knew there were some things with planting Revive Church that would take time. Relationships don’t happen overnight. Community doesn’t happen overnight. A city like Austin seeing that there is something different…and you aren’t a cult…that takes time. There are some things that don’t take time. Serving people shouldn’t be a process. That is the immediate “do”. We are learning to “do” starting where we are and doing what we can. All of everything we do is about people…about other people…it’s about loving them, serving them, offering them the dignity they have been robbed of. There are people in need…people in need of a Savior, in need of rescue, in need of other people. What are we doing to show them that rescue?

We are called to act…

It thrilled me yesterday talking about what we are going to be doing as a church to serve our community over the coming months. We had a backpack full of what we needed to get as an illustration. I can’t express what it meant to have a homeless man come into our service, sit down and talk with my husband afterwards and leave thrilled to have a new backpack along with everything we had in it (happy to have full size toothpaste). He said he’s coming back  🙂

To some it may not mean much…but to that man, to have a listening ear and that new backpack meant the world (he immediately switched out the old torn bag with the new…threw the old away).

This is just the beginning (or continuation…you get the idea).

I’m excited for the future…excited for Revive Church and all that God is doing…including the frustrations (seriously). I’m grateful for a husband who will take the time to sit down with a man in need of a listening ear.  We are called to be His hands and feet…let’s do that! Casting fear of the unknown and the uncomfortable aside, with eyes wide open and love, listen and serve.

I don’t know what all God will lead us to do but I know this…He’s already given us a list in His word…we better be ready.