Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hiking with the Lord - Busiek Revelations

Well hello world!

So I know it has been a while...I also know that I never finished documenting my summer road trip travels. Maybe I'll get around to that eventually so that I do indeed have it documented.

But for now...I return to the blogosphere for a different reason. I've been doing some reading lately...and also a bit of hiking out at Busiek State Forest in the Ozarks. Busiek used to be the place where I had a lot of fun college camping memories (which I still do...freeze the gnats and tats November camping! ha) but this time around living in Springfield...Busiek has become my place to hike with the Lord.

Which is exactly what I did this last Monday. 

At one point, I felt like the Lord just wanted me to sit down for a second...and take some time to just listen. So I did. My thoughts had kind of been overwhelmed the few days prior...and this is what I felt like He revealed to me.

I looked to my left, then to my right, and this is what I saw. (These pictures may look very similar to you, but to me there were definite differences.)

First, to my left:
From my view, the path kind of trailed off vaguely, consumed by the trees and leaves. It was like the past, no matter what's back there or where you've come from - it's constantly being consumed by the Lord's beauty. We just have to keep walking on and trust that His beauty is consuming it behind us.


To my right...
The path is a little more defined. But then it turns the corner and disappears. I had been way over-thinking my future, caught up in the details of what might possibly be and how to take care to get there. Sitting on the rock, I had the realization that we all know but too often forget - Yes, the Lord has plans for us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jer 29) - but that does not mean He lets us see all of those plans whenever we want. No, we are to live in today and take care of the right now. Why worry about tomorrow, for today has enough trouble of it's own? I believe He lets us see just enough....but when we try to make too many future plans (like me going back to school to teach, or moving to Dallas)...we are just fooled. Our lives are but a mist...so let's not get caught up in our 5 year plans.


And then...this caught my eye, straight ahead of me.....a fallen, dead tree.
I couldn't figure out why it so grabbed my attention for a bit...and I was fixated on it just for that reason. And then all of a sudden I had this thought - sometimes we are so concentrated on death that we miss the beauty that is ALL around us. And I don't mean just literal death. I mean any kind of darkness that feels like death in our hearts - could be pain that hasn't been dealt with, could be sin, could be the tendency to dwell on the negative. But if we could just take our eyes off of that thing for just a second...we would see LIFE......





So this week, that's what I would encourage you to do. Take your eyes off of the things that are bringing death to your heart...take a look at the life, light, and beauty around you. The Lord is here. The Lord is EVERYWHERE. And He is magnificent. He is consuming your past. And taking care of your future. So trust in Him. And follow the path in front of you. Wherever He's leading you...He'll be with you. And that's all you need to know.

God bless. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vulnerability.

Ok so I know I need to update...I have more coast pictures and redwoods and sunsets and Arches National Park in Utah! But I want to pause for a moment. To say this.

About 4 years ago or so...my first couple of years of college...I was in this super vulnerable place. For the first time ever, I was just very honest with myself and conversations were going on with lots of different friends around me and I just started to realize the power of vulnerability.

I think it has power...for a few reasons. 
1. For our past issues... maybe it's suffering. Maybe something crappy happened to us that just weighs on us or that we don't understand. Or perhaps we did something. Something that is so far removed from who we are now but nonetheless, we know we did it once. And maybe the emotions of that weigh on us. I think in these situations, we have to know a couple of things:

  • 2 Corinthians 1:4-5 tells us that He will comfort us in our troubles, SO THAT we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. I think that in order to provide this comfort with those who might be walking through the same things...we ourselves have to be willing to share what happens.
  • John 5, where Jesus heals the crippled man by the pool...He tells the guy to "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." One time I heard someone preach on this passage and a huge part of it was about the phrase "Pick up your mat and walk".... the mat. The sick, nasty mat that the guy has been laying on, defecating on for THIRTY-NINE years... "Pick it up and walk." Carry that thing with you. SHOW God's glory in where He has brought you from. Get up. Don't get stuck in it, don't walk in that sin, don't drown in that suffering anymore. Get up. But take the mat...and show God's glory in how He has healed you. You have to be vulnerable to be willing to carry around your mat.
  • I don't have a verse for this one...but we've all been through healing processes. And to kind of go along with my first point...some people are further along in the healing journey. We can't gain their wisdom unless we, as the un-wise, learn to open up.
2. For current issues, namely, current sin:
  • James 5:16 tells us to "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." I mean there it is. Confess your sins. Name them. Be honest and vulnerable. Pray for each other. Be accountable. Find healing. 

I learned a lot in that vulnerable season of my life. But then life got hard and I went through this weird depression which was so unlike me, and afterwards I started running away from a lot of things I used to know. I closed up. It was easier to just help others and not deal with myself.

This trip, God has no longer let me do that. I had to quit running. And it sucked for second. I don't like some of my mats. I would rather put them down. And there are some other things I would kinda like to keep hiding. But then I realized... especially with past mats. It's important to not shut them up. Because we start to THINK they are things we have to be ashamed of... when really, we are just stinkin' robbing our GREAT God of His glory that He deserves. I wanna give that glory.

Sorry this is long...I want to end with this. I wrote this poem in a class my sophomore year of college. I don't pretend to be a great writer by any means, ha, but it got good reviews for the class so I feel okay putting it out there. haha. It's called "Little Soapbox"...because seriously, I preached vulnerability like crazy back then. 


Little Soapbox

We shared life stories the other day
But I could see in your eyes that you were offering only so much
Replacing details with
And yeah, I just don’t know

But I know that the pain lies in what you avoid putting into words
It just wasn’t a good time you say
But the darkness of your past covers your eyes
And why?
I’ll tell you why.

Because no one talks.
Because we’re taught the past is supposed to be just that.
The past.
Secret.
Almost as if it doesn’t even exist.

But we’re dying to talk
Because we’re dying for someone to listen
To know the real us
To forgive our mistakes
And to understand our suffering

And the thing is
When we do step out and talk
We fling open the floodgates of realness
Allowing those who identify with us to rush in
Because really, we all have a lot more in common than we thought.

So talk.
Because true healing lies in your words.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oregon

My oh my, has it been a couple of days.

A little bit too deep of thoughts to pour out quite yet...other than I am definitely being pruned to hopefully be more productive for my Savior and His Kingdom. That.....and I have some really special people in my life. One Courtney Kirby...who speaks grace with authority into my life whenever I need it. And Sarah Beard...a friend I never saw coming but don't plan to ever let go! 

So here is my time in Oregon in photos:

Along I-84, I stopped at a rest stop and had a sweet conversation with a broken but Jesus-believing man named Henry. I also snapped a couple photos of the scenery I got to take in along the entire Oregon/Washington border.


When I got to the Portland area, the first thing I did was stop at Multnomah Falls. It was sunset and the light was hitting a little weird. But here it is!

I wanted to hike to the top of the falls. I was not quite in shape, but I made it!

After that, I went to stay in a community house where 10 people live with Sarah Whiting. And she took me to Voodoo Donuts where I got a bacon maple bar!

King of skipping ahead...after Portland I went to the Oregon Coast. I basically drove down the whole coast so here are a few photos.
Goonies beach!
Beautiful beach with rocks instead of sand. 
Which was right by this Yaquina Head lighthouse.
Washed.
This is really blurry. But Cali is where I am now!


The weird thing about this trip is that I am so unplanned. I realized I didn't last long in city life...so I don't think I'm going to San Fran. I really don't have a solid plan for tomorrow. I will go explore Redwood National Park and then see what happens!

Thanks for keeping up!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Across the Land of Potatoes

The trip goes on! I've made it across Idaho and tomorrow I will head to Portland. I got a hook up there and I am going to be staying at a community house where 10 people live. I'm super excited. And also pumped to see Multnomah Falls on my way into town.

I had some adventures yesterday at Craters of the Moon and today...Bailey and I googled things to do in Boise. At the top of all the travel people lists...was Old Idaho Penitentiary. So naturally, we went! ha. Kind of creepy. But also interesting. And took a couple funny pictures.

Here are collections of little thoughts I've had...
  • There's some cute foreign guy and his dad at Craters of the Moon. Maybe I should take a little extra time in the caves and let them catch up...
  • Battle would. Not my idea of taking extra time. I really have got to start taking better care of my head. At least I was caving with some Canadians if I passed out or something. The wound came after I had already made a 127 Hours reference.
  • There was blood. Not much thought. I just slapped a bandana on it so as not to gross anyone else out with the blood in my hair.
  • There are so many different license plates at National Parks. I even saw a Pennsylvania one in Idaho! I guess we're all the same breed. Road trippers = National Park visitors = Wilderness lovers

Sermon thoughts:
  • About prayer (and could apply to other things): You shouldn't say, I'll do this because if I do it, He'll be for me. He's ALREADY for you. Rather, the attitude should be, because He's for me, I put forth this effort.

I decided to start adding quotes I've overheard:
  • "Ohhh, you got that Super Mario song stuck in my head again. I should hit you with my purse!"
  • "Are we seriously clapping for a geyser?" (My sentiments exactly. I laughed. As did the Asians sitting between me and the man who made this comment at Old Faithful.)
  • A dad, as his family walked away from "Inspiration Point" at Yellowstone after only being there about a minute...."I guess we're not feeling very inspired."

Pictures from Idaho!

I got little kid excited to go up this thing @ Craters of the Moon. It was fun.

Tree on top of the black rock hill.

In Boy Scout cave! Pre- head bump.


Bailey and I at Old Idaho Penitentiary 

Just in case any of you readers need to make a phone call....

Here are some links to the FB albums of the rest of my photos.

God bless! 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Grand Tetons & Yellowstone

(Ok so my blog might be slowly changing...how do I get my own picture in the background?!)

Anyway! Here is what this post is going to contain:
1. All the brief thoughts I have jotted down in my iphone notepad while I did not have 3G...or perhaps any service at all in Wyoming/Yellowstone.
2. Pictures!

Longer trip thoughts will come later. So here it goes:

  • I feel like I'm going to have to pull over and highway wilder-pee. Fo real. It's that bad.
  • I have a bug bite the size of China on my forehead, and I "showered" this morning using a Coleman handiwipe. How hardcore are you? ha
  • If you want to see our economic recovery plan in action...just drive west. You can't miss it when you have to waste chunks of time sitting in one way road construction traffic.
  • I feel like I'm going to smell like a rotten egg by the end of the day. Yellowstone...kinda smells.
  • Seen one geyser...seen em all. Idk. Much more impressed by the canyon and falls than the weird geothermal stuff.
  • There is some New Yorker next to me making a video about Yellowstone Canyon. I had to turn around to smile to myself about his accent and enthusiasm.
  • There is a young couple walking around, and the guy has no shirt on. I've seen them multiple times today. What's the name of that MTV show where girls date dbags?
  • Just sayin, if you feel like taking a legit cross country road trip, you really need to know how to read a map. I haven't had service 80% of my trip thus far. 
  • The way people stop for wildlife around here...I mean am I heartless if I just totally do not care? Animals schmanimals.
  • Okay...so I have taken a picture of a bald eagle (kind of sweet) and some buffalo just because everyone else was. ha.
  • Apparently a bear killed someone in Yellowstone for the first time since the 80's the day before I was there. So they closed the road where the guy and his wife were hiking. Like bears never travel elsewhere.
  • I love nature but I also love civilization. I was dying for a cheap bed. So I drove on to Idaho Falls for a cheap hotel room. And I'm glad I did!
A couple of notes from sermons I listened to:
  • If something stops growing it stops living.
  • Comfortable faith is no faith at all.
  • Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.
And a couple of bigger, deeper thoughts from myself:
  • Science-type or some philosophical people say they don't believe in God because you can't actually see him. Like it's ridiculous, because we believe in something we can't see. Some of them think we are just nuts. But when I look around at such grand nature.....I have to conclude that they're the nutty ones. To think that this all came out of some big bang?? Are you serious? How can you look at such beauty and not know it had to come from something bigger...something beautiful and loving? Jesus might not be walkin' around today, but I tell you what, I see God EVERY day.
  • And then...if God can make things as great as what I can see in nature, how much greater works does and can He do in His children...US...whom He loves??

Oh, dude. My Prius MPG so far has been 45.5 Apparently when I'm not in a hurry to get somewhere, I actually get the EPA. Lovin' it.

A few photos...many more to come later on FB.


Grand Tetons...so beautiful.



Bison...through the window. Careful, they could kill you.(That's what they say)

Old Faithful.

Paint Pot. Whatever the heck that means. Lots of these. Smelled.

The best part of the day...looks fake in pictures.Yellowstone canyon.


Lower falls. 


Well....that is all for today! Thanks for keeping up. Tomorrow it's off to Craters of the Moon and Boise with Bailey. Still looking for any connections in Portland or San Fran...hit me up if you've got em! 

God bless.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"...to the wilderness for prayer..."

There are multiple instances in the gospels where we see Jesus withdraw by himself to the wilderness, mountainside, somewhere alone...all for the purpose of spending time in prayer to His Father. (One of these occurs in Luke 5:16).

I have never been more serious about my prayer life than I have been these last few months, and I have been looking forward to this time in the wilderness like you wouldn't believe.

My soul is thirsty to not only vacation with my Lord, but to be surrounded by His majestic nature that has ALL been created solely by the works of His hands and breath. I just can't help but praise Him when I'm surrounded by such beauty!

I serve a GOOD God. And it's gonna be a great two weeks of just He and I.

I was gonna put some photos...but this wifi stinks. Check my twitter for now. @GetLoew.

Love you all and God bless!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Back to the Palms

I never thought I'd be in Missouri this fall. I was trying to go anywhere...everywhere...wherever would take me. I wanted to move to Dallas and live around a lot of great friends.

And then...the LORD finally spoke. Or maybe, I finally listened. I've decided I'm no longer going to use the words "my plan is..." because they never seem to work out. haha. From now on, I think I'm going to say "This is what I'd like to do....and we'll see if the Lord agrees or has something else in mind."

This time, He had something else in mind. And that something else...is taking me back to the land of Springfield, Missouri. Add to that, it turns out I'm returning to a studio apartment in Palm Village Apartments.

It all started with thinking about some of those feet up there, and feeling like there is more work to be done in their lives that He wants me to do. Since then, in other conversations, other job possibilities have opened up as well. I have no doubt that He is taking care of the details and will take care of me in this year!

I am moving there in August and am committed to staying a year...after that, we'll see! I would love to get on to Dallas or elsewhere...but I would love even more to follow God's call on my life.

In the words of Lecrae:

"Let me finish my race,
Let me answer your call"

I will miss Kansas City and many of the students and people I have met here...but that's another good thing about Springfield. I'll still be able to be around. And come to town to watch my brother play football and basketball in his senior year, which is wonderful.

But anyway...Springfield, I'll be seein' you soon.

In the meantime...I'll be seeing Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Cali, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Kansas. Prepare for blogs of my time in the wilderness with my Savior.

I. CAN'T. Wait.

God bless. I have to go pack. :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This Week, I am Proud.

Today, I want to take some time to tell you a little bit about the person that belongs with those black & white Nike's at the top of the page. :)

_______________________________________________________________________


Kaitlyn Brooke Smith walked into my life a mere 2 years ago. Actually, it won't even be 2 years until August. The previous year, my junior year of college, I had been having a rough time and thus took a break from leading YoungLife. After a series of events unfolded the summer before my senior year, I ended up coming back to leading and being the only Kickapoo girl leader to attend camp with 10 lovely ladies. Only one of whom I really knew. I was so nervous I think I cried to a parent the night we left. And I had never before had a conversation with Kaitlyn Smith.

Within a day or two of the trip, I was already clicking with several of the girls, and some of them, including Kait, were already jokingly & loudly declaring the fact that I have a "donk" to basically the entire camp. It was hilarious. It was such a rough week in some ways - my grandpa had a heart attack back home, there were stealing issues, kids who got sent home from camp, and much more - but it was so beautiful because it also forever bonded me to some girls I may not have ever met. And even in the midst of the chaos, God was most definitely moving.

I'll never forget my first deep one-on-one conversation with Kaitlyn, sitting on a rock outside the snack shop at Sharptop. Or the way my cabin of girls rallied together on the rocking chairs after cardboard testimonies and talked through some of the most intense moments of their life with raw honesty and emotion. Or the fact that our cabin was called "Skunk's Nest." HA. I mean, seriously? :)

Over that next year, my senior year of college, Kaitlyn and I became super close. I'm not even sure how exactly it happened - but it did. I would come to know all about her family and life, and she came to know all about mine as well. When I moved back to Kansas City, she would come visit - in some ways, becoming like an extra member of my family. Everyone who is close to me has either met her or has heard me talk about her.

Well, this Tuesday, May 17th, Kaitlyn graduated from high school. And you bet I was there to see it! I am so proud of her. Here are a few photos:


Kickapoo Class of 2011


Standing in line to get her diploma
(white medal)



After graduation :)


Me with Kait & her beautiful mom, Pam


Despite many sadnesses and hardships in Kaitlyn's life, which shoot, my heart still breaks for, she has pressed on. Instead of letting them set her back, she just grew up - yes, probably more quickly than she should have had to. But she has allowed herself to see the good God has worked in her situations - and it is a beautiful thing.

She has a beautiful relationship with her mom, and values her many family members. She is respected by a wide range of her peers. She served on Student Council Cabinet as the Arts Commissioner this year. She is so talented in those ways. She gave up a month of her life last summer to serve the Lord. She goes out of her way to love on and work with special needs students. And a few weeks ago, she was voted Prom Queen.

I almost cried the other night as she stood in line to receive her diploma. I am so proud of her - and I am so excited for the life ahead of her. I know that God is going to use her talents and her huge heart to do big things. Some of which, I strongly believe through visions that I've had, we will be doing together. And that...brings a joy to my heart that I cannot even being to describe!

Kaitlyn...you know how much I love you. I'm so blessed you came into my life and I can't wait to continue on journeying together as you enter the next phase of your life.

This is my prayer for you...

"17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,
19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength
20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms."
                                                      -Ephesians 1-

That you may come to realize that as a believer, the same power is in you as the power God used to raise Christ from the dead. That knowing that would give you hope. And a reason to further study His Word and learn of all His promises for you. That your heart may be enlightened and encouraged to dream big, and to DO big.

I love you kid. Thank you for being such an important part of my life.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"Constantly in Prayer"

I will be the first one to say that I have pretty much never been consistent in prayer.

I was always one of those people that was aware of its importance...but just didn't have the attention span or the motivation to actually make it happen. Because of the attention span thing, I used to journal my prayers. But when I didn't have motivation to sit down and journal, chances are I didn't pray much.

All that to say - my heart has been crazy changing about prayer recently.

We are doing two different studies on prayer in our youth/college bible studies - one is called Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick, and the other is When God's People Pray by Jim Cymbala. I am also reading the book Radical by David Platt. The study by Jim Cymbala & the book Radical have both been blowing my mind about the way I (and my team) should be doing ministry.

So often I have come from a place of ministry where you get together, plan a bunch of stuff. Strategize how to have the best events, how to get the most kids to show up, how to be relatable, what cool funny things you can do, how to make Jesus attractive in that....and so we sit around plotting. Discussing. Even arguing over what we think is best. We have all these meetings that are steeped in just that. Strategizing. And then we pray at the end of it. We pray for our events to go well. We pray small prayers over logistics of the events, we pray over all our plans. And we add in some prayers for our students.

What I am realizing...is how RIDICULOUS this is. 

In Radical, as Platt is talking about the start of the church in the book of Acts, and as he talks about the disciples huddled together in the upper room, he says this:

"So what are they doing? They are not plotting strategies. They are 'joined together constantly in prayer." They are not busy putting their faith in themselves or relying on themselves. They are pleading for the power of God, and they are confident that they are not going to accomplish anything without his provision."

That paragraph hit me hard. Sometimes I think we can get so caught up in the gifts we have been given that we start to rely on ourselves, and we convince ourselves sometimes that it's okay because God has given us these gifts and therefore it is still God's work.

But no. God gave the disciples all kinds of gifts. Yet here they are, "joined together constantly in prayer." And I highly doubt they were praying small prayers. I doubt they were sitting around praying for no technical difficulties, that the worship would sound just right, that God would give them the financial resources to be culturally "cool." No. My guess is they were sitting around crying out in desperation as they realized their limited ability apart from Him. My guess is they were sitting around praying for God's POWER.

I think one of the reasons that I was never consistent in prayer is because sitting around praying little, monotonous prayers was never attractive to me. It almost felt like another chore at the end of another meeting. But I think my heart was on to something. Because when we realize how helpless we are...when we realize how little of power we have in ministry when compared to relying on the power of God...we can't help but be moved to pray. To pray BIG, passionate prayers. To pray for the impossible.

It's a risky thing, praying big prayers on a regular basis. It might open our eyes to some "crazy" vision for our lives, or lead us to take some "crazy" action. It will probably call us to be obedient in ways that we've never been.

But I think the flip side is riskier. Scarier. To never pray big prayers. To miss out on the true, amazing power of the Lord in anything we do in our lives. What is our ministry...what is our journey if it isn't marked by total dependence on Him? What, then, is the point of even knowing him?

I don't want to miss it. I want to be dependent on the Holy Spirit and its power every day of my life. I want to be ready for bold visions and actions and be ready to be obedient in radical ways. I want my ministry to be birthed out of powerful prayers, not out of good planning.

At the end of that chapter in Radical, Platt says,

"It is the way of Christ. Instead of asserting ourselves, we crucify ourselves. Instead of imagining all the things we can accomplish, we ask God to do what only he can accomplish. Yes, we work, we plan, we organize, and we create, but we do it all while we fast, while we pray, and while we constantly confess our need for the provision of God. Instead of dependence on ourselves, we express radical desperation for the power of his Spirit, and we trust that Jesus stands ready to give us everything we ask for so that he might make much of our Father in the world."

I want to do ministry that way. I also want to do life that way. May every day of my life and my ministry be a day that is born of the overflow of passionate prayers for God's power and love. And may I live my life in a way that makes much of my Father in the world.

If this post causes you to do anything, I hope that it causes you to put down your phone or computer...to take even five minutes...and pray to a Holy, powerful God who can do infinitely more than you ever could alone.

God bless.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

7 New Things

Remember the "25 Random Facts" that went around facebook a few years ago? Well, for some reason I've been thinking about that recently. Things have changed in the last few years though, so here is an updated 7 facts about me...or brief snippets of things I've been thinking lately.

1. Coffee now runs through my veins as much as pepsi. (Starbucks Tuesday's will do that to you.) I am halfway to having a Gold Card.
2. The older I get, the more I realize I might not want to have kids. Like, birthing them. I will always have teenage kids. But we will see?
3.. I find myself having to work harder at not getting a complex about relationships that have gone awry in my life. I find it to be scary that people can grow apart so quickly, either from things like spiritual breakdowns to simply just learning different things and growing different ways. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it's just natural. Nevertheless, it makes something like marriage more nerve-wracking to me. But I'm trying to work through this.
4. Thanks to Sarah, I now enjoy eating celery. I'm still not sold on the veggie chips though my friend. And I still can't believe I even ate a dried mushroom.
5. I 'm ready to move out of this state. I actually have been going through all my stuff, preparing to downsize and peace out. The thought of living in basically the same place forever (as in, living where I grew up) really freaks me out. A LOT.
6. I have some friends that dream really big. And the thought of journeying with them, or brainstorming what it would be like to start a church someday (with one of them in particular), is actually really exciting to me.
7. I think I just decided this morning to move to Dallas in July/August. 

(Unless I feel called elsewhere between now and then.)

...I'm just going to chew on that for now.

So did you learn anything new about me? ha.

God bless.

Oh yeah, and this used to be my hair. Have a great day. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

America

I've had so much on my mind recently. I told my friend Werm the other day that I feel like I need to blog every day for a week, just so I can put it all into words. I'm not sure I'm quite disciplined enough to make that happen...but it would be nice to get it out of my head.

Today, I'm going to touch on the fact that I feel like my calling has been even more reaffirmed recently. Yes, I have felt for a while that the Lord has gifted me with teenagers...and in that, a couple of months ago I got redirected from wanting to teach, to knowing I need to be in full time ministry.

However, there are teenagers in every country. And with so many Christ-followers doing missions all over the world, sometimes I wonder if I'm taking the "easy" route and just wanting to stay in America to be comfortable or something. (Even though I've felt called to be here.)

But it has been clear to me before, and has become clear to me again....just because we are Americans, doesn't mean people aren't completely broken here. Just because we do have access to the Word of God, doesn't mean that people even know anything about it. Just because we have money and "stuff," doesn't mean that people don't betray us and hurt us to the point that we don't know if we can believe in a good God.

Just because these teenagers have cars and cell phones and nice clothes, doesn't mean they don't need love and Truth just as much as a teenager in Africa who has never heard of Christ.

I truly believe that. Not to say that teenager in Africa doesn't deserve love and the chance to know Christ - they totally do. But take, for example, a former student of mine. Before walking into YoungLife, she did not know the Lord. She needed love and Truth spoken into her life. And now, because of that and the ways it changed her, she is spending all summer spreading the Word of God to the people of India.

Build them up, and teach them to walk it out. Whether that means in America, Africa, India, China, Chile...anywhere! As for me, I'll be here for now. Maybe going on the occasional mission elsewhere. But chances are you'll typically find me loving on some great students at the nearest high school. And I'll be loving every second of it.

God bless.

________

Edit: Kasey's comment made me realize I would like to say that I am by no means saying that wanting to do world missions is by any way bad or wrong. I think it is wonderful! This post was only to sort out my thoughts on what I know I personally am called to right now. And about feeling secure in it because of what I have been recently reminded of about our own country. We are all different parts of One Body - and I'm thankful we're at work all over this world.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Mix of Positivity & Mourning

Right now I am supposed to be doing something productive, but of course I am without the proper instruments to do so. (This will be fixed soon!)

In the meantime.....

As many of you reading this know, the two main mentors in my life, Andrew & Sarah Beard are moving next week. And I've really been trying to concentrate on all the positives of the situation rather than be sad. For example:
  • The day they announced their move was like a HUGE wake up call to what it means to be obedient to the Lord and all of the awesome things that come from it.
  • Just days later, conversations I had with Sarah and another mentor led me to rediscover my true calling of full time youth ministry.
  • I get to experience a glimpse of that and for the first time ever, get paid to work with the youth as part of a tripod (as I like to call it!) of interim youth directors - along with Allyson Lean and Andrew Michael Wermelskirchen until their full time replacements start.
  • I've gotten some leads on other future possibilities.
  • I've just really been challenged to be radical and bold...in speaking Truth to my students, in how I take care of my money, in how I go about looking for jobs, etc. And God has been working in ALL of it.
  • Basically, thanks to Andrew & Sarah and all they have taught me by the way they live, my life is forever changed...in a way that lovingly and boldly pursues the Lord.
But I just read Sarah's blog post that she wrote while we were in the office today.....and it did indeed make me sad. Really sad. I truly feel that there is a good chance I am headed somewhere in Texas in the next few months of my life, but until (IF) that happens.....I will miss them dearly. I don't think that there are good enough words in this world to explain the ways they have impacted people's hearts and lives. A few years ago I never thought I'd work for a church....now I feel like the best decision I ever made was to apply to intern for them in 2009. 

Sarah, I feel like I will rewrite this in a note to you sometime...but I want you to know that you have not only taught me so much, both as a youth minister and as a woman of the Lord, but you have truly become one of my closest friends. And as much as I will miss your physical presence in my life, I can't wait to continue on our journey. And also continue hoping that we end up in the same city again soon. :)

But for now, I will wipe these tears from my eyes, remember God's faithfulness, and get excited about the opportunities ahead.

And oh yeah, try to find that cord........

God bless. :)

PS - If you'd like to find out more about what Sarah will be doing in Dallas - for this AWESOME organization called His Voice Global, please click here!!!

Sarah & I

Andrew & Sarah

Beard's house

Monday, April 4, 2011

Words

This weekend I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Passion 2011 Conference in Ft Worth, Texas. Yes, I have been to Texas twice in a month...and it could be 3 times in one month soon! (Huskers, I still love you, I promise.)

Anyway, the weekend was amazing. While I wouldn't say that it necessarily changed my life (my life has been changing since the moment Andrew and Sarah announced their move), it was more of an affirmation that the direction I have chosen to start walking towards the last couple months is very much so the Lord's direction.

And one of the things with that is that finally, my words, or I should say, God's words - are returning in me. And it feels so good, because it is something I've been worried about...because I feel like I'm going to be in more of a teaching position soon. Many times when I'm talking, I feel like I don't make sense and I stumble over my thoughts a lot. But even so, I've been taking risks in speaking more boldly into some of my students' lives, and have also been praying this verse:

"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, AS I SHOULD." Ephesians 6:19-20

And He has been moving! Even times when I've thought I made no sense, girls have responded. He has been so faithful in showering them with love and causing movement. And my heart has been greatly encouraged. Take risks...see His promises fulfilled!

I love my youth. And that will forever be at the heart of my ministry. Because without love, everything we do means nothing. But sometimes, we just have to buck up and cross that bridge.

Be bold in your love. Speak Truth fearlessly. Trust that He will move...whether you get to see it in this lifetime or not.

God bless.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Rejoicing in Worry

So the last couple of days have not been my best. A few different things are going on, weighing heavy on my heart. When that happens, I can't hardly escape my thoughts. I feel like I just start to drown in the rollar coaster of my own emotions...because one second I want to cry and the next I want to bite someone's head off.

On Wednesday as this was happening, I just wanted to do anything I could to give it to the Lord. I hated carrying it around and I was looking for a way to be able to stop worrying.

So I went to Starbucks. And had a little coffee with God time.

I started off by opening up Crazy Love, because I remembered Fran Chan talking about worry and stress in an earlier chapter. So I was reading along just being reminded of the fact that worry is sinful because we doubt that God has the control and the ability to intervene. That even when our worries feel important for whatever reason, it still doesn't make it right that we engage them...and that is mostly because of this verse:

"Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again; REJOICE! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The LORD is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends ALL understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:4-7
I've heard this verse like a million times. But it just kind of rocked my world the other day. I mean it literally says don't be anxious about ANYTHING. In EVERYTHING, present your prayers to God. AND DO IT WITH THANKSGIVING.

How often do we come to God complaining about our worries and stresses? We don't come to him THANKING Him very often in the midst of that. Or at least I doubt you do. I certainly don't. We're too focused on our own issues, and sometimes we probably don't feel very thankful. But the Word tells us to do this.


And if we do....then what is promised us??? "The peace of God, which transcends ALL understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Dang. That is AWESOME.


How often do we go to God seeking His peace? I think most of the time, we just do it because it makes us feel better to be able to say we prayed about it, or we hope that in some way it will change our circumstances. But I don't think we often go to Him seeking His peace to transform our hearts and trust Him enough so that we don't even have to worry in the first place. 


But we should. And in that, because of His great promises, because of the fact that these worries are nothing compared to the eternity awaiting us.......we should REJOICE. PRAISE GOD!


"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, becuase he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock Eternal." Isaiah 26:3-4


God Bless.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ramblings of the Heart

Two of those pairs of feet up there come to visit me today. My brother doesn't understand why on earth they'd want to spend their Spring Break in KC with me, ha.....I'm thrilled though!!!

A whole lot has been on my heart lately. In a good way! And now I come to the point where I try to articulate some of it to you without going on for eternity. :)

First of all, I spent part of my own spring break on a road trip to Texas with the lovely Sarah Beard. There were a lot of different reasons/parts to this trip, but mainly what I keep thinking about (including pretty much EVERY time I enter my car), is how blessed our conversation was throughout the ride. I was excited to bond with Smoky Phil (my car - thank you Lauren Shehan), but I feel like I got way more than that. I feel like Smoky Phil got baptized, and I feel like I'm entering some sort of Holy place every time I get in.

Sarah and I spent over 15 hours on the road and never slept. We shared our hearts, we worshipped, we spent the last hour of the trip praying out loud. And crying. It was that kind of goodness. It was Holy. And I can't get it out of my head. But I'm not complaining! :)

As another part of the trip, we spent some time around some other youth leaders in Austin. And for some reason, I can't get out my head watching one of them specifically love on her students. She had a bunch of middle school girls with her at church after a sleepover, and just watching her love and care for them...I mean I don't know why it keeps running through my head. Also thinking about Sarah and the way she has loved her students in Liberty, and my own love for my students in Springfield and Liberty...

I don't know. Honestly I don't know why this is on my mind right now. I mean, to me it's nothing radical. I firmly believe that a genuine love of students should be the primary foundation of anyone in youth ministry. But I'm also reading the book Crazy Love right now. Thinking about God's love for us, our falling in love with Him....I feel like I am on the verge of tying a bunch of thoughts together here soon...but I guess I have to apologize, because for now, it is just not happening yet. haha.

My last side note: I am not a morning person. (I know, shocking.) Seriously, I've tried having morning quiet times before. I know it changes the outlook of your day. But I fall asleep. I also typically don't play music in the morning. Today, however, I did for some reason. And I realized something. I may not be able to sit and read in the mornings, but I certainly can worship while I get ready. I can give up a little bit of silence if some soft music will point my thoughts to the Lord.

More to come if I ever tie those thoughts together. God bless!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Finding Grace in Cleaning

It should be no surprise to most of you here that I hate cleaning.

That being said, one of my actual favorite things about cleaning (especially here in the Loew household where ALL of my stuff is), is the random stuff I come across sometimes. Nowadays specifically, I occasionally come across old cards or mail or things of that sort, and many times I stop to read.

This particular evening, stuffed amongst the cards, I found this folded piece of paper. On it were some scribbles of words...I immediately remembered having sat in class jotting it down. I think I was actually in adolescent psych. Which is funny, given the nature of my life and this blog.

Yes, I am going to share with you what is on it. I used to journal a lot. And even when I was in class, I would have moments where I just had too much on my heart, so I would take out a pen and some paper and jot it down. This particular day, this is what came out of my heavy heart:

Oh Lord, I walked into this day with my sin all around me
I've turned my back on you, rejected your love
Your precious grace cost your life to save mine
Hanging on that cross, blood pouring from your side
Pouring down upon me
Cleans me white as snow
Let me stay in this flood forever
Let me believe that
IT IS FINISHED

Take this weight from my shoulders
Your burden is light...

I trail off there. But man, do I remember that point in my life. I was ridden with so much guilt just from a compilation of things in my life. But may we ALL come to know and believe that IT IS FINISHED....that the price has been PAID, and that because of God's RICH grace...we can GET UP, pick up our mats, and WALK.

Walk it out. God Bless.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Whirlwind

Life has been a whirlwind lately. And it's not going to slow down any time too soon. BUT, it's a very EXCITING whirlwind!!! Here's a brief vision of what's coming up:

Friday: Get to see a dear former YL kid of mine, Kasey. If you want to know a little bit about me and Kasey's story, check out this video I made for the YL banquet last year. Click here. I am so excited to see this girl, the last time I saw her was a year ago when the taped the video together.
Saturday: Head to DALLAS! See wonderful friends.
Sunday & Monday: AUSTIN!
Tuesday-Thursday: Open window for random travels with Sarah Beard and I. :)

There is some cool stuff going on in terms of Austin that I will wait to go into for now...but basically I am totally pumped and would love for you to pray alongside me that the LORD's will be done in whatever happens!

I am completely and totally excited to get out of this state and travel. It has been way too long! And I am so glad that I get to make the journey with Sarah as well.

So...do you think it would be a good idea for me to wear a Husker shirt in Longhorn country? I wonder if all the Big 12 drama has blown over yet......haha. Just kidding, I don't want to die at 22.

Love you all!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Be Cool, Look Cool

I applied for a job today.

It's been a while since my last post. Last weekend I had a great time at my second home, good old Springfield MO. I laughed, I had good conversation, and I took a nap on a porch in 70 degree weather. YES. 

I tried to blog the other day but I haven't been feeling too well....and nothing was coming out right!

I promise to update soon but for now.....

BE A PART OF A CHANGE IN THE WORLD AND LOOK COOL DOING IT.

PLEASE click here to find out how!!!

I love you all and God bless.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

40 Seconds in SSR

It is seriously the wildest, most amazing thing when God starts bringing things in your life full circle. It is one of the best things about getting older, I think.

I was just sitting here at school during SSR (Sustained Silent Reading...now I'm on plan time), flipping through my copy of Louie Giglio's book, "I am not but I know I AM," when I came across this chapter called, "You can TRUST HIM."

So I stopped to read. Because honestly, I have trouble trusting God sometimes.

Basically, Louie starts talking about how when John the Baptist was imprisoned, John wondered why Jesus was standing by and doing nothing. Christ didn't swoop in and grant John with a miracle and get him released from jail. In fact, quite the opposite. John ends up being beheaded.

Louie relates this to our lives now...so often people pray for miracles and don't get them. While others get HUGE ones...lives saved, prayers answered. We've all heard those stories. So when we feel like God's not intervening in our own lives, answering our prayers, we start to wonder if He really cares.

Oh, but He DOES.

Louie goes on to point out that "If John had lived a little longer, he would have seen an even more senseless event than his own beheading. He would have witnessed the unthinkable -- the 'Lamb of God' being crucified at the hands of an angry mob. And for this cruel killing, John would also have concluded that God stood by and did nothing" (p142).

In typical female fashion, ha, my mind immediately started swirling. Within 20 seconds, I had thought through my depression 2 years ago (when I started having trouble trusting God), how it didn't make sense that YL was miserable for me, how I felt like God could have and should have swooped in. But then...was there a bigger picture there? Something He was saving me from? Preparing me for?

BAM.

Another 20 seconds. OF COURSE. It's all making sense now. Even though He knew that drawing me away from YL would feel like the worst breakup of my life (and oh boy, it did...hence the depression)...He had to do it. He knew it was the only way to get me to see a different plan. The only way to get me to work for Sarah and Andrew (and change my ideas of church). The only way to build connections for the future HE saw for me.

Don't get me wrong. I still love YL. And He allowed me to go back to leading my senior year. And I fell in love with a GREAT group of girls. (Some of whose feet are at the top of this page!) But He needed me to see a different plan for my life. HIS plan. So He did what He had to do.

So next time you are going through a rough time, wondering why God just isn't showing up...I encourage you to try to find hope in the fact that God is working in terms of a BIGGER plan. And maybe one day.....you'll get to watch it all come full circle.

Just maybe not during SSR. And it might take longer than 40 seconds. :)

God Bless.