Saturday, January 28, 2012

Prayer, Praise, Purpose...waiting

The last couple of weeks I have to admit, prayer has been overrun by anything and everything  Satan can put in front of me to distract me. I miss it desperately and know that without prayer, I am running the race in my own strength.
I also miss true praise. Last night, I stood and was surrounded by fellow believers as we sang to the Lord, “How great thou art”. I was overcome with tears as I felt the strength of God rising up in me just by singing His praise. I was reminded how great He is, and how much support I have around me because of Him.
What is my purpose in life? When I gave my life to Jesus 7 years ago now, I had no idea just what that meant. But literally, each and every one of us must completely surrender all that we are. After 6 years I finally surrendered, and realized that what God was calling me to do was much greater than anything I could think of myself. Through prayer and praise, I continually ask God to show me His purpose for my life and that I would do so with all that I am.
Jan 23rd- I was cleared of all necessary paperwork in order to be put on the list to attend the May 2012 SIMStart (a 4-day training).
Jan 23rd- I also was sent a link with all the opportunities that are available through SIM. After a few days, I because quickly overwhelmed at the amount of needs that are present.
Jan 26th- I got a new perspective and some much need help and I once again sat down to go through the options. There I found 5 options that I could possible fulfill.
Jan 27th- I received the full detailed report and was able to scratch 3 of the 5 off due to different things.
Today: I continue to pray for guidance as to where God wants to me go and what He desires me to do. I sometimes get the feeling that I will be asked to do something outside my comfort zone (as if just going isn’t enough) and I must be in prayer as to where to go.
I’m also very excited with where God has brought me just this far. I know getting all the paperwork in and cleared in the timing that I did is a miracle of His hands. I’m excited that I’m finally at the stage where I can truly begin focusing on where to go and when.
I’m looking forward to continually acknowledging God’s direction with this whole mission. As He continues to weave and create a beautiful basket of all His doings, I desire to allow God to do His will. I’m also looking forward to all the connections He continues to formulate in my life that are added bonuses on this path to the missions field. I also look forward to many times of quiet with my focus on Him and Him alone. (In this I pray against the enemy that God would protect this time and that I would do my part to fulfill what He is asking me to do for Him). And I also look forward to the SIMstart that will take place in May. I’m looking forward to meeting all the wonderful people who have helped me along this journey and encouraged me. I also look forward to meeting other prospective missionaries that are journeying down this same path I am as I realize I am never alone.

As I venture out on this beautiful Saturday morning in January where the weather is to be in the high 70’s, my prayer is that I can listen to God’s voice clearly in all that I do. I pray His presence is near and may all that I do be for His glory. Lord I am waiting on you, patiently I will wait. I will move ahead bold and confident, taking every step in obedience as I continue to serve You, worship You, and I will not fear for you have called me to run this race that is to your glory and honor. What a lovely song that you have spoken to me through and as hard as it is to hear those words, I know that is just what I am suppose to do; wait on you. Jesus thank you for being my Savior, my best friend and my everything. I love you and desire to serve you with all that you have created me to be.
In your sweet name I pray,

Monday, January 16, 2012

1 year!

Today marks 1 year since I began this blog. Wow has God done same amazing things in my life. As unfamiliar and unknowing many circumstances seem to be, I’m in still in awe daily of what Jesus has done and is doing in my life. I was really encouraged last night as I talked with a good friend of mine and her husband about Missions. I really believe God has laid it upon my heart that when I see the description that He has for me, I will know. And through their own missionary background, that same was true for them. I believe God has a specific plan, place and purpose for me in another part of this world and I must wait on Him to fulfill that.
As I have written over the last year, many times I have mentioned the struggle of wanting to get married. A few days ago I went back and read posts that I had written at the very beginning of this journey. A line that I had written stuck out to me, “Father this is my prayer, for you to break my plans of getting a preschool teaching job, being comfortable with my things and waiting for you to bring me a husband.” As I read that, I cried. He has fulfilled each of these prayers in ways I never thought He would. First, a preschool teaching job was what I thought I would do since before I graduated from college. I got my degree and extra units so that I could do that very thing. And my heart is definitely for preschoolers and helping them not only with their alphabet and counting, but also understanding the Gospel. I love making it real for them so that they can see just how powerful Jesus is, how He is everywhere, and how much He loves them. But God has reaffirmed multiple times that working in Ministry doing what He has for me each day is exactly where He wants me to be. I truly feel at peace with this.
Second, how often in the last year have I looked around my room and realized that all I really need in life is my Bible. Clothes would be helpful for the sake of everyone else around, but truly, all I need is God’s Word. As I get closer and closer to leaving, I realize more and more how the “stuff” in my house is just that, “stuff”.  He really has shown me what is important in life; Loving others. I know that when the time comes, I will walk away with a few clothes, my Bible, and many many memories that will sustain me as I am away.
And thirdly, what I would say would have been the one prayer that there was no way that He could fulfill so quickly. As I have struggled with what seems like everyone else around me dating, getting married, have kids and settling down, I have been on this path to go and preach the gospel in another country, by myself. I have cried many tears over not having a partner in this life to be able to share each and every thing with.  My hearts’ desire is still to get married one day and get the opportunity to have kids of my own. My recently, God has lifted a desire higher than this, and that is going to the Missions field. I believe God has asked me to go alone, knowing that if He does grant me the desire to get married, I most likely would remain here and fulfill it, instead of going and fulfilling His ultimately greater purpose of reaching those far away. And there’s a peace that surpasses all understanding when I think about this. I have laid this prayer at the foot of the Cross so many times, I believe I have released it to His timing.
And so here I usher in a new year with new prayer requests, and I hold a trust in God that He too will fulfill these in his own way. Finances scare me, I don’t like money, and I believe that is one of the many reasons He is sending me overseas. As different things arise and begin to become clear as far as the coming  months go, I tend to see a bigger picture and therefore fall into fear. My prayer is that I would trust God with my finances and that even at moments when all seems impossible, I will remember the verse that I have read many times this past week, “With God, all things are possible”. May this next year be filled with many new adventures, new accomplishments and more souls saved for the Kingdom. May my hands and feet be used by the Holy Spirit to accomplish all that He has for me to do in this next year.  I really am excited for this new year. I’m sure at different times it may be harder than I would have liked, but with my God, I know that He already knows what is to come. May I rest in His unfailing love.
Jesus, I love you. It is all about you Jesus and I’m so sorry Lord for the things I have done. Forgive me and help me to remember that it is all about You. God may I fight each battle as Jehosaphat did by command from You, which is to lift my voice and Worship You.
I love you Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You. Oh my soul, rejoice. Take joy my King, in what You hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A lesson on Waiting

Greatest teachers of Godliness:
#1: Suffering
#2: Waiting
As 2012 has gotten underway, I have been looking forward to nothing more than attending church. I have also noticed that my soul craves for time in the Word more than it has before. Anytime I have free time, I want to read about Jesus, or Paul or a Psalm or some Proverbs. I really am seeing more and more how God is shifting my views of what is really important in life. I have a renewed passion for people coming to know Jesus as their Savior and my heart really grieves for those who do not understand what it means to have a personal relationship with the God of the Bible.
As I was praying this morning, I was reflecting on my spiritual birthday. It is days away where, I believe, I will be 6 years old J. I am so thankful to God for making His Word so real that my heart and soul felt complete the minute I finished praying. I think back on that moment a lot, the faith it took for my friend to step outside his comfort zone and tell me everything he knew about Jesus and the Bible so that I could repent. I’m so excited to get the opportunity to share Jesus’ love with others and even more excited to, God willing, get the opportunity to go across seas and oceans to bring His love to someone who may have never heard of Him.
And here I insert the sermon. It was titled, “Waiting for God’s promises” and preached by Pastor J. I could probably leave it at that and you would understand that I was obvious taught a lot. I really believe one of the hardest temptations we face is immediate gratification. I will speak for myself and say it is really really hard to wait for anything. For example, let’s say I’m shopping at the grocery store. As I go up and down the aisles I’m getting more hungry by the minute. I had planned to make a healthy dinner, some chicken, rice and green beans. However, the lure of a quicker meal arises and a purchase Mexican food on my way home because one: it sounds waaay better and two, I get to eat now. And this is only a small example. As the desire to go to the missions field was began to take surface and an organization was chosen and things started to move along, all of the sudden I wanted to know where I was going and more importantly when, sooner rather than later was my preference. I wanted all the answers. And God is teaching me to wait on His timing. I believe He has promised that I will go oversees at some point. Whether that is sometime this year, next year, 2-3 years from now, I don’t know. And it kills me to wait! At this point I am also waiting to see where I am going. I have been given possibilities, I have responded with questions about them in hopes that the decision will be made sooner rather than later. Once again, I just want to know. I’m waiting for a response to the email, I’m waiting for people to turn in their references, I’m waiting for the invitation to the May training, I’m waiting… and the list continues.
So as Pastor J spoke on Sarai having to wait for her promised son Isaac, I reflect on her timeline. 11 years after the “promise” by God was made, Sarai became impatient and came up with the grand idea that since God had not fulfilled his promise in her timing, she was going to take it upon herself and come up with this (what she thought was) brilliant idea to have her husband sleep with her maidservant to give her a child. Enter Ishmael (Gen 16). (Side note- Gen 16:5, Sarai blames Abraham for coming up with the idea!) It took another 14 years of waiting, a total of 25 years, until God fulfilled His promise to give Sarai and Abraham a son, Isaac (Gen 21). 25 years of waiting! My immediate reaction is, God, please not 25 years. All of the failures that Sarai faced: impatience, insubordination, intolerance and infidelity were ultimately repented of and she was able to conquer the impossibly, improbably, the inadequate, the inconsistency and infidelity of her situation through faith. Pastor J pointed out in his conclusion that suffering is the #1 teacher of Godliness and waiting is #2.
God best is worth waiting for, I do not doubt that ever. My prayer is that when it gets hard, I will remember this sermon, I will remember that God fulfills His promises. I will remember that trying to come up with my own idea to fulfill God’s promise is likely to only cause problems. I will remember that in waiting, I am learning what it means to be like Jesus. I will remember these verses when waiting seems difficult:

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. -Psalm 27:14   
LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God. -Psalm 38:15
I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. -Psalm 130:5
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.- Romans 8:25
Dear Jesus,
I cannot wait to be with You in Heaven. I cannot wait to Worship You with my hands raised all the days of Eternity. Waiting Lord is hard. And with all my heart I believe you understand exactly how I feel. Lord I thank about the time when you were in the garden, down on your knees asking God to take away what was coming if it was His will. You then waited as we nailed you to the cross and your human body began to fail. You then waited 3 days before returning to life and ultimately to Heaven. I believe you understand exactly what it means to wait on our Father, and Jesus I come to you tonight asking You to give me patience. Calm my anxious soul for answers, help me to remember that you are faithful in your timing with all that You have for me. Help me to store up the verses above in my heard and guard them so that I can carry them with me wherever I go. Jesus I love you, I love the moments where I feel your presence and since your direction. Thank you for this life in You. I deserve death, I deserve hell, and yet You died to allow me to be in communion with You always. May you Lord continue to use my hands and my feet as you will, in your perfect timing.
I love you Jesus.

Lyrics from Chris Tomlin’s “Our God is Greater”
Water You turned into wine
Open the eyes of the blind
There’s no one like You
None like You
Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s no one like You
None like You

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…

And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?
What can stand against?
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