Friday, February 17, 2012


Today's the day! We leave today. I got a little nervous last night, but was reminded to read Psalm 8 and Psalm 63 by my brother and the butterflies went away. So good stuff there. :) I'm excited, a bit nervous but really just ready to slow down for some days and let God have this time. Who knows what he's going to do? I don't know...but something. I have to trust that. Otherwise, my fear of walking away from this trip with Nothing is going to come crashing on me before I get back. 

Maybe that's supposed to happen. Maybe my fears are supposed to come true. Maybe not. I'm good with both, really. But, really I'm gonna step out in faith trusting God not to let me down, so to speak. 

Yesterday I was driving to BRCC from breakfast with a friend who had just shared her connection in a recent trip to our teaching value of Deuteronomy 6:5, loving God with all we've got. In Kids Community we spend time focusing on a teaching value and are given corresponding scripture cards to pray through each month. Mine is always inside my wallet. Safely kept with my money so I see it every time I use money. 

As I drove the the building, I began to pray that God would show me what it was about our value of Loving God and Deut 6:5 that I was going to have applied for this trip. I began thinking about this silence God has had me in for the last month or so and remembered that sometimes difficult things in relationships are things that strengthen the relationship. I realized that maybe God is growing a steadier love for Himself in me by His silence. I continued to realize that as I pray for God to teach me to love Him more, these kinds of things happen and it never fails to show me how to love him further and deeper. 

I was so engrossed in this prayer that I arrived at the building in no time. Pulled into the parking lot. Put my car in park and reached down to turn the key off. Looked to the passenger seat, which, heretofore was empty except for my jacket. I look down and laying face up on the passenger seat with the text staring me in the eye to read was my Deut 6:5 Scripture card. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength..." I stopped for a minute thinking..."wait.....that was not was....IN MY WALLET." I had to stop and process this for a minute. 

Now, I'm not one for uber spiritualistic miraculous things. They don't' happen to me often because, personally, I see life as one big miracle. I mean, with what we deserve and what God offers - do we need anything further? Hardly. But this....this moment sent chills up my spine and made my breath catch in my throat because it doesn't happen very often. 

With one rather humbled shaking hand, I picked up the card, thanked God and put in securely in my phone cover's clear back facing out so that I would see it everyday I'm gone. 

We leave today. Packed up, ready to go, and metaphorically ready to lean into Loving God in this trip, and pressing into each area that that means for me along the way. 

Here I am, Send me. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Well, the Great Passport Fiasco of 2012 is resolved. $200 extra dollars for a new one, $60 for gas and some extra bucks for coffee and such. But I walked away with a whole day on Valentine's Day with my dad, a sense of peace, reading about Nazis, and knowing there was a whole army of people praying for me.

While I was in DC, I had a bazillion texts, Facebook messages and other communiques telling me I was prayed for, cared for and asking for updates. So much so that my phone was dead by 2:15pm. There are some take aways from the whole missing passport/trip to DC, I'd like to share.

- resting in God's plan regardless of how the situation turns out can bring a tremendous amount of peace and rest. As I've said before, a theme of life right now is resting in God for everything. Knowing I was being prayed for, and having prayed that the passport would be found or that we'd be ok with the trip to DC made the necessity of the trip less of a burden and more of a joy.

- spending time with my dad alone was a lot of fun. We talked about God, laughed about silly DC traffic, about this upcoming trip, serving in Kid Community together, about books, about Nazis (I'm taking a class on Nazi Germany), about living in Virginia, about Music, and movies and a million other things. It was a good Valentine's Day 'date' with my dad. :) If this trip was less about the passport and more about some quality time with my dad, I'd be a-ok with that.

- not getting worked up about stuff is a brilliant way to live. We encountered traffic, parking issues, security measures in the passport office that were silly, and a lot of other things that would have been irritating or might have added to the stress of the day, but both of us just kind of rolled with punches and without complaining or fussin, just reminded ourselves of the "adventure" of our GPS taking us a weird way to DC and getting stopped in traffic on 29S just off of I-66. :) I can't speak for Dad, but I do know that this is a lesson I'm always learning, just kicking' back and enjoying the ride is way more fun. Perhaps there's something to this as I prepare to head to a third-world country again? ;)

- it never ceases to amaze me how loved I am. Before the clock had even turned over to 9am, I had 10 texts, cards arrive, Facebook & twitter messages - all telling me how loved I was and wishing me sweet Valentine's Day wishes. That was a beautiful and sweet thing. It reminded me of just how much I love Valentine's Day, and how much my name is fulfilled in my life. I am a beloved daughter of the King and His people never fail to make that known.

- being kind will take you far. The passport agent was generous, helpful and genuinely surprised at the kindness and polite responses I gave him. He seemed surprised to find a kind face on the other side of his window. It was a reminder that, as my mom always says, "You can catch more flies with honey."

Ultimately, I don't really know why God had this excursion to DC planned but I know I'm thankful I live close enough to the national Passport office so I could get my passport in one day, and that I was able to take a break from reading about Nazis to read more of the Hunger Games book to my dad because he is now hooked on them too. :D Also, I'm thankful for a really special memory with my dad. And for the hordes of people who have asked about my passport situation and shared in the whole experience at Blue Ridge. What a great community we have!

*edit* also, really glad I woke up exactly 7 days before I left knowing I'd lost the passport, otherwise I'd have been in a world of trouble if I hadn't thought about it until today. :) Thank you Jesus for that. :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This week has been a week of rest, even in spite of the busy-ness of life and school. I got to spend all of Monday with my sick nephew while his parents were away and my parents had appointments to head off to. We watchd 5 of the 6 Star Wars movies and I got a "You're a good Aunt Mandi" from the boy. That was good medicine, I'll tell you (both the compliment and the Star Wars watching ;))

But I've been determined to not force myself out of this desert, but rather look for God where I am. God gave me a song this week put words on that. Kari Jobe's "Find You on My Knees" - nothing more profound.

Sunday was a uniquely special and awesome experience. On the heels of the night on my face with God and David Crowder Saturday night, I got to see God's power and feel His presence again on Sunday morning. We led our kids in our small groups through a guided prayer time, where they wrote down four prayers - prayers of thanks, praise, repentance and request. It was an amazing time with my little group of fourth grade girls. I read some of their prayers and this one really reminded me 1) why I serve in the Kids' Community and 2) How amazing God is just because of who He is. It took a 4th grader to help me see Him a bit clearer.

With her permission, I want to share this little girls' prayer of praise to God:
God, I praise you because....You ARE my creator, You ARE my father, You ARE my light. You help me through everything. You are the one and only God. You understand what I'm going through. You answer me when I need you, You love me with all Your heart, You spend time with me, You have fun with me, You are the leader and forgiver of my life because you live in me. 

Every time I type out her words, I am filled to overflowing at the profundity of her simple words. On the heels of this, one of the team who just returned from Nicaragua shared her heart on her blog and I was reminded of that God - the one I met in Nicaragua myself less than a year ago. I remember the conversation I had with Angie about how He's the same God here as He is there in the dusty streets of Nicaragua. For me, it's just a matter of resting on His love, His power and who He is in the right now. He's faithful, He won't let me down, ever.

One final song is ringing in my ears today - What Love is This heart sings "and I confess, You're always enough for me..." Amen.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A few weeks ago, the David Crowder band released their final collaborative album. It was highly anticipated as the DCB has provided such songs as "Wholly Yours" and "Oh Praise Him" among other powerful worship songs into the Chuch's collective worship book. I've always loved these Texas boys and their hearts to lead millions in worship. In concert, it's not performance, but a chance to meet God. So I was excited for the new album, but saving money is highly important right now, and a dear friend sent me a copy of this to listen.

I have to be honest though. I haven't really listened to it except for clips here and there. I had a feeling that this album, called "A Requiem Mass" was going to be more of an experience than I was ready for. I cannot say why or what held me back - maybe it was God saying I was not quite ready for the breaking, maybe it was me pushing away from God like a tired child fighting rest, or maybe it was some combination of the both of those things. Either way, the time came last night. I sat down with my journal, silence and then hit play. What follows are a few things that I wrote in my journal as I travelled with God through the full album in a range of colors, emotion and brokeness, healing and beauty. It's fragmented because that's what the time was....a parade of thoughts, song lyrics and prayers in my heart and mind....and a few words from God directly to me. (those will be in bold italics)

me: You come and find me and I call it life, Oh I call it life....
recall from a conversation earlier in the day
"God will not leave your deepest cravings unfulfilled if they are there."  But I have to stop seeking to fill them myself, stop making mudpies in the slums and wait patiently for His sweet holiday by the sea...

Oh Lord, Have Mercy. Oh Christ have mercy....Kyrie Eleison Christe Eleison. 

You are slow to anger and abounding in grace, mercy and love for Your child. 

Forgiven and clean, it's too wonderful...Feel this grace rescuing....

What I need is resurrection and redemption, shine Your Light, Pick Me Up. Generous King, O come, rescue me! 

Hold me. Let me rest. I need Your heart and refuge...

Beloved. I have never left you. Give ME all of you...Everybody heals with love, but it is MY love that heals. 

Do you KNOW that you are MY Beloved? Really know? 

Save a place for me at your feet. Let me sit in silence at Your feet. 

I bow low with all of my heart, I bow low....

King of Glory, free me from what keeps me from Your light. Oh My God, My God, let me pass from death to Life....You won't turn your back on me....I've been pushed down into the ground but I will rise up a tree....

I love you. Beloved, I will not leave you, reject you, walk away or desert you. You are mine to keep safe...I've done all this, can I not do more? Can I not exceed even that? Will you not let me move? 

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away our sin. Behold the Lamb of God who heals us once again. 

Rest in me. My Shelter is pure. 

Sweet Lord, you are Great Love. taking away sin and reproach. You are my resurrection, I will rise because of You. I will rest in your salvation, I will stand still, so still and KNOW and wait on the Salvation of My God. 

I rest in you and just breathe....while you hold me, I just breathe. 

Be still, beloved. Be Still....Rest.....