When you want to trade in a blessing

 

When you want to trade in a blessing

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The anticipation had been building for almost a month as I tried to patiently wait for the “new” car I was being blessed with.

Friday was finally the day that I was to meet my new car and as I pulled around and took the first look at it my heart dropped as I read the bumper stickers that were plastered on the back. The “BUZZO” sticker stood out like a sore thumb and though I didn’t know who this Buzzo guy was I could feel the weight of it all crashing down on my shoulders.

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My mom tried to make light of the situation as we moved the young college kids stuff from the car that would now be called mine to the beautiful Impala I was saying good-bye to after driving it for a couple of days until he could meet up with us.

As I got into the driver’s seat of my new car I could feel the sour taste of reality coming up in my throat and I thought I might be sick. I looked to my mom with a petrified look on my face and said I didn’t want to touch the steering wheel. What was supposed to be a gold color when it came off of the showroom floor in 2002, was now black with leftover grime from a college student who clearly had never washed his hands a day in his life.

With a smile my steady mom said “this is a college area so there must be a dollar store close by, let’s go get some antibacterial wipes and get her cleaned up.” Her calm demeanor was keeping my passionately over the top personality in check for the moment.

I wish we had taken before pictures…

Most people I know wouldn’t have set foot in the car let alone wanted to call it theirs!

And while all of this was transpiring I could feel my ungratefulness and ugliness shine through,

I could feel it starting to steal my blessing,

I could feel the anger rise as I silently yelled to God…

I trusted you

And once again I got the raw end of the deal!

Our human nature leans to, yearns for beauty.

For a blessing that is pretty, new and well taken care of.

So what happens when the blessing that we think we wanted is less than what we get?

The past three days I have spent warring with myself and the emotions that this event brought out in me.

As I drove home in silence last night..

(due to the stereo’s non-existent ability to producing music even with the duct tape holding it in to place)

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I carried on a dialog with God that looked something like this..

This may not be pretty to most, could be considered rude by others to talk to God this way… but here is the honest truth of my struggle and talk with God.

God, I trusted you to provide for and bless me above all that I could ask or imagine,

and this is what you give me?

Is this a joke?

What sort of lesson is this?

Why in my life do I always seem to strive to trust you to show the world that you are a

good God and will provide for me only to have them laugh at your provision?

Why is it that others get brand new cars given to them, others who believe in the

prosperity gospel seem to get the best blessings but don’t even see the value of those

blessings yet I am yearning to trust your promises,

to hold your hand through these trials

in life and I get this car!?

And as my rantings calmed and I took the time to listen…

His still small voice said to me…

I did bless you.

No it was not what you thought it would be.

It’s not a shiny new or even taken care of car but I want you to see the value in this!

Will you trust me?

My little girl mind cried out, how?

How do I trust you and what am I supposed to learn?

He calmly held me in His arms and said my child, this car runs unlike the last car that people you trusted tried getting you to buy for 4 times the price. And this car is 20 years newer too dear one.

The other thing He pointed out to me was how He wanted my ministry and business to be taking things that are ugly, used, abused or mistreated and make them of value. Yet, He asked, how can you truly have eyes for that if you can’t even see the value in my most important blessing of transportation.

He reminded me of the story of the faithful servant in Matthew 25. He asked if I was willing to be faithful with just a little or whether I was going to let my natural tendency to continue to use and abuse that which had not been cared for in a good way. Was I willing to clean up “Goldie”, to peel off the crazy bumper stickers, show her some love, TLC and be proud to have transportation or was I going to continue to be ungrateful and angry?

He also reminded me of the verses in Philippians 4 about learning to be content. Am I willing to be in this state where He is the only thing of real value that I have and find contentment in that?

Am I willing to learn to be content with little?

Another sweet truth He wanted me to learn if I would listen, is that if I am really wanting others to love me through my brokenness, mess and weaknesses then I truly need to learn to love others when they are at their worst. Yet if I can’t even learn to value a thing that is messy, in need of care and TLC then how was I ever going to learn to see these things in people that God brings into my life and offer that love, acceptance and grace?

 I say that I want to minister to those who have been through the same heart ache, pain and background that I have yet how quickly I steer clear from someone who is needy because I feel that I am to emotionally drained to offer anything at this time. How quickly do I seek friendships right now that will help me during this season instead of laying my grief down and helping someone through their grief. Its our human nature to gravitate and want to connect with people who can offer something to us in return, but how often do I seek out friendships where the person has nothing to offer me in return and how often am I ok with that?

I said about 6 months ago that I wanted to learn the true meaning of what love is, God reminded me that if I am wanting to truly learn this then I will have to go through the training ground to learn this.

That is not learning the hard way but that its learning God’s way.

Its being willing to truly live out that love does not insist on its own way but rejoices in the truth!

How quickly did I want to stomp my feet in a tantrum with God and say that this was not what I asked for.

How many times have you heard people say, “Never pray for patience! God will give you instances in your life where you cultivate and learn patience!”

We should be wanting to learn things God’s way.

We shouldn’t look at hard times as though we did something wrong, didn’t pray hard enough or trust God enough for the right thing. If that were the case then it would be based on what we can do the best instead of what God has already done for us on the cross.

Its learning that His blessings come in some of the craziest ways…

Even a BUZZO bumper sticker, non-working radio car that is less than perfect!

And being willing to be content and thankful in the unexpected or less than perfect.

 

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God’s perfect team includes you!

Intern Intensive- What I learned

God made us for teams- His team Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Devil tries isolating us from others to reduce our effectiveness.

God has invited us to join His perfect team!

As a child in gym class there was such an anxiety that came with gym class let alone when it was a class that involved the choosing of teams! Due to a sickness and Dr.’s error when I was little my body took a hit in many ways. One of them being physically and the gaining of quite a bit of weight in a very short amount of time. I spent most of 5-6 years very sick and attempted to find out the reasons by going to pretty much every Doctor in the Waterloo area. In 4th and 5th grade I can vividly remember my gym teacher making comments that broke my child-like heart. He would say that I was going to end up pregnant by the time that I was 16 years old, that I was worthless, fat, lazy and not worth being on any team because I would just mess up, hold them back and make them loose.

Imagine as a child being told these things! Then one experience after another happening where I messed up, or held a team back, or as I gained more weight how those words just solidified in my mind as truth.

What were you told as a child?

It may have not even been someone super influential in your life but for some reason their opinion of you stuck out in your mind way more than any positive affirmations and shaped what you thought of yourself.

How did this lie that was believed shape your view of team work?

For me I didn’t even realize that it had shaped my view of teams and how much I hated teamwork because I didn’t want to be the reason a team failed. I truly believed if failure happened it was all my fault, no matter how much I had done to avoid it or how hard I had worked. In my mind it was better to be a lone ranger, independent, self-sufficient, self-reliant and disconnected to anything group related. If I did this then it really was no bodies fault but my own if I failed and I wouldn’t have to see the disapproving looks of a team who wanted to point out how I had failed them.

I see how this also affected many areas in my life currently. As an intern in the Teen Challenge program there are many aspects and teams that I am a part of. As an intern I am a part of the Staff team. It has been a challenge for me to effectively be a solid part of this team completely because of my childhood fears and lies believed coming back in the corners of my mind.

What if I fail them, or do something wrong?

What if I disappoint a staff by saying I can’t do something they ask me to do?

How can I possibly trust them with every aspect of my life when it was my “leader” who said such horrible mean things to me as a child?

So for some time, as I learned that I needed to learn to trust I fought that internal voice and attempted to reach out in faith and work as a team. An assignment we had to complete for the schooling part of this internship was the book 17 Principles of a Team Player and it was an amazing book! I really did learn so much from it however not having this insight to my childhood memory soon made it easy for me to point fingers at how other team members didn’t appear to me as being team players. I never realized I was becoming resentful that I had to be the good team player while everyone else continued in their “dysfunction” as I saw it.

During the Intern Intensive I was told that I have to be the change that I want to see and that hit me square between the eyes! At first I was offended and began to write the comment off, however God spoke to my heart before I could completely disregard the comment. God said to me that it is only my responsibility to do my best, to be the best team player that I can, to trust Him and leave the rest up to Him! It is when we get our eyes off of our self and start comparing that the devil gets a foot hold in to make us ineffective. We are so focused on what others are or are not doing correctly and usually undermine them because of our superior belief that we have it all together! How far from the truth we are! Every individual is growing and at different places spiritually than we are. Every person has their own thorn in the flesh that they are dealing with and striving to overcome. In such a close knit setting as Teen Challenge these thorns or struggles are magnified a hundred times over because of the bubble affect we are in.

As an individual I need to be willing to open my hands and say God, “ Use me each and every day for your glory! Teach me to keep my eyes trained on my own faults, hang ups and insecurities, not pointing fingers at other team members but instead lifting them up in prayer, interceding on their behalf. Lord help me to be the change that I want to see!”

As a team member of the most amazing team alive, I need to seek to know this team intimately. I need to understand that Team God wants the best for me, even when His best is painful, lonely and refining. When I seek to know this team to the best of my ability then I am able to work best with all of the other teams that God has placed in my life. I have to learn that Team God is all powerful, perfect in all ways and He resides in me!That though I have those memories of always being chosen last in gym class that God first chose me! While I was imperfect, a dirty mess and unlovely, He saw my true potential because He made me.

God has given us more power than we even know or are willing to admit. All He requires is that we ask, seek Him and He will give us the desires of our heart because those desires become His desires when we learn to abide in Him.

Oh… and the other thing that He wants is for us to ask and not doubt or waver in our asking. What child do you know that when coming to their loving parent hemmed and hawed when asking for something, fearful that their parent wouldn’t provide their request? If the child is truly loved and abides in their parents home they are not going to ask for something that a parent wouldn’t gladly accommodate if they could! How much more would a perfect heavenly father desire and anticipate His children to ask?

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Lost source link (Copy righted- Rights and picture not mine.

He wants to show his love, lavish it upon us yet sometimes we coldly keep him at the door of our life. He has knocked and you have opened the door to him, however you stand there talking to him with your hand on the door handle, feet right at the threshold, fearful if you let God in the home called your heart that He may see something that He doesn’t like and reject you.

Or you don’t want Him to see the former you, which in our heads we know he already knows about, yet we still cling to the past self saying, “But God take the new me, I’m all cleaned up now just for you!” He sweetly and tenderly is asking to come in an have supper with you, or tea time and tell you that it doesn’t matter that the room is cluttered with the trash of the former life. He wants to clean house but only if you are willing. Thank God I am finally willing, I have thrown open the door and said thank you God for taking me as I am!

Missoula Update

Hi all!
             I have been slacking on updates lately and I am so sorry for that! It has been a crazy couple weeks and months however it has also been an amazing adventure as well!
           Mother’s Day marked the end of my 4th month here in Missoula, Montana interning for Teen Challenge Women’s Center and I was blessed to get to spend the time with my mom and step-dad as they had driven out to spend some time in Montana. It was great seeing them and a time of refreshing for all of us as we took a few days away from Missoula and hiked around Glacier Park. God’s creation is so breath taking out here! We were blessed to be able to see lots of wild horses, the tail end of a bear, a moose and a herd of elk! The visit flew by and I wasn’t ready to see them leave when they dropped me off on Wednesday the 15th however they had a long journey back to New York that they had to get started. I am so thankful that they were able to come out here and cherish the time that we were able to spend together.
           God is doing a lot of work in my life during this time. It is an interesting mix of lessons! As I have shared before I am learning what authentic love looks like as 1 Cor. 13 describes, just how hard that is to live out, how we can’t do it in our own strength, only God in us can work through us to love others effectively, learning to trust, lean on God and rest in Him yet learn how to let Him take you further than you ever thought you could when you are at the end of your rope and unable to do any thing more in your own strength. Im learning to find my value in God and not in others, what they think of me or whether I perform well enough for them. I am learning to try and take each day, asking God what His will for me that day is and trusting Him that He will open and close doors as needed. He’s teaching me that I don’t have to be all to all yet be willing to be used by Him when I don’t necessarily feel like it. Its a combination of resting yet acting when God is calling me to. This is a whole new concept for me as I walk this out. There are days that I find I have to say “no” to things asked of me and that was always so hard for me to do as I thought people would think less of me, that I was lazy or disrespectful if I needed to say no. I grew up in a very active, works based family activity dynamic and I am learning to find a balance in that. In some ways I went to the extreme the other way and I am seeking God to find a perfect balance in my life. There is also times like today where I was technically off and yet found myself helping the volunteers get newsletters ready to mail out. It wasn’t something I had planned for my time off however it was a great time of fellowship with not only some of the ladies but also the volunteers who work so hard every month to get our newsletters out the door.
           My class work is going great as well! I just finished the work book for Experiencing God. It was a challenging work book for me yet I finished the course with an A-. I had some amazing “Aah- haa” moments with God through out the work book so I feel that is what was important. The next course I am taking is Discovering Your God-Given Gifts and I am super excited about this!! I leave this Sunday to fly to Oregon for an Intern training and I am so excited about this! Its a great time for us interns to rest, learn from the teachings they have planned and to communicate with others who are going through the same trials and struggles that I am. We are going to a retreat center out in the country and I am so ready! =)
           Some prayer requests would be continued stamina as the summer months bring about more activities and keeping busy. That I will continue to find a routine to be able to accomplish my school work, plus internship work, ministry to the women, quiet time, and the flexibility to allow change as needed when God says. When you feel pulls from every direction it can be hard to discern which one is God and which is the people pleasing tendency to perform. I not only have the expectations of 16 women that I live with to jump and serve when they need but also the expectations of the staff as well. Living on site is very challenging in this aspect. Please pray that I can continue to work towards a balance.
           Also please keep the ladies in your prayers. We have had some ladies complete which is wonderful! They are now starting their lives over in various places and need the covering of prayer even more as they work to apply the things they have learned during their time at Teen Challenge. We have also gotten some new ladies in this last couple weeks. It is a challenge as new women come into the center it shakes up the dynamics of the center. Truly God uses it for His good each and every time however walking through the times of friction, stress and upheaval can be tiresome for the ladies and myself. It does push the ladies, stop their complacency that can creep in and lead them back to the cross to learn just how broken we all are. Please pray for them during this time!
           The last prayer request is a combination of thankfulness for those who have teamed up with me financially and a request that if anyone else would love to join this amazing opportunity God has opened up for me that would be awesome! God has provided for me each and every step of the way and I am so thankful for His unending supplies and resources. Recently I met a man at a bookstore and got into a conversation with him about how I had always been against the “Prosperity Gospel” type message. He agreed that we should not just have a “give me” attitude when coming before the Father, yet he set me straight on a couple of things. For a long time now I had been living under the spirit of poverty. I didn’t believe that I should have a lot of worldly possessions as my thinking was that was what would corrupt me.
           Also having been to India it was hard to accept having things as so many people around the world live without. This mindset is false though. It says in Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
            God is our awesome Heavenly Father that wants to bless His children abundantly. He is extravagant in His giving and wants to give above and beyond what we could ask or imagine. I inhibited this by not asking Him because of those lies that I had believed. In James, though the context is in asking for wisdom it goes to show that our God wants to bless us but we obstruct God from answering our prayers when we doubt the very thing we are praying! James 1:5-7 says:
           5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
            I am not asking to be a millionaire, yet even if I was this would not necessarily be a negative thing because God knows my heart. My heart and desire is for others, to help others, to give abundant gifts and to use my finances for good. I had always read the verses about the rich young ruler or how it was harder for the rich man to enter the kingdom of God and stopped there. It is true that it is harder for rich people to see how blessed they are some times and to lean on their own understanding letting money become their idol. However there are many amazing Christians in the world today who are being blessed financially because of all the things that are giving to further the Kingdom of God. How can I help others or give gifts if I only have enough possessions or finances for myself and nothing more? Do you live like this as well? Im hoping I am not the only one! I am learning to break this poverty mentality, to understand that I am a child of the MOST HIGH, and that He wants to bless and fund the things that I want to bless and fund just as much as I do!
           Back to my story though, the man that I met at the bookstore shared with me this book he had read years ago called the Merchant and the Monk. He explained that it was about these to men that were best friends from birth. As they grew up they had two different callings on their lives. One felt the call to go into ministry and servitude. The other was great in business and became very successful. God made both of them for a purpose and plan! For as the story unfolds you find that the Merchant loved his friend and the friends calling. He was blessed with the opportunity to provide for his friend financially so that his friend would be able to walk out his calling of serving others.
          It really hit home for me! In this world we have to have both types of people. I have the calling to be the servant but was trying to, in my own strength, be both so that I didn’t have to depend on others. In doing this I am robbing someone from getting the blessing, that wants to be a part of something great however is called to a profession or work. The work takes up their time and inhibits their time to serve. Their way of serving IS financial and that was an epiphany for me! So all of that to say, that if you would like to partner with me I would love to have the opportunity to allow God to bless you in that way. You would be helping so many people continue to grow in their faith and knowledge of how big God is and how he will bless his children. Many of these women are coming from a life of prostitution where they averaged $200 an hour. Or they have never had to provide for themselves financially. Many have hopped from one man to another just so they knew they would have a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in. During this time they endured unmentionable emotional, physical and psychological pain from the men that promised to protect them. They are leaving that life and wondering how God is going to provide for them when they can only get a minimum wage job or are called into ministry after their time at Teen Challenge.  How easy it is for the Devil to get in if that trust hasn’t been established in their year here. It would be awesome to be an example of what it looks like to trust God that He will not only provide for his precious daughter but wants to bless her abundantly beyond all that she could ask or imagine!
I would also love to get mail and to send mail to others as well! If you would like to correspond please send me a message and we can coordinate addresses privately! If you would like to team up financially it is tax deductible and can be set up through private messages as well.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! I pray that God will continue to work in each and every one’s lives!