A Glimpse of Mi Vida...

It started with a missions trip to Camden, where my life and perspective were changed and where this blog began. Life has been a roller coaster filled with its ups and downs and I'm excited for the adventure and discovering what God has in store, even though I really dislike roller coasters... I am a Lady in Waiting...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sticks and Stones- Part One: Words


Sticks and Stones- Part One.

Sticks and Stone may break my bones… but words will never hurt me. What a LIE! A dirty filthy lie, words do hurt. Recently I listened to a sermon and it emphasized that words can kill you!
The pastor is correct. Words can harm and hurt those around us and sometimes we don’t even realize the things we say. The things that we say are important, they matter; the things that come out of our mouths should be representations of who we are and of who God is. There is nothing worse than saying I’m a Christian or saying I believe and follow Jesus and then you hear me shoot profanities constantly out of my mouth on a daily basis. We are hold to a standard as it says in James 3: 1-7.

 “1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
   See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.”

I think back to growing up and of times when I was called fat or ugly or when I was asked, “are you really wearing that?” I cannot even begin to tell you the riff that it caused between me and family members as I was constantly judged or criticized. I wonder the depth of relationships that could have happen with simple things like “you’re beautiful” or “we’re proud of you!” or even a “good job”. The words that were said cut deep and lasted with me for years, even though I would attempt to laugh them off. They caused me to see an image that God did not see. We should begin to love and see beauty in the way that God does.
The evil memories of those words will last with me forever. The implications of words are powerful.
“8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.” –James 3:8-10
The pastor mentioned how we are born with two ears for a reason, to listen twice as much as we talk. We need to act like a Christian and have the mouth of a Christian. We need to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk. Are we living in contradiction? Can we keep our focus on Jesus and allow Him to saturate our everyday talk and walk?
When we lash out against someone with our tongues, it not only emotional can hurt or scar the person whether it is behind their  back or to their face, but it damages us. That bitterness we hold onto, anger, resentment, fear can kill us from the inside and can cause us to hurt those around us intentionally and unintentionally with our words and actions. Hurting people, hurt people. Think of Columbine, Norway, or even friendships even over facebook comments of hurtful things said. Gossip stings. Think of racial slurs that are meant to be funny and in turn can hurt someone deeply or cause them to regret who they are.

Our hearts need to be in the right place and swimming in the love of Jesus. We need to fix our hurting and stop hurting those around us. Jesus is trying to teach and show us how to be.  Let us begin today by saying something gratifying

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Story of a Man

Joining Jackie with The Way I See it Wednesdays: I'd like to share the story of a man

We know the story of a man. A man named Jesus that changed it all and the beauty that laid within the sacrifice and love. I think even more beautiful are the stories that happen because of Jesus, the stories of people's lives that were changed because they came to know Jesus and learned of His love. They allowed Jesus into their lives and He forever changed things.

The story of Jorge is one that has touched my heart and I will forever remember it. It began with missionaries Ricky and Traci working in Cusco, Peru and impacting the community above the hills of the city and the plaza. The started a children's ministry and met this family who became involved. The family was small and the sons began learning of Jesus and worship Him every Saturday ministry service through music, games, and a lesson and craft. They began to know Jesus and as the church grew they began a Sunday morning worship service. The two young boys attended with their mother, but the father refused. The father could see his kids changing and his family possessing something grand and beautiful.He felt guilty though because he was living in sin.
Jorge's son learned to play guitar after being mentored by Ricky,.

Jorge would go out with the boys partying at night, but his actions were not known or were ignored. A lot of alcoholic and sexual abuse happens in the city, but is often ignored. Most of the time he would come home late drunk. He worked as a waiter and struggled to support his family. A lot of times he would even spend several nights with different women and would cheat on his wife Yenette. This it hit him, he realized he would be denied.

He began reading the bible and read 2 Timothy 2:12:
"If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us". 


He didn't want to be denied, he couldn't stand the idea of being left behind or of not being the father and husband he knew that he could be. He accepted Jesus into his heart and life and miraculous things began to happen. Without a 12 step program, he quit drinking alcohol. He began attending a bible study at the missionary's home and it expand so much through his story and and through the ministry that he began leading it at the church. As he volunteered and worked at the church, he began realizing that he wanted his life to be dedicated to God. He quit his job; as he gave them a resignation letter, they called him crazy for quitting to follow God. But God had bigger things in store because Jorge began attending seminary in Cusco and began working for the church. The church now helps  to support Jorge and he is making more than he did at working at a restaurant.
Jorge and his family. 

The way I see it, it takes one seed to be planted for a life to be changed. One story, one dash of grace and testimony and love. His story gave us the opportunity to live and love, His story becomes our story, and makes a beautiful story of love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace.Our story can change lives because His story changed it all.



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Man with A Sign

There we stood outside the stadium of this Christian event and there was a man in "prision" clothes holding a Bible and with a backdrop of a huge Bible as he preached. Typically at conferences and events for Christians, you have someone who stands outside the theater and preaches of something hurtful or preaches out of anger or hurt.  I would expect to see this man outside of our a non-Christian venue yet here he was surrounded by Christians and non-Christians preaching the Word.

He was loud, but he spoke truth. He spoke of God's love as he shouted from the top of his lungs, he talked about evangelizing and the importance of speaking for God's love and truth. He talked about the neglect of Christians of being too scared to preach or share the word. He told a story of a preacher who looked down on him because he stood on street corners preaching the word and that the preacher refused  to preach outside the walls of the church.

Typically when I used to see said people at a venue, I would be annoyed because what kind of example where they setting for non-believers of this is how we are: abrassive and loud and condemning and judgmental. This man touched my heart however, he was doing what the gospel said.

"He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned". - Mark 16:15-16

He was out preaching and making the good news known. He wasn't condemning, but he wasn't what you would expect to see outside of the Harvest Crusades. (Harvest Crusades events are designed to be opportunities for Christians to invite family members, coworkers, friends, and acquaintances to hear the life-changing message of the gospel in an environment that is entertaining, yet nonthreatening).

I think the part that got me most was people's reactions to him. One member of our party was so annoyed and embarrassed and began making comments, they are a new believer. Another wanted to engage the man in conversation and hear is story and why he was here, but our line we were waiting in kept moving. I think of the one who was embarrassed and even judgmental of this man. I told them that their comments were no necessary and to not judge and they said that they were entitled to their opinion. I think we are all entitled to our opinion, but does our opinion act out of truth and genuine love or does it act out of judgment and condemnation. Their spiritual maturity showed me that they are still learning.


We are called to be uncomfortable. Our mission fields aren't just in Peru or Africa or Haiti, they are within our walls, surroundings, backyards, at the coffee shop, or at work. If we are scared to preach of His love and goodness what is the point? It does not mean anything if we speak of a loving God and speak of desiring to follow His example but we only pick and choose the characteristics that are convenient for our lifestyle.


"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." - 1 Peter 3:15

"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction." - 2 Timothy 4:1-2


Are we prepared to give an answer, at all times and in all places? Are we prepared at all times?



"What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roof tops." -Matthew 10: 27.

If we don’t proclaim our values then other voices will shape our society. That’s a dangerous position to take. Let us prepare to shout out His name from the Rooftops! How can we reach the world and travel to the ends of the earth, if we aren't preaching His name outside stadiums, in coffee shops, or at work. Let us not condemn those who love God but take a step back and look and love others with genuine love.


"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." -Romans 12:9

"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." -1 John 3:18  

I leave you with this song from Jesus Culture, called Rooftops.



Here I am before you
Falling in love and seeking your truth
Knowing that your perfect grace
Has brought me to this place
Because of you I freely live
My life to you, oh God, I give

So I stand before You God
I lift my voice because you set me free

So I shout out your name from the rooftops I proclaim
That I am Yours, I am yours

All the good You've done for me
I lift up my hand up hand for all to see

You're the only one
Who brings me to my knees
To share this love across the earth
The beauty of Your Holy Word

So I stand before You God
I lift my voice because you set me free

So I shout out your name from the rooftops I proclaim
That I am Yours, I am Yours
All that I am I place into Your loving hands
And I am Yours, I am Yours

Here I am, I stand with arms wide open
To the one, the Son, the everlasting God (2x) 


Thursday, August 11, 2011

A to Z Blogging Complete

While what started out as fun and was supposed to be one month of blogging a letter topic a day turned into a few months, but I am extremely proud of the things that I produced. To recap for your linking pleasure:

A - Accepted
B - Balance, Betrayal, Belief
C - Congratulations
D- Dating
E - Earthly Parents
F- Future
G - Godson
H - Home
I - Independence
J - Joy
K - Kindred Spirits
L - Lady and Love Letters
M- Miracles and Mission
N - Nothing New
O- Oxygen
P - Peru
Q - Queen
R - Realization
S - Support System
T - Testimonies
U -Unbelievable Amounts of Emotion
V - Vine and Vulnerability
W - Waynu Picchu
X - eXamine
Y- The Days of Your
Z - Zig Zag Chrisitans

So long alphabet, on to other topics and a few more about Peru I am sure.

Love,

















Jenn

Zz = Zig Zag Chrisitans

Z is for Zig Zag Christians

Finally at the letter Z of my alphabet blogging and I'd like to end it with the question, are we "zig zag Christians"?

Sometimes Christians get put into the category of hypocrite and often times it is true. We say one thing and do another. We say we believe in a loving God who offers mercy, forgiveness, and grace yet we fail to show the characteristics of the God we love so much. Many people carry the title of Christian but do they live out what they say they are. I think calling yourself Christian is a huge deal and it doesn't just mean that you go to church every  Sunday or twice a year on the "Christian holiday". Our pastor last week said that people who come to church on the holidays consider themselves a Christian, but they don't live it out... what about those other 363 days of the year that you're not going to church.

It is more than just knowing and accepting  Jesus, but I believe it is living out your life the way that Jesus did.
My dear friend Timmy posed a series of questions in his blog:
"What do you do when you go to church? You know that you should have one thing in mind, and that is God. Why can’t we have these standards in our daily lives? If we go to church with these standards, then how come we don’t live them out after church? We are the church, so what is stopping us? We weren’t called to have these emotions in church, and that is something that most of us can understand, but what some might not understand is the way we act in church should be equivalent to the way we act outside of church. You don’t come to church to be angry, upset, bitter, selfish, so why would you do that anywhere else? In church we worship God, so why are we worshiping something else when we leave the church? We are the church, so make sure our attitudes are equivalent."

Timmy is right on the nose with how I'm feeling and what I wanted to blog about. He is right, we are the church and we should start acting like it each and every day. What kind of people would we be to come into church and lift our hands and sing praises out to God and ten minutes after the service we are cut off and let loose verbally or with hand gestures at another driver out of just leaving the church parking lot. Did the message not stick? I often find myself in this conundrum of believing in the good things of God but not acting them out fully. We all do it don't we, but  I really felt guilt them time and maybe that guilt is God working and moving for me to be better verses not realizing and carrying on and continuing to sin.

I sometimes fall into the sin of gossip through venting through my frustrations. Well this time it happen at work, all day. All of my co-workers and I fell into talking about someone who wasn't there. This person isn't a Christian and is not a huge fan in the office as well because they are living for self and not for God and it is daily expressed through their words and actions. Well the tension is released when they aren't around, we all talk freely and can smile and laugh, all while still getting all of our work done. Now truth was being spoken about the person, but we all repeated it through the day and made jokes of this person and digs at them. We all laughed and I was actually funny and I couldn't believe some of the things that slipped from my mouth. Where was I getting this sharp and piercing tongue.Satan already got hold of them and for that afternoon/day he took hold of my tongue. I couldn't believe I let him in, but I honestly feel he's been crouching in the corner for months and most days I can fight him and the negativity that he brings off, but today I lost that battle even though I had the tools to succeed.

Not even a minute of driving after work, it hit me, God hit me. What was I doing? I felt immense amounts of sadness and disappointment in myself. I apologized to my co-workers that were there because they know me to be a "good person" and the nice "Christian girl" in the office. They reassured me that she'd do the same and that what I was saying was truth. Did their words or assurances help me? NO!

How can I be nice to her face and play nice amidst the evil in our office, but then talk about her when she's not around. I immediately canceled my plans for the evening and spent over an hour listening to worship music and talking with God and even going on a walk to reflect and repent and pray. As a Christian woman who has an intimate relationship with Christ, I can't keep running back and forth between two worlds making these zig zags that will tie themselves up in the end and I can end up getting railroaded by the the evil I keep giving into or allowing into my life. I need to be loving to this person at all times, whether they are present or not. That is how God would want me to live and work out, I know my future and destiny with Him and am filled with ultimate joy because of His mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
When I decided on Him and chose Him in my heart and was baptized, I because a living stone.

"So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You've had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God's pure kindness. 
Then you'll grow up mature and whole in God.
 Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you'll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God." -1 Peter 2:1-5


We are the church and we were made living stones when we accepted Christ. As living stones we were made apart of a building project to be connected with others, Christian and non-Christian. God is building something, Jesus was and is the center of the foundation of whatever He is building. Jesus is building a divine community, a church. Jesus will protect it and we must reflect on His image. Jesus will protect me from the evil I feel and face at work, anywhere, and everywhere; instead of using words and gossip as my defense mechanism. I need to honor Christ's sacrifice, the one who spilled His blood, the one who gave it all. We need to be in awe of Him and be mindful of Him, He will protect you and me. We need live outside of the church as Chsitians, not just inside. Our mission field is everywhere we are, not just within the walls, or in Africa, or a missions trip. Our mission field is EVERYWHERE.

We are not a community of fake people (at least I hope that we would strive to not be), we need to say words that people understand. We can relate to lost, hurting, and broken people. We have degrees in sin and brokenness that give us better reason to love and serve those inside and outside of the church walls because we have been redeemed. Let us untangle the ropes and serve God, serve His people and continue to build people up and build HIS HOUSE.

Let's get moving, get serving, get going. Let's show the world who the church really is and what we're all about. Stop zig zagging, swerving in and out of the lines and lanes, and head straight down highway HIS WILL! Let's break the stereotype.

Ready, Get Set, Go!!!

Yy = The Days of Your


Y is for The Days of Your

The “Days of Your”, you might ask what is that… to me the Days of Your are the days of our selfish ambition. The Days of Your are filled with selfish thoughts, ideas, motives, and decisions. The days of your are filled with wanting but not seeking, of desiring but searching for all the wrong things in the wrong places.

I left the Days of Your sometime ago and decided to choose the days of You. I am not perfect, as none of us are and I sometimes (more often than not) tend to choose the wrong things to do or say, but the thing that is beautiful about the Days of You is that I am still filled with love. The Days of Your cut at you and get to you, while they offer short turn happiness, thrill, or excitement, or satisfaction they are often times just a small high filled with a low of depression. Those days leave you wanting more and more of that self-satisfaction and leave you lonely and sad deep down. The Days of Your are filled with giving into evil and hate and Satan.

The Day of You are filled with love, grace, forgiveness, and compassion. They bring not only bring happiness but they bring true joy which last forever because it comes from God. These days are filled with peace and contentment.
So I pray that you would choose the Days of You and read the letters below and pray a prayer from that:  

I Want All of You

 
My Princess,

Will you surrender all of yourself to Me? I will never force you to, but I will always desire that you choose to. Please give Me, your husband a chance to love you the way I want to.  

I am the lover of your soul. Won't you open your heart and let me embrace you with my tender touch? I want to steal your heart from this world and let you live in mine.  

I want you to get so lost in Me that nothing can separate us. Come away with Me my beloved and I will complete you in every way.

Love,

Your Prince, who will wait for you

~
"Jesus replied, 'Love the lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with your entire mind this is the first and greatest commandment.'"
~Matt 22:37


Come Away With Me

 
My Princess Bride,
You are Not alone in this World. If ever you think you are, close your eyes and surrender all of yourself to Me. Because I love you,  I will never force you to connect with me but know I will always desire that you draw close to me. Please give Me, your heavenly husband, a chance to love you the way You long to be loved.  

I am the lover of your soul. Won't you open your heart and let me embrace you? 
I want to steal your heart from the worries of this world and have you experience my love in a way that will make your heart dance today.  

Take a deep breath and get so lost in Me that nothing can separate us. Come away with Me my beloved and I will complete you today in every way.

Love,
Your Prince, who will wait for you

~
"Jesus replied, 'Love the lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with your entire mind this is the first and greatest commandment.'"
~Matt 22:37


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Xx = eXamine

X is for eXamine.

After writing yesterday's blog about my hike and emotional and physical struggles in Peru and how I saw the wonders of God and his power, I also took time to really reflect on Peru and the things that God did and the way that He provided for me physically and emotionally and spiritually.

As I was driving home and thinking about Peru... like always. I realized it has been a month since I departed from Peru. A day doesn't go by that I don't miss it or don't desire to go back to that sacred land. One thing that some of the girls in my small group have been discussing is missions. The church will "officially" be announcing the trips for next summer at the end of this month and I am so excited that there will be another trip to Peru and it shall be extended as well. But now as I reflect, I am praying about the opportunity to go back to Peru or even another country. The struggle is not whether I go back or not go back, but it is- is it God's will for me to go back on the trip. Honestly, I think that even if I was accepted on the team that if I wasn't meant to be on the team and that it was not God's will that He would make it so that I would not be able to go.  Going this past summer I knew that if I was accepted on the team that God would provide and He did. Now I struggle with the idea and possibility of going back or of going somewhere else. So I ask that you pray for me and pray that I may have clear and concise direction as to apply at all or just apply and see where I go and how far I get.

I leave you with one of my favorite pictures from Peru:

It was taken right before rock climbing the last section of Waynu Picchu and Ariel asked to take a picture. Through exhaustion and frustration (which you can read all over my face), I stood there not smiling and in that moment Jessica gave me just what I needed a hug and an encouraging peck on the forehead. The amazing thing is that Jessica does not recall this moment at all when we later looked through the pictures, what a God moment. I felt my Father in that moment, I felt His love and in that moment all I needed was to be held and He provided that.

 "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near." -Hebrews 10:23-25



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ww = Waynu Picchu

W is for Waynu Picchu

This is probably going to be the hardest blog to write because it expresses my true vulnerability of one of my hardest and most God-awe moments of Peru. I am copying directly from my journal and the things that took place... it will be long, but I thank you for your patience and for reading...

Aint no mountain high enough,
Aint no valley love enough, 
Aint no river wide enough, 
From keeping me from getting to you...


"Hear my cry, O God;
Listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to You,
I call as my heart grows faint; 
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
-Psalm 61:1-2

 Friday (July 8) was such an emotional day and physically challenging. 


We started the morning off at 3:45am and got ready. We were in line for the bus at 4:30am. Two of the girls, Mark, and Ricky went to get breakfast sandwiches from a little 24 hour cafe- we had ordered them the night before.


*Little did I know that I would be hiking that mountain behind me*
Buses went by slowly being filled with people once 5:30am hit. We almost though that we would be separated due to their capacity- but we all made it. We drove up the mountain and arrived at the base to discover at least 300 people ahead of us. We for sure thought that we would hike Waynu Picchu because they don't let more than 200 in during the morning.

As we approached the entrance- we were approached by tour guides. Mark decided to hire him while we were all a bit reluctant. We walked through various levels and parts and he explained the magnificent-ness  of the way it was built and constructed. As we reached the far end of the entrance to Waynu Picchu, Ricky came running up (we didn't event notice because we were all sitting under this hut in wonder and taking a brief break). He told us that 20 spaces were left for Waynu- so we all rushed to check and sign in.


We had three hours  total until we needed to leave and head for the bus. We all stopped together and Ricky and our guide gave us tips and advice about the trail, especially that the parts that would be extremely narrow. 


We set off- before two long I was towards the back of the group- Taunee, Jessica, and Ariel kept with me but it wasn't a few moments after that we couldn't see the rest of the group in sight. 
*Taken the day before, little did I know that they would be my source of encouragement *


I remember just praying, asking God for strength, patience, perseverance, endurance. I had prayed that if we got into the hike that God would allow me the strength to do it. But then we were told they were out of spaces and I thought what a relief- we really get to take in the sights of Machu Picchu and take photos and everything. Then here I was at the bottom of this mountain fearful and scared of what I couldn't do, what was beyond my control. But if God us on this path then he would surely get me up this mountain. I fought back tears of fear in doing it and fear of the heights and swallowed the pill of frustration that I felt unable and a hindrance to the team. I KNEW God would allow me the help and grant me the strength because He'd provided up until this point and He wouldn't abandon me.


There's a saying about how God will strengthen your back or lighten your load, if He brings you to it, He'll bring you through it. It is based on 1 Corinthians I believe. We will not be tempted beyond what we can bear. Well, God lightened my load and strengthened my back. I was able to endure the pain. Also nothing strengthens you like encouragement and Jessica was so great at that. Taunee's constant joy in life made it easier. And Ariel's love in serving- he lightened my load. Ariel took my heavy backpack (filled with snacks), 1/3 of the way up the trail, what a blessing.


* a view of where we just were standing and the above first picture *
As we were almost at the top, we could see Mark through one of the ruin windows. At that point, it was like we were almost there, there was no more going up after this last section. We climbed via rope the last set, with my might I pulled myself up and crawled to the top. I just wanted to be reunited with the team- what a joy it would be that I made it and we were all together again.


I got up there and I didn't see the team. So I began to crawl the stairs to the next section. Nothing. Again, nothing. At that point Ariel, Jessica, and Taunee were a section below.


Finally I made it to the last section around the corner of what we already thought was the last and top section. It was just rocks and I couldn't see the team. I wanted to cry. Then I saw Ricky standing up on this rock. I shouted his name. He said my name then he saw Jessica and yelled her name and then I heard the whole team cheer, then again with Taunee and Ariel. 


After their cheers the first thing I heard... "Jessica, can you take our picture..."


We had just fought and moved up this mountain and the first concern was their picture being taken. I felt that was the concern for them the entire trip. Take our photo here, take our photo there... all the while being left out of a majority of those photos. It hit me... hard. All of the emotion and strength and frustration- I fought back tears. I just wanted to reach the top- to be with the team. We literally had to climb up the side of the rock- hands and feet and position yourself just right. Then up and around a tiny corner was the team. Just chilling, like nothing. Like oh hey, thanks for joining us as I'm exhausted, dehydrated, out of breath, and my vision is blurred.


I push back into the corner and began to take in the view, attempting to breathe... I began fighting back tear by tear trying to breath so no one will notice. Someone spots me as my eyes lay closed behind my sunglasses. My vision is blurred, I don't want to lose a contact. It gets harder and worse as I'm asked if I'm "okay". More tear come, I can't breathe or see. I began to hyperventilate and at this point I've broken out in hives (like I do every time I cry and can't breathe).  I manage to drink some water and Mark makes me eat some chocolate. 



Not even up there five minutes and they say we must leave shortly. I understand because we have a train to catch up stuck in my emotion as tears stream down my cheeks and I breathe heavily- I'm more frustrated, I just got here and I haven't even gotten to truly breathe and take it in. I've just accomplished so much and discovered a new level of intimacy with God and I have to depart already. As the team slowly comes down Ariel snaps a few photos for me and of me as I attempt to give a half decent smile but I know it won't turn out no matter how hard I try. 

Literal rock climbing.

We began to make our way down the mountain and its almost harder because of how steep it is, you must crawl down backwards or hold any rock you can grab facing forward or facing the mountain. Ariel and Mark stayed with me the entire way- I feel so blessed but I also feel like a burden. Each and every step they guide me by holding my hand, telling me where to step, or how to step, or where to place my hands. 

There is a bible verse that talks about hospitality and entertaining angels without knowing it. They were my ANGELS. I could not have done it without them- God really blessed me. I truly got to see a glimpse of the way God sees those two men on my team, I got to see the love and compassion of God through their kindness.


We are almost at the entrance of the hike and I walk behind everyone by 5 to 15 feet during the last 5 minutes as I can barely breathe. We exit as I take another breathe from my inhaler, we quickly make our way back across the ruins. I fight to keep up- Jessica keeps an eye on me and paces herself for me to keep up. We exit getting our passports stamped. We get in line and take the bus down the mountain.


"The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you". -Psalm 32:8


"I love you, Lord; you are my strength." -Psalm 18:1
------------------------------------------------------------------------


Thank you for reading...


Love,
Jennifer



Friday, August 5, 2011

Vv = Vine and Vulnerability

V is for Vine and Vulnerability

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”  
–John 15:1-5


This is the verse that I am currently clinging to because it is now that I am truly clinging to the vine for wisdom and direction. I feel as if I’m in the process of a pruning. I am being pruned so that I can bear more fruit. But the question I ask is when can the fruit began to bear, when in the pruning done? Now there is not answer, I believe that the pruning is constantly happening but as to for what or what result, that I do not know. 

I sat back in the decision area at church last night and talked about my feelings with a friend, as she listened and agreed and spoke wisdom and prayed for me. It felt so good to just be open and honest and pour my heart out. I feel like I am often times going through the motions, especially since being back from Peru.  I am trying to survive and pay bills, taking two weeks off of work unpaid for Peru was extremely hard, especially while I was breaking from "California life" to go and serve, my bills unfortunately did not take a break and still had to be paid. So I get caught up in the normalcy and feel as if I mask my feelings or heart when with friends because I don't want to entirely dump my emotional baggage on them. The transition period has always been emotionally difficult on me after coming back from a missions trip.

The thing I think I am struggling with most is the unknown. But it really isn't entirely unknown because I know God will provide but it is a matter of how and when that I ask myself. I am attempting to patiently wait on what God has in store. But I find myself in this limbo, I find myself desiring more of Him. It was beautiful to be in Peru and to serve God for 12 days. I felt so aligned with my purpose there and so in tune with the things He was doing, I saw His might, power, grace, mercy, and love. I came back in a confusion and stress. Before even leaving for Peru, I prayed for the transition home. As we sat in the living room in Peru, I prayed for direction and change in my life. I have been feeling something stirring for a few months, something big is going to happen. A change is in process and I can feel it and I don't know what it is. I think I am ready for it, but I am clinging to the vine in preparation for whatever is going to happen. I feel as if I am not getting enough of God maybe, but I'm saturating myself more with Him. Maybe I need to get back into my routine of journaling and constantly reading because the few devotionals a day and worship music constantly and the sermons through out the day aren't cutting. I need more prayer maybe and more of the word. 

Last week as I was driving down to San Diego I felt convicted to pray and be with God, I tuned down the radio to a low hum and began to pray out loud. It was weird and difficult and took me a few minutes to get going, but once I started I couldn't seem to stop. I began weeping as I prayed over my life and prayed for my family and friends and situations.  It was about 50 minutes as a buzzed down the freeway and just talked outloud to God, I felt the passion in my voices as the words just flowed out. It's crazy, I can't explain that. Maybe I need more alone time to be still with God.

The last time I felt a pruning was the last time I was in a job search, I pleaded with God as I diligently applied and volunteered to filled my time with much for a year and a half. That pruning hurt and was hard, but it did bring me closer to HIM. Then I found the job I have now which I can barely stay afloat with, but it came by in the right timing at the time and now I'm in this limbo again of figuring things out and just waiting. Then there was October where I questioned things with God after my car accident last year as I thought I may have lost a friend after a fight and as I lost my car and my life literally came to screeching halt. But so much came out of that though to and I thank God for the good and bad from that and it brought me to where I am now...

Waiting on God, I lift my hands up in praise and thanksgiving and in wait of wondering where to go. I bow to my knees and cling to Him and the vine, knowing He WILL PROVIDE. He always has and always will. So I cling and I wait once again on His perfect picture and perfect timing.  I am excited and ready for this change though, so here's to waiting. I hope some of this made even a little bit of sense in how I'm feeling.

So I ask that you please just pray for me. Pray for figuring out how to better serve back in my transition home.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

U = Unbelievable Amounts of Emotion

U is for Unbelievable Amounts of Emotion

Today I shall also join my first blog hop for The Way I See it Wednesdays...


The way I see it, emotions are good.

 
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." -Romans 12:2

I am attempting to not be conformed and my emotions are causing me to be transformed. For the longest time I covered up my feelings and emotions, I bottled things up until they evaporate or the bottle exploded from the pressure.

Now I feel like an open book and try to be as transparent as possible. Peru brought so much emotion out of me. They first few days in Cusco  I remember beging so emotion, I would cry and I couldn't fully describe what was going on without talking in circles. I cried when I was made fun of by my team members and when my motives were questioned. I cried with my team and out to God when I felt my physcial abilities seemed inadequate to properly help or keep up with the team. I cried out of happiness and joy as I was realizing my connection and attachement to the city, I was falling in love with it. I got emotional as I sang praises to God in another language and saw as the testimonoies of our team moved and touched the congregation. I gought back teaers as we prayed over our missionaries and the amazing work they were doing as we saw God move and work in Cusco.

I laughed as we played Apples to Apples each night in our tired dillusion of making no sense for the reasoning of howe we picked and played. I grinned ear to ear as a little girl wanted to hold my had and go everywhere with me.

I used to dislike all of the emotions I felt, but thinking back now my emotions allowed me to love and feel. They allowed me pour out my feelings  to God and to my team. I felt connected because of the emotions I felt. My emotions have allowed me see God's love, grace, beauty, and perfection.

The way I see it, my emotions some silent as tears stream down my cheeks or as I cannot contain a joyful smile, and some out loud with praise and adoration... my emotions are beautiful.