Sunday, November 6, 2011

Surrender to Adoption

Today I surrendered myself to God's call of adoption for my life.

It's orphan Sunday, and our church took a few moments out of the regular service to emphasize our responsibility as a church to look after the orphans and widows. Several families shared their adoption processes and their heart for the abandoned. One lady said, as Christians we can either get mad about it and say "How could this happen?", or we can go out there and do something about it. She had adopted a son from Bulgaria, and followed with, "Yeah they have a poor government, but it's not the government's responsibility to take care of these children. It's ours."

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:
to look after orphans and widows in their distress
and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
James 1:27

Listening to these hearts of service and lips of concern brought tears to my eyes, because they get it. They grasp the Gospel. They understand that we had nothing to offer God. God planned to adopt us, and Christ was the only one who had the right qualifications to do so. We were expensive, so God had to sacrifice His only son to save us from ourselves. We were without hope in a depraved situation. Legally, our salvation had to be settled. We required transformation and a new home. We needed the inheritance of a Father who had much more than we'd ever dreamed. Now we are a part of a multiracial family, and the character of our Father rubs off on us. Or at least it should.

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world
to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be
adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will---
to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has
freely given us in the One he loves."
Ephesians 1:4-6

Most of us would say we can't do it. We don't have the money or the time, or just the fact that we can't put anything else on our full plates, when in reality if we really looked at our plates we'd see nothing in comparison to saving a child's life. We fill our lives with things. Good things, bad things, things that matter, things that don't. We are so blessed with things in life, so we can't say that we can't do anything. We can't say we have nothing to offer. If not money, we have time. If not a place in our home, we have a place in our heart for prayer.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--
we know that we have what we asked of him."
1 John 5:14-15

So that's where I am today. I know I can't adopt now as a junior in college with multiple loans, but I can pray. And I commit today to pray for the orphans and widows. To pray for chances to serve the least of these until the Lord provides a way for me to permanently impact a child's life. He can do it, and He will do it.

"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
So now I give him to the LORD.
For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD."
And he worshiped the LORD there."
1 Samuel 1:27-28

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

imperfection is beauty

you see i have this problem with not writing things because i think that everything has to have a perfect flow or a perfect phrasing and i get so caught up in the imperfections that it gets incredibly hard for me to finish well im writing this with so many flaws and grammar errors that its driving me nuts right now but i cant stop and put an apostrophe or a comma or a period because that would be me fixing an imperfection and not allowing myself to break this mold and fascad of perfection the truth is that i started this day studying about jesuss first miracle when he turned the water to wine the jars of water that he changed were filthy water jars used for ceremonial cleansing that he changed completely from the inside out and the jars werent cleaned before no they were completely dirty and jesus changed them into the best wine just like he changes us everyday into what will someday be the best wine and we dont have to prove ourselves to him or clean oursleves up before coming to him because really all we have to be each day is a dirty water jar thats waiting to be changed and used to distribute gods glory and grace to anyone who wants to take a drink no pressure for perfection thats all on the perfect savior and he can handle it thank you jesus

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Learning then living.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him
and He will direct your path."
Proverbs 3:5

I think the first part of this verse means two very important, very different things. And these principles have grabbed my attention for the past few weeks.

The first way I take it is the typical way that most people translate this passage; we should trust in the Lord with everything that we have. He is sovereign and knows the plans he has for us, so we should leverage everything for this perfect plan. Being devoted is giving everything. Being devoted is trusting Him for everything and with everything we are, do and own. Our understanding of life, love, and the future is so flawed-literally unable to comprehend the infinite and totally perfect ways of God. This is why we are so often drawn to base our idea about God on the doubts and confusion we have about the Bible with all its seemingly contradicting statements. In His mind and with His knowledge they all make perfect sense, and I firmly believe that seeking Him, or "acknowledging" Him, in everything we do will help us to understand and trust Him with our whole heart.

Secondly, I think Jesus, Abba Father, Lover of our souls, is trying to tell us to trust Him with our HEARTS. In the day we live in, people tend to praise dating, marriage, and relationships more than they promote guarding the heart, even though our divorce rate in America is close to 50 percent. In fact, 1 Corinthians 7 tells us the Bible's view on singleness and marriage. It tells us that it is a gift to be single, because that provides undivided devotion to the Lord. So many of us see singleness as deprived of something that will make us whole. Media tells us that marriage is the key to a fulfilled life. Everyone who is happy is "in love". Have we ever thought that maybe loneliness is put in our hearts for us to draw near to the only thing that can satisfy them? The Bible tells us that marriage will bring many troubles and hardships, and even though one day hopefully He will call us to a life of marriage, why do we long for it so immediately? Why can't we embrace our life of undivided devotion to the Lord and seek His face with no distractions? Because when we lean on our own understanding, satan makes us think more and more like the world we live in. We must trust the Lord with our heart. This is the difference in being in the world and not of the world. We must be able to live life pursuing the love, character, and heart of our Creator-not a sinful representation of the Lover of our souls. Then one day, as two people are delighting themselves in the Lord, He will give them both the desire of their hearts- to love and be loved in return by someone who loves Him more than us. How wonderful that day will be! We must guard our hearts and wait patiently. If we place this precious part of us in the palm of God's hand, we can trust that no matter what our hearts go through in the depravity of this world-disappointment, brokenness, sorrow, or simply a lack of joy-He will direct it into the correct path of love.

Check this out. It'll do your heart some good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We never walk alone. And this is our hope.

I have honestly thought about blogging every week since I left for the summer. The amount of information and knowledge about Jesus, myself, and others that I learned and am still learning is so incredible-words cannot describe it well enough. Laziness was not the issue in my lack of writing, but prioritizing. My body constantly needed rest, my coworkers constantly needed encouragement, and my mind constantly needed refreshment that didn't come often enough. So after time of debriefing, I decided to take one huge thing that the Lord taught me this summer and share. Much of this is inspired by various pastors, friends, and personal revelations that the Lord has used to change my heart and mind, and I am still learning what it looks like to live all this out. The first reason I write this is so that I will never forget what I've learned, and the second that maybe Jesus might speak to you individually through my broken words.

The title of this blog is that our only hope is in the fact that we do not walk alone. More than ever, this summer I realized how we have an advocate-Jesus Christ- but how we also have an adversary-satan. As hard as God is working for us in His will, the devil is constantly working against us in destroying God's will for our lives. So many times this summer I was digging deep into the Word, asking the hard questions to other staff, and seeking the Lord in prayer and deep thought, and the closer I got to the Lord, the more satan clouded my mind with insecurities and distractions to keep me away from my only true Help. Several times I felt so easily attacked mentally and emotionally that I could barely focus on everyday life. Hardships were also happening at home, and the "here and now" was the last thing on my mind. The more responsibility I had, the more my weaknesses and flaws became apparent, pushing me into attention-based actions and selfish thoughts. "In my weakness, Your strength is made complete" became my theme verse.

I had always heard the importance of memorizing scripture and had begun to memorize the book of James for a challenge of Ecclesia. Little did I know how the mind can truly be transformed by the very Word of God. Every thought I took captive and I began to seek ye first the kingdom, begging God to replace these distractions of the devil. He began showing me practical applications of his Living Word that I could not stop thinking about, and through that He saved me day by day out of the devil's traps. He showed me 1 Corinthians 10 where Paul tells us that we do not use earthly weapons, but we fight with divine power to demolish strongholds-physically and mentally.

Every action begins with a belief, every belief with a thought, perfectly explaining that our thought life is so crucial to how we live. Every thought that said I wasn't good enough, Christ replaced it with 1 John 3:1, "How great is the love the Father lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!..." Any thought that said I needed to have it all together was fought with 2 Corinthians 12:9, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness'". The more I tried to be impressive and perfect, the less I allowed Christ's grace to show through me. It's okay for us to be broken-God likes to use broken pieces to make masterpieces. Any time I became anxious or consumed by the future, Christ said, "Trust in [me] with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge [me] and [I] will direct your path." How comforting and assuring are those words. I trusted the Lord with the salvation of my soul, how much more should I trust him with the simplistic things in life.

This tiny article cannot even measure up to the work Jesus did this summer, but one thing I know for sure, God is so good to us. He is so good. And He will never leave us. He walks with us through the valley and on the mountain tops. Hide His words in your heart, trust Him, and run after Him. Because if we go after Jesus and we get everything, Jesus is still better, and if we go after Jesus and it costs us everything, Jesus is still worth it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is your boat being rocked?

"I don't know how big of a storm I can take, Mechay", my dad says as we discuss being tossed by the storms of life. The past two weeks our family has been hit wave after wave by the hurricanes of sickness, death, and security. We struggle with the chance of losing family members and the definite loss of others. Strong souls being weakened and bruised by the frailty of this world. "If the Lord's trying to show me something, I wish I knew what it was. I must be doing something wrong", he would say as he poured out his burdens. His words remind me of the miracle in John 6 when Jesus calms the storm.

Lately at church we've been going through Christ's miracles and focusing on the fact that yes, they were to show God's power and glory but also to point out something different. Jesus never wasted a miracle, and the reason they are even in the Bible is because there is some special significance to them. For this miracle it is that Jesus is Lord over all of life's storms. Storms are inevitable (John 16:33), unpredictable, and impartial towards who they effect, so how do we handle them?

First we have to realize that Jesus might have led us straight into them. In Mark 6 the Word says that Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him across the lake. They weren't being punished for running from God like Jonah, nor were they dealing with doubt like James talks about. In fact, they got caught up in the storm because they OBEYED God. They were right in the middle of God's will and right in the middle of a storm. He had complete control over the storm, and complete control over their lives. This is comforting and frustrating at the same time.

So great, if we follow Christ will we still feel abandoned when He's all the way across the lake? Bend beyond measure when the winds are too strong to stand? Feel over our heads in tidal waves of tears that we're drowning in? Yes. We will feel as if we cannot afford to weather this storm. We might second guess ourselves, others, and God. We might forget every good thing we've been given, like the warm sun on our faces or every grain of food that fills our stomachs. It's possible that we will groan and fight every encouraging word spoken to lift our spirits, and reject reminders of His truth. But we can't give up, won't relent until he calms the seas.

Because Dad, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us! We follow His plan, remembering He knows the way. We trust His providence, because certainly there's more to our journey than just getting to the other side. We depend on His power, and being filled with hope, we rest in His presence thanking Him that we don't have to do it alone.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Wonder Years

Yesterday marked the end of one era for me and the beginning of another. Turning twenty was the end of my teenage years, and the beginning of my "adulthood". So, I decided to reflect a little on the past 7 years, and see just how much more "grown-up" I am today.

At age 13, I was in the 7th grade at Clay-Chalkville Middle School. I met my best friend, Katie Evans, after she moved from Cahaba Heights and her dad became pastor at my church. We were very close, and even remain close to this day. I honestly think her influence on my life is a huge factor into who I am now. I was head-over-heels for this boy who probably never gave me a second glance past our friendship. He was awkwardly skinny and funny, and I absolutely adored him. I dealt with girl drama-forcing me out of the "cool" crowd-but pointing me towards the girls that had the same beliefs and morals that I did. I am so thankful for the awful treatment I went through, because it built my character, humbled me, and made me appreciative of the friends I had. My faith didn't necessarily grow during this year, but my relationships with my youth group began to grow and developed into lifelong friendships.

Eighth grade-age 14-was a year of responsibility. I was very involved with school functions, as well as competitive studio dancing. I had to learn how to manage my time, a skill I still struggle with, and I think very often I lost track of what was truly important. However, those friends I made while dancing and working at school are still my very close friends today (FAB FIVE!), and for that I am thankful. This year was the first time I introduced my friends to the lake house, which took on a whole other realm of responsibility in itself, showing me that I was also responsible for there actions. That faded into the summer where I was grounded for an entire week (the worst grounding I've ever received) without a cell phone, internet, tv, or my friends. I learned a lot during that week. Thanks Mom! My church friends became my core, and I didn't think I could get through one day without them. I dealt with a love triangle that was so messed up, and dumb of me to even get intertwined, but I praised Him through the storm and He got me through. It really wasn't as big of a deal as I made it out to be. I began to have a deeper understanding of Christ's glory and renown, and how our passion for Him defines everything that we do. Thanks to our new Youth Pastor, Craig Newton, our youth group grew spiritually and mentally, developing a new perception of the Gospel. Now off to high school!

Age 15-got the permit! It was my first year of high school, and I was a nerd. My grades were super important and I loved school, but I couldn't wait to pursue my obvious love of dance. I made the dance line, and quickly entered the "real world". Sharing lots of time with girls who talked differently than I did, acted in manners I had never even heard of, and whose backgrounds were completely different than mine. Nevertheless, it was so much fun to be able to connect with these girls and weather high school with them. I began making my mark on Clay-Chalkville High School-a place that new my best and my worse.

At age 16, I was awkward and weird. I'm pretty sure everyone thought I was a little loony, because I hadn't learned social appropriance yet. I learned self-control that year, practicing how to hold my tongue. Let's just say my filter developed pretty quickly. I made my first B ever. Ughh...Physical Science with Mr. Holiday. I will never forget that dreadful class. One good thing that surfaced though was a friendship with someone I never thought I'd find so wonderful. He corrected me, rebuked me, insulted me, questioned me, and frustrated me. However, his honesty was exactly what I needed. His input was never wanted, but always correct. We developed a friendship that I wouldn't take back for anything, and I consider him one of my best friends from high school. My parents continued to support me even through my academic stress, and paid my way through Cougarette even though I know they didn't have the financial means to. I didn't get a car at 16, actually not until Senior year, but that made me grateful for when I finally did.

Junior Year! What a year...first love, two surgeries in a month, lots of traveling, first kiss, perfect summer, real heartbreak, real growth. Yep, that about sums it up!

Just kidding :)....Age 17 was amazing and awful all at the same time. I experienced mental, physical, and emotional changes that have effected me ever since. For example, I had jaw surgery, breaking both my jaws and putting them in the right place. Now I look different. I traveled to Chicago, which was the farthest I had ever gone away from Alabama, and that turned me into a very ambitious traveler who can thankfully say that there is life outside of Alabama. And finally, I spent almost every day of it with a special boy who I loved. Consequently, my relationships with my best friends suffered, and my relationship with the Lord lacked, to say the least. Christ remained faithful though, and amidst all the heartbreak he was my daily breath, and my best friends hung on, refusing to give up. Experiencing emotions that were so controlling and so real scared me just a bit, and has caused my heart to become a little more wiser every day. Although I was so torn then, and had no idea why I had to feel something so dreadful, I now realize that Christ's love is too powerful to let me out of his hand. I had run for a short time, but because of His grace He chased after me and swallowed me up in the belly of His sovereign whale. So in case you don't know, God is so good.

18! My Senior year was absolutely fantastic. I was captain of the Cougarettes, a job that I thoroughly enjoyed, because I had the most wonderful girls on the team. We hardly ever fought, and each dance was a collection of everyone's ideas. In my opinion, the dances we performed were some of the best I had ever seen-but I am just a tad bit biased. I was honored to be able to co-lead with Savannah Vaughn, and through that we became really good friends as well. I had the opportunity to participate in my first musical ever, which threw me into this theatre spiral that I'm in now. I never thought that musical would have such an impact on my life. Then came graduation, and I was off to a world of unknowns in college.

The summer before my Freshman year I stayed home and worked at a camp right down the road. I experienced a variety of things there from the workers, kids, and daily schedule-all of which prepared me for college. I began pursuing a Biology degree at the University of Montevallo, and boy did I love it. I didn't think life could get any better. When deciding to go through recruitment, I had denied sorority life all the way. Against my own understanding, however, the Lord wanted me to join-abruptly providing the money and flat out showing me which to choose. Phi Mu has been a roller coaster of joy, showing me my dependence on Christ. No way could I keep up with the craziness of my life without him. No way. I dove straight into the campus, getting a job in Admissions and becoming a tour guide. I think that telling prospective students about my love for Montevallo just makes me love it even more. Being able to serve on the leadership team of Ecclesia has been such a blessing in itself as well, keeping me connected with the body. The girls are so forgiving, encourage me daily in my walk with Christ, and are seriously some of the most inspirational ladies I know.
Turning 19 wasn't one of the most exciting birthdays-I mean, really, all I could do was buy cigarettes-but I did realize what a support system I had at Montevallo. Then for the summer, I realized what a support system I had in the body. I worked for Student Life Ministries, and Christ used it to totally flip my world. You can find the blog about it further on down. Nevertheless, Jesus has shown himself in so many different ways, and I never thought my walk would be this interactive I guess. He continues to be so faithful even when I am so unfaithful, and gives me courage to leap when I can't even take baby steps.

Sorry this was so long for those who are reading, but I just really wanted to reminisce and follow my steps back during those teenage years. I know I missed the little things that affected me growing up, and those are probably the most important, and the people who affected me the most were the ones that said the tiniest of words that will resonate until I die. Thankfully though, at the end of the day, I'm ready to embrace my twenties with Christ at my side and a new vision for life that I hope changes and changes with every passing moment.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Little Things

Today my family came visit me to celebrate my birthday. As my grandparents and I awaited their arrival, my grandfather and I decided it was too pretty of a day to be sitting inside. We originally had planned to walk only a short distance to a nearby bridge around the back of the house where we used to play as kids. We'd throw bread to the fish and sink our toes into the sandy water. By a pine tree we passed, there is the place where my first pet cat is buried. I remember spending hours crying by it even months after he had died. Grandaddy and I continued to walk over the bridge and into another pasture as he told me story after story about his childhood. "Over there is where daddy used to keep our white horse..." he would say, "I was shootin' squirrels in that tree right there when the game warden came through a lookin' for me." His southern charm always makes me laugh. We walked probably a mile through people's yards, around ponds, jumped over streams, and I could really tell towards the end that grandaddy was tired. He would have never told me that though. He would have never wasted one second of that time with his granddaughter to focus on himself and complain. At almost 80 years old, he's just thankful to be walking, and yet he took the time to take me on a mile journey through his past-literally and figuratively. That meant the world to me.

My grandmother had been cooking our afternoon lunch while we were gone, loving her family through the gifts the Lord has given her. I'm pretty sure she had planned to make banana pudding-my all time favorite dessert-for lunch. I saw the bananas and pudding mix, as well as the vanilla wafers in the pantry. After telling her that I was trying to cut sugar completely out of my diet for personal reasons, I'm sure she felt a little let down-although she never showed it. She just kept quiet and finished the rest of the meal. Her small gesture was enough to make me cry.

My family is under-appreciated far too often. Today I feel humbled and grateful for the little realizations in life that bring me to tears of joy and gladness for absolutely no reason.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

You might need this.

You're not perfect. And neither is anyone else. Remember that.

One definition of perfection is freedom from fault or defect. In only one case does that apply-Jesus. He is faultless and without defect, but every one of us has many, many issues. You can see them in the way we think, talk, look, and act. For our humanity, perfection is not freedom at all. It's actually slavery. Chains that we put in place because we are afraid of failure and striving to be perfect. Do you understand that it's NOT POSSIBLE. You can not handle everything on your own, and so many things are completely out of your hands. They're in His hands, so let Him take care of them. I'm pretty sure He can do a much better job dealing with them than you could ever imagine. Wouldn't you rather have challenges to figure out, differences of opinions, and varieties of faces to look at every day? Don't they make life a little more interesting? Shape your character more than just hearing someone tell you about it? You are learning every day-learning more about yourself and others, and how wonderful that you even have that ability! You will never have enough hours in your day, or the opportunity to please as many people as you would like. If you lack enemies, you lack character. If you didn't have so many obligations, you would be lazy. Why not spend each and every day giving and giving and giving until you have nothing left, instead of wasting your energy and time and love doing nothing? You are blessed. You have character and quality and drive. Don't ever think your efforts are worthless. They will be rewarded. And even if you feel like you can't do any more, I promise you can. I believe in you. He is sustaining you with every breath, causing reactions in your body to function at just the right rate, providing water to plants in China and holding the world between His fingertips at the same time; don't you think He can handle all these insignificant annoyances that you just can't shake off? Give them to Him. And give yourself a break.

"Because Jesus says to you, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in [your] weakness.' Therefore you should boast all the more gladly about your weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on Him. That is why, for Christ's sake, you should take delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when you are weak, then you are strong." -2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (MPIV-Mechay's Paraphrased International Version :))

Monday, February 21, 2011

Waiting Here For You

Lately I feel as if everything I do is not good enough compared to what I could be doing, everything I see reminds me of a need far greater than anything I could ever imagine, and everything I have pales in comparison to the joy that I could have by having nothing. Poverty and need in foreign countries affects my heart wayy too much. Seeing all the blog posts, tweets, facebook statuses, videos, pictures, and stories of mission projects occurring overseas just scratches the relentless itch I have to help. I hope I can one day. Christ has put this longing in my heart that I can't wait to be filled. Nothing can satisfy it. Not here. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my life and all the blessings God has placed in it. But at the end of the day, I can only be thankful that it's preparing me for the time when I can go. My ugly selfishness is often angry with the Lord, not trusting His timing and love for His children. Not just His poor, famished, seemingly God-forsaken children, but ALL of them. The ones I come in contact with every day. They need His love too, right? I can't seem to get that. So I struggle with patience and contentment, actively waiting on the Lord and anticipating the day when Christ decides I'm ready.

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:11-13

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

College Night Yeah!

Well, I haven't blogged in a while, because my life has been completely absorbed by this little thing called College Night. Actually, it's kind of a big deal. For those who don't know, College Night is Montevallo's Homecoming- one of the oldest homecoming traditions in the U.S. The entire school splits into two sides-Purple and Gold (I'm Gold!)-and competitions between the two occur throughout the entire month after we get back from Christmas break. Points are awarded for the winners in each category. We compete in sports-volleyball, soccer, and basketball-but most of the points come from a theatrical production put on by both sides. It is written, casted, directed, choreographed, designed, costumed, and performed by students only. So, while we are taking 12+ hours of school, participating in Greek life and trying to get decent sleep, we are practicing 6+ hours a day during the week and all day on the weekends (including that 24 hour cue-to-cue). It truly is a miracle that we survive! But that's beside the point.

Although College Night is very overwhelming, and sometimes almost unbearable, it is the most exhilarating, incredible, fun, creative thing I have ever been a part of. The result of those 4 weeks of hard work overcompensates for the fatigue you feel every single day. At the beginning, it makes a month seem so long, like the performance couldn't come fast enough. Then after it's over, you can not believe you did all that work in such a short amount of time.

We perform the show Wednesday-Saturday, with the Saturday night show being judged. Both groups stand on stage and wait in terrible anticipation for the announcement. I'm talkin' hands held, knees shaking, no breathing anticipation. Then comes one side's catch phrase which is hidden in some long speech by the SGA President. One side goes absolutely nuts and makes complete fools of themselves while the other side stands in utter shock. Each person involved works incredibly hard on their specific task, so the realization of a loss is really heartbreaking-believe me, I felt it last year. However, both sides have victory parties, because either way it's a huge accomplishment to put on such a show, and then we have strike the next day. The winning side gets bragging rights and certain privileges for the entire year.

Then you begin to miss those people with which you created this masterpiece. That's probably the best element of CN. The people. Together you've experienced excitement when you first read through the script, body ache after the first practice, disappointment when you have to redo a number, delusion during those wee hours of the morning, sweet words of encouragement when you think you can't go on, and that unexplainable feeling when you've won a victory. This year it was a Gold Victory (GV!), and I couldn't be more thrilled.

I say all that to 1. inform people about College Night and 2. to tell about the particular experience I had this year. Last year, the time consumption of CN totally wiped out any time I had to spend with the Lord. When I wasn't in practice or class, I would do homework or sleep. And although I knew the Lord was still with me, I really didn't acknowledge Him all that much. After a realization at Passion '11, I knew I could not go through this CN the same way. I realized that the chains I had holding my hands and feet, the chains of school and CN, must be wrapped around the Big Chain holding my heart. That NO MATTER WHAT my life must be linked with Christ. So I set a goal to begin CN practices by reading a word of scripture or simply praying with the whole cast. I told the Ecclesia leadership team and they kept me accountable. It amazed me how much bringing the Lord into our practices changed attitudes, made people work harder, and kept the complaining down. The cast was so encouraging, and instead of leaving practice drained, I came to practice drained and left in high spirits. It really was a cast filled with God's presence, and I definitely think that played into our victory. I was also able to use things I learned from working Student Life last summer to really invest in my castmates' lives and love on them. I know that even if we didn't win, my month would not have been for nothing.

The Lord uses each and every one of us in ways we can't even imagine, and I know this month He worked through me. Mechay was tired, disappointed, stressed to the max, angry, impatient, brain-dead, and ready to quit. But the Lord was revived, encouraging, calm, content, joyful, patient, creative, and persevering for me. And He MADE me be that for others. Thank you, Jesus, and GV!

Monday, January 10, 2011

You're not alone.

For those who feel as if you give until there's nothing left.
For those who never see the result of your giving.
For those who feel alone in a group of 30 so called "Christians".
For those who try to stay in communion with the Lord and believers, but it just seems impossible.
For those who think you are the only ones who read your Bibles every day.
For those who are overly committed and underly prayed up.
For those who view the world as evil waiting to happen.
For those who tire from waiting on Jesus.
For those who are confused about religion, and just want the relationship.
For those who feel that there will never be anyone good enough.
For those who feel that you will never be good enough for anyone.
For those who rarely see a man or woman lead the way God intended us to lead.
For those who feel poor, and therefore useless.
For those who's dream career is too far out of reach.
For those who have chosen love over money.
For those who have chosen singleness over settling.
For those who can't see the impact you are having in the world.

Last Monday, I stood in an arena packed with 16,000+ students, with a little over 6,000 in the next room, who all just wanted JESUS. With hands raised high and hearts fully open, we were worshipping the King who will return one day to save His people. No matter the race, gender, or denomination, we all praised the One who made us and enables us to breathe. And we gave. Check out this info:

Giglio updates the results:

Over the four days of Passion 2011 Atlanta, over 22,000+ were rocked to the core and united for the world. We were challenged to partner with amazing organizations to fund ten local/global causes at a cost of $470,000.
Here’s what happened:


Homeless//Towels and Socks for Atlanta area shelters. Given: 18,400 towels and 88,000 pairs of socks!
Clean water//$75,000 for 15 wells in villages in India. Given: 24 wells!
Micro-finance//200 small business loans for Afghan entrepreneurs totaling $40,000.
Given: 387 loans!
Bibles//20,000 New Testaments to unreached in Colombia at $20,000. Given: 31,554 New Testaments!
Feeding Children//Feed 1,000 at risk children in South Africa for one year at $50,000. Given: Feeding 2,225 children!
Homes//Build 15 homes in Haiti at $54,000. Given: 39 homes!
Sponsor Children//Sponsor 150 children and provide family essentials at a cost of $100,00. Given: 442 children sponsored!
Human trafficking//Restoration and a future for 10 girls trapped in sex slavery in Bolivia at a cost of $36,000. Given: 22 girls rescued/restored!
Surgeries for Children//$50,000 to fund 50 Hydrocephalus surgeries in Uganda. Given: 141 surgeries!
Rescue women//$45,000 to fund 10 rescue operations to free sex slaves in the Philippines (each operation frees 15 women on average). Given: 29 rescue operations!
Plus, College fund for Haitian earthquake survivor, Therissa Leo. Given: $23,106!
(This was not planned beforehand or factored into the $470,000 goal.)

Total Given at Passion 2011 Atlanta: $1,167,249.24
If you are wondering if your eyes are playing tricks on you, students/leaders/volunteers at Passion 2011 Atl gave over $1.1 million for the last and least of these in Jesus’ name. While the dollar amount is staggering, we cannot begin to quantify the intangible value of students connecting with those who will benefit from these gifts by writing a note/prayer to women being rescued, praying over a Bible or weeping for a family or a nation.

Do Something Now = worship + justice, what we believe God wants most from us. Something beautiful has shifted and we will never be the same. Stay connected and share Do Something Now with your friends and family who were not a part of Passion 2011 Atlanta at our new site:

This gave me so much hope. There are people who care, and there is a movement for Jesus happening all over the world right now. You are not alone in this. There are at least 22,000+ people along with you proclaiming the Gospel. Don't give up.