Thursday, January 28, 2010

Suffering and Sorrow

"'Much-Afraid,' said the Shepherd, in a tone of gentle but firm rebuke, 'why did you let Pride come up to you and take your hand? if you had been holding the hands of your two helpers this could never have happened.'
For the first time, Much-Afraid of her own free will held out both hands to her two companions, and they grasped her strongly, but never before had their hold upon her been so full of pain, so bitter with sorrow."

Again, I bring to you Much-Afraid, if you don't remember who she is, look at my previous post for some more of her story.

I think that the biggest lesson that God has been teaching me of late is that of trusting. I trust God, with as much as I can give, I lay my life before Him praying that His will would be done in my life. I know that I will be taken care of, but I can only go so far without trusting other people. Don't get me wrong, I trust a lot of people... unfortunately some I don't trust completely, and others I don't trust with much more than telling them my story and leaving it at that (not to worry, I do have many friends who I trust completely). :)

God has been telling me that I must trust people, that I can't just sit in a hole in the ground not trusting people or letting myself be vulnerable. To put it in the way Much-Afraid would understand it is that the Shepherd has given me the guides of Suffering and Sorrow, and these are to guide me through my journey to the High Places, and when I let go of their helping hands, I can easily be distracted and lose my way. I must grasp firmly onto what they have to offer, no matter how much pain there is in their grasps for they are the guides that have been given to me. I must embrace the trials and hardships in my life and let them guide me in becoming a better person, one who learns from her experiences, and does not shy away from their affect on my life. To make my journey all the better, God has given me an amazing human help and guide to assist me in growing through this. This makes this learning process much more fun and enjoyable. I only hope that I will one day be able to serve him in such a way as he is serving me.

so, much easier said than done. But with God's help this journey is being taken, my guides are in hand, and because I am lame and weak, this will be a long, slow journey. be patient with me. there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Much-Afraid and her journey to the High Places

This week has been very crazy! So much has happened, and I have learned so much! There are two main lessons that I have been learning this week, God has truly taught me so much, and I am still learning even more!

For choir, we have a book that we all read together, usually we read it over tour, but this year it is a long one, so we started early. The book is called Hind’s Feet on High Places, and has quickly become my favorite book. It is an allegory of a girl’s life (Much-Afraid is her name), and her journey to the High Places where the Shepherd is waiting to give her a new name.
Currently we are not that far into it, but we just read about the very begining of her journey. The Shepherd gave her two guides to assist her in her journey, their names were Suffering and Sorrow. When she heard their names, she became really scared and asked the Shepherd why he did not give her Joy and Peace. The shepherd responded that if he gave her Joy and Peace, she would not be transformed on the way to the High Places. It takes Suffering and Sorrow to mold her into the person that she needs to be in order to be able to enter into the High Places when she reaches them. Much-Afraid very hesitantly complied with the Shepherd, and began her journey with Sorrow and Suffering because of her great love for the Shepherd and for her great want to reach the High Places.
This is such an amazing picture of how God uses the really hard things in our lives to mold us and shape us into the people that He is creating us to be. While things may seem unfair here on earth, and we seem to have reached rock bottom because life is so hard. We have to remember that God has given us sorrow and suffering as GUIDES, things that will lead us through this life, reshaping us to be the people that God wants us to be.

The second thing that I have been learning is that it is ok to be vulnerable, because God is in control of all things, and will be with us forever. We can shut ourselves off from the world and tell ourselves that we are not ready to do something, and that we don’t have to move on until we are comfortable with what is going on. We will never be really ready for anything. It is as plain and simple as that. There will always be something out there that could potentially hurt us, and if we are always running from the thought of pain, how are we ever going to overcome it and move on (this goes back to Much-Afraid's story)? We won’t and that is all. We can think and mull it over all we want, but in the end, we will be no different.
Does this mean that it is easy to let go and allow yourself to be vulnerable? Not at all, in fact as I am seeing for myself, it can quite often mean that you are telling yourself something over and over again, something that you know in your heart is true, but that your experience of the world tells you does not make sense. I feel so bad that I can’t just believe my heart, and Lord willing, perhaps I will be able to do just that. It may take a while, but I have some pretty amazing friends who I think will stick by me and help me to get through whatever life brings my way.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Ok, so I really have to get this Urbana post out of me before school starts, so that I actually have time to!
Urbana is a HUGE missions conference, in past years there has been 20,000+ people attending. This year there were 17,000, which is still a LOT of people! It lasted for 5 days (from December 27-January 1) and ended with a great New Year's celebration. I went with 4 friends from Michigan, and we were able to stay at a friends', friends' house in St Louis, MO. there were over 250 different missions organizations represented, and a huge inter-varsity bookstore.

The theme of the conference this year is that "He [God] dwelled among us." God came down and incarnated Himself in Jesus and lived and breathed with us here on earth. We had a session every morning where we did an inductive Bible study on the first 4 chapters of John, and then an evening session where amazing speakers would come and either share their testimonies or give a message about what was on their hearts at the time. there were also hundreds of seminars that we could choose from to attend in the afternoons.

the greatest seminar in my opinion was one by Sunder Krishnan, an Indian pastor at a church in Canada. He spoke on prayer and how we can pray Scripture, how we can take the examples that are given throughout the Bible and pray in the same way that the apostles prayed. He took the apostle's prayer in Acts 4, and talked about how before they even began their requests that they first acknowledged that God is both Sovereign and Creator. He is in control of all, and He made all. So, what would we NOT ask God? Next, they took David's prayer from Psalm 2, and used his experiences to pray that God would do the same thing that He already did for David. Sunder also talked about his own experience with this type of prayer, how he prays for a pastor who was put in prison in India. Sunder prayed for this Pastor Ha that he would be like Joseph, and earn the trust of those who had control over him etc. and he also prayed that he would be like Paul, and praise God in all circumstances. Not only can we use God's word to pray, but we can also use the example of God's work. He prayed that Pastor Ha would have the creativity of this lady Sunder read about who composed prayers in poetry while she was being tortured so that she could keep her sanity. If you want to hear how the story ended, PLEASE listen/watch Sunder's talk here: to find the video, go down to the fourth day, and to the last video entitled Pray Big and Pray Bold: Sunder Krishnan.

There is a movement going on in this generation, people are rising up to the task that God has set before us to GO and make disciples of ALL nations. God is raising up workers for the harvest that is ready! I know that God is calling me into this harvest. I don't know specifically how or where, but He is has given me gifts and talents that I can't wait to put to use for Kingdom work! the field I am now in is my first mission, that of the college campus. I may attend a Christian college, but there is still much need for the love of Christ around me, both on campus and in the city around me. My prayer is that God will work in spite of me and show His glory to those around me through my words and the way that I live my life.

Perhaps more later, or you can ask me about it in person :) Blessings to all!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Future

While cleaning out my Bible, I found this paper stuck in between the pages; I don't know when I wrote it, or where I was, but I think that it is pretty good. And coming back from URBANAO9 it is really what I feel is going on. But more about that later. Here are the contents of the page:

Today, while hanging out with some friends from home, we were talking about the future, what out plans are and where were want to go. This got me thinking about the world's view on the future, and what it means to "not have it together."Ti is almost tragic when you don't know what you are going to dow with your life. I think that in this area, the world has it backwards. we should be longing for the unexpected, for the unknown, for God's call. We naturally want the comfort of knowing what is going on, knowing absolutely going to happen thee weeks, years, or decades from now. God's opinion on this matter is I believe, rather humorous, He sees our set ways and can tell that all we really want is control over out lives and futures. But what God wants control (he actually has it) over out lives, the great thing about God is that He lets us have control over our lives (up to a point). But one of the things God loves most is our willingness to do what he wants, to let go of our dreams of the future and to let Him lead. In Ephesians 1:4, Paul tells us that in Christ we are chosen to be predestined according to His plan that works together with GOd's will. This all is for God's glory. I don't know about you, but I would rather bring God Glory.

The question "what are you going to do after you graduate?" is a misleading question in my book. The future can take care of itself, it is the present that matters. what we do with our time and talents now is what brings God glory. Am I saying that we should not think and pray about the future? No! I am saying that we should spend less time worrying about weather or not we are going to grad school or not, and rather wonder how we can bring God glory today, how we can walk in God's joy, being a light to those around us. The focus should be more on today rather on tomorrow (Lk 12:22).

Should we stop thinking about what we will be doing in the future? No! Bur remembering that God has his own ideas about what He wants for us. he will eventually get his way in our lives, and we only have to embrace it. The more we plan out for out future, the more God will change, When we put our itinerary ahead of His we know that it will only be a matter o time before God gets His itinerary in. So, rather than plan out my life many times, making my wants a priority, I am just going to leave it in His hands from the beginning. This does not mean that I am not going to be thinking about the future, but it does mean that I will let Him be in charge of the big picture, because when I am ready, God will reveal what my next step will be, but until then, I know only what step I am to take today, trusting that God will give me the guidance I need to be able to live today the right way. Now the question is, can I live today in that way?

As I said before, I will write on Urbana later.
Blessings to all