Friday, February 27, 2009

Surrender... the sequel

I’ve been a terrible blogger. I am repentant. Please give me another chance! I can change, I swear!

I’ll stop being dramatic now.

To continue on with the Surrender theme, I’ll pick up where I left off. Seacoast Greensboro. The Lord truly had brought us to a place to connect, worship, and grow. There are no words to express how amazing it was, and still is. There is an energy there; a momentum. I can almost feel God’s hand moving things into place. I’m thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful community.

I had growing relationships! Wonder of wonders, people were becoming friends! Now hardly a year later, they are so dear to me I cannot fathom life without them. Women who have lifted me up in prayer, encouraged growth in me, and given me a godly example of “wifehood.” A Pastor who has encouraged Daniel and I in leadership and service, teachers who have consistently challenged us with the Word. Families that we love and would do anything for... it’s just what a church family should be.

I continued to struggle with my career. I didn’t feel like I was doing any good in the world. I knew, in the pit of my soul, there was something I was missing. Only now, hope was the root of it all. I was experiencing God’s leading in my life, I was certain. I kept praying that the Lord would release me from my job. That something else would come along. I remember, and I’m sure she does, sobbing at my friend’s house during a Bible study because I didn’t know if I could face it the next day with no hope of leaving. I didn’t see an end, and I was losing hope.

Soon after, the Lord brought Philippians 1:6 to my attention from a devotional I love. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” So, I changed my prayer. I prayed that the Lord would not release me until I had learned my lesson. Until He had used this situation to refine in me what needed to be refined, I didn’t want to be released. I wanted to stay. I nailed my attitude to the cross. And repeated out loud and often, “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.” (I John 4:4)

Things started to look up. I laughed again at work. I came home and enjoyed my leisure time rather than dreading the next workday. I made others laugh in the office. Life looked better.

Then Carrie, my friend at whose house I sobbed, asked me to go out to Panera with her. We sat together and chatted for a while, and she told me she had something to tell me. She said she was ready to move away from being the Children’s Ministry Director. That she wanted me to do it. I don’t know what she experienced at that moment, but lives zoomed before my eyes. All those precious children at our church, whom I can no more explain things to than orbit the moon. What if I say something dumb to them? What if I can’t get anyone to volunteer? What if I have to spend all my Sundays filling in for people who can’t make it? Then I’ll never get to sing again... and worshipping absolutely fills my soul, I can’t live without that. So, basically, I panicked. Worst case scenarios flew through my brain. I do that. But that was not letting “He that is in me” conquer. So, I tried to get back to the subject at hand. I asked Carrie why and what she wanted to move on to. The passion for women and families was evident in her words and her eyes (we’re kindred spirits that way). So, I agreed to pray about it.

About a month later, I had decided not to do it. I understood her reasons, we had worked out that I would not have to stop being on the praise team, and that it would be mostly administrative, recruiting and encouragement. Not so much teaching, as that scares me to death. But I was going to step it up and take two Sundays a month to work in kid’s ministry, rather than one. That was my decision.

Well, driving to work one day, I felt a bit of a niggle in the back of my mind. The niggle was a question. Why wouldn’t you take this position? Well, I’m very ill-equipped. I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m not a good teacher, I’ll never encourage anyone enough. I’m not good at asking others to do something. There is bound to be someone out there better than me. Someone older. Someone more mature. Someone who doesn’t still find fart noises funny. (I’m just being honest here, folks.) Another niggle: What have you been praying for? A chance to make a difference. A chance to really be used by God. For someone to recognize some potential in me.

At that moment, driving down Latham Road on my way to work I almost drove through a stop-sign. It was like God had said, “Well....” Never have I ‘heard’ God’s voice before like that.

It was exactly what I had prayed for. 100%. “Greater than He that is in me than he that is in the world.” Had I not been repeating that? If I believed that, and if I believed Romans 8:37, that we are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” and I didn’t act on this, I was a fool. I would be missing God’s leading. I really felt that He was in the car with me that day, giving me assurance, giving me peace about this decision. So, I said aloud, “Okay!” (Yes, in the car by myself... I’m sure many people have laughed at me while driving. I tend to pretend that no one can see me while I’m in the car...) Then I laughed a bit, and cried a bit.

(Quick aside-you should read Romans 8... I need to memorize it, it’s awesome. Matter of fact, go now

I don’t know what God wants to use me for in this position. I don’t know if its to humble me further, or use me to organize some really incredible volunteers to help kids accept and become more like Christ, or any combination of thousands of things. But I can say, with all honesty, I am humbled, honored and delighted to be serving alongside the best volunteers and in the best church.

God has completely changed my life. Given me something to work for, and can I also tell you this? I really enjoy my day job now! :-) I just needed a bit of a refresher and a kick in the tush.

Now, to connect back to Calvin & Hobbes. Unconditional surrender. That’s what it took. I finally submitted my stubborn self to accepting the Lord’s plan. Proverbs 19:21 came to life again, and I trusted it. The Lord has my best in mind, He has the entire picture in mind, not just the minutia – which I had been stuck on. I have no clue what ‘the best’ is, but I’m so glad I have faith in my God who does.

So, Hobbes, yes. I am ready for unconditional surrender. All that I had armed myself with was vanity and pride. I’m so glad I got a wake-up call.

Friday, February 6, 2009


There is something about Calvin & Hobbes... I hope if I have a kid like Calvin that I'll be able to see the humor in it! Everytime I read one, it makes me think. Well, this one makes me ponder my pride.
When I left college, I thought for sure that the world was my proverbial oyster and that everyone would marvel at my academic prowess. I was standing in the fort of my life armed with ammunition of spectacular grades, internship experience, several awards, extensive involvement and the 'proof' that I had what it took.
The world doesn't so much see it like that. They saw many recent graduates with great grades, bundles of awards and oodles of charm. I was just one. And they weren't so much concerned with my pride.
Well, God had plans. He brought a verse to my attention the summer before my senior year in high school and He has been showing it true to me ever since then, and I pray He will continue to show me more and more that it is true. Proverbs 19:21 "You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail."
About a month before we were to get married, Daniel got a promotion so we had to move to Greensboro, NC, much to my dismay. We looked at 13 apartments one day, finally found one that felt like home, packed up and moved.
For about a year we were fine, attending a few churches, never finding one where we fit. Some were too big, one didn't preach the Word (yikes), and the rest just didn't feel right. I yearned for friends that I could open up to, a church family to serve and love, and I started to get desparate.
During this time, Daniel was going through some rough times at work and was contemplating leaving. We were approached by our home church pastor about him taking a position at the church, he interviewed and was offered the job. I already had a house picked out and visions of being a pastors wife and grocery shopping with my Mom every week. But neither of us felt a peace about it... so back we went to Greensboro.
Around this time was when I really felt a horrific yearning. For something more. I cried to God. I begged him to let us move. Anywhere. I had to get away from this town, I had to get away from a job I despised, and I had to find a church, but I didn't know where else to go. I was depressed, seeking and felt totally ignored. So, I was mad at God. Horribly. I still 'knew' He had a plan, but I was so upset with Him for not sharing it or for seemingly taking away hope. At least a year we had this 'struggle.' Me knowing God was doing something, but resenting Him like crazy. Desparate is the only word I can think of to describe it.
I thought one day, if I could find some friends it would be easier. So, loving Craig's List as I do, I checked the listings for bands. I thought if I could back-up sing for a band maybe I could find some friends that way. God, in His absolute providence, led me to an ad seeking members for a praise band at a church! I got excited! Flutterings in my heart excited! Hopeful excited! And wonder of wonders, Daniel had that Sunday off work! (which was a rare occurence indeed, being in retail management)
We showed up... and it was like home. Seacoast Greensboro, where have you been all my life! Worship was great, the pastors are incredible. I have never been more encouraged, loved and lifted up since I came there. Daniel and I are hooked on God's plan.
I'll have to finish this later...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


So, I've been emailing UNCG for a while now, trying to get some information on going back to school part time for a different degree. Partially for me, partially for Daniel, so I want information on the degrees that are available to earn part time in the evenings. I have been sent to like three departments already... Admissions referred me to continuing education, they referred me to another department of admissions dealing with people who return to school, now they're sending me back to general admissions. I'm so confused.

When I applied out of highschool, colleges wouldn't leave me alone if I wanted to apply, what gives? Am I just an old fogey now? I just want some info, people. It's not rocket science... I don't think.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Australian Dentist

An Australian dentist wrote this...and I think he may have missed his calling as a speech-writer...
I love my country, patriotism, diversity, and this was too good not to share.

To Kill an American

You probably missed this in the rush of news, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper, an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American. So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is . So they would know when they found one.

'An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.

An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage,Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan.The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses. An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world.

The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence , which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return. When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!

As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan . Americans welcome the best of everything...the best products, the best books , the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least.

The national symbol of America , The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America . Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself . Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

Doesn't that make you want to burst out in a rendition of God Bless America!