Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Every moment counts

Making the most of each day is part of living intentionally.  There are moments that it would be easier to just roll over and go back to bed.  However just what adventures would you miss out on?
Take today for instance... memorial day... we had no children but a leadership workday.  I took the new preschool director and teacher out to Cookhouse for breakfast to discuss resources and concerns.  Really good breakfast and even better fellowship.  Went back to school to work on graduation details until mid-afternoon when a bunch of us from church were meeting up at the beach for a cookout and some fun.

Then it hit me... 4 days until this season of my life as preschool teacher/ director is over.  A mixture of emotions (surprise... surprise)  came over me as I realized that next week I would be on summer vacation but also unemployed (is there such thing in God's ecomony???)... I could spend time at the beach but my days of being with little ones from 7:30-4 are done.  All of this thinking was giving me a headache and I just wanted to take a nap.  The last thing I wanted to do is drive to the beach by myself with more time to think!  Along comes God to provide all my needs according to His riches in glory.  A sweet friend "offered" to ride down with me (and someone else caught a ride home with me which led to a great conversation).  We got to the beach and it was BEAUTIFUL.  Calm water... just the right temperature... sunshine.. and no rain... just an absolutely amazing day.  Spent a couple of hours in the water (which is huge because I haven't gone "swimming" in the ocean in months... too rough and too cold!).  Half the church showed up plus some friends from Oahu.  Simply AH mazing! 

So long story short... had  I gone home and had a pity party... I would have missed out on all of this.  The goal is to make the most of every moment!  They are each a blessing from God!

Monday, May 27, 2013

My story- Filled with grace

Yesterday at church... Pastor Randy encouraged each of us to tell our story... ultimately the story of how Jesus changed our lives to make his-story!

After growing up in a Christian family and church from before I was born, I thought it was all about a checklist.  Do the works (ie going to church... be good... etc) and God will bless... disobey and there are consequences. 

At age 7, I accepted Jesus as Savior with a friend at Vacation Bible School.  It wasn't until age 16 sitting at a dear friend's funeral that I laid down my pride and realized I needed Jesus to be LORD of my life.  I had been fighting Him so long doing what I wanted. To me it had been all about a religion (things I have to do to get to God) and Jesus wanted a relationship (He has already done it by dying on the cross and rising again... it is a free gift... nothing that I have done or could ever done!)

As I have gotten older... I have realized that God's grace has protected me from making a true mess of my life.  It is nothing that I have done.  A favorite quote of mine that reminds me to not judge and to show humility is "There be I but by the grace of God." 

In college, at another friends funeral, I realized God's call on my life to serve Him wherever He leads.  At that point I laid down my ideas of what I wanted and traded them for what God desired.  I could have never imagined where His call would have taken me but I would not trade it in for my ideas.  His way is so much better! I still struggle but my feet are planted on HIS rock.  In Him, He won't let me fall.

May I pass on the encouragement to tell your story!

Love ALWAYS Trusts

I was spending some time in the word this morning... reading a familiar passage... 1 Corinthians 13... the Love chapter.  Part of it hit me in a new way as I was reading it...

verse 7 states "It [LOVE] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (emphasis mine)

I have struggled over the months with trust issues... not exactly sure where it stems from but I have issues trusting people and even trusting God (who has never let me go).  As I am reading this verse it hits me... love is a commandment... we are to LOVE God and LOVE people.  If one of the attributes of LOVE is trust... then we are commanded to always trust those that we are called to LOVE.  Even if it means that I may get hurt... I have to trust that my God will mend my broken heart.

Hmmm... I know what I am going to be working on in the near future.


Remember that scene in Monsters Inc where Sulley and Mike are opening doors looking for Boo's room. 

It seems like lately God has been opening some doors in my life... ironically there have been lots of blog posts about "closed doors" in recent years....

This time, oddly enough, the door is remaining open and I am begging God to please close it so that I don't get myself into trouble (or get hurt).  I was sharing this info with a friend this past week and realized how silly I sounded. 

Whether God chooses to keep a door open or close it... that is up to Him.  Unlike Mike and Sulley,  the creator of the universe knows what is on the other side of the door and ultimately what I will choose to do with what I find on the other side of an open door.  Thankfully whatever happens I am right in the midst of His amazing plan... or doorway in this case!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Exploding Heart

There are moments that I feel like my heart is going to explode.... for what God is doing on Molokai and in Uganda... my love for the people in both places... for the overwhelming desire to do what God has called me to... despite.

Explaining this idea to most people has been difficult.  I am realizing that most people cannot grasp the fact that I am leaving my home of 12+ years... my "paying" full time ministry position... my family... and everything that is comfortable to move literally halfway around the world where I don't speak the language... don't know the culture... only know a handful of people... and will be working full time for no salary.  Seems kind of CRAZY. 

Honestly this is one of those times that God is calling me to something bigger than what I can do or handle on my own.  Without Him this entire thing is NOT possible.  There is no way I could do this on my own and claim credit.  God's word says that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" So often as American Christians we can make things in life happen in our own strength without relying on Jesus every moment.  However living elsewhere you see more of Jesus and have to rely on Him for everything.

After relying on Jesus to provide each need over the past 12 years and watching Him exceed my expectations I am looking forward to great things as I move to Uganda.

As Pastor Randy said at church ... "The greatest kind of faith is a scary faith.  If God doesn't show up we are all sunk."

My God will not leave me nor forsake me but will provide each need according to his riches for my ultimate good and HIS glory.  These truths make my heart feel like it is going to EXPLODE with joy!

Friday, May 17, 2013

A broken and contrite heart

Over the past week, almost every night before bed, I have ended up in tears... crying out to the LORD.  Slowly and brokenly laying each concern... worry... loss at my Savior's feet. 

As I was processing through this today with a dear sister, she reminded me that tears are ok but I can't spend every night crying myself to sleep.  I also realized that my bedtime reading material has been the book "Kisses from Katie".  As much as I wanted to not read this story of a young woman who gave up everything to serve the people of Uganda simply because it was evoking emotions, I find myself again tonight reading it with tears rolling down my face. 

I am realizing that these are not tears of sadness for what I am leaving but tears from a broken and contrite heart for the people of Uganda.  A longing to be my Savior's hands and feet to follow where He leads... to step out into a bunch of unknowns and love on the poorest of the poor.  These tears remind me how truly blessed I am to have a God that collects each tear that falls and loves me despite my imperfections.  It is HIS lovingkindness that brings us to repentance.  I want to show that LOVE!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reality setting in

The reality of moving to Uganda from my home of almost 13 years is finally setting in.  Last night in ultimate surrender to Jesus, I cried myself to sleep.  The tears not so much of just sadness but of overwhelming relief.  Relief that even though I don't know what the future holds, my Savior does.  He has a plan and purpose.  I am blessed by a network of church family and friends that are supportive and loving.  They are continually lifting me in prayer.

As of today, I have 8 weeks left on Molokai, and 2 1/2 weeks with my little ones.  God has blessed me with an amazing group of little ones and their families.  Went to a friend's baby party Saturday night.  Several of my preschoolers were there.  One little boy would not leave... he kept telling his mom "I need my Angela".  As soon as he found me and got hugs and snuggles from me ... he was content to go home.  I have little ones that when they see their parents on facebook... have to message me just to say "hello".  I love my little munchkins.

Ultimately it is that love that is taking me to Uganda.  I love my Jesus and He called so I answered.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The cry of my heart


After a great evening at the beach with friends, my heart is overwhelmed by blessing yet it is heavy because I have blown it again.  I am struggling with trusting you... I am trying to figure out the details and finagle things to fit my idea of how you will solve it.  I am truly sorry. 

I lay my will... my desires... my singleness... my life at your feet.  I will try to not tell you, the God of the Universe, what you need to do.  Your timing is perfect.  Let my life be a testimony to you.  I am sorry that I have made it all about me. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Isn't it IRONIC?

There is a secular song entitled "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette with the lyrics of "Isn't it ironic?"  This song has been playing in my brain throughout the week...

It's like rain on your wedding day,
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures.

Isn't it ironic.... don't you think...

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out.

Now I know that there is really no such thing as coincidences only God-incidences.  Over this past week, I have been pondering God's timing on allowing certain things in my life and I think it is a bit ironic... (And as we all know... my brain thinks in song lyrics so this is the best way I can relate).

I am finding it a bit ironic that I have lived on this island for 12+ years and just now realizing how many people are here that I haven't truly gotten to know until now... two months before I leave.

I am finding it a bit ironic that every weekend that I have tried to go to the beach in the last month it has rained.

I am finding it a bit ironic that God would allow me to make friends with an amazing single Christian guy only to possibly end up with another long distance relationship (which I just recently swore I would never do again... rolling of eyes... when will I stop telling God what I am not going to do?)

I am finding it a bit ironic that I am only now seeing what God has done in me over the past 12 years.  He has truly made me into a new creation (1 Corinthians 5:17).

Isn't it ironic, don't you think???

Sunday, May 12, 2013

On this side of an empty womb

Mother's day is a day set aside every year to honor the mother's in our lives.  Every year it brings a mixture of emotions for me. 

First and foremost... I have an amazing mom that has mothered me for 33 years... I was not the easiest child to raise... very independent, strong willed and stubborn... not to mention very opinionated and emotional.  My mom taught me life skills as well as using each moment to the fullest.  She embodies the Proverbs 31 woman and it exhausts me just trying to figure out how she goes... and goes... and goes... and never sleeps.  To you mom, I am blessed to be your daughter.

To the other women in my life that have been spiritual mothers... I truly appreciate you taking me under your wing... teaching me... guiding me... and reprimanding me when needed.  You have prayed for me and encouraged me to be a better woman.

However the one thing that is most emotional to me on mother's day is I have never carried a child in my womb and to many this is the one and only true sign of motherhood.  I may have never carried a child in my womb but I have carried numerous little ones in my arms and even more in my heart.  Each child that God has ever let cross my path, I have loved, prayed for, and encouraged them. 

Just yesterday someone asked "you don't have children of your own???"... for a moment, my heart was saddened because... no I don't have little ones that call me mommy.... one day I hope to... but for now I have the privilege to be the "Aunty" and the hanai mom to so many in need of a mommy.  I have 24 little ones all day that get my time and attention... I have the resources being single (time, talent, and treasure) to treat the little ones in the community to special outings...

Children are a blessing from the LORD!  If you are a mom... you are blessed!  Those children were given to you... you were chosen by God to be their mother.  Be the best one you can be.  For those that don't have children yet... use this time to love on the little ones around you.  There are lots of little ones that would love to have someone pay attention to them... spend time with them... listen to them!