Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm waiting...

Everyone’s lived through times of waiting. Maybe it’s unemployment, waiting for the right job to become available. Maybe it’s singleness, waiting for Mr. Right or Mrs. Right to come along. Maybe it’s an illness, waiting to finally be cured. Maybe it’s trying to have a baby, waiting with anticipation to become a parent. Life would be so much better if we could just get to that place we desire: employed, married, well, a parent etc. The question is, what are we supposed to do while we’re waiting for that thing we so desperately desire? 
I’m currently in my own period of waiting. I am raising financial support for my ministry with Student Venture. I am waiting to be fully funded so I can move to Indianapolis, Indiana and begin serving high school students by telling them about the love of Jesus Christ and how they can have personal relationship with Him. 
I’ve been struggling with figuring out how to live here, in Pennsylvania, while looking forward to moving to Indiana and beginning my “new life” there. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy living in PA, but I know my passion is to be in Indy, telling high school students how much Jesus loves them. But if I focus too much on my life in Indy, I will be forgetting to live my life today. God has a plan and a purpose for my life in PA right up until the day He sends me to Indy. Just like He has a plan and a purpose for the life of someone unemployed, or single, or sick, or whatever waiting period He has them in. 
That purpose may have several different layers to it, but I think the main purpose is trust. Can we trust the Lord when life doesn’t make sense? Can we trust the Lord that His timing is best for our lives even when we desire something else right now? Can we trust that although we may not understand what is going on, that the God of the universe can see so much more than we can? Can we trust that even if His purpose is that we never receive the thing we desire in the way of our choosing, that maybe He has something better in store for us that we can’t even imagine right now? Can we trust that what we are going through is bigger than us?
Psalm 37:3-7 states:

“Trust in the Lord, and do good.
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait
patiently for him.”
One thing we can lean on is the goodness, faithfulness, kindness and love of Jesus Christ. He would never do something that isn’t good, or He wouldn’t be Jesus Christ. He has a plan for our time of waiting. If we focus too much on what’s to come, we will miss out on the blessings He has for us today. I have definitely found myself focused on life in Indy and waiting to move for life to "begin." So I think it's time for a change, time to live my life for today. Here. Right now. I want to see what God has in store for me in PA. I don't want to go another day without receiving all the blessings He has planned for me. I want to glorify Jesus even in times when I’m not where I necessarily want to be at this moment. 
Jeremiah 29:11 is a great comfort in times of unknown and uncertainty: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I have also found incredible encouragement and conviction in the worship song, “While I’m Waiting,” by John Waller. The lyrics remind me that no matter what time of life I’m in, I should always be worshipping the Lord. 
I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait
I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve you
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I remember...

When I think of heading back to high school to work with students, I’m reminded of the memories and experiences I had during those years. I remember the first day of high school, knowing my big brother was there to look out for me made the day much less scary. I remember the feeling of pride after scoring a goal during a field hockey game. I remember my heart rate elevating as I smiled from the top of a cheerleading stunt, praying that the girls holding me in the air would remember to catch me after letting go. I remember laughter and friends and acting out Hamlet during english class. I remember the boy my best friend and I both had a crush on all throughout high school and the silly way we would talk about him to each other. I remember the fashion and the hairstyles, and the exact table my friends and I sat at during lunch senior year. I remember thinking high school was everything, and college kids were “SO old!” I remember the heartbreak of a crush not reciprocated, or the awkward feeling of being the one who wasn’t interested. 
I remember the day I found out my parents were getting a divorce. I remember feeling like my world was crashing around me and there was nothing I could do about it. I remember my senior year when my best friend went to the hospital with me to visit my dying grandfather. Sitting in the parking lot at school afterwards realizing that could very well be the last time I saw him alive. I remember when that became true. I remember the feeling that no one understood what I was going through and anger that everyone else’s lives were going on like nothing was wrong, like they didn’t feel the incredible pain and agony over the fact that my beloved grandfather had gone from this world. I remember praying fervently that he was with Jesus, and that I’d see him again one day. I remember crying to Jesus that He was going to have to get me through that time because I didn’t know how my life could go on. I remember my last day of high school, realizing that it was finally over, torn between excitement for the adventures of college, and the fear of everything I’d ever known suddenly coming to an end. 
I loved high school. There were many difficult and hard days, but all in all I loved it. I had amazing friends, encouraging teachers and a God that was always there for me. I lived through some tough days, but those amazing friends were there to give me a shoulder to lean on. Those encouraging teachers were there to guide me through and point me to the Lord. And my God was there to tell me He understood that it was difficult, but promised I would never face a single day alone. 
As I think of heading back to high school with Student Venture, my desire more than anything is that the students I serve would encounter the God I serve. And in turn experience a Love like no other. That their days in high school would be filled with fun, friends and laughter, and maybe even Hamlet, but more importantly a personal, true relationship with a Savior who loves them more than they could ever know.  A Savior who covers all their fears, hurts, loneliness, insecurities, mess-ups, failed tests, and bad days with His own blood, shed on the cross for their sins, so that they can know Him personally. A Savior who cares about their day, accepts them just the way they are, and wants to be a part of their lives.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 
John 3:16

With my best friends at Senior Prom.