Tuesday, October 16, 2012

September Chi Alpha Newsletter

Hi Everyone!

Like all good missionaries, we have started a monthly newsletter to let everyone know what's been happening in Chi Alpha.  I am posting it here so that we can link it to Facebook.  Just click on the picture below and it will be readable.  Still working on a better way to do this.

Thanks to all of you for your support and prayer!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Version of a Run

Two and a half weeks ago I completed my first ever 5K!  It was an awesome experience.  My time was just over 45 minutes, 59.8 seconds.  I finished #209 of 210 runners.  I beat out an 8 year old...go me! 

I know.  Unimpressive, right?  Perhaps at first glance.  But consider this:  5 weeks before that I started a couch to 5K running program and struggled to make it through running 1 full minute.  SLowly, I've been building my strength and ability to run longer times.

Yesterday I reached the official halfway point of the program.  I ran 25 minutes out of 34 with only 2 minutes of walking in between running sections.  Here's how it played out:  Run 2 minutes, Wall 2 minutes, Run 4 minutes, Walk 2 minutes, Run 5 minutes, Walk 2 minutes, Run 6 minutes, Walk 2 minutes, Run 7 minutes, Walk 2 minutes.

Trust me, by the time I got around to that last 7 minute section I was huffing it.  I was tired, out of breath, and feeling like I couldn't make it.  But I just kept thinking about when I started and looking at my time and telling myself I could do it.  Yes, I was running slowly.  Probably really walking if you compared me to most, but I was doing it.  I wasn't quitting.  Even though that would be so easy.  I'm not getting the results yet with my weight that I was hoping for.  I still get super tired.  I am not really enjoying it as much as I think I should.

I've been feeling a bit run down lately in my regular life.  This training process is exactly what it infers. I am pushed further than I was last week.  Sometimes I feel like it's to my breaking point.  It would be easy to quit.  Support raising isn't coming along like I hoped it would.  I don't feel like I'm getting results with students as quickly as I thought I would.  I'm tired and worn out and it seems like everyone else is winning but me.  I feel like stopping because it's too hard.  But...

I don't quit.  I keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I press on.  Giving up would be worse than what I feel right now.  I am going to finish.  And in that, I will win.

One day, I will run another 5K and my time will be faster.  I might even beat out more people.  Because I will keep training and trying and getting stronger.

And one day, I will finish this race too.  I will continue to train and to try.  I will get stronger, because He is my strength. 

 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:12-14

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Good Carrier

I woke up the girls this morning to get them all ready for school.  Emma was all sweet and groggy and asked me to carry her down the stairs.  I picked her up and as I walked down the stairs she looked up at me and said, "You're a good carrier."  It was sweet and cute coming from my little bed head.

I thought about that statement a lot as I went about my day.  First, as just the sweetness it was and how encouraging she can be.  Then, as I began to fret about my problems and fears it took on new meaning to me.

Last week was a tough week for me.  I took anxiousness and worry to a whole new level.  Not only worrying about today's problems, but next month, and even next year!  I am sure I made life not too easy for my wonderful and long suffering husband!
It was no surprise to me that our pastor preached an entire sermon on not worrying and casting our cares on The Lord.  I took it to heart and prayed for grace in that area.  It's a daily battle.
So as I thought about me carrying Emma I felt The Lord say, "I'm a good carrier."  That hit me pretty hard.  Probably because it's a truth that I tend to ignore.  He invites us to cast our cares on Him, to allow Him to carry the burden. It's not my responsibility to worry.

I kept thinking about this and it was very freeing for me and really gave me peace that I so desperately needed.  Tonight I thought again and I remembered a word a friend spoke over me 10 years ago.  Part of it specifically said that God was carrying me like a newborn baby in one of those harnesses on His chest: safe and secure and where I can see His face as He carries me.
I think of that from time to time, but it really took on a new light for me tonight.  Amazing how someone who said something 10 years ago can still impact me now in new ways.

So, whatever it is you're dealing with today, God is bigger.  He knows your worry and anxiety, and He is your answer.  I leave you with a few scriptures to meditate on.  Give your worries to God.  He's a good carrier.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 ESV)

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7 ESV)

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22 ESV)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

3 months ago

We woke up on a Tuesday exactly 3 months ago today and felt God's leading in a completely new direction.  Up until that point, Chi Alpha was just a name.  After that day, it became our focus.  Or rather, learning and raising money to get to an internship.  Doors began to fly open, and a mere 90 days later we find ourselves 600 miles away from home, immersing ourselves in a new life.   I'd love to share the stories with you, and perhaps one day I will.  This move didn't come easily, and I am still recovering from it and an immediate trip to Tampa for a different kind of work.  Our house is a mess, Anna started school, events are happening daily.  It's a whirlwind and I haven't found my feet yet...but I'm happy to be here and so excited about this coming year.  Please, please, please keep us in your prayers.  At the moment, that we can survive the next 4 weeks, and also, that our girls will continue to transition easily and happily.  We also need to raise a few hundred more a month to keep us on track.  If you are already supporting us, thank you.  If you aren't supporting us yet, we ask that you prayerfully consider joining our support team.

We love you guys!  It's been a wild ride and we are just getting started!

Friday, July 20, 2012

10 days away!

Well, the big move day is just over a week away.  This is just the freakiest thing!  So far we've raised just over $1500/month in support, found and put a deposit on a house, rented a storage building, reserved a truck, and started the packing and sorting process.  It's been a total whirlwind.  I definitely have had my freak out moments, but overall, I have peace about every step we have taken and are taking.  I am continually amazed at the way God is providing.  Just yesterday, we received a completely unexpected refund check in the mail from a Dr.'s office.

I am kinda feeling overwhelmed right now with all the stuff that has to be accomplished in the next 10 days.  I am wondering if I am even going to have the time to get it all done!  (probably shouldn't even be taking the time to blog, oops!)  Nick just chalks it all up to me trying to cram as much stuff as possible into an already packed schedule.  I do tend to do that to myself.  As if I am making some kind of dare to me to finish everything!

Anyway, that's kind of an update.  We still have to raise $500 more a month before we are officially allowed to begin the internship.  I totally believe we will make that and surpass it and reach the goal of what we need to live on for the next year.

Just keep us in your prayers that this will get done.  And remember, the faster we get this done, the faster I'll stop talking about it and move on to other things!  :)

Love you all!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Texting was invented for me

Alright, I am just going to lay it all on the line here...  I hate talking on the phone.  More than talking on the phone, I hate calling people.  Family, friends, complete strangers.  I just don't want to dial.  Call me, I'll be happy to talk to you, but please don't make me initiate.  It's awkward.  I don't handle awkward well.  This one thing is probably on the top of Nick's pet peeve list of stuff I do.  I'll grab the phone, dial the number, and hand it off to him.  I used to talk on the phone for hours and hours.  I couldn't tell you what it all was about.  I guess I just talked myself out in my teen years and I have nothing left now.  But mostly, it's just awkward.  

That's all.  Just needed to get that out tonight.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Information Overload

So yeah, we made it to the Reach the U Institute in Springfield for a jam packed week of training.  God provided miraculously and we took off!  It was crazy intense, to say the least.  I definitely had information overload and I am still processing everything.  The need for what we are doing became more real to me, for sure.  I am itching to get out there and start working.  But for now, I have to be content with praying and talking to people about the vision God has placed in our hearts.

And that is place we are in at the moment.  Sharing and praying and believing God to open hearts and doors for people to partner with us in this mission.  We have just over a month to raise a minimum budget and get moved to Arkansas.  Without having the budget pledged, we cannot even go there.  That is honestly a scary thought to me.   I am constantly reminding myself that God has this.  Thus far, He has opened every door and brought confirmation after confirmation.  But still, that deadline is looming at me and I can't help but regress in my thoughts at times.  Call me weak...you wouldn't be lying.  If I weren't weak, why would I need Jesus, right?

So far, we are at about 13% of the minimum amount of faith promises we need to be allowed to go to Arkansas for the internship.   Which means that we have 87% to go and a very short time to do it.  So I breathe deeply, pray constant prayers, and keep believing.  Sending many emails and making phone calls is becoming the norm around here. (and I hate talking on the phone)

I am asking you to please pray about partnering with us in this venture.  These young adults need Jesus.  They need a place to feel loved and they need to learn the truth.  No investment is too small (or too large, for that matter).  Please don't think we are asking you to invest in us.  We're weak, remember.  We're asking you to invest into the Kingdom; into God's vision for reaching the lost one lamb at a time.

I'm including a link to a Youtube video called "The Ache."  It's the cry of many in our universities today.  I was struck by the confusion of this one who follows Jesus.  How much more lost are those who do not know Him?


Thanks for listening.  Thanks for praying.  Thanks for partnering.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Beginning

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that things were about to change and most people know now because of conversations or Facebook.  We're embarking on a new journey to become U.S. Missionaries through Chi Alpha campus ministry.  This is a ministry that focuses on the mission field of the college and university campus.  College campuses are ripe for the harvest...not only with American college students, but also international students.  It's an exciting endeavor for us and a totally new and unexpected twist.  We've been praying for months about what our next step would be and had considered Chi Alpha in the past, but never seriously.  This time, it was as if we both woke up one morning and just knew it was what we needed to do.  Things have been a bit of a whirlwind since then.  The application process whizzed by and we head out to our first training in less than two weeks!  It's sort of a boot camp to prepare us for the next step...

The next step is a year long internship at the University of Arkansas.  Did I mention that Nick isn't allowed to work during this time?  So, we have less than two weeks to raise the cash to attend the training and roughly two months to raise monthly support, pack, and move to Arkansas!  Crazy, right?  Maybe so.  But we are confident that the LORD is leading us this way and that He will provide for every need along the way.  He's good like that.

I can't tell you how much I am anticipating seeing the ways He's going to provide.  We're at a point right now that we will truly be able to say that it was all Him and none of us.

Recently, I have begun to walk a track near my house every day.  It's partially for physical health reasons, but mostly it has become a spiritual refuge for me.  I have been circling things in prayer as I circle the track.  Praying for provision, family, a burden for the students on the campus we'll go to...the list goes on. I can honestly say I have a peace about all of this (as long as I remember that He is the one in charge and not trying to handle any of it on my own strength)  It's been amazing already.

We will be talking to friends and family in the coming weeks and asking them to pray about supporting us monthly or with a single gift.  It would be a great honor to us if you would consider supporting us in this way.  If you feel like you would be willing or able to do this, please message, call, comment, text, etc.
We wish we could sit down with everyone we know and share our vision.  Unfortunately, distance prevents that, but thankfully we have other ways to communicate!  :)

Thanks for taking the time to read!  More updates will be coming soon...as well as our summer antics with our little beauties!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thoughts on 13 years

Today is a special day.  It marks 13 years since I started this journey called marriage.  It certainly hasn't been a bed of roses!  We've been through a lot together in the last 13 years and probably moved just as many times.  Oh what wanderers are we.
I could probably sit here and list all the bad things we've dealt with, and fights we've had, and blah, blah, blah.  But I'm not going to do that.  Instead, I want to take a verse from my favorite book of the Bible (this week) and share from there.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:8

True:  His love is true...and he tells the truth.  Even when it hurts!
Honorable:  He honors me and our family by going to work every day (sometimes to a job he doesn't really like) and taking care of us.
Just:  The dictionary says this means guided by truth.  He seeks every day to be guided by The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
Pure:  He works hard at staying pure in this world that doesn't make it easy!
Lovely:  Ok, guys may not like being referred to as lovely, but this term connotates an inner character trait.  He's got character - moral and spiritual handsomeness (I'll use that word instead of beauty)  :)
Commendable:  Yeah, this guy is commendable just for putting up with me!  Seriously, he is worthy of my trust and respect.  Our girls regard him as if he hung the moon!  I realize he didn't, but it doesn't make me love him any less.
Excellence:  He strives for a spirit of excellence.  If we're going to do something, let's do it right!
Worthy of Praise:  He's a dreamer.  That's what I am praising God for about him today.  Daring to dream that God will answer our stance of faith.

One of my favorite songs is Andrew Peterson's "Dancing in the Mine Fields."  It is such a great reminder of the promises of God and the promises we made to each other all those years ago.  Here's a link:


So that's what I'm thinking about today.  Has it all been good?  No.  Does it get on my nerves when he does embarrassing things?  Yes.  Do I sometimes want to strangle him to an inch of his life?  I choose not to answer that question.  But I wouldn't trade the last 13 years and our 2 beautiful daughters for anything.  And as we step into the future and the new things God has for us, I am glad we have a great foundation and a great love for each other.

I Love You, Nick!  Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Launching Out

So it's been a while since I've posted!  Almost a whole year!  Much has happened since then.  Nick resigned his church position and we moved back to our home and have just been waiting, and waiting, and waiting...and praying, and praying, and praying.  Finally we feel like God has given us some direction and He's taking us down a completely new and scary path.  I'll share more about that in the coming weeks, along with stuff I have been and will be working on.

Suffice it to say, we are about to launch out into unknown waters.  In Luke 5, Jesus tells Simon to "launch out in to the deep and let down your nets for a catch."

So stay tuned...