SOW? Me???!?

dear blog readers… i guess it’s time to make it known… God has spoken to me about doing Living Light’s School of Worship.

anyone who knows me know that this was something i attempted to do back in 2009-2010…and it didn’t work out for me.
however, after quite the interesting turn of events, i ended up moving to Kenosha and starting a new life.
after i moved, i completely had erased SOW out of my mind and thought nothing of it again really up until last year when my friend Heidi did the program and my friend Cara (who had done the school a few years ago) said to me in passing “yeah i keep wondering when you’re going to do it” and then it was suck in my head for awhile and i mentioned it to God but heard nothing back about it so i let it go once again and shrugged it off as a one-time thought…thinking that maybe i still longed for it.

enter scene: starbucks coffee date with my homegroup leader and friend, Syd. we chat about life for awhile and i’m more honest with her about things than i ever have been before (since i’ve been working on openness and such) and we were just about to leave and Syd said, “okay well i gotta get going soon but before i go, well, i’ve been praying about something for you for several weeks now and it keeps coming back and i just can’t shake it so i’d like to discuss it with you.” and feeling dread immediately (things like this very rarely result in encouragement from people in my life…actually they never have been encouraging) i swallowed hard and said “what’s up?” to which she asked me the question, “have you thought about doing the school of worship next year?” my immediately and quick response was “nope” and there was definite fear and apprehension in my voice and probably in my eyes too.  we talked about it a bit more and she just encouraged me to pray about it and seek God on it and really seriously think about it…so i did. i prayed about it for several days  and then that following Sunday there was a joint meeting of all the churches with another congregation in our town and during the worship time i felt led to speak with God about it again and so i began just asking for Him to speak to me, asking for confirmation and i had gotten to a place of desperation because He wasn’t answering me at all, i wasn’t hearing Him speak…for anything. And then just as soon as I had silenced myself, a friend came over to me and gave me the exact word of confirmation i was looking for…and that friend had NO idea i had even been thinking about it.  I started crying and tried to swallow what God was speaking.

…and that’s when the fears started hitting me.
–i have to pick up my flute…..it’s been over 4 years.
too many memories. too much pain and associated hurt.
…but God spoke.
–what if i change and lose the few friends i have?
people always leave. it’s a fact. and i always end up hurting and asking why.
–what could i possibly have to offer?
i’m not a talented musician and i definitely can’t sing. at ALL.
i’m not a dancer, i have no natural born grace in anything, even walking straight i can barely do some days.
–how will i pay for this?
people always say ‘well God will provide the funds if He wants you to do it’
okay sure that’s easy for you to say but no one has ever given me money and i doubt anyone ever will.
like i stated above ^ i don’t have many friends, or anything that i could even think of…
i mostly pass through life as a ghost, barely seen and rarely heard.
i’ve strongly considered taking back my old job at Eddie Bauer on Saturdays and Friday nights, to help save up.
i don’t have a social life at all anyway so what would it matter if i was working 6/7 days a week?
–will they even let me reapply? i haven’t spoken to Kal at all about it or anything and i’m not exactly the most likeable popular person around… like i said previously, i mostly ghost through life unnoticed.  i tried this whole SOW thing a couple few years ago and it didn’t work out…how on earth could it possibly work now?

and i’m alone for the week in my house.
and next weekend i’m shooting my first solo wedding.
and it will be the first time since 2009 that i’ve not gone to a concert when it’s come this close.

i feel like my heart is surely breaking and joy is so far… i’m worn.

hey unloving, i will love you.

“and i swear i’ll know Your face in the crowd,
and i’ll hear Your voice so loud, when You’re whispering..
hey unfaithful I will teach you
to be stronger, to be stronger
hey ungraceful I will teach you
to forgive one another
hey unfaithful I will teach you
to be stronger, to be stronger
hey unloving, I will love you,
I will love you”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSDPShtGBWU
it’s something i’ve never really understood or known. throughout my life i’ve had glimpses of it from friends, aquaintances that i’ve known, things i’ve seen from other people. only legitimately known it a handful of times.  i’ve had seasons of cynicism where i told myself it couldn’t exist, i’ve believed that it can be for others and not myself.

but things are changing.

getting to know love and understand it… experiencing it as more than just words on a page, it’s insane.
and i know i’ve barely scratched the surface.
and i won’t pretend that actually coming face to face with such a thing doesn’t terrify me–it most certainly does.

but i have hope.
and i want more.

there is life abundantly to be found here.

 

blue wanderer

the weekend Wisconsin became Seattle.

it has literally been cold and rainy for the last like 4 days.
that is why this is the weekend Wisconsin became Seattle.
now…let me throw in a disclaimer: i do not mind rain. at all.
however, since i wear glasses much of the time now, i really hate when they get water spots on them.

alright so this weekend i took MORE photos (yay photos!) and spent time with really lovely people.
Friday evening, i was invited to a bonfire which ended up being mostly all School of Worship students and that was fine because i know several of them and now i know several more.  the day prior (Thursday) my friend Sarah J came down from the Twin Cities and then on Saturday, my friend Sarah F came up from Illinois and we did fun friend things. we watched Sherlock and Doctor Who, had an insane breakfast at Frank’s Diner, took cold photos in the rain by the lake, laughed more than we talked and ate delicious chocolate chip cookies that Sarah F made special for us, Sarah F only stayed the day but that was alright, some time is better than none! Sunday morning we were up bright and early for the church meeting and i was just super excited about it. Myself and a few other friends had been in prayer over whether or not i ought go to Pleasant Prairie or Kenosha that morning and i wasn’t sure, didn’t know didn’t know and then i woke up, saw a text from a friend and knew i was going to Kenosha.  the time was very significant and i know i made the correct decision. after the meeting, Sarah J and i met up with Cara and we had a very fun lunch at Chili’s before Sarah had to get packed up and start her 7 1/2 hour journey back to Minnesota.  i wasn’t home long when 2 other good friends got out of their car and before i knew it, we were loaded into Brian and Lindsey’s van and on our way to what i would consider an adult-size Chuck-E-Cheese in Milwaukee…it was a blast. it was Harmony’s birthday today and letting her run and run for hours while playing with other kids…there really was no better present she could have gotten, not at her age.  the whole way back to Kenosha was filled with the kind of discussions i absolutely adore having, about the things of God and the spiritual realms we can’t even really fully imagine.  stories were swapped and many experiences shared, all in all i would say it was an incredibly full and beautiful weekend.  i really honestly can say that my life is SO FULL right now, i can’t get over how beautiful it really is. maybe i’m not in a relationship and maybe i don’t get to see my blood relatives as often as i would like, but i AM surrounded by beauty, even in a dreary, moist, Seattle-like setting.  now the REAL points of interest i know everyone is dying to see… (yeah yeah i’ll shut up now) the PHOTOS!!!

 

bonfire && s’mores. [photo cred to Malin]

Sarah and Sarah.
(aka: Morrie and Gappy)

 

oh yeah…and i got a new style cut done to my hair

 

 

What of Grace?

“If you ever do ANYTHING because of ANY sin you’ve ever committed, Christ has become worthless in your life.”

This last Sunday morning, my whole world was rocked in a time span of about fifty minutes.  As if our corporate worship time wasn’t compelling and intimate enough, it was as though Jesus Himself was standing up there behind the podium, declaring truths to the lies of the Christian life.  Statement after statement, my little fingers could barely keep up taking notes and after awhile I gave in and began solely listening to every golden drop of honey that Scott was verbalizing.  (listen here)

The title of his teaching? “Christ Crucified”
This teaching began quite the thinking process in my little heart. There has been so much FROM it that I keep going back to and not only is that the mark of a good teaching, but also it’s a clear indicator of truth straight from the heart of God Himself.

“Self-pity will destroy you.
You have to get your eyes off of yourself and whatever you’ve done, and put your eyes and mind on Christ.”

“Sometimes we say we’re sorry to Jesus then we sin next week and we’re worried about it!”

and the BIG clincher that completely bowled me over and knocked me flat on my back:
“When you face your sin, what is the first thought you have: What you SHOULD have done, or that Jesus Christ died for that sin?”

Seriously. I had to examine myself…and what I found was exactly what the church in Galatians was struggling with. What did Paul write to them to show them their fault? Something encouraging? Something sweet? No!
“Oh foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” [Galatians 3:1 ESV] This wasn’t a problem that new believers were having either, oh no…Paul was writing to people who were already in the faith for some time.

If you listen to the full teaching online that Scott Goodwill did on Sunday, you will get more of a glimpse into just how earth-shatteringly important it is to understand and grasp this. I’ve been a Christian since I was 8 years old and as someone who has been in Christian circles her whole life, experienced most of what can be expected, I can tell you that this is something that is vital to walking with God.  I know for myself, personally, it has been a very huge struggle in the past year to realize that I don’t know anything, that I am just a baby Christian starting off.  All too often I say things to myself like “wow I really should be past this by now” or “how am I STILL struggling with this sin issue??” and the thing is, I’m not looking at God’s time-table, I’m creating my own.  How and what God wants to develop in me is set by Him and Him alone, there is NO possible way for me to measure my progress than day by day knowing Christ and Him crucified.

Now, I know there are some people reading this, (and many people I know who may not ever read this) who work to achieve, who struggle with the sin of works….and believe me, I can completely honestly say that I have been there. My whole academic career in school was like that and my life reflected it. If I was not achieving something, making myself better than someone else to prove that I could, if I wasn’t scoring perfect scores (never mind what was realistic)… I wasn’t happy. And then.. I went to college.  While I was in the 2nd semester of my first year I ended up failing my trigonometry class from something that was completely out of my control.  At that time in my life, this one thing caused me to completely spiral out of control, sink into a season of depression that reached new depths beyond anything I’d known before… I refused to go back to school and I began working full-time between two retail jobs to keep my mind and my body busy so that I could not dwell on my failure.  Eventually God worked that out of me and while I still love to excel and do *my* best, I no longer need to be THE best…and that is huge. Lately this whole experience has been on my mind since this teaching happened and various other events in my life have unfolded.

So…to my main question, what of grace?
How can we live everyday in a fallen world, with a sinful flesh attached to us that constantly tries to pull us down, all while the Enemy is seeking to steal, kill and destroy us [John 10:10 ESV]?
I think the answer lies in a statement Scott made in his teaching, one that the other elders have stated and declared multiple times in the past…one that I am only really just beginning to grasp and take hold of in my life:

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (NLT)
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (ESV)
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (NIV 1984)

‘Come boldly to the throne of grace in times of need”

I don’t know about you…but that’s a constant daily need for me in my life…
and that is okay with me. I would much rather enter boldly before the One who knows me
so intimately that He can count the very hairs on my head, than try to do it in my own strength.

 

Autumn Melodies (my week in photos)

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made my mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup with homemade gluten free egg noodles. yum! the perfect cure for my nasty cold.

 

made homemade chicken enchiladas with one of my besties, Cara Lehr and then geeked out over a Star Wars documentary

 

did a photoshoot with this babe

 

Cara is utterly stunning.

 

today (Sunday) i went for a super long hike deep through the woods of Pets Park in Kenosha, WI with some lovely people. we got to enjoy the incredible majesty of God’s creation while feeling like mountain men. much laughter was had and many jokes made. a perfect day.

setting off on our adventure, marveling at the vibrance.

much laughter was had… oh the quirkiness.

shenanigans were a natural part of the day.

such a stunning view every step of the way.

we climbed up high to overlook the river

amanda was there reminding us to take time to stop and appreciate everything, to not dull ourselves to how incredible it was to be in the woods

“my leaf pile is bigger than your leaf pile!”

 

i happened across a strange array posed precariously on a log…
i still swear they were trying to form a folk band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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