Thursday, January 20, 2011

He's making all things new

It is officially the start of a new semester.  I'm so looking forward to what God has in store for this new year.  Granted, we are already 3 weeks into the new year, but I'm already seeing God work and move in me and in this ministry in just three short weeks!

As some of you know, I got to go to the Passion conference at the beginning of this year.  While the conference itself was great, it is what God began to stir up in my heart that really excites me!  I am really only beginning to understand that in all of life's circumstances it is Jesus that I am to glorify.  Situations in my life can't really change that when my priorities are lined up with what they ought.  The famous quote from John Piper is really ringing true with me in this new year, that "God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him."  God is really starting to show me what that looks like.  It hasn't been an easy journey though.  God is really revealing to me who I am and the gap between that and who He wants me to be.

On a somewhat different note, I'm beginning to see how God is changing this ministry to what He wants it to be.  At the beginning of this year the Executive Director decided that we should start praying every Friday night together as a whole and even invite the residents to join us in an effort to unify the whole house.  Now, this is not to say that we don't pray, we totally pray.  However, up to this point we hadn't spent hours together as a whole collective group praying for the single purpose that God be glorified in us individually and as a team and for His will to truly be our desire and that our residents would come to know Him.  Through this time that we've spent together in prayer, I've seen lives changed and the effects of lives in the process of being changed.  These couple of hours we spend together every week have let me see the reason this ministry exists, which is to impact the lives of two generations by showing young mothers the way of the cross.  It makes me so excited to see this and to hang on to the remembrance of the moment hearing one of our residents with all the desire and passion in her heart praying for the change of heart in another resident.  Sometimes it's hard when you feel like you just want to wring the neck of one of these girls (and let's face it... if you dealt with pregnant, hormonal, angry teenage girls on a daily basis, you would feel this way sometimes too! :D), to remember where they came from and how God has changed their lives just by being here.  It helps to hang on to little moments where God really shines through.

I'm so excited to see what God does in the remainder 49 weeks of this year!

As you pray, please pray for these young women who find themselves here.  We have some who have high risk pregnancies and are nervous and worried about what could happen.  Others are close to their delivery date and are anxious about that.  All of them just need to meet God face-to-face and know the true love of our Heavenly Father.

I love y'all so much!
1 Peter 1:7

Sunday, November 28, 2010

As I have gone through the last few weeks and months, I have come to realize how much I enjoy working at this maternity home.  Now, I know most of you are wondering what in the world I'm smoking, but seriously!  I love working with these women.  Through working in a field that I really enjoy, I have realized my flaws in how I've looked at work in the past.  I realized that I never asked myself how can I get better.  What can I add to my character and personality that would help me improve myself as a person, but more importantly in my relationship with God.

The Bible says "Whether, then, you eat, drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor 10:31)  "Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men." (Col. 3:23).  So, I'm not working just to get by in life, or even to prove to man that I am a capable worker, but as a sacrifice to the Lord, not for salvation, but as a response to the grace and mercy He has lavished upon me.

So, my goal for the next 5ish months that I'm hear is to really see areas in my work and my life that I can allow God to improve in me.  I am so far away from being perfect, I can't walk around not looking for the things in my life that need a change.  So this is my prayer, that my eyes will be opened to the needs around me and in me.  That God would move in me to draw me closer in likeness to Him.

As you pray for me, please also lift up the residents that I work with.  It is so hard to be away from family and friends during the holiday season.  With Thanksgiving having already passed and Christmas so close, I know they are beginning to feel more and more sad.  But also for them as most of them are trying to restore awful family situations that will never work out save an intervention from the God of all Comfort and Healing.

Y'all are such an encouragement to me.  I am so blessed to have family and friends who care so much about me!

Love to you all
1 Peter 1:7

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's hard to really describe what is happening here at the Vine with the residents.

Sometimes it is really aggravating because I expect them to be at the level of almost mothers.  I want them to be mature, make their own decisions, but also make the right ones.  But then, I have to think of myself when I was their ages and realize that I wasn't any more mature at their ages than they are.  But now, as soon to be mothers, they have been forced to grow up a lot faster than I had to grow up.  They are about to be responsible for the life of a helpless infant who needs their mother to survive.  But, these girls have to deal with a lot more stuff that has taken place in their lives before they're ready to grow up.  They only have a short time in which to deal with all the stuff that life has thrown at them.

My challenge really has been finding the line between being sensitive and still being someone who can help and direct them.  Not only am I working with girls who are dealing with a lot of anger issues, but also hormonal and pregnant girls as well. Let me tell you, the line is very fine.  It is a blessing, however, to be working with them.  God is teaching me so much about myself.  He's shown me how much more I need to depend on Him than I have been.  It's really cool to see God work in ways that I would never have imagined that I would see Him.

A couple of prayer things:
1. For the residents. There is a lot of stuff going on in each of their lives that they're all trying to work through.  Pray that in spite of my human limitations that God will give me wisdom on how to best help and encourage them in each of their lives' journeys.
2. As it seems that my next life step will bring me back to Athens, I'm trying to figure out what exactly that step will look like.  I'm praying for God's wisdom in that area over the next few months as I finish my time here in Savannah.

Thanks for all your love, prayer, and support as I've been on this journey of my own
Much Love
1 Peter 1:7

Monday, September 6, 2010

After a while...

So, it's been a while since I've written. My life got really crazy after my last post and quite frankly I didn't know what to write about after the tragedy of my last post.  But because God is gracious, he has allowed me to move forward and learn so much from that experience.  It is most definitely one I never have to face again.  But I am confident of this, that God is greater than it all and has sent His Comforter to be with me through every trial.

My life verse is the one that I've referenced at the end of every post, 1 Peter 1:7.  It says this, "That the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold, which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ".  As I have been challenged and tried this summer, I pray that God has continued to refine me to the point of bringing praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. For example, when God has clearly shut the door to an opportunity that I definitely longed for, or when residents cry because of something I've said to them, but it's not really what I said that bothered them and I have to take an outside view of the situation and realize it wasn't about what I said to begin with.

God continues to reveal His plan for my life as I trust Him, even when I don't understand and can't really see why He's caused something to happen. Through this time of not understanding God continues to remind me that He has a reason for me being where I am right now.

Some prayer requests...
1. Continue to pray for the girls. One of them is at a crossroads, deciding whether or not to follow Christ. Pray that God continues to reveal Himself to her and that she is obedient to His calling. Another one of the girls needs some major encouragement. Even though you don't know the exact situations, your prayers for the girls are coveted. They need people who will stand in the gap for them as Ezekiel talks about.
2. Pray for strength for me. In this past week homesickness has really hit me. I am, however, excited to see my family in 2 weeks! So I'm praying that God continues to show me that even when I'm sad and really miss my family and friends, that He is the One that I really need.

You really a blessing to me with your love, prayer, and support
1Peter 1:7

Friday, August 6, 2010

How to Move Forward...

Tuesday night I took a girl to the hospital, only to find out that she had lost the baby. The last couple of days have been the hardest of my summer. But in light of everything that has gone on, God has proven Himself faithful. What made coping with the tragedy easier was God really revealing Himself to me in ways that I had never understood Him before. I have always known about the sovereignty of God, but until  early Wednesday morning, I had not fully understood it. His peace that passes all understanding was truly my comfort in this tragedy!

There is so much more that I could write about the situation, but I prefer to constantly think on who God has revealed Himself to me rather than dwell on the sorrow. So I will leave it at that. Just be in prayer for this young lady, that God would really draw her to Himself in this time of great sorrow.

Thanks so much for your love and support
1 Peter 1:7

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Serving together...

This post is more about a concept that I've learned and dealt with here than what is actually going on. For whatever reason, I've felt led to share!

I've been concerned with our culture's constant need for "individuality" and "being my own person", not because these are in and of themselves bad, but because they extend from this idea that "I don't need anyone's help" and "I can do this all by myself". This has led to our culture's belief that they don't need God because they can do it all themselves (which is a very conceited and fallacious thought). To be honest, though, I've never done any study of the Bible to see what God thinks about all of this individuality in our society.

In our staff meetings of late we have been discussing and praying that God would show us what is going on to make our finances be such a problem right now, whether it is sin or we're just not doing something right. This past week, our director brought up the passage in Mark 6 where Jesus has just fed the 5000 (plus women and children) and he sends his disciples immediately off and they get stuck in really bad weather at sea. After Jesus has had time to send the crowds away and pray for a while, He sees His disciples in the storm and steps out on the water. The Bible, in Mark 6:48, says, "Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them. At about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea; AND HE INTENDED TO PASS THEM BY". But the cool thing is what follows... the Bible says "But when they saw Him walking on the sea, the supposed it was a ghost and cried out" It took all of the disciples crying out to God to really be shown the power of God. Not that I can say that Jesus wouldn't have revealed Himself to them if they hadn't called out, but the Bible does say that Jesus intended to pass them by until they cried out.

I hope I'm not reading what's not in the Bible, but there are other passages that point to the fact of the necessity of serving and praying together. The Bible talks about God's people being a body and functioning together. God also says, through Paul, to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but encouraging one another. Then, in marriage, God created woman specifically because man needed a helpmate and it was not good for man to be alone. So much of this points to the design of God creating us as people who need other people. The whole notion of doing things by myself was never God's design for His people. It's been something that God keeps showing me through everything that outside people do to help The Vine. We get so many donations of food and maintenance and time and so many other things that help the Vine function on a normal basis. Just the fact that God's people are working together to make such a ministry happen goes God's purpose and design for His people.

It has been so exciting to see God working and using His people as different members of the body and still functioning well!

Please be in prayer for the girls. They so desperately need for God to tear down their walls and really soften their heart. He's beginning to do so, but the devil has such a great stronghold over them, it's like nothing I've ever seen!!!!

Thanks so much for your prayers and support
1 Peter 1:7

Friday, July 9, 2010

Baby #1

So, this week (Tuesday, actually), we had our first baby born. I ended up going to the hospital with the girl because I was the only one on call who didn't have to work that day. I stayed with her the whole time, 13 hours. It was such a cool experience. The girl ended up having a C-Section and I got to be the support! It was really awesome. I've heard it over and over again that there's nothing like seeing a baby born, but until you experience it for yourself, you truly do not understand what It's like to see a baby born. Even though the baby wasn't mine, it still was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

With all that said, this has been one of my most tiring weeks. The night before going to the hospital, was one the worst nights, as far as amount of drama that developed during the day. My lesson for this week is about how I don't have any strength or any control over what happens in my life. That power is found in Christ alone and I can either submit to it or fight it and not grow in my relationship with Christ. But, one of my favorite quotes is "When you find that Christ is all you have, Christ is all you need." I have, and will continue this week, to really understand the truth behind that statement. It feels like right now I'm just running on adrenaline, but I know that it is Christ that has been sustaining me this week, especially with fighting a very sore throat for almost a week. At this point, I feel like I don't have anything left to give this week, but somehow, God gives me just what I need to accomplish what He wants me to do.

The biggest prayer request I have is to pray for the baby that was just born. Her name is Shina and she is beautiful and healthy! As I have found out by working week after week here in Savannah, most of these girls are not ready to be mothers. They have been forced into this position by irresponsible actions and have been forced to make responsible decisions for their child without ever having training on making responsible decisions. This is the position that this girl and her baby have found themselves in and I'm worried about the baby and her mother. So just be in prayer for these two, they're going to need it. They're completely in God's hands now and there is absolutely nothing I can say or do, anymore, that will change what happens to them.

Pray also for the staff as we continue to get more residents and the house gets crazier!!! Pray for me as I continue to step forward in my life and do only what God wants me to do. It's really great how He's been revealing His plan to me, I just have to be faithful to be obedient!!!

That's all for now! I really covet your love, prayers, and support!
1 Peter 1:7

This is a picture of me before going into the operating room to see my first C-Section!!!