Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thrown for a loop & finding Nineveh: Rest

So three years ago the Lord brought me back to Houston. My immediately thought (generalized) was, "Gross, why would I want to go back there, everything's broken and there is nothing really there for me. I guess it's the way that the Lord is preparing to go to New York." 

For the last eleven years of my life, this place was always the end result. I don't really have a reason why anymore, it just was. 

Well, when I got to Houston the Lord very clearly told me to do ministry with high school girls. So I volunteered at First Baptist. And I loved it. Although, I never felt adequate there, I knew God was using me. It made me come alive.

But still, no matter what happened, all the redemption in my life, all the roots that had grown, New York, as superficial as it sounds was still there in the back of my mind. So I still thought it was where I was supposed to go.

Back in April I went on a scouting trip to New York looking for open doors and seeing what God was doing. I wrote this before going, Dreams & Real Life. Coming home I felt uneasy but the Lord had opened doors and I thought I might as well walk through them and see what happens, what did I have to lose (except maybe some cash). I was excited but something in me knew it wasn't for the long haul, but I didn't know what that meant. I posted this when I came back, Third Time is A Charm.

Three weeks ago I moved (New York, New York). All my stuff (which, luckily, I don't own a lot) half way across the country. And through a turn of events I was thrown for a loop. I had asked the Lord specially for a stay or leave answer. Since I had gotten here I had absolutely no peace. So much so I haven't even been able to sleep very well. And begging the Lord to show me what to do. Well he definitely started to close doors, and I didn't even notice it at first. I posted this a few days ago, Found: Gold, and in it I said, "And now I am realizing the dreams that are really in my heart and I don't think I know what to do with them."  But yesterday things started to become clear. If I stay in New York, I am running from Houston.

So I am coming back to Houston (I know I sound crazy). Another thing I know is I want to do ministry. I don't know what that looks like or what the Lord has for me but it must be something. I am very aware of the fact that my life in Houston will not be the same as when I left it last month, but I have learned that sometimes the Lord does drastic things in our lives to make things that He is doing in and through us clearer. I can confidently say that I am supposed to go back to Houston, and I have more peace about that then I have had in a very long time. And I am excited, for the old and the new!!

All I want is to be obedient and know that I am in His will.

Reading another blog last night I saved this quote,
"I want to live in such a way that I know – I absolutely know – after a long, hungry spell that, when the sun comes up warm and gold and the ground shimmers with manna, only God could have done that. That's glory." - Beth Moore

I have prayed for a long time that I would live a life that required God, not just included Him. I don't always get things right but I always want to be ready and willing to do whatever (no matter how crazy or tame it is) He puts in my path. 

And lastly, I do want to say thank you to all the people who have supported me and prayed for me.  I am excited to see what all the Lord does next. The Lord has blown me away by the community of people He has surrounded my life with. I am so grateful and honestly blown away by the grace that it portrays. 


And ps- I, by no means, hate NYC. I actually still think it's wonderful. The church, the people, the city itself is really great. I am not leaving with any bitterness toward any of that, it's just time to go. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Found: Gold

(Warning:Long Post...but there are pictures!)

"I choose to believe
that there may be
a thousand big moments
embedded in this day,
waiting to be discovered
like tiny shards of gold."
Shauna Niequist 

My time here in New York has been...well, hard. I have absolutely loved moments and I have undoubtedly hated moments, just like anything else in life that is to be expected. I knew that coming here. It's incredible what the Lord can do in a person in two weeks. 

Personally, I have found myself at the height of insecurity. Confronted with someone within myself, that quite honestly, I don't like. It's like a game of 'do you know who you really are' I've been playing with the enemy. And I am so ready for it to stop. It's lies, and the things that are true I am confident that God is refining. 

I know who I am and I came here with big dreams, some old and some new.

But something changed in my heart over the last 8 months and I knew that. But something that I didn't realize is some of those dreams I had actually weren't things I really desired anymore. Actually, I don't desire them at all, and the hard thing is I had heavily placed part of my identity in them, not knowing it. And now I am realizing the dreams that are really in my heart and I don't think I know what to do with them. Which is of course where the insecurity and refinement come from.

And it used to be all about the place. The bright lights, my name in those lights. Being among people who where accomplishing incredible things. Leaders. Influencers. I thought I had to be here to be the person I really wanted and needed to be. 

I know, now, I was wrong. I mean, no doubt in my mind the Lord wants me here for this moment, this season. I am quickly realizing that this is a learning season. Learning to rely on the Lord. Learning His character. Learning about myself. And I am sure so much more. But now, I realize it's the people that make up life and really nothing about place, which before I lived but rarely was it what my desire stemmed from. 

The more I think about being here the sadder I actually get, but I have realized that this a good thing. This means that I actually, finally, found value in where I was, who I am and who I was among. I have never grown roots deep enough to actually feel real hurt. When I left I thought I knew how much I valued my friendships, family, community, ministry but compared to what the Lord has shown me these past two weeks those things all go way deeper than I ever thought possible inside my own heart. 

Other than experiencing death of close friends or family I have never ached for anyone or anything. And I truly believe that the Lord had to take me away to realize what He was doing in me and around me. I know whenever I leave here the place I go to won't be the same, even if it is Houston, but it doesn't matter because it's the people. Those who have and will walk closely. Those who have allowed vulnerability, even if for a moment. Those who loved me and I loved back with no reservation. 

These are of few of my tiny shards of gold. Mine have come in lessons here more than activity. (Although I have done some fun stuff!) And since I am here I have to be brave and grateful. I have to trust that the Lord will guide me and that He is in control of my heart. Always remember He knows the aching, he knows the excitement, and he also knows how weird it is to feel both of those at the same time. 

"For he satisfies the longing soul, 
and the hungry soul he fills with good things."
Psalm 107:9

Here are some pictures from my first two weeks... 

New friends!

Rooftop 4th of July Party :)

Laura & I exploring the High Line Park

Evening stroll in Central Park

Fun little gem at the bottom of the Plaza, full of fun food and desserts!

Zach Williams & the Bellow concert...awesome

Sunset from Brooklyn

Movie night in Brooklyn Bridge Park

My roommate, Kelsey and I eating sweets for dinner ;)

These are from another stroll in Central Park

Sunday, July 1, 2012

New York, New York

Last week in Houston was a wonderful and sweet time of "see ya later"'s and hanging out with great friends. I call myself nothing short of blessed for the community of people that the Lord has put in my life at home. And now, even the fact that I am actually wanting to call it home. 

Everything in Houston, everything getting me here is a miracle.

And so far it all comes to this moment.

The day I actually moved into an apartment in New York City.

I don't know what I am "supposed" to feel like but I do know this is hard.

After my last trip here I knew I wouldn't call this place home forever, but I also knew something in me had to come. (I don't have a reason)

So I set off and at least for a little while, this will be my adventure.

I'm here, willing and ready. Available in whatever way the Lord wants to use me and work in me.

If I know one thing it's that the Lord is sovereign. His will and what He wants will be accomplished.

There are many things back home that I miss and even some that I long for but I know everything is in His timing. Which, by now, I should know and trust.

So I will constantly surrender my own agenda.

Take a leap of faith and dive into the complete unknown of what now is my life.

There are a few things that I am constantly reminded of (and hopefully will encourage you)...first, the Lord hasn't let me go yet and He's not going to start now and second, I don't have to live to anyone's expectations of what they think this should be for me. (wise words from wise friends)

....and yes, I do know that I will love my time here and I am excited. :) (I'll post more about the actual driving 1700 miles in a Uhaul later (; )


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Coming Soon...New York City

I'm going on one heck of an adventure. In one week I will be putting finishing touches on packing and figuring out how to say "see ya later", without a torrential down pour of tears, to those who I am leaving here and that I will miss dearly. (and I really hope that they know how much they will be missed)

I'm moving to New York City

Wow. Did I really just say that?! Is this really happening?! 

Simple Answer: Yes. 

For weeks, I have been fighting lies about myself and moving and being forgotten. Tonight I shared a little of this with two of my friends. They gave some great encouragement, even though I was quick to be defensive, happy to stay in my hole wanting something resembling pity I think. 

Yuck, I hate insecurity, pride, and selfishness. 

I know what you're thinking...How can I be negative about something I've wanted to do for so long? How can I not realize this step of faith is exactly where God wants me? How can anyone pity me for going on the adventure of a lifetime? And if you know me, you are definitely wondering where my adventure and excitement has gone! 

Well, no worries, I found it. 

After mulling over my conversation with my friends earlier, spending some time with the Lord, and reading a few chapters of "Love Does" I have had a change of perspective.

Before I thought I was going to leave this place, these friends, these experiences and it will all be forgotten...including me. 

It's simply not true. (I hate lies.) 

Of course, relationships will change. Some will continue into longer seasons, some were for a past season only. I have to be okay with that. 

This is what I have learned:
Cherish the moments I am given with people. 
Make the most of every opportunity. 
Have courage and vulnerability to love well and let yourself be loved. 
Point people to Jesus. 

This season will not cease to exist but will continue to shape my life. I do not know what the Lord has planned for the future, who will stay or be brought back into my life but I do know the Lord has always been faithful and always satisfied fully. 

The Lord is wanting to do something so much more, so much bigger than I (or anyone) can see or even fathom. So I am finally letting go. 

I am finally excited. 

Excited to pack. Excited for the last few days here. Excited for the fun and stories that are to come. Excited to share stories from the past. Excited to move forward. Excited for whoever gets to share in this adventure with me. Excited to learn. Excited to explore a new place. Excited to meet new friends. You can see...clearly I am SO PUMPED! 

It's almost as if I have been sleep walking the past month and something just clicked. I woke up and realized this is not who I am or who I want to be. 

So, I am back...with an outlandish expectation of what the Lord can do with child-like faith. 

No worrying. Total willingness to jump in. However deep, however far the drop, I am running off the edge of the cliff and jumping straight into whatever is on the other side.  

Whoever wants to join in...come on! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Third time is a charm

I could write and talk for days about everything the Lord did in those 5 days in New York City.  (and if you want more details I'm more than happy to tell, now that the glazed look in my eyes and fog in my head is clearing)

This is try number three to write this post. There is just so much...I don't want to bore you but I do want you to know...God is in the details.

He definitely showed up. Everywhere.

Looking back and persevering forward this is my conclusion (and a constant prayer)...

I want God to use me.

Wherever. However. Through any avenue. Any job. Any dream. Change me. Change my dreams.

This is what I have discovered...

Jesus is the prize. 

He always has been. He always will be. So whatever happens from this moment forward, as long as I am grasping more tightly to him, I don't care where I am or what I am doing.

Don't get me wrong, I still have dreams. LOTS of dreams. But my heart and who I am are not defined by those things any longer (or at least that's what I am fighting for).

Realizing that this life is not about me. Although a lot of times I really wish it was. But what a mess that would be. Could you imagine?! Oh dear, I don't even know if I want to go there. As my friend Katie would say, it would be one hot mess!!! Well, enough of that tangent...realizing this has actually given me freedom. Freedom to hear the Lord, freedom to speak Truth, freedom to go, freedom to stay, freedom to dream new dreams, freedom to be who the Lord has and is making me to be.

A couple months ago I was telling a missionary friend of mine from East Asia about this walk of faith and dream with New York and he said two things that I have thought of ever since:
1. You don't have to justify the things you are doing with a "spiritual" reason to people. The Lord moves and works in all kinds of ways.
2. Always be grateful and be brave.

So I move forward with gratitude that I get to live this life...walking through open doors, remembering Jesus is the prize and knowing that He is in complete control. (Hebrews 12:1-2) My eyes fixed on Him, running the race He has set before me.

Back to running...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dreams & Real Life

Back in 2002 I took my first trip to New York City.

Long story short...I fell head over heels in love.

At the time was pursing, what I thought would be, a life long career in performing arts (singing & dancing mostly).

Another long story short...the Lord had different plans. 

I have no idea what they are.

I still love to sing (& dance). But now, my heart for ministry and missions has grown strong.

Honestly, I don't know what the Lord is doing. He gave provision, so I am going. I am praying with big expectations. You know, those moments where you say, "Lord, if you don't show up I am going to fall flat on my face." Ya, that's it.

He has put me on this incredible journey of faith (in every area of my life). Constantly telling me to trust Him. Changing and refining dreams, passions, and perspective. Bringing reality to the visions that He has given and giving new vision. My call is not to a place but to Jesus. Not to make my name known but to make disciples and His faithfulness known.

"I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!" Psalm 40:10-11

Tomorrow I leave for NYC for 5 days...all I'm asking for is open doors. For Him to work. A life that really is one the requires God not just includes Him.


-hopefully I will keep updated this weekend!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Featherstone by The Paper Kites

This video is so much fun! Saw this on Today's Letters. Enjoy. Happy Terrific Tuesday!