For Such A Time As This

I’ve been a Christian now since 2005 and ever since God and I started getting to know each other, He has been putting on my heart that His plan for me is to work with young women.  For many of those years I just felt this on my heart,  and had no clue how it was going to happen or what it would look like.  Basically I had no idea where to begin.

Well, as always, God knew what He was doing all along.  He has literally been preparing me for “such a time as this” for really my entire life.   And the past few years He has been preparing my heart.   Last night began this journey for me.  The one God has been preparing me for.  I sat among 600+ college freshman at UT at a Young Life Club meeting late last night in a huge lecture room on UT’s campus.   It was incredible.  That’s all I can say.

I looked around the room and thought…wow!  All of these 18-year-old kids have their entire futures in front of them.  If only they could fully understand how much Jesus loves them and what they can do for Him if they just give their lives to Him now.  Not wait until they are 34 to do so, like I did. 

However, as I looked around the room and thought that, I knew exactly why God had chosen me to do this.  Because I can share with them the reasons God asks us to obey Him.  I can give them real and painful examples of what happens when we don’t.  I can also share with them what Grace really means and what it looks like.   I knew in those moments last night that I was there for a very specific reason and God planned it a long time ago.  And now it was so much clearer to me.

At church yesterday, Matt Carter said exactly that.   That we are here and live where we live because God planned it to be that way.  There is no other reason.  It is not an accident, it was planned.

Let me illustrate that a little bit.  Brian and I made some decisions last year that were made for a few particular reasons (or so we thought), but now I can see God orchestrating it all the entire time.  We sold our house and planned to move to Central Austin, the we got involved with a new church in Central Austin.  In doing so, I met someone who led  me to  College Young Life and the person in charge of the girl’s small groups (after a year of going to this new church).  Then my church merges with the largest college age church body in our city at the very same time I’m about to begin this journey.  

So, let me go over that again.   I now literally live 4 minutes from the UT campus,  my church has now merged  (as of 2 weeks ago) with the church that has the highest # of UT students, and I am now (as of two days ago) going to be a small group leader for College Young Life.    Happenstance?  I think not.  I know not.  God had this all in his back pocket way before he even put one teeny notion of working with young women on my heart. 

Today I will receive my list of girls.  The young women that will be in my small group.   I will have the opportunity to meet these girls next week and then love on them , guide them, share the love of Jesus with them, and be there for them for the next 4 years of their lives.  I cannot wait. 

God knows what He is doing.  Trust Him every step of the way. 

He will prepare you and when the time comes, you will also think to yourself that you are where you are  “for such a time as this”.  Just like Esther.

When God puts something on your heart, it’s not your job to think of the ways to get there.  Just listen and obey.  Do the next thing.  He won’t give you the destination, He’ll only give you the next leg of the trip.  Follow Him.

Just Trust

Why is that so hard?  I’m currently participating in a Bible reading plan through my church titled “Pursuit”.  We will be reading all the stories about Jesus throughout the New Testament.  It has begun with the preparations of Jesus’ birth and the story of Mary and Joseph.  So far, one theme keeps popping up in my head.  Just trust.  That’s it.  Simple really, right?  Just trust God with everything you have and it WILL be okay. 

I mean really, Mary and Joseph trusted God when their situation seemed so impossible, so crazy, so unbelievable.  Completely and utterly a miracle and they trusted.  I’m pretty sure that’s why God chose them, He knew they would “just trust” Him.  I believe He blesses those that just trust in Him with everything.  When we hang onto our own pride, fear, doubt, etc…..we hold Him back from blessing us.  It’s up to us. 

If Mary  had not believed, not submitted to God’s way….He would’ve picked someone else.  Instead she completely trusted, completely surrendered and continued to praise God.  That’s what I want to do.  I want to recklessly abandon all my fears and doubts.  They hold me back, I know they do.  I do not want to find out later what they held me back from, I want to experience it, live it and use it all to honor God.  I want to live the life God has intended for me. 

If you want to read more about how Mary and Joseph completely trusted God, click below to read this great post on the subject.

Do You Trust Me?

My prayer:  Dear Lord, please help me to let go of EVERYTHING that holds me back from completely submitting to you.  Completely trusting you with every single thing.  Trusting that you will help me when I ask and that you will work through me if I let you.  Help me to surrender…even if it’s 50 times a day.  I want to honor you with my trust.  Amen.

Sacrifices

Yesterday our sermon was about sacrificing to make a difference.  It has me thinking a lot today.  Our high school pastor, Kirk Gentzel, preached in place of Mac.  He did a great job.

He talked about how God uses what we have to create something new, just like he made Eve from Adam’s rib.  God first created the earth and the sea and land out of nothing, but then He created animals and humans out of the dust or dirt.  He used what he had created to create more.

He can use us in the same way.  However, remember that he sacrificed a rib of Adam’s to make Eve.  He also sacrificed His one and only son for our sins and for us to have everlasting life. This was the one true sacrifice for God to give.  He gave everything because He loves us.

Kirk challenged us to sacrifice so that God can work within us and through us.  We must make sacrifices to live for God.  Each and every day.  Are you doing that?  I know I’m not.  I sometimes get so comfortable in my life that I only do the things that “fit” into my schedule or that “feel” comfortable.  That is NOT what God intended for my life.  He wants me to sacrifice my life so that He can live through me.

God wants me to sacrifice my comfort, my security, my time, my money and my life all for Him.  If I trust Him then He will make beautiful things from my sacrifices.  Whatever I give to Him he will turn to good one way or another.  Maybe not exactly how I see good, but good nonetheless.  God is always good.  Period.

I need to sacrifice my comfort most of all, to get out there and serve others in His name.  That is the ONLY way I can make a difference for His Kingdom.   Being comfortable and giving in to fear will get me absolutely nowhere.

I had a wonderful mentor once tell me to do something that scares me every single day.  That statement has stuck with me for the past 6 years.  Sometimes when I live that way I am amazed at what happens.  I have to admit though, that I do not practice that near enough.  I choose comfortable and comfortable won’t make a difference.

We must put ourselves out there , in vulnerable situations, in scary situations and watch God take over.  Trust Him and do not be scared because He is always in control.  He is just waiting for each of us to realize that.  Once we do He can show us what He has planned for us.  I cannot wait to find out what He has in store for me.  I am ready to be uncomfortable and to sacrifice my life to allow Him to do great things within me and through me.

Getting Uncomfortable

Yesterday during my Bible Study we talked about always being desperate for God and what that looks like.  At first we talked about times in our own lives where we’ve been desperate for God because of our desperate situation, and how trusting him helped us to grow in our relationship with Him.  Then we talked about what it means to ALWAYS be desperate for God, not just in those troubled times.

If you step out of your comfort zone and do things for God that seem a little scary, then you will need to rely on Him or be desperate for his help, right?  So, being desperate for God all the time should involve stepping out (in faith) and doing  things that God calls you to do that initially seem scary or uncomfortable.  Putting ourselves in these situations will require more faith and trust in God and will ultimately strengthen our relationship with Him. 

My goal this week is to put myself in an uncomfortable situation for the glory of God.  I told my Bible Study group this and they will be holding me accountable next week when we meet again.  At this point I’m not sure what it will be, but I’m leaving that up to God.  I’m going to pray, listen and obey no matter how scary it seems or how uncomfortable I feel.

I once had a Christian mentor that told me I should do something scary every single day.  He wasn’t talking about jumping out of a plane or white water rafting (two scary things for me) he was talking about this very topic, getting uncomfortable every single day of our lives and staying desperate for God.  I’m going to start with weekly, then I’ll move to daily.  I know God will give me the strength I need.  (and the words too)

We should be excited when we feel uncomfortable when doing something for God.  It means we are stepping out in faith and growing!

Starting Fresh

It is always a great feeling to start over, or start fresh, or even begin something new.  That is where my husband and I feel we are right now.  He starts a new job tomorrow, a great job, and we are SO thankful to God!  We trusted that He would work things out for our good, and He did.   We worked very hard to not worry and to put all of our trust in Him, and He took care of us.  God is so good! 

We have grown so much this past year and God has taught both of us some very valuable lessons.  We would not change a thing.  I’m so thankful for every lesson learned and for every single blessing granted.  We begin this year with grateful hearts and open minds.  

My faith has strengthened tremendously and I will never again doubt trusting in God and what He can do.  

My husband and I are beginning a new chapter in our lives and I could not be more excited and ready to follow God’s lead and trust Him every step along the way.  It’s a really good feeling and a relief to know you are not in control.  

This week we are creating an entirely new budget and spending plan.  We will also be beginning our debt repayment plan.  Our goal is to pay off all of our debt by next year, and start saving as much as we can.

To start our plan I am using the Monthly Income and Expenses sheet from Crown.  Our church gave us this link in one of our REV90 daily emails.   It’s a great place to start.

I’ll be sharing some other debt reduction tips and saving ideas I find along the way, but this year is all about being grateful for what God has blessed us with and taking care of those blessings.  We will be good stewards of our time and money.   My husband and I begin 2010 with a new mindset and a strengthened trust in God!

Envisioning Greater Things

Our pastor just started a new series yesterday entitled “Greater Things”.  He showed us the vision for our church and where he feels God is leading us to go.  He put up on the screen some very cool pictures of what our church and the kids ministry will look like once the project is complete. It is amazing.  It will allow for our children to learn and grow in a bigger setting, but it will also allow for more and more new kids to come in and learn about Christ, maybe for the first time.

Being able to see the vision really motivates you.  We want to help make that vision a reality.  He asked us to pray daily, consider how much we feel led to give over the next 3 years and just to expect greater things.  In our own lives and in the life of our church.

This really got me thinking.  I know I’ve talked about a Life Vision, which I believe in wholeheartedly, but this made it more real.  He not only showed us this great visual, but he gave us daily to-do’s.  He gave us daily prayers to pray for our church, the leaders and the members.  He is asking us to commit to how much we can help out. 

Having a vision is a very important step, but we must make daily to-do’s to get there.  We must see the vision and map out what we think we need to do next to get there.  Now, you may feel like your vision is far-fetched.  You may feel like it’s a bit out of reach, or even a lot out of reach.  You must remember, God can do ALL things.  Not some, not a few, ALL things.  He can perform miracles. 

If you are doing what God is leading you to do and you are doing it for the glory of God.  It can and probably will happen in spite of you.  God has your back. 

You must see those greater things he has planned for your life.  What do you feel led to do?  What do you see in your head when you daydream or imagine your greatest goal?  What things can you do today to help that become a reality?

Every single day do “the next thing” towards those greater things.  Even if you can’t figure out how in the world it will happen.  God is how it will happen.  God knows and that is all you need to believe in.  Trust God.  Period.

At the end of the service yesterday they passed out these green bracelets.  They say “Greater Things” on them.  We are wearing them constantly as reminders of the “Greater Things” we are expecting to happen in our lives. 

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Expecting greater things requires greater faith and greater courage.  My husband and I have committed to working hard, focusing on our vision, and trusting God every single day.  We are moving closer to greater things with God right by our sides. Does it get any better than that?