After a day of depressing discouragement yesterday, I received a Facebook message from an acquaintance I haven’t been in contact with whatsoever. She sent me this short message:
This is SUUUUUPER random…but a little while ago, I woke right up in the middle of the night and felt like the Lord wanted me to pray. I started praying about all kinds of things, and then I began praying for the president, and right when I did, your name and your face just popped into my head. So I prayed for you! I don’t know if that means anything to you specifically, but I figure it might just be encouraging to know that someone was praying for you.
After literally spending the day between tears and sleeping, I was awestruck by her boldness to let me know what was on her heart even though we were merely strangers. That broke me down into crying even harder; but this time it was out of joy. See… I was being selfish all day. I was forgetting why I am in Nashville and not at home. I was beat down by the fear of running out of money, not finding an apartment, not having a job, etc. I was beat down and worn out by the Enemy picking apart every weakness that I have been tempted by the past few weeks. I began to wonder if I was really called to be in Nashville or if I was just forcing myself out of pride. But then Anna sent me that message and it was like a hugeeee “Hey dummy! I tried to tell you that you’re not alone! Are you listening yet? This isn’t about you, remember? I love you more than you love yourself so stop tearing yourself up. I’ve got this!” from God.
So today is my birthday. I’m 24 years old. I’m 5 hours from my friends, my church family, and my blood relatives. AND I’m actively chasing after my Father. The greatest sacrifices and acts of service are rarely comfortable. Jesus hung on a cross post torture and betrayal as a sacrifice for the ones who tortured and betrayed Him. It is HARD. It just is. And it always will be. But now I know that means I’m doing it right and that it won’t ever be about me again. So I have to stop pretending that it is. Oh, Jesus. Thanks for that little slap on the hand. I needed it to love you better.
I came to a realization this morning between my morning devotional and Ascend the Hill set. God doesn’t want to just be this fiery deity that I look up to and hope will be looking back down at me. He wants to be MY BEST FRIEND. And more than that, I NEED him to be my best friend. I can chase after him with everything in me but I’ll never catch him until I accept the fact that he wants me to run to him with everything not just chase after him with the big things.
You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:14-16 ESV)
I don’t get to compartmentalize God even if I think I’m saving him from the petty details.
And on another note, I only have one festival left after this. I hope you have been following my instagram, twitter, and/or Facebook for pictures and more steady updates. Thank you so much to those of you that have donated to support me. And for those of you that are unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, please prayerfully consider assisting me in the next week and beyond. I will be heading to Nashville indefinitely to completely exit my comfort zone and chase after the things God has laid on my heart. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please ask. And if you do, thank you and please continue to pray for me. If you feel led to assist me in this process, please be praying and visit:
Matt & I being silly:
The Love Alliance:
Photo of a little refugee girl & I from Clarkston, GA:
Awesome pizza place in Cumberland, Maryland:
Hiking near a dam somewhere in Maryland:
shooting air-soft guns in Maryland:
precious photo received from a friend this week- much needed encouragement:
camp at Creation:
Dutch Blitz with Chris & Owen (Love Alliance crew) during a rainstorm:
Most precious teenager explaining how we had a set up at Creation because some mommy’s and daddy’s kill their babies because they don’t love them and how we were there to explain to them that it’s a sin and there are other things they can do instead:
Fantastic Huntingsdon finds:
lunch with the gorgeous, Erin Brecht:
free homemade pie from our awesome waiter at Boxers (strawberry-rhubarb & blueberry):
Darth Vader & the crew:
We were about to drive into a storm yesterday on our way to Ohio & I had to make a pit stop for a bathroom. We found a Starbucks and when leaving, met Mr. Marc Ortega. Him and his wife are traveling 48 states to spread the gospel. They live in their van and just love Jesus a whole lot. They stopped to share some of their food with us and talk with us about our parallel convictions and purposes. It was such a blessing and encouragement to meet someone who was a visible product of Gods faithfulness:
Priceline and I became best friends yesterday when we checked into our hotel and it looked like THIS on the inside:
This past week was inevitably one of the most trying I have yet to experience. For those of you who aren’t familiar with me personally, let me explain to you how little I enjoy the wilderness. There have been countless moments in my life where I have “missed out” on memories because I can’t swallow the idea of sleeping in a tent. It sounds very shallow and silly but I don’t like spiders. I don’t like being wet. And I don’t like bonfires (the smoke and my lungs REALLY don’t agree on much). With all of that being said, I have to say I was right about how much I despised the idea of camping. This past week was spent in Orbisonia, Pennsylvania on a farm called Agape. Gorgeous town, spectacular bands, and lots of laughs. But that was not liberated from the absurd nightly climate changes, intense thunderstorms, and a severe case of “holy crap, I miss my friends bad.” One night, I literally cried myself to sleep. It wasn’t out of repulsion to the environment or severe craving of a girls night with my lovely DNA group (although, I definitely could have used that). I was upset because I wasn’t sure what I was doing was for God. My friends who spent time with me before I left know that one of my biggest convictions is the fact that I tend to obsess over God’s call for my life. Instead of praying about it and reading His word and soaking up everything He says, I frustrate myself over the fact that He hasn’t screen shared with me and typed out my life story. It all goes back to some evil control issues that I have. Regardless, this particular night, it was extremely difficult to hear His voice and the Enemy was definitely working on my heart. The next day was a daze. I was flustered and frustrated and still uncertain about my reasons. Then, Erin suggested we take an afternoon “off.” We had yet to really have a ladies day and just went out and bonded over our love of God and music and life. So we wandered into Huntingsdon. After much conversation, several LP’s, CD’s, and $2 DVDs (Yep, that place rocked), and some very delicious vegetarian dishes, I was starting to feel like God was stepping back in. Then we opened up some devotionals and started to read.
One of the devotionals was nothing short of a huge “Oh Jesus” moment. The entire devotional was speaking about how the Enemy doesn’t intend to come in and wipe us out with one swift kick. His attack is a slowly devised manipulation of our human flaws. The whole week, I was getting frustrated and distant as a result of other threads that were coming untied in my life. Yeah, they were small threads. But that’s how that jerk works. He was working his way into my brain and convincing me that things weren’t working because God didn’t have this plan for me anymore. As if God doesn’t know what’s happening next or what kind of decisions I’m about to make… The only problem was it was working until now. And if I didn’t stop dead in my tracks and transition the way I was thinking about “my” plans and “my” purpose, the threads would continue to unravel and I would continue on a downward spiral into miserable uncertainty. Lucky for me, God was ready for me to ask Him to pick me back up. Which leads me to another point…
One of the musicians this past week, singer of Tenth Avenue North, was talking about worshipping during live music. He was explaining how he loves when the audience has their arms raised but hes hoped it wasn’t out of obligation or peer pressure or habit. He said his youngest daughter often wanders up to his ankles and raises her arms to him when she is excited or when she is hurt or upset. She looks up to him in need of comfort and says “Daddy, hold youuu. I need you Daddy.” He compared that look in her eyes and need for his attention and comfort and ultimate surrender to his authority to our submission in worship. When we throw our arms in the air, we are asking our Lord to hold us. We are crying out to Him that we need Him to take us into that moment fully and comfort us where we are.
Anyways, I have clearly been learning SO much from this trip. And I have been struggling quite a bit as well. So please continue praying for my summer and the lives that I come in contact with. I am sure I will be learning more than I will be teaching. And I love that idea completely. Thank you for all the prayers and finances you have already sent my way. I miss everyone back home and can’t wait to meet those of you that I haven’t yet. Please let me know if any of you have any specific prayer requests or if you have any questions or would like to be added to my “I’ll send out these postcards one day” list. <3 (please continue to prayerfully consider donating to my food funds for this summer)
Adam (Icon for Hire):
Mini-me hijacked my phone:
Sorry for not posting for a bit. I have been too busy having CRAZY INCREDIBLE CONVERSATIONS about God. All of you that have prayerfully contributed to making this possible and prayed for me have not done so in vain. I can promise you that. It’s incredible how God appoints people to be listeners and others to be bold. I have had the opportunity to just say “hi” to people who have, in turn, completely opened up and allowed me to pray over them and talk with them. It’s such an awesome feeling for a complete stranger to talk with you openly about things that you KNOW there is no way they would share unless God was totally there.
AND Rebecca got here yesterday. :) God should have warned everyone that we came in contact with about us. Our similarities are hilarious and our ability to leave people saying “….uhhhh what?” is dangerously funny. She’s such a sweetheart and definitely a great addition to our crew. Please be praying with her about continuing with us. I would love her to and I feel like she really should but I don’t want it to be for selfish reasons. So yes, please keep praying.
And here’s the NOT fun part to write about… I’m still under 50% of my funding. :( I’m not stressed out about it at all but the marketing person in me feels like it’s necessary to remind people occasionally. So this is all I will mention until Ichthus, probably. But please be praying about contributing and just keep praying that God keeps bringing me divine encounters to share my passion and love. The feeling that overcomes you in that moment where you realize that God is using you is THE most incredible and I just want to keep sharing and giving other people that opportunity.
So that’s that. and NOW. I cannot WAIT to share some video footage of this stuff that I have for you guys. I have to learn how to do video editing super quickly. but when i do, its going to blow your mind. Some of these people just have THE most incredible stories. And I’m learning SO much about myself and God and life and love. Anyways, Matt is about to go on. So rebecca and I are going to watch. Stay tuned for more. :)