"Where have you been Tiffany? It's been so long since you've updated this blog..."
Yes, I know. But i haven't forgotten about you, you Weebly readers, you.
I do have a new blog, one where I will be posting (hopefully more often) about the places that Jesus is moving in this place, and even outside this place. I hope to continue this new blog, even after I leave Sharptop, so that you and I both can have a place to look back on where Jesus has shown up in my life.
What does that mean for this blog? Am I getting rid of it?
I will continue this blog and it will be "Sharptop related things" (fundraising, prayers requests, even more pictures, etc.)
So, by all means, please be encouraged by both of these blogs.
Here is the link to my other blog:
ENJOY IT, and be encouraged.
Here's what you can pray for me this week:
Fundraising. I have not reached the amount that Sharptop has asked me to raise for the year, and it's starting to worry me. I just want the money to fall into my lap, but then there would be no dependence on Jesus for that.
SO, if you feel called or know someone who would love to donate to my year long internship here, please pray about it! Even if it's $20 a month until next September. I know God is faithful, and He is asking me to kick down some doors and be bold in asking. I just need to do it.
For anyone reading (one person? two? 10? just me?), if there is anything I can be praying for YOU about, please don't hesitate to ask! Or if y'all have any questions or want to email me separately to ask me how the year has been, please do so! Or if y'all just want an emailing buddy, I love to chat (even in an email).
Be encouraged this week, and let's celebrate the One who had a rescue plan for you all along.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -Romans 5:8
26 days in at camp and I still can't believe I get to call this home.
Let me just tell you about how it's been for me the past month...
The people...are amazing.
The camp...is beautiful.
Jesus...is big, and so good to me.
My job this rotation is Guest Services. So, I get to work with the assigned teams that come on weekends (and sometimes week days), and run the rides we have available at camp (the Giant Swing, Quantum Leap, Climbing Wall). As I was hooking kids into the swing last week, I looked out onto SharpTop property and felt Jesus say to me
I finally feel it. I finally feel at home. Among the laughter (and there's been PLENTY), the conversations about life, getting to meet new people that come onto camp property, getting invited over to property staff's houses, getting trained in my job (should have had a training on how to get rid of bears), going on adventures with my new friends/family here...
I feel at home.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." -Deuteronomy 31:6
Because Jesus is here at camp with me.
I thought I had God all figured out before coming here.
"He's going to teach me how to be vulnerable. Yeah, that's it!"
Even though I am learning how to be vulnerable, that's not all He is teaching me.
I've actually figured out that He is using vulnerability as a tiny tool for something bigger.
What's that something bigger?
I'm not sure of it yet.
And I think He wants me to be okay without knowing right now, even though He knows I love planning ahead.
I got to work the Quantum leap about a week or so ago, and the rope was not my best friend...
Not complaining at all. It was totally worth it to watch these kids conquer their fears and climb a 30 foot pole and then jump off the top, all while trusting me to catch them if they fell and when they jumped at the top.
The Quantum Leap reminded me of my journey here so far, and the rest of this year. Standing at the bottom, the Quantum Leap sounded stupid (I am afraid of heights so even standing on a chair can sound dumb to me). I didn't want to do it, but when we got Certified to Operate these rides, we all had to climb it, so everyone could practice belaying. Everyone was going up and jumping off, like it was a piece of cake, or if there was a piece of cake waiting for them at the bottom.
And then it was my turn.
I started to climb up, and wanted to immediately climb back down.
So, I kept climbing. Questions in my head arose like "Can I trust this rope?" "What if I fall?" "I don't think I can stand up at the top, so I don't even want to try."
I got to the top before standing up on a tiny platform and said "Okay, this is great. Can I come down now? I can't do it. I can't stand up on that tiny platform. I feel accomplished enough."
Keep going. I've got you. I won't let you fall. I promise.
I trusted Jesus in that moment and 15 minutes later (literally), I stood up. I don't understand how I stood up, because the pole was shaking so much underneath me, but I did it.
And I jumped.
And it wasn't bad (this doesn't mean I will do this weekly..)
We were called for greater adventures with Jesus. He loves to challenge us, so that we cling that much closer to Him. That doesn't mean that you have to climb and jump off of a 30 foot pole every day to experience Jesus.
Here is one command that He has put on my heart this week for the year on how to experience Him...
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:13
When something scares you,
When something makes you laugh,
When something makes you happy,
When something makes you cry,
When something makes you angry,
Seek Him, and you will find Him. Every time.
Because wherever He has called you, He is with you saying,
"Trust me. Just keep going. I'm not going to let you fall. I've got you..."
And to me,
Think about it.
So, this past month has been interesting. It has definitely slowed down from the beginning of the summer. I did, however, get the opportunity to go to Cancun for 8 days, for free.
I said free.
So, that has been my biggest adventure of the summer yet, and that's a pretty good adventure.
My thought process coming into the summer was
I can't wait to go on SO many little adventures. I could go somewhere somewhat close every weekend, and then take two weeks off before leaving to make a big trip with my roommate to the Grand Canyon, and hit 38475 different states on the way there and 85694 different ones on the way back (there aren't really that many states, fyi). And I'm going to babysit A LOT and save up lots of money to pay for these trips and maybe save a little money to put towards a new computer or more camera parts. I am going to go hiking all the time, and hang out with all of my friends, since it may be my last summer here in Chattanooga ever...
I feel like God has been teaching me a lot about expectations. When you put expectations on something, you are limiting the power of God. I haven't been able to go on little trips every weekend because I don't have that kind of money (I'm not sure who would at my age), I haven't been babysitting NEARLY enough as I thought I would, which means that our trip to the Grand Canyon cannot happen. I've been hiking once this whole summer. I am a long ways away from getting a new computer (and I mean a LONG ways away); I was able to get a new camera lens (thanks Giftcard from Best Buy from Graduation). And I definitely haven't been hanging out with friends as much as I would have liked to.
So, this summer, I have had some discouraging moments on and off..
because of my expectations for this summer and the reality of this summer didn't match up.
But I think I'm right where Jesus wants me to be.
And even though my summer hasn't been as exciting as I would have wanted it to be, I think Jesus couldn't have planned a better summer for me. I have had lots of free time...time for ME (time that is so scarce during the school year), and time for me and Jesus.
The other week I just needed to hop in my car and go for a drive...
There were some things that had happened that week, so I definitely need a good car ride to just think. In this car ride, I was trying to figure out what Jesus was trying to tell me..what He wanted from me. I kept thinking....
"What do you want from me? You want me to give you my friends? You want me to hand you my family? My car? My money? My time? You want me to work on patience? You want me to be better at giving Grace? Whatever you want me to do or be better at, just tell me what You want. I want to be better for you..."
"You..I just want YOU..."
I have been watching Extreme Weight Loss, where Chris Powell (personal trainer) will surprise someone who has written a letter to him about wanting to lose weight. This one episode stuck out to me. It was Jami's episode (go watch them ALL). Start at 5:48 and go until about 8 mins with the video below:
You can watch this from the beginning..and you should.
But i totally saw Jesus in this. The squeezing in the leotard. The ridiculous leap he does in the air. The flying out to where she was. The way he surprised her...
All to let her know he chose her...
And then when she says, "Why?"
He quickly responds, "Because you're worth it"
Jesus would squeeze into a leotard, and do a leap in the air, and run a million miles, to surprise you..to grab your attention.
All to let you know that
YOU ARE CHOSEN.
And when you are chosen, YOU'RE CHOSEN.
There's not a list of "to-do" things. Yes, God is molding us day after day to be more like Him, more like Jesus But He is not always after you to do better, or to do more, or to be something you're not...
He is after your heart.
He is after YOU.
Just something that has been laid on my heart. I hope that you all know how much you are loved.
And I also hope that you continue to watch that episode.
And I hope you cry,
because I did. A lot.
.."But God will redeem my life from the grave, he will surely take me to himself." -Psalm 49:15
Time and time again.
No expectations. Just Jesus,
because you never know how He will show up.
Think about it.
"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his MERCY." -Titus 3:4-5
Little Hudson and I had just got done eating a snack, when he was compelled to clean the living room (because when you have pillow fights and play hide and go seek, the room eventually just cannot stay clean).
He said, "OOH! I need to clean the living room! I need to put all the pillows back on the couch and make it so pretty." And I agreed. I told him "Mom is going to be SO proud of you for cleaning. You are becoming such a big boy." And he looked at me and said, "YEAH! Mom WILL be proud. She will be SO HAPPY" (making it all caps because he was yelling it at this point).
So he ran into the living room, picked up two pillows, and put them on couches that they were not originally on. He walked around and looked at his work. He was so proud, and thought the room was so clean. I looked around and saw trash on the table from our lunch, popcorn on the floor, pillows thrown on the wrong couches and barely hanging on the couch, and toys all over the floor, but I saw he was proud, so I let it be for his mom to see.
She came home and he ran to the door and said "MOM LOOK I HAVE SOMETHING TO SHOW YOU!"
He grabbed her hand and brought her into the living room, and said "Look, I cleaned for you!"
I thought her reaction was going to be "Ooh, Yeah! It's pretty clean, but those pillows don't go there. And there's popcorn on the floor and trash every where. And this cheetah blanket doesn't belong here. And the couch needs to be pushed back up. And you didn't vacuum, or Windex.."
She looked at the room, and turned to Hudson with a high five, and said "YEAH! HUDSON, I LOVE IT! It's beautiful!"
I wonder if we know that's how Jesus is with us.
He doesn't care about perfection,
because He is perfect.
Hudson's mom was not proud of him for how clean the room was (because it was not- I think I described it enough). She was proud because she loved her little boy SO MUCH.
That verse from above...
When he saved us at the cross,
it wasn't because of all the good deeds we had done.
He doesn't continue to show grace on us every day because of the good deeds we've done, or will continue to do. Going to church won't gain you heaven points. Helping an old lady cross the street won't get you bumped up on God's favorites list. God won't hold up a foam finger whenever you give that homeless man $1 for a newspaper.
Why? Because He is already making a place for you in Heaven. You are already His favorite. He is holding that foam finger up all day for you (can you imagine?)
"But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -Romans 5:8
He loves you. There's nothing you did that turned a switch on for Jesus to start loving you. Because let's face it, we are all sinners. We will always be sinners.
And that's why Jesus wanted to save us. He wanted us to know it's not about trying to be good enough, or doing more good things, or trying to earn his Love..
Because we already have it.
IT'S YOURS. He gave it freely. Because of His Mercy. Because of His Grace. Because of His UNCONDITIONAL love for you and for me.
Whatever we are doing, cleaning a room, sitting or standing, running, throwing a frisbee, washing a car, hanging out with friends..
even while we are running away from Him. When we don't want to spend time with Him, or don't understand why He would choose us...
He still and FOREVER will look at you ALWAYS and say
That's MY girl
that's MY boy
I'm so proud
Do you believe this?
Think about it
"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.." -Psalm 103:11
This is Soddy Daisy.
2 years ago, we brought 1 girl to summer camp.
Last summer, we brought 4 girls from Soddy to summer camp.
This summer, we had a full cabin of girls and even threw in some boys too.
God is up to something.
June 2-8, Chattanooga YL went to Windy Gap for summer camp. And it was the best week of my life...
Getting to know these girls was so great. It was exactly what I need before heading off to my next adventure in life...SharpTop Cove. Still praying that they would know that this Jesus that they heard about all week, the One who washes them clean, the One who loves them with an UNCONDITIONAL love, the One who is patiently waiting for them to say YES...
THAT Jesus...is here in Chattanooga, TN too. Jesus chooses to dwell within our broken hearts, because He is the only One that can fix it, fill it, and heal it. He is the One who created it anyways right?
Monday night, a few of my pals and I drove to Gatlinburg (Elkmont) to watch the synchronized fireflies. It's so hard to describe this event; I saw it a few years ago and was in awe the entire time. It was even better a second time. Before it got too dark, I was just looking around at the trees that stood around us. Every tree that surrounded us had different leaves; no two trees around us had the same leaves. And then I looked at the bark of the trees. No two trees had the same bark; no two trees had the same shape. Each tree had a different design, and it just looked like a painting...that the artist took his sweet time on each tree. Because he was so proud of his work. And then the fireflies came out, and lit up the entire wood floor. I felt like I was at a symphony...I pictured a someone standing in front of them moving their hand to let these fireflies know when to light up. It was a song..
and it was for me.
I thought about my life. About all of the details that Jesus writes in it. Things that we think are coincidence...things that surprise us, are all detailed in our story by the One and Only Jesus. When God created us, He took His time on us. It's not like a factory, where we are all created exactly the same. God intricately and passionately created you and I. And when He was done, He took a step back and said it was VERY good.
Had these thoughts on my mind all week for the girls from our Bee Tree cabin...It is so hard to believe that we are special in God's eyes sometimes..because of the things that we have chosen in our past, because of the circumstances we are in, because of the mistakes we have made.
Jesus knows you. He knows your past; He knows your circumstances. And He still chooses to love you.
I picture God with a canvas. And He is intricately painting away something for you.
And then we have a canvas, and on it, we write words like "worthless, dirty, not good enough, broken, unloveable..."
And then God shows us His canvas...
and it says words on it like "Beloved, worthy, washed clean, loveable, MINE..."
And then He takes white paint..
and paints over our canvas, over our words...
and He write Jesus all over our canvas.
He chooses to love us every day. He can't love you any more than He does today.
That's what unconditional love is.
"...that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." -Phil.1:6
These girls. This was last summer. This cabin of girls (Soddy Daisy and CCS) got to go to week long camp at SharpTop Cove summer of 2012. If you were to ask them if it was the best week of their life, they would, without hesitation, say YES.
This post, is about Soddy Daisy Young Life. In just a few weeks (June 1-8), Chattanooga Young Life will be heading to the beautiful Windy Gap Young Life camp in North Carolina. There are 9 girls (and 1 boy!) that are signed up to go from Soddy Daisy High School. THEY ARE PUMPED.
We have done a car wash (hoping to get to squeeze one more in before we leave). We have cracked eggs on our heads for money (they got away clean). Letters have been sent out. We tried singing on the bridge for money. But we are still short on funds. To be honest, these Soddy Daisy folks can't afford to pay for camp. So we are trying to raise the money for them (and with them!).
This is why I've written this post.
Soddy Daisy Young Life needs your help! Won't you help send some of our high school friends to Young Life camp to be closer to Jesus or possibly meet Jesus for the first time? Will you be a part of the best week of someone's life?
Here's the reality: If we could send all of Soddy Daisy High School to a YL camp, we would. In a heartbeat.
But what's holding us back?
How much is camp, Tiffany?
The cost of camp for EACH of our high school friends is $665.00 (they've already paid a $50 deposit).
BUT, if you've ever been to a Young Life camp, you would know that it's totally worth it.
So, I'm going to lay out some things for you (here comes my UTC education- because I'm an ALUMNI now)
665.00 per person.
We have 10 kids going to camp.
665 x 10= $6,650 total for our high school friends.
This doesn't include the cost of the leaders to go. It is $450.00 per person for leaders. There are 3 of us.
450 x 3= $1,350 total.
$6,650 + $1,350= $8,000
(my own jaw is dropping as I'm doing the math).
$8,000 is the amount we need. That's a lot of money, I know. And it's only from one high school here in Chattanooga. But I also know that God is bigger than money.
From the car wash and support letters and other fundraisers so far we have about $500 to put towards camp cost.
So really, we need about $7,500.
So let's do some more math.
C'mon UTC education!
So, if 100 of my friends gave $75 each, we would have our total.
If 75 of my friends gave $100 each, we would have our total.
If 7,000 of my friends gave $1 each, we would have our total.
Won't you join me to help Soddy Daisy Young Life?
I'll even make it easy for you.
Here's two options for paying (if you decide to join in financially with me!)
Click on the link above.
Then click "Give one time gift
" located on the right hand side of the page.
Click the bubble that says "Camp Scholarship
" (it's bubbled on "Operating"- make sure you click the right bubble, otherwise it goes to Chattanooga as a whole instead of Soddy Daisy Young Life).
Where it says "Sponsoring
", type in: Soddy Daisy
Then under gift amount
, type in your desired amount.
Click "Add Gift
Continue watching your favorite TV show.
If that button above doesn't work, here is the link...http://chattanooga.younglife.org/Pages/donors.aspx
if your someone who would prefer to write a check...
there's also an option for you.
Write any checks out to:
Chattanooga Young Life
P.O. Box 6231
Chattanooga, TN 37401
In the memo, put "Soddy Daisy Campership"
You just helped send 10 kids to a Young Life camp to fall in love with their Savior.
I'll even leave you a Youtube video of Windy Gap, so you can tell your friends to donate too.
Because with all our fb friends combined donating, we could send the whole world to a YL camp to meet Jesus.
Won't you be a part of these kids story?
Here is a list of the girls/guy's name that will be attending camp. Please be praying for them as we are trying to fundraise their way to camp and also pray for their time at camp!
Hayley Adams, Lindsey Hall, Taylor Holland, Madison Lowery, Chloe Nance, Caitlyn Pippin, Olivia Tate, Molly Todd, Brittany Yother, Alex Oliver. And the leaders!: Jordan Batey Brooks, Houston Kitts, and myself!
And for that Youtube video to convince 75 of you out there to donate $100 each!
These are our Chattanooga folks from our camp at SharpTop last summer
And this is where we will be this summer!
For any updates on fundraising (how much we've gotten in and how we're doing), please don't hesitate to contact me.
And I will be updating this bad boy for updates as well.
"Give away your life, you'll find life given back, but not merely given back- given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting is the way. Generosity begets generosity." -Luke 6:38 (MSG)
Let's all be bold for Jesus, and see how He shows up :)
Come away with me.
I feel like Jesus has really put these words on my heart. Maybe because I've been listening to that song on repeat (by Jesus Culture: go listen to it), or maybe because Jesus is reminding me to keep my eyes on Him, because He knows my focus keeps going elsewhere.
I'll just put some of the lyrics on here for you...
"Come away with me.
Come away with me.
It's never too late. It's not too late.
It's not too late for you.
I have a plan for you
I have a plan for you.
It's going to be wild
It's going to be great,
It's going to be full of me."
Cannot stop thinking about this song. I love that some of the lines are repeated, because Jesus is constantly repeating things to me. And He doesn't get tired of doing it.
Come away with me...
Those words sounds magical, right?
...when He says this to us we tend to think that this means He is wanting to lead us into an enchanted forest.
and yes, sometimes when He says those words to us, He is wanting to lead us out of the valley (a hard situation) into the mountains (rest).
But what happens when He says the words "Come away with me", and it's not to go into a restful place?
What if He is leads you into a tough place? A place that doesn't make sense why you are there or why He would lead you there...
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul..." -Psalm 23:1-3
He leads me beside quiet waters..
What if the path to get to that restful place isn't butterflies and rainbows? (I know there is a different saying; I can't remember it so this will do)
What if it's really hard? What if it's not all ice cream and sprinkles? (I'm trying...)
Would we still come when He calls us to come to Him?
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." -Deuteronomy 31:8
How cool is that? Jesus doesn't expect us to walk in the hard times alone. He KNOWS we are too weak. He goes before us, and is holding our hand at all times, even if you are trying to push His hand away...He is still there. He's not going anywhere.
He is leading us to something SO beautiful..
He is leading us to Himself.
The maker of all good things. He created you and I, and is delighted in us.
This plan that He has for you...
it's going to be wild,
it's going to be great.
It's going to be full of Him.
All we have to do is TRUST and step out in faith,
trust that within this marathon we are running, we are going to get distracted. And then we will get our focus back. We are going to get tired. And then we will get supernatural energy to continue running. We are going to get discouraged. And then we will get encouraged. You may end up running next to people you didn't think you'd be running next to, and some people may get pulled from the race early. We are running to Jesus, the ultimate goal.
Take heart. He is also running with us. He is the one who returns our focus back. He is the one who gives supernatural energy. He is the one who loves to encourage when you get discouraged. He is the one that when you get tired and need to stop and rest for a few minutes, will not condemn you for stopping and will rest and wait for you with a smile on His face.
Heavy heart this week for the the loss of Andrew Svgdik. I didn't know him, but from all the beautiful stories I've heard of him, I wish I would have. Praying for my friends who knew and loved him, and for his family.
God is still good. Let's run this race.
This picture is the Student Staff for 2012-2013. We finally got a picture together! And it only took a year (Bobby likes to hide when we decide to take pictures..)
This month (along with this whole semester in general) has been so emotional for me. There are the last's...
the last leadership...
the last club...
the last team meeting...
the last finals I'll ever have to take...
the last time I'll get to play assassins...
(kind of relieved about that last one).
The more I think about being at SharpTop cove for an entire year, the more excited I get. My good friend Tess reminded me of what I have to look forward to...
"Tiff, you get to be surrounded by people who LOVE Jesus. That's what your conversations will be all the time...JESUS."
Not saying there won't be discouraging moments, because there will be, but that got me so pumped to be there. I can't wait to walk onto that camp daily and feel the presence of Jesus there...whether that is by cleaning a toilet, or by selling camp t-shirts to campers, or cleaning and folding sheets, or living in close community with 9 other interns, or making 300+ beds, or within the conversations I'll have with other people that will walk onto that camp. I'm so excited to jump into the adventures that Jesus has planned for me next year. No more hiding.
The definition of hiding is the act of concealing something. What do we hide from or with? We hide from the light with darkness, because we think it's safer there. Because, sometimes, when Jesus calls us to jump, we need to know certain details before we jump...
How far is the jump?
What is below me when I jump? (rocks, water)
Will someone else be there to jump with me?
What if I fall?
Can I get a net so that if I do fall, I can catch myself?
Oh man, what life would look like if we really trusted Jesus all the time without any questions...
But when Jesus calls us to jump to Him, sometimes we question whether or not we are really the ones He wants.We believe that we have to fix whatever is wrong with us first...before we could ever think about jumping.
Isn't that why Jesus came?
Because God knew that we weren't perfect (and didn't expect us to be), so instead of just standing on one side of the mountain, waiting for us to jump to Him, He came to the other side where you and I were to jump with us.
Chills thinking about this.
I feel like this semester Jesus has been teaching me so much about His Love. This semester of change..He's not expecting me to do it alone. He is walking with me every step of the way, never letting go of my hand. No matter how many times I try hide from Him to stay in this comfortable situation, or try to run away, kick and scream like a little kid, pout and cry, He will never let go.
Why? Because I am His BELOVED,
and so are you.
He knows this next season of life will be so good for me...it will transform me, if I let it.
I hide to avoid jumping.
He seeks and tells me it's okay.
I hide again because of my fear.
He seeks again and tells me it's okay.
I hide because of the fear of the unknown.
He seeks again and tells me it's okay.
Do you get it?
He will never get tired of playing this game with you. BECAUSE YOU ARE HIS.
"But now, this is what the Lord says- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine."" -Isaiah 43:1
You are His, and He is relentless.
It's only been 7 days since my last post.
Hooray! I'm FINALLY getting better at keeping this thing updated more often. It only took a year!
I just needed to tell y'all where I saw Jesus this past week.
more like WHO I saw Jesus in.
Tess Barnfield and Dakota Davis.
These two. Joy to my life. My teammates. My friends. So much love for the two of you.
I asked him to do a skit for leadership this past Friday. I wanted to make Tess feel better about a concert that she was opening up for (I will get to that in a little bit), so I asked Dakota to do a skit in honor of Tess. I guess this wasn't just any ordinary skit either. I asked him to dress up like Tess (clothes, hair, and all) and come out with his guitar and do his thing for a few seconds. I figured since he was used to getting up in front of people (singing and playing his guitar), that this would be a piece of cake.
I have never seen any one freak out as much as this kid. The look on his face that afternoon was as if death was coming 20 minutes later. Worse than when I did program at Southwind. Worse than Tess preparing to open up for Jake Ousley. Bless you, Dakota.
I think if he didn't love Tess as much as he did, he wouldn't have done it.
But he did it.
He got up there in front of 65+ leaders in Tess's mom jeans and cat shirt tucked in. He faced that fear and did it out of love. He knew Jesus was with Him, and I hope he knew that he was CHOSEN.
THIS girl. The reason I have a few more wrinkles on my face from laughter this year. So blessed by her. And so proud of for getting up in front of 60+ people to sing her heart out. To let a lot of people hear her voice for the very first time. To let people hear her songs that she had written and invite them in. She didn't let fear conquer her, and I'm so proud.
But the week of...phew. Bless you too, Tessy. So many doubts and lies filled her head. I don't think I'm going to be good enough. People aren't going to like to my music. People won't think I'm funny. People won't show up.
But she knew that she was CHOSEN and that God was calling her into deeper waters. And she trusted.
Jesus walked on water. And then called Peter to walk out with Him. Into deeper waters. The unknown. The unsafe.
"Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." (verse 27).
"Come." (verse 29)
Jesus calls us to come to places where it may not be safe. But the great thing is about that is that HE IS ALREADY THERE. Comforting? I think so.
So, in conclusion, this post was just to shout out two people that I saw Jesus in. No fear, just love.
Tess opening up for Jake Ousley. And I may or may not have helped out with a song. ;)
Updating twice in one month?
Yeah, things are changing.
UTC's Spring Break was last week. So, I took a trip to Emerald Isle with 60 other Young Life leaders for a few days. And it was an incredible time.
It was time of rest, stillness, friends, deep conversations, dancing, fancy dinners & Mexican fiestas, pinatas, skits, worship, serving hearts, laughter, and Jesus. What more could one person ask for on spring break?
I contemplated going on this trip, because being with 20 people can sometimes overwhelm me. So, the fact that there were a little over 60 people signed up for this trip made me start questioning whether or not I wanted to go.
"I'm about to leave so there's no point in going and making new friends, because I'm just going to leave soon..." thought Jenny and I. Little did we know that God didn't really see it like that. Community. So thankful for it.
God has been blowing me away with the word "community" lately. I felt SO loved with those 60+ other people at Emerald Isle. Let me tell you how...
We were split into 3 team for dinner meals on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. So, there were about 20ish people on each teach. The first group was assigned to make an Italian dinner. The second group was assigned to make an American meal. And the third group was assigned to make a Mexican meal. Little did we know what those nights would actually turn into.
Italian night...they had assigned us by table and had name tags for us, fancy glasses and bread on the table, candles and dimmed lights all around. We see all of our waiters, mustaches drawn on their upper lips, ready to serve. I don't think I have ever been tended to like that (maybe at YL camps). I sat there in awe, knowing that if Jesus was physically there that night that He would have been the one to gladly serve me and scoot my chair in and refill my cup, and play a song for me and pick out the best piece of cheesecake for me. Why? Because He came to serve not to be served (Matthew 20:28). AND because He is madly in love with me, and knew my heart would be full after that night.
American night...My group! We made hamburgers and hot dogs and lots of side snacks. We ended up spending $100 more than our budget, but that's okay because we were so excited to get to prepare a great meal for our friends! Isn't that great that once we've been served, all we want to do is take what we've experienced and share it and go serve others? Maybe that's why it feels so good to serve. Maybe that's why Jesus came to serve us first. We ended up doing a skit in the middle of dinner of different states all over the US. Myself, Jenny, and Beth were from Minnesota and did a little skit to go along with that. Flour on the top of our heads, big glasses that we couldn't see out of, and turtle neck dresses. It was so great to get to serve our friends and entertain them as well.
Mexican night...it was a fiesta! Literally! There was a pinata, margaritas (non-alcoholic, of course), Mexican music, Mariachi band, the accents, fake birthday songs, and even a fake bachelor party celebration. I don't think there was ever a point where I had to ask for more food or more of a certain type of food because they were constantly bringing us out more. I laughed a lot this night. What a joy it is to be served and to get to serve others!
As I sat on the beach day after day, with no itinerary for the day, I saw and wondered what God was trying to teach me that week. We had worship every morning and then got to share what God had been teaching us, and it was so encouraging to hear where God had been moving, especially in the hearts of our new leaders.
"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming." -Eph. 4:14
I read this verse as I was watching the ocean water.
Then I read this verse:
"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you." -1 Cor.15:58
It is so easy to get distracted from Jesus in this world. Even within the first day at the beach sitting for 30 minutes, I felt like I needed to be doing something. Busyness. I heard a statement once, "If the devil can't make you bad, he'll make you busy".
Keep your eyes on Jesus, and you won't be moved.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, and you won't be moved.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, and you will be moved....closer to Him.
Thankful for a growing community and growing hearts.