October 27, 2013

Made For This

    Dark, indigo chill-breath filled the stables as I creaked open the wooden chest-high gate. Still bright stars defied the clock, six fifty-five a.m. The cold frosted itself across October, light seemingly scared to edge the eastern fields. At the call of the ATV rumble, horses trudged into dim stable light, one by one then all at once they came. Alex, Okie, Michael, Dandy. One by one halters fumbled, slipped on, tippy-toe tall. Gloved fingers caught burrs from manes, and eyes squinted to decipher names through strong morning black. Sundae, Watson, Faye, Buttercup, Harmony. Legs, necks, manes, and tails milling deep in the dawn. Horses a hundred deep. Dawn grew with each horse it caught, turned on one more ray of hopeful light. Okie, crazy girl, she pulled back and snapped her half-inch thick rope. The wide-eyed one, she walked briskly away. Faye, she was standing, confused, tied at Trentin's spot. The dawn had played switcheroo with black pony and brown. Someone caught Tinkerbell, a huge beast of a horse. Hoofs like dinner plates, and a massive heavy head. Tinkerbell. Dawn struggled warm, but not warm enough. I banged open a rusty locker and stuffed gloves double thick. The day, it shivered along. Thankful layers, ice cold toes at lunch. Wind that bit slowly and surely, into the warmth I hugged. The sun turned sulky and stood with folded arms behind a great grayness of clouds. Trees bent, surrendering warm glowing leaves to the whims of whipping wind.
    To be honest with you, I had no spiritual lesson behind all that writing I just did. I wrote because I loved it. Those words, I enjoyed bringing them to life. I savored each sentence, reveling in the strange beauty they own. When I write, I feel truly alive. Unlike when I talk. Let me tell you, about half of the time when I'm in a "social" setting I feel like a fish out of water. Awkward. That would be me. Or that's how I feel, anyway. So I write. And just like brilliant speakers and preachers, I can serve God with my gift. So I write. 

I once heard that the way a creation brings honor to it's creator is by doing what it was created to do. 

    Ever heard of a carpenter rejoicing because the table he'd crafted decided it's purpose was to be firewood? What about an artist smiling as she watched her painting rip itself into shreds, convinced it was meant to be paper mâché? 
No, friends. You were meant to be what you were meant to be. I was created a writer; not a speaker, not a singer, not a fashion model. 
You are a beautifully crafted creation, made with breathtaking care to fulfill a journey of a lifetime. Don't miss your sweet spot. Do what you were created to do. Be what you were created to be.
And if you don't know what that is yet, hang on. Hold your creator tightly by the hand and move forward. As you probably know, it's extremely hard to steer a stationary vessel. So whatever you do, keep moving. 
Do what you love to do, and do it for the glory of your creator. Especially do the things that return energy to you. Like my writing? Afterwards I feel like running around the house and grinning my heart out. Energy? Poured out. But then it was back again. Energy returned. 

So friends. That's about it for the week... just remember this: be who you were created to be by doing what you we created to do. That is how you can bring glory to your creator. 

What are your giftings? Art, math, cooking, speaking, building, cello, encouraging, a fashion eye, gymnastics.... what? 
How do you use them to honor your creator? I'd love to hear your stories! 

October 23, 2013

Ramblings of Resources

   Today I'm going to share with you some inspiration to make the most of your resources! I've been taking a leadership class, and this week is focusing in on stewardship of finances and opportunities. As some of you know, I'm extremely fond of making the most out of what I already have. I'm the rare type of girl who actually hates to spend money (which means I don't like shopping for clothes... or shoes), so I always get excited when I learn of one more thing I can make myself, with the resources I already have. Here are a few of my recent ideas! 

1. Pumpkin pie. :D But for real, people, if you're given an opportunity to get something you will use for free, take it! I worked this fall/summer at a produce farm, and found out that they can't sell pie pumpkins with the stem broken off. (When the stem is gone the pumpkins don't keep as long... quality control, ya know) so imagine my delight when they allow the employees to take home as many of these misfit pumpkins as they want! I, of course, carted quite a few home and have already made a bunch of pies. With real pumpkins! And they are HEAVENLY!!!! Let me know if you want a post with the recipe and tutorial about using real pumpkins!


2. The garden. I know it's late in the season, but yesterday I brushed past our still-green basil and acquired a pungent desire for homemade pesto. So I made some. :) Another way to use our garden (which is run over with weeds by now) is to use it as a play pen/salad bar for our chickens. Poor things, they have started to lay less eggs as it's getting cooler, and a couple hours each day spent roaming the garden jungle would probably not only make them wild with excitement, but might get us a few more eggs each day! 

Those chickens are happy, happy, happy!

3. The Internet. This one is kind of obvious, but the Internet is an amazing resource for learning things and getting the word out for Christ. I've learned so many new skills from Pinterest and the Internet in general, such as how to cook a real pumpkin for pumpkin pies, roasting pumpkin seeds, lots of new recipes, sewing tips, and lots more. This one is hard to balance, though. Many times I treat the Internet as too much of an amusement rather than a tool.

   For those of you without pumpkins, gardens or chickens, I hope this inspires you to keep your eyes open for resources you already have that may be pushed into a corner. Sometimes God calls us to buy things, but sometimes He shows us ways to give more money to His kingdom (mission work and the church) by making do with the riches in disguise we already have! 

   I'm sure you have come up with lots of creative ways to use your resources as well, and I'd love to hear about them! Leave me a comment with things you've done or new ideas for the future!

October 15, 2013

Just One Thing

Guys. I have to share this! Yesterday I learned something new... that Jesus actually wasn't in a hurry. Let me say that again: Jesus wasn't in a hurry. Mind. Blown. 

He had just three years to complete His ministry, yet the Bible never mentions His schedule. This God-in-flesh had the power to cure everyone of disease, yet He did not. He did virtually nothing the world expected of Him. What's up with that? 
I think I know. Tell me if I'm wrong, but I think it's because Jesus was about His Father's business. Period. Jesus, He was never in a hurry, never flustered, because God never asked Him to multitask. Just love, God said. Just love. So Jesus loved. 
And sometimes loving means caring enough about others to not care about yourself, your schedule. 
Sometimes loving means healing just a few hearts, a few souls, instead of all the bodies in the world. 
Sometimes love, it means seeing the world with eternity eyes and digging for deeper treasure than the mere expectations of this world. 

Jesus had a higher calling, a different voice to follow. His Father, our Father, He said just love. Jesus' life was infinitely simple. He had one calling. And He choose to listen to just that voice. And He obeyed. Jesus, He loved His life away. Simple as 1,2,3. Called, listened, obeyed. Jesus, He did everything on this earth, made a whole world of difference, by not doing everything.

Boy do I need to learn that lesson! My life would be free, daring, peaceful, mind-blowing, joyous, and unexpected if I listened to my Father's voice and obeyed. My life, it would be just like Jesus'. 
What would your life look like if you tuned your ear to the Father's calling, to just love? Can you imagine the freedom of giving schedules and agendas to the Father who crafted time? 
My life desperately needs this tune-up, this tuning in to the Father's whisper. Just love. Forget appearances, forget status, forget everything want to do. To just love. It's so simple, my friends. Will you join me? Please? And just because, I'm throwing out this picture of our crazy puppy. Just because she has a heart on her back. You'll have to spin your head around to see it, 'cause it's upside down, but I had to show you all. :)

I know God put that heart there on purpose. Probably because He loved, and Jesus loved, and He wants us to do this one thing. Just love.

P.S. Would you all kindly take the little poll on the left sidebar? I want to know what you all wish to hear more about either on this blog or maybe even in person (for a few of you :D)!

October 8, 2013

Operation Skittles

I've had an idea rolling around in my head a lot lately. It's an idea of community. Of encouragement. Of accountability. Of the body of Christ. 
In a few words, it's Operation Skittles. Before you label me as crazy, let me remind you that girls can get rather nonsensical at times. And I'm a girl. With girlfriends. So when three of us girls got together and started an unofficial accountability club, it was out of the question to christen it something normal. If you get my drift. ;) 

So my two best friends and I did something totally abnormal, maybe even absurd, for three teenagers. We got together to talk about our God lives. I was thrilled to know that I had two sisters in Christ who cared enough about each other to just randomly come over and let down their comfort bumpers, to 'fess up, and to get real about our daily temptations. 

I don't know how long we talked, outside on the white glider swing. One by one we cracked open the doors to our hearts and let each other in. Because sometimes, friends, our hearts get sick and heavy feeling. Sometimes the best way to loose the chains is to share our burdens, like it says in God's word.  So I listened. To temptations and sins and battles and uncertainties. And I hugged, eyes welling full of the hurt one was feeling. And I talked, like the others, sharing my burdens too. God seemed so real in those moments, because I felt Him in the miracle of troubles shared and evaporated. My heart grew light, filled with bubbling joy, peace, and trust. Cracking open our hearts let the trouble fade with sharing. Cracking open our hearts let in God's light. Then, with smiling hearts,we laughed, and imagined, and fantasized... about what our futures will hold. 
When the shade finally turned cool, we repaired to my room where we wrote our daily temptations down, each keeping the struggles of the others. That hurt, a bit. Letting others in on the sins I battle daily, and giving them permission to ask about them later... that stings at first. Because I know I won't always have a good report. Those sins they wrote down to remember are my weakest areas. But you know what? In order to heal a wound you need to clean it first. And that hurts. In the end, though, it's always worth it... the discomfort is always overruled by the healing it brings. 
So I'm hoping with a strange hope that my girlfriends stay true to Operation Skittles - that they keep me accountable, out in the open. Because I know that it will bring healing and make me stronger in the end. So I'm praying that the girls bring on the interrogations next time we meet! 

I want to challenge every one of you to get excited about Jesus, about the body of Christ, and about accountability. How to get excited, you ask? Make another Operation Skittles! 

I hereby challenge you to connect with one or two Christians you are close to. Talk on the phone, face to face, or by email. Let your secret fears out. Push past the comfort zone and find the growing zone. Tell each other your struggles and temptations. Write them down and keep each other accountable! And give it a name! Operation M&M, maybe? Or Operation Gummy Bears? Oreos? Name it something sweet to reflect the reward it will bring!

What name did you choose? How will you connect with your Christian Cohorts? 
I'd love follow ups, too - were you able to open up, and how did it feel?