You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2008.

things here seem to quickly be coming to a close–almost too fast for me to grasp or realize. it doesn’t feel like i’ll be moving 6 hours away in a matter of days. i haven’t really packed. i still haven’t foundd a place to live (although i think i am very close!). i haven’t really started saying my goodbyes.

last night my dear friends threw me one last, themed going away party, and that’s when it all started to sink in. “this is goodbye.” there are certain things that are hard for me to wrap my head around, and “goodbye” or “changes” often fall into that category. i can’t imagine things any different than they are right now, and so it’s hard for me to get sad about these sorts of life changes, even though i know that this is a great fork in the road and i anticipate that it will be quite a new beginning for me. but it doesn’t feel like i’m losing; only that things can only get better because this is where God is pulling me and intends me.

i think that’s another reason it’s hard for me to get scared or nervous or sad about things: i’m excited to see what comes from this move. the doors could not have swung open wider and God could not have shown his face any clearer, step after step after step. so any doubt has been wiped clean. and i love it that way.

so it was great to spend one of my last nights in cincinnati, surrounded by friends, where the whole place was full of love and celebration. even though it’s hard for me to fathom that this is a last time that i’ll be able to partake of these sorts of gatherings, it was really awesome to have that as a memory to stoop myself on. because i know that upon moving to grand rapids, things are probably going to be hard and i’m probably going to yearn for those sorts of moments. so now i have them, freshly tucked away, still smelling crisp and new: friends and lovelies and everything i love about Ohio crammed into one room.

thanks, friends 🙂 i love you!

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when i find myself talking about everything that God’s been doing in my life lately, the words i keep coming up with to explain it are, “it just blows my mind.”

and it’s not just the new job and new city that have me saying that.

the day after i had my second interview in grand rapids, i had my first date with my now-boyfriend, Michael. (yep, he’s a music man!)

sometimes i don’t write about things until they’re a done deal because i don’t want to jinx them or i’m afraid of getting the presses humming presumptuously. but this is something different. i’m not afraid to jinx anything because i do truly trust God with what he’s done and what he’s doing and with my heart. plus, i have a great sense of peace about the whole situation (despite that the “situation” includes a few hundred miles distance). it’s just that the idea of trying to put “it” and “him” to words boggles my mind. i don’t know how to say it or give it any justice.

but suffice it to say that the whole verse from isaiah that’s been ringing so true has as much to do with him and our relationship as it does with everything concerning grand rapids. i really do feel like who he is “just blows my mind.” all this time, i’ve been expecting “bronze” from men and dating and here God has shown me “gold.” i just never expected someone like him to really exist and to really want be my boyfriend. it’s pretty amazing. he’s pretty amazing!

and the distance thing (he lives in atlanta) isn’t what i would have liked, but i think that it will be a good thing. i keep praying that God will bless that and make it a good thing instead of a bad one. and i trust that that’s exactly what he intends, because i can already see how it’s shaping our relationship and forcing us to be intentional, especially about keeping God first and keeping communication open and talking things through rather than letting them fester. (Michael’s been absolutely amazing about both of those!) it’s also made it easier for us to delve into deeper things, i think, and helps us pace ourselves from moving too fast or getting distracted. besides, i’ve already booked flights to see him in two weeks and then again for his birthday at the end of september. so we’re making it work 🙂

it’s just been so crazy to see God working so much overtime in my life lately–because i know it’s totally Him in all of this! and i know i don’t deserve it and sometimes i wonder why God is being so good to me, but i know it’s because that’s who he is and that he loves doing that for all of us! and i also know that these are all things that i’ve been praying about and so to see him answer them in ways that are so much glorious than i ever could have imagined just, well, blows my mind! i know i shouldn’t be surprised, but it really does grow my faith even more and helps me understand who He is and fathom His love even more.

it just blows my mind–Him and him and you and you. thanks for the prayers. let’s continue praying for each other.

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.
The scepter of the wicked will not remain
over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
their hands to do evil.
Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
to those who are upright in heart.
But those who turn to crooked ways
the LORD will banish with the evildoers.
Peace be upon Israel.

-Psalm 125

this verse has been like my anthem of late:

I will make you the everlasting pride
and the joy of all generations.
….Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

Instead of bronze I will bring you gold,
and silver in place of iron.
Instead of wood I will bring you bronze,
and iron in place of stones.
I will make peace your governor
and righteousness your ruler.

Isaiah 60:15-17

i read this article late last week and, as it retold the story of the Israelites being led from Egypt, it was a great reminder about not doubting God’s provisions or forgetting all that he’s already done and already provided:

Just as God had to continually remind the Israelites of what He’d done for them and what He was going to do for them, I need to continually remind myself of the truth of who He is. I need to remind myself that my circumstances, or at least how I see things with my limited perspective, don’t define God’s character; His Word does.

Author David Kyle Foster implores us, “Make a conscious effort, that when things go wrong, to assume the best about God rather than the worst.” When I was struggling with so many questions about God, I remember saying, “God, You could fix this if You really wanted to — so why aren’t You?” God wasn’t coming through for me as quickly as I wanted Him to.

The truth of the matter is that God is not a vending machine. Often we view God this way, as if we should be able to put in our token prayer or request, and in a timely manner an answer should show up on our doorstep. Sometimes it does happen that quickly and to our satisfaction. And some of the time, the answer we get from God is silence. Instead of riding in like a knight in shining armor, He tells us to keep on asking, and asks us to wait in expectation for His answer. Other times, we’re so focused on receiving a specific answer that when the answer comes in a different manner than what we’re expecting we miss God’s response completely.

….

We need to continually remind ourselves of how God has come through for us in the past — that He has always been faithful, and He will continue to be faithful. Like Joshua and the Israelites, having crossed the Jordan River, set up 12 stones as a reminder of God’s faithfulness to them, we too need our own “memorial stones”: reminders of who God is and how He always comes through — in His timing and His way, but always.

“All Around Me” by Flyleaf

My hands are searching for You
My arms are outstretched towards You
I feel You on my fingertips
My tongue dances behind my lips for You

This fire rising through my being
Burning I’m not used to seeing You

I’m alive, I’m alive

I can feel You all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healing

My hands float up above me
And You whisper You love me
And I begin to fade
Into our secret place

The music makes me sway
The angels singing say we are alone with You
I am alone and they are too with You

I’m alive, I’m alive

I can feel You all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healing

And so I cry
The light is white
And I see You

I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive

I can feel You all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healing

Take my hand
I give it to You
Now You owe me
All I am
You said You would never leave me

I believe You
I believe

I can feel You all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healed

even though i won’t be around to take advantage of them, C-HOP (cincinnati house of prayer) will be offering a handful of classes. i’ve never taken one of theirs before but i would encourage anyone able to try it out. i really believe they’ll be deep and rich and enlightening.
Fall Semester Classes at C-HOP

For more information on all these check our website or more specifically click here.

1.  Israel’s place in the plan of God: Mondays 6:45-9:00pm beginning September 8th.

This class aims to equip us with a biblical understanding of Israel’s place in the plan of God. Beginning with the call of Abraham, we will develop a theology of Israel that demonstrates God’s continuing faithfulness throughout history to this “firstborn” nation. This course is an essential foundation for anyone who is called to stand with Israel and pray for her salvation as we approach the end times.

Cost: $25 for individual, $40 a couple
Register: Israel

2.  The Omega Course: Thursday, 7:00-9:00pm beginning September 4th.
The Omega Course is an 8-week DVD curriculum (We will be adding several additional weeks for further teaching and discussion). Mike Bickle (director of KC-IHOP) gives a broad overview of the End Times in eight sessions, describing the people, places and events that matter most at the end of the age. The curriculum includes additional audio teachings, complete outlines, appendix, glossary and a guide to leading small group discussions. It’s about preparing the worldwide Church for what the Bible promises will be its most glorious hour. Omega is helping to prepare people to be ready, and its one of the resources we use at the Cincinnati House of Prayer.
Cost: $25 for individual,  $40 a couple
Register: Omega

3.   The Eternal Glory of an Intercessor
: Wednesday 6:30-9:00pm beginning September 10th.
A course made popular by Corey Russell in KC is now being facilitated at the Cincinnati House of Prayer.
This course will focus upon ushering in revival through prayer. With the Church as a “sending out” community it is important that our future leaders understand the urgency of the hour and the great need for a people of prayer to emerge. Walter Wink suggests that, “history belongs to the intercessors.” Biblical evidence supports his assertion and calls us to equip our people in the privilege of praying God’s will into the earth. This course studies the lives of great biblical and historical intercessors and how they changed history through the power of prayer.
Cost: $25 for individual, $40 a couple
Register: Intercessor


4.  A study in the Song of Songs
Wednesday’s 12-2pm beginning Sept 10th
A line by line study through the book of Song of Solomon, revealing the heart of God for His people and our response to this love.
Cost: $20 per individual
Register: Song of Songs


5.  A study in the Psalms of Ascent: Monday’s 10-12noon beginning Sept 8th
Traditionally, these were the psalms that were sung as the priests as they ascended the temple stairs to minister at the Temple of Jerusalem. Singing and declaring the prayers of the heart, is a firm foundation of the “house of prayer”.
Cost: $25 per person
Register: Psalms

last week or so, i woke up two days in a row at 6:43am (sans alarm). i remember learning once that when a clock grabs your attention and it’s the same numbers, then that’s often God speaking to you, pointing you to a specific verse. now, if i new the Bible better, perhaps “6:43” would have instantaneously brought a verse to mind from memory. but having only google, here’s the verse I trust God was revealing:

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:43-45

i feel like (i hope!) that’s God revealing to me what he’s doing in my life, right now, as everything is in the midst of change: that it’s all good fruit.

then, yesterday on my lunch break, i read the next few verses of that chapter:

I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Luke 6:46-49

and that’s what this whole Grand Rapids move is all about: digging deep and laying foundations. because i know that i must do that if i want to stay firm and close to God as i get older and trials get harder and more real. and a month before, mallory’s sister had texted me psalm 91 about the same idea, dwelling in the house of the Lord and this next season of my life teaching me how to do that. i’m eager…

so when i returned to cincinnati, i received word that i was invited back for a second interview. i ended up having to reschedule because the original date they wanted me to arrive for fell during the week i was going to be traveling to CIY with the youth group. fortunately they were flexible and were able to push the interview back another week.

i remained calm and at peace with the situation until the night before the interview. at that point i had what i’d probably compare to an anxiety attack although i have nothing to compare it to. my heart was racing, i was short of breath, i was hungry, i was thirsty…i was super anxious. and i tried to pray through it but nothing worked. i barely slept and the next morning, i was still anxious the whole drive up. even when i went into the interview, the anxiety was still right there, punching me in the face. looking back, i really feel like it was the devil’s one last-ditch effort to psych me out and pull me away from God’s plan. because at one point, i really just wanted to call them and tell them to cancel the interview. and what was i afraid of? of getting the job. how dumb is that?

it wasn’t until about halfway through the interview that i regained composure and the anxiety left me. by that point, the anxiety had already made me mess up a bit more than i normally would have so i figured that if i was able to get the job even after that–admittedly, not my greatest interview–then i knew God was in on it. i finally walked out of the interview at peace with whatever would happen. and i realized that if i did get the job, then i would have to accept it because God opened so many doors and if i didn’t, I’d be slamming the door in God’s face. plus, i would only stay in Cincinnati because it’s comfortable, but that’s not always what’s best. I would be letting the fear of the unknown stop me.

the next monday, i received an email offering me the position. just. like. that. i accepted it and then went to tell my coworkers, who were shocked and sad but very, very supportive. that was so important to me. i was more scared of leaving and uprooting them than anything else, really. so that was a blessing that that all went smoothly (or better than expected!)

so it’s cool looking back to see how God guided this whole process: how i’ve started learning to try to listen to God and how he’s met me in those places. i know it isn’t always easy but i also know there were places along the way where i could have doubted more, where i could have ignored God’s still small voice. but because of all the wide swinging doors and how everything’s fallen so perfectly into place, i don’t doubt that whatever comes from it, that it was where God is pointing me. i hope and pray that i can continue to heed those proddings.

in one of the chronicles of narnia (i think it’s the last book), they are making a trip and Aslan tells them to look for certain signs. well along the way they get distracted because they’re cold and hungry. the end up missing the first sign, so they have to back track. well, the journey back isn’t that easy. someone wonders whether Aslan intended for them to miss the sign the first time around. one of them pipes up and says, “No, I don’t think Aslan would do that. I think he’ll still help us get there, but if we would have listened and paid attention the first time, he would have made things easy for us. Things are hard now because we ignored his guiding the first time around.” (of course that’s my interpretation and paraphrase, but you get the idea.)

and it’s not that i want things to always be so easy, because i know that’s the opposite of what Jesus promised. but what i do hope is that this move is in fact one of those times where i heeded and obeyed, and so i hope that it makes it easier for me to continue to heed and obey in the future. the easy way or not, i don’t want to look back and say the only time i really knew i was listening to God and God was with me was when i was 25. that would be so disappointing and heartbreaking.

now i had done this sort of informational interview seeking once before, right after i graduated college and thought i wanted to move to new york city. i couldn’t find a job and decided to visit the city and see what i could do. before going, i lined up as many interviews as i could, at places like teen people, ym, cosmogirl, and the knot magazine. (you see, i’ve always had a thing for teen girls!)

so my inclination with this grand rapids visit was originally to line up as many interviews as possible, but at this point i only had one. but Something told me to pursue this one avenue–to see it through and to trust. so i fought my urge to blanket the city with resumes and pitches and cover letters, i sat still. and waited.

when mal and i visited, it was great how people reached out to us. even before the visit, we seemed to be getting signs that there was a community already waiting for us up there–with people eager to open their homes to us and encouraging us to come. kevin had invited friends over and mallory made all sorts of new contacts up there for us. it was amazing to see that all weave together and get some sort of bricks laid for that. even moreso, when i told kevin where i was interviewing and remembered he had a friend who worked at Baker and i should call him to get a sense of the company. i did, and it ended up that the woman i was interviewing with was his boss! he would be a coworker in the same department! so i asked him my questions about the company and he assured me that it was a stand-up, practice-what-they-preach company. that’s what i wanted to hear. if i was going somewhere to grow closer to God, i wanted to be sure that’s what i could expect.

the last day we were in town (a monday) was the day of the interview. somehow through the whole process, God gave me an insane peace about everything. and you should know i’m, by nature, a worry wort. when i was in grade school i could never enjoy a snow day because i always thought that perhaps i’d misread the information and we actually weren’t off school. i’d freak myself out and not trust that it was truly a day off. but with grand rapids, i wasn’t worried or rushed or stressed or anxious. i just trusted: that God would provide a job if he was going to point me in that direction. that i’d figure everything out with my living situation in cincinnati. all the things that people asked me if i’d considered and what i was going to do. all i could do is shrug and say i don’t know, and be done with it. how glorious and releasing is that?!

so upon going in for my interview, i could not have been more at ease. mallory drove me to the interview and before i went in, prayed for me. my peace grew. i walked in and met with the interview lady, and it was like meeting with a friend. we got along great and talked shop but also talked about life and the way God works. she recommended books to read to me and gave me one to take with me and i made recommendations for her. i walked away feeling like this is a woman i could really look up to and respect, not just as far as a job goes but also as far as having as a sort of mentor in my life. to have that as a boss? that’s pretty phenomenal!

so i walked away from the interview with a good feeling brewing in my stomach–as if i already belonged to this place. we went to a cute french cafe and met more new friends before hitting the road for the 6-hour return trip to cincinnati. oh and i forgot to mention that the night before we were able to check out mars hill. and even though rob bell had taken a hiatus from speaking only weeks before we came to visit, i learned so much more in that one “gathering” than i had in a long time at a church service back home. things were looking good…

so after months and months of vagueness, it’s finally come together and it’s finally come true:

i’m moving to grand rapids.
i’m going to be working in christian publishing.
i’ll be going to mars hill.

it’s a pretty exciting time and i really, truly feel like God’s hand was so deeply into this that it’s just breathtaking. let me recap:

in march, i was at work one day and doing my usual task of flipping through blogs i read and listening to podcasts and reading articles online–not about design but about faith and the like. a light bulb went off in my head that if my job had to do with God, i’d be so great about it because that’s where my passion for learning lies. i enjoy design and appreciate design but i don’t seek it out in the way i do information about God.

now nothing with this light bulb moment would have really gone anywhere had it not been for me becoming friends with my dear mallory, who at the time was trying to figure out where she was headed in life. at a party, she was telling me about the two places she was considering: philadelphia and grand rapids. after that conversation, i got inspired and went home and started looking up where some christian publishing companies were. lo and behold, there were a handful in that little western town of grand rapids. in fact, it’s deemed the christian publishing capital of the u.s.

so the more we talked about it, the more right it felt to pursue grand rapids and this dream of christian publishing. we set up a weekend to go visit, but one thing led to another and it kept getting derailed. we weren’t able to visit until the middle of june. trying to maximize this dream of mine, i put feelers out at a couple of the christian publishers i’d discovered to see if i could meet with any when i was in town. the original house that i thought i wanted to pursue (zondervan) never called me back. however, there was this smaller one (Baker) that i contacted and even when the operator patched me through to someone completely unrelated–everyone was so kind and so helpful to me. to me, that was God opening a door, and i took it by faith.

it was a couple weeks before we headed up to grand rapids and i still hadn’t secured any job interviews. but i still believed this is what God wanted. i got together with my youth pastor to get his take/guidance on the situation. he had me create a pro/con list of why i wanted to move to grand rapids (first of which was a job where i could serve and learn about God an additional 40 hours a week, second of which was renewed community). he asked me what i would do if i didn’t get a job up there, would i just move ahead? i told him that i wouldn’t move until i had a job because i felt like that was the whole purpose God pointed me up there in the first place, so he would provide that. somehow God gave me such peace and clarity through the whole process–i’m still baffled.

after our meeting he told me that he wished he could tell me that i was doing it for the wrong reasons but he couldn’t. as it turns out, i emailed another of my contacts at Baker to see about setting up an interview and she suggested some new job postings for me to consider. none of them were in what i originally wanted to pursue (to be an acquisitions editor–the people who are finding the books to publish) but there were some in the publicity and marketing department.

i pulled together my application and sent it off. days later, i got an email that i had an interview with the publicity department while i was in town.

…. to be continued

sorry it’s been so long, friends.

over the past week, the prayer that i’ve been praying is to be comfortable living in the gray area that life dishes up. so often, i want to rush to the black or to the white: either i want this job or i don’t. either i like this guy or i don’t. either i do this or i don’t. rather than slow down and let the process unfurl and be OK living in the in-between times, when an answer is unknown. i always have to remind myself that that’s how God works…patiently and one. step. at. a. time. butiwantananswerNOW! so there’s that struggle.

the parable of the seed and the soil has been really true for me in all this: how the healthiest and richest plants spring from fertile soil that lets it grow slowly and over time. it even says that the plant that grows too quickly will wither under the daytime sun. it’s not healthy for us to move that quickly! and so i am trying to relish these times of “i don’t know!” because i can see that as i learn to do that–as i learn to be comfortable with the unknown–that i really am able to allow myself to settle into God and let him “make everything beautiful in its time.”

and even on making that realization–that it’s OK to live in the gray–that oh-so-sweet gift of Peace floated down and made everything so much easier to handle. it’s funny how such a simple and obvious epiphany can be like flipping on a light switch in a room–and send the heretofore grayness fleeing.

“Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God.”
Romans 5:1

….to be continued!

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