Monday, September 20, 2010

So about the jelly salad...

It's become an inside joke, and some have been giving me questioning looks when it is mentioned, so here is the story...
It was two winters ago and we were doing an activity with the youth. We were writing letters to ourselves that were to be sent a month later. I didn't know what to write, so I just did a listening prayer exercise. In it I imagined God giving me a phone call. In the call he invited me to a Christmas party. I was so excited, and didn't really know what to do when invited to a party hosted by the King of Kings, so I asked "Should I bring anything?" His answer was "Bring your faith."
Cut scene.
I'm standing at God's door step having just rung the door bell waiting to be let in to the Christmas party. I look down to see that in my hands is a gross green with pineapple chunks and marshmallows jelly salad. I grimaced. Then my face turned red because I was so embarrassed! The door opened before I could throw the salad into the bushes. God answered the door. He was beaming at me gave me a huge hug and exclaimed "Oh Good! You brought your faith!" He took the wobbly green thing out of my hands absolutely delighted. I smiled awkwardly. He turned and I saw behind him a long table with a red table cloth. The table was covered with jelly salads. I guess everyone brought one. He put mine next to all the rest with a big smile.

He warned me to bring my faith. Even though I think it is a small and insufficient thing, he loves it.
So that's the story.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hypocrisy can be Hysterical

I was walked over to my co-workers feeling down and trying not to show it because I didn't want it to be a big deal. That morning I had looked at my fundraising account. The account that my salary comes out of as well as what pays for all the coffees I have with teens. Dire would be an appropriate word at this point.
We were there for a prayer meeting. We ended up talking and praying about fundraising. This would be a good time to mention that I am a huge cry baby. So yes. I cried. It was a bad day ok? Give me a break.
To understand the rest of this story you need to know that next month my supervisor is teaching all of the YFC staff in the Greater Vancouver chapter about how to fundraise. He asked for help with this huge task and I said I would help teach on a subject he chose.
So here we are. I'm crying. They are doing fairly well at talking to me considering the awkwardness of standing there with a crying female. We pray about it and one of my coworkers asks me "What subject are you teaching about next month at the fundraising meeting?" With tears wet on my cheeks, with my nose all plugged up the way it does when you try to hold back tears, I look up with wide eyes and blubber out "Attitude." Ha! Attitude, he he he. Funny stuff. I still can't help but giggle when I think about it.
Finding Hypocrisy in myself is often times very, very funny.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

grieving divorce, embracing freedom

"Ya, totally." She said with her eyes straining to hold back tears. Her parents are divorced now and I had just told her that I believe she and her brother are both grieving the loss of their family. Not going to school, being depressed, and being very very angry. These are all symptoms of grief. And this is sadly, very common. Grief isn't restrained to death, it is about loss. And these kids are loosing something. They are loosing Christmas, parents, an example of how an adult should act, security, attention, provision, family holidays,.. the list goes on and on. There is great loss to all involved.
So to those of you who have experienced divorce in your family, take the time to grieve. Let it out, wrestle with it, and then move on without resentment. That's the hardest part. To grieve for the loss of something so huge, and then to forgive the person who caused you so much grief.
This is hard. But it is needed. To forgive someone is to let them out of a cage, and then to realize that the one in the cage was you. To experience freedom from bitterness (which rots you from the inside out) you must give in to forgiveness. Forgive them, let them go, and you will find a freedom you didn't have before.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

loss and moving on

Loss is everywhere. Loss of relationships. Loss of jobs. Loss of security. Loss of anything that we feel is important throws us into grief. Grief isn't just for death. We can grieve for the loss of our virginity. We can grief for that raise we didn't get. We can grieve for that friend who is no longer talking to us.
Grief is an inevitable part of life.
There are different degrees of grief obviously. I would be thrown deep into the sorrow of grief if something were to happen to my husband. I would grieve much less for the plant that I watered every day and it died anyways. However it is all still grief.
How you deal with these lesser instances of grief will both prepare you and warn you about how you will handle larger grief.
Grief is a series of stages such as shock, expressing emotion, feeling alone and depressed, guilt... there are 10 of them. The point is that they are gates to walk through. When you get stuck and refuse to move forward you can get into lots of trouble.
I had a room mate once who called me in a panic crying one day when I was in a meeting. I left the meeting and rushed home. I found her on her bathroom floor sobbing. Why? She had spilled her leg wax wax on the floor.
That would be an example of unhealthy grief. Getting stuck in the depression and expressing emotion stage and not moving on to anger and then eventually hope and entering the flow and routine of life again.

So please. Grieve. Express your emotions, understand anger, go to God with your guilt, and move on. That last one is key. If you are grieving, or if you know someone who is grieving, Do not baby them. Let them continue with the routine of life. The longer you stay away from work, the longer you have other people make your meals and do your laundry, the longer you will stay in the depression stage of grief.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I will huff, I will puff, I will blow your plans away!

We've been here before.

with the bus.

It was scary, because we didn't know what we were going to do then. Now we are thankful that bus was taken away from us because our ministry has become even more fruitful because of where God took us post-bus.

Now something is being taken away again...potentially... and this time we aren't scared. We are excited.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

that's why

and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I do what I do.
After a morning of heaviness in prayer... after a morning of tough decisions and tougher realities... after a morning of stress... I did what I love most. I got to sit across from a teen and tell them about Jesus washing his disciples feet and sharing with them the good news of being born again. "Do you believe in new beginnings?" I asked her. I got to share about Jesus's invitation to a new life. An invitation to hope.
And it's only one o'clock :)

I guess you know what you are doing

God I know that you have called me to do this work. I believe heart and soul in it. To love the person in front of me, then to go and stand around the high school. We have seen teens get to know you, and be baptized. We've seen miracles. You are hope. And these teens need hope. After seeing all that you can do I hate that I'm stressed about fundraising. God I know that you have called me into this work, and I know that you have set up people to support it. So please, reveal to me who to ask. Who do I tap on the shoulder and say, I think God has called you to join this work? God I need about 10 more people to join my support team. Please prompt their hearts, please bring me to their minds. This work can't be done without their support. God I chose to trust you. I chose to obey you. Show me what to do.
You are Big. You are Good. I jump into your arms. I trust you.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Board Game Anyone?

To stand there holding the game Clue looking expectantly at your parents and having their response to your request for some rare family time be “Can’t you see we are watching TV?” is devastating.
Here I was listening to this teen’s story of thirsting for attention and love and being disappointed when my phone went off again. This would be the worst time ever to pick it up.
But I had to.
I was in the middle of guiding a volunteer through their first Critical Occurrence and had to pick up the phone.
Worst. Timing. Ever.
This girl is emotionally devastated because of her parent’s lack of presence in her life, so she calls up her Youth Worker for coffee, her Youth Worker had to leave her there alone for 15 minutes while she went out to answer an “important but I can’t tell you why” phone call.
Once again I am reminded of the power of being present. I see the brokeness that comes from the lack of it all the time. And in my own life I see the power of a positive and consistent parental presence. When I was a kid my parents would tuck me in every night. About 10 minutes after they put me to bed I would get up and ask for a glass of water. After I got my water and another kiss goodnight I would lay in bed FOREVER. (actual time 10 minutes) Then I would get up out of bed again, open my door very slowly and peek around the corner into the living room. And every time I peeked, I saw my parents sitting there, in their chairs, bibles open, lamps on, music playing in the background. It was comforting to know they were there.
When I got older and would occasionally be home alone at night for whatever reason I would leave the living room lights on and turn on the radio so I could fall asleep.
The power of presence. To have it is amazing, the lack of it leaves you feeling alone. Very alone.