#1. My old (as in: known forever) and very dear friend, Crystal is presently making her way across this great country on route to a Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, along with her 5 children-in a van. She will be chaperoning a youth group missions trip there, loving on many Navajo children, and being an amazing example of God's love to all the of the teens in her care, for sure. I am thrilled that she has been given this opportunity not only to serve, but to serve with her children. And it is awesome to me that she is experiencing what God has been putting on her heart for some time now. It is the kind of trip that in our own youth group days together, I imagined the two of us taking. Of course, I also imagined that we would be on tour - singing, like Amy Grant or Farrell & Farrell, but I still haven't learned to play guitar... and we don't sing in public anymore, so there's that ... but anyway, that isn't the point. And I'm not getting to the point yet, cause I have more to share.... You can follow Crystal's adventure here: Destination Reservation
#2 Same Kind of Different As Me - That is the title of a book I read earlier this summer that should be required reading for Everyone. Have you heard of it? It is a true story told in two voices: the voice of a man who was a slave in Lousiana, who became a homeless man in Texas and the voice of a man who was at one time poor, but made himself a fortune as an art dealer. The first half of the book is each chapter going back and forth between each of the men telling the story of their lives up until they met, and then the rest of the book is each of their stories after they meet. The two men are brought together under "unusual circumstances" and the story demonstrates how God's hand seems to be very much at work in people's lives even when they least expect it. The heroine of the story - the art dealer's wife - is determined to fulfill her God given destiny, and is concerned about missing it. She doesn't miss it. She is courageous, and dedicated and inspiring. Read it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll feel inspired. It is a very moving story that you must read despite my inability to write an interesting summary. I don't want to give too much of it away, but I will say that like #1 above it moves me to my point. You can read more about the book here.
#3 I'm doing a study on the book of Esther with Beth Moore's Esther: It's Tough Being A Woman. Like all of her studies that I've done. I am really enjoying it. And I'm finding it is leaving me with the same thoughts that #'s 1&2 have left me with. There are many different aspects of the study, but one of the themes is based on the verse Esther 4:14 where her cousin Mordecai asks the question " Who knows if you have not been brought to this royal position for such a time as this?" The position being Queen of Persia, the time being that the King had just signed a decree that all Jews would be annihilated - and unbenounced to the King, Esther was Jewish. Mordecai wanted her to use her position to help save the Jews. Destiny. Would she remain silent and perhaps miss hers?
#4 I was introduced to a blog via a recipe that I really liked. In addition to having great photography and sharing great recipes, and touching family stories, the guy who writes it shares what is going on at the church where he is a tatoo-ladened pastor. His church, operating out of the westside of the Cincinnati, is doing some really great stuff. They really seem to be getting out there and reaching people that wouldn't be looking for a church or thinking that God would want anything to do with them. And they are just loving those people, and sharing life with them. It just seems very REAL, and I wish there was a church around here like that. One of the amazing things about this guy, Ryan, is that there always seems to be some trial that he is personally going through. A few months ago, he was on a missions trip, and got poison ivy - really bad, last week they had an outdoor baptism for a bunch of people and the next post he tells about how he just found out he has MRSA. He doesn't let any of it slow him down from doing what he feels he was created to do. You can check it out for yourself here: http://www.thisisreverb.com/
My point, or part of it anyway: I've unintentionally been doing all this reading and seeing and hearing about people doing great things on a small and/or large scale so it has really had me thinking about Destiny. And what we are put here to do. I feel like I'm being bombarded with it. But lately, I've been personally feeling like I'm in a holding pattern. And I've been feeling like I am supposed to be doing something, but I don't know what that is yet. So, I'm wondering what's going on. And then I think "what if God is preparing me for something I don't want to do?" A destiny I don't want. Or perhaps I'm already living it: being a wife and mom, raising up two beautiful children. And that's it. Not that there would be anything wrong with that. And before anyone goes all platitude or theological on me, please know that I will graciously accept whatever God has planned (well, okay, maybe not graciously, depending on what is asked of me, I may kick and scream and lay on the floor and cover my head and say no first)
So I'm waiting. And I don't want to miss anything that God may want me to do. And I hope silly fears aren't preventing me from seeing it. And I don't like waiting, I like planning. And I don't want to add 'being afraid of my fears so I'm missing out on what I'm supposed to be doing' to my list of phobias. I'll stop there. I don't want to sound whiny. I really should be content with the quiet right now.
So, in summary, pray for Crystal, read Same Kind of Different As Me, do the Esther study, and try one of Pastor Ryan's recipes. I'm sure you will come out much more adjusted then I am - and then we'll do lunch and talk about it.
Have you heard any amazing stories of courage lately?