Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lord, I Need You

"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; 
let us shout aloud to salvation. 
Let us come before Him with Thanksgiving 
and extol Him with music and song."
Psalm 95:1-2

As we drove to dinner tonight, we decided to do something different
Usually we would chat about our day or so exhausted we wouldn't chat at all 
But tonight we played worship music 
I sat there listening to one of my favorites
"Lord, I Need You" by Matt Maher, my heart filled with joy
There is something about music that really gets me into worship
We haven't played worship music all week and my soul was longing for it
As we all started to sing, I could tell we needed this

As I stared out the window into a world of dark brokenness 
Lord, I need you

As I saw the hundreds of people on the street who feel hopeless
Lord, I need you 

As I thought about all the children who were without homes, parents or love and the parents who gave up their children just to survive
Lord, I need you

As I thought about the people who came right up to our windows while we were driving in hopes of food
Lord, I need you

As I thought about those who were crippled, burned or beaten so badly wandering the streets
Lord, I need you

As I thought about the missionary couples who packed up their whole lives and children, took a leap of faith and built an organization here in Ethiopia
Lord, I need you

As I thought about how overwhelmingly broken, unjust, and corrupt our world is
Lord, I need you

I was exposed to a whole new level of brokenness this week
Every part of me was wrecked 
And just when I thought He was done, I saw something that wrecked me again
Lord I Need You

When I get back home I am not going to know how to process this
I am not going to understand why we live the way we do while others struggle
Lord, I need you

I will be going home to my place of comfort, my place with warm running water, electricity, a roof over my head and always food on my plate, while others struggle not only half way around the world but in my own city 
Lord, I need you

 I will be going home to share my experiences with my family and friends
How do I share in a way that accurately explains my feelings and emotions?
Lord, I need you

No one can take away what I saw this week
No one can take away the images of poverty or the hope I saw that the ministries gave
How do I balance my life in the midst of all that I have been given?
How do I live a life that glorifies Him?
What do I do now?
Lord, I need You

God wants us, not only to be healthy and whole, but He wants to use us to help other people be healthy and whole

Lord, You have opened my eyes to a whole, big world
A world of brokenness but also so much beauty 
You have shown me that you can use anyone, anywhere for Your Glory
It is not where we live by how we live
As I head back to the comforts of home, help me not get so comfortable I miss the brokenness 
Continue to break my heart for what breaks Yours
Continue to push me into the uncomfortable because I have learned that is where Your true beauty and blessings will be shown
 Continue to open my eyes to your beauty
Now that I have seen more injustice and brokenness, help me to understand Your plan
You are not a God of confusion, but of clarity 
Help me to live with complete surrender to Your plan for me

Lord, I need You
By Matt Maher 

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wherever you are...Make Your Mark

"All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor,
the very thing I had been eager to do all along."
Galatians 2:10 

It is almost midnight here is Ethiopia
We just got back from a true Ethiopian dinner- with dancers and all!
It was a long, exhausting day so it was nice to sit down 
We ate, we chatted, we made new friends

I still cant comprehend that I am in Ethiopia, Africa
But then we leave to go to another organization and I remember 
I am around children who have been abandoned 
Children sold into labor because parents cant afford them
Children who dont know who their parents are
Children who dont know where they will sleep that night
Children who have no shoes, holes in their shirt, dirt on their faces
Children who dont know Jesus' love 
Children who dont know any love 
Children who are hungry and HIV positive 
I knew my heart was going to break 
And it did, it does and will continue 

However, I was not prepared for the overwhelming brokenness 
I see poverty worse than I ever imagined
The streets filled with mud, people, animals and trash
No movie, no story could ever prepare me for this
This was a breaking of the heart I was not expecting 

Today we went to an organization called Make Your Mark
MYM provides education, food and encouragement in an extremely poor areas in Ethiopia
A story of an American couple who take care of young boys off the street
They started in America and were later called to start MYM in Ethiopia
Today we painted and played card games with the boys - then Trent and Carmen shared their testimony  
I sat there in tears as they shared a story of God's salvation, Grace and Forgiveness
They way that God changed their lives and is now using them to change lives in Africa was inspiring
I look back at what God has done in my heart to get me here and it amazes me
But my love, my belief and my faith increased as I listened to their story and how God moved 

The best thing about Make Your Mark is everything they do points to Jesus
They share about His love, His grace, His forgiveness and redemption everyday 
That no amount of addiction can fill their voids or fear
I heard these boy's stories- Horrible stories on the street 
Is this really happening in the world? 
But after a couple months of being around shown protection, grace, forgiveness and love
After a couple months of being in Make Your Mark
These boys start to believe the Truth 
That no amount of darkness can chase away The Light
They still may be poor to our world's standards 
But they are joyful
They are being restored
They are feeling love, peace and grace 
They know Jesus is the only way, truth and life
Only God

God used Trent and Carmen's story not just to show me how BIG He is, 
but the fact that God can use anyone, anywhere for His Glory 
Carmen and Trent were called to Ethiopia to serve and impact lives
They knew that God had a specific plan for them in Africa

Not everyone is called to serve in Africa
Not everyone is called to start a non-profit
Everyone is called to serve, love and make an impact
Everyone is called to point others to Jesus- in the way we live, talk and act
Everyone is created for a specific purpose for His glory 
And we are all called to obey when He calls like Carmen and Trent

Wherever God calls you right now, Africa or right across the street from the comforts of home  
Make your mark on this BIG world we live in
I promise you when you say YES to God He shows up
He moves in ways we never imagined
He gives more than we ever imagined 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Ephesians 3:20 

So, as I sit here in Ethiopia listening to the comforts of Chris Tomlin 
I still am unsure exactly what my purpose is for this trip
I am still uncomfortable being away from home

But I know God was expanding my world view
I know God was going to use my breaking heart
He is expanding my territory for His Glory 
He was placing children and women strongly on my heart
 I know He was placing Africa on my heart for a reason
Maybe God needed to send me across the world to remind me how big He is
He is a worldly God, not an American God 
Or maybe He needed me to be obedient and say Yes to Him
Whatever the purpose,  
He is showing me that the poor and least of these are not just in my neighborhood or in Africa
They are everywhere in this broken world 
No matter where we are in this world we are called to love
We are called to serve  
Serve the poor in money, poor in shelter, poor in love
Whatever it is, everyone in this world is poor without Jesus

To find out more or give to Make Your Mark click HERE

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Oh My Heart

"God never uses anyone greatly unless He tests them deeply."
A. W. Tozer 

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

We made it

We finally made it!
My mom and I are just getting to bed after 20 hours of traveling
We are exhausted by every sense of the word but filled with excitement on what the next 9 days hold

I would write more but literally cant keep my eyes open

But I will say that driving down the streets tonight looking at the sights, the smells, the people, the culture
It still doesnt seem real

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Therefore, GO

"Therefore, GO"

A command from God that used to make my stomach turn
When I was growing up I told my mom
"God would never send me to Africa, right?"
Then my stomach would go into knots
And that point in my life, I thought God's commandment sent everyone to Africa
I know now that is NOT the case
However, deep down I think Africa came into my mind because I knew I was going one day
Which made me even more mad at Him!
Why would He send me somewhere I didn't WANT to go!

Two years ago, I could not comprehend that our God is loving and compassionate
I could not comprehend that He would never force us to do anything 
He would change our hearts to eventually see that His plans are better
Which is exactly what He did with my heart 
From Enumclaw, WA

To Addis ababa, Ethiopia 

I still cant quite comprehend what is about to happen the next ten days
I do know we will be visiting a few charities that are doing amazing things
I know we will be immersed in the Ethiopian culture
... the bad, beautiful and the brokenness

I know I will see things that will break my heart 
I know there will be times I wont know what to do or say
There will be things I wont ever understand

But I also know I will see His beauty
 I will see His love shining through others 
I will see things that fill my heart with joy 
I know God will be present in everything 

All our donations are packed, my carry-on and airport outfit laid out
It still doesn't seem real
I am not anxious yet not quite perfect peace
But I am rested
I am being restored
I know I am changing for His purpose

I never thought I would get to this spot in my life where traveling would be my passion
Traveling to see Gods love in the world's brokenness
Traveling to see Gods beauty through His people
Traveling to experience rich culture, extreme poverty & extreme JOY despite poverty
My prayer is that I will forever be changed from these experiences

"A man's steps are directed by the Lord. 
How then can anyone understand his own way." 
Proverbs 20:24 

 I don't fully understand why this trip just yet, but I know there is a reason
Tonight I sit outside my parents house in small town USA Enumclaw, WA
Tomorrow I will be across the world to Ethiopia
Only God 


My blessing is this. 

I know a God who loves the unlovable. 

I know a God who comforts the sorrowful. 
I know a God who gives hope to the hopeless. 
And I know a God who has planted this same power within me. 
Within all of us.
And for this blessing, may our response always be, "Use me."

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Now what? I am not sure...

Seattle Pacific University Falcon

4 years- student-athlete
2 years- part time athletic events manager
4 years- full time athletic marketing and promotions 

= 10 years of my life at Seattle Pacific University

10 years of walking into Royal Brougham Pavilion every single day
10 years of driving down Mercer street, turning off Nickerson and onto 3rd Ave West
10 years of pulling into the alumni lot and hoing there was a parking spot
10 years of buying SPU gear for  my family
(My poor dad got one every single birthday) 
10 years of wearing maroon and white
10 years of cultivating relationships with staff and co-workers
10 years of growing in a profession I thought would be my life purpose
10 years of getting to know the new freshman student-athletes
10 years of watching, rooting and supporting the SPU Falcons
10 years as my home

I thought I would spend my whole life at 
 Seattle Pacific University

Long story short..
God helped me use the platform I had at SPU to do amazing things with student-athletes
From Make-A-Wish to St. Jude
From The Jessie Rees Foundation to Children of the Nation
Along the way these past two years, I thought God was using these open doors for the student-athletes

He was really changing me 

You see, I grew up at Seattle Pacific University
I didn't want to leave
SPU was my home away from home
I discovered many things about myself professionally, spiritually, and personally

Right in the middle of the path I wanted,
God steered me in a completely different direction
A path that He wanted

Here I am almost 11:00pm on a Monday night
I dont have to go to work tomorrow at SPU or the day after or next week
Friday was my last day at SPU

What am I doing now with my life?
I am not entirely sure at this very moment
I do know it is not a marketing & promotions coordinator for SPU athletics

What I do know I am choosing God to direct my path 

I know my life is not going as I planned but exactly how it is supposed too
I know that God has turned my world upside down...I am ok with it
I know God has called me to out of my place of comfort and into the unknown... I am ok with it 
I know God is directing me on a new path and ALREADY providing open doors
(blog post to come later) 

Oh, and I know I am going to Ethiopia on Saturday and I am completely ok with it

I will miss being a Falcon
I will miss my co-workers and my place of comfort
I will miss watching SPU athletics every Thursday & Saturdays
I will miss seeing student-athletes on a daily basis

Walking in Gods will brings more joy & peace 
Walking in Gods will is a great adventure in life
Where God guides, He provides
 God's plans will always be better than mine and "better than ever imagined"

I dont know what my future holds, 
but I know Who holds my future

I am ready to step into my unknown future and expect His great adventure 

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Keep calm and... Then what?

Keep Calm and Carry On

A saying that seems so easy to do
But in this moment not one I can comprehend 
Carry on doesnt seem like something I can do right now

Maybe, keep calm and...
 ...just pray
...just stop thinking about it
... just hope it goes away 
 ... and just see a counselor
... just act like it didnt happen
Tried them all 

So many thoughts on how to process this incident, one you never imagine 
 The best thing I can think of doing is keep calm and just write about it 


Seattle Pacific University 
June 5th, 2014 

I just got back from walking through the lobby like I do everyday
My coworker mentioned we were in lockdown
So, someone was robbed at 7-11, or a robbing at a local bank, or just a drill
Then one of co workers mentioned they heard gunshots 
I started to hear sirens outside- A lot of them
First police cars
Then fire fighters and trucks
Ambulances and medics
Ok, this is serious
I look out our window to check the scene 

What is happening right now? 

I glance down at the Otter Miller building and I see the body of a young man across the street below
He looked like he was moving- oh good, he is ok
Then I saw the puddle of blood

What is happening right now?

Fear that I have never experience entered my heart
Where did the shooter go?
Was there another one?
Who is that student?
So many questions ran through my head

What is happening right now?

After that scene, chaos broke out and our department had a front row to what was unraveling
The coaches coming in and letting us know if there athletes were safe
Local and national news started calling asking for interviews
We cancelled out athletic banquet- calls about that information were coming in 
Our gym became safe haven were witnesses would come and give their statement
Text messages, phone calls and facebook posts checking to see if I was ok
I said I was ok but I really should have said I was safe but not OK

What is happening right now?
This doesnt happen to SPU

So many emotions going on I cant seem to make sense of reality right now
Part of me doesn't want to believe it
Then the image of the victim or the fear that came over me sets in
And I start to get angry...then anxious...then tears
Then finally some peace and I feel like it is a distant memory 

Ten minutes later the cycle starts all over again
Anger...anxiety... tears...calmness

Ten minutes later my mind starts to play the "What If" game
What is the shooter decided to turn left towards the gym?
What is the shooter was not taken down and made it into a classroom?
What if?!

Ten minutes later the cycle starts all over again
Anger...anxiety... tears... calmness

Fear- Going back to work and seeing the building an thinking how easy it could happen again- Everywhere I go I walk around on alert

Sadness- For the victim , Paul Lee, not knowing what he was walking out too- that Paul will never experience a full life- for Paul's family and friends- for Seattle and our SPU community- for our graduates who now have this event forever linked to their time of joy

Anger- Why would this happen at SPU? Why did the shooter chose SPU?
Why isn't everyone grieving the way I am? How can people act like nothing happened SPU?

Confusion-  Why would this happen a week before I leave SPU? Will my emotions and memories forever be tied to this shooting? Why the week before graduation? Will I ever be able to laugh without feeling guilty? 

Is it OK to feel ALL this?
 Is this normal in one day?

I am on an emotional roller coaster no one should ever be on 

So, let our faith be more than anthems
Greater than the songs we sing
And in our weakness and temptations
We believe, we believe!
Why do horrible things happen? 
We live in a fallen, broken world and SPU has seen the worst of it
However, there is one thing that has overcome evil
 Jesus Christ

The Seattle Pacific community is bonding together more now than ever before
We know where our anchor lies- Jesus Christ 
We know who we are leaning on during this time- Jesus Christ 

Why SPU?
I don't know but I do know that this event will not define us or break us
We will rise from this stronger than ever before
We know that are being light in this dark world right now

Paul Lee was a resident on 5th Ashton- a residence hall on the SPU campus
#weareSPU #wearefamily

In this time of desperation
When all we know is doubt and fear
There is only one foundation
We believe
In this broken generation
When all is dark, You help us see
There is only one salvation
We believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He's comin' back again

So, here I am back to reality not knowing how to process this event
Trying to process that this is my last week at SPU
Trying to process I am leaving a secure job
Trying to process I leave for Africa in less than two weeks 
Trying to process my life has forever been rocked 

I do believe that ALL things work together for the good
I know He is working on my journey- all the good and the bad
He is giving me strength to keep moving forward and helping me process
He is giving me peace and comfort when my heart is anxious
He is helping me to eventually take this tragic event and make it a sad memory 

Keep calm and carry on?
I am trying
I know it will take time
There are times I want to talk about it and times I cant say a word

I have sought out help on how to process these emotions
Everyday I am being able to get back into my routine one step at a time
I feel I am getting stronger everyday

Keep Calm and Know He is Restoring 

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