Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Day Murphy Proved His Point

This week Holley charged us with describing a current, typical day. I must admit that today was not exactly typical, but days like today do make me laugh at life in ministry and stand in wonder at the God we serve.

I work at our local church, so Easter week tends to be full of extra work done during a shortened work week. Even with the extra, I was feeling pretty good about the amount of work I needed to complete when I walked into the office. What I did not realize, however, is that Mr. Murphy had decided to be my shadow in order to enlighten me about his law.

After working for about an hour, one of my essential computer programs locked up and soon my entire computer was not responding. After 30-45 minutes and a few information loss scares, I was back to work.

A while later our printing service delivered the paper I needed to print our weekend worship folders. The paper was not the normal weight or sheen, but he assured me it would work just the same. When I went to print on the paper, however, it smeared everywhere. And then continued to smear on every other normal piece of paper sent through afterward. Awesome. The solution was relatively simple, just time-intensive, and while it was frustrating, it did make me 20 minutes late for my coworkers' Easter celebration lunch.

The afternoon started calmly enough. By this point I knew I would end up working after hours, but I still thought I would make it home before dinner. I moved from working at my desk to finishing a project in the auditorium, but Murphy followed me. 

This time everything went smoothly for me. My coworker wasn't so lucky. He ran up into the sound booth and didn't realize our electrician was working beneath it. My coworker stumbled into the trap door and ended up flat on his face. Murphy's law is an equal opportunity offender.

Not long after his fall, I found out our printer ran out of ink, and somehow we didn't have the usual spare cartridge. Our office manager scrambled and, by the grace of God, found the ink we needed, but this ensured my day would be much longer than I anticipated.

Nate was a gem and brought food to church for us. He headed in to worship practice while I finished my week's work. I assumed I would be done far before him. Printing the last section of the worship folder was the last item on my agenda, as it was my most mindless task. Great choice when I was hanging out with Murphy, right?

Before I knew it, the printer was spitting out blank sheets and looked like this:

The ink is supposed to go on the paper, and that tissue paper stuff is supposed to stay inside.
After a frantic attempt at fixing it, I had to call our office manager, who graciously traveled to church to fix it, even though she was already in her pajamas. At 9:30 pm, Nate and I pulled into the garage, glad to be home in one piece and thankful we were still laughing.

13-hour work days are not typical for me. Having everything go wrong is not usual. And yet facing opposition while doing ministry is absolutely ordinary. Using adversity to bond with friends is normal. Finding that good triumphs over evil, even when it's just an evil printer, is as common of a truth as I know.

We can be sure we will meet challenges in our dream chasing. Some may be physical aches from falls into trap doors. Some may be technical difficulties. Others may simply be delays. But if we are faithful in completing our work, we can fully trust Him to be faithful in completing His.

Murphy proved his point today: Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. The enemy does not seem to be a fan of this weekend. But none of this can stop Easter from coming, ladies and gentlemen! Let's remember His promises. Lean into Him as we press on, dreamers, and enjoy the front row view of God's great work!

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Today was an exercise in contrasts. I woke up to an email announcing a friend's mother had come to the end of her very long battle with cancer. And I grieved. And I rejoiced.

Today I watched the snow fall out the window while I talked to my mom who was seeing sunshine. Her tears let me know my aunt had also come the end of her long battle with cancer. And I grieved. And I rejoiced.

I think of these two women from different parts of the country, how long and how valiantly they fought. I think of how this day was ordained and how their families are grieving but they are now rejoicing together. 

My heart aches and tears fall and I get angry at cancer and the hurt in the world. Yet I long for and know fully that Revelation 21 is coming.

In the midst of all the chaos, today's contrasts made me stop. The office buzzed. Emails popped up. Laughter rose from the cubicles. But my little area just stopped for the day. And forced me to look at other contrasts.

More living, less rushing.

More serving, less selfishness.

More soaking in the slow moments, less taking for granted.

More reaching out, less isolation.

More vulnerability, less facade-building.

So perhaps this post isn't as put together as others. But it's me admitting today was rough and being ok with that.

The grief mingles with the joy, and more mingles with less. And somewhere is the mess of it all, I'm finding just a bit of peace, comfort, and resolve to make these words move.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 
Revelation 21:1-5

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hey Dreamer

Hey Dreamer,

I want to share encouragement with you today. And I wish I had a wealth of experience and wisdom, but instead I have a story.

I stood in a circle of people I greatly respected and listened as they confidently introduced themselves. The task assigned was to sum up the reason we were placed on the earth in one word. Just one. I felt young, I felt inadequate, I felt completely unoriginal as my fellow student leaders clearly articulated their purpose while taking quality words off the table before my turn came around.

“To serve,” said one student.

“To dance,” said a well-known campus leader, with a perky smile on her face.
“To love,” said another.

My mind continually battled itself while coming up with every reason one word would never be enough to describe purpose. And yet, the answers steadily drew nearer to me.

“To learn.”

“To laugh.”
“To speak.”

We tend to make life more complicated than necessary, don’t we? We plan, we strategize. We justify, we rationalize. But in the end, our infinitely complex God wants to make life simple for us. Why are we here? What is our purpose?

To obey.

To worship.
To pray.

With beauty, He created you. With wisdom, He placed you here. With perfection, He will complete the good work He has started in you until the day of Christ Jesus. Do not denounce His workmanship, dear one. Embrace the woman He created you to be. Seek His purpose for you, perhaps the one word that sums up the reason you are here.

In the middle of an icebreaker long forgotten by most, He whispered a word. In the years since, He’s whispered a few more. And I feel quite confident that if you ask, He will show you, too. Let’s dream together, sweet sisters. Embrace it so that together we can fulfill the purpose He has for all of us.

To glorify.

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Right Where God Wants You

Dreaming is not something that comes naturally to me. I'm wired to observe the world around me, to see the facts, to analyze the information I have. I grasp many concepts and ideas, but imagining things that could be but aren't doesn't come easily. I struggle to plan for our future not because I'm spontaneous, but because I am so rooted in logic that I know our future circumstances are unpredictable and won't fit into our plan anyway. And you know what? This way of thinking runs in my family. My mom is not a dreamer, but she's the one inspiring me to dream.

The last three years have not been easy ones for our family, my mom especially. And yet somewhere in that time, she made it her dream to be wherever God wants her. Though she had mixed emotions about short term mission trips, she spent Easter in Haiti two years ago. And my schedule-following, no-thanks-I'd-rather-not-be-dirty momma fell in love.

Haiti 2011
My mom? She's the one beaming in the middle.

A year later, when her life went topsy-turvy once again, she went back knowing it was exactly where God wanted her to be. Back in the Haitian sun, serving with people she loves, meeting our Savior in a fresh way once again.

And this year? She's serving again. This time in California as her sister spends her last few months on this earth. She does not say this was her dream, but she does say this is the exact place God wants her to be. And those are dream footsteps I want to follow.

I stand taller, but we share a face. I see with different eyes, but we share a way of thinking. I serve in different roles, but I dream of sharing her heart, the one that beats for the glory of God.

My Momma on my Wedding Day
I dare you to open your eyes to those dreaming around you, to share the dream God has for you, the God-sized dream nudging your right now, to chase it. Check out Holley Gerth's book. It's out right now, and it's a gem.

Be where God want you to be, dear dreamers!

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