The Calm Before The Storm

It’s event week.

Which means things appear chaotic, crazy, messy yet make perfect sense inside my brain. Event week means little sleep, many emails, and plenty of opportunities to exercise grace and patience with myself and others.

I love the adrenaline of event week; the rush of seeing dreams and plans come to fruition while teams of people bust their behinds to make hope loud to a community of people.

This week I am so thankful for….

  • People who have put in hours of work and brought expertise to areas I lack in
  • A church that believes our actions should be louder than our words
  • A community of people who are faithful and generous givers – making events like this possible
  • Hundreds of volunteers who have brought in presents, prepped rooms and who will show up Saturday ready to love on our community in a way that brings honor and dignity
  • A God who is ever so faithful and patient. Who loves me through my ugly – who gives me grace to try leading again – who created adrenaline and joy – who allows us to be part of families memories

Today is the calm before the storm. It’s the last few hours to check lists twice, cross the t’s and dot the i’s. It’s my least favorite part of events, but today I choose to challenge myself to use these quiet moments to refuel and refocus instead of incessantly check lists and be busy.

Jesus – may your love be loud and felt this weekend.

The Calm Before The Storm

Hammock

This summer our house made the best purchase – a hammock. It hangs out in the back corner of our backyard and provides an oasis of peace at the end of crazy days.

I love our little hammock. Now that it’s getting cold I don’t get in nearly enough hammock time each week. But it still stands out there as a daily reminder to pause and be peaceful.

Pause.

Process.

Dream.

Repeat.

Where’s your thinking spot?

Hammock

A Hosea Heart

Currently I’m reading the book of Hosea through She Reads Truth (click there to read online or download the app for your smart device). I’ve read Hosea before and felt so proud of myself for being like Hosea and loving people who were broken and hurt. I found pride in giving people second and third chances, of representing the heart of Jesus that no matter how many time they “turned away” or “walked away” I would still fight for them to come back.

Who did I think I was?

It’s so easy to look at Scripture and type cast myself as the hero or the “good guy” when sometimes I need to face the reality that I, JODY, am the reason a good guy even needs to exist. That I am the heart that wanders, that looks to others sources for strength, encouragement, identity. My heart is the one in need of extravagant grace. I’m the heart on the auction block, tattered, diseased and full of sin. Jesus looks upon my heart daily and says “I love you. I choose you. I want you.”

What a beautiful thing to experience the grace of Jesus. When grace is felt and understood I think there are moments when we can be like Hosea. But I think the best Hoseas are the recovering Gomers.

A Hosea Heart

Abandon

in 2008 I thought I was really cool and I started blogging. I used big words to feel smart. I avoided all capital letters to feel cool. But I wrote with honesty. I wrote weekly, if not daily without a care for comments because I needed a place to process.

Funny, how some things do not change.

I still use big words to feel smart and do crazy things because I think they make me look cool. I still find myself with a daily need to process, to feel, to wonder, to grow.

In 2008 my focus was on what it meant to be reckless. I wanted to be different, for my life to look different from the people around me and to do something great with my life.

In 2014 my focus is on abandon. What does it actually mean to abandon my life, my dreams, my hopes, my judgments, my emotions to live a full life? Is that possible? Does it matter?

I think it does. Because the reality is we are all being watched. The neighbor kids down the street, your family, the person who offices next to you, the 1,257 friends you have on Facebook….you’re being watched and your life represents something or someone.

People will be there to see our successes and failures. Often times it feels as though they celebrate the losses and mourn the wins. But daily I need to remember to abandon – to hold lightly to what I feel and cling tightly to what I know.

So here we go on a new old journey. Messy life. Slow growth. But progress.

“We’ve become what everyone else wants us to be – yet the best gift we could bring the world is to be people God created us to be. As writer Henri Nouwen once said, “One of the tragedies of our life is that we keep forgetting who we are.”” – Freeway Journal

Abandon

Confession

Confession 1: Responsibility is one of my top gifts – and one of my greatest weaknesses

Confession 2: I don’t practice the difference between pleasing people and respecting people

 

Solution – Selfish September:) I’m going to take this month and work on finding balance in these two areas. Which means I’m going to practice being honest, selfish and putting periods in my life/sentence. This may only last a day:) But we’ll give it a go.

Confession

Miracles happen in the Moments

The last month has been littered with moments where my faith is encouraged and increasing. While I’m in my favorite season of ministry so far – it’s the hardest. My faith is stretched, my ability to learn tested, confidence waning – and I LOVE it.

I love living day to day knowing I will fail if Jesus isn’t involved. It makes ordinary and overlooked moments into miracles.

The student who invites a friend from school – that moment is a miracle

The leader who finds freedom from a past that held her heart captive – that moment is a miracle

The middle schooler and high schoolers who get baptized – those moments become miracles.

The student who is upset and heartbroken when seeing churches miss opportunities to reach her peers – miracle.

I think miracles happen when Jesus comes into a situation and does more than we could imagine. It could be turning water into wine, opening blind eyes, growing limbs, bringing people back to life….and it can be as “small” as showing up in the moments where you KNOW He must show up and give you words to say or you’ll ruin it. A miracle can happen in the moment when a student stops living life on their own and starts looking to God for answers and direction. When He intersects with our life – it will always go beyond what we can do on our own.

So live your miracle of a moment today. Do what you can and then let God move.

Miracles happen in the Moments

Take out the trash

A month or so ago we shared a talk with our students about how our words bring life or death. That each word that is spoken to us, about us, from us will be trashed or treasured.

And everyday since then I have had to empty my trash can. Some days more than once. Some days it’s like the words that have to be trashed fill up an old school metal dumpster with no wheels and you have to find some help to get rid of all the junk in there.

There are days it’s fine. And other days, when the weight of those words feel so true – even though they have been trashed – it’s incredibly hard to find the strength to take out the trash.

But trash that is left too long causes problems. It increases stench, your chance for disease and desensitizes you to foul odors and disgust.

So I have had to daily take it out – even if it’s not too bad yet. I have people who ask me often how my trash can is. Words have the power to bring life or death and so I have to 

take.out.the.trash.

Take out the trash