Friday, May 13, 2005

The Journey Continues

So in the midst of Lipscomb and all if it's adventures, Margaret and Terry Reeves enter the picture and enter our hearts. Margaret was our dorm momma and she was wonderful. Goofy enough to put up with a bunch of college age gals at all hours of the day and night. Balanced enough to be wife and mom and yet meet the jobs demands. Solid enough to know when to be crazy and when to look you square in the eyes and say..."you're messing up here." I remember one such conversation as I was in that time in my life where I knew I wanted something to do with this God thing, I just didn't want all the discipline and the rules and I just wanted to have a good time and I'd get serious about it later, stage in my life. I wanted to be at Lipscomb because I liked the feeling of still being connected to God, I just wasn't sure about all the rest of what it supposedly required. I had stopped going to church regularly and was missing more and hanging out at some places that were not the best places for me to be for sure. Margaret one day pulls me aside and says "hey, come in here to my office for a minute I need to talk to you." I was unaware at that moment that alarm should be sounding somewhere within cause we were about to have A TALK! Lovingly and yet very sternly she looked me square in the eyes and said, Jen you're playing with God here and I don't think you're doing what you really want to do and I know you're not doing what God wants you to do. Some things have changed lately and I know you adore my son (WHICH I DO...we adopted him as a little brother long ago -- she pulled the little brother card...NOT FAIR) and I have felt like you were someone he could look up to, but truth of the matter is I don't want him looking at you right now and seeing your apathy toward God. I don't want him to see you choosing other things over God. Can we say profitable guilt trip here??? So she hands me this card, matter of fact i think it was written on an attendance card from church, that has probably 10 or 15 verses on it and she sits there and goes through every single one and reads them to me with tears in her eyes and then hands me this card says you keep this, reminds me she loves me, prays with me, and then tells me she's done now. As you can tell it was a memorable moment. I still have that card, tucked safely away and it reminds me that sometimes loving someone means you look them square in the eye and say I love you enough to tell you that you're making a mistake here and I wouldn't be much of a friend if I didn't beg you not to hurt God like this. I didn't like that very much that day and it hurt my heart in no uncertain terms, but I have respected her more every day since then because of it. Did it change things immediately, no not immediately. Does it still resonate in my heart at moments, absolutely! It also taught me a lesson about what being the church means knowing and loving people enough that you'd realize when things were distant and you'd help them find their way back to true north!

Lots of memories with the momma of Fanning Hall! She taught us all a whole bunch and somewhere in the middle of that we gained friendships that felt a whole lot like family. Nate still is my little brother and Terry and Margaret some of my favorite people on the face of the planet. Isn't God brilliant that He patches pieces together from so many places to construct the quilt of our lives, or lays stones in so many places on our path through life that as we look back we think, man God you were working all of this out even then weren't you? Nothing He does or leads us through, does He waste, He knits it all together, all those people, all those experiences, all of it, and it all factors into the journey.

Thanks Margaret for being a major impact in my faith journey. You spoke truth when less would have been far easier and I still can hear your words of love that day saying Jen choose God. Took a while, but God used your influence in that in big ways.

I'll tell you more about Mr. Terry another day. My fingers are tired. To be continued....

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

God's confirmation for today...

This was in my inbox just a few minutes ago. Every single day God has done something to confirm in my heart that my life is to be given up to Him. I have never in my life had such an intimate time of walking with Him where I felt like daily we were having this two way conversation, me asking God are you sure, and Him saying Jen keep walking I'm right beside you. It is amazing. I'm struck at this moment in life with how real and immediate the falling face down to the ground when you're in the presence of God must have been. I feel a little like that right now like when He speaks I just want to fall to my knees and bow my heart as low as it can go. These lyrics were in a Kathy Troccoli email that I get every once in a while. Her friend penned them just a few days ago and they resonated within this heart.

There is more than I have already seen.
There is joy beyond an average day.
There is life that pulls me out of my chair
To give until it feels like faith.

And there is hope that knows how greatness can grow
From a seed sown in my cold, timid heart
And a trust that hears your Spirit say, "Go!"
You will let me be your light in the dark.

It’s above and beyond what I thought I could be.

When I give up my fear, when it’s not about me,
When I trust and say yes to your call to press on,
Then I find I am blessed, I am blessed, I am blessed
Above and beyond.

There’s a story that has yet to unfold
From the glory in the pages of time.
And the Author of the Ages says, "Come!"
So a part of His great work can be mine.

Now I can let some foolish tragedy rule,
Or I can live out God’s eternal delight.
Lord, I give the pen and paper to you.
Write your story on each page of my life.

I have made so many excuses

To avoid the joy of living your life.
Now I can play it safe and stay useless,
Or I can give you my fear
And let you teach me to fly.


Words by Jim Weber.
© Copyright 05-01-05 Desperate Heart Music (ASCAP).All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

oh so very much ready to learn to fly!! to let go of the ground and soar with Jesus...mmmmm!! let go and lift off!! may He write the story on each page of your life as well!

Once Upon A Time

So giving credit where credit is due here, I'll start at the beginning of the Honduras journey. I am sure my love for Honduras was being planted several years ago when by a turn of events I had decided instead of going to West Liberty with my best friends from high school, I was going to head to Nashville TN to go to Lipscomb. It was the end of July and my cousin, Eric, had called and we talked and he said "Jen I really think you should come and visit before you make a final decision on where you're going to school." To which I almost in gest replied, "well I'll come look, it'll be fun to come to Nashville, but I can almost guarantee you I'm not going to go there." Never say never, why did I say that so adamantly??!! Guess where I ended up, YEP Lipscomb. I've not regretted God's decision about that for a single second, while I missed my friends from high school, and still do, I knew this was the path I was supposed to take. As a matter of fact when I think back over my life those were two of the best years of my life for sure. It was one fun time after another. My roommate ended up being from Columbus, Ohio how weird is that that we ended up rooming together in Tennessee and were both from Ohio. Doesn't happen too often. As God would have it, she had turned in her housing application late also we found out later and so the latecomers were stuck together in a little room on the second floor of Fanning Hall. God knew what he was doing because to this day she is one of my dearest friends. We were two peas in a pod and it was scary. I'll share just one crazy story of how stupid we were together...We got to be the fire marshalls of our hall, which is a tremendously prestigious position to hold. Basically it means when the fire alarm sounds you run down the hall like a crazy woman telling all the other gals to get out of the building so as not to get burned up. Well that couldn't be all there was to it for us. We had gone to the toy store and bought red firemen hats and whistles. We were ready!! So one night we'd found out we were going to have a fire drill and we slept with our hats in hand our whistles around our necks and our shoes on so when the fire alarm sounded we were poised and ready. Oh dear I could go on and on we did some crazy stuff and laughed oh my goodness we laughed so hard all the time!! I was so blessed. You hear horrible roommate stories, I never had that. I can only remember one time getting upset with each other, I have no idea what about but like five minutes later all was well. Good times. Dawn was our RA and soon became one of my favorite people. I still remember a time when I'd had to go home and have some tests run because I wasn't feeling well and I came back and had a Calvin and Hobbes drawing on my wall with Hobbes hugging Calvin and she'd written her name beside Hobbes and my name beside Calvin. It was a sisterhood moment. My favorite Dawn moment however was when we were talking one night in her room and I was just sharing with her some things I'd done that I wasn't proud of and that hurt my heart and I looked over and she had tears running down her cheeks. Still to this day it reminds me that sometimes people don't need your words nearly as much as they need your heart. She just sat and helped me cry that day and I learned something about compassion for people there that I don't think I'll ever forget. Good friendships formed there, and they became my family while I was so far away from my own. We really were sisters. It wasn't long until Sumer and I were hanging out with the RA's and just as a sidenote there were all kinds of perks to go along with that. (late privileges when we weren't supposed to have any because we were peon freshman, etc.) Enter Judy Louise Mitchell a.k.a. "Weeze". Although there were several people who significantly impacted my life at Lipscomb if I had to pick one who most significantly impacted my heart for Honduras she's the girl. Let me just tell you this first. Judy is a Canadian...which we always had a lot of fun with... I always wanted to sing O Canada to the tune of O Christmas Tree and it never worked out well. Because Judy was Canadian she didn't get government financial aid and so in order to come to Lipscomb to get a Christian education before she came she got most of her stuff together and had a yard sale to pay to get there. I don't know why but that still gets me. I never wanted it that bad and I saw few others that did either. We watched her over and over again work odd jobs babysitting or nannying for the summers, or whatever so that she could be there at a Christian university. She's good stuff. She started going to Honduras when she was at Lipscomb in the summers and she'd come back from her trips and let me read her journal that she wrote in while she was there about all the things she'd seen and felt while being among those people. You couldn't help but be touched. She was a Paul who couldn't stop speaking about what she'd seen and heard. It was evident that there was something tremendously special there.

I'll close this one there for now and finish the next part of the story in another blog soon. It's been a journey a beautiful journey that God has taken me on and as I look back now I can't doubt a single part of God's divine wisdom in it. Perhaps I share this part of the story today to remind you and myself to be thankful for the people who helped to begin the seeds of your "grown up" faith. For me it was my gals at Lipscomb and those times. They will always be precious to me because of that. I was with a friend this weekend who was sharing about a leadership conference she'd just attended where she was asked to list on a sheet of paper the people who had most significantly influenced her life up to this point and the quality that had most impacted her from their life. I think I began my list today. I pray it's not finished until I draw my last breath and I'm always able to appreciate those people God sends to my life and I notice the impact that they've made.

Thanks gals. You were the beginning of the change to a for real faith and although it took a while to ever get there and your hearts hurt along the way God used you and you'll always be names on my list of people who've most significantly impacted my life. Continue to be blessed and be a blessing!!