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I’m the kind of person who doesn’t worry.

Instead, I PANIC.

This week, I woke up and decided it was high time for some panicking.

Just kidding. But really, I did panic.

It was like for so long I (and we) have been in the dramatic upheaval of marriage and missionary training and moving and starting out support raising that I didn’t have time to panic, only to keep my head above water.

But slowly, things have settled. We’ve unpacked our things. We bought a comforter. Our rings became less shiny and our stuff less new and our marriage less novel, and suddenly I wasn’t just surviving.

And when I finally had enough time to stand and look around, I panicked. Not just panicked, but PANICKED. Like, freaking out, crying, full-blown angry-thrashy-sweaty-nightmare-filled sleep panicked.

Like a child who suddenly realizes they’ve swum into the deep end on accident, I’ve lost my footing. Spluttering, choking, gasping for breath.

How are we ever going to do this? Missionaries? What were we thinking? Really. There are people far smarter, far better, far more spiritual and qualified for this than us. Trust me, we went through training with them.

But here we are. With the title “Missionary” on our marriage license and our tax forms. Doing just that.

But for some reason, God chose us for this. I definitely don’t always appreciate it (last night as we were getting ready for bed, I told Clay that I really wish God could have chosen to make us something more stable, like an office-worker or full-time vacation-taker. He told me the first one isn’t all that stable and the second one doesn’t exist. Dang.) But I know we’re right where we’re supposed to be.

And honestly, it’s a scary place to be. I wish I could say that I wasn’t scared, that I was trusting God completely, that I was at peace. But I’m not. But I’m getting there.

Every day I wake up, I’m dragging these reluctant feet a few more steps, urging this stubborn heart to soften just a little bit more. I’m getting there. I am. I’m just slower than you might expect.

“I believe I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)

I have clung to this verse like it is life itself. To me, it says so much. It says not only will I see the goodness of the Lord, but that I will see it in the land of the living. Did you catch that? I won’t have to wait until heaven. I will see it here. Now.

Oh, that gives me so much hope!

To know that it’s not the interminable waiting. To know that I’m not stuck on “this side of eternity”, a phrase to me that sounds like being a toddler stuck behind the baby gate, watching all the fun happening in the other room.

To know that I can, right now, in this place, in this situation, experience his goodness, no matter how scared or small or insufficient I feel.

I love that. I need that.

I BELIEVE I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of living. In the land of missionary support raising. In the land of newly-married-ness. In the land of Columbus, Ohio (aka far, far away from the ministry and the students I love.) In this land, right here, today.

I believe I will.

I believe.

 

 

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Tomorrow is my official last day as an intern with Cru at Ohio University.

 

I’ve tried to sit down and write this post a hundred times. I’ve been keeping a page in my journal entitled “Things I’ve Learned as an Intern” to try and help me catch the ideas when they come. I’ve spent an entire afternoon contemplating the year and processing through it with the Lord. And the conclusion I’ve come to is this:

 

I can’t sum this year up.

 

I can’t wrap it up in a blog post. I can’t make a “10 Things I’ve Learned” list. I can’t even write about one thing I’ve learned. I just can’t.

 

This year has been too full, too hard, too wonderful, too everything.

 

And as much as I want to communicate how much this year has meant to me, how much the Lord has taught me, I can’t.

 

Because this year I’ve truly walked with the Lord. Not perfectly, and not constantly, but closely. Day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. This year has forced me to do something I’ve always longed to – rely on the Lord as if my very life depends on it. Because it does. And I do.

 

This year, for a million reasons, I’ve pulled up close to Him. And He has become as near to me as my own heart, as close and as constant as my breath.

 

I’m not sure why, and I don’t know how, but something this year changed me.

 

I have found Him, and I have drawn close. And the joy is thick, and sweet, and constant – no matter my circumstances.

I am so profoundly thankful.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul! And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, o My soul!” – Psalm 103 ESV

As I am almost done with my third week “on campus” here as an intern with Cru at OU, I thought it was about time for an update on what I’m learning.

I’ve been doing a lot. Handing out questionnaires, making a billion phone calls, sitting down to meet new students and share the Gospel, leading Bible studies, making flyers, formulating “social media strategy plans,” going to house parties, and on and on. From 9 am to 10 pm every day, my mind is buzzing with the billion tasks I have to do, and the excitement/exhaustion that is meeting a 1,000 new people and having the opportunity to share Jesus with them all. But even in all that activity, I’ve really only learned two things.

1) I have no idea what I’m doing.

Image

I keep telling people this, and they keep laughing. But really. I’m serious. Most of the time I wake up in the morning and beg God for grace. Even though I worked in the ministry as a student throughout my four years, being on staff is a whole different beast. There’s so much behind the scenes that I didn’t know even existed that must be done. So many small details, so many strategies – my head spins. A student asks me a question and the best I can say is, “Man, I don’t know…I can find out!”
At the same time as I’m figuring out my job, I’m trying to figure out how to be an adult in general. How does my health insurance work? (My current theory is maaagic.) Is there any way to avoid paying my rent and my credit card bill and my gas bill in the same week? (Holy money-suckers, batman! Yikes!) Why is the bank only open during hours that I’m at work? (Why, bank?? Why?) WHERE CAN ONE FIND A TOILET PAPER ROLL TO FIT A CIRCA-1970’S HOLDER?? But really. How does this all work?

The second thing I’ve learned, however, seems to fit nicely with the first thing I’ve learned.

2) God has a pretty good idea of what he’s doing.

Somehow, even in the midst of what feels like a whole lot of failure, everything is getting done. My bills are paid, and I have enough to eat. Women are coming to Bible study, and accepting Christ, and learning more about the Lord. I haven’t managed to crash our website yet and I’ve only sent the wrong file to the printer once.

God has got this under control. I just have to keep remembering that my calling isn’t to be perfect, but to be faithful. Everything else is up to Him.

I definitely don’t rest perfectly in that fact everyday, and there are still a lot of things that seem unresolved (for instance, Clay and I still haven’t found someone to marry us….*sigh*) but I know that somehow, He’ll see this worked out too. Resting in that fact today, and for the rest of days.

I usually like to end with a profound quote or a good song, so today I will leave you with these wise words to sum up my feelings.

We’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical….Hey, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22!

…Don’t judge me for quoting Taylor swift. She’s actually nailed how it feels to be 22, I think.

will update this blog regularly. I will, I will! I know I’m typically a pretty sporadic blogger, but this year I’m hoping very much to be different. I want to use this blog to update my family, friends, and ministry partners about my year as an Intern. Also, my big sister essentially threatened me with eternal nagging if I don’t, so there’s that. Let the update commence.

1. I finished my support raising on time! Woo! It was a crazy whirlwind. For those of you who weren’t keeping track, on July 1st, I had 36% of my support in. By August 1st, I had about 95%. Crazy. Insane. God is so good. It literally came pouring in from all directions, and it was all I could do to keep up. I wish I could physically hug each and every person who helped make that happen!

2. I moved back to Athens. This life change was also a crazy whirlwind. I didn’t set a hard and fast date for moving, simply because it was so hard to know when I’d be at 100% supported. And, in accordance with Cru policy, until I was at 100%, I would not be allowed to “report to campus” (aka go to work.) My job, until that point, would be to stay home and finish my financial support raising, which is most efficiently done from my parent’s home in Dayton. So I stayed. And suddenly, my support went from 80% to 95% in a week, and I was looking at having to move – quick. I had a wedding to go to first, though. Then, while at that wedding, I got word that some furniture I was poised to inherit needed to be picked up – now.
And thus, I found myself in a car at 6:30am with Clay, making a journey that looked something like this.

Screen shot 2013-08-23 at 10.17.03 PM

551 miles. 15 hours. 1 car. 1 UHaul. Way too much gas. A whole lot of exhaustion.

But, at the end of it all, I was moved into my new apartment in Athens, and started to settle in and get ready to start Staff Planning.

3. Staff Planning & Intern Life began. Staff planning happened this past week, and for the first time, I really did anything that made me feel like “Cru Staff.” I was given my list of responsibilities. This year, I will disciple (mentor) a handful of women, lead an Action Group (upperclassmen Bible study), help run the movement at Hocking College (a nearby school), and run the ministry’s communications (i.e. anything social media, photography, videography, design, and printing.) Whew. I’m tired from just typing that.

At Staff Planning we planned for this upcoming year. year. I prayed for it, strategized, took notes, and mostly sat quietly, feeling pretty intimidated. I didn’t I give much thought to what it would feel like to be the only first year intern, but if I had I don’t think I would have come close to what I really feel now. It’s such a mixture. On one hand, I’m so happy to be here, and so excited. On the other, I’m ridiculously nervous.  I’ve been literally thrown into “adult life” in the course of a week (it’s not an easy thing after 19 years of being a student.)  I’m working alongside people I highly admire, and I hate to disappoint. I’m a perfectionist with a performance-driven bent. I’m an introvert who struggles to make deep friendships. And I’m far, far away from almost every friend to whom I feel close enough to bare my soul.

And we haven’t even started to work with students yet! Yup, feeling just a liiiittle bit overwhelmed.

I’m trying to take big breaths, pray, and remember that it’s ok to cry when I really miss my friends, my dogs, and my mom. The next 12 months are going to be a great big adventure, and I really want to fully live each and every minute of them. I don’t want to miss out on a single minute of this crazy, beautiful, wonderful life that the Lord has prepared for me.

“…now at last they were beginning Chapter One of The Great Story, which no one has ever read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the last.” – The Chronicles of Narnia.

Yay! Moving!

Yay! Moving!

New Apartment!

New Apartment!

Just another day with Cru Staff - at our annual "Staff Retreat."

Just another day with Cru Staff – at our annual “Staff Retreat.”

I’m not quite sure what I want to say in this blog post, so I apologize if it comes off as less than eloquent.

Obviously, the biggest thing in my life right now is raising my financial support to join staff with Cru as an intern. It consumes my days and looms over my head at night as I try to sleep.

Most days I don’t feel cut-out for this. I’m a natural worrier. I’m a planner, a go-getter. I like to pack for vacations days ahead of time. I like contingency plans and sealed-deals and fail-safes. Support raising is the most worrying process I’ve ever been in, and there is no room for sealed-deals and fail-safes.

I’ve really struggled to keep my mind and my heart in the right place through this summer. It’s so tempting for me to put all my hopes in a particular contact, only to be so disappointed or have my feelings hurt when they don’t react the way I think they will. It’s even more tempting for me to get so wrapped up in the deadlines I’m not meeting and goals I’m not making, and end up sitting in front of an Excel spreadsheet weeping out of fear and worry.

Sometimes, I want to quit, but the solemn vow I made to God 2 and 1/2 years ago to do whatever the Lord asked, whenever He asked, keeps me from leaving. But then my sinful heart grows sour and bitter, and I echo the Israelites in Exodus 14, translating their complaint into my own words, saying “Why have you brought me here?! It would have been better for me to work at some miserable advertising agency than to fail at this process.” [Exodus 14:12]

There’s really only one solution for all of this, and it’s very simple. Turn my face towards Him, set my eyes straight ahead, and not look back.

“When I fix my eyes on all that You are, every doubt I feel deep in my heart grows strangely dim.”

Today, I listened to the sermon from my church, The Oaks, that I missed this past Sunday.  Something that Pastor Lopina said really caught my attention, and it was this; “This is not your party. It’s His [Jesus’] party.”

Lord, that’s been a lesson you’ve been teaching me lately. If only I had this attitude at all times during my ministry. This is not my party. It’s your party. And if it’s your party, then it’s all about you, Jesus.

It’s not about me. Yes, I’ve been to those meetings before. Yes, it’s often the same thing at 180, and DLL, and etc. But, it’s not about me. Maybe I’m not being fed. But who am I coming to with my need to be spiritually nourished? Do I believe that it’s my discipler who sustains me, or staff who sustains me – or do I believe that you alone, Jesus, sustain my life? Because if I do, then I will realize that it ceases to be about me, because I am taken care of it.

It’s not about them. The second place I’m tempted to turn to when I realize that it’s not about me, is the people that I serve. It’s easy to realize that it’s selfish to focus on myself, when I am supposed to be acting as a “servant leader”.  Yes, my goal is “Win, Build, Send”. But who (or what) am I winning them to? Who am I building them to focus on? If it is on me, or spiritual disciplines, or the organization of Cru itself, then I’ve lost it, Lord. Because it’s NOT about them. As much as I love them, and desire to draw them into the movement, what I desire more, Lord, is to draw them to You. Because even if I cease to make things about myself, and I make them about others, I am still lost.

It’s about Jesus.  That’s the statement that should guide my life. No matter my immediate goal, no matter my method, if it is not about you, Jesus, then it is worthless.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
(Colossians 1:15-20 ESV)

So this past weekend, I went on a retreat with Campus Crusade for Christ.  We left, in the pouring rain, about 4 o’clock on Friday.  The way up was winding and full of twists and turns.  By the time we got to the halfway point, stopping at Arby’s for dinner, I was sick.  Fortunately, sitting in the front sit did the trick and by the time we got to Scioto Hills Christian Camp, I was fine!

The weekend turned out to be a *BLAST*!  I had so much fun, and I learned a ton.  I really can’t describe all that happened in words – so I’ll just put up some pictures and a few videos.

The Bible study girls on the first night :)

The Bible study girls on the first night 🙂

Very late night talks on the couch in the cafe

Very late night talks on the couch in the cafe

Gorgeous camp grounds that we got to enjoy - God was romancing us with nature this weekend for sure :)

Gorgeous camp grounds that we got to enjoy - God was romancing us with nature this weekend for sure 🙂

Singing around the campfire after the prayer walk... crazy boys!

Singing around the campfire after the prayer walk... crazy boys!

Mike laughing. Lots of laughter this weekend. (BTW Mike, you just lost 20 Man Points for this picture. Just an FYI ;-) )

Mike laughing. Lots of laughter this weekend. (BTW Mike, you just lost 20 Man Points for this picture. Just an FYI 😉 )

laying ultimate pumpkin during free time (It's played like ultimate frisbee... except you throw a pumpkin around instead of a frisbee. Look carefully at this picture and you can actually see the pumpkin flying through the air)

laying ultimate pumpkin during free time (It's played like ultimate frisbee... except you throw a pumpkin around instead of a frisbee. Look carefully at this picture and you can actually see the pumpkin flying through the air)

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Past Musings