Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The big move

Its pretty cliche to say the God moves in mysterious ways, and I hate cliches. Instead, I think saying, "God is wild and when we get caught up in that wild things start to happen," is perhaps more appropriate.

This year my church's "vision" is open hands. Its an unspoken vision of a people with hands wide open to God and whatever He calls us to. So as I try to walk out this vision with a wild God, I find old things being left behind and new, often unexpected, things being placed in my hands.

I have unexpected friends, like Chloe, a 4 year old love muffin who wears jeans under her skirts and soaks up the things of God. Then there's Sue, my adopted auntie who asks me the hard questions, says that which very few take the time to say, and prays as boldly as any woman I've ever known. And of course Becky, Nicole, Maggie, Michelle G, and Jodi--my beloved Highland girls who laugh and cry and talk about boys and God, and who are willing to die for His name's sake. There's Lynn and Michelle S who love me and don't want me to leave and who share their families with me. All these people I didn't know a year ago--people I can't imagine life without--unexpected blessings placed in open hands.

And now I have an unexpected future. Just a few weeks ago I planned on finishing nursing school Aug '08 and moving back to Asheville to work off the debt I would incur during my year in Chapel Hil. But God is wild and my hands are open, and things have changed. Now I know that UNC hospitals will pay for me to go to school in full if I agree to work for them for 2 years following graduation, which means I'm guaranteed a job at a great hospital AND I won't have any financial debt. Yes Lord, I see what You have placed in my hands. That certainly cannot be ignored. So instead of 1 year in Chapel Hill, its now 3 years there. I'm trusting He knows better than I concerning my future, and I'm asking Him to prepare my heart for such a transition. Leaving Asheville is far more permanent now than it was just 2 weeks ago. But He is faithful to His children, and I think I'm almost ready. Asheville is one of those things I have to leave behind.

So with open hands I walk, and as His word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path, He leadeth me. This wild, untamed, amazing God prepares me to go and He leads me to the places He wants me to be--unexpected places with unexpected challenges and unexpected joys...I think those are the best kind.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Tonight I "sorrowed". I mean I really let it all out.

I am sad, as betrayed by my red eyes and stuffy nose.

Close to 2000 years ago a man among men died willingly on a cross, bearing the transgressions of the world. He was a man of sorrows, the ultimate sacrifice, and the King of Kings.

Bearing the cross was not easy for Him. Death was not quick, or painless, or simple. That day was bloody and wretched. The skies darkened, much like the hearts of those He died to save. The temple veil was torn, and that which separated the world from God's presence fell to the wayside. It was finished.

In light of that, as God makes me more like Jesus with great patience and grace, I shouldn't wonder at why dying to myself is so painful. I shouldn't wonder at God asking me to give things up...things that are good...for His name's sake. Jesus gave up His very life for the glory of the Father and the redemption of souls. What God asks of me pales in comparison...and yet it still hurts. In a way, I mourn those things, and in my weakness I wonder if its worth it.

Is it worth being single?
Is it worth going overseas?
Is it worth leaving my beloved Asheville for school?
Is it worth building up treasures in heaven instead of on earth?

These are real questions I ask and stumble over and fumble over in my head.

And still, despite the pain of the sacrifice, by grace I take up my cross and follow Him. And He reminds me of a few things. He reminds me that through the cross Jesus found great reward and full satisfaction and the fullness of life. He reminds me that death is what brought Jesus back to the Father. He reminds me that His plans are good even when the goodness disappears behind sorrow. He reminds me that His love endures forever. He reminds me that its going to be worth it.

And so, in sacrifice, hope remains. In sacrifice, grace remains, and I keep walking.