When You’re Tired Of Dying

“For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. “ – 2nd Corinthians 4:11

When we decide to follow Jesus, we submit everything to Him so that we can be molded into something that looks more like Him. This molding happens only when we allow the old things to die. Actual pieces of who we are must be handed over to die so that we can be more like Jesus. THIS IS PAINFUL. It is devastating. It is sometimes debilitating but necessary. This kind of death creates a life that can only be experienced when we pay a high price. That is why we must be handed over to death.

Sometimes this death comes through laying down a desire, choosing someone else above ourselves, or through grief, trial, or loss. As you experience this spiritual death of who you used to be, you probably experience actual pain, and you definitely experience extreme heartbreak. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic but I believe if part of you is literally dying then it is normal for you to experience some pretty extreme pain in one way or another.

Can I keep it real with you? I’m tired of dying. I’m tired of hurting and grieving and losing what I love. I’m just tired. I just want the sadness that invades me so often to stop. I want to stop being handed over to death.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts about walking through a long season of grief and loss. I’m still in that season, and I’m speaking to you from it because I feel like it is important for each of us to see what it looks like to journey with Jesus in the midst of death. Not just the lessons learned from the other side. I’m writing to you from a place where I currently sit. Not a place I’ve once been and have come out of. I’m writing to you from this place today because if you are sitting here in the pain of death I want you to know you are not dying alone.

Even this week the Lord asked me to walk away from a really valuable friendship. Maybe just for a season. Maybe forever. Not because it was terrible or sinful. But sometimes Jesus just wants to take something back for a bit. To heal it, or strengthen it, or to give you something better in exchange. Regardless of His reasoning, I did not want to walk away. I didn’t want to be handed over to this kind of death. I didn’t want to grieve again. And He has the audacity to ask for this friendship in the middle of so much other grief. For real? Are you kidding me? This is not fair. But I did it anyway. I handed it over, and I’m sitting in my grief once again throwing a fit because I’m tired of dying.

So what do you do when you are tired of dying? Well, I’m not entirely sure what it is supposed to look like but I will share with you what I feel like God has placed in my heart. First, I think we have to keep saying “yes” to the death we are being asked to walk through. Whatever it is He is asking you for, whatever way He wants to hand you over to death today, you just say “yes” to it. That is maybe the most difficult step.

Next, as the emotions and pain sink in, I curl up in a fetal position. It’s ok. You’re dying and it’s painful. Sit in the emotion of whatever it is you are feeling. Sanctification comes through fire. But you have to sit in the fire to be sanctified. This means sitting in the fullness of your pain. This pain melts away the things that are of you and not of Christ. If you skip the fire, you will miss the most important part of death. The part that makes you into something valuable. The part that makes you look like Jesus.

So once you’ve recovered a bit from the fire and you’ve washed your face, you ask Jesus to meet you in it. To sit with you. To wrestle with you. You ask Him to make you breakfast just like He did for Peter in John 21. Whatever, however, just engage with Jesus. As we engage with Jesus, it is important to speak what is true. We declare what we know to be true about Jesus. That He is good, faithful, sovereign, just, kind, merciful, and gracious. It’s ok to speak these things without feeling like they are true. The scriptures say they are true so we know they are true regardless of how we feel about them. There is a healing that comes from speaking out what is true over the lies that we believe.

The last step is the most costly step for me. It is to walk out the everyday walk with Jesus faithfully as I am being delivered over to death. To care for others while I’m hurting. To sow into others’ dreams when I feel like mine are dying. To comfort those who morn when I feel like comfort has been withheld from me. To faithfully walk in obedience when my selfishness wants to choose my needs and desires over the things of God.

Guys. It is so hard. This process is so costly, exhausting, and excruciating. So why do we choose to be handed over to death? Because I believe, at least for me, that there is a steadfastness being created in me as I walk in obedience. There is a compassion being created in me as my heart breaks. My rough edges are being softened as I sit in the flame of sanctification. Because, at the end of the day, it really is making me more like Christ.

Like a moth to the flame, I am drawn into this sanctification. I can’t say “no” to Jesus. I can’t walk away from being more like Him. I am literally consumed to a place of dependency on this sanctification. So over and over and over and over again, I choose to be handed over to death and to be made more like Christ.

So maybe you don’t have this weird draw towards sanctification. What do you do? How do you deal? The truth is we all go through seasons where we want to walk away. That is when you keep it real with Jesus. You tell Him how you feel. Ask Him for the desire to keep walking in obedience. You ask Him to bind your wandering heart to Him. Because He is faithful, He will keep you close. He will hold onto your heart until you are ready to be handed over to a death that will bring you life.

So, regardless of where you find yourself on the spectrum, my prayer is that today you will find hope, healing, and a kind of life that can only be found through death. Remember that you are not alone and that there is a body of believers being handed over to death with you.

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy

Dream On Dreamer

I’ve always been a dreamer. Ever since I could remember, I have dreamed of impossible things. As a small child, I believed I was Cinderella and that Prince Charming would rescue me from the drama that consumed my life and family. As I got older, I dreamed of a life different from what I had seen. A life where I would see the world, and be successful.  A life where I didn’t live in a trailer and depend on food stamps and welfare to survive. A life where I could marry someone who wouldn’t abuse me and that I might actually enjoy being married to.

And then life happened. I was abused and neglected as a child. I was exposed to way too many things that a child should never see. Life beat the dreamer out of me. My goal became simply to survive and to not feel the depth of what was happening to me or around me.

And then everything changed. I walked into a church in the middle of nowhere Missouri as a tore up from the floor up sixteen-year-old girl and tried to argue with the youth pastor. Instead of engaging in those arguments, he introduced me to Jesus and a whole myriad of other characters in my story. Those characters and the Holy Spirit taught me how to walk in the rhythms of God’s grace. In those rhythms, Jesus helped me to forgive, brought me healing, and revealed to me that He had a plan and a purpose for my life.

I would love to tell you that this is where the story ends. That I found Jesus and my life was awesome from this point on. But that is not how it works with Jesus. Walking with the Father doesn’t mean all the hard things go away. It just means we have someone to walk through difficult circumstances with us. We now have someone to give us what we need in the middle of trials.

So let’s fast forward fourteen years to where I am now. I am struggling to dream again. Life has been hard for a season. By a season I mean three years. There has been a lot of trial, loss, grief, and heartache. I’ve lost friendships, walked away from my first big girl job and a team I loved, had my heart broken by a boy, gave away an opportunity for platform and influence, and lost the man that raised me. Oh yea. My car was flooded too. It has been rough friends. Devastating and dark in many moments.

I’ve struggled with dreaming about the future because I don’t want to be disappointed. I don’t want to endure one more loss. So the easy road to take is to stop dreaming again. Where there are no dreams, there is no disappointment, and where there is no disappointment, there is no heartache.

The scriptures however point us to something different. Check out this verse below and see what I mean.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.”

Romans 5:3-5

 

The way that trial translates in my mind is this… Life is hard, it’s hard some more, and it keeps getting hard. I start thinking it is never going to get easier, the disappointment takes over, the despair sets in, and I give up hope because my life absolutely does not look the way I thought it would. And that is where the dreaming stops.

This is how the scriptures translate trial… Life is hard, the trial is making you stronger, and it’s making you look more like Jesus. It’s teaching you about abundant life and the sweetness of salvation, and all of this creates hope.  Why? Because you are only being prepared for the better things to come. If there was nothing coming your way, you wouldn’t need to be strengthened for it, sanctified for it, or given perspective to receive it. So really our trial is a promise of things to come. Whatever it is that God blesses us with will not disappoint because He is good.

I want to be careful with talking about the good things to come because I don’t want to sell you something that isn’t real. The truth is we have very little understanding about what is actually good. Only The Father knows what is good. When I talk about the things to come, it could mean a number of things. It could mean getting your dream job, finally finding that significant other, the fulfillment of a promise given long ago, or simply just growing closer to Jesus. But whatever it is, whatever God is bringing your way, it will not disappoint. That is where the hope is. His good gifts do not disappoint.

So maybe you are like me. Maybe you are still in a very long and hard season full of lots of disappointment. Maybe you’ve stopped dreaming too. While we are still sitting in the let down of much loss and many setbacks, we must cling to the truth that we must not be done with this season because hope can not disappoint, and God cannot withhold a promise from His children. He will not and cannot leave us here.

Lets take deep comfort from the words of Romans 5. Whatever God is bringing to us does not disappoint. Let’s take back our hope, walk in the truth of who God is and what He does, and let’s dream on dreamers.

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy

Backwards And In High Heels

Hello friends! It has been a long time.

Have you ever gone through a season where you feel like you’ve lost your voice? I’ve been in one of those seasons for sure. I went into hiding, hoping no one would notice. I was very wrong. You noticed and so many of you, with grace and kindness, have encouraged me to come back and jump into conversation with all of you. I love to talk and I have many, many, many words; why not use those words to build community with you. Here we are. Or I should say here I am. Trying to find my voice again. Hoping to find it in conversations with you, because you make me better.

My first post back in the blogging world is really for all of the phenomenal girls in my world. My hope is that as we sift through the words on this page we will find the freedom I know Jesus has for us today! And for any of you guys out there reading this post, I hope it gives you a little insight into the crazy self-induced pressure us girls live under so often. So you are welcome to speak against it or at least offer a little grace to us in the middle of a meltdown.

I want to start out by sharing a pretty famous quote with you. It’s a quote about Ginger Rogers who was a famous actress and dancer. She regularly performed along side Fred Astaire but often reminded people she didn’t sign up to be Fred’s partner. She signed up to be a performer who was an individual. Many people looked at Fred and Ginger as a duo. People often speak of how amazing they were as a pair, or about how smooth Fred was as a performer (because lets face it. Fred was smooth.). Then one day an anonymous person on a plane was talking to Linda Ellerbee about Fred and Ginger and had this to say…

(About Fred Astaire)Sure he was great, but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, …backwards and in high heels.

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I think people often overlooked this one fact about Ginger. Not only was she able to do all that Fred could do, but she could do it backwards and in high heels. She was able to do what any man in her field could do, for as long as he could do it and in really beautiful, but uncomfortable attire.

You see ladies, this is the world we live in. It is a world full of expectation. Expectations to look flawless, but not to appear to be wearing to much make-up. Expectations to live healthy, be fit, to be well dressed, to keep a home, and to navigate a kitchen well. Then add in expectations to get married, to keep your husband happy, and then to have children and be a super mom. And let’s be honest. Everyone has a different opinion on what it looks like to be an awesome wife and a super mom. So no matter what you do you are never going to please everyone. Now add into that a career. A career where you are expected to do everything a man does “backwards and in high heels”, while maintaining all the other parts of your world with excellence. And don’t forget about being a super-awesome-godly-proverbs-31-woman. You better get that one right for sure or the other women in your church are going to talk about how you don’t measure up in the form of prayer request. In attempt to not be the subject of the “prayer request” or to be the one offering up the gossip you try to live a perfect life as quietly as possible.

Somewhere along the way we started believing that perfection will protect us, promote us, and propel us into our destiny. The reality is that the striving for perfection has enslaved us and the only thing it has propelled us into is mediocrity. So what now? Who do we blame? How do we deal? I’m not sure so lets keep chatting.

Some of these expectations are inflicted by men, some by other women, some by our enemy, some from ourselves. And some are good, healthy, expectations that we should pursue in our daily journeys to be more like Christ. One truth I’ve discovered in the middle of feeling the anxiety and pressure of all these expectations; I have self-imposed this pressure.

I know. I know. I’ve literally made a list of all the other places these unhealthy expectations can come from and now I’m saying it’s my entire fault. Let me explain. There are many voices speaking expectation to me, but no one else forces me to pick up and carry those expectations and in fact Jesus has offered me the opposite of expectation. He has offered me grace, freedom, and promises that He will be enough.

There is a verse in the scriptures that I believe if we let it, it will bring us great freedom.

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.

– Matthew 6:34-

I think we often view this passage through the eyes of expectation. We assume that when Jesus is speaking these words He is mad at us for worrying about tomorrow. We place an expectation on ourselves to not only get today right but tomorrow as well. But that is not what I hear Jesus saying at all. What I hear Him saying is…

“Baby girl. I have lived through all you have lived through. I have lived through the temptation, the hurt, the heartbreak, the disappointment, the need, the sleepless nights, the brokenness of the world, betrayal, and all the weight of the expectation. The one thing I can tell you sweet girl is that I know today is hard. I know tomorrow will also be hard. I also know that my grace will fill your weakness, and that because tomorrow is hard I don’t want you to try to bear the burden of tomorrow in the middle of the weight of today. Walk in the weight of my burden because no one should live in the weight of the world and all the weight it will try to place on you in all the days to come. I love you too much to sit back and just let you be crushed by all the expectation of this world. Just don’t worry about tomorrow.”

Jesus never meant for us to live up to all the expectation on our own. He never meant for us to bear a burden that would steal our life. He died so we could be free from all that mess, so that we could have a life overflowing with hope, joy, and freedom. Because the truth is: I can only get like three things on the expectation list right at a time. Jesus knows that. He knew that from the beginning of creation and that is why He always intended to be the answer to the weight of expectation.

So what do we do now? I’m not entirely sure. The simple answer is that we stop striving to fill expectation and start pursuing Jesus with everything we have. I acknowledge this is so much easier to say then it is done. There is no 12 step plan to letting go of the expectation. There is no easy path to following Jesus. So as much as I would like to wrap up this post and this path with a pretty pink bow and some glitter I can’t. I don’t have a practical and easy answer. So I’m just going to try to give everything I have to knowing Jesus more and I’m going to trust His grace to meet me in my weakness.

So dear sisters of mine. I’m asking you to join me on a journey. A journey to freedom. To a life full of hope, joy, and the reckless pursuit of Jesus.

So how about it? You with me?

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy

Building a Boat in the Desert.

In Genesis chapters 6-9 of the Bible, you can find the story of Noah.  It’s a beautiful children’s story that we share in Sunday School.  God is so over humanity’s straight-up disobedience and evil lifestyles that He chooses to remove all of mankind from the world–with the exception of Noah and his family, of course.  This is a brilliant children’s story.  I love explaining corruption, judgement, and obedience to my nieces who ask a thousand questions about everything.  I totally see why we share this story with kids.

When my pastor announced that the church was going to go through a series based on the story of Noah, I was a little hesitant.  Honestly, that’s because it’s always told as a children’s story–even to adults.  I’ve studied the story on my own before, and I always feel like pastors sell it short.  Then something happened.  My pastors have shared this story with new life, relevance, and understanding.  The result: It is kind of changing my life and leading me into obedience.  Hurray!

In the video below, you will find my take-away from the series so far.  (We are heading into week three.)  Just a heads-up to all my NightLight Branson team members: This is our challenge for the year, so get ready!

Want to watch or listen to the Noah series? You can do so here.

So here is the bottom line. You may feel crazy, alone, discouraged, and tired. That is ok. A lot of people feel that way. Noah felt that way. I feel that way sometimes. God is with us, He is for us, and He is preparing something great for us. He is going to use our stories to build the church. What an amazing thing we get to be part of.

Have you ever been challenged by a children’s bible story?  What was it?  Which story do you wish kids would stop hearing in children’s chapel?  Come on.  Tell me how you really feel.

A Week in the Life of… Me

I’m often asked the question, “What does a normal day, or week, look like for you?”  I think people ask this question because of my job.  It’s kind of a weird job to have.  But this question is a really difficult question for me to answer, so lately I’ve tried to pay a bit more attention to the patterns of my life.  The truth is, there are no patterns.  None. Not only because I have a different kind of job, but because the roles I play in life are so different from each other sometimes that the idea of consistency seems ridiculous.  Let’s be honest:  The life I have chosen often looks out of place compared to the status quo.  I have chosen a life of inconsistency.

Let’s take a look at the chaos of my life.  I run a ministry that serves women and men who are affected by the commercial sex industry.  I am an auntie to three small children, a sister, a daughter, and a friend.  I am a follower of Jesus, which means spending time making disciples, studying the word, serving in my church, and hanging out with my Maker.  I am at war with an enemy who would love nothing more than to destroy me, so I often spend time fighting the lies he feeds to me.  I also like to sleep–but who has time for that?

This week, I have been deceived, cared for, cheated, attacked, pursued, dissed, encouraged, discouraged, broken, then made whole, and then broken again.  At moments, I have chosen joy, anger, despair, excitement, expectation, stress, and hope.  There are times where people have NEEDED me for 911 emergencies, and then times of silence.  (Thank you Jesus for the silence.)  I’ve sat with my dad while he was in the hospital, had lunch with a woman working in the sex industry, hung out with new and very enjoyable friends, held and prayed over babies, helped rescue a cat with its head stuck in a jar, attempted to lead my team well, prayed with people, and cuddled my sweet nieces and nephew.  Tonight, I will go hang out in strip clubs and share the love of Jesus with women, and then go see “Catching Fire” with my life group.  Life is busy.

My schedule is inconsistent. My emotions are inconsistent. My relationships are inconsistent. My faith, unfortunately, is inconsistent.

Why am I sharing the drama of my week with you?  To point out the one constant.  Jesus.

Cliché, I know.  I just can’t get over Him, though.  This week is not an abnormal week for me.  A little more dramatic than most, but really–overall–not that out of the ordinary.  When I look back over the week, God has been faithful to meet me where I’m at.  He’s offered correction, grace, comfort, wisdom and strength.  He has shown up and will continue to show up.  I am always surprised, and I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because I’m distracted by the drama, or maybe it’s because I am still working out my salvation before Him with fear and trembling. I think the biggest reason I am shocked by His faithfulness is because somewhere along the line I started believing that His consistency was based on the consistency of my circumstances, my emotions, or even my righteousness.  Regardless of the reason for my surprise, God is faithful to heal me from my past, meet me where I am, and lead me into the pretty amazing things He has for my future.  His faithfulness has never been based on me.  God is just faithful.  He just is, because He is that good.  I don’t understand why or how.  I’m not supposed to.  I’m just supposed to cling to the promise of who He is and what He has.

So if you are like me, living in the chaos, PLEASE be encouraged.  God is with you; He is for you.  He is present and active.  HE LOVES YOU!  I know.  I’m living in the chaos with you and He is proving himself constant and good.  So together, let’s cling to this verse.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23

What about you?  How has your week been?  I would love to pray for you, so fill me in!

My truth about starting NightLight Branson

Hello, Friends! It has obviously been awhile since I have posted anything, and there are lots of good reasons for that. Really just one. NightLight.

A year ago, NightLight International decided that they wanted to launch a new location in Branson, Mo. Even more crazy than that, they decided that they wanted me to launch the location. NightLight addresses the issue of sexual exploitation through prevention, intervention, restoration, and education. You can find out more about NightLight here.

What is true is that I have used the launch of this location as an excuse to hide out. I want to tell you that I’ve just been too busy to blog, or hang out, or build new relationships, or invest time in hobbies. And there is a part of that, that would be true. What is also true is that in the last four years, I’ve changed, I’ve traveled the world, I’ve moved a lot, I’ve believed in lots of truth and lots of lies, and I’ve been deeply hurt. That hurt, and those lies, have given me a great excuse to use NightLight as a way to hide out.

Launching NightLight Branson is by far one of the hardest things I have ever done. It consumes the majority of my time. I mean, I am not really sure what free time even looks like anymore. That’s a choice I consistently make. I think its true that we make time for things that matter the most to us. I love my job. I love what God has called me to do for this season. I feel the weight to steward and lead this ministry well. So because of my love for NightLight and for sharing the gospel, I will spend a ton of my time, effort, and heart on it. I also know that I can’t hide behind it anymore.

When I hide out, I lose sight of things that are true about me. I’ve stopped dreaming about what could be next, I’ve forgotten how to have fun, and most importantly I have forgotten how to rest. Am I saying I am going to jump back into all the old things I was part of before? Not even for a second. I never loved some of those things to begin with. I hope it does mean a little more blogging, because I have been blown away by all the cool conversations that have come from this. What I plan to do is seek out God a lot, ask for tons of grace, and step out with boldness into things that could hurt, but also could bring great joy.

“You’ve got to forget about all the other stuff. You’ve got to forget about logic and fear and doubt. You just got to do everything you can to get to the one woman whose going to make all of this worth it. At the end of the day, you gotta jump.”

Jim Halpert – The Office

Jim is obviously referring to a romantic relationship in the above quote. I feel like it totally applies to this season of my life. I have to forget about all the other stuff because nothing matters as much as being in a deeper relationship with my maker, and experiencing the fullness of abundant life. And at the end of the day, that’s really why I can’t hide out anymore.

So what about you?

Ever been in this season?

What do you hide behind? Marriage? Kids? Your job?

Get over yourself

I read a lot of blogs. It’s probably why I don’t post many blogs. I recently read one of Don Miller’s older post. You can find it here. He talks about a few things that good leaders do. I think you should read it too. It might help us get over ourselves. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Follow the Leader

So it has been a while since I last posted. There are a few reasons for that. I just finished a big project that consumed pretty much all of my time. I am excited to share that with you soon but not today. I have also been re-thinking the blog. What I want it to be. I still want it to be honest, raw, and a place to start discussion. I love that people have been responding to post and I’m grateful people even read it.

I don’t post often because I wait for big things to post. I want to post the small things though. I want to look back at the scriptures that inspired me, the songs that moved me, and the quotes that stuck with me and remember how God used them to reveal His character, move my heart, and bring me to redemption. So if that is the kind of journey you want to join me on then welcome. If not, well then I have some friends who write great stuff and I can refer you to them.

Also my roommates and I don’t have the Internet at our house. Another reason I don’t post a ton. We are amish. We are morally against the Internet. Or we don’t want to be distracted from community. At any rate forgive me as I will often update from my IPhone and my already horrible spelling and grammar skills will be even more horrible.

So as a new start to an old blog today I want to post about God’s character, and how He leads us. There is a song on Jimmy Needhams newest album called “Stay“. The first verse says…

“You lead me like the dawning of the day. You lead me like April leads into May. You lead me like the stone you rolled away.”

The thing I love about that verse is that it reveals to us that it’s in God’s natural tendency to lead us. The dawning of the day naturally happens. April naturally leads into May. The rolling away of the stone was a natural response to a powerful God that loves His people so much that death couldn’t contain Him. These things all happen because they respond to what God already set into motion. We as people do nothing to cause them to happen.

In the same way I believe it is God’s character to lead us. There is nothing you or I can do to cause Him to lead us. We can’t create it or muster it. He leads us, because of things He set into motion, and an unconditional love for us. We can chose to respond to Him or not. We can trust and follow Him, or chose our own way, but regardless of our choices, He is leading. For those who seek Him, He leads us even with out us noticing, or getting the journey perfectly right, BECAUSE it is in His character to lead us out of His grace filled unconditional love. How sweet is that?

So what about you?
Is it hard to follow God’s leading?
When was God leading you with out you noticing?
How can I pray for you as God is leading you in this season?

Let Go, and Let God Melinda.

Hello world. It has been a while. A lot has changed since I have had word vomit on you last. So this blog is sort of an update on life, but mostly the hard lessons I am sitting in the middle of, and my desperate attempt to believe in what is true.

About two months ago, I left The River. The River is my home. It is the church I came to know Jesus in, and it is the place where I met most of the people I call family. Not we are brothers and sisters in Christ family. Real we do holidays together, eat meals together, drive each others cars family. It is the place I learned to serve, and there fore learned to lead. It is the place I always came back to. You could say , it is the house that built me. There is no place that I have ever loved more, or invested more of myself in.

So why did I leave right? If I love something so much why did I leave? Honestly I ask that question sometimes. The truth is because I love God more. So cliche I know. But still true. I left because it was time to. God asked me to, and so I did. Not because of staff changes, or personal disagreements, or any form of disunity. Because God called me to invest in a new community, and just attending The River, will never be an option for me. I tried to invest in both communities for a while, but quickly fell flat on my face and had to choose. I had to choose the place God was calling me to. At the end of the day there are no other options. I know that there will be a few people who will want to argue with me on this. I want to be really clear, that even when things are hard, or don’t go my way, or even look hopeless, I will always, always, always stay where God calls me to be, regardless of the circumstances that surround me.

This transition has been anything but easy. I know that I should be excited about this new season and I am. I promise you I am. I am also grieving the dreams, hopes, and plans I had for myself. I feel like God has given me a glimpse of my future, and an idea of what my calling is. So I fit my calling, and future into the bubble of The River. I knew what role I wanted to play , and even where I wanted my office to be in that church. I have dreamed about what ministry would look like there, and the people I would serve and what those relationships would look like. Leaving The River isn’t just hard because of the plans I leave behind, but because the church is the people. Not the building. I dreamed of a future with the people of The River. This is hard for me because growing up the bottom always fell out and people always left. There was no point in dreaming because things never worked out the way you wanted them to. So I finally let myself dream. Then two months ago God opened His hand and asked for those dreams. I have reluctantly handed them over, and now here I am. Clinging to what I know is true about God, and His promises, and grieving the things I have worked so hard for and so deeply anticipated.

What I know to be true is that God has a plan for me.(Jer. 29:11-13), a plan that leads me into deeper understanding of Him. I think this verse gets mis-interpretted a lot. We think that a plan that doesn’t bring us harm, means a plan where we don’t get hurt. The reality is, that a plan that prospers us is one that leads us directly into intimacy with God. I know that as I give up my plans, and dreams I will be greatly benefited because in His plan I seek Him and FIND HIM!!!! I also know that His dreams for me are way better than mine. (Eph. 3:20).

I am learning to trust God with my future. My friend Julie always says, “Let go, and let God Melinda!”(please don’t call me Melinda. It is not my name and I don’t like it. ).So I am letting go of my future because I know that My God who promises me a future is faithful. (Heb. 10:23). Well I know with my head anyway. I am still learning to believe it. I am also banking on the truth that God is the place that I can place my hope and not be disappointed.(Romans 5:3-5). That the bottom won’t fall out with Him. That even though the desires of my heart seem lost forever, He will restore them.(Jer. 29:14). I am trying to remember to delight in Him, because that is where I find the true desires of my heart (Psalms 37:4). The truth is the true desires of my heart only come from Him. I desire to set captives free, love well, build the church, fight for the kingdom, and spend my life investing in the leaders that will change the world. There is no way any of those desires come from me. The part of the dream that is missing was probably my selfish desire more than the one He want’s to give me.

In scripture I have noticed that as God takes away He will return with double portion(double what we gave up). He gives us something better. Job received a double portion for all he lost. (Job 42:10), and the prodigal son received a party instead of a life sentenced to servanthood (Luke 15: 11-31). When we exchange our plans for God’s will He always gives above and beyond. So as I step back and look at the big picture, only part of the dream is missing. A very important part. A very important community. I am fighting to believe that the community I left behind, I will experience in a new way, with abundant life. I am asking God to move my heart to expect Him to replace my shame, with a double portion of joy. (Is. 61:7), to help me believe that as I sit in His presence I will find my way (Psalm 16:11), and to expect blessing,favor, and joy as I walk in obedience to Him (Job 36:11). This part is hard. It is hard to receive the grace that is required with a gift you didn’t earn. Why would God give me something that was more valuable than the sacrifice I gave? Because He promised to. I am desperately seeking God for the faith that I need to believe in His promises and His faithfulness in this area of my life. Join me?

What has God asked you to give up? Was there great reward?

When do you find it hard to trust God? Is it with your future? Your family? Your love life?

It is hard for me to expect God to give me more than I gave up. What about you? Easy or Hard?

Any tips on how you have learned to live in expectancy of God’s promises?

Let the conversation begin…

I’m not that girl … yet

First take a time out and watch this video.

A: I love Shane and Shane

B: I love John Piper

The truth is there are some days I live and breath the truth in this video. I deeply desire to be the person that this video describes. Then there are some days that I get so frustrated I ignore that fact that God is calling me to be this person. So in reality I am not the girl in the video… yet.

I have this deep aching desire within me to see the church awakened, and for people to know who God is and walk fully in the callings He has for us.I dream of seeing an army of people rise up. An army of people who fight for redemption. An army of people who live and love selflessly.

Lately though I’ve been talking to lots of people and experiencing a lot of confrontation when it comes to the topics of unity and spiritual growth. We talk about comfort, and safety, and jobs, and financial security, and how boring or not boring the bible is, and who is fun, and who is not, and how others can help make us better, and a million other things, I really don’t care about. It frustrates me. It makes me want to quit, pack my bags and go somewhere new. It frustrates me because I think I’m right. It frustrates me because I know God wants more, and I think I have the answers to fix the world. It frustrates me because I’m impatient. It frustrates me because I see little or no hope in the people I’m talking to. It frustrates me because people are wasting great opportunities. I mean it is my job to make sure they don’t miss out on God. Right?

That video is describing a person with the exact opposite attitude. The person in this video doesn’t quit. The person in the video endures adversity, and is humble, and trust that God will finish the good work he starts in us. The person in the video can see that everyone is made in the image of a holy God. If I were the person in this video I would get over myself and grow up.(this is the very thing I often want to say to others.)

So normally after a realization like this, I beat myself up, try harder, burn myself out, my circumstances get hard, I stop caring, and then again another revelation and the process starts over again.

Lame. I know. But I have had an AhhHa moment. What if I would let go, trust God to finish the good work He started in me, and pursue holiness and the one who creates it? I think then maybe I might be the girl in the video all the time. Not just on the days full of hope and promise. Not just on the days where I feel like justice is an urgent matter. Not just on the days where I see great need. EVERYDAY!

I’m confident that I will get over myself and grow up. I am confident that others will to0. I’m confident that God will raise up a mighty army that loves and lives selflessly. I am confident that the person described in the video is real, and that there will be more serving the kingdom in the future. I am confident I will be that person more and more each day.

So I am not the girl in the video yet. I will be.  What about you? Do you desire to be that person or am I crazy? Do you ever feel alone in your calling? What do you do when you want to give up? What are you confident in? Fill me in.