Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Six Week Journey

I'm beginning a six-week journey. . . Take a look!

The season of Lent begins today with Ash Wednesday and lasts about 40 days. Lent is a time for reflection and preparation leading up to the Church's greatest celebration -- Easter. This lent, per the suggestion of a friend, I have decided to try blogging each day -- reflecting on what God is doing in my life and what He has already done.

Some say that the forty day time period of lent coincides with Jesus' forty days of being tempted in the desert by Satan. In many ways, I find that living in this world is akin to being in the desert. The world is not always a hospitable place. At times I feel lonely or like no one understands me. I don't face physical hunger or thirst, but I face a daily hunger and thirst for something more than this world offers me. I want my life to matter, to make a difference, but when you feel like you're in the desert you wonder if it does. Like Jesus, I face temptations. I am tempted to want the things of this world more than I want the things of God.

My life in this world is like Lent. Thankfully, it doesn't end in the desert with me shriveling up and dying from heat-stroke and lack of water. No, it ends with me being given a river of life that flows out of me and an invitation to drink the water of life without charge! Just as the Church prepares for Lent in anticipation of Easter, Jesus' resurrection, so my life is a preparation for the great celebration that is to come -- the resurrection and my life in Heaven.

During this lenten season, in addition to blogging I will be doing a study series based on the book, "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Rich Stearns, the president of WorldVision USA. The book and daily action journal are about poverty and justice issues and how the Church has a duty to respond. I truly hope that God uses the series to move in my heart, giving me a deeper love for Him and His people. If you are interested in getting materials (some of which are free and can be found online) to do the series, you can find more information at:

And now, here goes. . .

Reflection: Day 1
I just moved into my first home and have spent the last few days unpacking boxes. I like for everything to have its own place so thankfully there are lots of shelves and storage areas in this house! Yesterday I was unpacking a box that contained photo albums from childhood up to present day. Since I hadn't looked through some in quite awhile, I decided that before I put them on the shelf, I would open each one at random and look at one page of photos. I thought it might break up the monotony of unpacking things. Little did I know, it would turn into a much greater blessing than that!

Many albums contained pictures from college. I saw photos of my friends from Tuesday Night Fellowship (TNF), and I remembered all of the fun that we had together. Pictures from the TNF leadership retreat I went on my freshmen year reminded me of how older members had invested in me. Pictures of the TNF skit team that I joined my first week of college and that I later led made me realize that any ability that I have or desire to create Christian sketches that illustrate the gospel in a fresh way sprang from time spent with that group. Pictures of our overseas mission trips made me think about how God sparked in me a love of other cultures that has led me to travel and to advocate for the less fortunate around the world. Could this be the place where the seed for my work/ministry with World of Difference was planted? Seeing the smiling faces of my friends as we ministered in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados also reminded me that it isn't just serving others that brings joy. It's serving with others. There is so much joy when we build community and serve together.

Each album that I opened spoke to me about how good God has been to me. The relationships He's given me, the places He's taken me, the joy, love and peace I've found in my relationship with Him. And I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude for how God has used every thing in my life -- from "random" encounters to "innocent" invitations. The girl who invited me to TNF the first time never went back. I never left, and her invitation got me where I needed to be. The person who invited me to the Salvation Army in Madrid, the church where I later met my husband, never went back. But again, her invitation got me where I needed to be. Today both my husband and I are very involved in the ministries of the Salvation Army -- including arts and missions. Coincidence? I think not. God is that good. If you don't know Him or if you've forgotten how good He is, I pray that you wouldn't wait any longer. He can do incredible things in your life. He has in mine, and I'm so grateful for it!

See you tomorrow. . .

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