Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye, 2012.

Goodbye 2012. I can't say I'm going to miss you.

Let's be honest...we weren't exactly friends. I would say it was more of a toleration, like my relationship with exercise and steamed vegetables. I know I needed you. I know that everything that happened was for a reason, too. But, steamed vegetables stink and exercise is only something I do because I have to. I’m ready to part ways.

You can keep the layoff, two moves, thrice-broken down car, and four different jobs. You can keep the stress, complacency, and frustration. You can even keep most of my wardrobe. Honest.

But, hey. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank you, too.

If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have finally walked off the edge of comfort and fallen into the unknown. I may have never pursued being a missionary in Scotland. I might have still been living in complacency, working at a job I didn’t love and living in the same town I grew up in.

If it weren’t for your directive push, I may never have heard the Lord’s voice and been able to obey His calling. I wouldn’t have had any reason to rely on Him in my times of frustration and hurt, and I certainly never would have had a reason to pursue a ten-year dream.

So, even though I can’t say goodbye fast enough, I can’t help but admit that our relationship was a necessary rite of passage. I am thankful that your bitter was mixed with sweet.

Because, after all, bittersweet chocolate makes the best kind of cookies. And, much like the year I am leaving behind, if I'm going to be eating steamed vegetables and exercising, you can bet that I’m going to want some cookies as a reward.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Throwing away the white paint

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead [men's] bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:25-28 NKJV

Buying a can of white paint to wash over some old decaying eye sore is like putting a smile on your face while feeling anger towards a fellow believer. It’s equal to posting verses on your Facebook while ignoring your daily quiet time. It’s the same as teaching a bible study or Sunday School class, but not realizing that the lessons are for you as well.

It’s living plastic in an organic world: it may look real, desirable, and good, but it is fake. And how many times have I lived this way?

"Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 NKJV

How, with this professed desire to LOOK one way but ACT another, can I perfect? I fail at obeying the Lord’s commandments every day. There are days I wake up and, instead of washing myself pure in His Word and Promise, I pull out my white-washed paint brush and touch up the parts on my life that look run down. I create an exterior for people to see.

I am not perfect.

It is God who is perfect and by Him I can be sanctified. Not by my works. What I do – what GOOD I do, should be an overflow of His love in me – and my encompassing realization of His love. His love in my life must be realized before any good can be done-not the other way around.

Looking good and acting good result in nothing but a whitewashed tomb. Living in the realization that God is good and that He embodies goodness results in letting people see me as a clay vessel, broken and needy, as Christ lives His goodness through me. And on the exterior, they may look the same, but I will know the difference. He will know the difference.

Lord, let me throw away my white paint.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV

Friday, November 30, 2012

Scotland Update 11/29: Care Team? What’s that?

If you have at all been following my preparations for heading out to the mission field, you might have heard me toss around the phrase “care team” at some point. I wanted to take this post to share with you what a Care Team is and, should you feel led, how you can be a part of it.

~Being a Spear~

First, imagine a spearhead. In places such as Africa, this spear can be a matter of life and death. When hunting, the tip of the spear is what will ultimately kill your prey. But, without the long stick and guiding tail that it is connected to, the head of the spear is nothing but a spear-shaped object held in the palm of your hand. You don’t just need the spearhead, you need the entire spear.

This is the same for a missionary. A person heading out onto the mission field is nothing without the support of those back at home. In so many ways, the “senders” (you!) are just as important as the missionary on the front-lines of overseas ministry. You are the body that connects the spearhead to the tail end that will guide the spear right to its target.

~Being a Team~

A Care Team is a group of people that commit to coming up alongside the ministry of a missionary as he/she/they are sent out to their mission field. Their commitments can come in the form of so many things: whether it is simply committing to pray, send an email, donate financially, or help with logistics, each part of the team is equally important-and equally necessary.  

In Exodus 17:10-16, the Israelites are led into battle by Joshua and Moses is told by the Lord to hold his rod above his head for the duration of the battle. As long as the rod is above his head, they will win the battle. Eventually, it gets too heavy a burden to bear and as it dips below his head, the battle begins to turn. However, Aaron and Hur, standing alongside Moses as he obeys this command, come up next to him and hold his arms for him, that he would be able to fulfill his mission for the Lord.

I will be heading onto the mission field this coming March to obey the Lord’s calling in my life. But, I can’t do it without a team committed to holding my arms above my head as I bear my proverbial rod in this battle.  

~Being My Team~

Will you be a part of that team? Could you stand alongside me as I head onto the mission field? If so, there are 5 different ways you can be a part of my team. Please read a short description of each below and then fill out the questionnaire attached at the end of this blog post.

Moral Support Team (encouragement): You could be on the other side of the world and your words of encouragement and support will still be heard, felt, and welcomed. When I leave to Scotland, it’s true that I will eventually build new relationships and enjoy the fellowship of believers present around me. But, it’s you guys: my friends and family on my Moral Support Team, who will commit to emailing me encouraging verses, ask me questions of how I am doing, and continually point me to the Lord. You know me and can encourage me in those times I am home sick or simply need to hear from someone familiar.

Being a part of the Moral Support Team looks like:

·         Write letters, send text messages, or email

·         Personal Skype meetings

·         Care packages

·         Personal visits

·         Share personal news, or other things going on around you in your life.

Prayer Support Team: Prayer is the glue to any ministry. Bringing our eyes back to Jesus Christ, the One we serve and the One we point others to for salvation. Without the consistent sweet fragrance of a Prayer Support Team, my labors would be done in vain. This is such a necessary and integral part of any ministry. Your commitment to praying for me daily is probably the single most important part of a care team.

Being a part of the Prayer Support Team looks like:

·         Receiving prayer emails

·         Daily prayer

·         Attending SENT weekly prayers at Shoreline

·         Follow up on prayer requests

Logistical Support Team: Planning, moving, settling, and even communicating with a care team while on the mission field can be overwhelming without someone to help keep it all on track.  Even I, myself: someone who enjoys organizing and planning, will be completely relying on my Logistical Support Team to help make sure I have all those details in place: before I leave and after.

Being a part of the Logistical Support Team looks like:

·         Help with organization and tracking of care team members

·         Available to help with paper work

·         Sending off details

·         Sending care packages

·         Help organize fundraisers and care team meetings.

Re-Entry Support Team: Knowing that my home church and family are here in America, I plan on making consistent furlough trips back here to visit. This will include spending time with my family and care team members, meeting new friends, and catching up with old friends. Having people to help with those sort of plans, as well as emotionally supporting the transition, are a welcome blessing to any missionary.

Being a part of the Re-Entry Support Team looks like:

·         Help find a place to stay while on furlough.

·         Organize update gatherings to share about ministry.

·         Be available for a chat over coffee, dinner, or other such fellowship time.

Financial Support Team: Whether by one time gifts or committing to making a monthly donation, you will be helping support my trip financially. Heading over to Scotland on a Religious Workers Visa, I am unable to get a job in the United Kingdom. By being on my Financial Support Team, your donation, is allowing me to stay in the UK and share Jesus with these people, unhindered from having to raise a full annual amount before I leave to the mission field.

Being a part of the Financial Support Team looks like:

·         Monthly or One-Time Donations can be made through Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators. You can follow this link (Shepherd’s Staff: Bennett, E) to make an online donation, write and mail a check, or fill out an EFT form to set up monthly donations. My missionary number (to be put on all donations) is 1061. All donations are tax-deductible.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Scotland Missions: Update 11/15/12

It has been a while since I first shared that I was going to Scotland and, even though many of you have asked questions and received answers, I’m sure there are many who aren’t in my day-to-day life who also are wondering how things are going. I’d like to take some time to answer those questions now. (If you still have questions after reading these answers, feel free to leave them in the comments and I will write a follow-up blog!)

1: So, why Scotland? Yes, Scotland. If you haven’t read my testimony, start here, then read the subsequent blog posts for the rest of the story. Scotland has been my heart-country for over 10 years. What is a heart-country? It’s a country/place/group of people that lives in your heart for no obviously apparent reason. It is a dream that sits, grows, and becomes a part of you. It is a cry that cannot be quenched but for the Holy Spirit and His peace. So, yes, Scotland. (And, yes, I made up the term heart-country but I know some of you can relate!) Also, please take the time to watch this video,it is quite an accurate portrayal of why the Lord has called me to Scotland.

2. When are you leaving and how long will you be there? I am set to leave in the middle of March, 2013 (for those of you calculating, that’s exactly 4 months from today). I am going to apply for a religious workers visa, which means that I will be able to be there for 1-2 years (please pray I am accepted for two years), then I will have to come back and renew my visa. I plan on living there indefinitely; that is, until the Lord tells me to go somewhere else.

3. Where exactly are you going? I will be going to a town called Motherwell and serving with the church family there at Calvary Motherwell. Motherwell is approximately 15 miles Southeast of Glasgow. If you have no clue as to where Glasgow is, I can help: it’s in Scotland. =D (no but really, check out the Motherwell link above, it’s a map).

4. What are you going to be doing while you are over there? Great question! The best, most accurate answer I can give you is: intern. This translates into: wherever a door is open and the Lord takes me. I have a huge heart for the youth. I enjoy planning fellowship events that bring the body closer together. I love children and their innocent joy. I love doing street ministry, even when it is hard and terrifying. I find joy in filling papers and organizational administrative duties. So…truly, I will be blessed to fill in whatever gap there is, regardless of the title.

5. How can I be involved? So many ways. I am such a people person. Please, interact with me. Ask me questions. Hard questions. Spend time with me before I leave. Send me an email. Pray for me. Pray for Scotland. Pray that the Lord would be glorified in every step I take from here to March 2013, and beyond.

You are all such a huge part of this step in my life. Thank you for wanting to be involved. Thank you for reading this and caring for me. Thank you for being a part of my life, testimony, and adventure.

If you want to be on my email updates, please email me at I am also currently organizing a care team: a group of people who will commit to pray for me, encourage me, help with logistics stay in contact with me, and support me. If you want to know more about how to be a part of my care team (or what a care team is), let me know in your email as well and I will get that information to you.

Hello, me.

Sometimes, I forget I have a blog and, thus, it gets neglected.. Other times, I remember and can’t comprehend adding another task to my already busy schedule and, so, it again is neglected. Still more times, I remember I have a blog and can’t figure out how to put into words the things the Lord is showing me in a way that will bring the most glory to Him.

Sometimes, when I remember I have a blog, and want to write something – and even have something to write about – my vanity gets the worst of me. It’s these times that I ignore the nudging of the Holy Spirit and curl into the ‘comfort’ of Self.

I can’t write well. I can’t be witty. No one will read it. I don’t have pictures to accompany my musings. What I say isn’t really worth it, or necessary, or as edifying as it can be. …And that is where I sit. Alone with myself and unwilling to rebuke the selfish spirit that has wedged its way into my heart.

But then the worst times? Those are the times that I am prompted to share with you all something amazing…and I do. I stop and take time to write out my thoughts, my encouragements, my exhortations. I weave silly jokes into it, use a few metaphors, add pretty fluff…until it comes out completely wrapped in a shell of flesh. One that is so convincing on the surface, yet all honor and glory meant for the Lord are stopped with that shield of pride.

Those times are the worst.

Hello, me. Thank you for making your presence known. Now I can call you out from your dark hiding place and send you on your way. You’re not wanted here, please leave.


So when you read something on here that doesn’t quite line up with the Word of God, call it out.

When you see something on here that honors me before the Lord, speak up.

When you don’t see something on here and wonder where I’ve gone, pray and praise the Lord, for it is in those times His Spirit keeps my flesh from speaking out.

And when something brings your face, thoughts, eyes, and heart towards the Lord…and when you are encouraged, comforted, exhorted, or just left in awe of Him…

He’s the only one that needs to know about it. Because He’s the one that wants to sit and spend time with you anyways. And He’s the one that I care about honoring and pointing to.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I’m moving to Scotland.

You didn’t read that subject line wrong. =)

I’ve been wondering how I would start a post like this for quite some time. It’s been forming as a dream in my mind for over three years now...and, finally, when the time has actually come, I am at a complete loss of eloquent words.

The short, blunt, to-the-point facts are this: I will be moving to Scotland in March of 2013 to serve as an intern with Calvary Chapel Motherwell for a year. It is my hope and prayer that this initial year will lead to many more years there, but that is still to be determined (and, I am in no rush to know God’s plans. I will go in March and come back when He tells me to).

The long, fluffy, heartfelt explanation is this...

Friends and family: you have all been a part of this decision and process. You have listened to my wonderings, thoughts, and dreams for years. You have encouraged me to seek God’s will throughout the years...and discouraged me to “listen to my heart” when I felt that I wanted to follow the deceit it was calling me to(and since I’m sure you all know of my affinity for Disney movies...that was a necessary and continual reminder!).

This decision has come from deliberation, prayer, fasting, and confirmation over a span of months as I’ve noticed, more than once, that God had started to pull me away from the direction I thought I was supposed to be going...and into directions I never thought I would walk boldly into.

But, here I am. And in about 9 months, that direction will take me to Scotland where I will be working alongside our family at Calvary Chapel Motherwell as an intern. Serving with people whom I call friends and friends that I call family. My heart gets giddy at the thought of this...and overwhelmed at the reality of this. I don’t deserve such sweet and gracious gifts from the Lord.

My heart is overflowing. My head is spinning, and the smile on my face cannot be wiped off at the mention of Scotland. I am reminded of this verse in Proverbs: “A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps” (Pro 16:9 NKJV).

It was *my* dreams and plans that may have started over 10 years ago, but it was *God’s* direction that took me on a beautiful trip to get to this place: a place where I can confidently step forward knowing that He will direct me, guide me, prepare me, and lead me into His plans for my life.

I’m so excited to share more with you. But for now, it’s such a pleasure to at least share this small amount.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Faithful Saying

But reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. - 1Ti 4:7-9 NKJV

This verse first hit a chord with me…and, subsequently, blessed me when I studied it in bible college years ago. I was struck by how we can latch onto things that CAN be good, in and of itself, but are not as profitable as things that ARE good.

Do you see the different? One has the potential of BEING good, whereas the other IS good. Intrinsically.

Exercising your body falls under the former category. It has potential to be good. For some, it has a greater potential for being bad. It can quickly lead someone down an idolatrous path and become the contrary of good (*this also pertains to many other things for many other people: food, cleaning, reading, sports, etc.).

Seeking godliness, however, is of the latter category. It *IS* good. Never has exercising yourself towards godliness led someone in the wrong direction. Never has it brought them to a wrong path, forced them into a wrong situation, or shown them the wrong way.

When we exercise ourselves towards godliness, we are strengthening the spiritual body we have, reducing the fat of neutrality and complacency and building muscles of wisdom, grace, understanding, and love.

Does this make bodily exercise bad? Of course not. This verse simply paints a picture for us between things in our lives that ARE good, and should always be practiced, verses things in our lives that COULD be good, but aren’t always going to be the greatest profit. Not only that, those things that CAN be good also have a potential of swinging in the opposite direction and end up having a negative impact as well.

And tonight I am forced to take a look at those things in my life that CAN be good and ask myself: where is the profit? Because, if I see no profit in those things, why should I leave them sitting there, taking up room, when I can be exercising myself towards godliness and see the profit both now and to come.

…I’m also forced to ask myself about those potentially good things that aren’t in my life…am I avoiding something out of fear of it becoming something negative?

(and, lets be honest, am I using this verse as an excuse to not exercise?!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I asked, God gave

Everything I Need…
author uknown

I asked for strength,
And God gave me difficulties to make me strong;

I asked for wisdom,
And God gave me problems to learn to solve;

I asked for prosperity,
And God gave me brain and brawn to work;

I asked for courage,
And God gave me dangers to overcome;

I asked for love,
And God gave me people to help;

I asked for favors,
And God gave me opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted – I received everything I needed.
My prayer has been answered!

Have you ever heard this poem? After the last month of my life, I can’t stop thinking about it. You see, it wasn’t too long ago that I was lying in bed and confessed to the Lord that I felt distant from Him. I asked Him to draw me closer to Him and bring me back to that place I knew I needed to be, but felt like I couldn’t get to on my own.

I asked God to draw me closer to Him…

Well, it wasn’t too long after that that I …
-lost my job (my means for monetary survival)
-my car broke down and needed a new transmission (my means for getting from place to place in my busy life)
-moved (my place to call home)
-gave myself a third degree burn whilst baking (an absolute favorite pastime and the thing I do when I’m overwhelmed to de-stress)

…and He distanced me from the many other idols in my life until there was just Him.

Enter the clever, sweet, gentle nudge from the Lord.

He got me to a place where my One and Only Constant was Him and then reminded me of that large (yet, at the time, seemingly insignificant) prayer.

Oh, how He loves me so.

to be continued…

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Laid Off

Yesterday, I became a part of a constantly growing statistic. Without much ado, I was let go from my job. Albeit shocked, I can honestly say that relief has overpowered me.

There are so many things that I have wanted to say, think, or do in the past 24 hours. Emotions that have welled up and have taken effort to tamper down. Frustrations that I have kept in for too long and were ready to come escalading out of my mouth. Fear of the unknown; sadness of what I’ve left behind; pain of the reality…

There are also those few things that have been said, thought, or done that have brought hope, closure, and peace. Reminders spoken to me from wise mouths, hopeful words that have slipped out of my mouth from an overflowing Life Source deep within me, and peace that has been washing over me every time I commit my every thought, word, and action to the Lord.

The underlying theme here is that I am a bag of mixed emotions.

I am hurt and confused. I’m hurt because human nature isn’t God’s nature and yet, I allow human nature to affect me more than I allow God’s nature to have it’s effect on me. I’m confused because I allowed my human nature to surmise an ending to this chapter and yet, the ultimate conclusion wasn’t even an option in my small mind. God’s ways are never my own ways and yet…I always forget and end up confused when I have to be reminded of it.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. - Isa 55:8-9 NKJV

I am relieved and peaceful. I am relieved because of the burden and stress that has been lifted off me. Burdens aren’t meant to be carried on our human shoulders. They are meant to be laid down and forgotten at the cross of Jesus Christ. This burden I picked up didn’t seem so bad when I first picked it up but as time moved on, I grew immune to the weight. When I was forced to lay it down, I was amazed at how heavy it had become. I am peaceful because I know that this was God’s plan. Walking away from this now past-season of my life, I have only utmost peace and I know that that can only come from the Lord.

"But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, 'You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' - Isa 41:8-10 NKJV

I am anxious and excited. I am anxious when I look to the future through my own lens and don’t know what to expect. I’m excited when I look to the future through the Lord’s lens and know that whatever will come next is going to be only the best for me.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. - Jer 29:11-13 NKJV