Rawr

Time is dwindling down over here. The past couple of days have been filled with hanging out with our friends that we’ve met here and visiting places that haven’t been visited yet. Saturday we went to the zoo for the day. Let me just say it was an awesome experience! I haven’t been to the zoo since…ever! It was so great. I only have a few pictures to post on here because they are such large files. I won’t post another post until I get home. I leave Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. Keep the five that are traveling back Wednesday in your prayers! Thanks for following me along this awesome journey:)

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I apologize for the slumber. Actually it couldn’t be further from a slumber over here. There is officially seven days left for ministry this week. We are trying to meet up with the friends we have made before we have to head back to the states. I get asked all the time if this trip has flown by. Well, I have two answers to that. I would say yes, looking back on the summer as a whole. I feel like we just got here and now we are forced to leave. I’d also say no because each day I feel God stretched out the time we have had here so far. It also seems that way because the sun rises at 5 a.m. and sets at 9 p.m., so it’s easy to think the day last forever.

Last week was really hard for me. I hit my breaking point Wednesday. It’s what I’d like to call “my wall”. We hadn’t had a day of rest for a week and a half due to schedule changes. I was feeling home sick and very anxious. Put all those together and you get a girl venting at her God. It was the first time in my Christian walk that I actually became mad at God. Don’t take me saying that as me boasting on my relationship with God. That’s not what I’m trying to say at all. I’ve always had a reason to hide from God if anything. When I would fall into my temptations I would hide. I was ashamed. I’ve never had a point in my life to be mad at God. I never understood how that could be. If anything, he should be mad at us for being such selfish beings.

I woke up that day dealing with body image issues. If you know anything about me, you know that this struggle is nothing new. It has gotten a lot better but every once in a while it will sneak back into my mind. Nothing fell right on my body. I was beyond frustrated. I haven’t been able to work out properly or control a lot of what I eat. It’s easy for me to get bombarded with image issues. This instance spurred on my anger at God. I’ve been praying for over a year that He would take away my negative feelings about myself. I pray for my eyes to be changed so that I can see the beauty that He sees in me. He has answered many of those prayers, but sometimes I fall into the lies that my flesh feeds me.

Along with being angry about my image, I became angry that God hasn’t shown me the fruit i’ve been praying for. I have been praying for miracles to happen. I have been praying for salvation among the students here. I realize now that it was me being selfish, but I honestly wanted it for his glory. He has the power to show the world his glory, why won’t he just do it? That was my mindset. That mindset turned to anger. I was bitter most of the day. I couldn’t even pray. When I tried to pray, I felt like I was forcing out these words that my heart wasn’t believing. The dramatic attitude change confused and frustrated me. I couldn’t understand how I let myself get so far from God in a matter of hours. I am not over-exaggerating when I say I had run miles away from him in an hours time.

I secluded myself most of the day to try and duke it out with God. I tried reasoning with Him. I told him I was mad at Him, there was no hiding that fact. I told Him I loved Him but that I wanted a break. How silly right? I was a complete wreck already, then I have the audacity to say I need a break from my life source.

The next morning I was trying to have a quiet time and was having zero success with it. I felt like I was just turning pages without any structure. I pulled up a podcast by Mark Driscoll. Honestly, I don’t remember much from it except one verse he skimmed over. When I looked up the verse, God immediately opened my eyes to what I had been doing.

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. -Romans 1:25

I was putting my body above the love that God has for me. The moment I read that verse, I was taken completely back. I just broke on the inside. I felt like a veil had been removed from my face completely. That is one of the best feelings ever. I physically felt God engulf me again. Once I gave up my pride, He accepted me back once again. I thank Him everyday for being constant. He doesn’t waver or shy away from the love He has waiting for us.

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! -Psalm 84:1

I just finished reading Redeeming Love and Heaven is For Real. Both are excellent books. RL completely changed my mind set on the love that God has for me. It’s beautifully written and expressed. It’s the first Christian novel I have ever read, and I was blown away at how great it actually was. I read HIFR in a days time. It really opened my eyes to the faith that God wants me to have; faith like a child.

Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. -Matthew 18:3

Thank you for all the prayers and encouragement. Pray that our last week is successful and glorying to God.

{painted by Andrew, Kristen, and Me}

 

Suffering & Love

I have been posting a lot about what’s going on the trip, but I have neglected to elaborate on what has been going on in my life personally. With that being said I’ve decided to give you guys a little insight on what God has been revealing to me. There seems to be two major reoccurring themes on this trip so far.

Suffering and love. No, we’re not being physically tortured, but there has been major spiritual warfare going on. We keep getting asked questions about why God allows suffering to good people. There are many ways to answer that question but for me personally I would say that one couldn’t really get an answer to that. It never says in the Bible that a person won’t receive suffering. In fact, God states quite the opposite. He says in Philippians 1:29 that it is a privilege to suffer for him. I should be happy to be able to say that I have suffered for the name of Christ. That makes me sound like a crazy person to someone that is not a Christian because they don’t understand the passion I have burning inside me.  It makes complete sense. If I didn’t realize how much of a sacrifice God made for me, I wouldn’t find him worth suffering for either. Now I’m not saying that I fully understand how awesome God is and I know all about him. That couldn’t further from the truth. I am simply stating I have much to be grateful for. Especially when I look back at the place that I once was. I couldn’t have been further from Christ and his light. So if you ask me “Do you really think Christ is worth being rejected for?” I can simply answer- absolutely.

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17

The second theme that Christ has been showing me personally is His love. Specifically how much I don’t deserve it. I was reminded today in my quiet time of John 3:30. That is such a humbling verse. It simple states He must increase while I must decrease. It’s not about me whatsoever. Everything I do has to point back to Him. The more God teaches me about himself and the word is not an okay card for me to think I know it all. It should do the opposite and humble me completely. I watched a podcast by Francis Chan last Monday on “Falling in Love with God”. The main passage he used was Ephesians 3:14-19. Paul falls on his face interceding for other believers to be granted the understanding of God’s love. Notice he is not saying we must do more works in order to full understand the love of God, rather he is humbling himself to a beggars position crying out for God to grant them his love. I’ve been reciting this prayer for my team, my family, and the relationship between my boyfriend and me. I don’t believe God’s love can ever be fully comprehended because it is on a totally higher level, but God will grant the love he wants us to understand. He has also been speaking to me a lot through the book “Redeeming Love”. That book is seriously one of the best reads I have ever read. I usually hate love novels on the count that I am usually more of a non-fictional reader, but this book conveys the love of God so beautifully. Each page leaves me sighing and gawking over the love that is shared between this husband and wife.

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. John 3:30

So there you have it..I hope this encourages you somehow. Keep us in your prayers we have less than 3 weeks left and still so much to do here.

Weekend retreat {Cesky Krumlov}

 

This weekend’s retreat was awesome! It was full of friends, God’s word, hiking, and fellowship. It was so nice to go somewhere with our Czech friends and just let loose. We had mini Bible studies and wonderful hang time with all of them. It such a blessing to be here. The longer I’m here the more I realize I am right where God wants me. No need to elaborate anymore, the pictures ooze awesomeness!

Halfway

halfway mark. holy canoli. I can’t believe I have already been living here for three weeks. I’ve been asked multiple time if the trip is flying by. Well, my answer to that is..no. It seems rather normal. It finally feels like I am living here. I no longer feel like a tourist-well except when we burst into laughter on the metros…or we break out into singing/dancing on the street, but besides all that I feel like I fit in! God has challenged us all so much since we have been here. I am more bold when greeting strangers or girls I’ve only known for a few hours. It is amazing how easily spiritual conversation comes up. I have met so many fantastic Czech students. So many of them are so welcoming and genuinely interested in what I have to say.

God is steadily sharpening us as a team. We are learning to live and work together each day. These people are my family. They have seen me as I drag into the morning meetings and they have seen me hysterically laughing due to sleep deprivation. It will be sad to leave Prague in 3 weeks, but I know the lessons and experiences I’ve acquired will truly last a lifetime. Even more, the people we meet here and the lives we witness change will last for an eternity. That’s the coolest thing to me. Even though we don’t see immediate fruit of our labor, I have faith that God will not let our work be in vain. We are his tool and it’s his Spirit within us that will ultimately do the changing. No matter how intelligent I sound or how well I articulate the Gospel, It’s the Spirit that will pierce these people’s hearts.

I started reading the book “Redeeming Love”. It’s a book based on the Biblical story of Hosea and Gomer. It is so hard to put down! Each night I find myself reading that book rather than checking my emails. I can’t wait to share more about it, but I’m just getting past the prologue. Speaking of emails, it would be so awesome if you could send an email my way! Feel free to send an email of encouragement for my team or me. It doesn’t matter if I know you or not- it will be welcomed with a smile!