The Roller Coaster

I have never been a huge fan of roller coasters.

I remember growing up, there was this theme park called Valleyfair near our house. And various school field trips or church functions would take me there. I eventually gained enough courage to do the smaller rides, always thankful that I found a friend or two that was less inclined to the stomach-drop roller coasters. One year, however, I was feeling a bit more ambitious. I think you could blame it on the boy I liked and was trying to impress/spend every ounce of my time with, you know how that goes ;) Regardless, I worked up the nerve to go on a roller coaster. And not just any – oh no, the biggest one in the park, named “Wild Thing”. I was sick to my stomach with nervousness and I gripped the safety bar that say across our laps like my life depended on it…but I made it. I survived, and if you’ve ever gone on a roller coaster, perhaps you know the adrenaline that comes after making it through something like that. Though I was still pretty shook, part of me even wanted to go again, just because I conquered it and I knew I could do it again. I just felt, for lack of a better word, ALIVE.

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Life is often compared to a roller coaster, and I’m finding that ironically accurate more and more. There’s ups and downs, sometimes you enjoy it, sometimes all you can do is hold on and wait for things to get better.

Perhaps this will only stick with my roller coaster-averse pals, but try to follow with me. The thing is, I went on that roller coaster again. That same day, and in the years to come. It never really got easier for me, even though I knew what was coming. I knew what to expect, and that fact seemed to make me grip onto the lap bar even tighter, as if my grip could change the outcome of the ride. Each time, I chose to sit down and buckle up, even though I wanted to get off as soon as the carts began to chug up the first drop.

This year has been a very intense roller coaster for me. There have been great highs and deep lows financially, relationally, mentally, and physically, which have all led to highs and lows emotionally. And if my roller coaster experience has taught me anything about life, it’s that the ride is inevitable.

Here’s the best part, though – by God’s grace alone, I’ve survived it. Heck, I’d even say I’m thriving. In each valley, He’s given me strength and grace to keep holding on, and in each mountain, He has given me humility and just the same amount of grace to appreciate it.

So I thought – what if, instead of gripping onto the safety bar so tightly as if it will change my circumstances, we relaxed and just enjoyed the ride? Maybe then we would notice the wind whipping through our hair, and open our eyes to see the sun shining on our faces.

If you’re in the middle of a dip in life’s roller coaster right now, I’m here with you and for you. The beauty of it is that it truly doesn’t last forever. And when we’re living life with eyes open and aware to the little blessings of each day, I’ve found God can really blow us away. So I wanted to leave you with just one Bible verse that I’ve had as my lock screen since this summer. It’s been a rock of encouragement for me.

You prepare a meal for me
in front of my enemies.
You pour oil of blessing on my head.
You give me more than I can hold.”

~Psalm 23:5, ICB

In the ESV translation, which I usually read, this reads, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” I find the ICB translation absolutely beautiful. Even when I face my “enemies” (hard circumstances, etc), God is there with me and He gives me more blessings than I can even hold in my hands. How beautiful.

I hope this verse can be as sweet of an encouragement to you as it has been to me. And I hope that wherever you’re at in life’s roller coaster, you enjoy the ride.

To the One with All the Emotions

I remember sitting in the hallway bawling after I had stubbed my toe. I don’t remember exactly how old I was…somewhere in my elementary years, perhaps eight or nine. And my parents were telling me to stop crying. They meant well; they knew that in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t a big deal and I therefore didn’t need to cry so hard about it. However, the harder I tried to stop crying, the more it just made me continue crying.


 

I felt completely broken. I was twenty-four, and it felt like my life had absolutely no direction. I was reading my Bible, I was praying; where was God? Life circumstances were rocking my world. I knew that feelings and truth didn’t always line up, yet I just couldn’t seem to get my emotions to catch up to truth. One day, I sat with tears streaming down my face and told my mentor, “I’m just so tired of crying. I want to be done.” In response, she said that wounds hurt when they’re fresh, and in time the emotions would lessen. I knew she meant well, too. But it left me wondering how to handle my emotions in the meantime.


Maybe you’re emotional like I am because you’re a fellow Enneagram Type 4, or you have found that you’re a highly sensitive person, or you’re a feeler on the Myers-Briggs, or you don’t really know why…you’re just emotional and all you know is you’ve been that way as long as you can remember. Whatever it may be, I feel you. (Pun somewhat intended). I feel you, your emotions are real and they’re valid, and they are good.

I’ve lived in Omaha, Nebraska for almost nine months now. And God has been doing crazy things and teaching me SO MUCH about myself, which has been so good and healthy and helpful. One big area has been the area of emotions.

What I find funny is my mentor from Whitewater told me many things about emotions and truth. But to be completely honest, I just wasn’t at a place to hear and understand then. But Katie, if you happen to read this, I am so thankful for your faithfulness to plant those seeds regardless of whether you saw the fruit of that truth in my life or not, because I’m seeing it now and I can look back and see how it relates to much of what you said :) So what exactly have I learned?

Emotions are GOOD. This has to come before I say anything else. God created emotions. They. are. good. However, I can let them overwhelm me or I can use them to glorify God.

As I mentioned, I’m an Enneagram Type 4. And whether you’re obsessed with the Enneagram, don’t bat an eye at it, or fall somewhere in between, that’s fine. I won’t talk your ear off about it, because my only point about my type is this: I am deeply emotional. I know not everyone feels emotions as deeply as I do. Sometimes, I feel like I could literally burst, from joy or from sadness or something else. It’s intense, and it can be pretty exhausting. Not only that, but it can be exhausting for those around me if I don’t know how to handle it. That’s not to say I should pretend to be or feel something that I’m not, but I do believe it is healthy to know how to express your emotions in varying degrees to those who you’re around.

My emotions are good – that something I have to keep reminding myself. God created me this way. And though there have been times when I’ve wished I didn’t feel so deeply (like it literally happened multiple times this past week friends), that is claiming that I wish God made me differently. Ouf. So I’ll continue to remind myself that God made me with such deep emotions with great intentionality. I am so thankful. I can empathize deeply, I literally feel the emotions that others are feeling even if I don’t understand exactly what they’re going through (it’s wild. lemme tell ya.) If you feel deeply like I do, God made you that way on purpose and I am grateful He made you just the way you are.

That being said, emotions/feelings and truth/facts are two separate things. Sometimes they line up, sometimes they don’t. However, my goal is and should always be to act out of truth, whether or not my emotions line up with that or not. For example, I may not feel like going to work. But, because of the truth that I am expected to be at work and do my job, I will show up. Or, perhaps there has been conflict between a friend and I. I might feel afraid to confront my friend, but the truth is that confrontation will help us work through the issue. Therefore, I will choose to confront because of the truth that the outcome will be better than avoiding it.

Just because I know this doesn’t mean I do it perfectly. I have watched myself make conflict that was completely unnecessary because I acted on my emotions rather than looking at the facts and truth of the situation. I have also watched God be so gracious to me as I’ve literally faced conflict and He has had the friend approach me so we can work through it. But knowing this, I can continue to identify when my emotions don’t line up with truth, and continue fighting to act in truth above all.

This doesn’t mean ignoring my feelings; not quite. Because the thing I realized thinking back to when I stubbed my toe is I have a million examples in my life of my emotions seeming way bigger than the situation calls for. Perhaps someday it’ll be a little more even, but in the meantime, attempting to shutdown my emotions just doesn’t work. It isn’t healthy for me. So what I’ve learned is I let myself feel whatever I’m feeling until I’m done feeling it. I still act according to truth, but I give myself space to feel the emotions. Maybe that means a night in to literally let myself cry, or time in a coffee shop to sit with God and journal it all out. Whatever it is, I know trying to just push past it doesn’t work, and actually makes it worse.

Last weekend, I came to another breaking point (like I said, I get tired of my emotions a lot haha). Particularly, I cried out to God, asking if I would ever find someone (aka romantic relationship) who could and would be willing to handle my emotion roller coaster. My emotions can just feel like too much, and I question whether I’ll be truly able to control them, because so often it still feels like they control me. And God brought to mind a Scripture that I’m not even sure when I found the first time,

“You rule the raging of the sea;

when its waves rise, You still them.”

~ Psalm 89:9

Now, this is clearly talking literally; God has power to control the raging sea (like when Jesus calms the storm, yo). But I find it a powerfully accurate image of how my emotions feel: a raging sea within me, waves rising all around. And truthfully, I can’t control it. I never will be able to. But God can. And knowing this has brought me such peace and such freedom, knowing the sea inside me will rage, but I can trust that God will still it in His perfect timing.

So, if you’re reading this and you know someone deeply emotional, be kind to us. Remind us of truth, but also remind us that our emotions are God-given and truly a beautiful thing. And if you’re an emotional one like I am, hear me loud and clear: you were created that way to reflect an aspect of God that not everyone can. Your emotions are good, and you are capable of living in accordance with truth even when your feelings don’t line up. Oh, and if you are a follower of Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in you, so God’s power is literally working inside of you. That means that while you alone will never be able to control your emotions, God dwells in you, and He can.

 

Ministry (and life) at 3mph

“Jesus did ministry at three miles-per-hour.”

Our Regional Director said this at a training weekend for our regional Navigators staff. The application? Imitate Christ. Follow His model for ministry. If Jesus does things a certain way, there’s a pretty good chance (read: 100% chance) that He’s doing things the way they were meant to be done.

To attempt to summarize, my life the past several months has felt like it’s rushing at me at 50mph. I did everything I could to keep up, but ended each day exhausted, frustrated, exasperated, and buried under the continual list of to-dos. I’ve been working and striving, trying to do what I thought I was being told to do. I’m not trying to point fingers at anyone, including myself. I was doing ministry at 50mph wishing I was doing it at 3mph. And I’m finally making some changes.

I’m in the middle of this. Therefore, I’m no expert. Honestly, I might very well always be in the middle of this, learning and revising as I go. But I thought I’d share a few things that have been so helpful and life-giving.

  • Self-care. Yo, this isn’t some trend-y train I’m jumping on. And if it is, I don’t care. You can’t do anything well if you’re not well. It’s like using a cracked and leaky bucket to bring water to another bucket. First thing you should do is fix up (take care of) the leaky bucket, not try to keep using it. Self-care is kind of everything wrapped in one, but specifically I’m talking about relaxing. Taking epsom salt baths, burning candles, thinking of what would be relaxing and rejuvenating during my time off and sticking to that instead of mindless vegging (unless I decide that’s what I need).
  • I’ve also been seeing a counselor. About once a week. It’s been so, so helpful to process through everything (she’s the reason I’ve even realized I’ve been overworking myself). Counselors are good and normal. Whether there’s something in life that is hard and you’d like someone to process with, or just for an occasional “tune-up” as I’ve heard it said before. Counselors aren’t weird and going to counseling isn’t shameful or embarrassing.
  • Reading before bed. I put my phone on the other side of the room and read for a while before going to sleep. Time off technology, especially right before falling asleep is good. According to science-y stuff, it promotes better sleep :)
  • Something very new to me is looking at my schedule and figuring out what should be there and what should change. Just because things have been in your life and schedule for a while doesn’t mean they should stay there. I’m reading “The Best Yes” by Lysa TerKeurst, and it is a PHENOMENAL guide to making better decisions. I’ve already had the opportunity to say no to some things that I was only continuing because I was afraid of disappointing people (people pleasers beware, this book and process of decision making rips open the shades that so sweetly hide your people-pleasing nature). Standards you think you have to fulfill? Friend, if you’re exhausted and feeling like God’s trying to lead you in a more life-giving way for you, listen. Don’t dismiss it because you don’t think things can change. Our Father created creativity. He can be creative with your life and schedule and responsibilities.

I’m in a process of pressing on the break pedal of my life. Maybe this list sounds extremely basic and maybe it sounds extraordinarily profound. Either way, I’m finding that slowing down to care for myself ultimately helps me to be more present and help others better.

Care for yourselves, friends.

How to be single and love Valentine’s Day

I’m what the world calls “single as a pringle”. And I’m guessing most of you reading this are right there with me.

Without getting into all the drama of how Valentine’s Day actually started and why it has little to nothing to do with how we celebrate Valentine’s Day today, I want you to know that you, single friend, can survive today. Not only survive it, but thrive during it. And actually come to love it.

Valentine’s Day used to make me utterly sad. Friends, I used to put so much hope in a relationship. And Valentine’s Day was the most obvious day that another year had gone by and I was still. single.

Then, I got to college. I was still a mess and my thoughts of relationships was still out of whack, but for some reason (literally, I don’t know where I got the idea), I decided on February 14th, I was going on a date. And you know what? I did.

I went on a date with God.

I even recorded it on social media.

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I don’t share to brag (or to say you have to go on a seven-hour date with God…haha how did I have that much time?!), but wow…little did I know, I was really onto something. The following year, I did the same thing, and started off my status with “The Bible: the ULTIMATE love story.” Maybe you’ve never heard someone say that or maybe you’ve heard it a thousand times before, but it is so true, friends. Just pause and think about it.

God, the God of the universe, created us to have a relationship with us. Instead, we turned away and chose sin. We ran from God. But He never stopped loving us for a moment. In fact, He loves us so much that rather than giving up and letting us pay the penalty for our sin (being separated from Him forever), He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect and sinless life in our place. And His Son died to pay for the penalty we deserved. We can count Christ’s life and death as our own if we place our trust in Him. God did it all to have a relationship with us again. God did all of that because He loves us that much.

Have you ever heard John 15:13?

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

That is exactly what Jesus did for us! He decided that having a relationship with each one of us was more important than His own life. He died for us. The ultimate sacrifice. The ultimate sign of love.

Take time today to just meditate on God’s love for you. There will never be any human who can love you as completely as God does. And if you’ve never trusted Jesus as your Savior, today is the perfect day.

When you accept Christ, God dwells in you. God is described as the definition of love itself. That’s the only way we’re able to love others: because God lives in us. Check out these awesome verses…

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God…So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” ~ 1 John 4:7, 16

Notice something? It doesn’t say “only love your significant other, and if you’re single, well…you’re off the hook”. It says “let us love one another. That means everyone. All. Whether single or dating, we are called to love others with the love God has shown us.

That’s why I love Valentine’s Day even (and especially) as a single person. The world has made this “national holiday of love”, so why not take advantage of that and use it for God’s glory? This year, I spent some time making some homemade Valentines for my host family and the freshmen women in the Bible study I lead. I’m sending intentional messages to friends to tell them I love and care about them. Later tonight, I’m getting dressed up with my Bible study ladies and taking them out for a special treat. I’m not sad I’m single, I’m too busy loving the people God has in my life.

Here me out – I’m not perfect. There’s a million more ways I could love people better, and today is not the only day we’re called to love (notice how 1 John 4:7 doesn’t say anything about “only on Valentine’s Day…”). But God has given me grace in appreciating Valentine’s Day, and it is my hope and prayer that He will do the same for you.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~John 13:34-35

New Year, Not-so-new Resolution

“New year, new me!”

These words surround the beginning of the year…every year. For many, they bring hope and a promise of a fresh start. For others, they bring disappointment and even annoyance at those who cheerfully say them.

In the eyes of those who view New Year’s Resolutions pessimistically, or perhaps realistically, resolutions are destined to fail. People all around declare enormous resolutions that are simply too grand to maintain. After a few months, weeks, or only days, resolutions are tossed away and forgotten. The end of the year comes and we nostalgically look back on the year and resolve to make the next year even better. And repeat.

Think about this, though: I doubt resolutions were always this way. And to be fair, many people make and keep their resolutions. But have you ever thought about what that word even means? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as so:

“A firm decision to do or not to do something.”

Hear that? Firm. Firm means fixed. It means once a decision is made, other smaller decisions are made in order to stick with the original decision. Firm means pushing forward when “the going gets tough”. It means trying again even when you make a mistake. So while I’m still not all that into New Year’s Resolutions, I can get behind this kind of resolution.

I recently joined an online community of Jesus-loving women called The Sisterhood (go check it out, seriously one of the best things I’ve done this school year!). The ladies had been tossing around this idea of having a word for 2017…essentially you pick a word to describe what you want your 2017 to look like. To be honest, initially I thought it was kind of silly, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to join in. Finally, I came up with my word:

Diligent.

Diligent means “having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties”. I want to be more diligent not only in my work, but in my relationships and my walk with God. Just to confirm that this was the right word for me, I looked up Bible verses and found Deuteronomy 6:17…

“You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you.”

Wow!!! Yes Lord, I want to be known as a daughter of the King who diligently keeps His commands. God’s commands are complex and cover every aspect of our lives and who we are, yet they were summarized so beautifully by Jesus Christ.
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Here’s to a New Year’s Resolution that isn’t new at all. Here’s to loving God and pursuing Him with even more passion. Here’s to loving every human being, each created in the image of Our Creator.

But how? How do we do it without failing?

Well, that’s the wonder of the gospel: even when we fail, there’s grace. We can get up and try again because His mercies are new every morning. Most importantly, though, is the fact that it isn’t even us; it is the Holy Spirit working in us. So when I’m not being diligent in my work or my relationships or even my relationship with God, I can bring it all to Him. Every little decision I make affects the larger decision I made. Rather than trying once, failing, and quitting, I can choose to see progress and keep going.

And He’ll give me the strength to keep moving forward.

Much to Pin about Weddings

Part of The Undoing Project Series.

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Hello? Are you still there? Okay, good. Me, too.

Sorry for the disappearance, friends. This summer and the past month of transitioning to life back in Whitewater was way more busy than I ever could have anticipated. There’s been a lot to re-adjust to being back in the Dub, and one thing is a much more regular schedule for each week. Now that Fall Launch has simmered down, I’m getting into the groove of my weekly schedule and I quite enjoy it. My goal is to set aside some time to be working on blogs now that I know the times each week that I’m usually busy!

So what’s my post about today? Well, I’ll tell you, it’s definitely geared towards my fellow ladies…especially my fellow Pinterest-loving ladies. Pinterest is great, isn’t it? Seriously. I’ve gotten some wonderful recipes, craft ideas, and wardrobe inspiration from Pinterest (I can honestly be a bit clothing-challenged at times). And as I’m sure you all know, it’s also infamous for helping brides-to-be plan the day they say “I do”.

…and the not-so-brides-to-be.

When I say that, I realize I call a lot of you women out. And I’m right there with you. Until a couple weeks ago, I had a couple different boards (yeah, two, not even just one) for things related to weddings.

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When I first created a Pinterest board related to weddings, it was Public, and only one board. Eventually, I moved it to a Secret board, so friends wouldn’t see me posting on it, and so I would hopefully pin to it less. Finally, I separated the boards to create a bit more order, and even added that little description on the “Love is in the Air” board. As if saying that was going to convince me of something; somehow make it okay. But I was fooling myself.

The truth is, ladies, weddings are wonderful. They’re the beginning of a marriage, something God has created. But He didn’t create marriages to be the focus, much less a wedding! They’re supposed to point back to Him; a marriage represents the relationship between Christ and the church, so a wedding represents the joining of Christ with His beloved church. And I don’t know about you, but that idea was never really on my mind when I was seeing pretty wedding rings I wanted, wedding dresses I imagined being perfect to get married in, or cute pictures I could take with my fiance/husband. Yes, there were many things on my board about how to love your spouse like Christ loves the church or how to have a God-centered marriage, but pinning about those things made me desire a relationship – a boyfriend, a fiancee, a spouse – more than it made me desire Christ. All those boards really did was hurt my little heart that Jesus wants to protect so fiercely.

Don’t hear me wrong – again, God created marriage. Marriage is good! But if you’re single like me, or even if you’re in a relationship but not engaged, fantasizing about a wedding that may or may not happen takes your eyes of Christ. Not to mention, if we’re supposed to be representing Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), do you think we’re representing Him well if we’re focusing so much on dream weddings and not on the only One who can truly satisfy our hearts?

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Ouf!

So I deleted them. Both boards are gone. Yeah, the only thing you can do is take my word for it since you can’t see my secret boards, but trust me. They are toast. Here’s my challenge – join me. I’m not going to lie, it was a bit difficult. And scary, as if I was going to lose a part of me when I deleted those boards. But as soon as I deleted them, it was so freeing! If there’s really something that God wants you to remember for your wedding or marriage, I’m sure He’ll help it resurface when that time comes. ;)

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If I get engaged, then perhaps I’ll start a new board for ideas I want to remember. But why spend my time on something that currently may or may not happen? Instead, I can be spending my time on something that is real, is in my life each and every day, and will never change: Jesus Christ. I’m not sure if I’ll get married, but I am sure that I have a relationship with Christ and He loves me deeply right here and right now. Is it still a desire of mine to one day get married? Absolutely. God knows that. And I’m going to trust Him to do what He sees as best.

In the meantime, you can find me pinning more delicious food recipes, finding more cute crafts to try, and getting more inspiration for my wardrobe. All to the glory of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

“But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Christ’s sake. Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish, in order that I may win Christ…” ~Philippians 3:7-8, AMPC

 

What in the world am I doing?

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

~Philippians 4:19

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As my carpool of friends drove away from Glen Eyrie, EDGE Summit, and all the new friends (and fellow EDGErs) we made that weekend, I couldn’t help but think…

“What in the world am I doing?!”

Are you a fan of rollercoasters? I’m honestly not. Although, that hasn’t stopped me from being momentarily peer-pressured a number of times to ride with friends. I try to stay calm on the outside, but I freak out internally. As soon as we sit down, buckle up, and one of the workers checks our seatbelt, I want to rip it off and run. But you hear the ride operator say, “…Enjoy your ride!”, the rollercoaster train starts moving, and there’s no going back. I grab the bar in front of me and hold on tight as the train click, click, clicks its way up the first big drop. I’m facing the inevitable. We make it to the top and I feel the front of the train slowly lean over on the other side…

That’s what it felt like as I left EDGE Summit. I was sitting in a car, heading into a summer of complete unknowns. “What am I doing?” I thought to myself, along with, “Make it stop make it stop make it stop oh PLEASE make it stop!” It sounds childish, but that was honestly what was running through my mind. I thought I must be the only one, and maybe I am/was. But perhaps by being honest, a friend will admit that I wasn’t alone, and we can be “not alone together”. Heh.

It’s been just two months since the first day of my first EDGE Summit. I can still feel the rush I felt on our little hike, looking over the Glen and marveling at God’s creation. I was surrounded mostly by strangers (besides the six other U of M graduates) and was confused by how I would be best friends with anyone new there, as former/older EDGErs had told me. I was dubious, but excited nonetheless. And the ten days at Summit (that’s what they call training, btdubs) simultaneously dragged and flew by. Sure enough, I made some stellar friends all across the states, some of which are traveling all across the world. Neat, right?

Still, as equipped as I was, I felt completely inadequate, terrified, and desperate for a way out.

Well, I’ve been doing this “EDGE Support Raising” thing for about eight weeks now. And lemme tell you, God is faithful. Every step of the way, he’s been there. When I’m excited, He’s there to rejoice with me. When I’m afraid and wanting to run from everything EDGE-related, He’s there to listen to my fears. And without even realizing it, I soon stopped asking myself, “What in the world am I doing?” and instead I’ve been asking, “How cool is this?”

I feel like a nut. And I feel like I should be a spokesperson for The Navigators, or EDGE Corps, or maybe just any company that has many employees who do support raising. Because guys, I’m going to be honest…support raising is GREAT.

I haven’t lost my mind, I promise. But I’ve already grown so much and seen God show up in so many ways. And I wouldn’t have had these opportunities to trust and rely on God like I have to through support raising. That is SO cool. I’m getting to reconnect with so many people, re-start or deepen so many relationships. For example, a friend I’ve known but haven’t really kept in touch with since elementary. She and I met up and chatted about doing ministry (we’re both transitioning into that this coming school year! Crazy.), and amidst our encouraging each other through support raising, she said something that blew my mind.

“God isn’t looking at my budget. He’s looking at my heart.”

Guys, God doesn’t care about my budget. It doesn’t scare Him one bit. “Psshhh, I know exactly how I’m going to provide your budget, My Daughter. I’m going to use this time of support raising to prepare your heart for ministry.” Have you ever thought of that?! God can use anything and everything to refine us and make us more like Christ. So, that means support raising. And I’m already seeing it happen.

Picture a young girl with terrible stage fright. Her friends convince them to perform on stage in front of tons of people. But as her turn for the spotlight draws near, the fear sets in. She’s panicking, and her friends have to literally push her onto the stage. She stands there timidly, squinting at the bright lights. You can hear crickets from the audience. She slowly brings the microphone up to her mouth, but no sound comes out. Finally, she runs off stage, shoves the microphone into a stage crew’s hands, and dashes out the door…

That’s what I felt like was going to happen, in a sense. I felt like I was going to run, or just make a fool of myself, or a mix of the two. But instead, it went something like this:

…As the door bursts open, she runs straight into a man. “Hey, don’t worry, I’ve got you. Let’s do this together.” They walk back inside, he calmly takes the microphone from the stage crew’s hand, and walks to the edge of the stage. “You sing, I’ll play the piano.” Her eyes peer into the crowd. “What if I make a fool of myself?” she whispers. “I won’t make a fool of you. You can trust me.” She nods, and they walk onto the stage. The crowd is silent as they begin. Her voice wavers at first, but she looks to him at the piano and feels her voice grow stronger. Together, they make a beautiful melody.

God would never make a fool of me. He would never make a fool of anyone. He sets me up to succeed, as long as I continue to look to Him. My heart wanted to run, but then I noticed as God showed up again and again. Actually, He has never left me for a moment. He is faithful even when I’m not. But in the moments I am faithful and I seek Him out, I see Him show up in ways I would totally miss otherwise. So, you know, I’m still working on raising my budget, and that’s okay. Because God isn’t worried about my budget. He’s got that taken care of.

He’s looking at my heart.