Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tatarstan Russia: Here we come!!

So the meeting with Phil went GREAT!!! I am so excited, and my faith has increased so much at God's divine interventions, and intimate involvement in my life!! I praise Him because His plans are FAR better than my plans!!

It is late, and I need to get to sleep, so more details will follow soon.

Please join me in the interim by praying for the people of Tatarstan, Russia that our team will be ministering to. Please also pray for the support raising necessary for this trip, that God would lay it on the hearts of those He has blessed to help fund this mission trip.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Russia over a cup of joe

Okay, so I am still quite overwhelmed at how awesome God is at sweeping down at the "last minute" to answer prayer--especially since it is a prayer that I've had since Summer 2006 when I was in CollegeLife and I first heard about an opportunity to go on a mission trip to Russia. I wanted to go, but was WAY too new in my faith to really step out and go. Plus I HAD to have an internship before I graduated with my lofty accounting degree...(please note there was sarcasm there). So I didn't go, but that was the beginning of my want to serve God in Russia.

So I was at church on Thursday, and on my way home discovered that I had a voicemail from someone named Phil who organizes annual mission trips to Russia. He had received my name from a lady named Lisa last year. Here is that story:

I was studying at the Mo (coffee shop) for my ESL Supplemental exam, and noticed that another pair of women were discussing similar topics to what I was studying. So I eventually asked them what they were studying, and why. I found out that it was for a mission trip to Russia to teach English. I was excited to hear that they were going to Russia, but sad that I couldn't go--it didn't work into my schedule, and they already had the final team situated. However, they did take my name, email, and phone number and promised to pass it on for me.

Flash forward:
So I have been praying for God to send me somewhere for a mission trip. And when I thought I would not find a trip to Russia, I realized that Russia might not be the only place God wants me to go. I opened up my heart and mind to other possibilities. However, I was not actively searching....but God did bring the opportunity to me. Someone came to speak to my Bible Study class about Haiti; at first I was hesitant, but the more I prayed about it, the more excited I became.

I asked people for prayer, especially in the area of discernment; that if this is where God wants me to go, that I would know.

Three days before my Haiti application would be due, I received the phone call about Russia. I'm still not sure what God wills in this situation, but I am excited nonetheless, and look forward to finding out more details over coffee at 3PM on Sunday...stay tuned, and keep praying!! :)

Friday, March 27, 2009


So I tend to have dreams almost nightly, and I remember them.

Dream #1

Last night I had a dream that I was out dancing. No one had asked me to dance yet, so I was going to start dancing with one of my girlfriends. Then, a handsome man asked me to dance by holding out his hand. I accepted by placing my hand in his. He glided us over and across the dance floor, dancing so smoothly. It wasn't hard to follow his lead, but I could definitely tell these were new steps, steps I wasn't quite sure of how to make. But he knew how to lead, and so I appeared/felt much more graceful than I should have had I been alone or with someone else.

Then, un-expectantly another man made his move to break in and have me switch partners. My first thought was "how rude!". But I also couldn't help but think "Wow...2 different men want to dance with me?!" Me? Really?

This second man is still waiting as I continue dancing with the first man. Then after some time had passed, I realized I was dancing with both of them at the same time. It wasn't as smooth and graceful as before, but it seemed to be working out just fine. (picture more of a line dance as opposed to a two person dance)


Dream #2

I am riding my bike to one of my girlfriends houses. When I get there, her sister says she is sick, and contagious, and I shouldn't stay.

I leave on my bike, and somehow can't find my way home. It is dark, and getting late quickly. Suddenly my bike tires go flat. And I'm in a parking lot of a medical facility. I go in and ask if I can stay the night. The nurse sees that I have a medical bracelet, but says I need a new one, one that will allow me to stay, and show that I belong there.

She acts as if time was of the essence, that someone would soon be by to check and make sure that only authorized people were in the facility. She quickly put on the bracelet, and I made myself at home.


Dream #3

In my dream, I was fully aware that I had just had an EGD, and along with that knowledge, knew that I had been under anesthesia and was not allowed to drive for 24 hours. My roommate Mary was with me initially, and for some reason we were in Denton. She decided to head back to Irving, and said that when I was ready, I could come back to Irving in my car. After stopping by the Wells Fargo in the Square, I head out, in my car. As I am turning onto the road, I realize that I don't really have much control of the car. I made a huge right turn, instead of turning right into the right lane, I crossed 3 lanes of traffic and made it into the left lane and nearly hit the curb!!

This frightens me, and I am wondering why I am driving so badly. Then I suddenly recall that I am NOT supposed to be driving at all! I haphazardly continue driving until I find a parking lot I can pull into. I pull out my phone, and call Mary. She says she will turn around and come get me, and that she is sorry for leaving me there.

I get out of my car and sit at a table at an outdoor patio type of restaurant. I can see I-35E, and I am to the west of the highway, just north of the Outback Steakhouse. This restaurant is crowded, no empty tables. So I plop down at a table with an older woman, probably in her late 50s, early 60s.

I am an emotional mess! I am stressed out, scared, crying, and impatient. I realized that I hadn't even asked this lady if I can sit there, and when I ask, she says yes.

I'm not sure how long I sat there in my emotional mess, but after a while, I saw two familiar people. I won't name names, simply because it usually weirds people out when I tell them I dreamt about them.

Anyway, the husband and wife sat down with me, and asked why I was in town. We talked for a while. I don't recall anything else about this dream.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mission Trip- When I prayed...Send Me...

Okay...so I find this rather interesting and don't quite know what to do about it yet.

As I've mentioned, I've prayed about going on a Mission Trip for the last few months, though began thinking about an international mission trip back in college-specifically to Russia.

But nothing has ever worked out for me with Russia. So when the opportunity for Haiti came up at church a few weeks ago, I dismissed it, then decided to pray about it, then decided I was pretty sure I'd go...and today I received a voicemail concerning a mission trip to Russia.

Not quite sure what will happen. I don't know where I'll go, or even if this is the time for me to go. But I am praying for discernment. I am praying that God will lead me to where He wants me to go. I know and trust that I am exactly WHERE God wants me. I just hope and pray that my heart continues to move closer to where He wants it to be.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Haiti - Send Me, I'll Go!

I've been in active prayer about going on a mission trip since fall of 2008, and have a trip and country in mind: Haiti.

I called my mom to share with her about it today, and well...she wants to read up on the country and see how they're doing, and if I would be safe going there.

I've been researching, and here are some links I came up with:

So, my heart is definitely softening a lot for the people of Haiti, and I desperately want to go out and serve them.

I used to be afraid of what God would do if I sang this song...now I sing it from my heart, scarily fearlessly, in anxious anticipation of God sending me out.

Send Me, I'll Go!

Send me I'll go,
send me I'll go,
send me I'll go,
lemme go lemme go!
(repeat x4)

i seen it with my own two,
there's no way i can show you
a perfectly poverty stricken people with no view.
And i bet you can't believe this,
they never heard of jesus.
Heard young butler, lil wayne, and young jeezy.

No one's signing up to go on missions this summa.
Rather sit at home and watch exibit pimp in a humma
while a nine year old is shot down.
No one's screaming 'stop now!'
no bridge illustrations for criminals who on lock down.

People deep in africa
looking for an answer bra'.
In china man,
they're dieing man,
until they know who died for sins.
So look what grace did.
Not for us to stay here
inside our comfort zones
at home in mama's basement.

Get out on the grind y'all.
Ain't no better time doll.
I know y'all read the great commission.
Let me just remind y'all:
make disciples of the nations.
Teach'm to obey the lord.
Have to lead someone to christ before i face the lord.

Send me I'll go,
send me I'll go,
send me I'll go,
lemme go lemme go!
(repeat x4)

hey! After, 1,000 years in the west and the churches
get'n bigger daily without understand'n worship. (say what?)
Some regenerate but a lot ain't saved.
You walk outside and be surprised cuz the block ain't changed.
And the numbers they be get'n me.
Something just ain't hit'n them.
America ain't christian they practice'n the ritual.
That's why we should be mission though.
Hey, what you think i'm spit'n for?
The united states is die'n
and in the east is looking pitiful.

Some places if they catch you
they'll arrest you.
They'll serve you,
but they still need the word too.
The gospel should be heard too.
We claim we ain't ashamed,
but we ain't hit the block up.
Were in our christian bubble,
while our brotha's get'n locked up.
Lord i wanna stock up,
pack a bag and walk up
in a country where my faith may get me shot up
anywhere i go, whether my city or far abroad,
i just wanna show' christ the risen holy god.

Send me I'll go,
send me I'll go,
send me I'll go,
lemme go lemme go!
(repeat x4)

i know they're die'n in the streets over in the middle east.
Some kids sink in piece
others hold'n up a piece.
If the violence doesn't cease,
then at least the deceased
might know jesus as their savior as their bodies hit the streets.
And i know this is a graphic view.
And i pray that it's attack'n you.
Track'n you to act and do
what you see in the back illusion.
Mathew twenty-four and fourteen.
We should read it twice
before we think that life is just a battle
see we free in christ!
Look dawg! Life is more than church work and football!
What if you were dead and seen that christians overlooked y'all!
This is why we leave the couch
and leave the comforts of our house
to show a die'n world a god they'll probably never read about.

The great commission says make disciples of all nations.
Have we even made them in our own nation?
Come on christians!
Missions exist because worship doesn't.
People don't worship the god who made them.
We're ambassadors.
Let's go!

Send me I'll go,
send me I'll go,
send me I'll go,
lemme go lemme go!
(repeat x4)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Random thought resurfacing from the day Dad died

I remember being in a prayer circle at the hospital on Feb. 23, 2003....doubting that God would do anything to keep my Dad alive....knowing in my heart that his life was over......before it was confirmed that he was dead.

A deep part of me wanted to believe it would all be okay, that God's hand was in this situation, that God was near.

Another part of me did not know God. This part of me was convinced that there was no point in praying to God, that He would not come through for me....never had and never will, especially not in this crisis situation.

When the news was delivered, and my fears were confirmed to be true, that Dad was dead....time slowed....I have no clue how much time really passed by, but it is still vividly imprinted in my mind.

I remember thinking, okay, so perhaps there will be good in this....I mean everything HAS to happen for a reason, right?

Maybe this will force Natalie and I into becoming closer to each other.

Selfish thoughts came into my mind as well...thoughts so darkly selfish that I am ashamed to admit them aloud, let alone type them.

But what has resounded in my heart over the past 6 years is "Maybe this will force Natalie and I into becoming closer to each other."

Summer of 2003, I pretty much did everything in my power to push her away. I said mean hurtful things to her, blamed Dad's stress, bad health, and yes, even his death on her. We literally fought in the front yard....I think that is the only fight I've ever been in...

The next few years went by, and I don't really recall any other mean words, but I also wasn't the most loving sister. Nor was I encouraging and accepting. If anything, I nitpicked and nagged at her bad habits.

When her high school graduation came....I didn't go. I had a dance performance that I thought was more important...oh, and our Mom watched me dance, so she walked without us there to congratulate her.

As much as people say my life was hard, I KNOW Nat's life has been harder.

After I became a Christian, I realized that I was wrong about so much. I started praying for Natalie in 2006.

I so desperately envied my friends who had close relationships with their siblings. Why couldn't I have that? Was it my fault because I live here and she lives in Houston?

I realized it would take more than my faulty love on her for her to want God in her life. I started praying that God would put people in her life that would have a godly influence on her.

I remember asking her if she believed in God. She said "Yes, of course! I mean who else could have created all of this?"

But that was as far as my evangelism skills took me.

The last time she came to visit me, she did nothing but love on me. She loved on me with a love I have never seen from her....it was completely selfless.

So I wrote all of this to reflect on the fact that it has been exactly 6 years and 1 month since Dad died. So much has changed. Yet I do believe and have hope that God is near, God is in control, and that he is redeeming Natalie. I am so excited for all the joy that God has yet to unveil to both Nat and I.

Praise God for Answered Prayers

So I'm super duper excited to become an Aunt in August!! And not just because I'll have a niece, but because of the amazing answers to prayer that is going on in Natalie's life lately. Nat and I were talking on the phone last Thursday, and she was telling me about how she's been going back to Cypress Bible Church, and how they've been loving on her and have set her up with a place where she can take classes in exchange for earning stuff for the baby....and I'm all tearing up on the other end of the phone line because of how amazing it is for this body of believers to lovingly accept, embrace, and help my sister!

She is genuinely excited to be going on the Women's Retreat through Irving Bible Church with me in 2 weeks, and here are her 2 reasons: (1) to get to hang out with me, her big sis (which makes my heart soooo happy!) and (2) she is excited to learn more about God!!

I am so very thankful at how God is orchestrating all of this in her life right now, and still get teary eyed when I think about how awesome our God is at answering prayers.

I told Nat that I've been praying for her for a little over 3 years....her response?? "It took 3 years to be answered?"

Haha....yes, 3 years does seem like a long time here for us, but to God I don't think it is much time at all.

This actually does more than give Nat hope, salvation, and a relationship with God---it increases my faith in God answering prayers.

There is such great power in prayer. I'm thankful for the many people that I may or may not know about that prayed for me. And I'm thankful for God answering their prayers by bringing me into a relationship with Him.

Takeaway: Don't stop praying for what God has laid on your heart-this is kingdom business, and we are priveledged to be able to take part in His work here on earth!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Insomnia Spring Break

So I do find it slightly ironic that a week ago I posted about sleeping in...and now I'm posting about staying up late.

I haven't quite figured it out, but I haven't been much into journaling lately, which is odd, because I've pretty much had my pen to paper for the last 4-5 months almost daily. And I think it has been about 2 weeks since I've had an entry.

So I am drawing close to the end of Spring Break. It's been quite interesting, and not at all how I imagined. But that's life, right? Interesting, yet not how we imagine it to be.

Started off heading to Nashville, but one of my good friends got sick, and we ended up in Forrest City Arkansas. (Get it, For-rest?) Guess we needed some rest. Anyway, we headed back to DFW the next morning dark and early. I listened to a sermon on contentment. I was not content, but knew I needed to be.

Got home and drank Pepto, then went to sleep from 4:30pm till 9:30am. Did a bunch of nothing all day, then watched Lost.

Thursday I woke up sick, and cancelled my plans. Then felt better and made new plans. Went to Billy Bob's and did some dancing. Had fun, and got to hear Billy Bob Thornton and ZZ Top. Great show.

Friday I planted a garden and went swing dancing. Loads of fun!

Saturday I had a raspberry white mocha, swiss oatmeal, taxes and a massage. I wanted to get my laundry done too, but felt that might push it towards being over-accomplished. Ha.

Danced around in the living room for about 30 minutes, had fun, but felt lonely.

Needing to sleep, should have at least put a load in the wash, but messed around with this instead.

Now to the serious stuff...I don't know why, but I still feel resistant toward spending time with God. I don't know why. And I know it shouldn't matter how I FEEL in regard to my relationship with God and spending time with Him. But I haven't spent time with him this week. And I can feel it in my soul, and sense it in my thoughts.

Haiti...ask me about it....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sleeping In

I would say that a major lifestyle change that I've experienced over the last 3-4 months has been a major increase in the number of naps I take, and the ease at which my body tires! I am not able to handle staying super busy anymore...it has been hard for me to be okay with this. I feel like I am being irresponsible, and not taking cared of my commitments.

But, today I had a realization. A friend was telling me how his wife is sleeping a lot more now that she is pregnant. Now, I know what you're thinking, and don't worry. I'm not pregnant. But what I was thinking about was how God knits us together in our mother's womb, and how cool it is that God put Adam to sleep to create Eve from his rib. And how surgeons today put us to sleep to operate on us. And that made me think about how healing our sleep is. Which made me think of Jehovah-rophe from Exodus 15:26, the God who heals us.

I am on a healing journey. I am learning how to take care of myself, reach out to others, live a transparent life with my friends, and how to listen and accept God's love for me as opposed to accepting the lies of self-condemnation that have plagued my heart and mind for too long.

This journey doesn't really have a final destination. At least none that I can see. But it does have a lot of hope, and drawing near to God. I like the idea that I am being healed by God in my sleep. Because when I'm awake I have a tendency to resist growth, but in my sleep I am not in control; that is not to say that when I'm awake I'm in control, I only have an illusion of being in control.

Here's a good song to listen to, I'm trying to learn to stop running away...so maybe it's time to unpack my bags....


Just in case, I will leave my things packed
So I can run away

I cannot trust these voices I don't have a line of prospects that can give some kind of peace
There is nothing left to cling to that can bring me sweet release
I have no fear of drowning
It's the breathing that's taking all this work

Do you know what I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"?
What I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"

Empty spaces with shadows hit by streetlights
Warnings signs and weight of tired conversations
In the absence of a shoulder, in the abscess of a thief
On the brink of this destruction, on the eve of bittersweet
Now all the demons look like prophets and I'm living out
Every word they speak, every word they speak

Do you know what I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"?
What I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"
What I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"

Do you know what I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"?
What I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"
What I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"
Alone, alone, I don't want to be alone

I have no fear of drowning
It's the breathing that's taking all this work

Thursday, March 05, 2009

My Trademark Move

As I was driving home tonight, this song played on my iPod. Granted, I've heard it countless times, and have had the song on my iPod for several years...it touched my heart tonight in a way it never has before.

I have always held on to old habits, and have begun to acknowledge this tendency to myself lately. For some reason, I have a strength right now that I have never had before. I still have the same sinful thoughts, but thus far, they have failed to come to fruition. I am very thankful for that. I can happily boast that it is because of Christ living in me that I have been able to abstain from those bad habits for 3 months now. I don't think that a week goes by that the temptation or the thought doesn't cross my mind, and for that I am very thankful. I do also know that I can't just be satisfied with that, and then put myself in a place where I can stumble again.

I also know that I have a tendency to puff myself up....to tell myself that it is all me, and not God doing this work in me. This only leads to me separating myself from God, and allowing a barrier to exist between me and Him. I begin to think that I can do it on my own....but yet KNOW that I can't.

Reflecting back, I know that I fall into sin and temptation when I leave what matters out of sight. When I push God to the back of my mind. When I hush that still-small voice in my heart and ignore all truths that are reverberating in my heart. That only leads to me falling back into old habits. Habits I want to walk away from. I can't simply run away from them, because I would be in denial and or be able to suppress its existence and hold over my life. No, I must learn to walk away from those bad habits. Those bad patterns of living. (Romans 12:2: Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.)

When I attempt to sever my tie with God by turning my back on Him, I am basically going back to this "I can do it all on my own, and I don't need you to accomplish what I want for my life". I am also saying "I don't want Your will for my life, however seemingly 'good and pleasing and perfect' it may be! I want what I want, and I want it now!". (Wow, typing that makes me realize how immature that thought process is!)

It doesn't take long until I am forced to realize that I can't hold it all together. It takes a little longer for me to admit it, and by then, I've fallen apart!

And so here is where I turn back to God, knowing that I need things to improve, that I need God, and that only God can make me well. So, I come crawling back to God, begging for forgiveness, usually with my head down in shame.

So here I am. Willing to kill the thing(s) that turn me away. Not quite literally ready to amputate the arm that will disobey, because I'm not convinced that that was literal...but I would agree that I have not yet reached the point of shedding blood to keep from sinning, and therefore I am still needing to put up a good fight in this battle against my habitual sin. (Hebrews 12:4: After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.)

So I WILL withdraw from everything that's hurting me. For me that means not interacting with certain people. That means not engaging in certain activities. This is for my own good, and not something that I think that everyone should adhere to. Nor do I think that I will have a need to adhere to these restrictions forever. Just until I feel like I would no longer be tempted by those people or activities. Basically not until Jesus is finished with this part of His work in me. (Phil 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.) Now I realize that His complete work in me will not be finished until the day when Christ Jesus returns, but I am hopeful that I will be healed enough to be able to participate in those activities and relationships when they can be had healthily.

So here is the Relient K song that inspired this post. Lyrics are below:

i think it might just be alright
to leave what matters out of sight
old habits die hard, holding on
inevitable means it's never gone

told myself what i need to hear
i think the point was very clear
i showed me what we missed since we
slipped into inconsistency

it seems if my ties with you get severed
i can't seem to hold a thing together
i just fall apart
cause that's my trademark

it's my, my trademark move
to turn my back on you
it's my, my trademark move
to realize i should improve
and sometime soon after that
you'll see me come crawling back

i'll kill the thing that turns me away
amputate the arm that will disobey
withdraw from everything that's hurting me
until you finish your work in me

told myself what i need to hear
i think the point was very clear
i showed me what we missed since we
slipped into inconsistency

it seems if my ties with you get severed
i can't seem to hold it all together
i just fall apart
cause that's my trademark

it's my, my trademark move
to turn my back on you
it's my, my trademark move
to realize i should improve
and sometime soon after that
you'll see me come crawling back

it's my, my trademark move
to turn my back on you
it's my, my trademark move
to turn my back on you
it's my, my trademark move
to turn my back on you
it's my, my trademark move
to realize i should improve
and sometime soon after that
you'll see me come crawling back