We live in a world of sin and imperfection. I am a child of God striving each day to live out my calling. Welcome to my blog where you get the inside scoop of this Youth Pastor's world!
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

Sunday, June 15, 2014

We Love Because He First Loved Us

I'm so excited for your wedding!  This seems to be a sentence I hear a lot these days. I'm never really sure how to respond to this statement. I mean obviously I'm excited too, but some of these people seem more excited than I am. I mean don't get me wrong I am incredibly excited. I have given some thought to this difference in excitement, you see most people are excited about the dresses, the colors, the food, and the party atmosphere a wedding brings. Here's the deal though, I don't like dresses, colors are colors, food is expensive, and I don't party. I think I see the difference in excitement.  There is honestly a part of me that wants to go to the courthouse and not deal with all of the hoopla wrapped around this one day. There is a part of me that dreads the inevitable dress shopping and the idea of so many pictures of me being taken in said dress...weddings can be so incredibly stressful. It is such a huge day that marks your life and makes a statement about your chosen relationship for life.

But it isn't the wedding I am looking forward to, it is everything that is happening after. I'm excited about marriage. I'm excited about spending my life serving Adam, serving with Adam, learning everything about him, riding the tides of life with him, and together becoming the couple in ministry that God has planned for us. I'm excited to see where God takes this relationship. It has been incredible to be a part of this journey. There are so many moments I find myself overwhelmed by the way God has answered my prayers in an old friendship that has become so much more. I often look over at Adam and am humbled to think that he has chosen me and the only thing I can do is say a prayer of thanks for the incredible man God has brought into my life for me to love. So when I think about marriage and all that comes with it I am overwhelmed with excitement.

You might be thinking, why don't you just get married then, just skip the wedding. There is another side to weddings I haven't mentioned yet, and this is the part I am excited for, the part that is worth all of the planning, and even worth putting on a dress. It is the part where we get to unite our lives in a worship setting. We get to to share what God has done in our lives with our closest friends and family. God created us to be a people of community. We are not meant to go through life alone. Adam and I did not come to this part of our lives alone. We will not go through any other part of our life by ourselves. We are meant to worship in community, serve in community, and overall live lives of community....so why would we start this new phase of our lives without the community we have love and cherish? I cant even imagine going that route. I am also a person that loves tradition, so bring on the dresses, the colors have been selected, we will have cake and eat it too, as for the party....we will do it in full camp and church style!

So as I sit here staring at the piece of jewelry that started all of this excitement I can't help but feel incredibly blessed and excited about the love story that is being written in the lives of two people part of a Christian community in a world created by love itself. "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." - 1 John 4:9-12

If I run off to the courthouse then I am preventing my community from an opportunity to experience love which is to experience God himself. And that goes against everything I believe in and stand for. So bring on the wedding and all it entails, oh and bring on the excitement and bring on the sharing of love!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Arms of Love

There have been a lot of things going on lately that have made me want to write. The most recent being a funeral I worked this morning. I think I am starting to hate them less than I used to. There is just something spiritual about watching friends and family gather in honor and memory of someone.

A year ago in June, I was broken beyond words. Scott's death hit really hard. I view death in a way that means usually I'm not too sad when someone dies, but this one was different. It didn't matter how I looked at it, or what I could tell myself it was not easy to deal with. There were definitely many tears shed, and even months later I would find myself at a loss for words to describe how I felt. I spent a good six months battling being angry with God and then angry at myself for being angry. Thankfully I serve a loving God who is big enough to handle all of my earthly emotions. From Scott's death in June through the rest of the summer, it sure felt like God was testing me. There were issues with my little sister that I mentor, my car died, and then there were three more deaths. Needless to say I started the school year a shell of myself, and just went through the motions with my job and everything around me. My passion and fire was missing and I knew it but I couldn't figure out what I needed to fix it. In January I finally was able to mend my broken spirit and come back to being who I normally am.

Through all of this though I was surrounded by people who loved and cared about me. From my neighbors upstairs to my family and friends miles away. I had a church family here and far that were praying for all of the different situations. I found myself feeling incredibly blessed, loved, and at home. I honestly think it took a time of pain, fear, frustration, and loss in this place to finally feel like I was home. It is easy to love a new place during the hype of being hired and moving into your first place by yourself. But after all of that wears off the loneliness sets in and you start to wonder if you really are where you are supposed to be, especially being single and having no reason to stay home and do things in town it was really hard to connect and feel at home. Then tragedy hits and these people rise up to surround you with love and support, and even though I wanted nothing more than to pack up and go home I had to stay here because I had a job to do. I had people that needed me here. And through sticking it out, I fell in love with this community. And then I fell in love for real, and he moved up here to be with me, and now I have another reason to stay. I have roots starting to grow deeper and I still love going to Ark City to visit, but Hesston has become home.

So now as there is chaos and turmoil brewing in my hometown, there is a part of me that is dying not being there to help where I can. But then I go home or to Adam's and there are arms waiting for me. Understanding arms that are willing to hold me through the fears and tears. Arms that understand that even a year later the grief isn't fully gone, so sometimes I just need someone to hold me. These arms are the only place my heart desires when the reality of the brevity of life hits hard. It is no longer pure and utter torture to be an hour and a half away from my family when something painful happens.

The only thing different this year is that these arms that are holding me, I can feel them on a physical level that I didn't have. But I know and I felt the arms that never let go of me even last year in all of the pain and those arms are still holding me, and have provided me with physical arms as well.

The truth is our life here on earth is going to hurt, its going to be brief, and it is going to be filled with sorrow and suffering. But we have a Creator watching over us and guiding us through the battles of life. And when we trust Him, He provides for us exactly what we need when we need it. I don't think I would appreciate the strong arms that now hold me if I hadn't gone through so much with out them. I learned how to fully rely on God, I fell in love with my community and church family, I learned that all emotions are justified as long as you deal with them in appropriate ways, I learned that my faith was stronger than I knew, and then I experienced/am experiencing God answer my lifelong love prayer.

So my prayer today for you is that no matter what you are facing today you reach out for the arms that have never left you. Reach out for those hands that created you, the hands that are scarred and bled for you, the only hands that can heal, protect, and guide your soul through this life. If you're lonely reach out, also, to the earthly hands that have been provided for you to hold; in your family, friends, and community. You don't have to go through anything alone. You are always surrounded by the arms of love.

Arms of Love - Kutless