Shift

I am applying to YWAM Kona. I started the application process on Thursday and nothing has ever felt more right. I’m in the middle of this flow, and though it may sound cheesy and overly “Christian”, I’ll say it anyways. In the middle of God’s will for me is the best place I could ever be. I’m not claiming it’s easier, that it isn’t painful or scary, but it’s best. Because when I lay down at night, I know He’s got me wrapped up in His hands. This stubborn heart is finally listening to that scary word He whispered to me flying home from Sydney. Jump. And jump I will.

So what does this mean for me? Well, that’s a great question. To be 100% honest, I’m not sure. Right now I’m applying to be a staff member, and that needs it’s own explanation! I’ll try to do my best to explain what this means, but if you have any questions at all, please, ask me! I love your questions. So basically a staff member is a full time missionary. No, I’m not always going to be in a third world country, but that’s part of it. God calls us to minister to all His children, and this is one great opportunity to serve. So I finished my  Discipleship Training School (DTS) in June last year, and through my staff opportunities, I will be able to help lead these schools! That includes a lot of responsibility, but it’s right up my alley. And, YWAM Kona runs this particular school with a photography focus! Now I think I’ll leave all the details about my work to another post, but know that I get to serve God by leading teams through lectures, being a one on one support system for students, use my photography to expose injustices on outreach, and also, most importantly, be the hands and feet of Jesus all over the world. As a missionary I will need to find people who are willing to support me financially to do this work, and although this is a daunting task, I also know that God has been pushing me towards this for a while, and feel confident in the direction He is guiding me to.

In the midst of that, I’ve also recently designed and launched a website for my photography, as well as become a Registered Business owner! How crazy is that? All of these things have been falling into place and I find it so incredible to watch God at work. Recently over the past few months He’s been just overwhelming me, with his provision, his guidance, his sense of humour, He’s just fantastic. I couldn’t say enough about how much He’s impacted me.

And of course with Good Friday coming up soon I’ve tried to take some time to reflect and stand before God in my weaknesses. I used to play piano, it’s something I wish I didn’t give up on, and just today I was sitting before the keys wondering why I was there. So I flipped open my book, and the first song I had dog-eared was “Lamb of God”. Now, I’ve gone back and forth between loving the hymns and wishing they’d be retired, but this one- it always gets to me.

Maybe it’s the way the notes sway together, or the combination of that with the words that just pierce me, but it gets me every time. The sacrifice He made, for me, for you, we look over it so easily. We say it, it rolls off our tongues, “Jesus died for you, on a cross” It comes out so easily, we vomit it out without letting it hit our hearts on the way up. Why? How? I’m sure God didn’t intend for it to be this way, and we don’t either, of course. It’s a challenge to me to remember, to humble myself, to receive His sacrifice, and to make my life my own sacrifice back to Him.

In this next week, prepare your heart. Take time each day to think of what His sacrifice means to you, how it changes who you are, how you live, the way you act and the words you speak. And maybe in reflecting on all this, you’ll learn that it doesn’t effect you all that much. Maybe you’ll learn some things about yourself that you may not like. But remember, His sacrifice was made to make you clean. And if that doesn’t bring you uncontainable joy, I don’t know what will.

Thanks for being with me.

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Average

Sometimes I forget that Matthew was just an average guy. I forget that he didn’t stand out from the crowd in regards to his ministry pre-Jesus. He didn’t have eloquent words, he didn’t have a “calling from the Lord” that He ran with until Jesus literally said “Hey you- follow me”. He was just your average guy. I assume he worked, had a family, did things that were “good”, and a few that were “bad”. He wasn’t some icon that people around him looked up to, he was just an average guy.

In fact, I’m pretty sure anyone who has ever been used by God has been your average Joe (or Susan). A while ago, I heard something that made me think. Plain and simple, I was told that God doesn’t need me. First it made me feel really unimportant. I mean, why would He create me if He didn’t need me? I believe we all have a calling placed on us, from God, so if God doesn’t NEED me, why did He create and CALL me?

I struggled with it for a long time. And in my ignorance, I didn’t once bring it to God himself and ask for clarity. I didn’t ask Him to explain it, or to tell me they were wrong in saying it, or even just give me peace about it. It wasn’t until I was trying to figure out what my next step was that I decided He was trustworthy with this. And He told me.

I don’t need you.

No lovely little reassurance of my self worth. No beautiful picture of my importance in this world. Plain and simple. He doesn’t NEED me. But He wants me.

I’ve had a lot of people in my life who have needed me for various reasons. Some have helped me by needing me, and some have hurt me and pulled me down. For a long time I’ve spent my days wanting to be needed. I believed that I would be fulfilled when I was needed. What a joke. Don’t get me wrong- being needed is a beautiful thing. But wouldn’t I want to be wanted, rather then needed?

See- God wants me. He wants my heart, my devotion, my companionship, my joy. He wants my heartaches, sorrow, confusion, my burdens. He also wants my talents, giftings, and my short falls. He wants it. He doesn’t need it though, because He has other children.

In my life, I am bound to do some pretty incredible things. I’m not trying to sound conceited or be boastful, but really, let’s face it- when you walk with Jesus, along with the trials come a lot of good times. Beautiful times. Exciting, fantastic joyful times. I mean, He came to give life, and life to the fullest- and if that’s a gift He’s willing to give me, I will fully receive it! So these incredible things are bound to happen! I’m going to help people, show them truth, lead them to my Father, walk through tough times, joyful times, and everything in between. And knowing this, it’s easy to fall into thoughts that tell me “God needs me to do this”. But you know what? You could easily do it instead of me. He could use YOU to do all these things instead of me. He doesn’t need me. But He WANTS me- and now my heart rests in that.

I am wanted. He wants me enough to pursue me every day, to give me gifts, to trust me with tasks and the hearts of His beloved children. And not because I am fantastic, or eloquent or an icon. Not because I stand out above the crowd, lead crowds of people, impress them all with my life. He uses me, your average girl, whether I understand my calling or not.

Maybe you’ve been waiting. Waiting until you understood more about what you’re called to do, waiting until you’re a better leader, a wiser teacher, a more “experienced” Christian. Waiting to act, because you’re not sure you’re good enough yet. Let me tell you- you will never be good enough- but you don’t have to be. Learn from Paul in 2 Corinthians 13: 8-9

3 different times I begged the Lord to take it (the thorn) away. Each time he said “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

See, we’re not good enough, but Christ is. And when we are honest about our weaknesses, He gets the glory, and the room to provide strength for us. He wants to do this. He does not need to. He loves to do this.

I am weak. I am average. And I am not needed. And these are 3 things that I love to say.

 

 

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Hey you~

Hey you in the corner with those sad, searching eyes. I see you. 

Hey you in the front row, looking so confident and yet feeling so alone. I see you. 

Hey you on the side, waiting for the perfect moment, and letting it pass you by. I see you. 

Hey you with the hands stretched out, searching for anything. I see you.

Hey you, the one leading when you feel you have no right. I see you.

Hey you, living your life trying so angrily to prove I’m not here. I see you.

I. SEE. YOU

And I love what I see in you. I see your heart. I see your worries and I’ve got them covered. I see your thoughts, even the ones you think I can’t. I see your desperate need to succeed, to please, to earn and be needed. I see it all, because I  made you. I made you whole, but you’re only whole when you walk by my side. So walk with me! I won’t run ahead, I won’t disappear. I may challenge you, maybe more than you think you can handle. But I’m here- all the time. I don’t leave you- it’s YOU who leave ME.

But you don’t like to admit that. Does it make you sad that you leave me? Embarrassed? Ashamed? Because it gets to me- deep to my core. I don’t demand perfection, the sacrifices I’ve made have already covered that. All I need is for you to come home. Ask me those questions that are desperately trying to slip out. Lift up your hands to me like a child, I will ALWAYS lift you up. I promise to see you when no one else does; to love you when no one else does; to believe in you when no one else does. Even when you don’t believe in yourself.

I see you. I chose to see you. And I will always chose to see you. Whether you are pretending I’m not there, lifting your arms in submission, crying tears that I’ve already counted, or sitting quietly beside me. I see you. You can always count on that.

Love, God

 

Sometimes God chooses to speak through us, and this post is a pretty clear representation of that. This came to me in the middle of the night, when I was enjoying perfect sleep. And I believe it was important enough for myself, and maybe you, for Him to wake me up and get me to write it out. I don’t have much else to say besides this, I think if you have some questions- you know who to go to.

Last thing, promise. Lately I’ve been blessed by a few friends who have just encouraged me in myself. Not in my talents, or what I’ve done for them, but just encouraged me. I want to encourage you to do the same for someone else. Everyone, weak or strong  less weak, needs encouragement. Take a minute today to do that. Say it, text it, write it in a card, it doesn’t matter how. Just say it, we’re all given a voice for a reason.

No picture today. Read His letter to you again, close your eyes, and let Him paint a picture for you. I promise it’ll be better then anything me and my camera could capture.

 

With Strength that is not my own, Sam