Breakdown

OUR

 

That word takes you and me and it smashes us together in just three letters. It takes you out of your journey, and me out of mine, and it puts us on the same path.

OUR FATHER.

No longer am I praying on my behalf, but on yours as well. No longer am I just thinking of the way I view God, but also how you view God. I don’t recall this ever being explained to me in a way I understood before. It’s very simple, maybe so simple everyone just assumed I knew the complexity of it. He’s our Father, but just the word, the way the prayer is started, suggests that we pray it together.

The title is breakdown, not because that’s the state of my being, but because I want to break the Lord’s Prayer down. For you and for me, to meditate on the words we so quickly ramble off.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. STOP. 

What is hallowed? To make holy, set apart as sacred. God’s name is holy, it’s set apart. Do I treat it that way in my daily life? Do I even think about that when I hear others throw it around as an exclamation of surprise?

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. STOP. 

I ask Him to have His way, for HIS will to be done. But wait- what if His will is different then mine? (Newsflash Sam, it probably is: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord, and my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8) So God- have your way. I back down, I’m giving you room to do what you need to do (as if He needed my permission..)

On earth as it is in heaven. STOP.

I think I dwell on this line the most. It’s easy to get caught up in the pain of this world. Out here in this school we keep ripping open the wound in our hearts, injustice after injustice. When you think you’ve seen the last statistic on pornography, the last story on gendercide, watched the last documentary about children sold into slavery, you have another story, another face, another lost heart. God- if what it takes to have heaven on earth is for you to have your way- TAKE IT. I give all of this up, the good and the bad, to have what you have for us in heaven.

Give US this day our daily bread. STOP.

First off- us. Jesus encouraged them to come together in prayer to ask God for their daily provision.Second, how many times have you gathered with others to ask God for your daily needs? Me- maybe once, in Papua New Guinea when we needed a village to stay at. And I can assure you there was a certain level of urgency in that prayer. We had nothing, we were fully relying on God to provide, and of course He did.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. STOP.

What if God forgave you the way you forgave others? Is there someone on your heart who hurt you? That one person who hurt you deeply, who you just can’t seem to forgive? What if He forgave the same way we did, in a kinda-sorta-halfway-almost completely forgiven way? Thankfully He is bigger than that. The moment we ask, He wipes it clean. A clean slate. So is Jesus asking us to do something impossible here? No. Jesus doesn’t put something in front of us that we cannot handle. Is it difficult? Absolutely. Impossible? Never, for “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37)

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. STOP.

How many times have you prayed this: lead us not into temptation, all the while knowing the temptation you struggle with is waiting for you as soon as you say “amen”? Knowing it, and not giving it up to God? Have you prayed this with the intention of still returning to that which turns you from Jesus? That gossip, the words that pierce hearts instead of build them up. The actions that bring you shame but you “just can’t seem to shake”. See ,the thing is, we love sin. If we didn’t, we would run from it all the time. Before you ask God not to lead you into it, which He would never do, check yourself and see where you are leading yourself into it.

For YOURS is the kingdom and the glory and the power forever. Amen. 

Again, this is a repeat of before, but really- it’s all about God. Its HIS kingdom, HIS glory and HIS power. He lends us His power to live for Him, but how easy is it to steal His glory too? How easy is it to make life more about this kingdom than the next?

 

I’m reminded of a worship song I sang a few years back, where one line goes “I’m sorry, Lord, for the things I’ve made it, when it’s all about you, it’s all about you Jesus.” And it’s true, it’s too easy for us to make it about the lofty beautiful words we say, about the amount of people listening, about the intensity of our voices, but really, it’s all just about Jesus. He wants us to meet together before Him and rest. I encourage you today to go find someone, even if just one person, and pray together. Thank God for who He is, what He has brought you through. Thank Him for His plans that He has for you, for the victory He’s already won for you. Thank Him for carrying a burden too heavy for you, and for giving you all you need to walk in His power. Be broken before Him, before another person, and experience the beauty and freedom that comes from being raw with one another.

Much love,

Me in missions

 

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

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You light up the sky

Hi there, my name is Sam, and I am one of the least disciplined people in the world. I’d like to take this chance (since it’s my blog) to apologize for my absence. I don’t know if you’ve missed me, but I’ve sure missed you! I really have no good excuse for not writing, except maybe I’ve been too busy? Even that one isn’t very good, because I’m sure you still find time to do things you love when you’re busy. So I digress- I have failed. But I’m here again, not making any promises on the consistency aspect of this, but I’m here now!

This summer has come and gone in a fury of activities, conversations, road trips, endings, engagements (best friend, people, not me), and a whole lot of falling in love with Jesus. My contract as a nanny finished up on the 14th which was a million times harder than I’d expected, of course. Those two children, along with their parents, have etched themselves inside my heart. I do not say goodbye, but a “see you later”. I don’t know the plans God has for them, but I’m sure they’re big and beautiful, and hopefully cross up with mine again one day! I also spent 2 weeks travelling eastern Canada with 3 other friends which was fantastic! If you’re travelling on a budget, might I suggest couchsurfing.org? We had a great time meeting locals, scoring a free show to Cirque du Soleil in old Quebec city, I touched a whale in the ocean(!!), and we camped on the beach in Prince Edward Island. This is definitely a trip I will always remember.

While we were relaxing one day on the beach, I went for a little walk with God and He said something to me that at first I didn’t really understand. I actually had a hard time deciding if it was Him, or just me and my heart trying to make something out of nothing. I’ve been having a tough time getting any answers out of the staff at YWAM recently, not at their fault, but still a tough time. Because of this, I’ve been doubting if this is the right path for me (because if it’s right, it should be easy, right?) So I was doing some heavy searching, just really wanting to do what God has for me, and He saw my desire, but quickly and gently put my worries to rest. In the quietest, quickest way, He spoke. “Search for me in the darkness; I will be there, shining my light”. It was one line, short but sweet. I quickly rationalized that this was indeed NOT God, because darkness does not exist where God is, right? But then I thought “Well, if that wasn’t God, who was it?” I’ve never had a thought like this before, or heard anyone talking about this either- so where did that come from? I was a bit frustrated.

Frankly, I was looking for a “Sam, you’re on the right track. They’ll respond to your emails, people will jump at the chance of supporting you, and everything will work out. I’ve got this, keep pursuing me and it’ll work out.” And how about that- He gives me an answer I have to wait to understand. So the next day I was listening to a podcast, and out of nowhere, the speaker says “God needs you to illuminate the darkness. He can use anyone, including you, so go. It doesn’t matter where, just go, and He will show you the way.” Of course that caught my attention, but I brushed it off, like we always do with “coincidences”. So I take Monique’s iPhone and listen to a different podcast, I believe a sermon from Francis Chan and boom! There it is again!

I’m not going to make any assumptions about the darkest places on earth- where they are or what’s going on there, but I believe we’re called to them. Not because we ourselves are so talented at showing God’s light, but because by being His child, it should emanate out of us. We’re called because we have freedom, and we should want to share that freedom. We’re called because we dropped all our struggles, our suffering, our garbage, pain, issues and past mistakes, and instead took up a belt of truth, body armour of God’s righteousness. We have peace that comes from the good news for shoes, the shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

He does not call us and send us out alone. I have not been called back to YWAM to be sent out alone. I have a church family that loves me, a blood family that will miss me and wants the best for me. I have supporters that believe not in what I do, but in what God will do through me. I am sent out with the stories of God’s faithfulness, provision, comfort and direction from so many brothers and sisters. He hasn’t failed me yet, and I know He never will.

So for now I continue on. I will meet with sponsors, I will plan fundraisers, I will work and do my photography. I will continue falling in love with perfect love, even when it hurts. I will share my joys and sorrows with the ones He has provided for me, and I will never stop singing about how He has changed me. He’s captured my heart, my life, my all. Some call me over dramatic, but I don’t care. I will continue on, because He never stops loving me.

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

I am…

Ask my at any given point what I am, and you’re bound to get a variety of answers. I am happy. I am satisfied. I am confused. I am feeling blessed. I am nervous. I am a photographer. I am a writer. I am a free spirit. I am uncommitted. I am lonely. I am present. And on the other hand, it’s humorous because you could ask me what I am at any time, and I could say ” I don’t know today.”

And even though I sound like I’m dealing with a million personalities, I AM all these things. And sometimes it gets exhausting trying to sort them all out, only presenting certain sides of myself to certain people. But then I think about it, and I smile. Because I’m (almost) always myself, and even though I sometimes have to sensor who that is, I am accepted. I am loved. I am depended on, which makes me stable, makes me feel needed, and even a bit important. And so I have a question. A question for you. 

What do you need to hear?

I enjoy this online way of sharing my heart. I love writing, as it’s become a major part of my story. But I don’t do this online thing for myself. Just this morning I was thinking about how there hasn’t been a day in the past 9 months where I haven’t written something. (With the exception of –almost– dying while hiking through PNG.) Some days it’s 7 journal pages, sometimes I barely get through my second sentence. Maybe I’m super charged because of my recent Francis Chan stint, or maybe feeling like giving back intentionally because of Donald Miller. Either way, you get the last say. Let me know. Comment here. These comments I’ll keep to myself, and I’ll write about them. Tell me about your hearts, tell me what you care about, what effects your days the most, and what you love about life. Ask me your questions, tell me your struggles. And somewhere along the lines, you’ll get a post, just for you. (Secretively, of course!)

So, to continue the theme. Today, I am sick. But I am also clothed, fed, comfortable, surrounded by family, dreaming of Georgia and the Passion 2012 conference in January. (By the way, if you for some reason want to sponsor me to go, let’s chat!) I am looking forward to the last few weddings of the year, excited about the new church I’ve been visiting, and slowly learning more about the way God guides.

So what about you? What are you?

 

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Transitions, Changes, and a Look Back

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

                                                                                                      Francis Chan, Crazy Love

I was out this weekend with a bunch of friends, some of whom I haven’t seen since being back home. While out, the topic of transitions came up. He is facing transition from university back home, and I am facing transition from one home to another. Transitions are not always easy or clean cut, but life has slowly been getting back on track. I have found a job, I have started volunteering at the youth centre in town, and there’s talk of a car coming into my life! Things are starting to get exciting around here! And for once, I am able to look at transition in a beautiful light. Instead of a disconnect, a tearing apart, I see new opportunities, room for growth, freedom to shine the light.

This quote, by Francis Chan, it’s highlighted and underlined in my book. I read “Crazy Love” about 6 months before going to Australia, and never thought the line would make such an impact on me. But how true is it? I underlined it as a nice thought, something empowering, something to remember. But no matter how eloquently it’s put, the message is still the same. What you are doing today will be graded on a scale of some sort. What you do with your life has a certain amount of importance. And, while being in this beautifully frustrating time of transition, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I’m at a point where any door is open, my options are limitless. I could work, I could go to school, I could go start something new in a new country, I could jump back into YWAM. So many options, all of which are good things to do. But, as always, I’m not content with just doing “good” things, I want to do exactly what good thing God wants me to do.

So, I searched, and still am searching. Constantly, God’s told me “just be”, be where you are, live where you live, get out of your comfort zone. And yesterday I went for a walk. My spiritual walk with God has turned into a literal walk, a time where I can just talk to Him, bring everything to Him, and just listen. Isaiah 41v1 really resonates with my soul, “Listen in silence before me, you lands beyond the sea.” I’ve felt the conviction before of asking for an answer, but not really listening for it, and don’t wish to experience it again. So I asked for the next step, I told Him I was ready to handle it, and He threw me a curve ball.

So, I’m not really at the spot where I’m ready to disclose what’s next, because I need to sort out a few details. I also have learned that as quickly as God can set you in one direction, He can spin you around and make you head straight for something else. And that’s where the quote from Francis Chan comes in. I want my life to be about doing something that matters, making a difference, even if it’s tiny, and I know God has big plans for me. It’s up to me to make sure that at the end of it all, I can look back and see that I made a difference, whether that’s here in Canada, or out somewhere else. But looking back on what He brought me through on YWAM, I know there’s still so much for me to learn. As a beautiful friend of mine said to me “Its like the journey isn’t finished yet, and this is the time in between.”  So, transition or not, this is the in between time. And I want to thank you all for making this in between time so meaningful. I appreciate hearing what’s on each and every heart, and it definitely makes me feel so loved and blessed to be here in this time.

Shine!

With Strength that is not my own, Sam