Christmas Feelings

I have so many mixed feelings today.
I am overwhelmed by the light that has come into the world and rescued this soul from the darkness...surprised at the darkness that still prevails around me...inundated by christmas traditions that are fun, but don't give me more of Christ....loving that we had a white Christmas....homesick for Hamburg and Europe as I peruse over pictures from this last year and remember sweet memories of places and friends...but assured that it is only the will of God that brought me back home to Texas...there is no other explanation. I think I will begin to write more about the last year in this blog...

Haven't touched this in a long time. Probably because nobody reads this thing, but I will continue to write now that it isn't overwhelming to me anymore. Maybe a little therapeutic :)

Merry Christmas everyone!

The photo above is the entrance to the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) in Hamburg downtown at Gehardt Hauptman Platz. We went Christmas caroling here last year!


Bella Italia!

Oh, wow. It is only hours away before I leave for Bella Italia. I cannot believe it! It is too surreal to think that I will be in the place that 5 years ago sparked this passion for missions, culture, languages and everything beautiful and passionate! Italy has such a special place in my heart. God began to pull threads here, unraveling my disillusioned world. When I was in Milano I began to think about what it meant to really follow God and what a godly woman looks like. I remember coming back from this trip with this passion to follow God and seek Him out with everything.

Thus started my search for a ministry and on my second day on UNT campus I found the Navigators. Through my interactions with this group a long process began where God would not let me rest in my sinful, mediocre, "good" american life. He ferociously fought for my heart and He still does.

How good, wonderful, and lovely is our Lord! He is so extravagant in His means to pursue my heart. Truly. He has has sent me all over the world just to know Him more deeply and intimately. Nothing is too lavish for Him. I am so overwhelmed as I think about all that God has done for me and how He has pursued me and rescued me from the darkness in my heart. I cannot describe the joy that floods my soul.

How good you are oh Lord! Thank you for this chance to go back to such a special place in my heart. Thank you that you have reminded me of all you have done in my life. You are my King, my God, my Lover who chases after all of me. You are the source of life and I have nothing apart from you. You sustain me and give me unending joy unlike anything I have experienced. I am consumed with you. Wrapped up in you. I am yours.

For those of you praying for this trip, I thank you so much. I will not have contact during the week so I will tell you now what you can pray about. 1) That my heart would be open to hear from God on what He wants for my life 2) Protection from the enemy--Italy has a lot of spiritual warfare here especially with the evangelical church 3) That we would be a blessing to the missionaries and students we meet 4) That God would be glorified in this trip and that we would make the most of His name and not ours.

I love you guys and I thank you so much for sojourning with me.




I automatically titled this blog sin without even thinking because it has been such a topic on my mind lately. I have had much on my mind lately--it never rests, and that is the problem. I have been in such a funk since February, a lot of ups and downs. More downs than ups, but trying to hold it all together--there's no time to break down. Isn't that funny? The irony of those words are almost tantalizing with a faint laughter in the background from God. Not that you can tempt him, but when your pride flares up so much to utter words like I don't have time to break down or I don't have time to be sick, it's like waving a big red target sign saying "Please come get me! I need a lesson in humility and I need it now!"

And that is exactly what I have received. I have been sick for the last 5 days with, I think, strep (I saw a sign on the kindergarten door saying "We have strep, watch out"--might have been helpful a week ago when I contracted it from these cute little urchins) So I have been slowed down very much over the last 5 days. I took off work on Thursday and some of Friday. This is huge for me because I felt like I couldn't take off work when I just started only 6 weeks ago. I have realized so many things in this time period. I am not invincible. I break easily. Amazing revelation, I know. But it is true. If it were up to me, I would be running around on a broken leg saying "No problem, it's okay, really I still have one leg I can walk on. I'm fine."

I realized I don't know how to just be still. Even when I was sick, I felt so guilty that I had all this time and I wasn't using it efficiently for good purposes like studying more grammar or reorganizing my room etc. Nuts, I know! I also have been smacked in the face with my perfectionism. I have been believing these lies that I need to be doing well and be on top of my a-game and when I sin I need to immediately confess it and do a,b,c etc and then everything will work out well and my ministry will go well and the participants will be experiencing wholeness and healing and if I am not praying for them and waging war on their behalf and imparting all of God's wisdom to them, then they won't experience all that Christ has for them.---Can anyone see the ludicrousness of this thinking and behavior?? Well for a long time I could not. Praise God that wholeness and healing for the people attending Recovery does not depend on my relationship with God and that He is the one who is sufficient and ultimately responsible for imparting His glory to them and not me! What a relief!

It was made known to me that in my trying to be perfect it had nothing to do with pointing people to God, but pointing people to me and how God has worked in my life. So when things were going wrong, I began to feel exposed and feel like I need to do better because if I struggle then what I am teaching at Recovery about God is a lie because I can't find the sufficiency in Christ myself, therefore it is a farse and not worth the time. So I have been trying to make much of my name and not His. How twisted is that and how did I get there? That something where God has worked gloriously in me and something that was pure and right, turned so wicked so quick. I feel like Peter, but I don't want to be Peter. In the wicked parts of me, I want to be God, to be perfect and not have to be dependent on anyone and I can always be in control at all times. Do you think I might be feeling a bit out of control at the moment??

But thankfully God's grace is available at any moment and I don't have to earn it, but just repent of my wicked ways and accept it. God is so gracious and loving that He makes my heart alive again without demanding perfection. He is perfect and that is enough. He is also loving in that He promises to work on my wicked heart, but this is a lifetime process. Not instant.

Phillipians 2:12b-13 "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and act according to His good purposes."

I was listening to the podcast from TVC Denton and it was Lan preaching. He made this comment about what was written on Billy Graham's wife's tombstone. "Construction completed. Thanks for your patience."

That really struck a chord with me. We are like this big construction zone the whole time we are here on earth. It is going to be messy, but it is okay. We have been given enough grace to carry us through it and it doesn't mean that we are disqualified to lead others because we don't have it all together. What qualifies us has nothing to do with our performance, but rather our willingness to be used. Period. God is the one who does the work. He has all the power and might. We can't save people. I can't save people. Jesus can save people.

So I confess, I am a complete mess, but maybe you knew that already ;)


Bigger than me

I feel the weight of every day life crushing in on me. I fight to keep on going. This is so much bigger than me and everything inside of me screams "this is too much. You're too little and what you are feebly trying to do is so much bigger than you. You'll never make it on your own." ahhh, and this is where I am.

Lord Jesus, I am so small and I blow away at the slightest brush of the wind. I am crushed by the slightest change in pressure. I cannot go forward without You. I need You to cover me and protect me from all that rains in on me, to make my path clear before I even walk it. I need Your strength to get up and believe I can face my day and the challenges ahead of me because You have already fought them. I need Your righteousness and courage to walk in the holiness that You have called me to. I need Your wisdom and shepherd's heart to lead those You have given me the privilege of leading.

I cannot do it on my own. Please don't let me do it on my own.

I have been quite absent from here for a long time. Life has been so ridiculously busy I don't even know where to begin. As soon as I got back from the states everything was busy again with preparations for the holidays, working, helping out at church etc. In January I began my job hunt for a position as an english teacher which amazingly I got! I am a freelance english teacher and I work for several schools.

So then, I had to get all the paper work done to legally work in Hamburg. Let me tell you, if you have never experienced German bureacracy, I advise you not to unless you hate yourself. I think I may have gray hair coming in due to the stress that accompanies paperwork in Germany. They are waaay more invasive than in the states and ask questions I frankly don't think you are allowed to ask in the states. To get my visa I had to get health insurance. To get health insurance I had to have a visa. Anyone see any flaw in this logic? So not only health insurance, but a tax number so I could get paid (amen!). Oh, but before that, my "work plan" (plan to freelance teaching English) had to be submitted to someone in the arbeits amt (work office) to see if they thought my plan would work and I could earn enough money. Unglaublich! I couldn't believe they had to or could do this. Why do they need to approve of whether they think my plan will work? But this is typical German....It's not that they know everything, they just know everything better ;)

Then I had to look for an apartment. I thought I had one taking over a friend's lease who was getting married, but it didn't work out. Apparently the roomate's girlfriend wasn't so keen on a woman living there, oh well... BUT I did find a wonderful place to live! But more on that later....Then I had to register where I am living. Yes, you have to do that in Germany, you have to let them know where you are living. Crazy, huh?

I started Recovery up again in January in the midst of all this chaos and then I started my new jobs in February. This was total chaos. My first day of teaching with training was 9 hours. My first class was a one on one with a beginner with no previous knowledge of english and I had about an hour to prepare 3 teaching hours with her. Then I had an hour between my next class, which was a 2b business english class (so advanced students) and I had two trial students who I needed to impress so they would stay and the class would make. Yeah, I was so exhausted and overwhelmed by the end of the day. I wanted to scream and cry at the same time. Oh and I painted my apartment that week and moved in that weekend. Thankfully Katrin was teaching for Recovery (just happened to fall on that weekend, wasn't planned), otherwise I don't know what I would have done. God is so good for scheduling things like that. He knows much better than me!

So this is why I have been so silent. I have been busier than none other. Oh and my three closest friends have left the country. Adena is back in Canada, boo, and I miss her so much. I feel a little lost without her. Jan went back to Koeln and Jorma is in Finland right now, but will be moving to the south of Germany to do a DTS with YWAM. So quite a lot of things going on for me right now...

About my living situation! I live in a Christian WG (Wohnen Gemeinschaft) meaning a place where a bunch of people live together, share common areas i.e. kitchen, bathroom, etc. but are only individually response for their rent! The place I am living in is rented out by a Christian organization here and does mission work in parts of the world I should not say. SO I am living in a 6 bedroom flat with 5 roomates (6 including me), one kitchen with only 2 fridges (or to americans mini fridges--fridges here are so small!) and get this, 1 and half bathrooms. THAT'S IT! And you ladies thought the Fry house was rough with 6 women to 3.5 bathrooms and two large american size refrigerators, a dining room, living room, and laundry room. Our washing machine is in our kitchen here...oh how we shouldn't complain when we have it good ;)

I feel like I am living at the Fry house again. I live on a very busy street. The entrance to my apartment building is shared with the official "St. Pauli" soccer bar that blares music all throughout the night when there are soccer games on or when it is the weekend... I am 5 minutes from the Reeperbahn ( The Beattles got there start here), 5 minutes from Sternschanze ( a cool happening place--very college town like with the occasional demonstration and protest) the harbor is a 5 min train ride and very beautiful if you catch the train when the sun is setting or rising, and it is only 10 minutes to the hauptbahnhof( main train station.) You can't get much more centrally located. It is a 5-8 min walk to either U-Bahn station. Pretty cool place. Oh and did I mention the supermarket on the way to my flat is an old "Wal-Mart"? (yes!) Wal-Mart didn't survive in Germany so they were bought out by "Real" (pronounced re-al) What this means is I can find American products!! Wooohooo! Some things are a little bit pricy, but surprisingly many products are the same price as the German products. Although, I have to admit I feel so lost and unable to make decisions with all the options that are in this huge supermarket in comparison to the tiny typical German supermarkets that are the size of the Highland Village Campus Worship area ( I am not even sure they are that big.)

So I am rambling here. I just needed a break from preparing for Recovery this weekend. I was feeling overwhelmed and had an urge to write and it had been awhile...so yeah.

If you want to know how you can pray for me, pray that I push into God every day. That I don't try to live my life without Him. I have never felt so powerless, inept, and unable to live my life before as I do know.( I know this is a good place to be and see, but I am sinful and my ways of dealing with powerlessness are sinful.)

Please also pray that I don't drown or get beaten up by the chaos. That I would surrender to the only one who brings order out of chaos or Who holds me still in the midst of the chaos flying around me. I just need prayers. Protection against the enemy who is attacking so hard this time around with Recovery.

I love you guys and I am glad to be back in communication!

I will try to post more stories soon!