Contagious TRUTH!

I wanted to let you all know about World AIDS Day this Wednesday and some things you can do to get involved!

First I want to tell you a story. A story about a pretty amazing family.

Meet the Twietmeyers. All 15 of them! Dan and I have had the privilege of hearing Carolyn speak and follow their ministry and family through Facebook and their organization Project HOPEFUL. Carolyn and Kiel have 7 biological children and 6 adopted children, 2 of whom are HIV+. This is one joyful, loving, passionate, and beautiful family. They have committed to spreading the word about the TRUTH regarding HIV/AIDS, a topic that is not discussed, and still remains highly stigmatized regardless of research and advances made within the medical community. They are even being featured in the December issue of People magazine and will be on CBS with Katie Couric tomorrow night. Their beautiful family has experienced God’s loving mercies in bringing them together and allowing them to be faithful advocates for the most marginalized orphan.

PLEASE check out Projecthopeful.org. Read the stories of this beautiful family, discover the real truth of HIV/AIDS. Please look at the pictures of many children who are waiting for their forever families and pray that God would speak into the lives of those who need to step up and bring these children home.

This week, please share the Truth Pandemic Video on your blog, on your Facebook, with your family and friends. If you have Facebook, change your status and profile picture according to the Project Hopeful website. Doing this will spread awareness, and knowledge is the key toward action. Be in persistent prayer this week for the millions of orphans around our world, many of whom have been devastatingly effected by HIV and AIDS. Please do your part.

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'”– Matthew 25:35-40

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Oh, marriage.

So here’s the thing. I’m getting married. I’m not just engaged, not just a fiance. I am going to be a wife very soon. I’m ready for the ups and downs, the “til death do us part.” I’m ready for the “living life together.” I’m ready.

But here’s the thing. I’m not ready for what being a wife really means. I have no idea what I am getting into when it comes to being a wife in a God headed household. And to be honest, Proverbs 31 sounds a little exhausting. Yes, I am so ridiculously excited to be embarking on this journey, and no, fear and anxiety are not clouding my thinking. I am looking at the reality of what I am committing to as a woman who will honor and fear the Lord and who will support and encourage her husband in the endeavors we embark upon together.

Already, I am finding that Dan and I are so independent, that it will be interesting to once and for all mesh our lives. I am strong-willed (since forever) and Dan is stubborn. But the thing is that in marriage, we need to love the other more than ourselves, our ideas, our dreams, our everything. I wish I could say that I’m good at this, but I recognize that I am such a selfish person in everyday life.

I recognize that if our marriage is not strongly rooted in Christ, then we will not find any satisfaction in anything we attempt to do, independently or together. I wish that I could say I know Christ so well, so deeply, that I unmistakably hear his whispers and follow his ways. I wish that I could say that Dan and I treated one another as Christ and the Church as we are called to do. I recognize that Satan desires to weave between us, so that Christ cannot be seen in and through us. Our deepest desire is to serve Christ with our lives and we believe that we are meant to do that internally within our marriage and externally among the world. I just haven’t figured out yet what that looks like for me. As a wife. As a woman.

Thank God for the beautiful women He has placed in my life to model what this looks like. So I would appreciate your sincere prayers (and any advice that you feel like imparting), dear friends, that I may be able to discern exactly what it is my role entails. I pray that I can serve Christ wholeheartedly within this role and I thank God that I have been given a beautiful opportunity to do it with someone so wonderful.

Please watch this video. It’s a beautiful description of what marriage exemplifies.

On the brink…

These past few weeks have been more mind-blowing than I have experienced in a long time, or for that matter, ever. I have never felt or seen God’s pursuit of our lives more evident than right now. I am having trouble responding to it all, discerning the ever turning thoughts in my head.

It all started a couple of weeks ago with some serious refocusing. I have had my eye in all directions but up for a while and so I needed to rediscover Who it is I worship. Once I surrendered my selfishness (though that is still quite a daily battle), I started seeing again. I started finding God showing up in the most random, unexpected times. I started becoming convicted of everything that I do throughout the day that is not honoring to Him. But more importantly, I started hearing Him say things like never before. It was and is very evident that God is trying to show me something.

Last week, I kept becoming convicted of my “comfortableness” (yes, I recognize that is not a word, but just roll with it). I kept thinking, I know that I want to serve God, to love widows and orphans, to be a person who consistently steps out in faith, but what am I doing today? This minute? In the daily moments? I began to start questioning the things I have assumed for a while, thinking that while I am a student, there isn’t really much I can do, or while I am preparing for marriage, I can’t really be helping the world.

So there it was. A entire way of being, living, thinking was questioned. (Dangerous, I know, right?) I knew God was preparing these stirrings for something. He was trying to teach me.

Then, I went to the Orphan Summit. There I found and heard people who live on the edge all the time. I found marriages so surrendered that they are willing to do anything for their Creator. I found people who have such a heart for the lost, for the least, for the orphan. I can’t even describe how my head has been spinning since this weekend. Not in a “I’m on a spiritual high right now and I have to come down at some point” sort of way, but in a “I don’t want to live the same earth-dependent way again” sort of way. Thank God Dan and I were able to experience this together, or I might have had a lot of explaining to do! 🙂

I want to know what it means in my life, to care for the least of these. I want to know what it means for the next 8 months, before our marriage. I want to know what it means for job-searching, for house-searching, for “budget” planning, for graduating, for everything. And honestly, I don’t have a clue. I know that we don’t want to jump into our marriage comfortable, with a list of bills to pay and things tying us down in a way that will prevent us from being willing to serve in any way. We are wrestling through this.

But, right now, I want to know what today looks like. How do I love the least of these this moment? How do I respond to God’s pursuit and show up to whatever He is calling me to do? I’m trying to figure this out and I would deeply covet your prayers.

I feel as though my life, our relationship, this journey is on the brink. On the brink of something unexpected. Of something I have not anticipated. So if I sound crazy, maybe I am. But I would rather be crazy than comfortable any day.

Radical Faith

When He had completed all His discourse in the hearing of the people, He went to Capernaum. And a centurion’s slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him; for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue.” Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. “For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.– Luke 7: 1-10

Wow. My mind is completely spinning, whirling, turning. I for some reason can’t stop hearing and thinking about what it means to have faith. Faith that is ready and willing and unabashedly ready to jump at a moment’s notice. I want this faith. I deeply admire those who have it.

This is not the first time I have spent time ruminating over this topic in my mind, but I feel so convicted right now that my life is so comfortable with the status quo that I don’t know if I have this type of faith. I am realizing that my life is changing so rapidly right now. I am graduating in 5 weeks. I am getting married in 8 months. I honestly don’t have a clue what my life is going to look like 1 year from now, so to say that life is beautifully uncertain, I think would be quite the understatement. Most of me loves this sort of uncertainty, the wonderful anticipation. But some of me is really quite scared that I will fall into a life of comfort and routine so easily, that I will forget what it means to live recklessly and radically for the sake of Jesus.

After reading a blog (http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/), I saw so vividly in front of me the type of faith I want to live by, the type of faith that requires God to show up, because there is no possible way we can handle what we are doing. I saw a woman raising 14 girls in an impoverished part of the world, caring for malnutrition of the body and of the soul, advocating for the unfortunate. This is an example of the life of beautiful insanity I want to live.

I read a book a while ago, Reckless Faith, that has some wonderful thoughts on living wildly in a safe world (written by someone who lives this stuff out). I have been processing these thoughts lately, so I will share…

“Is my faith reckless enough to trust first and think second? Can I grow faith strong enough (like a muscle) that when it has to pick up a heavy reality, I can easily lift it and still have hope?”

“More than any paycheck or possession, what God offers makes me rich, and his strength is more than enough for any work he has prepared in advance for me. I can let go of trying to make it all work, of creating my own kingdom. I can let go of escape routes and back-up plans. I can let go.”

“Sharing my life with Meme has taught me that all my moments can be ministry– eating, cooking, washing, watching children, anything I do beside someone else, for someone else, or with someone else. I’m trying to make ministry and breathing and walking in the Spirit all the same action.”

How do I become so ingrained with Christ that my actions, my walking, my breaths are simply Him. How?? I am wrestling and pondering. I don’t know. I want to be able to drop everything. He is worthy. He doesn’t have to prove Himself, because everyday He shows Himself faithful.

“When Jesus called the disciples, they dropped their nets– their entire lives– and followed him. When he calls us, we don’t do much net dropping any more, and sometimes we feel that we can just keep doing what we’ve always been doing– only better with God at our side. But Jesus said, ‘Deny yourself, pick up the cross and follow me.’ To follow the voice of the Guide is to let go of our own agenda and throw ourselves towards his. How much more reckless can you get than that?”

*quotes from Reckless Faith. Written by Beth Guckenberger.

*Picture from fotothing.com