Category Archives: authentic faith

talk about perfect timing.

the night my sister told me that my mom has cancer, my mind raced in a thousand directions. by that next morning in early november, i wondered what 2010 would have in store and where it would take our family. weeks before, i had began seeking an opportunity to serve in canada during the summer that we’re now in. suddenly, though, i was reevaluating if i should commit to go until we knew what our action plan against the disease would be. there was no way in heck i was going to be in another country while my mama was undergoing chemo or radiaton.

i prayed and i sought, and i asked her what she thought i should do. unwaveringly, my mom encouraged me not to put the plans that God and i had for serving in quebec on hold. her reassurance made me brave, and i applied to work with this faithful congregation for five weeks in the summertime. earlier this month, i realized something pretty incredible: my mom will complete her last radiation treatment – and subsequently her last treatment period – the day before my plane takes off for canada. no more surgeries, no more chemo, no more nothin’. the very day before my bags will be checked and my passport will be stamped. 

could God have sent any clearer of a message? i love it.

when has He smacked you in the forehead and let you know that something was His design?

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Filed under authentic faith, family, fear, missions, quebec

these three remain.

on the days when it looks and feels as if everything else has abandoned us – reason, success, security-, these three remain: faith, hope, and love. they’re pretty words, these capstones of a passage of scripture that is read at almost every wedding and quoted on valentine’s day. but they’re messy words too, especially if one is genuinely attempting to put them into action in our generation. faith, hope, and love in this century has got to take on a radically different connotation if we are to ever work as the true hands and feet of Christ on Earth. i don’t pretend to know all of the solutions to achieving this, but i want to at least offer up some of what He’s revealed on this subject to me.

faith as a complete trust – not contingent upon circumstances or emotions on any given day, but in truth. faith, for this day and time we’ve been placed in, that He will make all things work together for good. faith that He is unchanging, that He hasn’t forgotten us even when He seems silent. what mountains we can move with just a speck of this!

hope is, to me, one of the greatest needs of the nations today. it is a deep desire or expectation that things will change or improve, and being confident in the fulfillment of that prayer. give hope. be hope for someone. i firmly believe that He calls us to bring hope to others, to show the oppressed and hungry what the kingdom of God is. we can never begin to fulfill this task if our eyes are forced shut to needs around us and our hearts are hardened toward being generous without want of reward. hope changes things. offer His hope to someone, and i can assure you that you’ll be given hope of your own tenfold.

the greatest of these, paul said, is love. love is an embrace, a passion for something or someone, an overwhelming need to care for the most unlovely creatures. the kind of love i believe God desires us to have for Him and one another isn’t always pretty or easy or without hurt. but it is worth it, and it does change things. in this century, let’s love dangerously. read the gospels and learn to love in action as Jesus did; hunger for justice; do something without bothering to consider how it benefits you; and show love to the unlovable. i can think of no greater gift.

what are others saying about faith, hope, and love in the 21st century?

jeff goins — Faith, Hope, and Love in the 21st Century: a Manifesto?

matt snyder — Faith, Hope, and Love: Expressed in Simplicity

jesse medina – Faith, Hope, and Love in the 21st Century

kiel spelts – Faith, Hope and Live in the 21st Century

john sylvest – I’ve Already Got Truth, Beauty, & Goodness! Why Bother with Faith, Hope & Love?

what do you think?

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Filed under authentic faith, hope, love, wrecked.org, writings

hallelujah.

i’ve been thinking a ton about the ability to rejoice, regardless of circumstances. it’s a sign of spiritual maturity, it’s an indicator of where one’s trust truly lies. and it’s hard. this past sunday morning at church, it was genuinely difficult to celebrate during worship. i found myself begrudgingly clapping during certain songs, and simply wanting to cry during others. i didn’t feel good about it whatsoever. i began to wonder if this was the moment i was beginning to shift into a state of miserable bitterness based on what stage of the journey i’m currently in. but someone reassured me that it wasn’t false worship, that it would eventually pass. and i know she’s spot-on.

last night at switch, our student pastor gave us an illustration that mirrored what i’ve felt and wondered in these past few days. he instructed us to close one eye, place our index finger over the eye we still had open, and look at him on the stage. “which one looks bigger – me or your finger?” he asked. compared to what was right in front of us, he seemed so small. our circumstances, tragedies, and unexpected speedbumps so often appear to be bigger than the God we abide in, but clarity eventually will show its face.

God is bigger than cancer. He’s bigger than my fears. He’s bigger than the trust i have trouble placing in Him when it comes to my parents’ health. He’s bigger than my bad days.

whatever’s in front of me, i’ll choose to sing hallelujah.

do you have a similar story?

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Filed under authentic faith, switch, writings

streams in the wasteland.

forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. see, I am doing a new thing! now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. // isaiah 43:18-19

these beautiful words were penned by a prophet thousands of years before i would flip open my leather bound bible and find them. this passage promises that the same power the Father employed to deliver His people across the red sea will again be used in our redemption and release from captivity. this scripture is one i will likely find myself clinging to in this season, holding to the promise that His wellspring will refresh and renew. this blessed assurance is mine to claim and proclaim.

and it’s yours too.

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Filed under authentic faith, scripture, writings

loving provision.

from my daily sanctuary:
i must admit, i am more confident that You love me when i see enough money coming in to pay the bills each month, when the basement does not leak every time it rains, when the doctor’s report is good. it’s not hard to be convinced of Your love when all the vital signs are stable.
i am of my generation. but i am of Your generation too. i sit on a grassy knoll in the remote plains of the decapolis. i have come to hear You teach, yes, but i am also here to see the signs. signs are important for belief. otherwise, how will i know for sure?
You don’t disappoint me. it’s been three days since my last meal. my stomach is empty. the breadbaskets are empty, and it’s a long way to the nearest bakery. now would be a good time to recieve a sign, Lord. i need bread. i shoot a one-minute prayer arrow straight to heaven: “help needed, Lord, send the bread like You did for moses and the people of israel. manna from heaven. good for the body. good for the soul. good for my faith.”
You send the love sign, stroll through the crowd producing bread as though You’d been elbow deep in yeast since two this morning. i fill my plate. stuff my pockets. take some extra just in case. there’s plenty for all. Your love is lavish.
i feel hugged by heaven. reaffirmed by the sign. renewed in conference that You do love me and remember me when i am sitting far away from the bakery, without any bread. “what a God of love!” i write in my journal. i am comfortably satisfied and strong in faith.

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Filed under authentic faith, devotions, love

cancer schmancer, issue one.

oh hey, blog.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    my spontaneous absence from this little corner has made me antsy, and with so much going on this semester, i have more to say now than perhaps ever before. but one week ago today, things changed.
i learned my mom has breast cancer.
i swear, it was as if someone had hit me in the chest and taken the breath right out of me.
and then, i came to my senses.
this is no reason to begin doubting His sovereignty. this is no situation over which He is not already in control. and this is certainly no time to forget that He is a God of victory.
the odds are completely in our favor, both literally and figuratively. the cancer is limited to one area, and the fact that my sister is a top-notch mammographer has given us a distinct advantage in understanding which way to go next. :)
this is the beginning of the story: some days, i still get sad. i still want to cry alone in the shower some nights, and i have my moments where i feel alone and helpless. i would love nothing more than to be at all of my mom’s appointments and feel as if i’m making myself useful in her fight. i want to go home. i’m angry that her life is being disrupted and that she faces treatment options that are less than enjoyable.
this is the end of the story: next year, our family will run at race for the cure as we do every fall. this time, we’ll get to watch our mom walk the survivor’s lap.

to keep up with more specific ways you can pray for my sweet mama, click here.

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Filed under authentic faith, cancer schmancer, family, fear, prayer

with arms high & heart abandoned.

it’s been a full week since i’ve returned from serving as a team leader at super summer, and it’s taken that long to fully process everything He fed me while there. wanna know some of the highlights?
during our team leader weekend training, we were asked to wear ankle weights until the students arrived monday in order to better grasp what paul intended in galations, to bear one another’s burdens. two and a half pounds on each leg didn’t initially strike us as particularly challenging, but a few hours of walking around obu’s campus and some blisters later got us to thinkin’. i genuinely wish i had discovered something incredibly spiritual from the process, but the extent was this: carrying those ‘burdens’ is completely unnatural for us to do. had zane not requested we wear them, we would never have voluntarily picked up a pair of weights and strapped them to ourselves for pure fun. in much the same way, we were never intended to strap unnecessary burdens to ourselves. there are just some things we were never meant to carry. let’s travel light alongside Him, shall we? :)
at one point also during the tl weekend, every single one of us 150 or so adults scattered around the auditorium of raley chapel, selected a favorite psalm, and spoke it over the entire body of seats. it was breathtaking. i chose psalm 34, almost immediately and without any actual contemplation. it turned out to be my heart’s exact cry that day, though. i love how He works!
my “children” and “husband” for the week were nothing short of spectacular. i’m too too blessed to have been entrusted with thirteen phenomenal high school sophomores who desire nothing less than His absolute glory. i learned so much from their gentle wisdom.
i also think i surrendered to perhaps one of the most difficult dreams He’s given me so far. i’ve always had a heart for the persecuted church, yet i’ve resisted the vision of working for them and putting my own body into danger in the process. it scares me. it makes me ache. but i must share their story. praise Him for reaffirming that and rearranging my dreams during one of the evening services, in which afshin spoke of two women currently imprisoned in iran for pledging their hearts to Christ. i sobbed while viewing their photograph. i sobbed while He knocked on my heart and said, ‘hand yourself over to working for them.’ i sobbed while we sang ‘the stand’ as soon as their story was completed. before the service, i prayed for God to shake me. boy, did He deliver. :)

so i’ll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned/in awe of the One who gave it all/i’ll stand, my soul, Lord, to You surrendered/all i am is Yours

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Filed under authentic faith, fear