Thursday, January 31, 2013

Journey to BSSM Part 1

Today I woke up at 3 a.m and went on my computer to search for Misty Edwards speak about relevance. I had a mini panic-attack/nightmare just thinking about my life and all I'm doing and feeling like I'm living but I'm fading into oblivion. Or alive but waiting to die.



Don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed or suicidal, I'm just tired of the ordinary. I've dated and thought love could bring me fulfillment. I haven't found either love and fulfillment in any relationship other than God, so dating doesnt seem like the answer for me. I've followed in the footsteps of a lot of people and in the middle of that I have to ask myself, what about me? What about the path I want ot take? What IS the path I want to take?

Anyway, my mom got home tonight and we talked about it and she asked me the question I've waited someone to ask me forever.

"What is it you want to do?"

The answer came quick and easy. I want to work at Mavuno. I want to start a Church, I want to lead worship, I want to go to BSSM.

So she told me to apply.

I just did.

Now to wait for the weekend to tell my 3 contacts to send in their recommendations.

Here we go.

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2013 in Review...Kinda...



This has been the best year of my life so far, I could say it's been challenging, but that's not the right word...I've been through challenging, this wasn't it. It was stretching, that's for sure. I could do what every other blogger is doing & talk about the milestones, but everyday is a frigging milestone! So I picked one of my favorite journal entries from when it all started.

26th Feb 2013

God showed off.


He pulled one out of his hat today. I woke up, first thing I did as usual was check my email, guess what I find waiting for me?


I GOT IN!!!!


I got my acceptance letter to BSSM! Can you even believe it?!


It’s insane! I texted my mom and sister immediately with the news. I had to leave for class at KU but the only thing on my mind all day was I GOT IN!


The cool part is my profile page on the school website changed from “Applicant in 1st Year” to “Student in 1stYear” hahaha! How cool is that?!


The euphoria is amazing and the grace I feel right now and God’s hand over my life is so tangible! I absolutely don’t deserve this by my own merit, it’s because of Him and who I am (daughter of God) because of His great love for me.


I’m Bill Johnson’s and Kris Vallotton’s and Bethel Church’s student!


Are you kidding me?!!!


Mom got home and immediately asked to see the letter. In the middle of reading it, she told me I have to go see my aunt Catherine to advice me with some travel details. After she finished reading it, there was this long silence and I think it hit both of us:


1.       This is going to be near impossible. The amount of money and the sacrifice this would take is insane. I don’t know how I’ll do this. I don’t know if this is even feasible or a good idea. I was going over all this in my head and God reminded me that this isn’t about me. I was chosen to go to Bethel, it’s not about me, it’s not about the interview, it’s not about how good my application was or wasn’t. There’s a huge picture at play here. It may not be fully visible to me; maybe I’m a part of Bethel’s vision or Mavuno’s vision or my own vision to change this world. I don’t understand it fully but I know something huge is about to happen. I’m joining an army of revivalists and all He’s asking for me is to trust Him.


2.       This is real. I’m actually facing the prospect of leaving my family and starting over in a foreign country with absolutely no connections. I’ve never been away from my family. Now we’re looking at at least 9 months to 3 years!


Anyway like I said, God’s been writing this story for the longest time and I’m more than willing to be player in it. I told Him, I don’t care how this ends up. I tasted His goodness and there’s no way I can go back to life without Him. He’s brought me from so far and He’s made me so happy!


This Church...Bethel Church has changed my life. I’ve loved this school and this church and these people before I even knew about them. I have faith that what I’ve seen in my dreams and all the words spoken over me will be found in this journey. The hope I have for what’s to come makes me so happy and spurs me on in my pursuit.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How Much Is Too Much? AKA The Single Girl Rant


I hit the jackpot of friends and family; in fact I figure the reason I’m not much of a relationship girl is because the world already gave me so many good friends, if I had any more, it would be unfair to the rest of the population.

OK, that’s a load of BS…

What I should say is I love my friends, adore them, they are the best. They are always there for me, they pick me up when I’m down and a few of them would do anything for me – most of the time. However, I’d be lying if I said there’s no down side to having people so invested in my life.

I haven’t exactly had the best track record in relationships, I know that. Believe me, I’ve lived through every hurtful, frustrating experience and as much as I may call my friends and family to console me or pick me up when I’m down and give them the details of what’s happened, they haven’t lived it. They aren’t me, their thought processes and they way they handle stuff isn’t me.

With my history, I get being protective over me, but it’s not the most fun process when every time I tell my family about a guy I’m seeing they’re like, “You know that’s not going anywhere right? Don’t kid yourself.” When they haven’t even met the guy! Or my friends saying, “Are you sure going out on a 1st date is a good idea?” and when I say “YOLO” or words to that effect, they’re like, “OK if you insist.” I mean what is that?!

Then what happens is I start over-thinking stuff and not enjoying the process because I’m more trying to prove a point to my family/friends that “Hey, I can force this relationship into working” rather than trying to have fun and live my own life, and voila, crash and burn, right out of the gate. I set this undue pressure on myself to have this epic relationship in the first 2 weeks because everybody’s pressuring me to get him to give me a label or I feel like I have to do this that or the other to play in the same field as everyone else in my circle who’s in a committed relationship. (The curse of being the only “single” girl in a group of friends and family!)

Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I’ve given people too much freedom to speak into my life without really discerning them or knowing or trusting myself enough or having enough spine to know what I’m doing without their feedback. Maybe not calling or texting my friends about everything is part of growing up.

The point is I’m just 22 years old. Not everyone gets to go through the simple journey of falling in love with 1 guy and ending up together for the rest of your lives. My journey’s different. I’m not the 1stgirl who had to kiss a hundred frogs to find Prince Charming – DISNEY WROTE A FREAKING MOVIE ABOUT IT!!!! 

Look, I don’t know what it’s going to look like when I fall in love for real. I wish I did but I don’t and neither does anybody else. Everyone has an idea of what the person I’ll end up with will look like, so do I…but none of us know for sure. So what do you want me to do in the mean time, lock myself in my room and never go out on dates or give out my phone number? 

Listen, I love my friends and family to bits and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me, but step back a little bit. Don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t tell me I’m doing this wrong or that wrong or that I’m doing something like some pathetic friend of yours who I don’t even know (because hey, you might say it indirectly but it still hurts so stop comparing me to your weird friends!!!). Don’t tell me “You’re so boy crazy, I’ve only had 2 boyfriends and I married the 2ndone.” That reeeally helps me!!!

If you’re one of my many guy friends, don’t tell me “I’m sorry you’ve been meeting guys who are jerks and I hope you find love soon.” then 5 minutes later do the same thing that you’ve just listened to me complaining about. Hello, maybe it’s not that I’m the unlucky girl who’s been meeting guys who are jerks, judging from your behavior; maybe it’s that most guys ARE jerks. 

If you’re my ex, don’t tell me how great of a girl I am and that I’m a gift from heaven and how some guy will be lucky to have me.

If you’re in a relationship, don’t tell me all these things about what you did right and what I’m doing wrong because the fact of the matter it was just luck, there’s no science behind it and no relationship is as perfect as you make it out to be. 9 times out of 10 I deliberately choose to walk away from a wrong situation because I'd rather be lonely alone than lonely, confused, angry and frustrated by the wrong guy! (Yes, as you keep reminding me I was dumped that one time and it sucked, but I learnt from it and moved on!)

So tonight I’m saying enough is enough. I’m tired of all the well meaning but cruel advice. I’m tired of being fed by people and not allowing myself to listen to my own voice. I’m tired of the same old patterns. I’m tired of being made to feel bad about myself because I’m 22 years old and I’m not married. I AM TWENTY TWO! I’m tired of dreading my birthday because I live in fear that 30 will get here and I really truly do end up an old maid. I’m tired of re-thinking and re-living the past and going through old game tapes to see what I could have done better or plan my strategy for next time. I’m tired of people who keep reminding me of my past mistakes. Mostly, I’m tired of living in fear.

I was single for an entire year of my life. I’m at a place where I know myself and what I want pretty well. I WILL STILL MAKE MISTAKES because I’m a girl and I believe in love and romance and I’m in love with being in love and I give people chances when I shouldn’t, but that doesn’t make me a failure. With all the crap I’ve gone through, closing my heart off and becoming filled with bitterness and resentment, that’s what will make me a failure! The fact that I can still hope and love is a miracle. 

Last January (2012) I asked God once again to mend my broken heart, because I’d been through so much all I could see were shattered pieces, and He showed me my heart put back together, at first with ugly cracks in between and still looking shattered, but He worked on it until it was perfectly formed and beautiful. That’s what He’s been doing in me for the past year. 

So don’t worry about me dating 1 guy or 100 till I find my “one” because all I can do is love. That’s what I was created to do. To love and hopefully find the person who’ll love me back the way I deserve. I choose not to be broken because I loved and wasn’t loved back in return. Do Heaven’s resources run out just because I “wasted” love on somebody who ended up breaking my heart? I’ll shed a few tears and that’s normal, but I won’t break. He already put me back together nothing can tear me apart again. 

Again, I love my friends and family, but I think from this year, I’m taking things slow and keeping things between me and God for a while.

xx
Jo

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blogs I'm Loving

I talked in my last post about new blogs I'm reading and how they inspired me to change the direction of my writing...thought I'd highlight them here in case any of you wanna check them out.

Sitting In The House of God :: this was last updated 2 years ago, but I like it because He talks a lot about the ups and the downs of life and His relationship with God.

Outrageously Good :: this is definitely my top 2 because this guy takes amazing pictures and talks about life in Redding and on missions, he interned with Jonathan David and Melissa Helser and I love their music.

In Essence :: this is the other in my top 2. His writing is amazing, He reminds me of the old classical writers. Check it out too.

Kissed By Glory :: I don't know what her name is, but again, lots of pictures from around the world because she's involved in a lot of missions work.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'm headed to school to keep dealing with the bureaucratic mess that's standing between me and graduation, but I have faith it'll work out this week. Pray for me!!!!!!!

xx
Jo

Writing Experiment

I've been reading a couple of new blogs that have completely changed my mindset on writing. I write mostly to summarize the activities of the day and so do these guys but I guess they come at it from a different place, more of descriptive rather than narrative language, such that you feel like you were going through the emotions and the course of the day with them. I'm loving it. So, I thought I'd try it out. I wrote this a while ago after going through a particularly bad day, what better way to start this experiment right?

Here goes;


Driving down the same dead-end route hoping to get to a different destination is an obvious exercise in futility and sadly, over the years, it’s become the foundation of my identity.

The spacious way and the wide gate is where I find myself walking, each time thinking I learnt my lesson, I’m stronger now and I’m ready for whatever comes. Boldly telling the enemy, “You want a piece of this, come and get it.” He does and he wins the battle. 

In the midst of the fight, I think of Him. Him who owns every piece of me, Him whose face I turn away from, Him whose open arms I ignore. I hide my face in shame; I dig deep into the darkness to find cover from the light that always breaks through. I can’t stand the brightness that hurts my eyes every time as they struggle to adjust. If only I’d stayed in the light in the first place, then maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much. 

Finally, I dig deep enough and the darkness swallows me. I desperately need the light, I long for it, I crave it, but I can’t move. Not again. I can’t keep doing this. I don’t deserve freedom. I don’t deserve warmth. I definitely don’t deserve those hands always reaching out to me.

The choice has to be made. The door has to be closed. The foothold has to be sawed out. He’ll wash my dusty feet, but isn’t it time to get some shoes? I can come out guns a-blazing as much as I want, but I have to understand when it’s time to retreat. When it’s time to wave the white flag, turn around, get back on the ship and sail away. To realize that the war has already been won and my battles are self-sought, self-propagated and self-lost.

Maybe the crux of the matter is that I look for life everywhere else but from Him who gives it in abundance.
Maybe I haven’t fully believed that the narrow path does lead to life. Maybe it’s time I did. Maybe it’s time I realized no one compares to Him. That He’s the only one who can satisfy me. That my plan is nothing compared to His. That He really truly has me and I can’t close my eyes and pretend He doesn’t and that my actions don’t break His heart.

So I say with the same boldness I had before,

“I quit, you can have this, I don’t want it anymore.
If you want a fight you’ll have to wrestle on your own
Because this isn’t my battle,
My war’s already been won.”

xx
Jo

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Grand Scheme

Today I made the final step in a process that's been long overdue. This is my last official year at home, my last official semester of school. When we were kids we used to say, "when I grow up I want to be..." and I'm there. Ha, I'm actually a grown up! This is the year where I get to be whatever I dreamt I would be and do all the things I dreamt I would do.

When I say dream, I mean literally, what happens in the middle of the night, because I've had this particular recurring dream on and off for a long time, especially last year, and also dream in the sense of deep desire or sense of hope. 

So, over the course of the last few months, I've been trying to get one of those dreams off the ground. Yesterday I was at the bank figuring some things out and finally today was the last step in that whole process, actually if you think about it, it's the 1st of many steps. I was at the post office trying to figure out how to mail an important letter and I was so freaked out wondering if it was going to make it safely or not and looking for the right post box, since there were 4 different boxes, pone for Nairobi, one for Coast, one for Air Mail and the other for Upcountry. I finally dropped it in and it made a loud sound and I'm freaking out thinking, "why would the box be empty??", and later realized, "Well, its a good thing it's empty that means the mail goes out everyday, right?"

Anyway, after I left the post office, I started thinking, in the grand scheme of things, this is the least of things I should be worried out. Like I said, mailing that letter was the 1st of many steps. There are a million other things to consider and to pray about and this is nothing. The letter will arrive safely! (In Jesus name, Amen and Amen!)

http://store.ibethel.org//images/Center_Bill_LG.png
via

I'm re-reading Bill Johnson's book, Center of The Universe and he says,

"...why would God bypass my important list, filled with Spiritual priorities, and answer a desire that has nothing to do with anything that is obviously holy? The only answer I can come up with--because He wanted to
Our Heavenly Father is perfect in every way. There is no waste in Heaven's government. And in His perfect wisdom, He knew that it was more important for me to learn about His character as the Father than it was for me to have my "priority prayers" fulfilled...How refreshing it is to see that He cares about things that score very low on the Eternity Rating Chart just because He Loves Me."

He goes on to give the story of King Cyrus out of Isaiah 45:3 where God promises to do a whole lot of things for Cyrus that may not appear "spiritual" but just to show Cyrus beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had called Him and its God who put Him there.

Bill says,

"...God sometimes takes care of things that are not important just to remind us that He knows every desire and need we have. And as our Father, His reach is so far that it touches those things that have nothing to do with eternity. It seems to me that God simply wants to build our confidence in who He is and what He is like."

I'm trying really hard to work on my prayer life. It's like in my head, I know I should pray and I think about praying, but I just don't really get around to doing it. I feel like God is so into my life and I should do everything I can to lean into Him. So here's my strategy, it's a little weak, so don't get your hopes up. When it's time to pray, I sit/kneel or whatever and just be quiet. My problem is,

1. I hate quiet. I always have music playing or the TV on.
2. I just don;t know what to say!

So, I figure, if I get into the habit of setting time aside, sooner or later the words are going to come. Hopefully.

As always, I'll let ya know.

xx
Jo

The Grand Scheme

Today I made the final step in a process that's been long overdue. This is my last official year at home, my last official semester of school. When we were kids we used to say, "when I grow up I want to be..." and I'm there. Ha, I'm actually a grown up! This is the year where I get to be whatever I dreamt I would be and do all the things I dreamt I would do.

So, over the course of the last few months, I've been trying to get one of those dreams off the ground. Yesterday I was at the bank figuring some things out and finally today was the last step in that whole process, actually if you think about it, it's the 1st of many steps. I was at the post office trying to figure out how to mail an important letter and I was so freaked out wondering if it was going to make it safely or not and looking for the right post box, since there were 4 different boxes, pone for Nairobi, one for Coast, one for Air Mail and the other for Upcountry. I finally dropped it in and it made a loud sound and I'm freaking out thinking, "why would the box be empty??", and later realized, "Well, its a good thing it's empty that means the mail goes out everyday, right?"

Anyway, after I left the post office, I started thinking, in the grand scheme of things, this is the least of things I should be worried out. Like I said, mailing that letter was the 1st of many steps. There are a million other things to consider and to pray about and this is nothing. The letter will arrive safely! (In Jesus name, Amen and Amen!)

http://store.ibethel.org//images/Center_Bill_LG.png
via


I'm re-reading Bill Johnson's book, Center of The Universe and he says,

"...why would God bypass my important list, filled with Spiritual priorities, and answer a desire that has nothing to do with anything that is obviously holy? The only answer I can come up with--because He wanted to
Our Heavenly Father is perfect in every way. There is no waste in Heaven's government. And in His perfect wisdom, He knew that it was more important for me to learn about His character as the Father than it was for me to have my "priority prayers" fulfilled...How refreshing it is to see that He cares about things that score very low on the Eternity Rating Chart just because He Loves Me."

He goes on to give the story of King Cyrus out of Isaiah 45:3 where God promises to do a whole lot of things for Cyrus that may not appear "spiritual" but just to show Cyrus beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had called Him and its God who put Him there.

Bill says,

"...God sometimes takes care of things that are not important just to remind us that He knows every desire and need we have. And as our Father, His reach is so far that it touches those things that have nothing to do with eternity. It seems to me that God simply wants to build our confidence in who He is and what He is like."

I'm trying really hard to work on my prayer life. It's like in my head, I know I should pray and I think about praying, but I just don't really get around to doing it. I feel like God is so into my life and I should do everything I can to lean into Him. So here's my strategy, it's a little weak, so don't get your hopes up. When it's time to pray, I sit/kneel or whatever and just be quiet. My problem is,

1. I hate quiet. I always have music playing or the TV on.
2. I just don;t know what to say!

So, I figure, if I get into the habit of setting time aside, sooner or later the words are going to come. Hopefully.

As always, I'll let ya know.

xx
Jo

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Joy In Spite of Myself


I feel like I need to talk about two things today. First of all, I’ve learnt from experience today, that God will use you not because of who you are but in spite of it. One way or another, He’s gonna do what He intended to do for the good of his children on the earth. 

To be honest, I’m about as imperfect as they come. In my own life, I make mistakes every day. Even as a blogger I don’t set out to promote my blog or get more readers or any of that, I just write for me and hopefully at least 10 people who read from Russia JYet, God uses the words I write on this blog to remind me months later of a lesson I learnt or a way that He’s shown me grace. He uses me in spite of my imperfections, mistakes, failures and all.

Not just me but people around me. A stranger can do or say something that moves me in the right direction; say something that resonates with where I am in my life and what I need to hear. Those strangers might not end up being life-long friends; maybe God intended them for that one moment and one conversation. Relationships may not always end in the way you’d want them to, I know for me, I rarely ever go into a relationship thinking that it’s going to end, but truth is sometimes or for me every time so far, they do end. I can’t realistically spend every couple of months sad and depressed thinking woe is me, the world is against me. I need to realize that sometimes, I may take detours of m own will and end up in a mess, but God uses them each time as a way of getting me back on track.
Bill Johnson says we owe the world an encounter with God. We may not always be aware of it, we might not always give the best impression, but thankfully, God can use us despite our mistakes and imperfections or current state of being. The trick for maximum impact is to realize this and align ourselves in the direction that He’s moving instead of against it.
I also need to speak about joy. Last year was the best year of my life. He alignment I was talking about happened in so many areas of my life. I obviously messed up at some points but for the most part, 2012 was the year that I can say I finally got a glimpse of who God is and realized that n matter what I do, His love for me is passionate and strong and He has plans for me and my life.
He created me the way I am for a reason. The fact that I can still believe in love and still believe that life can be joyous after everything I’ve been through is a gift. I so easily could be like millions of people who are bitter and depressed, wait, I was one of those people, but look at me now. It’s nothing short of grace. Beni Johnson wrote that when we meet circumstances with joy instead of tears, think of the confusion that fills the enemy camp.
The past 2 weeks have been tough on me. Things that I hoped would happen didn’t happen and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hurt and disappointed and maybe lingering in bed a little longer so that I don’t have to wake up and face the day. I’m focusing on joy and peace. This isn’t to say I don’t get moments of panic/anxiety/sadness/balancing tears/negativity, because I do. The next few days will need me buried a little deeper into my family and into blogging and into God because that’s what I need right now to get through it. One thing I’m holding onto is that the past 2 months haven’t been a total waste and somehow good will come out of this whole thing.