my God is full of awesome

don’t look at the past again / the first and last has made everything new / and you are too / so lift your hands / and let your story be told

Break Your Knees, Flyleaf

The power of worship, community and love just overwhelms me sometimes. And the power of any of these things would not be able to exist without a very loving, powerful and overwhelming God.

Ground Zero tonight was awesome—inspiring, refreshing, recharging.

There is something very awesome about praying with your sisters in Christ—praying with people who are perhaps just discovering the redemptive love of Jesus in their lives.  There is something very awesome about being on your knees in awe of all that God can, has and WILL do.  There is something very awesome about feeling the stillness, the love and the PRESENCE and WHOLENESS of God.

There is something awesome about knowing that no matter what, He CAN and WILL make it all become okay and that we can TRUST Him in that—that we can trust him in anything.

There is nothing more awesome.  There is nothing more I could want in life than to know MORE of that awesome.

stuff, mostly awesome, that happened today

  • We planned our small group event for next Friday.  HELLO BOWLING.
  • I was standing in the upper level of the athletic centre waiting to go in for my kinese test, and talked to some random girl who was like “Oh [intro kinese prof’s name], with his vague notes and tight pants . . . distracting”.  She then wished me good luck on the test and left me thanking her and laughing.  I love people.
  • So my kinese test was not actually awesome, but being DONE it is awesome.  Also, apparently we have reverted to kindergarten, as the prof wrote IN HIS INSTRUCTIONS on the test to go to the bathroom before starting the test and not drink too much during the test.  Okay then.
  • I am not doing school all weekend.  That is awesome.
  • I ended up at the mall with my friend’s sister.  The following occurred:
    • I bought two CDs – Live’s “awake” [the best of album] and VersaEmerge’s “Fixed at Zero”.
    • I got dragged into the anime store and paced around outside.  I do not understand people’s obsession with thinking cartoon characters actually are something to squeal over and freak about about.
    • I tweeted a letter to some girl in there: image  I like when people give me things to tweet about.
    • I was introduced to someone as “the Dungeonmaster”, and said Hi and was unable to stifle back a laugh.  I hope he wasn’t too offended . . . Like the anime thing, I don’t get Dungeons and Dragons and its hype.
  • I walked mostly down the road home because apparently clearing sidewalks is not priority.  I am still alive to to tell about it despite crap road conditions.
  • I worshipped with hundreds of youth and dozens upon dozens of leaders tonight.  I knew my girls weren’t going to be there which I was sad about, but I did really think on some stuff with Jesus.
  • Found out one of my fellow Leaders is on TWITTER!  I love when I find out people are on twitter!
  • I came home and had yogurt.  Yogurt is healthy and awesome!  YAY!

Yahweh, look what You’ve done for me

look what You’ve done for me / Your blood has set me free / Jesus my Lord, look what You’ve done for me / i haven’t been the same / ever since that day i called Your name / Yahweh, Yahweh, look what You’ve done for me

what can i do for You, my Lord? / i want You to know my heart is Yours / it’s not a question of what You can do for me / but what can i do for You my Lord?

up to Your cross I crawl / now i am standing ten feet tall / Jesus my Saviour, look what You’ve done for me / free at last, i’m free / i owe You my life completely / Yahweh, Yahweh, look what You’ve done for me

look what You’ve done // tree 63

So because I was playing with cute three year olds [read: being hugged, being followed, being used for a chair, making endless bathroom trips, reading stories and being ignored until I stopped, etc] I missed service today.  We only had one service, so therefore I missed Tiffani getting baptized, and I missed the epic music [sans Drew.  Still have not been to a Drew-less service, and I assume it will be lower on the awesome-level, albeit still awesome, because that’s just how my church family rolls] that commenced today.  I love my church family so much.  I am starting to feel really, really settled and I am so, so happy.

I missed Look What You’ve Done, He Loves Us [what is this song actually called, anyway? ‘He Loves Us’, ‘How He Loves’ or ‘How He Loves Us’?] and another equally awesome song upstairs in service.  I haven’t been to a legit service in a couple weeks, only playing with adorable three year olds, I really miss it.  Next Sunday, I will do both!

Jesus, look what You’ve done for me.  Brought me from the depths of self-absorption of depression to this.  This abundant, never-ceasing feeling of being ALIVE.  What else can I do, but use my life and my love to praise You?  Use all that You allow me to do in this life as a form of worship to Your never-ending love, Your love that heals, changes, ignites life.  A love I don’t deserve.

What can I do to show You more love . . . to love You more and more as You love me?

plaid, snow and healing hearts

We kicked tonight off with a change.  It started snowing before we started rocking.  Change–change set the theme.  Tonight was our monthly youth event—hundreds of junior and senior high students, four churches.  Lots of plaid—it and “country” was our theme, after all.  Lots of tears, hugs.  Lots and lots and LOTS of Jesus reaching in, healing.

I’m doing one-on-one with a super sweet girl this year for youth.  She’s awesome.  She’s quiet and just likes sitting back and soaking it all in.  She likes hugs and high-fives. 

I like watching how God works in people.  Sometimes, the girl I get to hang out with just totally comes alive from her usually quiet position.  One moment she’ll be standing, just listening, the next she’ll be clapping or dancing.  I’ll be acting like a goofball for Jesus, and she’ll look over and give me a smile when I least expect it.

I like seeing hearts change.  I like looking up to the front of the room and seeing arms wrapped around one another in hugs over what is being thrown at someone in life, and what God is doing to move in them.  I like looking around and seeing boxes of Kleenex at the ready, prepared for whatever God has in store.  I like seeing kids celebrating LIFE, celebrating JESUS, praying for each other in a way that is totally real.  I like seeing relationships build up.  I like surrender—I like seeing inner surrender to God outwardly—the tears, the hugs, the arms around each other’s shoulders . . . The group of students on the floor, in a circle around another student, praying during a song.  I like seeing hearts being healed in big ways that only God is responsible for.

I like leaders I don’t know grabbing me to participate in a high-five clapping-circle in the midst of a high energy song.  I like leaders who aren’t afraid to grab anybody to just go nuts with during a song, but completely transform when it’s time to do one-on-one prayer.  I like striving toward that.  I like groups of people clustering together during a song, unified, hands on each other’s shoulders and praying. 

I like love how real this place I’m finally at is.  This is not about pretending you are the person God wants you to be, it’s about growing and getting to be that person.

I say it time and time again, that thing about reason.  The why of the things happening around me, in me.  The reason Ramona asked “How do you feel about doing one-on-one with a tenth-grade girl who attends the junior high group?”  Inclusion is one of my favourite things, I just didn’t know if I’d be good at doing it.  I remember at the same time as I was saying yes, I was thinking “God, I hope You know what You’re doing”.  And of course He does, right?  Getting to hang out with this girl, though challenging at times, is totally a blessing.  It allows me to participate in worship on a different level.  It’s allowed me to adapt myself to trust that Yes, my God totally knows what He’s doing.  My God knows me, He knows what I am capable of before I know it myself. 

And it makes me hope that she sees Jesus in me in her own special way, as I do in her.  Makes me hope that I’m doing this thing right, in a way that’s tangible to her. 

My God, like her, is quiet but He comes to LIFE time and time again to surprise me . . .  And smile at me when I least expect it.

remain ‘10 – youth leader’s retreat

Friday night at the leader’s retreat was chill, and good.  We got to know each other a little better as cabin groups – girls and guys.  We had a fun drive out, Tara, Shira and I, and I surprisingly semi-knew where we were going, at least to get into the park.

Friday night featured an epic girls’ dance party and then Remain part one.  We spent the weekend digging deep into John 15, and it was a very cool study to do together as youth leaders.  Then after the guys left we had girl talk till nearly 2 am—you know, about ridiculousness and how we all imagine Michael Buble [as a young boy holding an ice cream cone and wanting to play tag].

I have to say, I was really reserved all weekend, which isn’t like me.  I only knew one person really well [Tara], and I’m not the most social in situations like that.  But I think I did open up a little bit over the course of the weekend, and as my relationships with my fellow youth leaders grow, I’ll be able to do the big-group stuff a little better.  Small groups, I am fine.  Groups of twenty, I kind of tend to take a backseat and just chill.

On Saturday we rounded up at the guys cabin for breakfast and then headed back to our cabin for Remain part two, then determination of our spiritual gifts and how we can use those to serve in youth ministry [my top two were faith and mercy]. 

Later in the afternoon, six of us went for a hike.  Now, here’s the deal.  I didn’t take runners with me.  I went for a hike in pink Chucks.  I stepped in mud.  That sucked.  I also had to walk over a log and balance, which was really scary—I have crap balance.  One guy was behind me making sure I didn’t kill myself, and Brenda came back across to help me and hold my hand.  I am not an athlete.  Chucks probably did not help.  Also probably did not help that it was a four foot drop beneath me into like, swampy mud.  I survived.  We kept walking and at one point, four of them wanted to climb some hill or something, so Leslie and I turned around and went back by ourselves, which was a nice opportunity to get to know her better.  She’s an occupational therapist, so we had lots to talk about :-).

We had a really chill afternoon playing Catch Phrase with the other female leaders on either side of the hike, and had four hours of free time in which to just chill and play silly games.  At about 6:20, ten minutes before dinner, we looked out and saw that we had one car to get nine of us to dinner—apparently all our cars were at the guys’ cabin 2 kilometers away.  We could’ve called the guys, but instead, we piled nine of us into Shira’s small car – folded the backseat down, myself and one other leader sat on the edge of the backseats, Brenda in the trunk, three others half in the trunk and half in the backseat, two others in the front seat and of course, Shira driving.  It was crazy.  There are pictures, but nobody has Facebook’ed them yet.

We had some dance parties at the guys cabin on their deck, Tara, Brenda and I.  It was a blast.  That was the theme workout of the weekend – dance party.  I can dig that.

After dinner, we were back at our cabin for Remain part three and some Saturday night worship.  Worship and prayer was definitely one of the highlights of my weekend [see also: nine of us in a car].  Singing How He Loves in a circle in the living room with Jamie and his acoustic guitar in the living room, with huge windows and the lake looming around us, it was just gorgeous.  So, so focused.  We moved into prayer afterwards, which was equally amazing.  It is hard to be in a place that’s breathtakingly beautiful with eighteen other faith-focused people you’re a team with and not feel very close to God, very hard to feel not part of something big.  I think God really worked overtime in all of us over our weekend together, and it was really amazing.  I don’t think anybody stayed tear-free during prayer, it was just amazing.

I used to not understand the need for fellowship as a follower of Christ.  I didn’t get it.  But I think after this weekend, I understand why we need to be a body in Christ—to meet each other where we’re at, to support each other, to care for each other, to pray for each other, to LOVE each other.  To be vulnerable.  To heal.  I learned things about my fellow leaders that yes, I’ve gone through too.  Yes, I’ve felt that too.  And that’s really cool.

I also learned I have a lot of work to do in my relationship with God.  Granted, I know that I’ve been a Christian for much less time than most of my new friends have.  I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, I didn’t go to Sunday School.  In some regards, I, five years later, am still really just beginning.  However, that makes my journey no more or no less valuable than anybody else’s.  I shared my testimony with Shira [and Tara again] on the way to the cabins.  It’s not something I do often, just when it comes up, but transformation just amazes me.

Transformation by Christ just amazes me.  The transformation He’s done, the transformation He did in us this weekend as a body, and the transformation that is yet to come.  Growing in Christ is a metamorphosis, in which we only continue to get more beautiful from the inside out [Romans 12:2 / 1 Peter 3:4].

It was an amazing weekend, and I feel totally blessed to have been a part of it.  God is SO freaking good it blows my mind sometimes.  He provides.  He loves.  And He builds us, changing us from His glory to a bigger piece of His likeness, even deeper into His glory [2 Corinthians 3:18]. 

I can’t wait to see where He takes us next as a church community . . . as new friends.