searchin’ for prayer warriors

Next Monday I’ll be heading off to a Bible camp with one of the amazing girls I do inclusion with.  I think, though, that this is going to be a challenging week [especially emotionally] as I attempt to help integrate and involve her on a more personal level than she integrates and involves herself.

I want to see growth so, so much.  I want to grow by seeing her grow.

I put a call out on Twitter last night for people who will engage in prayer with me during the week next week, and to those of you who have responded I am so grateful and want to hug all of you.

You probably all know I don’t do these kinds of things often, so here’s what I’m requesting prayer for:

  • Spiritual growth and engagement; lessons that become tangible.
  • Health [for both of us!] and safety
  • Emotional preparedness — for the weeklong and perhaps intense journey that camp will be.  For the girlie, manageable homesickness if any.
  • Patience and compassion
  • Sleep.  Oh my goodness, sleep.
  • FUN

I’ve never done anything like this where I’m on-duty 24 hours a day for like five-and-a-half days.  I’m very stoked to see what God teaches me through this.  I feel really blessed by those of you who have already committed to be on my team of prayer warriors next week.

I love you all — thanks for joining me on this journey!

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victim of this haze

and you, you are a victim of this haze

Pain Lies on the Riverside, Live

photo (10)

I took this picture at 7:30 am on the way to school yesterday.  My initial thought was that it didn’t turn out, and I didn’t want the person in it, and I would look at it again later and then delete it.

However, last night I had this thought after our youth event, and I think it’s been stirring in me for quite some time.  I wrote it out like this:

i just realized we are socialized to believe what we are TOLD about God, and not think of what we believe about Him for ourselves.

I don’t know why it took me so long to phrase it like that, but that just summates everything I’ve been thinking over the last few years so well.  Why I spent so much time out of the physical church, why I could walk in faith but still refuse to walk blindly.  Why I’ve felt like I’m fighting myself because of what people tell me about God that I don’t agree with, that I don’t believe is who He is.  And the thing I think some people are missing is, I mean, God created us to think for ourselves.

heard a lot of talk about the ocean / heard a lot of talk about the sea / heard a lot of talk about a lot of things / never meant that much to me . . . / heard a lot of talk about my spirit / heard a lot of talk about my soul / but i decided anxiety and pain were better friends / so i let it go

did you let it go?

heard a lot of talk about this Jesus / a man of love and strength / but what He meant was two thousand years / means nothing at all to me today / He could have been telling me about my higher self / but He only lives inside my prayer / so what He was may have been beautiful / but the pain is right now and right here

did you give it up, did you give it up, did you give it up?

Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition), Live

There was haze in front of me that I am in the process of blowing away.  Separating what I believed about the character of God as a person from what I was being told to believe by so many churches over the last few years.  I can still listen.  I can further decide what I believe beyond what I already know what I believe.  A relationship is about growth.

I am a big believer in Jesus.  I’m a big believer in the ability of love and compassion and redemption to change the world . . . and of those things through ONE person to change the world.  I am not a believer in division, in hate or in religion – I am not a believer in using religion as an excuse to justify actions of intolerance.  I don’t believe Jesus’ meaning has changed from 2000 years ago, but how we USE His meaning likely sure has.

The picture above is a victim of the physical haze, where things are blurred and foggy and don’t turn out quite right.  Life, all of life, is like that.  People can get in the way of what we truly need to seek, or they can make our seeking flourish.  The metaphorical haze of our minds is something we need to clear for ourselves by thinking for ourselves, by questioning and by living.

I think that if you’re not questioning, you miss it, you miss out . . . You’ve a victim of the haze.

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.