Sunday, May 23, 2010

2 weeks from tomorrow I'll be on a plane with 10 others headed to Sudan. We will be teaching about the Gospel and who God is with 2 orphanages in southern Sudan.

We had a meeting today that made this all very real. In the midst of civil war and turmoil, with a peace treaty ending in 8 months, the Sudanese pastors want us to come and teach their orphans about Jesus. That HE is the only thing that sustains and provides hope.

I'm praying that I will continue to know and understand and grasp that. He IS my Father and He is the ONLY thing that sustains both a materially-abundant nation like America, AND a materially-depraved nation like Sudan. No matter the circumstances, the end goal is Christ.

The thing is, in these next 2 weeks I am also moving apartments and finishing up my first year of teaching. I wish that I could sit and prepare and have a lot of quiet time before we leave. But everything around me is incredibly busy, and my Dallas "to-do" list is ever-growing.

Lord, save me from myself. Give me your strength to finish out things well, and in these 2 weeks, even through the busy-ness, prepare my heart for what you have in store in Sudan. Fill our team with your Spirit and your Words as we take the Gospel to hundreds of kiddos. YOU are the only thing that sustains and gives ever-lasting HOPE.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

a year.

"Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace."

God's grace. It's honestly something I've never felt this deeply.

I went into teaching thinking, "Wow, God's just gonna use me, and the gifts He gave me, to motivate and love these students." Yes. Hopefully He has done/is doing that. But I think He's laughing, because most of the journey this year has been for my own sanctification.

Each day is a huge challenge, and by the end of the day I am deeply grateful that the Lord got me through it, and gave me HIS love and patience. Without it, I would turn into crazy/mean/bipolar teacher in a second. These kids are hard to love out of my flesh, because i can't "fix" them.

But whenever I am reminded of God's purpose there, and His perspective, and the fact that HE can move past all barriers and challenges in the classroom, the day becomes so much brighter. It's like a load is lifted off my shoulders. "Kristen, my power is made perfect in your weaknesses." Weaknesses that I've never seen so easily until I'm standing in front of 30 overly-critical teens.

God has affirmed me daily, and it's been an awesome year overall. There have been days, though, where I've just felt extremely discouraged. Mostly selfishly discouraged, and frustrated with kids and situations that aren't going the way I want. Instead, God is showing me how to be a light in a secular school. He is peeling away at my weaknesses and ugliness. In God's mercy, He's brought me out of the pit, and shown me His grace even more. Praise God, that He can be made more powerful when I'm broken and moldable!

Looking back on the year I'm overwhelmed at God's provision. A year ago today I was starting my teaching journey. Tonight, I finished everything for my certification. It's 5 weeks til summer. I'm grateful. :)

God is truly good, and He really does know what is best. May we seek Him, and seek to glorify Him in everything that we do.

Monday, March 29, 2010


for a while now, I've prayed to feel free. I'm not even sure what from, but I don't feel like I'm living freely, in God's grace and love.

if I could just feel free... if I just understood God's love... if I just lived a certain way... then maybe I'd feel free.

with teaching, there's a lot of pressure to meet certain standards and plan and make sure your kids are on track. i think i started looking at my relationship with Christ that way, and giving myself too much responsibility/credit/pressure. I wanted to earn joy and salvation, or maybe manipulate God into giving it to me.

the problem is, over the last 6 months or so, the Lord has allowed everything in my life to show me all my crap. literally, i've seen more of my crap and weaknesses and sin and just gross-ness through every area of my life then i ever have. i've felt unworthy, ugly, un-wanted, criticized, fake, challenged in my walk. if you ever want to see your weaknesses, just start teaching. :) not just that, but in other things i've seen the utter depth of my sin.

so i started thinking God was about to "hit" me, show me His wrath. after all, I don't deserve anything good. and I can say that more sincerely than any other time in my life. I deserve nothing but discipline and some "i-told-you-so's" from Him. at least that's what I would do to someone that acted like me.

But... yesterday, I understood Christ's death more than I ever had. I had this picture of me, curling up on the floor and about to receive punishment for my sin. And all the sudden Christ stepped in. He's already taken punishment for my sin. My shame. He lived a perfect life so that I don't have to, because I can't. I am now considered righteous because of Christ.

How cool!! I praise God that He uses really hard and dry times to show me more of Him. It hurts. Really bad. But it's so good. Many more steps to come, but I praise God He continues to reveal the Gospel to me in newer and deeper ways, and free me from myself.

"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity." Psalm 32:1

Friday, February 5, 2010

"And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals {idols},
when she burned offerings to them
and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,
and went after other lovers,
and forgot me, declares the LORD."

Hmm. We went/go after other lovers. And forget. BUT... in response to our forgetfulness, He says:

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards,
and make the Valley of Achor {trouble} a valley of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

"And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me "My Husband", and no longer will you call me "My Baal". For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day... And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety.

"And I will betroth you to me forever.

"I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. And I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD."

Hosea 2:13-20

Saturday, January 16, 2010

the Israelites.

Whoever reads this, I hope these words encourage you. People think it's weird to blog, and I partially agree. But I have read some very encouraging words from blogs that I've divinely come across, so I hope this little post today encourages you, wherever and whoever you are.

I am still so fascinated with the story of Israel. Every time I read parts of it, I feel God gently speaking to me. This is the story of you and me, not some ancient tale of long ago.

After the Israelites wandered around the desert for 40 years, God renewed His covenant with them. He constantly reminds them of what He's done, and how He is the faithful and Almighty God. He basically says He'll bless them if they obey, and curse them if not.

The only way the Israelites can return to the Lord is if they truly repent with all their heart.

This still stirs in me, because God knew that they would disobey. He knew they would wander once again. Then he says this:

"Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, 'Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?' Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, 'Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?' No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it."
Deuteronomy 30:11-14

His Word is IN our hearts if we seek Him. Life in Christ is not too lofty or beyond our reach. Just as with the Israelites. Let's return to the Lord with all our heart and soul. Daily!

"The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul."
Deut. 30:9-10

Saturday, January 2, 2010


"For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."

Hebrews 12:10-14