Friday, August 31, 2012

Being Called Out.

Being Called Out. Called Out. Called...

Am I worthy enough, what if I mess up, what if I lose everything I have, what if it changes me, what if, what if, what if?...

These past couple months have been a whirlwind of craziness. Seriously from graduating college, to becoming somewhat immobile at home, to in a month flying to Tanzania, and then everything in between, many times I felt like I was thrown into the headwind just waiting for someone to catch me. It's crazy all the opportunities I have been given in being called out to move and to serve God and His people. Through talking on the phone with friends, or with people at church it seems that in every moment God is calling me out.

This weekend I get the amazing opportunity to work at a high school retreat, the same high school retreat where God flipped my life upside down. I get to lead a table of teenage girls as well as give a talk about prayer. And in thinking about this the overwhelming feelings come back. "God am I worthy to lead these girls, am I worthy to talk about prayer?" And I've notice that in almost every moment God has called me I stop and question it. Why do I do this? Why do I ask so many questions? Why don't I just jump head first into what He is asking me to do. Not saying that asking questions is bad, but it seems that sometimes the questions slow me down or sometimes even stop me from being called out. And in questioning I miss out on so many things that God has planned for me. And that has really started to bug me.

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light" [1 Peter 2:9]. I read this the other day and got to thinking. Wow, we are chosen, royal, holy, we belong to God, and because of this we are called out to declare His praises, His name, to serve Him and His people; for we are no longer in the dark, blind to the needs of others, but He has brought us into His light so that we may see what He sees. And in that we should have courage, we should have strength, we should have no doubt in our minds that when God calls us out, He is calling us for a reason, for a purpose. He doesn't need us for anything, and yet He wants us. So why do we question?

To be honest I can't tell you, everyone's reasons are different, everyone's questions are different. Each one of us is called to a different thing, to different people, and to different places, and in each calling I think there will always be questions, and that's okay, but don't ever let your questions stop you or slow you down from going and doing what God has called you to do. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" [Romans 8:28]. His purpose is greater than our own, He leads us where He needs us, and there can be no greater call than that.

Sometimes where we are called isn't where we thought or where we wanted, but it doesn't make it any less important, because where we are called is where God wants us to be. It's where the gifts and talents that God has given us can be used and refined for His glory and not for our own selfish desires. Whether it be going or staying in school when your hearts in missions. Or leaving friends and family when you want to stay near to them. Or even doing missions in a country that was never on your radar to begin with. In each moment and in each calling there is something there, something important, something that God will use to teach you and remind you that He is in control and that everything He does is because He loves you and wants you to learn from Him.

It's amazing to me to be called out by Him, through youth ministry here in the states all the way to youth and women's ministry in Tanzania. God's calling exceeds all limits that we try to place it into. In any given moment we can be called out. At the least expected time God will drop the calling into our laps. It's our choice to sit there and stare at it, question it, wonder about it, and never move. Or get up and walk that narrow road.

That's the coolest part about this life with the Lord. and I know i've said this a million times. But that He gives us the choice, the chance to choose what to do, it's amazing. Even though He knows what we will do He gives us choices. It's so amazing. He is so amazing. So unfathomable, I can't wrap my mind around Him. But that's okay, I love His surprises anyways.

Being called out is scary, I'm not going to lie. No matter what it is, there will always be unknowns and fears that will try to tangle us up and slow us down, but always remember that God would not have called you if He thought you couldn't handle it. He's always there, through it all. He carries us, He leads us and all we need to do is trust and follow Him.

It sound easier than it is, but following after Him, I've never regretted, it's been the most crazy, roller-coaster, adventurous time of my life and I wouldn't change it for the world. His love, His grace, His calling is perfect, is amazing and for me to be even a small part of further His Kingdom. Well, I couldn't think of anything else I would rather do with my life.

Being Called Out.

  HIS and yours,


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

300 to 3000; fish and loaves.

              In the middle of last week I was struggling. Struggling to be enthusiastic about anything. At one time I got an e-mail about loans, and a credit card bill, and all these other things, but not one letter or one envelope containing what I really needed or wanted. Funds. Fundraising is hard, it's not something that I would choose to do if I had to. It takes a lot of hammering your flesh to the wall and humbling yourself before God and before others to ask for help, to ask for support, and for money. A part of me was wondering, Okay God, if money is not coming in, does that mean I'm not supposed to go, or am I not being patient enough, or what am I supposed to do? I seem to be asking God that question a lot, am  I suppose to go, am I worthy to go. Because if I am honest many times over I do not feel worthy enough to go. So Tuesday night of last week I talked with God. I laid in bed for hours awake before I finally decided that the only person who can help me, is the One who called me to this journey. So there I was three in the morning, talking to the ceiling of my room, talking to God.
                 God, I know that this what You have called me to, because in my heart I can't see myself being anywhere else or doing anything else. I know I'm struggling with leaving behind my family and friends, all the people I love so deeply, but You have showed me that to sacrifice those things is part of this calling, and I know that my family will be here for me when I return, and those friends who truly care and love me will be there for me as well. It's not a convenient relationship to have, a friend being overseas, but I know that you have placed those people in my life that truly will take an effort in being there for me and praying for me, and remembering me even when I am not conveniently around, and I thank you in advanced for those people. God I know that I haven't been trusting you fully, that I haven't been faithfully sowing into my own calling. So God this is it, I will sow what I have into this trip, because if I don't trust and sow into my own journey, why should anyone else. I will give to other's who are doing your work around the world and I will continue to trust you FULLY for everything I need, because You are the provider. Amen.
             So the next morning I got the chance to sit and talk with a girl named Haley who spent 10 days in Africa. I got to hear stories and see pictures and just share in our passion for Africa. We met in my churches coffee shop, where I also have a jar for tips to help me get to Tanzania. Remembering my prayer from the night before I tossed some cash that I had into the jar. That afternoon as I drove home, I checked the mail and had a couple letters. I tossed them on the table not really thinking much about it, and went to check my email. There was an email from one of the ladies at the base telling me that and old short-termer wanted to give a incoming short-term missionary some support as a tithe, and I happened to be the one that got this tither of 500 dollars. The breath was literally taken out of my chest. I ran to open up the letters that I got in the mail and before I knew it I had over 3000 dollars. going from 300 to 3000 in one day. I felt like those people on the mountain when God performed the miracle with the fish and loaves multiplying it so that every person could eat and be full. I felt so encouraged and so thankful for the willingness of people to give.
               And yet God still wasn't finished, that upcoming Sunday we had a breakfast at my church. My church as always been so supportive and giving in missions, especially mine. Now, I live in a small town with a small church. The breakfast was a free will donations and I was just praying for whatever God wanted to provide, I had no specific number in my head, though the last couple ones had raised around 500. So as my mom and I are driving home from church I'm counting the money from the breakfast in the car. I remember saying "okay mom, you'll have to recount this because I don't think I counted right." So we counted again and again. but each time came up with the same number. My church, with such giving and selfless hearts, supported me with over 1000 dollars. I couldn't believe it, and I was just so amazed my the way God moves people and provides in such awesome ways.
                 It's crazy to think that at the beginning of last week I hardly had any support raised for Tanzania and now here I sit a week later and I'm halfway there to having my full support. God is so faithful, constantly multiplying my fish and my loaves of bread even when at times I don't believe He can. Seriously He continues to feed me over and over, when sometimes there isn't enough to feed me. His faithfulness is unfathomable, as is His love. In every moment my faith continues to be shaped and molded, my trust continues to grow. He is never late. He's not on my time, He's got it all planned out.
            Now with a month before I am to leave I know that God will provide for me, that I will get to Tanzania and that I will be able to do what my heart desires. To Share the love of the Lord with so many people. To be a helper when needed, a servant when needed, to be a sister, and mother, a friend, but most of all a follower of Christ. There are a lot of things I still have yet to do before I make my way to Tanzania. And a lot of those things have the word goodbye in them.
           There is never a great time to say goodbye. They are the hardest part of this life and yes I worry that I will lose touch with people I care greatly about, because I know it's going to be difficult to stay in touch easily overseas. But the truth is God is going to take care of me through it all and even in the worrying I know that there are and will be people in my life that will be there for me despite the distance, despite the inconvenience. So for now I will continue to prepare myself in the Lord. I will continue to thank those who have faithfully supported me and I will say goodbye to my family and friends when the time comes. There is much to do, but right now I will just sit in the awesomeness of God's glory and faithfulness.

   In Awe of the Father,

 HIS and yours,


Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Narrow Door, The Cliff, The Leap.

I have often wondered what I am doing. Lately I've found myself asking that question a lot more. When I look back I see things I did and said to put naysayers and disbelievers in their place and then I see the things I've done to glorify God and I think a lot of time those lines get blurred. But in the case of unblurring them I prayed harder and looked deeper. The things I've done to glorify God I've got nothing in return, not in a bad way, I've got no praise, He has and when I think of the things I've done to prove people wrong I receive the glory. And as I go through those things I realize the happiest I was, was when I got nothing and God got everything. Because that's how it's suppose to be. The glory of man last only a moment, to stroke the ego; but the glory of God last forever, it ignites the soul.

This life is hard and there are many disbelievers and naysayers, Jesus was surrounded by them, the pharisees, the people of the cities, even his own disciples. But the amazing things about Jesus is that He did not heal the blind, stop the bleeding, cast out demons, or raise the dead to put people in their place. He did it to glorify His Father in Heaven. He did so all would know the place of the Lord. And goodness do I want to be like that. To show people the Father. Because if we live by people's praise then we will die by their criticism.

It's not easy, Jesus tells us that plain as day; "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many will try to enter and will not be able to." -Luke 13:24. But the journey is worth it. Jesus only had 12 disciples that followed Him and even in the end at the worst of it all He was left with only God. But He was able to look up to Heaven and say "it is finished." And I want to be able to say those words. To call to my God "it is finished." All that He asked me to do, all that He called me to. "It is finished." Because at the end it's just us and Him. No parents, or siblings, or friends, or significant others. It's only Him there with us.

And yes we'll make mistakes, we're human. "It's okay to not be okay. God never said we had to be perfect and whole all the time. He came for us because we aren't"(@SheHasWorth). But in taking Him into ourselves it is the only thing to do but to be Christ-like. We do not need to compare ourselves with others who seem to have it figured out more than we do. Every person is different, and every journey is different. No one person is the same. and yes, There will always be those disbelievers and naysayers who will try to compare you to someone else, who will try to tell you what is right and what is not. But they are not the voice to listen to. Your head may tell you to listen to them, they may sound reasonable, but don't. Only God can lead us the right way. He's the one who knows our journey, the one who truly takes time to know our hearts. and that is how His heroes are made, because they are moved, not in their heads, but in their hearts.

I don't pretend to have it all together and I shouldn't try. My journey scares me as much as the next persons. But it is my journey, my calling, and for the Lord who has given me everything, I have nothing left to do but follow Him because in my heart I know that there is no better way to live this life. So I jump out in faith, knowing He will catch me.

Listen to your heart, stop standing on the edge and take that leap, the fall is scary at first but God's hands are there to catch you. Truth Him.

Falling into Him,

HIS and yours,


Friday, August 17, 2012

Sometimes it's easier to listen, when you cannot speak

I love to talk. Ask anyone that knows me. Talking is one of my favorite things to do. I love deep conversations, I love meeting new people, I love hearing stories and telling stories, and making people laugh. And all things that involve talking. But lately I've realized that maybe I talk to much. You see I haven't been able to talk for about a week now. Mostly by choice, it takes a lot of effort to get few words out and it's extremely painful. Who would of thought a simple procedure like getting ones tonsils removed could cause so much pain... or thinking.

So as I have literally laid around on my couch and done nothing this past week, I've had plenty of time to think. Plenty of time to stare at the ceiling and just listen. And in listening I've learned a few things. I could listen a bit more. I've been working on this talk to give at a high school retreat over labor day weekend. It's on Communication through Prayer and as I laid on my couch today half asleep just listening to the breeze blowing through the trees, my dog snoring at my feet, the ceiling fan rotating, I realized that there is more to communicating than just talking. I know you're thinking, duh Cami, you should already know this, aren't you a college graduate? Yes, Yes I know, but hear me out for a moment.

How much of our time goes into talking? Literally, how many times do we sit in a conversation and instead of Listening with the intent to hear, we listen with the intent to answer. I am so guilty of this when I'm talking with a person I usually sit and try to come up with some witty or appealing to reply, but in reality sometimes the best reply is silence. Sometimes the best answer is nothing right away, nothing but letting them know you're listening. That is what prayer and communication is really about and I haven't realized that until now. Now when I can't speak.

Thinking about it, God always listens with the intent to hear, but He also listens with the intent to answer. I think as humans it's difficult to do both things at once, but we're talking about God here. The Master of all Universe, the Creator of the skies and you and me. He can do anything. But when it comes to my prayer life, God is more of a listener to hear. He hears me and hears me and hears me. I know He does because I talk to Him all the time. Out of joy, out of anger, out of tears, out of frustration. He's heard every octave that my voice can be at, and yet he still listens. He answers when He is ready and the timing is right. Not when I'm ready and my timing is right. He knows when I need what I'm asking for and when I don't. He has the plans, He knows where I go.

But the truth is do I listen to hear from God as often as He does to me. Probably not. When things don't seem to be going the right way I plug my ears and run away angry and frustrated. But I've learned to take my fingers out of my ears and listen because sometimes God is trying to teach me things in the silence. As I have been preparing for Tanzania, silence has been a regular thing, communication is hard, especially when it's new territory and i don't know what questions to ask or things to do. Then I feel like I'm asking to many questions and worrying to much. But through the silence God has taught me to be more faithful. through miscommunications and non communications God has taught me to be faithful to where He has called me. To not back away when certain things aren't in the right order. Because this is life and nothing is ever in the right order. The only thing to do is to have faith and trust in Him.

And in doing so I've been able to have the desires of my heart fulfilled. To be able to serve Orphans and Widows and anyone else I come into contact with in Tanzania. to be blessed with a host family, who is ready to love me and take me in as their own. to be blessed with a training staff who cares enough to get to know me, to answer all my silly questions, to offer guidance and prayer over the phone. And to supportive friends and family, who will watch me leave home, but keep me in their hearts. God is so faithful even when I don't care to listen, even when I don't care to see. He's always hearing me and always answering. I guess sometimes it's easier for me to listen when I cannot speak. But God is always teaching us something, and that's something I've needed to learn. When to speak and when to be silent. God is good, all the time because that is His nature!

Through it all, though right now while all my friends are moving into college or jobs and I'm just hanging out on my couch trying to learn Swahili and fundraise, God is faithful, God is providing, God is paving my road to Tanzania and I trust Him, with all my heart.

Listening with open ears,

HIS and yours,


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Stop Waiting

Don't underestimate what you, as one person, can do. God will work through anyone who is submitted to Him-- of any age-- to accomplish His will on earth. Just look at what Moses discovered: if one man or woman is willing to obey God, it can change the destiny of millions.

Journal entry 8-5-2011

  It is crazy to see this summer come and go so fast, it seems like just yesterday I was leaving home to head to Uganda and tomorrow, before I know it I will be back in the states for debrief. Words cannot even begin to explain this summer and all that God taught me, through good and bad, expected and unexpected. 
   I know HIS plan for my life is far more than anything I could ever imagine and I will continue to wait on HIM with prayer. I can't even fathom being at home or at school right now and yet that is where I am headed, for I know my purpose is not yet finished, especially at school. I pray that I can make it through this year smoothly and that God will help me to stay disciplines and not be distracted from what HE has fro me.
   The people and love of Uganda has forever left a giant footprint upon my heart and I hope someday I will be able to return to that pale. I've never felt more at home and comfortable then I did there. In my heart Uganda will always be; it's orphans, it's people, it's love, it's culture, and so much more. I praise God for this once in a lifetime opportunity, who am I to be able to be a part of furthering HIS kingdom and yet HE wants me, He's called unto to me and I will continue to serve Him with a heart full of joy and love in whatever HE has me do.
   "If the LORD delights in a man's way, HE makes his steps firm: though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with HIS hand" -Psalm 37:23-24.

It crazy to think that over a year ago I was returning home from Uganda, Africa. It's even more crazy to think that in less than two months I will be leaving home for Tanzania, Africa. God has totally blessed my life in unfathomable ways and words cannot even begin to explain all He has, is and continues to do.

Reading through my journal from last summer I got to see how God confirmed the calling of being a missionary in this next season of my life. It's amazing to see all that I went through to know that God truly is calling me here and how hard it was and sometimes still is to let go of the things that I need to so that I can live the life HE has called me to. The truth is I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, a lot of time thinking about just waiting. Waiting until I had my student loans paid off, waiting until I had that great job I always wanted when I was younger, waiting for that guy to make the first move, waiting for my first house. Just waiting. But I realized that I am not called to wait. No one is called to wait. We are called to move. To move in the direction that God leads. Because I know that if I waited for the things I wanted, they would never come, because they are not in line with God's heart and plan for my life. And since I've stopped waiting for what I wanted I've come to love what God wants. Seriously I couldn't imagine my life any other way. I couldn't wait or wish for a better way to spend my life than serving children and women and whoever comes across my path. Because in learning what God has for me, I learned that my heart is for people not for a job behind a desk.

It takes a lot of faith, and sometimes we don't want to take that leap, don't want to trust in the gut feeling. But I've learned that in every blind leap I've taken God has been there to catch me and lead me through. Tanzania is one of those blind leaps. yes I'm scared it's a long time to not see my family and friends. To be a part of a new culture, a new language, but I can also tell you how excited I am to see all that God has planned. to fall in love with a new place and new people. To learn how universal the love of God really is and to be able to change my life. God has a plan for all of our lives and it's never to late to listen, never to late to follow, never to late to stop waiting.

Diving in,

 HIS and yours,