Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Home Is Where The Heart Is

As I approach my last days in Hungary, my heart is anxious for my family, my friends, my own room :)! I have been blessed and I am so thankful for the time I have spent here and I wouldn't trade that for anything. However, the desire to be with people who have known me in my most vulnerable times, who have held me up when I wanted to quit, who have laughed so hard with me that we couldn't breathe, is becoming overwhelming.

Everyone knows the phrase "home is where the heart is"

home: where I am loved, comfortable, safe, happy. where my family is

I have a family here in Hungary. One that I love very much.  One that has helped me grow in the Lord.

We have spent nights under the stars, laughing and growing each other.

And we have seen the world together.
So to my dear family in Hungary, you will always be IN my heart.

I have another family.

My friends for the longest time.

My heart aches because I miss you so much! Nothing in the world compares to the times I spend with you. our laughter. our tears. We have been with each other and there for each other through every stage of life. And I know that we have many more things to go through!

I am so thankful for this part of my family! God has blessed me with relationships that I would die for!
And you, my dearest friends...will ALWAYS be IN my heart.

I'm not done.
Next is the obvious.
And where you would think I would say..."this is where my heart is..."

my brothers. I wouldn't trade you for anything! I love you so much! and I love that way you make me laugh!

I can't even begin to explain the love I have for my family. I know that I haven't always shown it the best, but my love for them is...hard to write out. I miss them more than anyone else and I am counting down the days until I get to hug them again!

My heart is full with the families God has given me. And I would love to say that my home is with them.

But it's not.
"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Phil. 1:21

" I am torn between two: I desire to depart and be with Christ which is better, by far..." Phil. 1:23

My home is heaven. And the more I know Christ, the more I learn about and experiance His love the more I LONG to be in his presence. So, home is where the heart is. My heart is with my Savior and the Lover of my soul. In heaven. And I wait anxiously and expectantly for the day I get to hug my heavenly Father.

straight from my heart to yours...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Open Heart Surgery

I know, I know. I has been way too long. I'm sorry. It's not because God hasn't been working...more like He has been doing too much to keep up with and too wonderfully to articulate. However, this work he has been doing hasn't been easy. It's been more like a slow, painful, and much-needed surgery.

An open heart surgery.

We all have those locked doors in our hearts. Those areas of our life or sins that we are unwilling to give up. It's like we think we will be better off keeping it hidden rather than surrendering it to a loving, caring, and perfect God. Don't you dare get me wrong...I am still working on it...very slowly.

This past month has been somewhat of a rollercoster, and if I knew what God was doing in my life I would tell you. But I don't. Infact, I have taken this unwanted rollercoster, unfortunately, and pushed myself away from my Creator. Instead of seeing this time of pain and lonliness as an opportunity to bask in the presence of my God, I have run. It has only been within this night, this moment, that I have stopped running.

stopped. listened. cried.

Tonight I found a picnic table slightly elevated above part of the beautiful castle property. You see, for our devos tonight we were given some time to spend with God. Some time to rest in him. We all need this time. I went and laid across this table that I am now sitting at and when I looked up I began to cry. The sky was so clear and the stars my God created, so bright! In that moment, I was honest with God. I questioned these trials. I told him what I was angry with. What I didn't understand. I told him I was ready to be changed more.

I laid on this table as a patient would lay before a doctor. The Great Physician. The lover of my soul. I told him I wanted an open heart surgery. Granted, I know it will be painful.

But I know I needed it.

At this moment, I still have those things in my heart that I want to hide or don't want to give up. I know it's going to be a process of God teaching me how to trust him with all my desires and fears.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
~ Jeremiah 17:9

Pray for me as I begin the process of learning to love my Savior with ALL MY HEART

From my heart to yours...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

From The Bottom Of My Heart

As of late,
God has been showing me my heart, in the light of His Glory, on the issue of motives.

Proverbs 16:2  All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.

Serving is a part of the christian life that I was taught to value. Whether it be cleaning toliets in the meeting room here in Hungary, participating in leading praise and worship at church, or bringing coffee to a friend who is having a stressful day..service is important. But as I have been reading some books lately (Pursuit of Holiness and Lady in Waiting) God has shown me some issues in my motivation for serving.

I have always known that I am selfish, sometimes I even chalk it up to my humanity and justify it because its natural instead of calling it what it is...blatant sin. But I have been noticing how even when I think I am serving someone out of pure motives...I'm not most the time.
Like God's Word says in Proverbs...my ways SEEM innocent but The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

My heart is so deceitful, I don't even know the full extent of its wickedness.
When I am serving people, listening to them in times of hurting, going the extra mile in a task or friendship...most times, honestly, its because I see a payoff sometime in the future that will personally benefit me.

That hurts to think about and even more so when I see it in writing! How wicked my heart is...from the bottom of my heart to the top. But how loving and forgiving is our God!!!
Romans 8:37-39
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am adding something to my list that I pray for on my 6am walks.
"Lord, show me my impure motives today, burden my heart so that I may strive to serve you with pure intentions"
I encourage you to join me in this prayer each day, and have God search out your heart every morning before you begin the ministry which is your life.

from my heart to yours...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Two Hearts Won

9:30am Friday morning I woke up, knowing I  had a lot to get done before I went out on ministry after lunch. I took a walk first thing, and spent some time in prayer for our performance of Born Again and enjoyed my time with the Lord.  I had a great time in God's Word and felt renewed...until I closed by Bible.

All of a sudden, my heart was heavy with discouragement. I couldn't fully understand it. I had a great time of prayer and study and now I was discouraged? I knew it was Satan's attempt to weaken my ministry later in the day, and I felt it getting to me.

12:30pm  I shared with my roommates what I was feeling and I knew that they had my back in prayer throughout the day, but I still felt so unnerved. 
I put my feelings aside and spent most of the car ride to the orphanage in prayer. Once at the orphanage, I snapped into "get it done" mode. Doing all the was required of my, but with a daunted heart.

3:00pm  Satan wasn't done messing with us. When we arrived, there was massive confusion. Some didn't know we were coming and the people who knew we were coming weren't there. Long story short...things were complicated. We were missing a couple people and so we had a quick practice to adjust that which needed to be adjusted.
Come 4:45pm we were back stage getting dressed and ready to start at 5.

5:18 only about 6-8 loud, uncontrollable boys were in the room. screaming, running around, touching everything they could.

5:30pm Police arrived to one of the four buildings because someone had broken in and was caught in the act of stealing and therefore the children in that building were on lock down..and we were still back stage..waiting to start.

eventually, some teachers and students showed up (about 15 in all). Most the teachers didn't even know we were coming.

5:50pm We started.
of course, Satan got his nasty fingers all over our performace, and at least from my down cast perspective..it wasn't the best we had performed. Little things here and there went wrong..and my heart was despondent even more.

7:35pm  We finished and some of the cast went out to talk with the kids and teachers about the show in general and about the Gospel. I started to help pack up.

the times of all that happened may not be exact, but you get the time line. and you see I was disheartened.

BUT, here is the marvelous part. GOD IS BIGGER THAN ALL THAT.
Two people made dicisions to follow Christ with their heart. And a teacher commented saying that she could tell we weren't professionals, but there was something incredible in the performance that came through to her.

God worked through what I saw as a mess and a discouragement...He worked in spite of me to teach me and TWO HEARTS WERE WON!

Our God never ceases to surprise me...straight from my heart to yours...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cry Heart Out

Life is busy here at the Bible school and sometimes I feel like I have no time to rest in the Lord.

Just Be Still.

I get to spend the whole day in God's word, from the moment I wake up till the moment I go to sleep, yet sometimes, its just business. I hate even saying that. the reality. I thirst for time to completely still my soul in His presence.  And what better time to do this than 6am every morning.
I am not a morning person, but during the week, somehow, God has given me the strength to wake up and go on a walk with Him in the mornings before I get into His word. This very well may be the most wonderful part of my day!  

Most days, this walk consists of my heart crying out to God. I tell Him what I fear about the day to come. I confess again how desperately I need his strength to get me through the day. I lay my family, my relationships, my future, everything, at His feet. I walk in awe of His creation. Sometimes I laugh. Most times I cry. I cry when I remember how great He is, and that He has chosen me! I cry for my family, for my roommates, and for my leaders.

You may think I am crazy to enjoy the time I spend crying in the cold! But these tears aren't bitter. In fact, they are sweet.
And even though I am walking (usually quite brickly to stay warm)...

I am still.

resting in His presence. asking Jesus to hold me now. and we walk, side by side.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God

Even in the business of life, especailly in the business of life, make the time to be still.
Have some time to let your heart cry out in the stillness. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Heart Unwilling to Trust

I am warned that my enthusiasm for blogging will soon diminish, but why not take advantage of it while it lasts...

As I have been considering what it means to love and seek the Lord with ALL my heart, the issue of trust has come up in regards to my future, my family, and my heart!

For as long as I can remember I have been trusting my abilities..my desires...my limited perception to decided my future. That was working for me, until God reminded me that He also has a plan for my future and His is much better than mine. You see, He has taken some things away from me, in order to realign my heart's trust. At first I felt insecure about not having "set plan" for the next years to come. But I was reminded softly by my Savior that the safest place to live is in the Will of God. I am still unsure as to what that looks like at this point, but I am utterly content in waiting for Him to reveal his good and perfect will. And that's something you can pray for me about. That I would continue to grow as I learn, through experience, how to trust my God.
Jeremiah 29:11-13
 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I love living here in Hungary but, as life goes on at home, sometimes it is very difficult to be away from my family. My heart can only break when I can't hug my mom when she is frustrated, or hold my little brother's hand when he has emergency surgery. I was having a really hard time lately. My desire to be home with my family was overwhelming my mind and taking priority in my thought life. Praying and thinking of my family isn't wrong unless it takes the place of God in my heart...which it was starting to do. Quiet time today was in Luke 14:25-35 and it was the passage that said "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."
In this passage, Jesus isn't talking about bitter feelings, or animosity, but rather priorities. I will always love my family, but my love for God should come first.

OK, so the main issue in all that was, I was worried about my family, and truly, I wasn't trusting God with my family. In my heart of hearts I was saying, "God, they need ME not YOU!"  How foolish!

All this comes down to issue of trust. I trust my strength, which always fades. I trust my knowledge, which pales in comparison to God's. And as I continue to place my heart for my family and future into the hands of MY own strength and knowledge..I am setting myself up for failure.
God is everything, period.  So why am I not willing to give him my ALL...all my heart, all my worries. All my trust should be in Him.

Luke 14:33 "In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples."
I want to be His disciple! And so, I give him everything. Family, Future, and most of all my heart.

That's all.
straight from my heart to yours...

Monday, February 7, 2011

This Heart Of Mine

Yay! My first blog post!

When my friend Lauren suggested that I start a blog, I was pretty excited about the idea. God is doing so much in my life, and what a fun way to share my heart with you!
As I sat down at my desk trying to figure out what to name my blog, I just started recounting the wonderful things God has shown me through His word lately.
 As I have been studying the Old Testament, one phrase has been jumping off the pages at me... "...with all your heart..." always in relation to devotion to or seeking God.
Deuteronomy 6:5 says "Love the LORD your God with all your heart..." Also in Psalm 119:2 "Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart."
This phrase is all over the Bible, but I rarely considered it, and when I did...how convicting!
I scarcely do anything with my ALL my heart. It really broke me to see, for probably the first time, how divided my heart is, truly! And so, as I think of how sinful this heart of mine is, I can only but strive for the heart of my savior!
Hence the name of this blog...Heart to Heart. As I struggle and learn how to seek the Lord with all my heart, I pray that you join me and that this life-long journey will be one of encouragement for you.

Straight from my heart to yours...