I just returned from the 10th Avenue North concert...it was such a blessing. I surprised myself by suggesting perhaps I could go with my teammate, Shannon, and Jared stay back. I've been just as happy to stay in most evenings and watch the live feeds of the sessions that I can get after JJ goes to bed, but tonight, I thought "Why don't I just go??!!"
That decision is kind of indicative of what God has been doing in my heart and life in these past few weeks culminating here at CSU. I've once again been finding myself in this place of "holding back" and limiting myself based on what I can see. I feel the presence of my mom as I see the Lord break me out in ways of this "dwarfed" thinking. Sort of her last words to me via my sister, Kristen, were "tell Abby not to 'hold back'".
For most of my life my mother would have advised me to 'hold back' as she saw me jump head first into academics, sports, later missions...living this both perfectionistic and dreamy-eyed view of the world and also the signifigance I could have in it. She was always just reminding me to 'relax' and 'be' and was always concerned I would burn out.
I can say now that those concerns were very valid and in many ways with a wide array of circumstances in my mid-twenties I did 'burn out' or even 'break down'.
What has happened since in the 10 years since then has been fighting the opposite tendency to just live a "dwarfed" gray-tinged life...but the beauty of it has been that in the wisdom of these years, I truly see how the inspiration and faith to step out truly take believing and relying on the Lord's Spirit--being so fully aware of my own limitations.
Well, I can say that I have definitely been wanting to retreat in and just have felt weary in every way--emotionally, physically, and especially spiritually. I've been wondering where is my heart to pray for the great things I want to believe God has in store for us in this life He's called us to? I've settled for just "getting by" and had many reasons that this is just the "season" that I am in. I will be very clear and say that I know that God loves me just as deeply when I am living like this as when I might be stepping out in great faith, but if I truly reflect on the Life I want to live--grey-tinged glasses just will not do.
Through hearing the hearts of leaders like our President, Steve Douglass, Vice President, Steve Sellers, Family Life Founder, Dennis Rainey, our Student Venture Director, Daryl Smith and getting to worship with so many on similar journeys...the theme has come through loud and clear: "What are you willing to believe God for?"
I am being reminded of a God who yet will do the miraculous...Who indeed is working in incredible ways all over the World. The original vision of Bill Bright, Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, was to see "the Great Comission fulfilled in our generation". He believed the Lord for it to the end and as we've heard some of the histories of different ministries that have come out of Campus Crusade, it has been said that the most prominent thing people would say of him was "he's crazy". He believed God for the humanly impossible and time and time again saw the Lord bring to life things like "the Jesus Film" that have touched billions of people in ways we cannot fathom.
This is the legacy we inherit as we have been blessed to be called to this ministry family. It is one I believe that flows right from the pages of the Scriptures and seemlessly links with the times of the apostles and the Early Church. Slowly I can see the cynicism and dullness of my heart and vision be washed away and pure faith in the God who lives and is good and calls all of us to take Him at His Word take its place.
I am beginning to silence what I hold onto--my family with a 2nd child on the way. All of the doubts of whether I can juggle anything significant in ministry with this family...the ways I want Jared to fill up where I need to rely on the Lord's strength. This does not mean that I am to disregard priorities of home, motherhood, wifehood...but simply, I think, to trust that the Lord has even more of a heart to see those things be honored in my life than I do and that in letting go I will find them becoming even more precious and His and more full of the fruit of His Spirit.
It is a beautiful thing coming in the midst of a third trimester of pregnancy with all that can weigh one down (no pun intended;), trials of sickness (including JJ throwing up TODAY), and in many ways a hard first year of ministry filled with disappointments where hopes had been much higher...
This is so often how our Great God works. He takes us to a place where everything that could bring us comfort circumstancially is taken away and we have to ask ourselves if we really believe "He is for us"?? In the words of the last section of Romans 8 (I have it all memorized--finished the day before we came here!) "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own son but GAVE HIM UP FOR US ALL, how will He not also with him graciously give us all things?" Everything we need to love and LIVE FOR HIM!...All that matters...
I don't know how many of you will read this (as it's rather long and no pictures), but if you get to here, I want to challenge you to not "hold back" in this life. Do not believe that grey-tinged lenses are right for you...believe the Lord for more. Trust Him and ask Him to give you His desires in ways you may never have opened yourself up to. Will you believe Him for the salvation of your neighbors? Will you believe Him to greatly increase or perhaps begin a ministry to a sector of people in your circle of influence that you are uniquely equipped to reach? Will you come together with your husband or wife or your Savior and throw out old habits and ways that bind you into patterns of complacency and will you ask Him for fresh vision and the belief that "He is able to do EXCEEDINGLY, IMMEASURABLY, BEYOND ALL WE COULD ASK FOR OR IMAGINE"?
I promise to do the same by His grace and strength alone.
Crazy for Christ - t was around 9:00pm as I went into the grocery store. I saw a young man pass by and felt like maybe I should talk to him about the Lord, but instead I cont...