|At the Baked Bean... our favorite place ever.|
|The gal pals of #twlk2k11|
Kelly's guest post is nothing short of Coop fashion and I am just so thankful for her words and the way that she thinks. My prayer is that you are as challenged and struck by the Word of God as I was when I read her post.
Dear friends and family of Jordan Abourjilie,
Isn’t it nice to think that this fact unites us all? There was the guy on my Young Life team a few years ago who would just sometimes giggle in the middle of our meetings. He would say, “I was just thinking about what the chances are that this group of people is together in this time.” God. God’s chances. And I like to think about this sometimes. It reminds me of our minuteness, and God’s greater purposes. Life is always for such a time as this. I think of this when Jordan asks me to be a guest blogger, because I think, “Me? Por qué?” I remember that whoever the Christian is in the cloud of witnesses, what a nice encouragement it is to hear from them the testimony of God’s work in their life. So I suppose maybe I can share that, and pray that by God’s grace it’s encouraging to you. God’s chances.
I met Jordan in 2011 at TWL – the same time as Amanda Stephens (what a gem) – and learned all about North Carolina-lina; what true, intentional dedication to God and others looks like; and amongst many other things, what really really really caring for people with passion looks like out of the love of God (even when it’s difficult and confusing at times). For these things and more, I am very grateful for the friendship and influence of Jordan in my life – as I’m sure you are as well. I just wanted that to be known.
I am in Bolivia for this year August 2012-13 doing a YWAM DTS (check), and now working at the ministry Operation Restoration with homes for adolescents who have decided to leave the streets. Most of the time it just looks like being a house mom for 4 – now 6 PTL! – girls in a home 25 kilometers from the city of Santa Cruz. They are a dream and a challenge all of the time. They all have different stories. They all are normal teenage girls – 12, 13, 13, 16, 16, 17. Sometimes it includes street work to encourage more girls to choose a new life. And I am a normal 23 year old, still learning lessons like we are all always learning, just now in a different country than usual.
“I want to grow every day. I want to know the Lord more today than I did yesterday, and more tomorrow than I do today. If not, what am I doing here?”
– wise words from my dear British friend Lauren –
So the latest thing that God has been touching my heart with is obedience. I don’t mean the obedience that I thought of growing up. I don’t mean the kind that says, “Do this or God is going to be disappointed.” I mean the kind where you remember that God has given a purpose for my days before my life began, and I get to joyfully live into that if I live into the simplicity of seeking the Lord’s will. I don’t mean seeking the Lord’s will in always expecting that he speak directly and clearly audibly (although I do believe he does that), then I would know exactly what to do. I do mean the kind where I realize that he is speaking all the time and if I pause to listen or read or ask him where to find it, I will. And it’s just not that difficult.
A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend who is graduating from HOPE COLLEGE this year. She’s in the same position as many of you, I assume. She’s figuring out what she will do this next year. In that, God lead her to the campus prayer room on her walk home, so she obeyed and went. God told her to look for the blue dot on the world map, so she obeyed and looked for it. Of the entire exciting world map (this a woman who loves to travel and learn new cultures) she finally looked at the U.S. of A. Both Montana and her hometown in Michigan had blue dots. Woof. God showed her exactly where to go – she had recently been looking at a YWAM program in Montana. So she’s asking me for thoughts on YWAM and what I think she should be doing on Skype a couple of days later. And I say to her, “So your options are following this incredibly clear direction from God and going to Montana for YWAM next year and living in joyful obedience knowing you are completely in his will, or being obviously disobedient, and knowing even personally that you wouldn’t be satisfied because you knew God had something else for you. (though clearly God will still be with you…)” Recounting this story to a gal pal here later, I realized:
“He has shown you, oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you BUT to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6v.8
“…’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22v.37-39
Whoops. It’s just that simple. God has clearly given his commandment. No striving after it; just doing it. When I winge about not knowing what the Lord wants from me, or the direction for each moment of my life – when I make it so so complicated – he’s sat there saying, “But Kelly, I’ve already told you. It’s written. All over. Do you see? Will you obey?” So I quote myself back to myself, “So your options are following this incredibly clear direction from God…or being obviously disobedient and knowing even personally that you wouldn’t be satisfied because you knew God had something else for you.” It’s so comforting and clear. Thanks, God. So when I am freaking out because a girl in Bolivia at the girl’s home is completely refusing to do what I’ve asked her to do, or refusing to follow the rules, or because I don’t know whether or not I am meant to give my seat to so-and-so who just got on this cramped Bolivian bus on my way to work, I remember these simple things. I remember what wisdom from above is (James 3v.16-17). I am reminded to love others as Jesus has loved me (John15v.12). And MOST OF ALL I always need to remember two important things.
“’You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.” Isaiah 43v.10-11 – God has chosen me not to make ministries, not to do anything first and foremost but to know and believe him and understand who he is and my salvation in him.
It’s not so complicated. It’s what God wants: for you to know Him. He loved us first.
1 John 4v.7-13 v. 13: “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” – lest we forget that we have the Spirit of God IN US.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1v.10
So this is what I am learning and meditating on lately. This is what I am thanking God for showing me…again. And again. And again. Because just when I forget, God brings it back. This last bit from this past Sunday at my church here, which was really God saying, “Hey, girl (daughter of mine). I see you there. I remember that you are from dust (Psalm 103v.13-14), and how quickly you forget, and I am going to remind you about this week, and show you that I have been here all along with you, showing you these things.”
I know that this blog is long and that a lot of it has been scripture, but what use are my words if not rooted in the Word?
My prayer, then, is that we always stay rooted. Rooted in the word. Declaring that Satan will not tempt us to despair, or tell us of the guilt within, because we know the word of Christ, which tells us that he has made an end to all our sin. That we always remember that we are now alive to live for him, and we are free to live, free to dance, free to be, free to love him. Amen and amen.
From Common Prayer today:
Katherine Drexel, the patron saint of racial justice, said, “You have no time to occupy your thoughts with that complacency or consideration of what others will think. Your business is simply, ‘What will my Father in heaven think?’”
I will finish with the scripture discussed in church on Sunday. May it be to you something beautiful to meditate on the work of the Lord:
1 John 5v.1-6.
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. AND THIS IS THE VICTORY THAT HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD – OUR FAITH. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Just one last additive, since faith is the victory that has overcome the world:
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Thanks so much for reading. Thanks for the encouragement and the testimony of God’s love that you are to others. Never forget the Spirit inside of you. Chau. Dios les bendiga.