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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

fundraising pic

Belief. Faith. Surrender.  These simple words hold the secret to great power.  They seem so simple, and yet, they end up being so elusive.   Every time I think I understand these words, I am thrown into a situation in which its quite clear that I don’t.  Back in April, my family took a huge plunge into faith.  We decided to send my oldest daughter, Anna, to Honduras on a mission trip with the youth group, and to send my other teen daughter, Abbi, and myself to Swaziland for a mission trip.  Crazy!  Here we’ve been struggling financially for 2 years and we decide to do this while my husband is enrolled in the police academy.  Insanity is the word I would use, but God calls it faith.

I personally determined that I would not worry about the $6,500 we would need to raise in two months time.  God would take care of it, right?  But as reality hit and the tickets were purchased by the church, there was no turning back and panic set in.  Once again, I launched into “moving my own mountain” mode trying to be creative with fundraising ideas.

Then my husband got a job!  After 9 months of testing and interviews, he was accepted into the police academy.  Another reality hit, he would be gone for the summer and the responsibility of family, my job, raising funds, and our non-profit rested on my shoulders.  I freaked!  “God, you have to close a door!”  Never in my life have I prayed for God to shut a door, instead it has always been to open one.  “I can’t handle all this!”  I complained.

God began whispering into my heart, “Don’t worry about fundraising.  I just want you to enjoy preparing for the missions trip and enjoy it while you’re there.”

“Sounds great, God, but this is a lot of money and you’re asking me to sit back and relax?  What about working for it, earning it?”  I asked confused.

“What about belief?  What about surrender?  What about the rest I’ve promised to you if you would just let go?”  He asked back.

This wasn’t the door I expected for Him to shut, but I was quite relieved and happy with it.  Still unsure if I heard God correctly, I tested the waters.  Instead of trying to come up with a nifty fundraiser this weekend, I weeded my yard and helped my husband study.

I just came into work this morning and was faced with some amazing news!  Donations had come in over the weekend to help my daughters with their trips.  They are now both completely paid for!  Two down and one left to go.  I know God will take care of my expenses without my help.

Belief. Faith. Surrender.  Three simple words that create the greatest fundraiser of all!  God is true to His promises, and if He calls you to something, He will make a way for you to obey.  To God be ALL the glory!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory…  Ephesians 3:20

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falling down a hole

Believe.  That word has been rattling around in my head for a month now, but I’ve been struggling to grasp it.

The insecurity of life became too much for me, and so I retreated into a corner, hugged my knees, and closed my eyes in an effort to provide a false sense of security.  That only lasted for so long, when I began to feel my body being moved and turned.  A breeze swept over me as I lost my equilibrium.  It felt as if a deep cavernous hole had opened up and I was spiraling downward towards the inevitable.  At first, I resisted, but then growing weary of the fight, I found solace in the darkness that was sure to come when I hit bottom.

Believe!  The soft spoken word pierced through the dark thoughts.  Believe what?  Believe that someday I’ll be able to wake up without fear gnawing at my heart and stomach?  Believe that I can someday accept who I really am – a daughter of God?  Believe that joy will come in the morning?  A spark of hope flickered and was instantly snuffed as I twisted and turned in my fall.

Believe! The word seemed to bounce off the jagged rocks that formed the deep pit.  “Believe what?”  My mind screamed in confusion and horror.

“Believe that I have called you.  Believe that you are mine.  Believe that I see you and won’t let you be harmed!  Believe that I love you!”  The unseen voice sounded desperate almost pleading.

“I want to, I really want to, I just don’t have the strength anymore.  All I see is darkness, and all I hear is the wind swirling around me, and all I feel is the weight of gravity pulling me down.”  I frantically rambled.

The tender voice responded, “Open your eyes and look up!”

“I’m too scared!” My voice squeaked out.

“Open your eyes!”

Ever so slowly, I pried open my eyes and looked up.  Instead of seeing pitch black darkness, I saw a handsomely rugged face peering anxiously down at me.  “You’re not falling, I’m carrying you!”

“But I…”

“You became scared of the world around you and you closed your eyes.  When I picked you up, you thought you were falling.  If you had opened your eyes, you would have seen that I am carrying you to safety.”  He gently explained.

“Believe,” I whispered.

“Yes, just believe and you will see the truth.”  My Abba hugged me close as I clung to him realizing that I had been safe in his arms all along.

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Staring at the abundance of fruit that was overflowing onto the countertops, I clapped my hands with excitement.

“Kids, look at all the fruit!  I prayed that God would provide us with fruit and he did!”

God didn’t promise that life would be easy, but He did promise He would supply for all our needs.  Yep, that’s my Father, my Abba, taking care of even the smallest of desires!

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.  – Hebrews 13:15

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I’m a Hallmark Christmas movie fanatic.  There’s nothing better than making it through a long work week to come home curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and watch a movie about love and sacrifice.  This past weekend, I felt as if I was in one of those movies.

Our non-profit, The Trail Youth Outreach, held its first Christmas event for people in crisis.   All over the community, people rose to the occasion to give and to collect warm coats, hats, gloves, hoodies, hand warmers, and toiletries.                     Teams of peopleCopy of IMG_5448 tirelessly wrapped each item in colorful festive Christmas paper.  When all the gifts were brought to one place, I stood amazed at the generosity of the community.  There was such an abundance that we had to move the gift tables outside!  As those in crisis came to the Community Hall for the normal dinner hour, they were shocked and excited.  They had a lot of fun digging through packages to find what they needed.  Thank you to all of you who donated, collected, and wrapped the gifts!

Copy of IMG_5471A shout out also needs to go to Maggiano’s who provided a real Italian experience with their cuisine.  Josh Roth, the restaurant’s manager stayed and worked alongside another community group in the set up and serving of the food.

No event is complete without music!  Dan Hegelund and his Common Copy of IMG_5489Ground Choir made a special appearance gracing us with Christmas carols.  To top off the evening, everyone was sent off with a cup of specialty hot chocolate and coffee made by the teens of the Trail Youth.

The left over gifts and coats were divided up and sent to our sister outreach in Tacoma and the Teen Challenge Rehab. in Graham!

What is the true meaning of Christmas?  The movies often get it right, it’s about giving not receiving.  Christmas is about love, sacrifice, and the giving of hope.  On December 12th, Christmas was lived out.  Thank you to all of you who participated!

Copy of IMG_5510    Merry Christmas, from the Trail Youth Team

Copy of IMG_5489 Copy of IMG_5510

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December 12th!!!  Today is the day!  I feel as if I’m reading a mystery book.  As I’m drawing closer to the end, my anticipation builds with excitement and curiosity.  How is this going to end?

Yesterday was another God moment.  A women’s Bible study group met together to wrap the gifts they all had gathered.  Clothes and coats were heaped along with hand warmers and goodies.  With much care, these ladies took sweaters and matched them up with hats, scarves, and gloves wrapping them as a set.  When they were all finished, they called me in (I was in the office working).  It was so hard to thank them for the tears kept coming!  We had to call in another vehicle to transport all the gifts!

This is the true meaning of Christmas being lived out in the lives of all these people.  Jesus gave of Himself for all of us, how can we do any less?

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maggiano's December 12 Countdown –

Along with all the donations of clothing, one community group really wanted to be responsible for providing the food for the December 12 Christmas Extravaganza for the homeless.  A week ago, I received a phone call from one of the men who was organizing it.  He said that he ordered meals from Maggiano’s Italian Restaurant!    For those of you who aren’t familiar with Maggiano’s, it’s a very popular place out here in Seattle – absolutely wonderful food.

In the course of ordering the food, Maggiano’s asked what the food was for.  After the man explained about this special event, Maggiano told him not to worry about payment, they would like to provide this for free and will throw in some extra!

God provides for every detail!

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oldsmobile

Along with doing something good, often something bad will occur to offset the good.  Preparations for this Friday’s Christmas Extravaganza for the homeless have been going very well.  In the back of my mind, I kept wondering when the “bad” was going to creep in, not because I’m a negative person.  It’s just that I have been through 19 years of being in the ministry, and I’ve seen the pattern and have learned to watch for it.  Sure enough it happened.

I received a call one day from one of the women that attends the free meals.  She is a special lady to us, always in our corner.  She expressed a need for a car to get to her doctor’s appointments.  Through a series of miracles, we were able to obtain a car for free!

The car had one problem though, the cellanoid had to be replaced, but she said that she had the money to get it fixed.  She was ecstatic and we were thrilled along with her.  Then all of a sudden her attitude changed.  She began accusing Linda, our team member who gave her the car, of tampering with the it.  We were shocked and dismayed.  Because she is considered to be the “grandma” of the free meals, we were worried how her public accusations would hurt the event and our reputation.  There was nothing we could do but to pray and to continue to show her kindness.

Last Friday, my husband, Josh, went to free meals in hopes to talk to her.  Much to his surprise, as he walked into free meals, he saw “grandma” eating at the same table with Linda!  The two of them were chatting as if nothing had ever happened.  When the meal was over, Linda gave her a ride home.

This Friday is a special night and God protected this event!  God is the revealer of truth and the healer of relationships!  All is well and we are on track to have a great evening!

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