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Monday, January 28, 2013

Celebrate: The Glory

I've often been puzzled by the passage in the Old Testament in which Moses is forbidden to enter the Promised Land. It seemed surprising and even wrong to me that after all those years of leading the Israelites, Moses wouldn't be allowed to go inside. It was after listening to a sermon and then re-reading the passage the next morning, that I was brought to a convicting revelation. God is after ALL of His glory.

This may sound obvious, but let me explain. God is so jealous for His glory and the credit for the victory He has won, that He reminds His people because He deserves it! Sometimes the reminding means removing.

God speaks to Moses in Numbers chapter 20 and says "speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water" (vs 8). Moses responds, grabs his staff and approaches the people once again. He calls them forward and says "listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” (vs 10). Then Moses struck the rock and the water came. The next few verses reveal God's response to the event: "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them" (vs 12). 

My first thought has always been why? That sounds so harsh. Then as I sat in a living room in Waco, Texas, conviction came. I fell to my knees and started repented for places in my heart that have been after glory or credit. See, when Moses told his audience that he (and Aaron) would bring the water and struck the rock instead of speaking to it, He used his own strength to try to do something only God could. The glory and credit was given to Moses, rather than God. And I think that if Moses were allowed into the Promised Land, the people would have praised him instead of God. So God removed him. I'm sure God was 100% faithful to Moses after that, but He was jealous for ALL of His people's attention, praise and adoration.

There's nothing I could do on earth for the Kingdom of God to earn glory for myself. It has to point back to Jesus. He deserves ALL OF THE GLORY. He is so worthy of all my attention, praise and adoration. Jesus, alone, is worthy.

As I sat on my knees on a Wednesday afternoon over break, I prayed for God to put me in the place that would bring Him to most glory. I want to live in a way that people see Jesus, not me, my accomplishments or even the fruit of my life. And in order to do that, I must continually honor Him. Even if I don't feel it, I have to train myself to worship and honor God. I oftentimes practice physically what I want my heart to do spiritually. That means sometimes I jump up and down in my room or worship like crazy to get my heart to catch up and honor God. Although this may sound or look silly, I can't afford to let my eyes fall from His face. So I try to do whatever I can to stir my heart towards God. I hope to live a life that celebrates the Glory, the God of Israel who is jealous for His people and for me. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Celebrate: The Navajomies

I'm taking the next few weeks to celebrate certain people, events and moments because I've been changed by the value of celebration. To celebrate means to mark ( a significant or happy day or event), to observe or commemorate, to make known publicly, or to praise widely. When I celebrate or rejoice, it takes my eyes off myself and onto Jesus and others. To celebrate is give my attention and focus. To celebrate is to choose a different perspective. And what I love about celebrating or rejoicing is that it's possible in any circumstance. Today I thought I'd celebrate some of my favorite people and sophomore roommates, the Navajomies.

The year was 2010 when we moved into a cozy apartment together down the street from campus. I had no idea I would soon begin one of the most fun years of my life. We called our home the Navajome and we became known as the Navajomies. There are few people I laugh with as much as these three.

Claire, Megan, Lauren and I decided to have a reunion during winter break because the last time the three of us had been together was spring of 2011. Claire, our brilliant, adventurous roomie, decided to study abroad in Scotland and eventually transferred. Although I'm sure Europe has been a dream, those of us in the states have missed her dearly. Lo-Bear, hands down the coolest person we know, started grad school in the fall, but found some time between clinicals and her sporty BF for this epic event. And Megs, the creative queen, just so happened upon the reunion location of our dreams: a tipi. Yes, a real life tipi.

If I were to pick the wildest thing I did over break, it would definitely be this. We called the reunion Navonimo (pronounced Nov-on-i-mo). It was the perfect trip to relax, get refreshed and laugh more than I have all year! Not to mention one of the best dance parties I've ever seen. WHAT. A. BLAST. There's such a freedom with these three to let my guard down and totally be myself.

My fav thing about Claire, besides the fact that she actually laughs at my jokes, is that she is so secure yet so honest. She's comfortable in weakness, which is so refreshing. Praise God for a woman who models security in Jesus, yet powerful, raw vulnerability. If I were to encourage Lauren, the first thing I would say is the way she presents herself and her ideas. She speaks gently with so much wisdom. Her words carry so much weight. Plus you're always guaranteed a good time with this one. And Megs. Ahhh what a gem. This woman knows how to be content in all circumstances. She is also one of the most creative people I know. These women are going to change the world, and I'm honored to share so many experiences with them! Below are some photos from our trip.

(Photos by the talented Claire Aufhammer)

Also, check out this awesome video Megs made of the trip! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Celebrate: The End of Winter Break

Alas, break has finally ended and I am back in my cozy little room in Lawrence, KS. Winter, however has not. I arrived back in Kansas yesterday morning to a beautiful 17 degrees. Needless to say, the fuzzy socks are on and the space heater is cranked full blast.

It seems so long ago that I finished finals, packed up my things and headed home for the last few weeks of 2012. Something has happened in my heart in the last month and a half that has changed me. Today marks the beginning of a new semester and I am excited, envisioned and expectant for what 2013 brings! Here's to a year of richness, exponential growth, open doors, new dreams and new colors.

After leaving Lawrence in December, I felt completely exhausted and worn out and was sure I could sleep for days. There were places of discouragement that crept into my heart and I felt as though I never wanted to pick up a pencil or plan another thing again. I knew I needed something fresh from God during the break and was desperate for something new. Once again brought to my knees by my own weakness, I started asking. I asked God for energy; to not feel tired anymore. For encouragement and even new shoes. I asked for a reminder of why I was doing what I was doing. I asked for fun. For expectations to fall off. For refreshment and new life. And most of all I asked for deep encounters with God that would leave me marked for the next year, and even for the rest of my life. Now, standing on the other side, I can confidently say every one of the things I asked, feeling so small and weak, were received. And then some. 

For the next few weeks, I plan to celebrate some of my favorite moments from the past 2 months. I'm so convinced that celebrating in the middle of any circumstance is powerful. Regardless of whether you feel broken, deserted, happy, on fire or lonely, celebrating in the midst of it all is something we must learn. It just might bring a new perspective, breakthrough or increase of joy, like it has for me. Feel free to tune in and celebrate with me. :)