Friday, January 6, 2017

January Update

Well Guess What!? It's SNOWING!!!

Hellooooo, Snow!

I love living in Texas, where I can have worn shorts three days ago, but now it's in the 20's and snowing! What a world! 

I hope your holidays were restful and refreshing! Mine were filled with SO much family and travel! Austin and I stayed with his parents in Wylie for Christmas...7 adults and 5 dogs in one house! Then we went to see my mom in Kansas...8 adults, 5 kids, and a cat in one house! Then I went to staff retreat near Austin...25 adults in 2 houses! It's been wonderful to be with so many people I love and don't often get to spend extended amounts of time with, but I am toooootally ready to be back in the swing of normal work! 

Sermon Takeaways 

"Book Club" 1st & 2nd Year Staff Development
December is such an interesting month for student ministry. Each year, I feel like this is the time when the Lord really works on me and my heart through a couple different venues. One of those was the apprentice sermons at the very tail end of the semester. Their prompt was "My Gospel" this year and one of the points that really pushed some buttons for me was from Ryan's (an apprentice at Collin College) sermon. His point was "Moving from Inhibition to Healthy Expression" and a line that was particularly impactful was "I don't need to be comfortable, I need to be faithful." Ouch! 

Who doesn't want to be comfortable? This girl definitely does! This sermon and a conversation with some of the other first and second year staff members reinforced vulnerability as a growth area I need to continue giving some focused attention to in my life. I'd much rather float along and get along with everybody than put myself out there, rock the boat or receive criticism. But God is continuing to call me out of my comfort-zone, and as much as I'd like to, I can't ignore his voice. 

So that's one area I'll keep working on this next year! Won't heaven be great when we'll all have learned exactly what it takes to be like Jesus and there won't be anymore growing pains? I can't wait! Haha

The Signature of Christ

Hammock for Christmas! 
God has also been reminding me of his true character and deep love for me over the break. Sometimes I forget that Jesus is the embodiment of God's character and can think of God as this very strict judge who only cares about Right Behavior. When I get in that mindset, it's easy to think that God would do drastic or harsh things in my life to keep me dependent on him. Some really hard things happened over this break and when I concentrate on those, I lose sight of the fact that God is good. 

We read The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning over the break for our winter staff retreat and it was so timely for me. Brennan consistently points back to Jesus and the fact that Jesus is the embodiment of God's character in a way that is helping me take those lies captive. God is not malicious and does not contrive to break me. God is in the business of making things whole again. He loves me dearly! It's another growth goal this year to try to understand God better though Jesus and to live out a life that can be summed up in this quote:

In the Lord's Prayer when I pray, "Thy will be done," I can pray these words without fear or apprehension because I am convinced that my Abba is no threat to me, that he is the course of my life and fulfillment. 

I'm so thankful for the community that God has given me to help me think through these topics and that won't let me sit long in lies that I get caught up in!

Almost the whole gang! Missing one sister & her family.

 How to Pray this Month:

Keep FOCUS Growing Fundraiser: THANK YOU FOR GIVING! We almost reached our goal of $55,000 this year, coming in at $42,000! Wow! If you wanted to give, but didn't get the chance, you still can here

Winter Camp (Jan 13-16): This is next weekend and I'm so jazzed! Be praying for our students' hearts to be open to whatever the Lord has for them, for the staff as they prepare to speak, for health and safety as over 500 students travel for this weekend. 

Winter Welcome Week: We'll be reaching out to new students these first few weeks and providing several outreach opportunities. Be praying that incoming students get connected with a godly community, whether that's FOCUS or somewhere else.

My Mom's Health: Praise God she's stayed healthy through the holidays, even with grandbabies getting sick! Please keep her in your prayers as she explore some new possibilities. 

I'm so thankful for each of you. You're a blessing to me and a key instrument in building God's Kingdom in North Texas. Thank you!!
Students playing "Tumbleweeds" for our Texas-themed Christmas party!