Dust From My Rabbi

Life in  my shoes is about to radically change….. but before I can tell you what that is, let me tell ya a little bit about something else that has been on my heart. I promise it will all fit together in the end!

In ancient Israel (around the time of Jesus), the rabbis of the day would teach the Torah to the young Jewish boys. It would be like our elementary school these days except all these boys did was MEMORIZE the entire Torah…..Genesis to Deuteronomy. That’s a lot right? Well after that stage of schooling, many of the children left school to begin learning the trade of their families or to be an apprentice to someone else. Only the best of those who had been in school moved up to the next level of education where they literally memorized the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures… Genesis through Malachi.  Once that level was done most of those kids also ended up going into the family business, but once again, the best of the best extended their education and appealed to rabbis for a position as a disciple. These disciples weren’t just preparing to know what these rabbis knew. They were also learning to be more like their rabbi so obviously the rabbis were picky about who they chose. Only the best of the best of the best became disciples. These disciples would leave their families, their homes, their entire lives to follow in the footsteps of their rabbi. Learning to be like their rabbi, learning to do what their rabbi did. That is ultimately what it means to be a disciple. And one of the cool things about this context is that these disciples would be following their rabbi so closely that by the end of each day, their feet and legs would be completely covered in whatever dirt, dust, etc their rabbi kicked up on the roads. This is where the phrase “may you be covered in the dust of your rabbi” came from and everyone knew what that meant. Basically, you learned what it meant to be a rabbi and a true follower of God by learning to be exactly like your rabbi in every way. You emulated him completely. You literally learned by following his example.

So with that in mind, when Jesus, who many called a rabbi, called to Peter and Andrew and James and John who were fishermen, it was rather odd. Well, that might be putting it mildly. If Peter and Andrew were already fishermen, that meant that they weren’t the best of the best of the best. They had finished their schooling long before and had taken up their father’s trade. To most, Jesus calling to them and asking that they follow him was crazy because he was a rabbi and rabbis didn’t call lowly fishermen. They weren’t “good enough”. But when he called, they literally dropped what they were doing and followed him. Wouldn’t you go? I mean a RABBI came down the beach and asked them to follow him. DUH! You go!

The best part about this is that Jesus chose them, not because they were the best of the best, but because his movement is for everybody: the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated. It didn’t matter. Isn’t it interesting? Rabbis didn’t choose people unless they thought those disciples could learn to be like them. For Jesus to pick people who weren’t the scholars was setting his ministry up in that his message was for everyone. And together, those 12 disciples and Jesus changed the world.

So in this next year I am beginning a journey that will literally force me to forsake my life in the States in order to follow him. He’s called  me, a lowly “fisherman” if you will, and like Peter and James did, I am dropping my net to follow him. And I plan on following him so closely that the dust he kicks up on the road will be caked all over me at  each day’s end. Here’s what’s happening:

There is a program through Adventures in Missions called the World Race. No, it’s nothing like the Amazing Race. It’s an 11 month journey around the world literally following Christ into parts of the world where His love needs to be shared. You know, he didn’t hang out with the Pharisees because they weren’t willing to follow him. Instead, he hung out with the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the poor and the weak, the dying, the demon possessed. And as a disciple of Christ who has heard him call that is where I am going. Ya I’m nervous. I’m nervous about the possibility of failure more than I am of safety and having to leave my life behind. But you know what, God believes in me. He wouldn’t have called me if he didn’t think I could follow him. It’s like that saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called”. He BELIEVES in me. And because he believes in me, I know I can do it. It will be a hard year. I will live out of a backpack for 11 months only getting to talk to my family every so often and eating foods I would never try back home. I will see things that will break my heart. But at the same time, I know God is going to use me to demonstrate his love for the nations and that I will grow to be more like him in the process. I simply cannot wait.

So here are the details of my trip (as far as I know them as of now):

The 11 month journey takes us into 11 different countries to minister to. Mine are the following: Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Romania, Ukraine. Each country will be different. I could find myself hanging out with orphans (my dream!!), preaching in churches, teaching English, ministering to women and children sex slaves, doing hard labor and so much more. In order to be able to do this, I have to raise $15,500 plus money for/ donations of gear and plane travel to my starting point. This trip is not about me although I fully expect that God will be working on me every moment of this trip. It is ultimately about taking Christ’s love and redemption to the poor and lost of our world. This is not a trip that I can fund by myself. Ultimately only God can make this happen. My prayer is that he does that through people like you who are reading this. I think he is calling me to do  make this journey at this specific time for many reasons. One of those includes the fact that I cannot by any means do this myself. I am used to being in control of finances and have paid for a good chunk of previous mission trips, but this one I simply cannot do alone. I am praying each day for God to help me give the control over to Him. I pray that he will move in your hearts and call you to join with me in this journey through financial support as well as prayer support.

If you do feel called to help bring his love and redemption to many of the lost and broken in the world through me, visit my World Race blog (after Monday June 4) and click on support me. I urge you to follow that blog as well as I will be updating that one *most likely* more often than I will this one. The blog address is:

Help me follow in the footsteps of our Savior and may you be covered in the dust of our Savior as well.

Significance of the Last Supper

Once again, I have to tell you….I LOVE Tenth Avenue North. Someone shared this with me the other day and I was just in awe. First of all, Mike is just hilarious. More than that though, is the powerful significance in what he talks about. Take a minute to listen!

Embracing my Struggles and Running Toward Him

Today I found out about an amazing missions opportunity and began the application. For those of you who don’t know, my heart is deeply rooted in serving Christ overseas when I graduate and this opportunity is something I am seriously considering and praying about. (Side Note: If you wouldn’t mind, I would appreciate all of you praying for me as I seek God’s council in this. It could be a life altering experience and I just need to know if it’s what He has planned for me. Thanks!)

Anyway, I started filling out the application because I know I am going to get pretty busy here in the next few months and it would just be a good idea to at least have some of it done just in case He says yes. Now, most applications for mission trips ask you about your relationship with Christ and maybe a little bit about you. They never truly seem to get down to the very specific parts of your life journey though. This application, however; did. And let me tell you, it was brutal and extremely hard to answer those questions. I had to continually stop typing because I literally couldn’t see the screen I was crying so hard. And now you are all proably wondering why I would ever want to fill out an application that made me bawl my eyes out right?! Well here is the beauty in it- As I was literally writing about some of the struggles and painful experiences in  my life, a thought came to my mind. It was another one of those thoughts that came directly from God because no way would I ever think of this myself. He told me “This is why I died for you. Even though you’ve sinned and messed up countless times and experienced things that no one should ever have to go though, I still love you. I LOVE you and I will carry you in my arms all the days of your life. You are mine and no one can take you away from me.” Wow. Powerful words. This is exactly what I needed to hear.

I go through so many days of life pushing those experiences and struggles as deep down as I can because they hurt, I am ashamed of them, and I don’t like having to remember. So many people who “know” me would never know most of what I had to write on that application because I have done a pretty solid job of stuffing it all away. Only a few very close friends and family members know a good deal of it, and even then, if I was completely honest, only God knows all of it.

We all have things in our lives that we keep hidden- out of shame, regret, or maybe simply because we don’t like to share everything with everyone. I have recognized in myself the same characteristics that Adam and Eve dealt with after they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I am ashamed of a lot of things in my past, whether I actually commited the acts or if they were done against me. And I find myself behaving the same way Adam and Eve did- by hiding from God and believing he can’t see it all. But he can- and he does. I cannot hide my struggles and problems from Him any more than a two year old can hide the fact that he has been in the cookie jar when his face has chocolate smudged all over it. He knows. He knows it all and he cares for me and loves me just the same.

I have got to stop trying to hide all my pain from Him. The only way I will ever fully be able to stand up proud and confident is if I allow Him to take all those burdens away- if I allow Him to carry them for me. God’s going to hold my heart. He’s going to be there when I fall and when I struggle. I only need to trust Him and allow Him to be there. We all have things in our past that we are not proud of, but that is what can give us such a great testimony! God puts us in tough situations for a reason and although we often don’t understand why, it all works into his plan perfectly. All I need to do is give up my hurt and pain to him and let him carry my burdens. He can handle it!

You Are More!

Let me start out by saying this: I love Tenth Avenue North. You know those songs or artists that just seem to get you? The ones that somehow come up with the words you’ve been feeling for so long, but cannot seem to intelligently get out? Well, Tenth Avenue North is one of those artists for me. I  swear that they must be tapping into my brain.

Anyway, tonight a thought just came to me. It was simply this….you are more.

“What?”, I thought. “I’m more than…..than what exactly?”

Then it came again. “You are more.”

“Well, alright…glad to know that.” I started going on with my night. But then I thought back to the strange thought. And the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it was God trying to tell me something.

Now, we all struggle with dealing with failure daily. Yes, even failure to stop at a stop sign counts! For me, failure is hard to deal with. I want to do well. I want everything to go the way I plan and imagine it will go. Unfortunately, that rarely happens. Sometimes I get so frustrated with failure. The biggest failure I face every day is my sin. I cannot for the world get around it. It happens daily, hourly, probably every minute and that drives me nuts. After all, I am supposed to be refining myself to be more like Christ right? True, but I’m not perfect and I am going to sin again. I feel so ashamed and guilty like I should be doing so much better than I am. And sometimes I feel like God is just one day going to decide I am not worth it. Now in my heart, I know he won’t ever give up on me. He loves me unconditionally. It doesn’t matter how much I fail to obey him , He will always be there to shower me with his love. It’s a hard concept for me to grasp at times because regular people don’t do that. We are so quick to find fault with each other (and I am completely guilty of this), yet we are much more reluctant to simply forgive each other for those faults and failures. Sometimes I find myself putting God in the same category as people, forgetting that He isn’t a person. God is God. He commits no wrong. He loves despite our wrongs. But I am so ashamed of my faults sometimes that I am afraid to let my secrets come out in front of him- which is silly because he already knows. I have even found myself pretending that I have done nothing wrong. And that is when God sends me a thought bubble saying, “You are more.” It’s then that I start recalling Tenth Avenue North lyrics. It’s like God just knows I need to remember his promise. He loves me. His love reaches over and underneath, inside and in-between. It reaches toward me when I doubt Him or myself and when I am so broken that I cannot fathom ever healing again. And most of all, it’s there in my sorrow and under the weight of my shame. God knows I am going to disobey Him. He knows it. And yet, His love for me never changes. He will never forsake me.

Again he says “You are more” once I have come to realize he isn’t going anywhere. Now I start to understand what He means. I am more than my faults and failures. People often say that what you do makes you who you are and I can understand how they think that. I don’t disagree with them on a level that they are simply trying to make people understand that there are consequences to their choices. But here is the gospel: Where you end up is not who you are. What you do is not who you are. If you are in Christ, who you are is what has been done for you. We are going to screw up ALL the time, but how else do you think God can call us said screw ups a “new creation?” I AM MORE than my faults and failures because I have been made new in Christ. I am still going to mess up, and mess up often, but when Christ died on the cross for me, things changed. I am his child now and I am what has been done for me. It’s like Pope John Paul III said, “We are not made from the sum of our weakness. We are the sum of our Father’s love for us.” I am a child of God in spite of myself and nothing can ever break me from that.

“you are more than the choices that you’ve made
you are more than the sum of your past mistakes
you are more than the problems you create
you’ve been remade

cause this is not about what you’ve done
but what’s been done for you
this is not about where you’ve been
but where your brokenness brings you to
this is not about what you feel
but what He felt to forgive you
and what He felt to make you new.”

-Tenth Ave North “You Are More”

Talking With Jesus- Trusting Him With My Life

One thing I have been trying to work on this year is prayer. I have a bad habit of only really talking to Christ when I feel I need his help and I want to change that. They say it takes 30 days to make a habit. I am on day two and it feels great. My 15-20 minute drives to and from my Practicum school are the perfect time for me to make sure I am talking to him on a daily basis. With the beautiful, snow-covered mountains out one window and the wide open plains out the other, it is hard not to want to praise Him. I’ve literally been talking out loud to him the entire way there and back for the past few days and sometimes I get there and don’t even realize I am there. Guess that is a good thing right? I’m sure I look a little funny to those who are speeding past me on their way to work. O well!

One thing that has really been on my heart lately is finding the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. Every girl dreams of it, and unfortunately logging onto Pinterest doesn’t help. Sure, I’ve dated, but I haven’t found that person who was made to be my partner in life yet. I have a lot of friends who are dating or engaged and more who have gotten married in the past few years than I can count. It leaves a girl wondering, struggling with when that perfect man is gonna show up for her. 

So I had a chat with God about it. It was really more me spouting off what was in my head/ heart. I am a pretty independent young woman partly from genetics and partly because that is just me and how I grew up. Nevertheless, it’s always nice to 1) be loved and 2) have the knowledge of your future in your hands. Unfortunately, that second part isn’t going to happen. Only God knows what is truly in my future…and sometimes it is very hard to deal with not knowing. I’ll be the first to admit I struggle with that.  

If any of you have read Elizabeth Elliot’s “Passion and Purity” then you know that even she struggled with the same thing, but ultimately found peace in God’s answer. His answer was simple. Trust him. She was at peace with the thought that she could be single for her entire life or that she could eventually marry Jim. She trusted God in that area of life. Every time I start to struggle with this aspect of life, I always think back to her…and go read the book again. It’s pretty well-worn now.

So in one of these chats with God on my way to the school, I talked about my fears and my struggle with that aspect of life. I got all my thoughts out and then it was like all of a sudden, a complete peace concerning it came over me. I can’t even describe it. I just knew that God was in control and he has a wonderful plan for my life. If that includes marrying a man after Christ’s heart, great. I am definitely all for it. On the other hand, if that isn’t something he has planned for me, then I accept it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized just how much he has already blessed me with. I have a full life already. I have a career path that I know he has designed just for me and students that love me and I love back. I have a family who supports me in my decisions and love me no matter what. And above all else, I have him. He is ultimately all I need. I’m ready to trust him completely with this area of my life and stop doubting my future. He has it under control.

Nevertheless, I still pray for the man I will (hopefully) marry if he is out there…and logging into Pinterest adding things to the “wedding ideas” board that every girl admits to having. , I hope that he is praying for me as well, but maybe not adding to a Pinterest board haha.

Can’t wait to have more thought-provoking talks with God on the way to school! Just so you know, I do talk to him more than that…that time is just very special in a way that I can’t explain.


I Love My Students

I am currently in my Practicum semester for my Elementary Education degree and I have been placed in an ESL pull-out classroom. What is great about this is that I get to know my kids very well since I only have a max of seven kids in the room at a time. I also get to work with students from each grade level k-5 so it is preparing me to work with any age group! Anyway, I was working with my first grade students on Tuesday and one of these kiddos, Carson, was refusing to draw a dragon like the activity directions told him to. I tried encouraging him (I know how well he can draw), but he still refused. I then asked him why he didn’t want to draw one and he explained to me that he believes himself to be bad at drawing. In my quick response, I decided to draw an AWFUL looking dragon to make him feel better and hopefully encourage him to draw a better one. Well, it worked and his dragon looked awesome. It was breathing fire and everything. Later, after helping other students in the class, I sit down at my desk…only to find the piece of paper with my drawing on it with the sentence “It is bad” underneath my picture. Another one of my students had picked up the paper not knowing why I had drawn it so terribly. I really can draw, I promise!! This kid Juan, decided he needed to let me know just how bad it was. I guess I should take that as a lesson in humility or something.  All I could do was laugh and stick it in my “Memories of 2012” jar.

Today, Thursday, (I only go to the school twice a week) my third grade kids decided they needed to know how tall they were compared to me and to each other. After about 20 minutes, we figured it all out. Javan, my obnoxious but totally cute and sweet kid who can talk up a storm decided to tell me I was very short and that one day he would be much bigger than me. I should tell you that he is the shortest of the group too which makes it quite ironic. He then decided that was mean and added, “But it’s ok. For now we are all short and short people have to stick together!” He gave me a hug after that and made it all better. 🙂

I love my students.