Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes, and General Mental Mayhem


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Living Each and Every Day

466825681I was reading the book of Ruth the other night. The intro talked about Ruth being full of everyday miracles. “God usually works in the ordinary events of everyday life. Miracles do happen, but God regularly accomplishes His purposes and blesses His people through routine occurrences. If we learn faithfulness in the everyday, we are equipped to be faithful when the miracle or crisis comes . . . The everyday and the ordinary can have breathtaking eternal results.” (NLT Study Bible)

Overall, Ruth is a pretty ordinary story, especially when compared to the plagues, tumbling walls and fire-consumed altars all around her. But God is there. He is always there, whether we see or feel Him. Perhaps that’s why so many find comfort in this book. It’s a good reminder to find God in the everyday-ness of life.

Most of life is lived between big events, but there’s still plenty worth celebrating or at least noting. He created us to live fully, and that means the in-between as well. You and I friend, and loads of others, are living in-between what we want our story to be about, what we want to be known for. The days are made up of errands, laundry, bills, work, too much television, long commutes and trying to see all the Oscars Best Picture nominees. (Just me on that last one?) But books aren’t comprised of just a first chapter and last chapter. There are all the words and phrases and sentences in between, sometimes beautiful and sometimes sorrowful, and we can choose to live them or skim over them. We can boldly add more exclamation points, or resign to suffer more footnotes.

There will undoubtedly be days that we just skim by. And that’s okay. Neither of us is perfect. But I pray we will live every syllable with the freedom we have been given.

 

(This post is dedicated to Katie.)


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Here and There

105553532I know some pretty remarkable people. I’m sure you do too. They aren’t people the world knows, but perhaps it should. Among the amazing people I know are a group of women who, over time, have committed themselves to the mission field, both here and there.

There names are: Katie Johnston, Jana Brown, Julie Reagan, Rocio Elsberry, Amy McAllister, Jessica Flowers, Danielle Evans and Stacey Brednich. They have spent a year or more living overseas doing what they believed God called them to. All but one were single when they left on their adventure. They’ve taught children, helped the poor, gave social aid, taught Bible classes, loved on people unconditionally, and so much more. They left all that they knew because God led them to a new place, and they trusted He would be with them there. The first four are currently away, while the latter four have returned. I’m not even sure how many countries all of them have covered when combined. The only thing bigger and more fantastic than their stories is the God who made it possible. It wasn’t, and isn’t, easy to be gone for so long from friends, family and the culture they knew, but I think they’d all say it was worth it.

There is another name I would add to this list for many of the same reasons, though a totally different location. My friend Raechel Bowman just moved to Minnesota. No, I didn’t say Mozambique or Manilla. I said Minnesota. Like the aforementioned group, she moved because she believes God has called her there. She believes God is leading her to a new place, and she trusts He will be there with her. And I have no doubt it won’t always be easy, but she truly believes in the God who made it possible. It will be worth it. Unlike the others, she’s moving for a corporate job. Her mission field will be her home and her workplace. That is probably much more relate-able to most of us. Strangely, when I try to put myself in each of their positions, hers would be the hardest. Move to a far away land to do something out of the ordinary for a while? No problem. Move to a not so far away land to do something normal? I won’t lie when I tell you I just physically shuddered at that thought. Seriously. But Raechel is one of my heroes, and this is just one reason why. She sees the purpose behind her move, and how God got her there, and I have no doubt He will do amazing things through her in the Mall of America state.

When I think about these women I am so very proud of them. It took courage to do what they did. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the willingness to push through it. (Loosely quoting Ben Affleck in Bounce here because it’s a brilliant statement.) And they did. Now do you see? I know remarkable people. I am blessed to be part of a community with people such as these.

I am not quite sure what the purpose of this post is. I just thought you should know these names. I hope you also know people like these friends of mine. If you don’t, make some new friends. You won’t regret it. You will never be without great conversation and inspiration. You will see God around you. If you do have friends like these, support and encourage them however you can. Your voice is just as important to them as your money. Pray for them and learn from them. Ask God to make you like them. As Raechel has shown us (and we know it’s true) it doesn’t take a passport to find a mission field.

Here or there. Wherever you find yourself, live well. Live the life God called you to. Adventures can happen anywhere.


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To Serve or Not to Serve: That was never the question…

As long as I’ve known my friend, Katie, she’s been serving others. It was never a question of if she was going to serve, only when and where.

For people like Katie, serving isn’t an obligation but a way of life. It hasn’t always easy, but I know if you asked her she would always say it has always been worth it. Some of the ways she’s served could be considered small, like helping friends move or offering advice. Others would be considered larger, like leading mission trips or mentoring teenage girls. But this time she’s really outdone herself–she’s decided to move to Bolivia for a year. I didn’t say Birmingham; I said Bo-liv-ia.

After a lot of prayer, counsel and consideration over the last few months, Katie’s decided to teach in a Christian school in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The decision didn’t come lightly, and it does come with a lot of cost to her. Not only does it mean leaving her friends, family and job in the US, but it means raising her own support. The price tag for one year comes in at around $27,000 to cover wages, insurance, living expenses, travel to/from the US and everything in between. Now before you balk at that figure, know that Katie is confident that God is bigger than that number, and more importantly, is calling her to this cause.

If you asked Katie’s friends, it would only take them a matter of seconds to tell you about a time she’s served them personally or served alongside them. It’s just who she is. And she’s asked for very little in return. Now it’s our turn to reciprocate. It’s our privilege. It’s our opportunity to join her in God’s bigger story for her life, and in that way, expand our own.

I hope you’ll join me in praying for Katie over this next year. She’ll need to know that the folks back home are thinking of her, missing her and sending good thoughts her way. And she needs to know people are rooting for her. The other obvious thing she needs are donations. When you hear $27,000 you may be tempted to sit back and do nothing because you can’t give very much. Don’t let that stop you. If everyone gives a little, it adds up to a lot. It will take all of us to get Katie to Bolivia. It’s a call to faith for us all in that way. And when she hits that mark and gets on that plane, don’t you want to smile knowing that you had a hand in getting her there?

You can give one-time or through a monthly withdrawal. Here are a few examples to make the number a little more bite-sized for the latter:

  • $5/month = one Grande Skinny Vanilla latte from Starbucks or a Moo Moo Mr. Cow from Moe’s (My favs.)
  • $10/month = one movie (There are really only a few good ones on deck right now anyway.)
  • $20/month = one sack of the groceries you don’t need but buy anyway (Stick to the list. Avoid impulse.)
  • $30/month = renegotiate a bill or other reoccurring charge (Moving the already budgeted money around won’t hurt.)
  • $40/month = one nice meal out with a friend (Note: start cooking more and invite friend over.)
  • $50/month = a combination of the above (Guilty as charged.)

See, that’s not so bad? Sure, it’s a sacrifice, but what great things aren’t? Just take a look to see what amount works for you, and make the decision to give. These aren’t the kind of financial decisions we regret, but the ones we can be most proud of. Please consider joining Katie in this new chapter of her life. Help her love on the people there as she’s loved on the people here. Give her the resources she needs to follow God down this unknown and exciting road. Allow a whole other country the opportunity to experience the amazing Katie J.

For Katie, serving was never an if, only a question of when and where. Well, the time is now and the place is Bolivia.

To read more about Katie’s adventure, check out her blog.