I Am Undone by His Grace

My entire life I’ve been searching for love and have done some pretty extreme things on this journey to find it, such as: immorality, people pleasing, and using almost every drug under the sun.

My parents dedicated me to God when I was born but my home life didn’t come close to comparing to the Christian standard. My mother was over anxious, suffered from O.C.D. and my father abandoned me at a young age. This may be the reason for my thinking that God was distant and meticulously legalistic. No one taught me the significance of the elements or the reason why I recited the Lord’s Prayer and Psalms 23 every night which caused them to become nothing more than an empty ritual. I didn’t understand or have anyone to explain the concepts of religion or life and how one should live as a child so I grew up. I also didn’t receive the teachings necessary for growth spiritually nor an aid on my journey into adulthood. I couldn’t find help at home or at school. I’ve felt very alone for the majority of my life.

I’ve looked for love, or what I thought love was, in all the wrong places. I’ve changed who I was in order to fit into my social surroundings. I’ve been a punk, prep and everything in between. This has caused me to struggle with my identity in Christ quite a bit. (Am I doing what I do because I love Jesus or because this has become a way of life?) I’ve also looked for love in both intimate and platonic relationships, unavoidably leading to separation. I was introduced to the bliss of drugs near the beginning of high school, which led me to believe that I stopped caring what people and the world thought, only to be subject to a whole new level of trying to keep up with them.

In and out of detention centers, psych wards, rehab and later jail, I became callused and numb. I started cutting in my first rehab, starting as scratches eventually needing stitches. I met a girl at this place who made me feel incredible. She was everything I could’ve asked for. Despite this, it wasn’t her that I loved; it was the way she made me feel. I ended up sabotaging the relationship in various ways. Feeling ashamed of whom I’d become, I attempted suicide. Her parents knew a place where I could get some real help: Teen Challenge. I did a little research and quickly dismissed the idea of doing a 12 month faith based residential program.

After being kicked out of my apartment, living on the streets, coming close to death while being affiliated with gang members and a few more attempts at suicide I hit bottom and started the process to become a ‘student‘ at Teen Challenge. My first program started Aug 28/09. Early October I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior with full understanding at a service held at the farm. However, my flesh wasn’t going to give up so easily. Starting my 11th month in the program I was put back to month 1 because I lacked significant heart change, mostly obedience.

Soon after, I headed back into the world thinking I was equipped with the tools to handle certain situations that later led me back into the darkness. Forgetting that my identity and acceptance was found in Christ I went back to what I knew best, trying to find it in mankind. This led me to start thinking like a Buddhist, trying to separate myself from my feelings and desires. I became very philosophical, theoretical and idealistic trying to piece life together without God, doing nothing but running around in circles. I needed someone I could count on, to guide me and teach me; someone that would always be there for me and never steer me wrong.

Jesus is that person. I never fully understood how I could get to know someone that died 2000 years ago. That’s because you can’t. Thing is though, He isn’t dead, He’s very much alive. He’s giveen me the Holy Spirit who teaches me how I can serve and be more like my Master. I used to doubt His promises and have the uncanny ability to forget what wonderful things He has done but He has proven himself to me over and over. I should be dead, quite literally a few times over, but by His grace I’m able to tell you that He is epically awesome and that his love is incredibly amazing. I’m completely baffled as to why I ever question Him or how I can forget His awesomeness even more so how I doubt His love for me. The devil is a really good liar I guess…the scriptures that talk about spiritual warfare have been made for relevant to me in the recent past it’s almost overwhelming, but His grace is sufficient.

Because of the grace, mercy and love He has so willingly given me, and because I have chosen to be a slave to righteous living, not to mention the lessons I’ve learned in obedience, I have answered the call to attend Gospel for Asia’s School of Discipleship. I never thought God could forgive me of so much let alone use me to help save millions or use me to further His kingdom in any way for that matter. I’ve been here for a couple months and I’ve witnessed so much faith, servant-hood, love and grace. To say the very least it is simply epic. The examples that are given to us by the staff are challenging yet encouraging and hold us to a higher standard. I’m eternally grateful to my Father for choosing me to serve in this way. I’ve been exposed to an entirely different world of which I’ve grown to love very much. I am so stoked to see what he has in store for me and my classmates this year and even more so to see the character he will develop in each of us.


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Nerf Wars!

This past Saturday a group of us Gospel For Asia peoples went out to have a nerf war at a playground near one of the familie’s house. It was a great form of exercise, and I rediscovered some muscles that have long since been dormant in my body. Pushing through the pain, I must say that playing with nerf guns outside when it’s slightly windy is a challenge. I had near perfect aim…when we were inside…but then add the element of teams, adrenaline, and wind… I was lucky if I could hit one person each round!

Though I did find out that my husband and I make a pretty good team. We played where if you were shot, someone on your team had to come and tag you to unfreeze you, but if both of you were shot, then your team was out. So much like how a medic in Team Fortress 2 stays right by a heavy so you can annihilate your foes without much harm done to the dynamic duo, I was Tim’s medic and we made a really good team! (see you can learn life lessons from video games! Like how to survive in a nerf war!)

I’m looking forward to the next nerf war, and I’ve even brought my nerf gun to my desk at work, and it’s already played a big part in the sanity of our little web department. Here’s the story:

Adam came by to work on my computer and while he was here, I was playing around with my nerf gun. One of my co-workers sees Danny down the hallway and says “aw! Danny was just in the hallway… I know! I’ll email him!” So she proceeds to email Danny. Her email was something along the lines of “Could you come to the web department; if you can?” A few minutes later, Danny comes into Web and I release a stream of nerf darts at him. To which he says “I knew there was something up, my coworker would never email me that. I should have come around the other way so I could have seen you too! (referring to me standing near my desk out of view of the door)”

You know you work in an awesome place when you can shoot the vice president of the organization with a nerf gun and he thinks it’s cool 🙂

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Lessons on Super Heroes and Dust

“You do not have to be Superwoman.” That was the lesson of the day.

I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to this week and was kind of discouraged last night. That’s when the Lord started the super hero lesson.

First it was through a message Pastor Chuck Smith gave from the book of Job. “Hey, you’re not Superman, you’re not Wonder Woman; you’re dust,” he said. “You’re not the super saint that you’d like to be–and sometimes think that you are. You’re dust! And God remembers that.” I was encouraged to remember that the Lord understands my weaknesses.

Then, on a completely different track, I was reading First Things First by Stephen Covey. He explained that the goal is not to cram as many activities in our schedule as possible. “We’re not trying to be Superman or Superwoman,” he wrote. Lord, I think you’re trying to make a point.

But He wasn’t done. This morning, Brother K.P. Yohannnan gave a message on the importance of thankfulness. Can you guess what he said in the middle? Yep. We don’t have to be Superman.

So, it’s settled. I am not Superwoman. But what does that mean?

God knows my limitations and failures and He loves me anyway. In Psalm 103, David says it this way: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” This removes a lot of pressure.

God is so good and His grace does not depend on our output. “We are not on a perfomance contract with God,” one Gospel for Asia leader often reminds the staff. I am thankful to have a Father who loves growing, struggling, less-than-super people.

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Love One Another – Sounds Easy!

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35

Love for one another. It sounds like an easy task, especially if you are in a good mood, the person you are with doesn’t annoy you, and things are going as planned. However, we are not always in the best of moods, maybe the person you are with rubs you the wrong way, and the circumstances you find yourself in may be chaotic. How do you love someone then?

Lately I’ve been learning how to love people when I don’t feel like it, or would rather be alone. See, Christ asks us to sacrifice ourselves, and serve others in His name. If I am loving others with HIS love, then He will continue to replenish it, and as I continue to pursue Him, His love will automatically flow to others.

Love is not a feeling that comes and goes, it is a way of life, a choice. I certainly don’t “feel” like loving my enemies, but the Lord says to do so. It isn’t easy, but it is a commitment. It’s a full time job to love others, finding ways to serve them, listening when they need an ear, not avoiding them when you want alone time.

It is a hard lesson to learn, but I’m finding that when I choose to allow the Lord to love others through me, even when I don’t feel like it, it’s rewarding to see the other person smile. Sometimes they won’t even know it’s you that wrote that note, that you did the dishes because you know it’s less stressful for that person to live in a clean apartment. But really, we don’t perform acts of love for ourselves to get praise, we do it so that the Lord can love others and receive all the glory.

Anyways, thank you for listening. I am still in the process of learning this lesson, and am finding that unity between the Body of Christ is much more appealing than the separation that occurs from unbroken people.

Please pray for me that I don’t let my own selfishness get in the way of loving my brothers and sisters, my family, friends, and those around me. I will be praying for you too.

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Up In Canada Land

First of all, I just wanted to say that this blog is amazing! This is my first time blogging anything, and it definitely won’t be the last!

Alright, now to business……

For those of you who don’t know me very well, I thought it would be a good idea for me to let you know a few things about me.

My parents  have been with Gospel for Asia for almost ten years now. When I was nine years old my family packed up and drove from Washington state with it’s mountains and tress, to the wide open spaces and vast horizon of Texas. We then started to serve at the Gospel For Asia office in Texas. It was quite a transition for my family, but totally worth it!

Knowing this about my family, you now know that I have grown up around the community of Gospel For Asia for over half my short life! It still boggles my mind to think about it.

While being at Gospel For Asia, I have seen many School of Discipleship students come and go. Some stay and raise their support to come on staff, and others go back home to follow the call that God placed on their lives.

As I observed the School of Discipleship students from the perspective of a staff kid, I saw young adults having fun and growing in their walk with the Lord. By the time they graduated, most had a passion and love for Jesus I wished and longed to have as well.

Now that I am a School of Discipleship student myself (at the Canadian campus), I see now that the School of Discipleship is not all fun and games. There are times of fun, don’t get me wrong. However, there are also seasons of struggles and trials. Please don’t misunderstand me, I have learned so many lessons during the couple months that I have been here. I praise the Lord for the trials because I realize that I cannot grow in my relationship with Jesus unless I die to myself daily. I am encouraged when I remember that as I go through the refining fire, I will end up as pure gold. Thank you Jesus!

I am extremely thankful to the Lord for His call to give one year of my life to serve at Gospel for Asia Canada. I now have passed the stage of Gospel For Asia staff kid to a School of Discipleship student. Praise the Lord!

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Pray Praying and Pray Some More

SD Orientation 031

The Lord has definitely been trying to teach me different things since I joined as a student for Gospel for Asia‘s School of Discipleship in Canada. The staff had said that I (as a student), would have to learn to die to myself but I didn’t really think a whole lot about it until I was actually into the program. It was then that I noticed that God wanted me to give up everything! My plans, My ways of doing things, and My will is what I needed to learn to totally submit to God. Praise the Lord that He is working in my life in that area, not that I have achieved everything but I am getting there!

God has been teaching me that I need to pray more. I need to be a person that is totally devoted to praying for others and not just me. I need to be praying for the nations around me and for those in other countries. I want to have more of a passion and a burden for the lost souls around me. I never realized until I came to Gospel For Asia that there was so many people that have never heard the Gospel of Jesus being preached. They have never even heard of His Name! That’s something that was very shocking to me! I really appreciate at Gospel For Asia that they have so many prayer times together. They take the time to pray and stand in the gap for these nations. They are definitely a praying people! “Lord, help me to be more of a prayer warrior.”

Another thing that God wants to teach me is to be more encouraging to people. I have been a fairly negative person in the past but I am seeking to change that. By God’s grace I will seek to encourage others in their walk with the Lord instead of putting them down. I want others to lift me up especially when I am struggling and so I need to do that for others as well.

I believe that the Lord has so much more that He wants to teach me this year while I’m at the School of Discipleship here at Gospel For Asia. Please pray for me that I will be open to the Spirit’s leading and that He will work marvelously in my life. Pray that I will go home a changed person (for the better) and that I will become the man of God that He wants me to be.

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