Wow. I don’t even know where to start this email. Well, ok. Here’s an idea. 🙂
PRAISE GOD! Seriously, people, I am so full of gratitude and thanksgiving. God is beautifully at work! And, He’s not working in my life alone. As I read through your names… all of your names… before I began typing this email, I praised the LORD for the good work He has begun in each of your hearts. He sees you. He KNOWS you. And, get this, He so deeply desires an eternal and wonderful fellowship with you. YOU.
Wow. No matter where life finds you as you read this email, I have full confidence that our God of unfailing love and full joy sees you and is at work in your life. Oh, how we need Him!
This world desperately needs God. That is the resounding truth I’ve encountered in the days since my last update. But it’s not just that we need Him desperately- the truth goes deeper. Apart from Him, we can do NOTHING! (John 15:5) Depend on Him, Friends! He is your ONLY HOPE- so begin to radically lean on Him!
In November and December, I spent some wonderful time with my family. With graduation “looming,” I do not know where God will plant me next Christmas. I purposefully savored the moments with my parents, dearly loved brothers, grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles. I treasure the smiles and laughter the LORD gave us during our time together.
I was blessed to spend the New Year with some of my dearest friends from college. We took a road trip to Brooklyn, New York, where a gracious family I had never met opened their home to us and welcomed us as family. My heart was so encouraged by this family, and I saw a glimpse of God’s grace through their overwhelming love and generosity. Through them, God taught me that love is a gift to be given lavishly and accepted joyfully. What a lesson I needed to learn!
School began soon after the New Year, and Phillip and I had barely settled into class before we heard that our church family in Missouri was under heavy spiritual attack. Blow after blow of illness and trial in the church drew our Pastor to greater dependence on Jesus. He called for the church to gather for Sunday services devoted to prayer. What a beautiful thing for us to come together as family- supporting each other- crying out to God together- carrying each other. Oh how we need HIM, friends!!!
When Phillip and I returned to school that Sunday evening, we entered an all campus spiritual emphasis week. (It was also the week of my anniversary with Jesus. He’s been my LORD and I’ve been part of His bride for 12 years now!) I had an urgency, a deep desire to know Jesus in a deeper, fresher way. I asked Him to reveal Himself to me again. Oh, and He did. He birthed in me a fresh hunger for all of Him.
Praise God that my classes this semester are wonderful! My research on sex-trafficking in South Africa is advancing bit by bit. I’ve continued in ministry to my youth group in Indianapolis, and I’m actively seeking the LORD’s guidance for the life-steps that come after graduation in April.
The weeks leading up to this day have included times of intense spiritual battle, significant confusion, and deep pain in my life and in the lives of many surrounding me- but Jesus is teaching me to view these things as opportunities for His glory and power to be revealed on earth! Our Jesus already paid the price of sin, death, and suffering on the cross. HIS SACRIFICE IS ENOUGH. Nothing more is needed, but that we lean into His strength to carry us through every trial and empower us as vessels to bring His Kingdom to this earth.
If you think of me at all in the days and weeks between this and my next update, please ask the LORD to guide my steps. I need His strength for the tasks at hand, His guidance for the future, and His wisdom in my relationships.
Let me know how things are going with you. I think of many of you frequently, and I love you all. Saying that means more to me each day, as I continue to learn what love really means. Our God is teaching me, oh, and I know I need Him!
May our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, fill you daily with deeper desire for Him, overwhelming joy in the face of difficulty, and restful peace in His infinite ability,
PS- I know many of your email addresses will be changing in the near future. I would hate to lose contact with you, so please send me your new addresses as you are able. 🙂
PSS- Also, if any of you would be able to send me a photo of you/your family and a prayer request, I would like to remember you in prayer.