Monday, January 5, 2009

Good Quote to ponder...

"We are creatures of time, created to dwell in the present moment, and yet I know hardly a person who is able to accomplish that feat with much serenity. We are constantly straining at the seams of our confinement, trying to push out into the future or back into the past. We are either looking back at the 'good old days' or regretting what was or might have been. We are either looking forward in dread of what awful thing might happen or looking forward in anticipation of the great day when 'our ship finally comes in.' Either way-whether we are looking backward or forward-we are robbing ourselves of the only moment we can ever truly inhabit. The best way to embace our time-bound status is to surrender our yesterdays and our tomorrows to God, to freely put into His hands what is already there anyway-time!"

-Taken from "Dear Abba", by Claire Cloninger

Sunday, January 4, 2009

So, it's really hard to explain what it's like where  I am...and I know I have not done a great job of updating my life on this blog.  Sorry!!  I hope to post again soon about what I am doing.

Mostly still working the internship and starting to work more with the Education side of what we do. I am still working as receptionist for a chiropractor and it pays the bills.  Then I am continuing in my homework for my master's classes...VERY busy, but doing well!! 

To do a little better job explaining where I am I am posting this little video tour of my church, hope it helps you see where I'm working!  If you click on 12Stone church you can view more videos of clips from our services.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What is love??

Well for starters, this isn’t one of those “I’m an embittered single girl who just would like the super-human, ultra-romantic man to sweep me off my feet” sort of notes. No no, this just comes out of a lot of recent conversations with a lot of different people about this whole love idea. So many people my age around me are trying to figure out this whole love thing. Recently I’ve seen those who are devastated in heartbreak, those who believe they’ve finally found “the one,” those for whom love is hardly even a thought, and those who are just feeling love will never come again. This is a rambling of thoughts that are jumbled together in my brain and I’d hope to make sense of them. Your responses are welcomed…

Love is such an abstract, but according to so many it is all that life is about. So what do we really know about love??

Love heals.
Love is patient, kind, humble, serving, peaceful, protecting, trusting, hopeful, and perseverant.
Love is fallen out of, and fallen into.
Love never fails.
Love brings us butterflies.
Love is something Meatloaf would do anything for, well, except for THAT.
Love takes chances.
Love is the movement.
Love is the cure.
Love is fun!
Love is painful.
Love makes people do crazy things.
Love fuels some of the best song lyrics.
Love is hard to find, and even harder to let go of.
Love is sacrificial.
Love is more than just friendship.
Love is the beauty of the soul.
Love in it’s perfection, casts out fear.
Love cannot be made, however, whoopie can.
Love requires faith.
Love is poetic.
Love grows.
Love is a decision and a choice.
Love is an idea, a thought, a moment, and cannot be captured completely…
Love is complicated.

How do we bind all these ideas together and make them a part of our lives? What does it mean for me to be a loving person? I believe there really is more than one realm to this love discussion, but much like a Venn diagram their worlds collide and have many things in common. I have love for my friends, love for others, love for my family, and possibly someday love for a significant other. But the bond that this love brings is very different for each of those relationships. For my friends, love means I would go out of my way to see that they are encouraged, supported, cared for, and find the best things in life. For others, it means that because of a calling on my life from God I will serve to the fullest no matter the position of humility it may cause me to be in. For my family, it means that I put them above others because they are connected to me and I respect that through obedience to them. For a significant other, love will probably start at attraction and warm fuzzies, but grows as the foundation to see through arguments and imperfections and bring the courage for a boldness to stand by someone in any situation life brings our way.

The idea I have struggled through is: what does love really look like when it completely not about me or my ambitions, when it is entirely about someone else and centered around God’s perfect plan for my life. I don’t know at this point in my life that I have seen or done love entirely without motive. Perhaps, it’s because not all motive is entirely wrong. Certainly, I know that the source of understanding love is God in His triune nature. The love relationship between a heavenly Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and a vibrant Holy Spirit is the kind of love we are called to live out. Not only for us to live out, but also we are invited to be a part of it! Even so, that He made us body, mind, and spirit so that we might understand by being triune ourselves.

These are easy things to write out, but even harder to live out. The thing about love is, we are still imperfect, and love is a perfect thing. So what happens when broken people attempt to live out perfect love? Failure, time and time again, it’s unavoidable. So we work hard at it, everyday, because love really is the key. I don’t believe for a second figuring it all out will be easy, but I still believe it’s a journey worth taking.

Thanks for coming along on a trail through my stream of consiousness…

Here are some quotes I’ve pondered on the idea…

“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”
- Captain Corelli's Mandolin6. "Love is the beauty of the soul."
--St. Augustine

"I love you, not only for what you are, But for what I am when I am with you."
--Roy Croft

"Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction."
--Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"Love is like a friendship caught on fire: In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable."
--Bruce Lee

"Love means to commit oneself without guarantee, to give oneself completely in the hope that our love will produce love in the loved person. Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love."
--Erich Fromm

. "Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul."
--St. Augustine

"....A simple I love you means more than money...."
--Frank Sinatra

"When you are in Love you can't fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams." --Dr. Seuss

“Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice but falling in love with you I had no control over.”

“If you love someone you would be willing to give up everything for them, but if they loved you back they’d never ask you to.”

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.” -- Nat King Cole

“Oh I don’t know why you’re not fair, I give you my love but you don’t care. So what is right, and what is wrong, gimme a sign. What is love?! Baby, don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more.”

“What would you do if my heart was torn in two? More than words to show you feel that your love for me is real. What would you say if I took those words away? Then you couldn’t make things new just by saying I love you.” --Extreme

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy.
Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude;
It is not self-seeking, nor easily angered.
It keeps no record of wrongdoing.
It does not delight in evil,
But rejoices in the truth.
It always protects, trusts, hopes, and preserves.
There is nothing love cannot face;
There is no limit to its faith, hope, and endurance.
In a word, there are three things that last forever:
Faith, hope, and love;
But the greatest of them all is love.
-- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Life keeps going...

Week to week the time goes by so quickly. I feel like I've hardly begun a week and it's already ending. I'm keeping up with the 12Stone, receptionist, master's schedule pretty well I think. Learning more about life on my own and what that really means. There is a lot to do, but really few parameters on me. Which means that I can get through this time if I want to, or I can choose to make as much of it as possible.

Recently, I have had some pretty cool opportunities of connection in the community through our benevolence work (assitance to those who are financially burdened) and through the Co-Op in Lawrenceville. It seems like everywhere I go though people are asking..."Why are you doing this, you are so young, everyone who volunteers for this stuff is old??" "What, you moved 10 hours away for an internship at a church?" "You know there's not much money in ministry...right?" I think in the process of just taking steps forward that I know are what God has asked of me, I forget a little bit how absurd it does seem to everyone else. But it's not absurd to me because I know this is what I was created for. Every life experience I have had has led me to this point and many of those life experiences I have been able to use with people specifically in that situation. Even down to my personality type and the way I think fit with where I am today. And really, once I know what God has called me to do, it's really a matter of doing it. I know that for my life God has called me to be a part of compassion ministry in the church and that someday He will want me to have a position of influence, whatever that may look like for me. In that there is a lot of responsibility because He asks us in Colossians 3 to "live a life worthy of your calling." There is a high calling on my life and so every step of it must not be halfway done, but done well. It doesn't call me to take shortcuts and do "good enough." It calls me to go the extra mile, to push myself, and to take steps I cannot do without His help.

Almost daily, there are things I know I cannot do, but I have to walk forward an He gives me peace. I have no idea where the steps I am taking now will lead me. But I am thankful to be walking in Him and know that whatever it is will be better suited for me than whatever I would choose myself.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I keep thinking I'll get better at this..

So, I look at the blog, and I really do think about starting a post...but then something comes up or I suddenly find the happenings of my life to be completely uninteresting. I certainly don't feel bored in it, but I always wonder what's interesting enough to share here. Hmmm...well last I wrote on here I had just ended my first week. Soon after that I began a job with a program called Playball. It goes into Pre-K centers and teaches motor skills to kids. I really enjoyed doing it, but I was spending the entire day to organize what was happening for only a couple hours in the afternoon and realized it just wasn't working out. When I went to quit that job, the lady who was my boss said that she still thought I was a great employee and wondered if I would be interested in being a receptionist for her friend's chiropractic business. YES, I would. So a couple weeks ago I began there as a receptionist and feel like I have been picking up on things pretty quickly. So, that's what I'm doing to make money. I have also moved to Lawrenceville, GA from the house in Dacula, to what will hopefully be a more permanent situation. I live with a couple that goes to 12Stone and has a 2 y/o son. They are really great and he is really well behaved and I'm really enjoying living there.

As for the internship, it continues to go well. I feel like there is a good balance of being used in what my gifts are, but also that I am learning a lot about what ministry should really look like. I am praying that through this God will continue to show me what it really looks like for my life. I just keep taking steps as He puts them in front of me and I am more and more excited to see where they lead. Last weekend was very cool, about 20 IWU students came down for the weekend to preview the church and look at the internship program. It was awesome to have people here that I know and to show them how ministry happens here. It is so difficult to explain to anyone what church at 12Stone is really like, because outside of here, I haven't experienced anything like it. It was affirming to be able to talk about the internship and the church and how great I think it is, then remember...I get to work here! It is nice to have some projects now to do and it is good to be able to pitch in and help organize things. A couple cool things from the last week...first, we did an emergency food drive over last weekend just to quickly get food because the Lawrenceville Co-Op, who the church works closely with, was VERY low on food. I was able to help organize it and through an awesome act of God we collected more than 20,000 food items in a weekend! Second cool thing, has been the opportunity to volunteer each week at the Co-Op. This week I was able to be a greeter, where basically I hand them a clipboard to fill out their info, but also am able to just sit and have conversation with them while they are waiting to be helped. There were a couple of ladies who sat down and I could just see that one of them was really carrying some heavy burdens. She had a tearful look even though she was not crying. I sat and talked with them for probably a half an hour and it was just a really Spirit-filled time. I found out they are both recovering from crack addictions and really have lost everything, but are trying to get back on their feet. It was just really good to hear their stories and to be able to pray with them. Do I know that everything they told me was the truth? No. Do I know that they will never again touch drugs and revert back? No. Does it really matter? Nope. God decided to show up in the middle of an otherwise ordinary day so that the three of us could have a Holy Spirit encounter and that is what matters.

The last new thing in my life I guess is that I have begun my master's through IWU. I am getting their master's of ministerial leadership. Currently i am in a Non-Profit Management class and it is going alright. I am hoping that before I'm 25 I'll have finished my internship, my master's and my ordination. If all goes as planned, it should happen. Hmm...that's all I can really think of as being new for now! Pretty much things are going great and I would love to see you visit Atlanta! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I live in Atlanta. I'm still getting used to that response. I no longer reply I live at IWU, or Bluffton,IN, but instead Atlanta. Crazy stuff. Just under 5 months ago I felt this calling on my heart and now here I sit employed by 12Stone. I am more and more convinced with every single step that this is precisely where God wants me. The more I find out about the opportunities and what I get to do everyday for work, the more I am affirmed. My first week here went well and I definitely feel like I've been here longer than a week and a half. I have a room with a lovely couple in Dacula,GA about 15 minutes from the church and that is going well. This last weekend, they took all the interns on a retreat to St. Simons island which was beautiful and a great time of connecting and learning. I was able to see the background and vision for the church and, I have to say, I'm pretty bought in to it. I am amazed that I get two years to grow in a place like this and pray that I am always eyes-wide-open to every opportunity that comes my way. Again, He has shaken my life up and I am so thankful.

How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be,
How marvelous! How wonderful! Is my Savior's love for me!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Well, the time is finally coming where I getting close to moving. I have less than 72 hours before I pull out of Bluffton and begin residing in Georgia. It doesn't feel too weird yet. I think it's because I've been talking about it for about three months now. Though, I leave so much I don't think it will really feel like I live somewhere else until I've been there for more than a month. I am excited to go and I firmly believe this is the path that God wants me on.

Many of you have still asked what exactly it is that I am doing. I am moving to Lawrenceville, GA a northeast suburb of Atlanta, GA. I will be an intern for two years at 12Stone Church there. I will be working in the Community/Global Outreach areas of their ministry. I am not sure exactly what that will look like. I will likely be helping to organize community outreach events and keeping good relationships between the church and the other ministries it partners with. I will also go on some global and state-side mission trips for the first year and then possibly lead some trips the second year. Ultimately, I believe that this position works great with the skills I already have and that I will be able to serve the church well, but more so, I have so much to learn about ministry and I have the opportunity to learn practical ministry from a church and people that are being powerfully used. I will live in a host home for my time there and likely get another part-time job to pay the bills. :)

This move will not make me a millionaire. And I know that there are LOTS of people I graduated with that will be making significantly more. But my prayer has never been to be wealthy beyond belief, but rather that He would provide for my needs. He has yet to leave me stranded, and I know that He doesn't intend to. I look forward to this journey with Him. I don't know all of the steps, nor would I want to. If I did then I would not be trusting in Him, I'd be trusting in myself.

Goodbyes are just so weird. I hope to see people again, but I don't know how often or how soon. I know many of the relationships in my life will change. Some people I am close enough to that they will call and keep in touch, but I know there are some that I really may not talk to much again, just because our lives are taking different paths. So it's hard to have the right words to say to people. I have been able to say goodbye to many of you, but I'm still around for a couple days so if you want to hang out let me know! I drive down Friday morning, will be staying with friends Friday night, and then move into my host home Saturday afternoon. My position begins Monday morning at 9 am. I would love your prayers as I continue in this process! Check back for updates to come...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's hard to believe...

Five years ago from this very moment I was at Fairmount camp settled into bed with my friend and roomy Sarah giggling and talking about life. Five years ago I wish I had known to document everything that happened that week or that night, or that I would have known to be more aware of each little detail and word. I wish I would have asked her more questions, told her how much I appreciated her friendship, laughed more. I wish I would have known her not feeling well that night was resulting in something much bigger for the next day. I wish I would have just gone with her to sign up instead of going with the group so that I would have been there in that moment she collapsed, so she wouldn't have been alone. Sometimes, I wish more than anything that the blessing of being with her that last week would not have come to me, but to others more deserving.

Five years ago today, was one of the hardest days of my life. I can't really tell you there is much more clarity at this time than there was then as to why she was taken. I don't know that that question will ever really be answered for me. I do know that it taught me a lot about myself and my relationship with God going through that experience. I remember very clearly that night before I sat in Bethel Tabernacle with my youth pastor, James, saying that I was just feeling bored. Like there was some big step I should be taking but I didn't know what it was except that it was coming. I clearly remember praying that God would put something huge in my life because I was ready for it. If only I knew how those words would hit me even 24 hours later. Certainly, I don't believe that God decided to have Sarah die to give me something new to learn. But I do know that He could not have been more present than in those moments, days, weeks, months, and years of grieving that came soon after. An overriding peace like I have never felt was there in the moments when I felt like people were looking to me for strength and wisdom, when I stood watching her family say goodbye one by one as her casket was closed, when I stood behind her casket to sing, when it seemed I had wept all that I could, when I felt entirely spent. He came in peace.

He also came in people. So many who I knew, but the did not know her and months later were likely tired of hearing me be so down still, but stood by me anyway. People who were willing to listen. People who gave me wisdom when I needed it and were understanding when I didn't want to hear it. Grief is such a strange process that I can't say I really completely understand. But I know it has made me a more understanding person to go through it. I don't pretend to know exactly what every person who loses someone is going through, but there is still some common ground, I believe, in the pain of loss.

Sarah was a wonderful, amazing girl. I remember much of our last conversations and one in particular where she talked by name about so many different people in her life and how much she respected them or how much she loved them, and for some how much she really desired for them to know the Lord and have more joy in Him. God had really met with her that night before her death and she had plans for how and when she wanted to talk to them about having a stronger relationship with Him. Her heart for others was huge. Little did she know her life would stand as the testament to them. I can almost see her blushing, hearing all the attention and kind words that came for her after her death. Hard to believe that it has been five years since Corey and Mada's passing as well. They are also dearly missed.

Life has gone on, whether I wanted it to or not. Small steps through grief gradually brought me to where I am. God showed me that huge things in life will happen and that He is powerful enough to cover it all. He gave me faith when I was too weak to fully believe. It was a phase of life that shaped me. Spurned me into realizing a definite call to vocational ministry. Which took me to the phase of college. And now to the phase of growing up. I am excited for all that God has already set in motion for my move to Atlanta, but it's in reflecting that I am reminded the lessons in life and times when He teaches me the most about His love are not the easiest times. I can't confess I'm really ready or that I ever will be, but I am willing. Teach me Lord.

In Memory of Sarah Jean Chaffins- January 1, 1985- July 10, 2003

Friday, June 27, 2008

Why God shouldn't have called us...

I used this following little sketch/poem for a talk about God's mercy every week for YouthWorks and often reference it in my head when I am feeling discouraged. I just found it again and decided I should share it here. It is a great reminder that whatever voices in your head that are telling you aren't good enough to do His work, certainly are not from Him. A wise saying I learned while at convention in NZ was "doubt your doubts." How simple and profound. May you be reassured of His faith and investment in you today!!

There are many reasons why God shouldn't have called you.
But don't worry....
You're in good company.

Moses stuttered.

David's armor didn't fit.

John Mark was rejected by Paul.

Timothy had ulcers.

Hosea's wife was a prostitute.

Amos' only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.

Jacob was a liar.

David had an affair.

Solomon was too rich.......Jesus was too poor.

Abraham was too old......David was too young.

Peter was afraid of death......Lazarus was dead.

John was self-righteous.

Naomi was a widow.

Paul was a murderer....So was Moses.

Jonah ran from God.

Miriam was a gossip.

Gideon and Thomas both doubted.

Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.

Elijah was burned out.

John the Baptist was a loudmouth.

Martha was a worry-wart.

Mary was lazy.

Samson had long hair.

Noah got drunk.

Did I mention that Moses had a short

So did Peter, Paul--well, lots of folks did.

But God doesn't require a job interview.
He doesn't hire and fire like most bosses,
because He's more our Dad than our Boss.
He doesn't look at financial gain or loss.
He's not prejudiced or partial, not judging,
grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry,
not blind to our need.
As much as we try, God's gifts are free. We could
do wonderful things for wonderful people
and still not be ...Wonderful.
Satan says, "You're not worthy."
Jesus says, "So what? I AM."

Satan looks back and sees our mistakes.
God looks back and sees the cross.
He doesn't calculate what you did in '98.
It's not even on the record. Sure. There are lots of
reasons why God shouldn't have called us. But if we
are magically in love with Him, if we hunger for Him
more than our next breath, He'll use us in
spite of who we are, where we've been, or what we
look like.
I pray that as Christians, we will step out of our
limitations into the illimitable nature of who God is.
Then our passion for God and our passion to
communicate Him will make mince-meat of our