What About You Wednesday | Krista

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Today we welcome Krista to the blog! Let’s step into her season…

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Describe the season you currently find yourself in.

“I currently find myself in a place of patient anticipation. Each year as winter comes to a close and spring is approaching, I get a bittersweet sense of excitement and discontentment. As the long, cold winter months come to an end and the spring bursts through with new life, warmth and hope, my heart always anticipates what a joy the next season will bring. And yet in the anticipation for the next season, my heart becomes weary in the waiting. I feel like that is my life right now. It has been a brutally cold and disheartening year, but I can see the springtime coming fast. I anticipate the Lord’s goodness in the time to come and CHOOSE DAILY to see Him working even now.”

(I just want to point out how symbolic Krista’s above picture is. The little white flowers look like the snow of the winter and the pink flowers shout spring.)

What is God teaching you/revealing to you during this season.

“The Lord has been so sweet to be patient in my doubting and untrusting heart. He shows me little bits and pieces of His plan and promises at the times that I need it most. He is gently teaching me to depend upon His grace and to trust that good works together for His children who faithfully love Him. A verse that I have been clinging to during this time is found in Lamentations 3:21-24 and it says, “But this I call to mind and therefore have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies are new each morning. Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’, says my soul, ‘Therefore I will have hope in Him!

I have also been taught through the loss of loved ones within the last year that our hope and satisfaction can only be found in the fact that eternity will be spent in the perfect presence of Jesus. All things good or bad in this world are fleeting compared to the eternity we are promised as children of God. Therefore all things should be counted as temporary here on earth, held loosely, knowing that the eternity that awaits us is the most high honor and greatest gift we could ever receive. This has kept so much in perspective of the urgency of the Kingdom for me. For the first time in my life, dying and going to be with Jesus is something I look forward to not something that I fear.’”

How have you/are you changing during this season?

“I have become so aware of my need of time alone and away from busyness. It is so funny because all throughout college I was a people-person, constantly surrounded by and interacting with a ton of people. However, now I see the great importance of being alone, internally processing with Jesus and using the ‘pray about it more than you talk about it’ concept. I have found it to be so peaceful and encouraging to grow in my relationship with the Lord in this way. My dependence on Him has been strengthened and my friendships have continued beautifully. I have learned to not fear being alone, but embrace it as an opportunity to draw near to the Father. Although, this is most certainly not always my initial attitude, keeping this in mind has strengthened my ability to rest during this season.”

What encouragement would you like to share with someone who is in a similar season?

“Whether you are walking through a season post-grad or are just unsure of where the Lord is leading in the time to come, be comforted. The Lord is faithful to complete the work that He began in you and He will surely do it (Philippians 1:6). Walk each day with faith in trusting that everything that the Lord has equipped you with for that day is exactly what you need to serve Him (Hebrews 13:20-21). He is working in the midst of our doubt and anxiety and will reveal His will in His perfect and beautiful timing. Be STEADFAST and HOPE in the faithfulness of our Father. Remembering that in all things, our purpose is not to serve ourselves, but to glorify the Father who saves, loves, redeems and chooses us to be His own.”

A Prayer for Krista

God, You are good. We thank You for working all things for the good of those who love You. Thank You for Krista. Thank You that You are aware of her and with her in this season. Thank You for Your faithfulness to her in the past. May she cling to the truth that You will be faithful again and again. Thank You for how You are using the waiting to increase her longing and hope for You. Thank You for using death to birth truth in her life, an urgency for the gospel, and a peace about Home. Continue to comfort her grieving heart. Thank You for being a God who can handle our doubts and our questions. May Krista continue to bring those and lay them at Your feet. For someone once said, “faith does not eliminate questions, but faith knows where to take them.” Thank You for the many lives Krista has invested in. Thank You for her kind and giving heart. Thank You for this season where she’s been able to pull back and come away and rest with You, receiving after giving so much of herself. May she continue to be strengthened in her alone time with You. As spring approaches, and the buds begin to bloom, may she be thankful for winter, for the time when growth was happening under the surface. As things begin to shoot out from under the ground, may she burst with joy. Although winter was cold and brutal, may she also remember the quiet, the stillness, the calm which winter can bring. And may she continue to hold onto those things even as seasons change. Thanks for loving us, Lord. Amen.

What About You Wednesday | Justin

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Today we welcome Justin to the blog! Let’s step into his season…

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Describe the season you currently find yourself in.

Currently I am in a season of starting a new job, freshly moving to a new place and adjusting to a slower paced style of living. Just a little over two months ago I was a successful branch manager of a rental car location. Growing up I never aspired to rent cars, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s not anyone’s dream to rent vehicles, but that’s beside the point. Renting cars was not my passion.

During my career I struggled so much with finding satisfaction and worth in what I was doing. Even though I was not happy, I struggled to trust the Lord with the direction my life was heading. Too often I found myself leaning on and trusting in myself and did not trust the Lord to guide and direct me. For months I prayed to the Lord to just show me why I was there, and every time He would say, “Trust Me.”

I would apply to other jobs that I thought had to be better than my current situation and I would get rejected and the Lord kept saying, “Trust Me.” It’s funny because I remember thinking, I am going to mess up your plan Lord because I am impatient and I can’t take it anymore. Every time He would say, “Trust Me.” During that time I remember thinking there is no way I am ever going to do what I love and follow my passion because I can’t afford to move on from such a good paying job, with great benefits.

Then one day, just an hour before my shift was over I was threatened by a very angry customer with my life. You never really think about your life flashing before your eyes but in that moment, it did. That day I remember leaving work, trying to process everything that happened and thinking to myself, my life is not worth risking to rent a car. That entire night I tossed and turned as I tried to brush off what had happened that day as if it were nothing. The fact remained that it wasn’t just a normal day, it was a day when the Lord was boldly reminding me to trust. Trust Him with my life, trust Him with my future, trust Him that He hears my prayers and the deep inner workings of my heart.

So the next morning I woke up and it was clear that it was the day I was going to unabashedly trust the Lord. So, I did what any reasonable person would do, I quit. I walked away from a financially stable job. I walked away from great benefits. I walked away from an amazing career path. I walked away from what I thought was my identity. And I walked into the open arms of my Father that loves me and cares for me and I trusted Him.

What is God teaching you/revealing to you during this season?

During this season the Lord has taught me a great deal about trust. In trust there has to be humility. The act of humbling yourself before the Lord is truly admitting that His plans are greater than any plans we can ever imagine. Humbling yourself before the Lord is saying that He is greater than I, and I have no purpose outside of making much of Him. James 4:10 says “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” What’s so funny about this verse is that it doesn’t reference time. Timing is something I had to humbly give over to the Lord and say to Him, “I trust You, and I trust Your time.”

After I quit my job I was unemployed for right at about two months. One of the most humbling things is to patiently wait for the Lord to open up doors and opportunities and to trust Him when He shuts doors. I remember praying to the Lord often and asking Him, “Why?”, when He would close doors that I would try to walk through and He would faithfully say, ” Trust Me.”

Those were the moments when I had to remind myself that He has been faithful to provide thus far, so why am I doubting His plan?, and then once again humble myself and trust Him.

How have you/are you changing during this season?

Goodness, I have never felt a deeper relational bond with the Lord than I have in these past few months. This entire season has shaped and changed the way that I view my relationship with the Lord so much. I genuinely see how deep His love is for me and has always been for me each and every step of the way, even in affliction.

I recently read a quote that perfectly sums up how I view the love of the Father, it says, “Devine affection doesn’t mean that you won’t face affliction.” This season of life has altered the way that I view the so called “valleys” in my life. Yes, in those valleys it feels as though you are trapped, but God is and always will be faithful. It wasn’t until I reached the other side of the valley that I was able to reflect on how the Lord used these past few years to prepare me for my future.

Recently, I accepted a position at a local Christian camp. I have always had a heart for camp and camp ministry and I looking back I can say that the Lord heard every one of my prayers. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” What a sweet reminder that the God of the universe cares about what we care about.

What encouragement would you like to share with someone who is in a similar season?

I want to encourage anyone that may be going through a similar season to truly take a step back and examine every area of your life. See which areas you haven’t fully surrendered to the Lord and what areas you are still trying to do it alone. Something that I learned, and am continuing to learn, is sometimes you have to trust even when it doesn’t make sense, even when the Lord is saying, “quit your job and follow Me.”

Another thing that I want to encourage others is to remember that the Lord is so good to minister to us in unique and unconventional ways. Unfortunately, for me it took an extreme situation for the Lord to get my attention and remind me that He is enough and I need is to put my trust in Him. My last encouragement comes from one of my favorite worship songs. It says, “find me here at Your feet again. Everything I am, reaching out I surrender. Come sweep me up in Your love again and my souls will dance on the wings of forever.” What an amazing reminder that when we totally surrender, we are wrapped up in the love of the father and like it says in Matthew 5:5 – “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” So give it over to the Lord because He cares.

A Prayer for Justin

Caring Father,

Thank You for Justin. Thank You for the season You have him in. Thank You that You are aware of him and with him in this season, as You teach him how to surrender trust in himself and to trust You. Thank You for letting him share his story, one that resonates deeply on a personal level for me, for I walked a similar road. Thank You that with You our valleys become our mountain tops. Thank You for stripping Justin of his earthly identity, so that he would be reminded that the only identity that matters is who he is in You. Thank You for caring enough about Justin to care more about his holiness than his happiness. Thank You for giving him grace in the waiting, by pulling him closer to You even when he was impatient. Thank You for closed doors, Lord. Thank You for not giving Justin what he wanted, but what he needed. Thank You that Your timing is perfect. Thank You for showing your beautiful timing in Justin’s life. As Justin begins his new position and adjusts to new rhythms of life, continue to draw him closer to You. Help him live what he learned in the season he is walking out of. Heal any parts of him that are still wounded from his afflictions. Show him what trust looks like in this season of his life. Guard him from trying to find his identity in this new position. Help him to remember that You are Purpose so he does not need to go searching for it. Thank You for being the One Thing we can always trust. In Your Trustworthy Name, Amen.

What About You Wednesday | Bethany

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Today we welcome Bethany to the blog.

Just a little background to help understand Bethany’s responses a little more…

Bethany worked as an intern for Athletes in Action, a Christian ministry that works with college athletes, in Ohio for two years. She then decided to join staff full-time and she was placed in Boston. She returned home to Texas to raise support (have people join her team financially to allow her to be paid for the ministry she does). After many months of waiting patiently, God recently provided enough funds for her to move to Boston! Here she will be disciplining athletes, evangelizing on college campuses (Harvard, Boston College and Boston University to name a few), leading Bible studies for athletes, and so much more! For more info on Athletes in Action you can go here.

Now, let’s step into Bethany’s season…

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Describe the season of life you currently find yourself in.

“Well, season of life that I’m in would be transition. I just moved to Boston from Texas and it has been interesting for sure. Going from living at my parent’s home in the middle of no where Texas to living five minutes walk from Harvard Square on one of the busiest streets in Cambridge has been a culture shock. I feel like I am in a foreign country, which is not necessarily a negative thing. This season of transition also includes having about four friends in Boston and the rest of them in Texas. Transitioning from being known to unknown. Transitioning from knowing every street to always using my GPS. Another huge transition pertains to ministry. The last two years I worked on a small D3 campus with student athletes in a small city. Now, I am on a metro team in a city that has 54 colleges and universities. Basically I’m experiencing every type of transition.”

What is God teaching you/revealing to you in this season?

“God is faithful. He is faithful even when I am not and His faithfulness doesn’t depend on mine. I feel like I had the whole “God is faithful” down but then I started raising support to do ministry. And then I moved across the country to a city I’ve been to once where I knew no one. God is daily reminding me that He’s brought me this far and He will never let me go. If He raised my support, why would He not find me a place to live in Boston? If He raised my support and a place to live why would He not give me friends? If He did all of that He clearly wants to use me in Boston with athletes. Why do I worry?”

How have you/are you changing in this season?

“I hope through any season I am changing to come out looking more like Christ. I honestly do not know what that looks like more specifically right now.”

A prayer for Bethany…

Faithful Father, we thank You for the season You have Bethany in. We thank You that You are aware of her and her needs in this season. We thank You that Boston is not a new place to You, but that You’ve always been there and You are with her there now. We pray in confidence knowing You will supply all of Bethany’s needs (but not always her wants) according to Your glorious grace. As she adjusts to her new surroundings, may she know more than ever Your consistency in her life, how constant You are. As she is lonely, would she see You as Friend. As she learns how to do ministry in a new place, may she look to You as Example. As she seeks to see the lost save, may she look to You as Savior. Thank You for the way You are using this season to help make her look more like Jesus, a friend to sinners who went to great depths to make sure they heard the gospel. Grant her favor as she pioneers ministry on college campuses in Boston. Open the hearts of athletes that need to know and grow in Your grace and truth. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Strengthen Bethany to do Your work, Oh Lord. In Your Name, Amen.