July 20, 2014

Home



When you enter the front sliding doors of Hillsong church you see this huge piece of frosted glass with the words "Welcome Home" etched into it. 

Everywhere you turn you hear people telling you welcome home. The other day I was dropping of a job application at a local coffee shop. The gentleman I handed my application to asked if I was a Hillsong College student. When I replied yes, he too, told me "welcome home."

As I was preparing to come here I was mentally trying to prepare myself for what it would be like moving half way across the world from what I consider my true home, West Virginia. Trying to prepare myself for the possible impending homesickness. Moving away from home and all that entailed is the thing that made me emotional 90% of the time before I left.

But today, I attended my second Sunday service here at Hillsong (in Australia Sunday is almost over). From the moment the music started until the final song I just had tears in my eyes because I truly felt like I was at home. Not as in I want to stay forever and I don't miss my family, and my friends, and my church. But home in a way that gave me this indescribable peace of knowing I am in the right place and the right time and because of that I've found home in my heart here.

I knew that this would happen, at least I expected it to. It is what I signed up for. I wanted this to be home for the next few years. What I didn't expect was for it to feel like home so quickly, but by the grace of God He has overwhelmed me yet again on this journey!

Not only did I feel at home in service today, but I have been working hard to make my room feel like home as well. At first, I only wanted to buy the necessities for my room. Then, I realized how much I needed to make my room feel like home. I found out quickly it was too depressing to walk into a room without any personal touches. It fell like my  prison cell than a bedroom I could come home to and decompress and download. I splurged a little and got a few things to make the room feel more inviting. I even put a nightstand together all by myself....I didn't even have to call or text my mom {:It helped that, that wasn't even an option because of the 14 hour time difference:}!


{:I've even added pictures on the wall since this picture was taken:}
Last Wednesday started orientation week for classes and last Friday we had or first chapel. The entire day on Friday I think I sat in disbelief of the teaching and wisdom I get to sit under in the leadership of Hillsong College while I am here. It is pretty much the definition of "mind blown."

Tomorrow is the last day of orientation and Tuesday starts intensives which are a couple hour long lectures broken up with chapel in between. Every student has pretty much told all of us newbies to prepare to be blown away beyond expectation. It's just so, so good.

I just want to take a moment and thank every one of you sweet people who have been thinking about and praying for me. I truly feel your prayers and it means the world to me!

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July 15, 2014

I Didn't Ask You to Draw a Line


Growing up in church, I was always taught to love others. We were instructed in Sunday school through stories modeled with felt characters on a felt board that Jesus loved and loves everyone and we should do the same. Society however, has a different opinion. You love people until it is no longer beneficial to you or until you just don't want to anymore. Because, hey, love is just a feeling right?

Awhile back Gods position and the world's position on love collided in my own life.

I found that when I was at church I was good at loving people. I don't just mean normal people I mean the outcast - the night club worker, the drug attic, the alcoholic, the absent parent. The people that society tends to look down on. I found it easy to love them because their lives weren't all that intertwined with my own. I felt compassion for their situation knowing that there was normally a lot of pain and often a tragic story that had brought them to this place in their life. This wasn't just the case in church, but in general. My heart breaks for the outcast and I find myself saying a quick prayer when I encounter them.

I also was a school teacher. I was a teacher in an area with a good amount of need. I had the students of the night club worker, the alcoholic, the drug addict, the neglectful parent, and the incarcerated parent. Loving them wasn't just hard but down right impossible for me. I lost sight of what brought them to this downward spiral and all I could see was the horribly negative impact it was having on their children. Now their lifestyle was affecting my life. My students were my kids.

The same type of people I had compassion for every other time now had me harboring anger and resentment towards them. I didn't understand how they could do this to their child. I mean, could they not see what it was doing to their family?

I remember being so fed up one night with it all I just asked God with anger and bitterness in my heart "God, where do I draw the line?" I wanted to know where I drew the line of loving them and rightfully being bitter towards them because of what I saw in their kids. I remember as clear as day God whispering into my heart: "I didn't ask you to draw a line."

Ouch.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt justified for my negative feelings towards them because I saw the way it affected others. God doesn't see them as the dead beat dad, prostiturte, or heroine addict. He sees them as Mark, Julie, and Rebecca. The very names that were on Jesus lips as he died on a cross. He loves them dearly, so why don't I?

 I realized regardless what people are going through, regardless the mess they are in or are creating, chances are they already know all that and hear it enough. What they aren't hearing enough is someone who loves them. What they aren't expecting is someone  who promises to love them even if they never change anything about their lives. They need a love like Jesus' and that's the way we are meant to show them love. No string attached.

God never asked us to draw the line.
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