It is Good

I’m gushing this morning. I just can’t contain how high, how deep, how rich, how personal the Father’s love is for me… for you… for us. I feel like I took a deep breath and then swam the length of the pool twice and am now internally gasping. I can’t fit in any more air, but I know I need more.

Francis Chan in Crazy Love writes, If my mind is the size of a soda can and God is the size of all the oceans, it would be stupid for me to say He is only the small amount of water I can scoop into my little can.

Foolish indeed.

For my can is full and I am brimming not just from feeding on the Word, but brimming from the fragments of His light that seem to pour into my life through the presence of His people. It’s been everything this week. It’s in opportunities bigger and greater than I could imagine. It’s found in the kindness of strangers, and the love of friends.

As I learn to check fear at the door I find that there is nothing, nothing that can keep us from realizing and seizing those works that He prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10) That power, that freedom, that belief is energizing to every aspect of life. As I drink my coffee and read a book, or speak to my grandmother on the phone, or sit in quietness as someone waits to hear about their mother in the hospital – there is seasoning to be found in it all.

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16, The Message)

I can’t even put in words all that is stirring within me, but I know that He has gifted you. He has called and is calling to you. Shine on church. Let them taste and see. Open up.

I have tasted and it is good.

Following,
Ginger

Passion (not the fruit)

I spent ALL of last week on my adventure tangent.  The hope was that you would enter this fall/school year/semester/season full of renewed purpose, hope, energy, and passion!  I enjoyed reading through my old journals and remembering all of the random adventures the Lord has seen fit to take me on in these past few years.  Some (adventures) were taken willingly, while others I went crying all the way.  (For real.  Just ask my husband about the time I cried all the way through the grocery store.)

I received a pretty personal question last week.  I put off answering for a day or two because I knew the response was going to be a long one.  As much as I love writing, my head tends to work faster than my fingers can keep up.  So when I write something I’m passionate about it’s probably fairly comical to watch.  The question basically boiled down to “Do you have any practical advice on how to get started as a writer and a speaker?”

Short answer: I don’t really know how to do THIS.  I’m making it up as I go along!  I read a lot of books, blogs, watch conferences live, take notes, and say “yes” to just about every opportunity sent my way.

The long answer:  I think the first step in launching out into any dream career is determining your passion.  Identify THAT and you are already steps ahead of most of the adult world.  In my teens and early 20’s I felt paralyzed by passion.  I love and enjoy a lot of activities.  I could see myself happily employed in various avenues of the arts and education.  I didn’t know how to choose just one.  So rather than identify the outlet for my message, I began to think about the message that was burning inside of me.

Kevin East is the Senior Director of Camps for Pine Cove Christian Camps.  He is also a new voice in the blog world with great passion for leadership… he also happens to be someone I respect very much on a personal level.  He wrote a great post on blogging this summer that helped me to hone my own ministry vision in an even more specific way.  I want to encourage you to read the post and follow his blog, but I’ll summarize this particular post with one question:

What makes you angry?

Surprised by the simplicity?  I think I was.  After I recovered and read the rest of Kevin’s article I began a flurry of writing that gave me much needed direction and energy.

I answered his question [What makes you angry?] with the following:  An overwhelming number of young women seek attention from negative sources, derive their dreams from Hollywood, find identity in their appearance, and deem truth to be irrelevant.  This angers me.

THIS ANGERS AND IMPASSIONS ME.

Once I could identify my passion, I could more easily identify what my role might possibly be in God’s greater plan for redemption.

My goal/passion/mission: To encourage and sharpen young women to find their worth, identity, dreams and truth in the source of Jesus Christ.

Once that was established I considered the gifts God has given me in theatre and speaking, my high energy personality, my love for teens, and my desire to communicate God’s word in an exciting way and I knew that THAT was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

My husband and I made professional goals for each of us this year.  Mine included business cards, a website, at least 3 new speaking gigs, and a book manuscript complete by the end of the year.  These are pieces I can bite off and chew.  Since making those goals and praying over them God has somehow decided to give me even more than I could have asked for!  (He’s so good at that.)

I don’t know what next month will look like.  Sometimes writing a blog isn’t overly encouraging.  I don’t get immediate feedback.  90% of readers don’t comment.  Some days I feel like I’m speaking to no one – putting hours into something so that my family can read it.  (Hi mom!)  But every once in a while I get a comment or an e-mail that reminds me WHY I am doing this.  And sometimes, it IS one of my family members. :)  I love that God is using my ramblings to reach teens, women, and even men of all ages.  I welcome it!  But I don’t do this because I like it (although I most certainly do!), but because I am called to it and compelled by Him.

“Once God decides something needs to be done, it is never a matter of if… The issue is usually who?  Who will step forward, embrace the vision, and move ahead by faith?” – Andy Stanley

My husband said this to me sometime in May when I was feeling especially discouraged: “Church has them for one hour a week.  The world gets the rest.  That’s what you’re up against.”

I get excited and impassioned when I envision women who:
-Read the Word
-Respect their bodies
-Abandon comparison
-Find belonging, acceptance, identity, and redemption in Christ alone
-Embrace real life

I’m learning as I go.  I still fail.  But He seems content to use my failures for HIS glory.

I don’t understand why or how – I only know that once the vision is set- the rest is just details.  If you know the WHAT He is calling you to – He always has the HOW to accomplish the task.  It’s all His anyway.

With love and joy and passion (still following),

Ginger

But if I say, “I will not mention him
or speak any more in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.
  Jeremiah 20:9