Thursday, February 25, 2010
Was it really only yesterday morning that I flew in to London? It feels like I've been here for weeks at least. I've met just scads of people, all with names I have to put to memory and I've never been good at that. I've been playing association games all day in my head. There's a funny older lady named Zena who has blond hair and is about the furthest thing from the warrior princes. Then there's Fozzy who is Greek and has a full mostly white beard that is most likely "fuzzy." There's more and almost all have such uniquely British names that I'm afraid I'll never get them all strait!
Yesterday the founder and president of the C. S. Lewis Foundation and The Kilns (the place I'm living; C. S. Lewis' old home) Coordinator (my boss) and I arrived at the Heathrow Airport. We had flown overnight from Massachusetts and I tried to sleep on the plane, but who ever accomplishes that with any great success is either deaf with major nerve damage or dead. I watched bits of movies, puttered around on my laptop, and moved around in my seat a lot with my eyes closed for long periods of time.
Customs, which I was quite nervous about passing since the last one in my position had been detained on a technicality for a whole year, went "swimmingly." The customs lady was all cheerfulness and sunshine. The drive to Oxford from England was a bit more tense! Driving on the left-hand side of the road is hard enough for a "Yanky," but our president's lack of sleep and habit of driving while talking on the phone and looking at directions, and all in a mini stick shift, was a bit harrowing at times. However, we all made it to Lewis Close (the road Lewis' house is on) in one piece.
I immediately walked through every room and looked through all the bookshelves. Hopefully I'll have enough time to go through them all! My room is the upstairs bedroom across the hall from Lewis' study and bedroom where the children that staid with him and his household during WWII lived, along with Mrs. Moore, her daughter Maureen, and his brother Warnie at different times throughout the years. I absolutely love my room! There's a large wardrobe just when you walk in and I have hung all my coats into it. I will make sure to press my hand through them every once in a while to see if my hand ever goes further than the back wall! There's also a wonderful three pained window with a desk underneath, and since it's on the second floor, I have a great view of green trees, mist, creepers, and little English cottages. If I can't find inspiration here, my imagination must be made of rock.
More to come, but it's two o'clock in the morning here and I've got a big day of training tomorrow, so I'll have to say goodnight.
Monday, February 22, 2010
The reason for the name of my ministry – Beauty Like Henna – is because of a prayer a friend of mine prayed over me once. She mentioned that God had given me a certain beauty, not in the conventional way that beauty is thought of, but different, like henna. Henna is used as a sign of celebration in the East and I liked the idea of being God’s beauty of celebration. Then I read this verse in Isaiah that swelled my heart to overflowing:
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; Isaiah 49:16a ESV.
Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s hands being nailed to the cross in order to pay the price of our own sins so we wouldn’t have to, we can celebrate and be sure that He will never forget us, because of those beautiful scars on His hands that will forever remind Him of us and remind us of His great love for us.
Audience Focused Engagements & What I Have to Offer:
Adults- a blend of worshipful dance numbers intermingled with my story of how I went from just knowing about God to really knowing Him.
Teenagers- a blend of worshipful dance intermingled with parts of my testimony and how Jesus loved and saved me from a life of despair and loneliness in a world that ostracizes those who don’t quite fit in.
Children- an animated storytelling of The Toymaker’s Son; a parable of God’s creation and salvation and who we were made to be.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
God is leading me down an extremely new and exciting bend in the road. I am leaving this February 21st to go to Oxford, England for the spring to be the Acting Warden (British term for Resident Director [no jail involved!]) and Jr. Fellow at C. S. Lewis' home and study center, The Kilns!!! Thank you all for your prayers and support. While there, I will be taking care of The Kilns, leading tours, writing for the C. S. Lewis Foundation, and hopefully soaking up as much of England as I can as I continue to learn how to put my faith into action.
Here's basically how it happened:
After moving back into my parent's home this Christmas, I started to get very worried about what I was supposed to do next. What I thought was my direction ended up feeling really wrong and I decided to look elsewhere. However, that left me with no direction and I started to panic and get extremely depressed, because I hate not having a plan and not knowing what I'm supposed to do next. I've been in a constant moment to moment battle between trusting God to be in control of my life and trying to figure everything out on my own. Sometimes I won and sometimes I lost.
A former professor and friend of the family of mine and his wife were incredibly encouraging to me at this time. They helped me put together a fantastic resume and personally delivered it to their friends at the C. S. Lewis Foundation (www.cslewis.org), who were in need of a Warden for the spring semester at The Kilns, where C. S. Lewis lived and where students of Oxford, scholars, and Lewis fans now live and study. I was called in for a first and second interview and was so encouraged by God's planning when I read through the job description. Almost everything on the list I have had some kind of experience doing either at Wolf Mountain Camps, CBU, or other places. God has truly been knitting things together, even when I have missed the connections!
For the past couple years I have been on a quest to learn how to have an active faith in Christ Jesus. Two summers ago I spoke at campfires about great leaders in the Bible who "By faith, did..." and I wanted to have faith like that; not just knowing the Truth in my mind and then trying to control my whole life by myself like I am always tempted to do, but to know the Truth in my heart as well and to step out into it and trust God to hold my steps in His hands. Since Hebrews says that faith is all we can have to please the Lord, then that is what I want to develop. And that has been my goal since then. And it has also been quite the struggle since then! It's also taught me how important it is to be able to hear His voice and obey!
I'm still working on it, but it has been so encouraging to find that every time I have been at my absolute lowest, God has done something incredible and perfectly needed in that moment to keep me going. I'm collecting Ebenezer moments like crazy these days!
Once again, thank you so much for your prayers! I can't wait to see how God will use this next opportunity to touch the hearts of others through me! It is so wonderful being the voice and hands and feet of Jesus. Please pray that my faith will continue to grow in strength and action, that I will be able to hear God clearly, that I will have the courage to obey, and that He will give me what I need to accomplish the tasks set before me. My confidence is not in me, but in He who strengthens me!