Thursday, December 23, 2010

worry much?

Anxiety. It kinda runs in my family. And honestly I haven't really noticed it in my life until a few months ago. It starts with this burning sensation in the pit of my stomach. And grows into something I think about constantly.

Lately I have been worrying non-stop about our trip to Mexico next week. I've had different dreams and nightmares about the trip. In one I am standing on one side of a chainlink fence watching people I know and I can't seem to get there. In another I get to El Paso and realize I forgot the passports, the paperwork, tools, and money.

I can't figure out the exact reason why I'm worried about it. I sat down and did the math today and we should have well over enough money to get us through the week. The house has also been paid for. I have an amazing team to work with. We have four full days to build the house.

Nope. Can't peg the reason why I'm worried.

But it's there.

So tonight I sat down and began to write out (in my new little journal Kristina got me...gracias chica!) all my worries. And then I turned to Luke 12:22-31. And this is what it says:

"And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you."

Immediately after reading this, the burning in the pit of my stomach eased. The nerves and a little anxiety are still there, but I think that it's God preparing me for next week. I'm talking about getting rid of the consuming anxiety and worry.

"Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you."

Am I seeking his kingdom in all that I do? Are you?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

the year in review.


This year has been one wild ride. I think I have learned more this year than I ever have in the past. About myself and about life.

In January I started what would be (so far) the hardest semester of my life. I took 17 hours of class, worked 20 hours a week, and taught kindergarten Spanish 2 hours a week. Let's just say I realized that I don't want to be a kindergarten Spanish teacher. I also started taking classes to get my endorsement to teach K-12 ESL (English as a Second Language) and if I have my choice, I will probably choose ESL over Spanish.

In late February I found out I got the internship I applied for with Casas por Cristo, and so I started preparing myself for what the summer would bring.

In March I headed to Acuña, Mexico to build my 4th house with Casas por Cristo for spring break. We took two teams and built two singles for a couple different families. It was so cold that week (40s) because it poured and we had all packed for warm weather. I remember Sharisse and I being on bucket duty and I just kept scooping rocks and sand to not think about how cold I was. I also remember laying on my cot at night shivering and not sleeping much. I can't even imagine living that way 24/7. Luckily my dad had packed an extra sweatshirt; even though it came down to my knees, I wore it and was warm.

In April, I finished teaching my kindergarten class and got to make each child a Spanish certificate, which they loved. The weird thing was, even though I struggled teaching so much, I knew I was going to miss those kiddos. I ran my first half-marathon in OKC with my time being 2:34. It was one of the coolest experiences ever.

In May, I graduated from Manhattan Christian College with my associate degree in biblical studies, and two days after finals ended, I boarded the plane for El Paso and what would be the best summer of my life (so far). My brother graduated soon after I did. I can't believe he is in college now!

In June, my dad came to El Paso to train to be a volunteer leader for Casas, so it was great to get to see him for a couple weeks! On top of the Casas internship, I went to church camp in June to help out with leading some high school students.

In August, I went to the Grand Canyon and finished my internship and came home only to have a week to rest and recuperate before heading back to K-State to start my senior (but not final) year. I think it was God's plan that this semester was a simple one, because I really had a hard time coming back from Mexico. I had only two Spanish classes, two ESL classes, one French class and no education classes, which are usually the more difficult ones.

In October, my best friend had her baby, Skysan, and I think getting to hold him was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced. Fresh out of heaven. It was like I was looking at a piece of God. I spent Halloween at a lock-in with a couple good friends, and spent most of my Saturdays at Bill Snyder Family Stadium watching the Cats play football. They are going to a bowl game this year!

I spent Thanksgiving at Cocoa Beach with my family, and got to spend some girl time with my sister, which was great. It was 80 degrees most of the time we were there. Amazing.

Finally. December. I ran my second half-marathon and clocked in at 2:08, which I was pretty excited about considering I only trained to 7 miles and didn't eat too well. I finished my 7th semester of college. 3 more to go. :)

I have been so blessed this year when I look back and see all the sweet things I got to do, and I'm realizing that life goes crazy fast. Do things that you dream about doing. Christ gave us life to have it to the full, so experience it!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

by giving up, gain everything.

To be really honest with you, I am struggling tonight.

I got to spend the evening at Chili's, my favorite restaurant, with some great friends (and for those of you who know me well, you will be appalled to learn I did not, in fact, order chicken crispers).

I started to feel cold because we were sitting by the door, and that's when I started saying, "Man, I'm cold." Take another sip of the pure water in my glass (because I can get it refilled whenever I want). Take another bite of the food on my plate that was enough to feed three people.

Get home to my apartment. "It is SO cold in here. I can't wait to go to sleep because I know I'll be warm in my bed!"

I ended up having to run out to my car to get something. It is 22 outside. It is NOT cold in my apartment, and this dawned on me when I came back in. We keep our thermostat at 63 (because for some odd reason it costs a BUNCH to heat this place), but still. That's not cold.

Many people, even here in the US, will freeze to death tonight.

I can't shake this. I can't shake what I have seen and I can't walk away from what I believe God is calling me to. I feel like I know people who come off the mission field and walk away from it and go on to different things in their lives. I'm definitely not condemning this, because God calls everyone to different things. But why me to missions?

I am terrified because in my heart I know that I would absolutely love to get to teach English in a Spanish-speaking country, but I know that it could very well end up being one of the hardest roads to choose.

I said I was applying for Casas next summer, and now I am debating. To be real with you, I did two months of therapy when I came back. That's how much I struggled. I cried a lot. I shut myself in. I slept all the time. I had nightmares. And people I look up to very much are telling me that it might not be the best thing for me mentally to do that again. And I know that's true.

And on top of that, I HAVE to find a subleaser and a place to store all my stuff if I want to leave next summer. And I have to find a place to live when I come back. Sounds small, but seems so big to me. Me of little faith.

But I will never be the same as I was before this summer. To tell you the truth I would like to get married, stay in Kansas near my family, teach elementary ESL, have kids, grow old. And that may be what God calls me to later. But not now. And it's tearing my heart out because it's not easy. My mom and I are so close and I am not ready to leave. I've lived within 2 hours of my family my entire life, and the thought of moving far away kills me but is so exciting at the same time.

Geez, I thought graduating high school was hard.

But I realize that in giving up, I gain everything in Christ.

I have been so blessed with amazing parents, an amazing family, great friends, an education, my own room, good food, a warm place to sleep, hot shower, freedom to follow Christ openly and not in hiding.

"Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more." - Luke 12:48

Please keep the homeless in your prayers this winter. I just want to say THANK YOU to the girls at Kappa Delta and everyone else who has donated warm clothing and electric blankets for us to take to Juarez. We are still taking donations! So happy that even more families will get to be a little warmer.

Monday, December 13, 2010

my eyes have seen the king.

"In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!'

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: 'Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!'" - Isaiah 6:1-5

Isaiah's story always baffles me. He was there.

my eyes have seen the King

I took a class a few years ago called 8th Century Prophets and the main prophet we studied was Isaiah. I remember someone in the class asking about the crazy stuff some of the prophets did for the Lord. And his answer was something like, "I think all of us would too if we had seen him." These prophets feared the Lord.

In Jeremiah, God tells the prophet to not be afraid of people, lest God terrify him before the people. What would you do if your eyes had seen the King? Have you seen the King?

Our God is a beautiful God.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

i miss the past.

Lately I've been finding myself dwelling on the past. Okay, every day. And part of me knows it's not super healthy, but at the same time I know that it's good to reflect on what God has done in your life.

I was driving back to Manhattan from Wichita a couple weeks ago and a song came on (I can't remember which song...I think something by Matt Redman?) and I immediately got this tight feeling in my chest, because it was something that we sang at Survive.

For those of you who don't know, Survive was the church camp I went to in high school at SOTO (Shepherd of the Ozarks) in Arkansas; but the awesome thing was that it wasn't just a church camp. It was a week that challenged you physically and pushed you past your comfort zone; it pushed you spiritually, and I can say that I have never felt God move so strongly anywhere other than I did at Survive. I met Christ there and I saw people come to Christ whom I never thought would.

I can still smell the cabins and the river if I think hard enough about it. I can hear the chants of the different tribes that we were put into for the week. I can feel the wood from the travois digging into my back as we carried our tribe members down the river. I can remember the fear that hit me as I walked a rope 30 feet above the ground. I can remember hiking to the Goat Cave during free time with my friends and pulling Kyle down the river because he broke his ankle. And I can taste those delicious chicken enchiladas that Linda always made for us.

And I'm telling you when I smell bug spray the first thing I think of: night mission. You could walk out of the cabin and almost suffocate in the cloud of bug spray everyone left behind. Or if you wanted to smell it all the time all you had to do was step into the boys room because they never fully understood the "only apply bug spray outside."

But the thing that will always remain the most vivid to me is sitting in the meeting room of the big cabin, listening to Jeff teach us from the Word and watching as it hit people and seeing the Spirit move in peoples' lives. I listened to students as young as 12 or 13 telling stories of what God was doing in their hearts and watched as friends came forward to be prayed for and to confess sin.

Gosh. I miss it. I haven't been back to SOTO in almost 3 years. And when I think about it I think how much God has brought me through since then.

I keep all my journals and as I read back through things from that first summer at SOTO I fall in love with God all over again. I was so on fire for God when I left that week, and I haven't lost that fire, but rather it is a more constant, steady fire.

I think about Survive and my old youth group often, because I believe that God worked great things in us and still is. I believe we had something that a lot of youth groups don't have, and that was a drive to lead and a drive to make our lives look different, not just on Sundays, but EVERY day. And it was awesome. I lived for Wednesday nights when we all got to be together and be challenged.

I don't really have a point here I guess. Just feeling extra-nostalgic today. And if you are reading this and you feel like God is calling you away from something that you feel is amazing, it's OK. Follow Him. Because we all have to grow up. The seed gets planted and then it has to grow. It has to go out and be planted in others. I had the worst freshman year of college because I missed high school so much, but if none of us had ever left, God couldn't prepare us for the future in what He wants for us.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

time waster.

Back in January of 2007 I made the decision to get a Facebook, like many of my friends did. At first I would get on maybe once a day to check and see what was going on, but as the months went on and I left for college I found myself becoming even more and more addicted to it.

It's an addiction. And a dangerous one.

For the last couple weeks I have been battling with myself over whether or not to close it, when I finally came to the conclusion that it was time to leave the Facebook world, at least for a little while.

I was convicted.

I was convicted because, and I'm not kidding, I spent upwards of two hours a day on Facebook. Two hours.

Now I know that there are people who spend way more time than that on Facebook, but that's up to them. I told myself when I left high school that I wanted to be a world changer. And I can tell you it's not going to happen by me sitting on Facebook for hours on end.

Next semester, I don't want to just get by in my classes. I want to learn as much as I can so that I can be prepared because I can tell you that as a future ESL teacher I have a long road ahead of me. I can guarantee you there will be students in my classroom whose parents came to this country illegally. I will not deny any of my future students an education and I have to be able to stand up for them and have the research to back up what I say.

There will be principals who tell me that my students are not allowed to speak their first language at all while in the classroom, which I know already (from the small amount of research I have done) can be detrimental to their learning experience. And so I must be able to tell those around me why it's important for students to use any language they need to so that they can understand and learn.

So for the last two semesters of my college career I will be spending time preparing for the real world instead of wasting my time on Facebook.

Also, my Jesus is coming back for me someday and I won't be sitting on Facebook when He does.

"...the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed." - Romans 13:11

Monday, December 6, 2010


Well...I can't believe it's here. December. I have been wrestling all semester with faith, with the fact that every day I get to come home and get in my warm bed, I get to go to a job where I make more in a day than many families around the world make in a month, I get to eat at least three times a day, and if you know me you know I eat way more than three times a day.

You all are probably sick and tired of hearing me talk about Mexico, about poverty, about being changed. I wanted to say, "I'm sorry,"...but really, I'm not. You don't go through something like that and not let it change you. Last week I came home, got in the shower, and stood there in the hot water literally feeling sick about myself. Why do I get to sleep in an apartment where even when the heat isn't on I am not freezing? I know people who this winter will not get to shower because the water is freezing.

I have been changed spiritually but what scares me the most is that I'm not sure people see it. I'm not sure I show it. I come home and instead of doing homework I flip on my favorite show or get on Facebook. And I don't know how to break out of this funk that I've gotten myself into. There's a song by Barlow Girl and the lyrics are, "How can we be silent, when a fire burns inside us?" Why am I silent? Why, when I know the girl sitting next to me or behind me in class struggles so much with life? Why will I talk about the fact that I hate writing papers, or the great deal I got on a pair of jeans, instead of how much Christ loves YOU? Why can't I step out? This is something I struggle with DAILY.

God has carried me so far this semester. I left in May unsure of myself, quiet, and with a lack of self-confidence. I came back in August an emotional wreck, changed forever, newly confident in God and in His calling on my life, and now I stand here four months later and say, "I am stronger. I am ready to be used by You." But why don't I see it?

Last weekend I got the opportunity to go to Dallas and run a half marathon. It was a blast! Sharisse+Liz+Aubrie navigating Dallas=lots of laughs and confusion. My mom gave me one of those TomToms navigation system things and it is HILARIOUS. By the end of the trip we were mimicking him (yes, him not it).

"Keep left, then keep right." - TomTom "WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN?!" - me "Keep left then do a pirouette in the middle of the highway, then take the motorway." - Liz+fake British accent

I am very glad Liz is from Denver, or Sharisse and I would have been very lost. Sharisse and I were good at jumping on the beds of an expensive hotel room and testing out the pillows. I was good at eating, sleeping, and forgetting Raphael's packet in our hotel room so we had to go back and get it.

I had a blast with my friends this weekend. I am so blessed. :)

I'm not sure how running 13.1 miles is a blast, but when you cross that finish line, it's one of the best feelings in the world. I am hooked. As I was running I was thinking about how everyone was getting along. Everyone encouraged one another. Spectators held signs like, "I'm cheering for YOUR PR" and people I didn't even know were reading my bib and saying, "Go Aubrie! You're almost there!" People wearing different sports teams, people of different backgrounds, people in Santa suits and banana outfits, 80 year-old men and high schoolers. Whether people were cheering or running, we were together. Running in a marathon with 20,000+ other people is one of the most awesome experiences ever. If you haven't done it, you need to. "I'm not a runner," isn't an excuse. I was the one in high school track that would do ANYTHING to avoid the 80-minute Saturday morning runs. And if I had to go I complained the whole way. Hundreds of people in wheelchairs, and people with prosthetic legs, people who are blind run these marathons. I'm telling you, it's awesome. So sign yourself up! Who says you have to run the whole thing? Or at least get out and cheer during a marathon!! Those high fives and smiles at mile 10 make you think, "Okay, I'm almost there! I can make it!"

I just wanted to do a quick post and let you know where I'm at in life. Please, leave me a comment about where YOU are and what I can be praying about for you (I'm not kidding. Please do it!!) I filled out my application to return to Casas for a second internship...and I am very excited yet broken-hearted at the same time. Excited because I love it there, broken-hearted because I will be leaving my family again (however, there's always the possibility that door won't be opened and I will be here next summer). But I guess that's part of growing up. I am so blessed to get to see my family as often as I do. And blessed that they are so awesome. I think my dad makes me laugh every time we go out to eat now. He will say just about anything!

PS. If you are reading this and have donated/prayed for our group going to Mexico this winter, I am so grateful and the team is too. Thank you for helping us give a family a home in the 20 degree weather. One of the biggest misunderstandings is that it is warm in Juarez this time of year. It was 19 there the other night and there is a three year waiting list of families who have signed up for a house. If you'd like to know how you can go build or get on a team, please let me know. Please pray for me, Kalynn, Sarah, Stephanie, Sharisse, Heather, Micki, Lehr, Raphael, and Alexis as we build for Eustaquio and Maria December 27th thru January 1st.