Monday, June 20, 2011

come back down.

Six years ago I sat in the large meeting room of the "big cabin" listening to Jeff talk about how we could ask God to break us. At that time, my sixteen year-old mind had no clue what this meant, but I asked God to do it that morning anyway. I remember when I prayed this I was sitting outside flipping through my new NIV hardcover bible that I had picked up at Wal-Mart the night before camp. I was so interested in how much was packed into that book, and why I'd never bothered to read through it before. I honestly never thought that anything would come of me asking God to break me.

But that night God shattered my heart. And I can't even explain to you how. God has a way of doing that, I guess. Breaking in and revealing himself to you when you absolutely least expect it. I felt that today. I felt pain that I had prayed for for a long time. I have to be honest with you. I have not been okay in my walk with Christ lately. I haven't been an example, I have had no desire to read the Bible, and I have felt like when I pray that God has other things to worry about. I've been hateful and angry. Angry with God because I couldn't go serve this summer. Angry because people I've prayed for haven't changed and Satan tells me every day that they won't and that God has much bigger things to deal with than my worries.

So I began to sink back. Sinking back is a very dangerous thing. Going back to old habits that you broke a long time ago is what marks the beginning of moving away from Christ. I began to doubt God's role in my life. I doubted that he cared about me. I surrounded myself with people who didn't know Christ because I thought I was strong enough to not be affected by it.

And then God hit me square in the face with something tonight. I need him. (Duh, right?) And I need to stop dwelling on the past. I need to cut the crap if I don't want to be fed spiritual milk instead of spiritual food (Hebrews 5:11-13). I'm not producing fruit. And we all know what Jesus said about branches that don't produce fruit (if you don't, read Luke 13:6,7).

Maybe it really has taken me a year to realize this. I am not in Mexico, but yet I dwell there in my mind. God has begun to sever my ties with Mexico in different ways. I haven't been productive here like I said I would. God needs me to have my mind here. I have things to do and accomplish for him here. And I have failed for the last 10 months. I have pushed people away and been judgmental and frankly pissed people off because I just didn't want to be here. And I'm sorry. I really am.

My dream for the last four years has been this: Get a teacher's degree, graduate, move to El Paso, open a school in Juarez for those who can't attend school. And so I had set my mind on that. I lived for the next time I got to be there. I was warned against this by a former intern, and I walked right into it anyway. I focus so much on this that I literally push away anything that might change that plan. And I've hurt a lot of people because of my "plan." It is a good plan, meant for good and meant to be used for God. But what if I'm pushing past things that God wants me to see? What if God has something different planned for me than I have for myself? I am realizing that just because my plan is good and can be used for God, doesn't mean that's what he may want right away. What if because of my focus I am missing something?

Now, I'm not forgetting about the people there. I can't. I'm going in December because people need Christ and they need a warm home. But I can't neglect the people in my life while I'm here. I have been blessed with a good job that I enjoy going to (not many people can say they enjoy going to work), great friends, and an awesome family.

If I desire to serve God with my life, then I have to know him. And he doesn't get "known" by me sliding backwards and never studying the Bible and skipping church services and not finding accountability or a Bible study. This was my life since about January.

Sometimes I think that when Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow, he wasn't just talking about stressing about what's coming tomorrow. How am I going to finish this paper, how am I going to fit this into my schedule, how am I going to pay my bills. But sometimes I think he was saying, "Live now. Live for the people around you. You have today to make a difference, to love people, to show them Me. God will call you to move on when it's time, and it's his job to worry about that, not yours."

The title of this post was the title of the theme song for the week I accepted Christ at Survive. I chose it because I believe I am finally coming back down, if that makes sense. It took me almost a year to get my mind focused on where I need to be.

God took my heart back today and said, "Look, Aubs, you need me whether you admit it or not. I know that you're backsliding, but we'll keep moving from here."

I have never been alone this past year, although I've felt like it and although I was angry and wanted to walk away. I will never be alone, even though there are days I doubt that Jesus is coming back for me and I forget that it's not my doings, but his that save me. And so I move forward. Please pray for me.

"When you come around,
I'll be there for you.
You don't have to be alone
With what you're going through."
- Lifehouse

(***Wow, super random post. I hope it made sense.***)

Friday, June 17, 2011


Flashback to last June. (I've added a few things :))

We’ve been told as interns that we will at some point come to a place where we need God so desperately, where we think we won’t be able to go on and finish the summer. I really haven’t hit this place yet because I think I’m still ecstatic that I’m done with my spring semester, but part of me hopes that I reach that place. The place where I realize that I need God more than anything else. The place where I don’t think I’m going to make it to the end of the summer unless God carries me the rest of the way.

This past week was our first build without a staff member, and I really think that it went great. We built a single for a young couple with three kids. What was crazy to me was that in the picture on the application I had for the family, Carlos (the youngest) was wrapped in a blanket and laying in his mother’s arms. He’s now almost 3 years old.

On the first or second day we were building, a neighbor came over and began explaining to me how he had been waiting for his house for two years now and he wanted to know when it was going to come. And in my limited, beginning-of-the-summer-in-Mexico Spanish, I tried to explain why his house hadn't come yet.

My mind flashes to many things when I remember this man and his question about when he was going to get the house he was promised. I think about how we complain about when we’re going to get our food at a restaurant because we’ve been waiting twenty minutes and the table next to us got their food before we did. When maintenance is going to come fix our hot water heater because it’s been out for two days.

Can you imagine going up to someone and saying, “Hey, I put in an order for a house two years ago and was just wondering when it’s going to come because my family is hot and my kids have to sleep on the concrete in the dirt that blows in through the cracks in our walls. And every time it rains our plywood ceiling molds and I hope my family doesn’t get sick from it. And in the winter the cold wind blows through the wooden pallets we put up as walls, and I’m afraid my elderly mother won’t make it. And because we spend so much money fixing our shack and paying for land, there's no money for food, so sometimes we eat the rats that run in the streets.”

I wish we all could have experiences like these. Eye-opening, heart-wrenching experiences. I wish I could learn to control my temper when someone else complains about something lame. I wish I could learn to stop complaining about something lame. (Man, I'm a hypocrite sometimes.) I wish that people didn't have to ask for houses, but that it would be something available to everyone.

But that's not the way it is.

And so God calls.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

midnight thoughts.

I haven't been able to sleep the past two nights. It might be the fact that it is 7:30 in Hawaii. It might also very much be the fact that six years ago at Survive Jeff Mangum prayed that when God had something to tell us we wouldn't be able to sleep at night. I don't know why I remember this. But God remembers it.

I don't know what God's trying to tell me, to be honest. But I know that my heart is restless. Lately, with the thought of graduation in the back of my mind, I've been terrified that somehow I will mess up God's plan for my life. For the past four years, I've believed that I belonged in Mexico, teaching or building or just simply loving on people. But for the life of me I can't understand why I think about being there more than anyone else, and yet I'm not there.

Some people may think I have lame excuses for not being there this summer. It's driving me absolutely insane, watching pictures go up every week of families who are receiving homes. And maybe I need to stop and remember that whether I'm there or not, families get new houses and hear about Jesus' love for them...and that's the thing that matters.

So I looked up some verses about God's plans, and the one's I found were these:

"...the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever." - 1 Chron. 28:9

"...for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail..." - Acts 5:38

"May he grant you your heart’s desireand fulfill all your plans!" - Psalm 20:4

"The counsel of the LORD stands forever,the plans of his heart to all generations." - Psalm 33:11

"Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed." - Proverbs 15:22

"The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD." - Proverbs 16:1

"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." - Proverbs 16:9

There's a lot more, but I'm going to stop at this one. Because I think it's here that I find my answer. I can plan and plan and plan. My heart can even be poured into each of those plans. But God is the one who ultimately establishes and finalizes those plans. He's the one who makes it all happen.

I just need to learn to trust that this is true. God is big enough to handle my mistakes and he's big enough to know what to do when I veer off the path. I'm tired of worrying about planning my future. So here's to upcoming senior year (part 2). Sharisse, Liz, and I are going to make it a year to remember.

Sorry if you're tired of reading about Mexico. People tell me they're tired of hearing about it. But when I prayed a while ago that God would align my dreams with his, I believe he answered. I believe that he wants the people of a nearly-forgotten city to know that he loves them. They aren't forgotten by him and they aren't forgotten by us, no matter what the media posts about them. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I'm just passionate. Maybe the two go hand-in-hand. But when my life is over I want to know that God used my life to make a difference.

“There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart...pursue those.” - Michael Nolan

Friday, June 10, 2011

prayer requests and stuff about life.

I can't believe it's June. Again. Like I say over and over, God has been working so much in my life just in the past year. To say I've been great lately would probably be a lie. I go through these weird times when I feel like giving up on God and going back to the plans that I had for my life before I decided to follow Christ. And then I remember I am hopeless without Him. I open the Bible to a certain scripture that refreshes my faith and gives me strength.

Last week I went to Hawaii with my family and I had a lot of time to think while I was there. This is a huge prayer request. And I ask that you would please pray seriously with me over this. Last year we went to Juarez in December to build a home for a homeless family with Casas por Cristo. We raised nearly all the funds, took two cars, a small van, and nine 20-somethings to build a home in the bitter cold. Yes, it's cold there in the winter. It snowed on our last day. You can read about that build here.

Well, although it's June, December will be here before we know it, along with the cold and snow that threatens to take the lives of families living in cardboard boxes and houses made of pallets and box springs.

To be brutally honest, I dread the money part of this trip. It stresses me out. I try to give it all to God, but I worry, "What if it all doesn't come in? What if we only reach $3000 and have to find a way to give it all back to the donors?" But I'm not going to let that dread stop a team of willing people from going and being the hands and feet of Christ!

I'm going to set the bar at $6500. We need $4700 for the materials for the house. That leaves us about $1800 for food, gas, truck rental, offerings, and gifts/necessities for the family. (I think last year we spent about $800 in's EXPENSIVE.) More than $6500 would be amazing, because anything leftover would get put back into Casas or given to a Casas rep.

I'm just laying the cost out there plainly. Please help me pray for the money to come in. If you have fundraising ideas, post them here! And if you want to go, email me, leave me a comment, Facebook me. You don't need to be good at construction or speaking Spanish. Just come! :) The more money we raise and the more people we get to sign up, the less the cost will be per person. I'd really hate for money to be the only thing stopping us from providing a home for a family.

Thank you so much!