A Whisper is Better than Silence

Sometimes you can only speak in a whisper. I recently overheard two college girls where one was explaining that she had laryngitis and could only speak in a whisper at that time.

I haven’t had laryngitis, but my blog has been little more than a whisper this summer. Life has been so full with family, major projects at  church, additional responsibilities, illness, camp, etc., etc., that I had to set blogging aside for a while.

Sponsorship_Rwanda_Photo-PackAnd then inertia sets in. And as any introvert knows, the longer you stay silent, the harder it is to speak.

Using our voice, changing our world.

This is the blogger motto for World Help bloggers. I’ve technically been a #WHblogger for almost a year now, but my whisper has not been heard. I haven’t spoken up, in part, because I’ve been afraid that my little voice in my little corner of the internet wouldn’t have much impact. I know, it makes little sense, since not saying anything has zero impact.

So, I’m starting with a whisper today:

A – I’m back and blogging (yay!).

B – World Help is a solid non-profit that has been on my radar for years. Founded by one of my college professors, Vernon Brewer, World Help is a faith-based organization that meets the spiritual and physical needs of millions of people around the world through child advocacy, humanitarian aid, education & sustainability, and community development. This video gives a window into some of the work that World Help has been involved with recently:

 

Thanks for listening to my whisper today. I look forward to sharing more soon.

This post is also linked up with Five Minute Friday – prompt is whisper.

              World

Advertisements

God’s Got This – a peek into His sovereign will

berries of winterWe all have ideas of how we expect things to go in life. We make plans and expect they will turn out as we planned. Large project or small, we start down a course with a set expectation.

Sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s an epic mess. Sometimes we end up with our own version of a Pinterest Fail.

I’m at Camp CUMCITO this week. We planned to have a fully staffed week. We planned to be able to fill the camp with campers. My husband planned to be here with me. My church planned to have a team of 15 people and bring 25 local campers with us.

God’s been teaching me a lot about His sovereignty lately. I had a refresher course a couple of months ago during a class my church taught. God’s in control. He’s so much bigger than my plans. God doesn’t scramble to figure out Plan B. For Him, there is no Plan B. It’s all His Plan A.

Basically, God’s got this.

I’m here at camp as a team of five from my church – not 15. I’m so glad that these four came with me. I’m so thrilled that they committed to serve. God planned exactly who should be here this year.

We ran into difficulties in getting parents on board and ended up not being able to bring any campers with us this year. God is not surprised by this.

My husband had a flare-up of back pain and is not able to work right now, let alone serve a week at camp, so I’m here without him. God orchestrated that he would be home and I would be here.

We not expecting to have a full camp. Campers weren’t able to attend this week for various reasons and we think we’ll be short about 30 campers. God knows and planned the exact campers who will step off the bus on Monday.

We have not been able to find enough volunteers to work at camp this week. Not sure if it’s the Independence Day holiday or what. We are short about 12 staff positions and people are having to stretch and do double-duty and get creative about how we make ends meet. Even this is part of God’s plan.

Not one single bit of this is a surprise to God. While we do all we can to fill the gaps and make plans, God knows exactly who will be here. He’s in charge of exactly what will happen this week. He is in control.

God’s got this.

Maybe there’s something in your life that’s not going according to your plan. Perhaps it seems like everything is falling apart. God is over all. He is at work in your life with His Plan A. He’s got this. I hope you can trust in that today.

winter berries

 

His Peerless Worth

This song has been on repeat for the last day. Different bits of the lyrics hit me each time.

…Joyful choose the better part…

…Let his peerless worth constrain thee…

…What can strip the seeming beauty from the idols of the earth?…the sight of peerless worth…

It’s so easy to focus on things of this world, even good things, and take our eyes off that which is peerless worth. God is beyond compare. There is none comparable; no one to be considered his peer.

And suddenly the things that have occupied my time and attention seem flat and shallow compared to his peerless worth. Soak in that as you listen to this song.

 

Hast thou heard Him, seen Him, known Him?
Is not thine a captured heart?
Chief among ten thousand own Him;
Joyful choose the better part.

Captivated by His beauty,
Worthy tribute haste to bring;
Let His peerless worth constrain thee,
Crown Him now unrivaled King.

What can stripped the seeming beauty
From the idols of the earth?
Not a sense of right or duty,
But the sight of peerless worth.

’Tis that look that melted Peter,
’Tis that face that Stephen saw,
’Tis that heart that wept with Mary,
Can alone from idols draw.

peerlessworth

Community: Outside Your Comfort Zone

lyrics for life

There are basically two ways to get community:

  1. You step out of your comfort zone and into someone else’s.
  2. You wait for someone else to leave their comfort zone and step into yours.

One Saturday in late April, five beautifully brave women and two toddlers stepped out of their comfort zones and into my home, while I stepped out of my comfort zone and hosted an (in) Real Life Conference.

What is the (in)Real Life Conference or (in)RL, you may ask? The conference that comes to you, the women behind (in)courage.me host a webcast on the last weekend in April and encourage women to meet together in homes across the country.

DSCF0002

The discussion centered around community and learning to tell your story. It’s an amazing thing that by one person opening up and sharing part of their story, others find the freedom to do the same. We end up in closer, more honest, community as a result. Through the course of the that Saturday, the six of us were able to share parts of our stories with each other. Even though I knew all the women on varying levels, I was thrilled to learn something new about each one of them as we shared.

DSCF0005

Earlier in April, my friend, Brooke, led a women’s training session for our church. She shared a great article by Paul Tripp that fit so well with the conference. In Who Knows You?, Tripp talks about two character qualities to shape your life by:

COURAGE OF LOVING HONESTY. “You will want relationships where truth can be spoken, where honesty lives, and where candor thrives. Truth should be spoken in love (Ephesians 4:15), but you won’t be afraid of what will be revealed about your heart and life.”

HUMILITY OF APPROACHABILITY. “When sins and weaknesses and failures are revealed about you, you won’t rise to your own defense. You won’t summon your inner defense lawyer and try to argue for your own righteousness. You will admit your need for help and run to where help can be found – Jesus Christ and the promise of a new heart.”

I highly recommend you read the whole article.

Don’t wait for someone else to break out of their comfort zone. Make the first step. Grab that courage and humility and dive into life where you can share your story and get to know someone else’s.

What can you do to build a deeper relationship with someone around you? What would be the first step to breaking out of your comfort zone?

**Thanks to a gracious host gift from Dayspring, I was able to offer these gorgeous Lyrics for Life plaques as giveaways to the women who attended the (in)RL Conference in my home. **

 

Why I Get Excited about the True/False Film Fest

Poster created by artist Akiko Stehrenberger with art direction by veteran T/F collaborator, Erik Buckham. More of Akiko’s work will be on display at Uprise Bakery during the festival, with 10% of the sales going towards the True Life Fund.

Columbia is about to explode with the True/False Film Fest, a documentary film festival, beginning Thursday evening through Sunday, March 2. It’s one of my favorite things about this city. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably see a lot of T/F posts in the next few days.

Tom and I had the privilege to be Juggernaut Volunteers for 3 years, beginning in 2010. It was a purposeful decision, prompted by one of our elders at Karis Church, to be involved in the life of our city, by giving of our time and energy to support the welfare of the city. Prior to volunteering, we essentially avoided downtown during the Fest due to heavy traffic and crowds of people.

We just weren’t documentary people.

Wow. We have so changed since then.

After having missed last year due to a work conflict, we are so excited to be back this year as both passholders and sponsors of True/False. We love the crowds, because it’s a community. Standing in line, you compare notes with total strangers about the films, the buskers, the restaurants, and the parties. Everyone you rub shoulders with during the Fest has a great story to share about how they were touched by a documentary they just watched. I love hearing the passion in the directors’ voices as they share how they were led to create their documentary. It’s a thrill to be part of an interactive crowd whose emotions audibly follow the highs and lows of each film.

I mentioned that our involvement was very intentional. Along with friends of ours, we didn’t want to be Christians who stayed in our secure little corner, only touched by and touching the lives of other safe Christians. Tom summed it up so well in his blog post from our first year’s experience:

“…we, as Karis, are located in the downtown area and we feel a close connection and a real love for our City, and when you love something you want to serve it, and serve it well. So what a better opportunity to serve our City by serving at the Festival.

I didn’t really understand the importance of this, or really even think about it, until early Sunday morning. I volunteered to make a couple of airport runs during the festival along with serving on Rob’s team. I got to pick up a film director in St. Louis on Friday evening and I got to take a festival celebrity to Kansas City Sunday morning. So, at 5:15 am on Sunday, I picked up Jonathan at the hotel so he could make his 8:30 am flight to Los Angeles. When he got in my car he immediately thanked me for volunteering to drive him two hours one way at 5am. Then he asked me, “How did you get involved with True/False and why are you doing it?” So I told him about Karis Church and the “Rob Squad.” I told him that we were a group of people who loved Columbia and we just wanted to be there to serve our City. His response was probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. At first he just sat there with his mouth wide open. Then he said, “You mean a church is out doing practical things and serving a film festival? No f*****g way! Whoops, I guess I shouldn’t cuss in front of you!” He then went on to tell me about Los Angeles where he lives and how churches there are so self-focused and that there was no way any church there would ever do what we were doing. Now who knows if that is really true, but that is at least his perception. Then he thanked me for being part of a church who was not afraid to step out of our own little comfortable box (Not his exact words, but that was what he said in a nutshell).”

Don’t you love it?

Last week, we were thrilled to hear that the NY Times ran an article about True/False and its partnership with a local church, The Crossing, which also seeks to invest in the community around it. You can read that article here, along with a thoughtful response from The Crossing’s pastor, Dave Cover, here.

I’m excited to live in a community that not only hosts festivals like True/False, but also consists of Christians and churches who are willing to roll up their shirt sleeves and get involved, for the good of the city.

Disturbed, Satisfied, and Enough

Why are you crying? C’mon, you can tell me. What’s wrong?

The last click of high school[Day155]*

Photo credit: Chapendra (Creative Commons)

Has anyone ever asked you this, but you couldn’t answer? More than that, you didn’t know the answer?

I can picture myself on the floor by my high school locker, with my best friend, Andre’, patiently trying to figure out what was going on.

Poor boy.
Like he could ever understand a teenage girl. He had no idea what was wrong.

Problem is, sometimes neither did I.

There was so much comfort when I discovered David’s words,

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

David, king of Israel and called a man after God’s own heart, knew what it was like to be down and not fully understand why. Wow! As a confused, hormonal teen, that was music to my ears. Even today, that is so comforting.

Now look back at the beginning of the Psalm (verses 1-2):

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

It all begins with desiring God as a basic necessity for life. Like water to a living thing. Do you remember, as a kid, how you would play and play, not thinking at all about food or drink, when suddenly it’s hits you – you’re starving! And you’re dying of thirst! That’s when drinking from the hose tasted the best (yeah, I know kids aren’t allowed to do that anymore and this blog does not endorse such behavior, blah, blah, blah). But it’s only after being that thirsty that the water tasted best.

I love this song that we sometimes sing in Karis Church, Satisfied in You. It’s one of those songs that I often have to sing as a prayer, because I’m not often in the place where I can say I’m satisfied in God. I want to be. But I’m often not there.

Yesterday, Justin and Trisha Davis posted The Most Important Question on their blog. Please click over and read the whole post, but in case you don’t, here’s the question: “Is Jesus enough?…Is he truly enough or do I desire the things he gives me more than I desire him? If everything else goes away…is Jesus enough?” The post goes on to list specific scenarios. You may find yourself in one or more of them. I did.

So where are you today? Disturbed and downcast? Satisfied and thirsting for God? A little of both?

Will you, with me, live these words from the song?

Let my sighs give way to songs that sing about Your faithfulness.
Let my pain reveal Your glory as my only real rest.
Let my losses show me all I truly have is You. Because all I truly have is You.

I’m linking up with

Day 26: Nothing is Wasted

Nothing_is_wastedI think we’re on a trend here. This is not the post I planned to write today, but carrying over from the heartache posted on Thursday night and hope glimpsed yesterday, this is the right finish to these thoughts. These are truths I need to rest in. These are promises you need to rest in.

There are hurts that need healing (we all have them). And we serve a Sovereign God who uses the bad, the hurts, the hardships, for our good and His glory.

I was just reliving some past hurtful years through re-connection with a former classmate. While I would have loved to not have had those hard times, I can definitely see how God has used them to help me to grow, to give me compassion, to develop my character in ways that would not have happened if it had not been for those experiences.

There are specific people I have in mind as I listen to the words of this song. I wish I could name you, but that might increase your hurt. This may be for you, so listen closely.

God does not delight in the hurts that we receive, in particular, ones that come as a consequence of someone else’s sin. But he takes them, uses them, and shapes us through those hurts to look ever more like the image of Himself. Nothing is wasted.

This trial that you can’t see your way out of – nothing is wasted.

The pain that goes deep to your heart of hearts – nothing is wasted.

The tears you cry that no one sees – nothing is wasted.

In the hands of our Redeemer, nothing is wasted.

The hurt that broke your heart
And left you trembling in the dark
Feeling lost and alone
Will tell you hope’s a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

It’s from the deepest wounds
That beauty finds a place to bloom
And you will see before the end
That every broken piece is
Gathered in the heart of Jesus
And what’s lost will be found again

When hope is more than you can bear
And it’s too hard to believe it could be true
And your strength fails you halfway there
You can lean on me and I’ll believe for you
And in time you will believe it, too

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
Sometimes we are waiting
in sorrow we have tasted
but joy will replace it
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

Today, Dear Friend, if your strength fails you halfway there, lean on me and I’ll believe for you. Nothing is wasted in the hands of our Redeemer. I pray in time you will believe it, too.

Much love,
Janice

Today is Day 26 of 31 days of being called to rest.

I’m linking up with

Day 25: Truth to Rest Upon

Yesterday, I let you peek inside a dark corner of my heart. And thank you to everyone who commented, both on the blog and off.

Secret Garden

What was purposefully missing was the wrap up. The promises. The blessings. The hope. And I was so encouraged that so many of the comments brought those to light.

God is always with us. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.

Everyone feels alone at some time. Our sin which separates us from God, also separates us from each other.

Comparing ourselves to others comes from hearts prone to sin. Hearts that are deceitful and don’t tell us the truth.

There is grace for when we fail others. There is grace when we fail ourselves. There is grace when we fail God.

Light inside the garden

These are truths to rest upon.

What other truths of God do you need to rest on right now?

Today is day 25 of 31 Days of Rest. If you missed any days, click here to go back to the beginning.

Day 22: When Words Fail

See more at emilyburgerdesigns.com

I’m kind of at a loss for words tonight, so I’m sharing some quotes, mostly scripture, on rest. I hope they speak to you the words that escape me.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”  — Isaiah 30:15

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.  — Psalm 62:1-2, 5-8

Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee. – Saint Augustine

What thoughts on rest have you uncovered recently?

 

Day 21: Jesus I am Resting, Resting

Two weeks ago we sang this song at church, appropriate since the sermon focused on the Sabbath (you can find the link to listen to Aarik’s sermon here). My mom also brought the song to mind in a recent email.

This is my favorite of all the verses…

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

…partly because of those middle lines, “satisfies my heart; satisfies its deepest longings, meets supplies its every need” – wow. That’s one of those phrases that I have to sing as a prayer, asking God to make that be true, because so often I don’t feel that anything is satisfying all the deepest longings of my heart.

I often find I sing that way – not boldly stating something, but begging God to give me what those words are saying. Have you ever felt that?

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

I may not be able to claim I am resting, but I can whisper it in prayer, Jesus help me to rest in the joy of what you are.

Jesus I am resting

Today is Day 21 of being called to rest.

 

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

  • I’m so glad you’re here!

    Thanks for taking time to read my posts in the midst of all the great blogs out in the blogosphere! If you like what you read, please follow me, or sign up to get my posts in your inbox. I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment!
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 754 other followers

  • Follow me on Twitter

  • Check these out:

    31Days_Rest_thumb
  • Copyright 2014 Claygirlsings | all rights reserved

  • Advertisements