Saturday, 20 June 2009

Fifteen Minutes & Counting

I can't believe how quickly this past year has gone for me. I have learned so much, done so much and grown so much, but in some ways I feel quite the same... time is funny like that; summer to summer I feel like the school year somehow collapses into itself, and in a flash it's summer again and I'm grasping at the last few moments before I am overwhelmed by teenagers and the chaos they bring to camp. Similarly, in September I feel as though the summers fold into themselves, like a paper I can stick in my back pocket - just a memory, just a moment - and it's school again.

Ten more minutes of normalcy. Looking into the next year I can honestly say that I have no idea what will come. I'm going back to school, but what will I learn? Who will I meet? How will I serve? What can I teach and do and say and be for Him? Will I find love? Will I find a job? Will I get stronger in my faith and mind and body? What will happen? I have peace in not knowing the answers right now. God is moving, God is active, Jesus does love me and I am learning to love Him back. i know that I will learn even though I don't know what. I know that I am dearly loved, whether that affection will come from my family and friends or a man; God's got me, and so i needn't be anxious, nervous or fearful... but I am excited!

Even this summer holds so many mysteries for me. I'm leading the Junior High program at MBC, and (praise God!) I have a full staff of three under me. Who will they be? How can I help them grow? what can I learn from them? (More questions, always more questions.)

Five more minutes. After lunch our grounds will be bursting with people - parents bringing their kids to work, kids dragging luggage and instruments and siblings behind them as they move in, staff trying to usher them into the right rooms and randoms... well, we're not always sure what the randoms are doing, but sometimes they pitch in and lend a hand.

Three minutes. Someone is whistling down the hall from my room, my guitar is still in the laundry room, my left pant leg is wet and dampening my right sock and I didn't take out my garbage this morning. The last minute thoughts are always a little obscure. One more minute.

What will your summer hold? Maybe you don't know yet - but I encourage you to make the most of every opportunity you are given. Learn, love, serve, sing, walk, wait, wander, explore, enthuse, embrace and encourage.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


I have missed you.

It has been a busy month in my life and there is so much that I need to take time to recount, but it is not the Florida story nor the mint-stealing story nor even the secret hide-out story that I want to tell you tonight -- the tales of my many adventures on Spring Crew are going to have to wait a few posts longer -- because tonight my heart is living at a deeper place. Please take a moment to find your reading glasses and grab an air tank and some flippers because tonight we are indeed taking a dive.

In preparation for my job this summer I have been doing a lot of thinking. I'm planning curriculum for every day of the ten-week break from school, and though the paperwork of it all is enough to drown a bookworm it is the content of my reading material that has been weighing most on my mind. I've been... opened.

Vainly, perhaps, I like to think of myself as a bit of a pistachio: certainly a cracked nut but with a bit of a shell to keep the world at bay. Turns out the shell was mostly made of ego - and ego doesn't hold up that well when it's God prying away at your heart. If the metaphor is too vague or too much feel free to just nod and smile and pretend like I'm making sense. This note is largely to try and reconcile and process this to myself. The point is, I have been emotionally de-shelled.

Allow me to help you get inside the mind-frame of a nut that has lost it's shell. The first thing you discover is the sunshine... there's more of it! More air, more space, more everything. You begin to realize just how much you'd been missing about reality locked inside the shell. But then the exposure hits you - you feel incredibly insecure, you've lost your protective dark nooks and crannies, you begin to feel the scorch of the sun against newly uncovered skin and the shell you had just relished in releasing suddenly seems like the only safe place to be. You are acutely aware of being watched. It's not exactly a warm or fuzzy feeling. There is a certain shame in not only action or word but thought - there is no getting away with it now - and when you try, the guilt is unbearable. So what is a bare little pistachio to do with herself?

God, with his paring knife of conviction and instruction, is cleaning me up a bit. there are a few bad spots of thought and action that need to be cut out; there is some doubt and judgment and denial that needs scraping off - and I think there may still be more that I have not yet realized - but as the sun's glare begins to dim I am seeing more and more of the one who is cupping my shell-less rotten little life in His hands, and as I see more of Him and get to know Him better I am getting more and more convinced of His care and less and less threatened by my surroundings. I have begun to see a whole new kind of security, found in the deep lines and the soft touch of the gardener's hands -- of the Creator's hands.

This summer will be a challenging one; I will be teaching and leading, but I will also be learning and led. As God shaves away at my tough outer layer and shapes my into the kind of "pistachio" I ought to be, I pray I will be cooperative and flexible. Please pray that for me as well.

And while you're on your knees, please be praying for my staff. I still need one more person and we're working on filling the last few pieces both here and at Widjiitiwin. I will write a few more normal posts throughout the summer to keep you updated, whenever I find a few motivated moments. But for now just know... You too are held in the hands of the Creator. Whether he has cracked you open recently or if you're waiting on the lightening bolt, I hope that God will show you whatever you need to see or hear to understand.