Dec 30, 2010

The Man Behind the Manger


Joe

These last three months have been torture, but Marie's memory keeps me holding on. My heart aches with longing for my love, my sweet Mary. She's coming back home today! I can't begin to describe how glad I am that I can come to pick her up and see her once more. . . and our wedding is so soon! We're going straight from the airport o pick out my tux, and tomorrow we'll be looking for a florist for our big day. All the pretty little preparations that will make our day even more flawless and wonderful. I can't wait to see her. I hope she likes her present that I picked out for her. . .

I drive quickly and steadily to the airport, ten minutes before her plane lands. In the busy, bustling terminal, I sit in a chair and rake rake my fingers through my hair nervously. That makes me smile a little; she's always made fun of the way I do that to my hair when I get anxious. It's how she knew I was about to propose.

I wonder if I'll recognize her? Did she get a tan at her cousin's place these last few weeks? Is she as excited as I am for her homecoming? I laugh a little at myself. How can she not be? We've written for months about how we couldn't wait for our engagement, our matrimony, our wedding night. Both of us have saved everything for each other, even our first kiss : to be shared at the altar. I love her, so very much. My beautiful bride.

Passengers start to file into the few empty spaces around me; her plane has unloaded. I search the crowd from my chair, knowing that if I stand I'll end up looking right over her head. I can't find her anywhere. Then, a tap on my shoulder- I turn around to look right into her eyes. I stand up and embrace her, drinking her n with my hug and my eyes. I pull apart to look at her. Her gentle face. Her curly hair. Her small frame.

Wait - round frame. Round stomach. No. It can't be. . .

She seizes the look on my face," Yes," her words slip from a throat tight with tears," I'm pregnant, Joseph."

I crumple into a chair like a man that's been run through with a sword. My Mary is no longer mine. Someone has been holding her, touching her, kissing her. How? How else? What can I do? What can I say? I look into her eyes, and hear sobs. She's not crying; these cries are my own. Words slip in whispers out of my mouth.

"How could you?" I choke from the inner workings of my heart," How could you?"

"God," she whispers," He placed in me the Messiah."


In church, we sing and read about Mary, the manger, and shepherds seeing a star. Wise men journey from the East, and King Herod loses his cool. Why does no one seem to remember Joseph in all of this: the man standing behind the manger, looking into the eyes of a boy who is not his son, trusting in God and in his virgin betrothed, whom he has yet to marry? That it some crazy faith.

As this Holiday Season draws to a close, a wish you a happy New Year and hope that in yourself you may find a miraculous faith. God could always use another Joseph.

Dec 29, 2010

Whirlwind

These last few weeks have been a definite whirlwind for me. So many different things have been happening and going somewhat wrong. Things have been difficult. I'm not going to lie.
I hope you all had a wonderful day celebrating the birth of our dear Savior! Mine was. . . Well, interesting. Christmas Eve was wonderful. I went to my church's Christmas Eve service, and it was just amazing to be in God's presence there. Afterward, we went to my uncle's house for Christmas Eve dinner and we all had a blast. Then Christmas morning was pretty great, too! We all had fun opening gifts and it was just an enjoyable time. Then. . . Christmas afternoon came. My family and I were going down to Duluth for christmas dinner at my mom's brother's house. My aunt wanted to come, but my grandma (who was making the food) said there wouldn't be enough. Well, it ended with my mom leaving with my aunt coming to get her because of her being angy that my aunt couldn't come.
Going back further, well, I lost a friend that was aforementioned in "Never Alone." He is not living for Christ right now, and things have ended poorly for us. He has turned to swearing and anger, because his dad left them. I think he could really use some prayer right now. Prayer that he will come back to God. I ended up deleting him on Facebook because of previous things, and he sent me an angry message. We texted, and I doubt he listened to a single thing that I had to say to him. I have to let it go, though, and trust God will get him back to where he needs to be. It's the hardest thing that I've ever had to do, but it is for the best for the both of us. That makes it a little bit easier.
I'm not complaining. I've definitely learned to rely on God more than anything else in the world through everything that has been happening with my family and my friend. I've learned to trust in Him with all that I have and to give every part of me to Him. It's been amazing really, to just give it all up. It's a freeing sensation, but yet it is frightening because I don't know where the Lord is going to lead me. That's okay, though.
I've been thinking about living for the dot and the line a lot lately, and which one I've been living for. I must admit, I haven't been living for the line lately, but I'm changing that. the dot is a scary thing to live for. You tend to lose yourself to selfishness and pride. I'm not about to gain the whole world and lose my soul in the process.

So, I have a challenge for you. Think about it. i mean, REALLY think about it. Are YOU living for the dot, or the LINE?

Dec 26, 2010

Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project: The Urimos!

After typing about fifty different salutations at the beginning of this post, all of them corny, I've decided to just begin. I hope you all had a very merry celebration of Christ's birth with your families! Here we go!

A couple weeks ago in church, I picked up a Wycliffe Newsletter to read (an elderly couple in our congregation translate in Cambodia. They've been there 6 months of every year for who knows how long). I read about Vision 2025 : Wycliffe's Goal of starting a bible translation project in every language group that needs one. With current progress, a new project is started every 5 days, but at that rate, Vision 2025 will be completed in 2038. That gives a lot of time for people to die without hearing God's word.

Anyway, I sent in to become part of the Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project , which sends you a prayer card with the name of an unreached people group on it. I just got mine on Christmas Eve!!! They keep track of your info and if there are any developments, they send you updates!

I'm doing research as I write this, but let's see what I can find out about the Urimo People of Papua New Guinea!

Oct 15, 2010

Never Alone

I cried out with no reply
And I can't feel You
By my side
So I'll hold tight to
What I know
You're here, and I'm never alone

The chorus for the song above by Barlow Girl was basically the soundtrack of my life last week. I experienced an all-time-low in my spiritual life. I'd have to say that those were the worst two days of my life. I just couldn't feel God with me, and that was weird because I had just come off this mega, ultra, super high from going to a Tenth Avenue North concert on my birthday.

Riding home from th concert, I was overcome with this sadness; this deep, soul-wrenching sadness that wracked my entire mind. I couldn't figure out why. At all. I had had an awesome time that weekend and I should have been happy that I got to experience it at all, but instead, all I felt was sad.

When I woke up on Monday to go to school, I just felt. . . Alone. I know, that may sound strange, but

Oct 4, 2010

Freeze Tag

Kids run and scream and giggle after Sunday School, playing in the grass outside of the church. Freeze tag. Have you ever played? The way these little ones play, one boy in particular is almost always "it". He's fast, and the boys admire his speed. The girls are afraid of his cooties. Imagine he was running up to you. You run. You play along, but trip accidentally. You're tagged. Frozen.



You can't move at all, and for your young mind, it seems like the end of the world. You hold your breath. Scared, sad, and suspecting defeat; you stay still as a statue. Suddenly you're not alone. Some other child comes over swiftly; and in an act of pure chivalry, touches your hand to free you from your invisible captivity. You're free to run and giggle once more, this time being faster, stronger, and careful not to fall. You feel different now. Not quite as invincible.


Where do you go from here? Do you stay on the outskirts of the game and dawdle carefully on the borderline? Do you tease the "it" and try to prove your speed and reclaim your dignity? I never really did either of those when I was little, to tell you the truth. I was a superhero (in my head, at least.) I'd run around, unfreezing the players around me.

It was a sure-fire way to win. The "it" would give up, never freezing every one of us. When we worked to help each other in the fray, we succeeded. The enemy fell at the feet of those who were on the side of good.

I think these children were on to something.

Sep 25, 2010

Hanging By a Moment

Life is fragile; so are friendships and relationships with people. that's what I have learned these last couple of weeks. All of us are constantly changing and becoming more of who we are. Sometimes it's a good thing, but at other times it can be bad.

God has been showing me lately how constant He is and how He'll never change. He's always there helping me overcome the world and its unfaithfulness. These last couple of weeks have been hard with friends and not having any sense of direction. People let you down, and that is just a "simple" part of life, but is it really?

Sep 13, 2010

The Testimony Of The Perfect Catch



A pastor's sermon ends with an "Amen" and the congregation disperses to visit amongst themselves. Amidst the hustle and bustle, a little girl wanders away from her big and busy family to explore the church on her own. Her little green dress swishes up against the staircase as she holds onto the handrail with the loose grip of a toddler, seeing the upstairs as a wonderland of possibilities. The grown-ups don't see her; she's far too small to notice and old enough not to draw the attention of the cheek-pinching old ladies and yelling big kids. The steps are an obstacle, but she continues on.

At the top of the stairs, she sees no one but the reflection of herself in her shiny black Sunday shoes and starts to feel very, very lonely. The mere idea of seeing her Mommy downstairs is a glorious thought, but by now it's so very far away. Brown curls bounce atop her little head as she walks to the floors edge and climbs to the top of the balcony's railing, knowing she could see Mama if she only looked down hard enough.

Sep 11, 2010

The Call of Jeremiah (According to Amorette)

What is "The Call of Jeremiah"? (No, it's not your buddy, Jeremy, calling you up on his cell. Nice try.) The title of the blog refers to the moment that God came to the prophet, Jeremiah, for the very first time. (Jeremiah 1:5) Like us, Jeremiah was young, nervous, and didn't know what to say. I can relate to that- witnessing is a crazy, mind-boggling thing, especially when you're not old enough to be taken seriously by most people. A lot of us just avoid it altogether and slip into the role the World wants us to play in society: selfish, rebellious, irresponsible, promiscuous people who don't care about anything. You want to be normal, to fit in, to be popular. Right?

Wrong. If you are saved from eternal, well-deserved, torture by the Almighty God, shouldn't you be different, not "normal" like you're striving for? When you accept the gift of eternity you simply CAN'T fit in anymore, you're set apart as a child of the King of all Kings. Sorry, but these ideas won't really make you "popular", either.

It's no wonder teenagers like us don't want to share their faith; it's a scary thing! However, it's a necessary scary thing. I ask you to think of this; your Best Friend. I'm not kidding- take a moment and really think.

Are they tall or short? Do you have similar interests? Are you always on the phone with them, or do you prefer to chat in person? Do they text, email, or IM you, just to check on how you're doing? Now think of the other people in this world that you don't know that well: the punk kid who sits next to you in one class, the quiet kid sleeping in the corner of the lunch room, the intimidating jock in gym class. . . they ALL have a personality and a soul and are loved dearly by YOUR God. And most of them probably don't even know it.

Being different from these people and the rest of the world doesn't mean you're meant to sit in Heaven, laughing as the kids who teased you, raped you, constantly bullied you, or ignored you burn in Hell. God didn't send Jesus into the world to condemn the "bad sinners" , but to save EVERYONE. (John 3:17) As the sons and daughters of this all-powerful king, we are obligated to work at this mission forever, until we are out of time. That's the Call.

We aren't all going to be missionaries that travel far away to lands undiscovered and uncivilized. The Call of Jeremiah is to be different, representing the King, showing the world what it means to love unconditionally, no matter what we do with our lives. Together, we can lead a darkened world to the light of salvation, supporting one another all the while. Jesus is Calling.

Are you going to pick up and accept the challenge?

The Call of Jeremiah (According to Petey)

To me, TCOJ is an outreach blog to the lost, unsaved, saved, and the found. We can reach out to everyone and show everyone God's love for us all. It will give us a chance to express how we have grown, or maybe even fallen in the past weeks or days. Like Essa and Amorette said, we never claimed to be perfect. It's a chance for us to say what's on our hearts and minds and to see how God is working in other people's lives this very moment.

It also gives us a chance to talk to other people about the LORD and maybe work through some difficult times that they are having. Satan is trying his very hardest to make us, as Christians or the unsaved, to fall as much as possible so that we fall away from God and towards him. He wants to pluck us from His hand, but as some of us well know, we are chosen and that can't, nor will it, happen. Sure, we may fall away, but He always, always, always, brings us back to Him, like the song "Here is Our King" by the David Crowder Band says.

Below are some things that I know that we are and what we aren't:

1. We are normal people, just like you. We are just three girls on a mission, and that mission is to

"The Call of Jeremiah" (According to Essa)

Read Jeremiah 1: 4-9, 17-19


Whenever I read a bible verse about courage, I get excited. It's taken a lot of courage to overcome my fears this year, but it's still an issue for me. When I found this passage a few weeks ago, school was about to start. Beginning a new year is difficult, and I was unsure of many things. I'm not the confrontational type, but certain things bother me immensely, so Jeremiah 1 is extremely helpful in this aspect.
Let's take a closer look...