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Saturday, May 28, 2011

everything made Centrifugal pt. 5

Do you like this serial posting? Well, too bad if you don't. It would be one humongous post if I didn't. I know huge posts are typical for me, but I figured it would be easier this way. I also want you to keep reading my blog because I'm egotistical like that.

Back to the story.

My camp director, Danny, gave me a call the Saturday before my sister's baby shower. I was running around, hanging decorations, getting food, and some other things that I can't really remember. Needless to say, I was in need of a break. I knew the time was getting close to when he'd be calling me, so I stopped everything I was doing and stared at the phone. Not really. I just turned up the volume so I wouldn't miss his call. Are you liking all of this mundane rambling? It will all make sense soon enough.

I don't know if he was watching the clock waiting for it to turn exactly the time he said he call so he could hit send, but that boy called me exactly when he said he would. I appreciated that because I'm that person who's early to everything if I can help it. I probably just invited the Lord to test me on that.

Anyway, we talked for upwards of an hour about camp life, my life, his life, our hearts for missions, and our fears and anxieties about camp. This is his third year working camp but his first as a director and his first year at a Centrifuge camp. (I promise to give you more on the different camps later.) I kept hoping in the back of my head that I wouldn't say something stupid. I'm pretty sure I did, but he didn't let on if I did. I almost always say something stupid in an attempt to break the ice, make someone laugh (which they usually just end up laughing at me), or to cover up how nervous I am. So, there. You know my secret. Please give me grace if I act like a buffoon when I first meet you.

Danny kept reiterating that I have nothing to fear because he felt like God is going to do something huge this summer and that he and the leadership team are here to set us up for success. I'm glad because if they were there to make us fail, I think I would respectfully decline the position. I don't say that with sarcasm because I believe that there are leaders out there who target their teams to belittle them to see them fail. It's a sad truth. I digress.

After talking with him, some of my fears were squelched, but I still had a ton of questions. I had this deep desire to know as much as I could about camp. Let's face it, an introvert working a summer camp isn't exactly an equation people usually write. (Bring on the metaphors, baby!) I think I trapped myself in my introversion and rode on those fears for a while. I oh-so-conveniently forgot about all the work God has done in my life to bring me outside myself. It's easier to retreat. It's exhausting to turn outward. Ask any introvert.

As a staff, we posted about ourselves on our Facebook page, and I kept reading about all these wonderful people. God was reaffirming that these folks and I are connected through His Son. The key to not falling flat on my face is to ask for help and actually allow the others to do that.

But. I couldn't let me fears go. They were comfortable, and I could control them. Deeper still, letting them go meant letting go of my innate pride. I built up my wall of fears and anxieties (despite everyone telling me I'd be great), but that wall came crashing down in one amazing weekend.

Friday, May 27, 2011

everything made Centrifugal pt. 4

...continued from Parts 1, 2, and 3...

Ask the staff I'm working with this summer, and they'll tell you that I'm scared I'll screw everything up. Really, though, how silly is that? One tiny person screwing up a camp that changed lives. It's laughable. But, I've been afraid that I'll mess up doing my job.

I keep mentioning that, my job. Perhaps I'll shed some light on it. ...tomorrow... just kidding!

Where was I in the story?

Ah, yes.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

everything made Centrifugal pt. 3

...continued from Part 1... and Part 2...

After I hung up with my conversation with Megan, I couldn't concentrate.

I just kept thinking about when I was applying, I prayed with all my might that if God wanted me at Fuge, I would get the job offer. That may seem like a weird thing to say, but sometimes things happen, and it's hard to discern what we're supposed to do. At that time, I was so desperate for clarity. I wanted out of this job and to be on the foreign mission field. I knew, though, that due to past sins and deeply desiring to honor God in paying back the debts I owe, I was going to have to stay on mission at home.

Regarding my current job, something wasn't sitting right in my heart. I was antsy, and as time progressed, I realized that a lot of it was me being ungrateful and selfish. I couldn't justify that I was honoring God in this job. I couldn't see the benefit of being pushed around by clients, a demanding job, and a boss who (I thought) didn't really care for me or my work.  It's all about me, right? See where the selfish desires are surfacing? Never mind that God might be trying to work on me, my boss, or some clients. If I didn't feel right, I was out of place. Funny thing, though. If God wanted me somewhere else, He'd send me.

And, He did. He answered my prayers. Of course, a lot of new anxieties started surfacing. (I get more and more anxious the less and less I read the Word and seek Him.) How am I going to tell my boss about this summer? What if I can't handle this new position? What if my passion doesn't translate to the students, adults, and fellow staffers? WHAT IF [insert anything that can go wrong here]?

God answered a desperate plea in a huge way, and I thank Him by being anxious. It's a wonder He doesn't smite me. I really do have to laugh at myself. My own anxieties are a reminder of Him and His gracious love and patience. When I ponder that, I desire Him more, and I realize how things are so perfectly orchestrated.

He's beautiful, and His story is evident in this story. I'm grateful for this process. I hope as I continue to tell this story that you will see Him and not me. You'll understand the title of this series of posts soon enough, too. I hope you fall in love with my fellow staffers so that you can pray for them like I do. I hope you fall in love more and more with our Creator because you can see where He is strong where I am weak.

Then, I called Megan, and told her, "I'm in." Yes, those were my exact words.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

everything made Centrifugal pt. 2

...continued from Part 1...

My phone rang, but I couldn't get to it in time. I recognized the area code, and I knew it was someone at Lifeway (they sponsor Fuge camps). A few seconds later, my phone alerted me that I had a voice mail. I kind of stared at the notice for a minute wondering if they'd leave me a rejection voicemail. (I'll later learn they're not like that, but it's been done to me before.) I thought I'd let the suspense build until lunch, so I could go listen in the privacy of my car.

Then, my boss announced that he was leaving the office for a few hours to do some personal things. I thought to myself, "I'm a multi-tasker. I can listen to this voice mail and type pleadings and letters." So, I did. The message was from Megan. "Hey, Jennifer! Please call me when you get this. I'd like to talk to you about your interview and this summer." Or something like that. My thought: "That's good, right?" (If you haven't noticed, I tend to think the worst of myself despite the fact that because of Christ, I have done amazing things and can do amazing things if I rely on Him. I make fun of myself, but it's serious heart issue, and I would appreciate some prayer.)

So, I called Megan back, and I think she answered the first time. I don't remember if we played phone tag that time or not. Here's my vague recollection of that conversation:

"Hi, Megan! It's Jennifer; I'm returning your call."
"Hi! How are you?" [niceties ensue between us, then we get to business]
M: "I know that you applied for M-Fuge [uh-oh], but [yay!!] I need a Missions Mobilizer at Carson- Newman, and I believe you would be a great fit. Carson-Newman is a Centrifuge Camp which is different than an M-Fuge camp, so I wasn't sure if you were set on M-Fuge. If you are, I can put you back in the M-Fuge stack, and if something opens up, I can give you a call. What do you think?"
J: [speechless for a half a second] "Oh wow. I totally want this." [Thoughts: Holy cow! I can't believe this. THANK YOU GOD!! Whoa. This is huge.]

We talked for a bit longer, and she encouraged me to pray about it and talk to my boss about it and to call her back within a day or two to let her know my decision. As you can tell from my first post, I did accept the position. We'll talk about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

everything made Centrifugal pt. 1

***click on the prayer tab for prayer updates related to this set of upcoming posts***
As some of you know (and for others who don't), I am working a camp this summer. For some, that may completely surprise you. It surprised me, but it's something that's been intriguing me for years. I finally had a summer to do it, and God blew open doors. I applied to work a Fuge camp called M-Fuge. From what I gathered when I applied and from talking with friends, M-Fuge is a missions/ service centered camp. As I was reading the different position descriptions, I landed on the Missions Mobilizer. I asked one of my best friends and a now four-time Fuge staffer about the position, and she told me there is only one per camp and that they usually have those lined up pretty early. So, I filed that away, and applied to be a staffer at M-Fuge.

I had a phone interview (after some Skype issues) with the very sweet Megan R. We talked for nearly an hour about my heart for missions and my life, and I learned some pretty awesome things about camp and about her.  I think I interviewed sometime in February, and I remember her telling me that I'll hear something back in late April.

About two weeks later, I got a call...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

everything made stormy

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Romans 8:18-22

Recently, some storms have ripped through the Southeast. It's not uncommon for us to get some nasty weather during the summer, but I cannot recall ever getting stuff like this week after week.

Last night, 11 Georgians died because of the storms and more than 150 Alabamans were taken. Friends' hometowns were demolished. Friends' siblings were barely missed.

Here's a chilling video of a tornado ripping through Ringgold, Georgia. 
It's never easy to see people we love and people we don't even know go through something like this. Whether it's a tsunami in Japan, earthquake in Haiti, or tornadoes in the US, there is hope. Just like we are broken, creation is broken. We broke it. Thankfully, we have a Savior who has and is and will always redeem us. Through the brokenness, people are helping those in need. Through the brokenness, people are recovering and rebuilding. Through the brokenness, broken hearts and weary souls are gaining rest.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:23-25

Jesus came to restore His broken creation. He restored it to God. It's amazing that God's glory is seen in the brokenness being restored. OUR brokenness being restored. Though we continually slap God in the face and spit on the cross, He comes running to us when we turn to Him. 
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Romans 8:26- 30

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

everything made BABY!!

She's here!! My niece is here!!

I don't remember if I ever talked about my sister being pregnant on my other blog, but I know I posted tons about it on Facebook and Twitter.

After some very difficult labor and a long delivery, God blessed us with Miss Ellesey May! Born at 5:38pm on April 26, 2011 at 6lbs. 9oz. and 19 inches long.

It's amazing how after so much pain, something so beautiful happens. I hope that Miss E helps mom and dad forget about the struggles from this pregnancy. 

Our lives are forever changed, and I cannot wait to get to know this little girl!!

Please, post your prayers for baby and new mommy and daddy!

Welcome to world, Little Miss!