February 2014 Recap

Friday, February 28, 2014

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The teensy-weensy month of February that is a great divide for the cold winter months and the hope of spring has come and gone.

Acting as a transitional month for many areas of life, not just the weather, February found itself sandwiched between January, a month of no traveling, to March which will include on-the-road-every-day traveling. Fort Dodge welcomed me for a quick overnight trip to their local college fair where I met the sweetest of girls who is already passionate about Northwestern and serving God's kingdom.

Work kept all of us busy with a multitude of campus visitors, financial aid training, and my dream come true of cookies in our office for prospective students and their families. My cubicle has finally become more comfortable and welcoming with addition of decorations and dressing it up.

Love abounded this month with the celebration of giving love and being loved not just on Valentine's Day but everyday. There is something so special and satisfying in celebrating and acknowledging a love that is not our own. Something that isn't as lovely is our engagement ring crisis I shared with you! Luckily we have found a few potential answers and everything is coming together.

Great peace has been found in praying through the Psalms as my dear friend Peggy went to be with the Lord this month after a long battle with Cancer. God is good and will remain faithful even through grieving her loss and presence here among us.

In my continual pursuit to find beauty in everyday places, God revealed himself in the intricate details of life. The stillness of long, slender icicles, the contrast of bright red berries and stark white snow, the creativity of local store owners, the moment of it being fifty degrees and feeling like you are on top of the world.

As February draws to an end I am especially thankful for what Jesus is teaching me about justice, advocating for those without a voice, and sharing grace with my neighbors in pursuit of daily life. Like I shared yesterday, today we are off on a new adventure to incorporate these beautiful truths in Lindale, Texas. Here we come March!

Our Friend Peggy

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Our friend Peggy is now experiencing the fullness of eternal life, praise Jesus! Jessica and I were immensely blessed by the opportunity care for Peggy this past summer and share life together.

While sorrow and grieving is definitely present we are so thankful for the memories we had together and the complete healing and restoration she is now experiencing. Her knowledge of crime shows was impeccable, love for her thunder-storm hating dog was incomparable, and witty personality was unwavering.

Jessica and I would at times dread the door bell noise that rang in the middle of the night causing us to get up however we were always greeted with a funny moment or situation that is cherished to this day. In some of the most challenging times, Peggy's humor brought joy and peace just where it was needed.

It sometimes seems unreal to think back on the tiny loft with no doors Jessica and I shared, gossiping with Peggy over her love of tall and strong black men, the times we cuddled Jazz (the dog) in the midst of thunder storms, when we listened to Peggy talk yell on the phone with her almost deaf mother, watching movies that I either guessed the ending to or creeped us out to no end, the many times Peggy or her aids would inquire about our daily runs, the unending supply of sweets on hand (sometimes hidden per Peggy's request from her teenage son), and the many other beautiful moments that are now distant memories.

We loved our friend Peggy and always will.

Jesus & Justice

Monday, February 24, 2014

The college I attended and now work for is thee coolest place. I don't just say that because they are my Alma mater and I was told to always remain faithful or because it is now my job to bring others to the school (even though both of those are true), but because Northwestern actively lives of faith in the world and encourages students to do the same.

Once a year Northwestern has a Day of Learning in which students, staff, and faculty along with community members who choose to participate, engage in dialogue, learning, and discussion over relevant issues and topics in the world today. It is a day to essentially process and digest all that has been thrown at you by professors and put it in the context of being a faithful witness to God.

A few weeks ago our community dove into the topic of Jesus & Justice.
Although justice has turned into somewhat of a buzzword these days, it truly is a heart beat of Christianity. Justice translated words are used almost 3,000 times in the Bible, which is twice as many as love and heaven and seven times as many as hell.

Throughout the day we explored the idea of loving God and others not only with our hearts but also as intelligently and effectively as possible, the idea of stewardship.

You see when I was a younger Christian I was afraid of loving God with my mind. I thought thinking things through meant doubting and doubting was definitely frowned upon. To have faith was to accept who he was in a blissfully happy and innocent relationship with Jesus.

How freeing it is to know and trust that thinking deeply about my Lord and sometimes going through seasons of doubt is not only okay but makes my faith stronger because I know what I believe and why. All this to say, exploring topics of Jesus & Justice like systemic poverty, war and peace, short term missions, immigration, money, and racial segregation that don't have easy answers births freedom to think about, process, and empower one's faith.

My friends, if we talk about grace and giving second chances as people of faith yet we live by corrupt systems, what is this saying about our view of justice? If we are not called to care passionately about people who are not us, then we are not the church.

This challenge has been permeating my heart as of lately. Brothers and sisters, how can we love better, live wiser, and accept more freely? Let's truly engage in being the justice-acting Body of Christ rather than simply going to church that only speaks of justice and does not act. We are the Church!

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