God-Sighting Saturday

Let me count the ways You love me {God Sighting Saturday}

In productive work and deep rest

In time alone and time with others

In timely sermons and songs of hope

In trees lining a rushing creek on a rainy day and a chance to sit and stare and listen

In an “Ode to Joy” on repeat all week long in rehearsal after rehearsal

In walks with friends and time on the floor with babies

In great hugs (and bananas) given generously from your favorite four year old

In clarity about next steps about a big decision even when it comes with disappointment

In dozens of students continuing to show up on campus desperately seeking connection and love and ultimately Jesus

In conversations that just can’t be ‘coincidence’

In friends and mentors and colleagues who stop and listen and really hear and help point the right direction

In unexplainable peace

In a team that KEEPS working together week after hard, awesome week

In safety of friends and family through medical procedures

In good food for my body and good encouragement for my soul

In the chance to sit still and listen to professional musicians rehearse for two hours paying attention to every little detail

In relief and hope

In cancelled meetings that provided the gift of unexpected time

In having a clean kitchen

In a few nights of really good sleep

In the sound of rain

In a fuzzy blanket and warm homemade chai latte’s with “Kansas Sunset Chai” tea

In all this and more, I know You are near, God.

You make it undeniable, whether my eyes are open or not.

Again and again You show up.

Again and again You find new ways to remind me.

Again and again you promise and prove:

I AM HERE.

I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

I am Immanuel–which means God with us. (Matthews 1:23)

I am among you, a mighty one who will save. I will rejoice over you with gladness, quiet you by My love and exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17)

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4)

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

God-Sighting Saturday

9-8-18 {God Sighting Saturday}

    • A congregation gathered to pound the door of heaven seeking wisdom which our faithful Father promises to pour out
    • Two hours on a couch with a dear friend, sharing life, sharing tears, sharing hope, sharing laughter,
    • Dinner and a walk watching the sunset over the river with one of the most beautiful women I know
    • Looking back and remembering a time when what I’m seeing around me now seemed absolutely impossible; hope for a time when what seems impossible now might become reality
    • Two of the cutest babies around giggling and climbing all over me while catching up with a dear friend
    • Energy to actually do the dishes despite so many things working against me on that specific day
    • Abundant provision via the farmer’s market
    • A car trunk and office full of snacks to share with our college friends at UB over the next few weeks
    • Our incredible volunteers at UB
    • People offering help out-of-the-blue for things I was too busy to even try to find help to accomplish
    • Friends who encourage me and give me chance to encourage them
    • Reminders of why I do what I do
    • A friend and colleague praying with me after a meeting on campus
    • Cute note cards and colored pens
    • Being able to serve and get to know my new neighbor when his water stopped working for over 24 hours and the landlord wasn’t showing up
    • Getting to spend time in my role as “Godmother” with at least one of my godchildren every day this week… who doesn’t see God in baby snuggles or preschooler hugs?!?
    • A gorgeous sunset on the way home on a cool evening at the end of a long hot day
    • Teammates I can trust
    • Catching up with my sister on the phone on her way home from work one evening
    • Homemade cookies served with ice cream

    God-Sighting Saturday

    9-1-18 {God Sighting Saturday}

    2018-08-18-14-32-21.pngAs I mentioned last week, this is a space to reflect on the last week and remember where God showed up. Feel free to share your God Sightings in the comments below!

    Here we go!

    • Friends to share life with
    • A true 24-hour space for Sabbath rest for the second week in a row after a season without much of that.
    • In the ministry I get to do at the University at Buffalo we averaged 20-30 students each week last year with 35 being the highest we’ve ever had in two years since launching. Typically the first week of the semester is our lowest number. Last year we had 9 on the first day. This Wednesday, our first gathering for the year, we had over 70 students show up. I still can’t quite wrap my mind around it. What a gift of grace in the middle of a slightly overwhelming week. This was the ministry I prayed for and followed God into for YEARS before it finally came to fruition. To see it not only survive but thrive into it’s third year is such a beautiful testament to God’s faithfulness
    • Flowers on my desk from a teammate one morning… just because.
    • 4 a.m. moments of prayer
    • Naps
    • Books about freedom and courage (You are Free by Rebekah Lyons and Imperfect Courage by Jessica Honegger)
    • God’s Word in new ways. I recently downloaded the Dwell App on my phone. Whereas there are a lot of great Bible reading apps out there, Dwell is a new app that’s working to create a great Bible listening experience. I’m sold. In addition to having all of the New Testament and a growing number of the Old Testament books on the app in four different voices with music behind it, there are also plans and playlists. I’ve listened to the 15 minute “He Loves Us” playlist multiple times over this week and every time new things stand out to me from this same set of Scriptures played over and over.
    • Four hours with a friend on a Friday night catching up after a crazy summer for both of us… sharing dreams, sharing struggles, sharing books and things we’re learning, sharing travel adventures, sharing doubts, sharing life.

    Where did you see God working this week? Share in the comments below!

    God-Sighting Saturday

    God Sighting Saturday {8-25-18}

    2018-08-18-14-32-21.pngEach summer around our church we talk a lot about “God Sightings.” In our Vacation Bible School, High School Ministry trips, Mission trips and more we share daily where we saw God at work that day. It’s always a great reminder for me to be on the lookout for what He is up to. With that in mind, I’m reinstating a series I did for a while a few years ago in which each Saturday I simply blog about some of the ways I witnessed God doing His thing in the last week.

    Here we go!

    • Time on Sunday evening to sit still for a while and journal for a couple hours. God really helped me sort through some things I was wrestling with.
    • My teammates are incredible! In addition to cool conversations and hard work together in the office, I got to enjoy lunch out with two teammates to start the week. One of my coworkers started his training at the seminary to become a pastor this week. Before he went off to St. Louis for orientation, we had one last lunch as “Three DCEs” (Directors of Christian Education). It has been a blessing to serve together so many years and I’m excited to continue to serve with these awesome people! The week ended with a spontaneous trip to the ballpark to watch a baseball game. I loved that I enjoy spending time with my teammates outside of work. God is truly at work in that team.
    • Our ministry at the university is starting back up next week. On Tuesday all the ministry leaders on campus gathered for our annual BBQ to reconnect after the summer. I saw God in conversations with two other leaders that both encouraged my soul heading into the year, and I pray encouraged theirs as well.
    • Sunflowers and gorgeous weather. While the week had some rainy moments, the week ended with a few gorgeous Buffalo summer nights. I also got to go have a picnic at a giant sunflower field with my little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters. Being outside makes me feel close to God.
    • I’ve been working with some other campus ministry leaders to declutter and revitalize the set of rooms we all use for ministry on campus, including a room that is primarily designed to be a prayer room. That space specifically has become so filled with clutter it was overwhelming. Yesterday, we put some final touches on that room before the semester starts Monday. When I saw it complete and found myself dreaming of how God would use it in the year ahead, I couldn’t wait to see what He does!

    Where did you see God working this week? Share in the comments below!

    God-Sighting Saturday

    God-Sighting Saturday

    Just a few glimpses into God at work around me this week:

    • The Haiti team arriving home with amazing stories of God’s presence and power from their trip. 
    • Productivity and Grace-filled passion in some things at work, especially having those things in some areas that aren’t always the parts of my job that come easy to me. 
    • Time to gather in prayer with teammates
    • A chance to hang out and laugh a lot with my “little” from Big Brothers Big Sisters.
    • Dinner and a walk with a dear friend … Doing life together
    • $0 deductible for glass to get my windshield replaced
    • Joy in a surprise for a friend
    • Awesome teenagers and an amazing woman being brave enough to share her story with them.  Lots of laughter playing telephone pictionary 
    • Safe travel for my parents and good news from mom’s oncologist in Dallas… 18-months post radiation surgery… Still cancer free!
    • God’s grace and comfort in the midst of death and tragedy
    • Friday dinner, laughter, and more with family 

    All is grace. 

    God-Sighting Saturday

    Colored Pencils, Giggles, and Jesus {God-sighting Saturday}

    Occasionally I use some colored pencils to mark some things in my Bible. I don’t really take them with me because I figure that I can always just use a pen or at work I have colored pencils.  Yesterday especially, with it being such a busy day going from one thing to the next to the next, there would have been no reason to need them at all.  And yet, instead of leaving my colored pencils on the table I put them with my pens in my purse.

    Fast forward about 10 hours, I’m sitting in an ICU waiting room visiting a dear friend and his family. Sharing the waiting room with us was a giggly little girl, McKayla (about 4 years old) and her anxious dad waiting the latest news of her mother, also in ICU. Besides the balloon she had likely insisted they get for her mom, she was without anything to play with or do.  From comments of the people I was visiting it seemed they had been there a while and seemed they might remain for a while.  At first she didn’t seem to mind…  She completely lost it laughing at one point as she used the clip on the balloon to act like it was some kind of animal coming to ‘attack’ me.

    Her giggles were a welcome, joyful presence in the room, but as time passed she was becoming increasingly restless.   Enter: the colored pencils.

    Taking the envelope back from the card I brought for those I was visiting (the only paper I could find)I walked over to give it and the pencils to the girl.  Completely ignoring her dad and her grandma who had just entered the room, the girl was delighted and, again with a great smile and a few giggles, began drawing and drawing and drawing.  I got back into conversation with the friends I was visiting and didn’t really pay attention to McKayla, though as I was leaving I noticed her dad had now gone in to be with her mom and McKayla was happily content on her grandma’s lap coloring away.

    It just amazes me how God works in such little things in really tough situations.  I don’t know exactly what’s going on with McKayla’s mom, but I know her presence brought joy to her family as well as those I was visiting (and me!).  I don’t know why I had colored pencils in my purse yesterday, but God knew a little girl and her family in the ICU waiting room would be appreciative.

    In big situations (like the kinds of things that cause people to be in ICU), we often look for God in the big miracles and prayers for complete healing.  I hope that while I continue to pray for those big things in tough situations, that I never miss the little miracles that come along the way… miracles in the form of colored pencils, dog balloons, and little girl giggles.

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    31 Days to Just Write, God-Sighting Saturday

    God-Sighting Saturday {just write – day 10}

    Where I spotted God at work this week:

    • The start of the All-Church study, Joining Jesus on His Mission.  Especially great to have the high schoolers in the adult class for the teaching time and then see them digging in to topics of faith and life in their small groups.
    • The amazing people I got to meet in Chicago at the Wheat Ridge Young Adult Leader’s Convening.
    • Encouragement and revived passion for work through the convening.
    • Friends who take you to/pick you up from the airport at crazy early/late hours.
    • Friends who welcome you home with lasagna and apples. 🙂
    • Joy in being home and loving the place I work.
    • Lots of laughter and fun with the youth at the Bonfire.
    • In Cindy and Dan who hosted the Bonfire and Hayride at their house after a busy day for them.
    • Awesome teammates.