Before I begin an ‘official’ update on week two, I want to share an example of God’s faithfulness in my life.
I keep a prayer journal. This helps me to get all my thoughts out in a focused, intentional way since my mind typically runs at 100 mph. The one I’m currently using is nearly full, so I decided to flip through some of the pages.
On November 12, 2015 I wrote, “Lord, where will you send me? Will it be a stateside mission? Global? I want to go! I want to take that leap of faith to spread your Word and grow closer to you in the process. Lay it on my heart, where ever you want to send me.”
On December 29, 2015 I wrote, “Lord, I pray that you make it abundantly clear what I should do this summer. Stay in La Crosse, Duluth, go on a summer mission? I really would love to go on a mission and serve your people, so Lord, if it is your will, show me where you want me to go.”
On January 2, 2016 I wrote, “I also pray that you take me where you want me to go this summer … Lord, I feel like I should be going to Milwaukee, and if this is your will, make it clear to me.”
The verse that was especially speaking to me before I left for Milwaukee was Ephesians 2:10 which reads,
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
God knew six, seven, eight months ago that I would be in this city. He knew before I was even formed in the womb, and not only that- but he had prepared this trip in its entirety far in advance. That, my friends, is a picture of true faithfulness.
If I could sum my life up into one word it would be ‘adventure.’ If you keep up with my Facebook or Snapchat you’ll see pictures as proof that Milwaukee has followed suit.
Trying to find a job in less than a week was the introduction to my current two month adventure. We drove around the city in search of businesses that were hiring, grabbed piles of applications, and spent hours filling them out. I was a little lazy and unmotivated during this process, because the two places I had actual interest in working, the Y and Park and Rec, weren’t going to pan out.
The Lord knows how impatient I am, and I think that’s why He waited until this week to put an awesome opportunity in my path. Through working for Pepp Nation I get to mentor kids through athletics, and even be referred to as Coach Alyssa! We host sports leadership camps for elementary and middle school kids with the goal of equipping them for college someday. How cool is that!! Not only did the Lord provide a job, but a job that fulfills my passion for kids and health (through physical activity).
The Lord reiterated that fact that his timing is the best timing, to not let my impatience get the best of me, and to fully trust in him as my Provider.
(Side note- the founder of Pepp Nation, Brandon, played football at UMD. Go Dogs!! Second side note- if you’re totally lost as to why I have a job, go here.)
As you can imagine, the days can get long and exhausting. Even for me, who is inherently busy 24/7 by choice. This makes me that much more thankful for the Lord’s ability to refresh my soul and for the nightly fellowship with my mission family.
It’s the genuine compassion and love we share as brothers and sisters in Christ that makes our time together enjoyable, no matter what the previous hours at work held. Romans 12:15 says,
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
As a result of our teams unwavering focus on Christ, we’re able to effectively obey God’s command in Romans 12:15. We continually lift each other up in prayer- to praise God for all his blessings and to ask for strength during the challenging moments. In such a self centered, narcissistic world- it’s this type of genuine compassion and empathy that I so dearly treasure.
In addition to this, we also lift each other up by eating lots of yummy food together!!! Acts 2:46-47 says,
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
I’m not big into science by any means, but I’m pretty sure it’s proven that regular family dinners make a difference in people’s lives. If there isn’t hard data to support that- then let my story be the first piece. We’ve shared some of our best stories, struggles, and jokes while breaking bread together. We’ve prayed day in and day out and seen those prayers abundantly answered. As a result of this, the Lord has in fact “added to our number daily those who are being saved.” Food, family, and Jesus…. Now THAT is something I can work with. 😉
More important than fellowship with my team is fellowship with God. On Wednesday’s we get to have ‘date night with Jesus,’ which is essentially a couple hours to spend intentional quiet time with the Lord.
I’m very task oriented- I like to be productive and check stuff off the list. Which is fine and dandy, except when it comes to sitting still and being fully present in quiet times. This has been leaving me frustrated in my relationship with God and shameful when I felt like I had nothing to share about what God has been teaching me. (shame is not of God- it’s a lie straight from the devil.)
It wasn’t until church on Sunday that God pretty much said, “Alyssa, I’m always at work in your life, if you would just trust Me, you will see.” The sermon was about dry seasons in our faith and why we need strong spiritual roots. The pastor went through Jeremiah 17:5-8, which reads
“This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
I was getting so caught up in serving and hearing how everyone else was growing that I was neglecting my own relationship with God. My roots were drying up, because I wasn’t staying connected to the right Source. The pastor ended with a simple, yet purposeful line: “No water, no roots. No roots, no fruit.”
I took a good portion of the afternoon quieting my heart and getting watered by the Source in order that my roots would grow deep, my leaves would stay green, and fruit would never stop being produced.
Turns out the Lord has been teaching me things this whole time (duh?!), and my stubborn self will finally realized it.To share a few: I’ve been growing in awareness of Christ- not just seeing the big picture or how he’s working in other’s lives but how he really is present in every detail of my life. I’ve also noticed how the Lord is working in my heart to set aside my pride and give Him all the glory. It wasn’t until I came to Milwaukee that the Lord revealed to me how much pride I truly have. God, being the faithful Father that he is, has turned that pride into praise and honor for him.And rightly so!
If this post made no sense, try reading this one first. 🙂
Here are some specific things I want to invite you to join me in praying for:
- For the city and people of Orlando.
- For patience in challenging work or inner city situations.
- Boldness to live out and share the Gospel in our jobs.
- To continue to build good relationships with church and community members.
If you’ve been praying for this mission, I want to say thank you SO so much! Your continued support is appreciated more than words can say.