Year of Jubilee

Anna and I at Cornerstone Christian Church

Anna and I at Cornerstone Christian Church

This year has started off running… Here I sit on January 8th, already back from my first trip of the year.

Two days after the New Year began I found myself on a plane headed to San Antonio, TX. Little did I know that this conference would inspire me to move forward and take 2013 as my year of Jubilee.

Two days after the conference concluded, I found myself in the pew of Cornerstone Church listening to a powerful message by Pastor John Hagee. Where he introduced the New Year as our year of jubilee. He encouraged us to forget the past, good and bad and move forward to a year of promise and motivation. A year that would be full of prosperity and life. Throughout his sermon, his words resounded within my heart. This year is the year that is going to be a year of walking by faith.

You see, in 2010 or so, I felt a stirring in my heart to take a cross country road trip to minister to men and women in the United States. Despite my desire to go to Africa, or some other far off nation. I would sit trying to rationalize how it would be more beneficial for me to invest my time in those over seas however, the more I tried to secure my future in foreign ministry… The more my heart broke for my friends and my home country, the United States. Through great amounts of prayer and the counsel of others: the plans for a trip cross country began.

The planning of the trip has been hard put even more it is difficult to share with others that I am taking a year off… People cannot seem to wrap their minds around the idea of giving up my plans for a year to chase a bigger dream, a dream to love on others and work with on the ground ministries.

In closing, I want to give the definition of jubilee. There are many definitions of jubilee but the one that resonated most with me was: a religious song of black Americans usually referring to a time of future happiness, or a season of celebration (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jubilee). The tough work begins now, as I defend the year of jubilee. Cancelling out the anger and bitterness, and allowing freedom to transform into joy as I defend the year of celebrating a journey of faith, love, and touching the lives of others.

Senior year.

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Incase you were wondering: I made it back to the United States. If you were worried, I am sorry to worry you… That was never my intention!

I was not hit by a bomb, or a missle. However, if you have an over-active imagination, are a parent, or this is the only way that you know me: I could see how you could think that my arbupt end to posts… Could have resulted in that. Thank the good Lord, I arrived home safely… My life changed and a mind full of memories.

You see: Israel changed my life… Just like everyone said it would. (It’s like they can predict the future!)

But having a broken computer has also changed my life… Right before I left for Israel: My beloved computer had a very bad virus attack it. Unfortunately, it has taken the doctor for my computer months to fix it. I have been eagerly awaiting it’s arrival. However, each time my computer got back, I found it to have a new problem! But I digress, alas, the computer is fixed. It is in my hands once again! And what a joyous reunion it has been!

What you may not know: is that I am now in my Senior Year in my undergrad. That’s right. And I feel as though I am on the edge of embarking on the biggest adventure of my entire life. However, all of that will have to be saved for later! Right now, I just want to say: from the day I set foot on the plane to head to NYC then to Israel, my life has pretty much been like living on a cloud. Life has been good. And don’t you worry, there are many updates yet to come…

Taking Risks

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Inherently I am not a big risk taker… In fact: I have had a theory for awhile now: that the past of least resistance is best. If there looks like there could be danger: I will choose to sit things out. You see: I have lived in a life of safety. I would prefer to be safe and in many cases I know the outcome before things even take place because there is very little risk involved.

Recently I posted about taking leaps of faith. The more I know about life and going through life the more I realize that life is extremely short. It’s so short that I have realized that sometimes you must weigh the risk over benefit… And sometimes amazing memories and experiences or crazy memories and experiences tend to outweigh the risk!

For me: going to Israel this summer made sense. It was something that when I got the e-mail that I was accepted as a student to go… I was extremely honored and totally pumped. There wasn’t much of a second thought when I accepted the trip. That is until I started to tell other people about the trip.

All of a sudden people started saying how they wouldn’t want to go to Israel and how dangerous it was and how brave I was to be going. All of a sudden I realized that I was actually doing something that might be potentially dangerous. Fear struck me and I began to freak out… What if this, what if that… I really wanted to go but was this really a good idea?

When doing the risk versus benefit it still makes sense for me to be on this trip. Reality sunk in when the shooting occurred in Colorado. After the shooting, my friend Marissa shared that one of her friends was in the very movie theater that the shooting occurred in. Actually, he was shot. Here in our own country, this horrible tragedy occurred. And I realized that if something terrible is going to happen it doesn’t matter where you are…

I realized that I can’t fear every single thing and though I can be smart with my actions: when it comes down to it… I can’t control the actions of others. So in the end: every single day is a leap of some sort. We are all taking leaps of faith, big and small to hopefully grow closer in deeper in our relationships with God as we trust Him to protect us and guide us.

And when bad things happen: may those be moments that we lean on God and not on ourselves and our understanding.

How CUFI has changed my life

 

My understanding and knowledge of Israel was limited and vague before I read David Brog’s book Standing with Israel. As a matter a fact I thought that the hatred of the Jewish people only occurred during the holocaust and after that it was eradicated from all of the earth. People got their heads on and they realized how stupid that was.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. And even more than that: anti- Semitism is rising on college campuses. A holocaust speaker was coming to my campus to speak on the holocaust and his experience and one of our Professors was offering his talk for extra credit. I was convinced I was going to fail her class: so I went partly interested in what he had to say but mostly because I needed any bonus points I could get in her class.

Little did I know, his talk would lead me on a life changing journey into history and into the understanding of the Israeli culture and the study of Israel’s current condition… I sat in her classroom listening to this man speak with authority and conviction on a topic that I had only brushed through in history class. Sure, I read the diary of Anne Frank in elementary school. Though, I was even more moved by a book I would find at a rummage sale a few years later, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. My heart broke for the child in that story. I was deeply moved but thankful that it was history.

After the speaker finished: I walked up to the front and spoke to the speaker, as a matter a fact I said: “today the Palestinian’s are the modern day Jews”. You see: I thought about it and I had decided that after 9/11 many people discriminated this particular people group for no warranted reason. Just because two individuals chose to have a terror attack doesn’t mean there are any more… After I stated this: the speaker looked shocked and when I looked at my Professor: I was certain she would remove my extra credit.

Fortunately she suggested I read a book: the book was Standing with Israel. I read the book and I knew I was confused… But I didn’t fully understand what it meant to support a modern day Israel. Even though I knew I didn’t know anything: I also knew something had to be done… I wanted my campus to know about what was going on in Israel today. Because if I had gone so long without understanding or knowing anything about Israel… How many other students had also? I was perplexed. How could have this happened?

At the end of my winter break I called my Professor up and told her I wanted to see something happen on campus. Much to her excitement there was a Pastor coming to speak on Israel at her church. Driving back to campus a few days early, I was able to hear Victor speak on the trials and devastation occurring in the Middle East today.

From that moment forward: Roberts was going to have a group willing to take a stand and I was going to make sure it happened. You see: my mom has a saying that history repeats itself… And to be honest: when I look at the history of the Jewish people my heart fears that it could happen again. Could America fall silent again? I hope not: and I am willing to take a stand so my generation doesn’t allow something so tragic to occur again. May we be the generation that took a stand for change and actually broke the pattern of history repeating itself.

Day Two: Shout out to big sis!

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This is a photo in front of a storefront of a designer from Sex in the City. (Which is one of her favorite shows!)

Well, the trip is now well under way as we begin to embark on our journey towards the Holy Land. I want to invite you to of course, follow along here! But I also want to invite you to follow along through the CUFI page: http://www.CUFI.org/cufiam . If this site isn’t up and running right now: it should be by the time we land in Tel Aviv. This will have a compilation of all of the photos, tweets, blog posts, etc. from the trip.

You can also visit other student’s blogs! Below is a list of the students planning on blogging throughout the trip:

Charity: http://imappedtheworld.blogspot.com
Sarah: http://sarah-jane-b.tumblr.com
Carrie: http://sarah-jane-b.tumblr.com
Estara: http://oruallianceisraelnews.blogspot.com/2012/07/a-dead-dream-alive-again.html
Victor: http://sephardine.blogspot.com
Julia: http://wanderlustatcu.tumblr.com
Nick: http://Israel-blog.tumblr.com
Adam: http://adamwillsays.wordpress.com
Lindsey: http://anywhenlindz.wordpress.com
Elsa: http://elsamariezuniga.tumblr.com
Destiny: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/thedestinygrace/
Caleb: http://www.arunthroughtheparke.blogspot.com
Samuel: http://www.experiencesofprovidence.blogspot.com

Today has already been filled with navigation of the big city! Traveling from Manhattan to Newark to meet with our group: in less than 24 hours we will be arriving in Israel!

I don’t know if my mind can fully wrap around the idea of entering into the Holy Land or the life change that will take place on this trip. I have found that most times we do not know our lives are being changed, minds being challenged and stretched until we look back on the journey we have taken and how we have gotten there.

This day has been a huge blessing and I have connected with one of the girls from CUFI that I stayed with. She has shared her heart and her story and I firmly believe that our stories truly have the capability to change and transform the lives around us. I can hardly believe that I have only known this group for one year but when I go to an activity with them: it feels like I am entering the presence of my extended family.

There is a warmth and excitement that fills the air as we all meet together. No matter how tired we are: a smile brightens our faces as we greet one another with a hug. How transformational that we are here: together. Embarking on this trip…

Today, I can confidently state there is no place I would rather be than here.

That being said: I don’t know where this journey will take me and I have no idea what I am getting myself into… But I am ready for an adventure! And open to the Lord’s leading in my life!

Day One: The Adventure Begins

Hello, This is Delta airlines calling to notify you of some urgent changes in your travel arrangements. Please note that I can repeat this message after I have completed if you need me to.

The trip began with a long drawn out trip through our local airport. Luckily I was arriving into the city a whole day earlier than we needed to: so when my arrival time was approximately three hours behind schedule… It was only an inconvenience and not an end all be all. Missing the flight to Tel Aviv would certainly put a damper on the trip!

I stayed the night with a friend from CUFI, and we spent the night on the town and entered into our beds anxiously waiting for the next morning as Monday is the big day… We’re all getting together to prepare as a group for our trip to the Holy Land!

There are truly no words to describe the anxiousness and excitement that fill my body. This is like the pre-first date jitters times 1,000!

Head in the Clouds

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Sometimes I have to take a deep breath and pinch myself. Because in all senses of living out your dream: that’s what I am doing.

Life could be better, but life could also be a whole lot worse and that’s what I am sticking with and staying with. It could be a whole lot worse! And for the past several weeks, my dream of marrying adventure into my daily life has been granted. I have been totally blessed with a life that has felt like it is filled with purpose and journey’s that have truly been a Godsend.

Here I sit, 7:34 am, first time finger to key in awhile. I could apologize for the fact that my computer has been down and it is currently crashing every 15 minutes after being on… Or I could say: I was busy living life to the fullest! Since that was what I was doing: that’s what I will share. I was living life to the fullest.

In the time that has passed since my last post, a lot has happened. I have traveled to DC and back, many people lost loved ones in a shooting in Colorado, and I worked at the hospital through a tornado. Yep, a tornado. My life has been full of adventure and organized chaos.

Tomorrow I am beginning an adventure to Israel, it’s the first stepping stone to the journey but throughout the next two weeks, I am crossing my fingers I will have a computer to bring on the journey. However, if I don’t: I will have lots to post about in the weeks to follow. I have dreamed of going on adventures and of seeing the world around me: but I never imagined my journey would take me across the globe to the hot spot of the news: the middle east.

I covet your prayers, and I am typing up some posts now that will post throughout my trip automatically that will talk about what has brought me here to the point of gaining courage to journey to the holy land.

In closing, my head wasn’t in the clouds… But it sure felt like it because my life has been surreal and full of joy!

62 hours

I swiped my badge into the badge reader at work.

Employee accepted read on the green and black screen.

Here I am: at it again.

For kicks I decided to look at my time card on the machine to see how many hours I worked so far this time period. The time total stood out with 62 hours at the bottom of the machine. Wow. 62 hours. Those hours represented washing the bottoms of patients, holding hands of scared people, and being totally exhausted. They represented my trips home at 3:00 AM, and crazy sprints across the parking lot dodging golf ball sized rain drops.

My job lately has been bringing me down. My heart leaps at the story of adventure… A story that is yet unwritten. Yet here I sit: doing swing shifts in a hospital taking care of patients that are frustrated with my job just as much as I have been. My body weary. I stand a little taller, knowing that this awful time in my life shall pass soon enough.

As I sit in the dimly lit room of my patient: my mind begins to wander… To a trip cross country. My heart leaps at the thought of adventure. Must. Push. On.

See, I must sacrifice a little in order to gain an adventure… That’s just what I am doing. You see, my days in these blue scrubs are limited. The end is so close: I can feel it. But this has been a good job for me. Steady work hours and a good pay check. Every time I come home: I am rest assured a job to return to. Somewhere to work, and grow as a professional.

However, in the midst of this: there is something totally intriguing and enticing about the unknown. The adventure of the unknown. Realistically, it makes no sense for me to quit this job… However, for me: it’s comfortable. I have loved being a CA, most days anyways. However, deep down there is a dream a cry for adventure.

I want to escape from the every day hustle and bustle of life… I have no idea what the future holds. I have no idea who I will meet on my adventure. However, I do know that my heart yearns for adventure, for something more. I want to inspire others to reach their maximum potential. God has given me a story, of grace and healing. My story is not yet complete: but is continuing to be written. In May, I plan on driving cross country. I am excited to soon open a section of my blog that will offer a place if you would like to have me speak. And hopefully by then, I will have a published book in hand!

It’s time to take hold of adventure, today, and in the future! But first, not without great sacrifice: and doing my job I have been given… The best I can!

I want to explore this beautiful earth and I want to see all there is that God has for me… I won’t settle for less.

Saying YES to living!

Source: dearinspirationblog.blogspot.com via Laura on Pinterest

It’s hard to believe another week has passed! I have really begun to make some life altering changes as I continue to prepare for my life and to live it to the fullest!

The scariest part of the journey is taking the first step. I have dreamed and planned about traveling and living life as an adventure. However, the more I talk to people: the more I realize… The adventure is not the destination. It’s the choice you make each day you live. I can choose to live a life of adventure each day I live whether I am going to work or going on vacation. It’s my choice to make the most of what I have! So: here I am. Making the most of it!

Last week I got to go to a family friend’s cottage and put my kayak in to kayak on the lake. Though the water was rough: I got to go out on the lake and explore! My heart was overwhelmed with gratitude as these gracious family friends took me into their home and allowed me to stay for dinner. They spoke of their High School and college days. Their sweet spirits made my heart so full.

I paused in the craziness of life to do something I have wanted to do. I said no to the fear tugging at my soul saying I couldn’t go out and possibly go on this trip alone: and I did it! It was awesome.

You see: I constantly listened to lies. I would wait until someone else’s schedule freed up or if a group could go. I wanted another person… I have stopped looking at things as impossible just because I don’t have a friend to walk through the thoughts with me and I have started to realize that God is always with me. Doesn’t he promise that? So why not explore with the very creator of the heavens and earth!

So here I am: committing to live life. I am not going to wait until someone else can come or for the schedule to free up: because the truth of the matter is… There will always be something! Sometimes… You just have to take a leap of faith!

Source: imgfave.com via Margaret on Pinterest

Here’s to leaping my friends!

Excerpt

 

I am currently reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and last summer I read one of his other books: Through Painted Deserts…  And I really enjoyed this conversation between Don and his friend Paul. I thought I would share it with you! A little background, the two guys (Don and his friend Paul) are on a road trip and Don asked his friend Paul what he was looking for in a woman:

“‘I guess I’m looking for what any guy is looking for. I want a companion, you know. Just someone to share life with. I want her to be my biggest fan and I want to be her biggest fan too. I want us to raise kids in a home where they know their parents are in love with each other and with them. I guess that’s all I want.’ Realizing he had taken the question seriously, I offer a patient comment, just above a whisper, loud enough to know he can hear me. “That sounds like a pretty good want.”
“It ain’t bad,” he says. “It isn’t too much, you know. I don’t want the perfect girl, really. You figure every girl is beautiful, you know. It’s our arrogance that makes us think one is better than the other.”
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“I don’t know. I was just thinking about girls the other day and wondering, you know, why some girls just get ignored and others get worshipped, and I really got this feeling in my chest like all of that wasn’t true. Can’t be true. Doesn’t make sense. Like maybe if you can’t love a girl who isn’t all perfect, then you can’t really love a girl who is. Not for real. Not unconditionally.”

Beauty is all in the eyes of the beholder.