Sunday, March 20, 2011

Post Phi11y Reflection

Wow. Philly was incredible. I've been delaying writing this, because I just don't know how to condense the experience into words. I'll start by telling you about my awesome team. I didn't know what to expect out of this group, but we ended up meshing together perfectly. I love how Jesus can bring people who are completely different together and unify them with a bond that feels like family. Our testimonies were all unique, but I was able to relate very personally to a lot of the stories.Only God could have put us together so perfectly.

Thor was our "man driver", he has so much wisdom and insight to offer, plus hes just really smart and can do brilliant accents that are super amusing. Jacob and Georgina were my group leaders and did an awesome job of leading our team. The rest of the team members were Megan (hilaaaaarious), Ainhoa, Ruth, Christin, Shelly, Emily, Alex, and Kyle! They are all such incredible people and getting to hear their stories & spend the week with them was such a blessing.

Our team's mission site was a place called the Harmonious Volunteer Center, which is located in a very poor area of Philly and its basically a center that provides resources to the surrounding community. We helped paint an entire room, packed boxes of books to send to soldiers, picked up trash, planted a garden, made spreadsheets, did whatever was needed. It doesn't sound like a lot of fun, but my team was awesome and it was a blessing to be able to serve the community that way. I'm definitely a lot more thankful for the family and home that God has given me in Chapin and Columbia.

Every afternoon we got to explore the city, which was very cool, definitely different from Cola. I loved the buildings, but I could never live there, it's too cold and too big! In the evenings we had a worship service at a local church, that was just INCREDIBLE every night. Everyone got so into the music and the energy was so great, along with some very thought provoking sermons. My attitude was a lot different from last year. I expected to be broken and for God to do work, I just didn't know what that was going to look like.I definitely learned a lot and am still processing all of it.

Things I learned in Philly:
  • Community is priceless. I need more of it.
  • I want a man who is pursuing the Lord wholeheartedly, and I won't settle for less. 
  • Being in a community where I'm able to completely be myself, is a beautiful thing, and needs to happen more often.
  • I am disgustingly prideful. That pride is rooted in insecurity. [I had no idea that you could be insecure and prideful, this was an epiphany] Jesus is secure, the hope and anchor for my soul.
So in conclusion, Morgan, and I, are waging a war against our insecurities. Facing them head on. Letting the light of our Redeemer shine into all the darkest parts that we don't want to deal with. We're reading So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore (I highly recommend it). It's not going to be easy, but we're hoping it will make us more like Jesus.

Also, I'm starting a 21 day Bible reading plan with my precious mother, which brings me so much joy I can't even tell you. :) And God is doing so much work in the lives of my friends,  I'm constantly amazed. I am so blessed to be a part of His perfect plan.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pre Philly: Flash Back to Boston 2010

When I look back at where I was at in my walk with the Lord this time last year, I am in awe of the huge way that God has transformed my heart in just one year. It makes me excited for the next year and what He's going to show me and how He's going to use me. That's one of the coolest things about following Jesus, you never know what's coming next, but you can trust that it's going to be way better than anything you had planned for yourself. His thoughts are so much higher than ours, His ways are higher than ours, and His plans are infinitely better! I love the spontaneity and adventure of following Jesus!

This time last year, I was headed to Boston with Midtown for Spring Break, and I was pissed about it. I decided to go because I wanted to get to know more Midtown people and I didn't really have anything better to do. But as the trip approached, I became bitter about going to Boston in the cold weather, while all my friends were going to Florida to lay out on the beaches. God had been doing a lot of work in my heart pre-Boston, and was really convicting me of my "double life". I was slowly beginning to realize that I couldn't be Kelsey, the party girl, and the Kelsey that God wanted me to be. I was just tired of my own hypocrisy. 

My bitterness soon wore off as I began to get to know the great people in my van on our 21 hour long trip to Boston, but I was still hesitant. Little did I know it would end up being one of the best weeks ever! I loved having such awesome fellowship with my team, and seeing people who really loved the Lord and were giving Him everything. My group was in charge of helping out a church and doing community service for a local high school, which could have been miserable, but for some reason it was just FUN. It was just such a great feeling to be surrounded by encouraging people and to be doing something for God's glory, rather than for my own gain.

Boston is where I truly fell in love with Jesus. I remember coming back and realizing I LOVE Jesus. This is SO weird. Who am I?!? It's kind of like dating a guy and the moment where you realize that you're in way over your head. I had been dating Jesus, and he had been pursuing my heart for about 6 months, but after Boston I realized that He wanted all of me. He didn't just want 75% of my affections, or 95%, or even 99%. He wants ALL of it, 100%. And He is the only one who deserves all of it!

I knew the Lord was calling me to surrender 100% to Him, and that was a big turning point. I literally remember asking myself a few questions. It went something like this: Do I really believe in God? Yes, it is impossible for me to deny the change in my own heart, it most definitely wasn’t my own doing.  If I am sure I believe in God and that Jesus died to save me from my sins, then I have two options: To ignore His love and grace and blatantly disobey Him, or to trust in His love and fully surrender to His plan for my life. A lukewarm relationship with Him won’t satisfy. If I were to be disobedient and continue to live my sinful lifestyle, I knew that I would be absolutely miserable, right back to where I was before. The answer was obvious and although putting my decision into action wasn’t the easiest thing, here I am, a year later, going to PHILLY!!! 
God did huge work in my heart in Boston and I'm anxious to see what He's got in store for Philadelphia! Can't wait....