Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ever-Changing...You remain the same

I like to think of myself as a healthy person, especially in regards to what I eat. This is a really hot subject right now, and it seems like wherever you turn you can hear a different suggestion of something to eat, not to eat, to take, not to take, and so on and so on. I like to eat pretty naturally. Though I have not officially "switched-over" to organic, I try to be aware of what is in the foods I eat and consume as few "processed" or packaged foods as possible. And I love a balanced deal. All my roommates over the years have teased me about this, because I am the girl who wakes up early to make eggs with veggies in them, cut up fresh fruit and maybe even cook up some turkey bacon. It's just what I like to do.

I'm also passionate about missions, and I want to be able to eat whatever is put in front of me. Now, I do draw the line when strange animals or animal parts are offered to me as food (the "fish balls in Thailand - round hot dog like products made out of various fish...yuck!), or other incredibly weird things, but I do what I can. If there's a food that I don't like (especially if it's healthy) I try to train myself to like it, so if someone serves it to me I can enjoy eating it. I've done this for years now, and have successfully added zucchini, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms into my diet, among other things - many of those are my favorite veggies now!

So, recently I've been working on adding 2 more things into my diet: grapefruit, and almond milk. It's going great for both of them (although I took more naturally to the grapefruit over the almond milk)! I started reading about the health benefits of grapefruit in particular and there is a list about as long as my body of what these juicy fruits provide for us! They're packed with Vitamin C and their acidity helps to break down infection and even cancerous cells in our body...the list goes on and on. They also are lower in sugar than many other fruits and help with controlling blood sugar and weight loss. So, I've been having half a grapefruit with breakfast most mornings.

The almond milk thing isn't any great conviction against dairy milk, which, let me tell you, many people have. I've heard for years the argument of us being the only mammals that drink another mammal's milk, or even drink milk past infancy, and always thought that was a good point, but didn't do anything about it. Also, being a musician/singer and someone who deals with seasonal allergies, I've felt the effect that dairy has on my throat and congestion, and have since returning from Thailand significantly cut all the dairy that I consume. I lived with very little of it when I was there, and felt great, so just decided to keep it up upon returning to the US. So it's more of a personal decision than anything. I still eat some dairy and drink some milk. But I did decide to read some articles on dairy milk since I've heard some really negative things about it.

Now let me interject here that I have a Masters of Science in Counseling - a field where research and statistics are vital and required components of our course work. Because of this I am inherently skeptical of "statistics" or "research". An argument can be made for both sides of just about any subject you can think of, nutritionally or otherwise. The person trying to get to the bottom of which research finding are "true" or not could take years studying who funded each study, what their bias might have been in putting forth their answer as "truth", and which results are actually significant enough to prove their point. For example, one time in our graduate research methods class we were assigned to research if Vitamin C really is helpful in reducing the common cold. I won't get all nerdy and scientific on you, but suffice it to say by the end of our study it seemed that the results were not significant enough to prove it actually helped. What could be determined was that if you believed that Vitamin C would help you fight a cold, it probably would. If you did not believe that it would help, it probably wouldn't. Really. Enough about that though...

So back to the subject, I started reading and - surprise, surprise - I found so many different conflicting opinions about the effects of dairy and health. Of course this is what I expected. These things seem to shift back and forth. A new study comes out and everyone switches from dairy milk to almond milk, butter to margarine, then back to butter again, eat eggs, don't eat eggs, drink a glass of wine, don't drink a glass of wine, on and on. I'm sure we all can think of examples of this. It can be very frustrating to a health-concerned individual; and if you get too concerned with it, you can spend all your time researching and changing and re-changing your mind with every new study or fad diet that comes out. It's exhausting. It brings to mind a passage of Scripture:

"Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth." - Ephesians 4:14

Now, I'm clearly not talking about nutrition anymore, nor do I mean that those who research what they eat and try to implement the new findings on nutrition are "immature like children." I guess what I'm getting at is that at the end of the day the wisdom of the world is just that: wisdom of the world. Fads and teachings go back and forth like the waves in the ocean, and if we rely on that wisdom, we can get taken along for the ride. The good news is this:

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." - James 4:17

While popular opinion changes daily, we have a heavenly Father who remains constant and unchanging. It's important to be healthy, but it's not THE most important thing. Personally, I would rather try to eat reasonably healthy but still affordably, and use the money I've saved from not buying organic or over-priced health food to feed a child in another country who has no food at all! We do our best, and we forget the rest. The good thing is, if there's something we're really unsure about, or really want to know, we can ask Him! His wisdom is available to us about every subject we can imagine - whether deciding to eat dairy or not, what car to buy, how to parent our children, or what to do with our lives. He has an interest and an opinion and it is the BEST one available. While we change and vacillate and develop over time, He just IS. "I am that I am." - Exodus 3:14. What assurance we can find in the wisdom of God when the wisdom of man leaves us grasping for answers!

We are ever-changing, Lord, yet You remain the same.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What are we saying?

I've been wrestling with some things lately. I think this is an integral part of our faith. Anytime we stop wrestling with concepts in our beliefs we need to be careful. Complacency has likely already seeped in.

For the last year or 2 I constantly find myself reading and gravitating to Romans 8. After getting married, Dan and I have been (although inconsistently) working on memorizing this chapter and renewing our minds with all the truths it contains. We've gotten about 13 verses in, which isn't even halfway, and I can't wait until we get to the end, as this chapter culminates with the description of nothing in all creation or life or death being able to separate us from the love of God. We have, however, gotten to one of my favorite scriptures in that chapter: verse 11.

"And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His spirit, who lives in you."

The Spirit of God is living in you. This is a pretty basic premise of our faith, but I don't think we really get it. The Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of us! We carry that Spirit and that power with us wherever we go! Whoa, that's huge.

When I was in India last year, I traveled around preaching a lot. They would take me to remote villages to preach or would even gather hundreds of Indian pastors together and have me teach them. This was unbelievably humbling, as these men probably have such a greater understanding of taking up their cross daily and following Christ than I when faced with daily persecution and the loss of everything in their lives in order to preach the Gospel. I would wonder what I could possibly teach them, and thought it would probably be better for me to sit down and let them teach ME about what it means to follow Christ. But time after time this passage would come to mind, and I would share an encouraging word with these men of God to help them realize the power and presence of God that dwells within them continually. I felt if they could tap into an understanding of the power they carry inside of them as Christ-followers, they would see their nation totally turned towards the heart of the Father. But in my return back to the US, I think I dropped this truth into the Pacific Ocean somewhere, cause I know I don't implement this into how I live in the day-to-day.

If I really believed this and understood this truth and let it get a hold of me, would I feel the need to constantly pray and ask the Holy Spirit to "come" or "invite" Him into a place? He shows up when I show up. Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ, and it's His Spirit that is living on the inside of me. I can't go anywhere that I don't take Him with me. And yet we sing song after song in our worship settings inviting the Spirit to "come" and "fall." I'm not saying that He doesn't sometimes (and often!) show up in these corporate settings in a "manifest" way that seems like He is entering or filling a place, but in reality is it our mindset that has to change in order for Him to move?Would a better prayer be for the Lord to open our minds to make us aware of the Spirit that is already dwelling in us? Are we speaking in a way that assumes His previous absence in a place until "invited" to be there?

I'm just thinking that maybe, when we use this type of language and vocabulary, we continue to train ourselves in thinking that the Spirit is not already dwelling inside us, and we ignore the fact that He can be released into a situation anytime we just show up. This keeps us continually in a place of lack, and feeling like we constantly need to invite the Spirit into someplace He already is, instead of renewing our mind to accept that He is there as soon as we are there. The power of life and death is in the tongue. How are the words that I'm speaking, or even praying from an earnest-heart releasing life, and allowing His Kingdom - that is at hand - to move on the earth? I would rather pray that my mindset shifts to line up with the Word of God, rather than continue praying in a way that stands in opposition to the truths declared in it.

How differently would we live if we lived with this mentality? What in us would change? What would change in the world? And what would change in the spirit? Lord, let me live in such a way that I release Your Kingdom wherever I go, and that I understand that the One who raised Jesus from the dead is residing inside of me at all times.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

We hope not in what is seen....

So married Liz has trouble sitting down to blog. Maybe we can work on that. :)

This has been such an interesting season. I love being married. It's by far the coolest thing ever (outside of Jesus). I'm thrilled being married - every moment of it.


That doesn't mean there haven't been challenges. I can not find a job. Maybe I should re-frame that. I can not find the right job. If I walked into McDonalds or Walmart, even a flower shop or retail store, I'm quite sure I could find SOMETHING. But I haven't found the job I'm looking for. Since we've moved to Atlanta I've been looking for a job in the counseling field - one that will allow me to get my LPC for Georgia (licensed professional counselor - means that I'm legit and can bill my services to insurance companies, among other things - an important element in my field). But I can not find one. It's not even a matter of being turned down again and again. There have only been a small handful of job openings I've found that will even take on a non-licensed counselor. And of those, no one is hiring me.

Now, I'm a hard worker, I've got great references, and pretty decent work experience/skills, but all these things are not getting me a job. Not even interviews. I've only had one. And then they never called me back. It has been easy for me to get frustrated, even get my feelings hurt about this, and feel like I'm doing something wrong. Maybe I'm in the wrong field. Maybe I should be looking for different types of jobs. Maybe we shouldn't have moved here. After all, I get job offers in Tennessee. These are the types of statements that roll through my head.

...and yet...

I know He called us to move here, specifically. I know He led me to a graduate counseling program. I know He gave me the skill-set that lends me to being a therapist. I know these things because I know the voice of my Father. I know what it sounds like when He speaks something. This is something He's "called" me to do.

Dan has had consistent work and we're not in a desperate situation for me to immediately find something. I have to continue to put my hope not in what is seen - the lack of job, lack of savings we are building, job market and global economy - and instead fix my gaze on what is unseen and eternal - the Lord knows the plans He has for me, He will direct my path, His ways are not my ways, they are for good and not for harm to give me a hope and a future.

There is some reason I haven't found the job I'm searching for. Maybe it is just to make me lean more on my Father. Maybe He's just wanting to give me time to take care of my husband or have a season of rest. I don't know what is reason is, but at the end of it all, I know He's got me. I may have to remind myself that everyday...but I'm getting it. Slowly. He's got me and He's enough for me.

And that's really all I need to know.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Season of Learning: Reading List

Married life has brought on a new phase - a phase of rest and learning. This has been quite in contrast to the last phase I was in and I am trying to enjoy and soak up all that I can during this time, knowing it will only last for a season. God is so good though, always faithful, and He provides us with just what we need whenever we need it.

So my husband and I really like to read. And we love to learn. And we love to worship. So between the two of us, we have quite a collection of books and worship music. And we are busy devouring each others books, since our collection has doubled due to marriage, and we are also busy adding more during this season we have to read and learn from the Lord. I'm just so happy to have time to read again, after grad school and then 2 years of missions. So I want to share with you some of the titles and musicians we love and think you should check out. Some of these books are pretty well-known, and others are not so much. Same with the music. The Lord has really been drawing us to intimacy with Him, and a deeper understanding of His love and how that effects the way we live our lives for Him, so much of these reflect that theme.

Here's some of my recommendations:

"Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. If you haven't heard of him, you are in for a treat. Look him up online. He pastored a large church in CA called Cornerstone and there are tons of his podcasts available to listen to online. And they are really good. He also wrote a second book - "Forgotten God" that Dan read (I haven't read it yet) and says is also good.

"Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne. Amazing, and life changing book, written somewhat autobiographical about his stories. This guy was challenged to take the Bible seriously and it has taken him to Iraq, India and the slums of Philly, living in community and loving like Jesus. You really have to read this. It will change you. And if you like it, he's written a few others - "Jesus for President" and "Follow Me to Freedom".

"Heavenly Man" by Brother Yun. This is the true story of a Chinese Believer who basically lead the underground church in China. His story took place during our lifetime, which just blows me away. It is another must read.

"The Missions Addiction: Capturing God's Passion for the World" by David Shilbey really helps to answer why we should be doing overseas missions. Very inspiring. I read this while at Global Infusion.

If you like Biographies/autobiographies, I really recommend reading Reinhard Bonnke's book. He is an evangelist to Africa primarily, and has seen millions of people accept Christ. No joke. He holds crusades with more than 1 million people coming in a night. He's got some crazy God stories. He just came out with a new autobiography called "Living a Life of Fire", but there's a smaller book of his stories too called "Even Greater." I think any of his books would be good, though.

Oral Roberts' book, "Expect a Miracle" is another great autobiography, and dear to my heart since I went to ORU. He's such an anointed healing evangelist.

Someone a bit heavier, but really good is Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a martyr during Nazi Germany and wrote extensively on the Christian faith. I would put him in the category of C.S. Lewis. We have "Cost of Discipleship" but I also saw a new biography about him "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy" that I want to get.

Hungry for revival? Read "Jesus Culture" by Banning Liebscher. This tells the story of Jesus Culture, a ministry birthed out of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Bethel and Jesus Culture have some really amazing musicians and worship leaders as well. This was the conference Dan and I went to in July. Check out Jesus Culture Band, Kim Walker, Chris Quilala, Brian and Jenn Johnson, and Bethel Live for some really incredible praise and worship.

I know there are a ton of other good books out there, but these are some of my favorites. I'm always looking for more though, so let me know some of your favorites. I'm not too into fiction - I prefer biographies to fiction, and love books that teach me something, I guess you would classify them "Christian Living."
Happy reading. :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lessons from the Fava

So I'm sitting here in my new apartment with my new husband, and am just having all these God things hit me while, of all things, I write wedding thank you notes. Now what kind of deep thoughts could that be bringing up, you might think?
Well, I'll tell you.
I just got done writing a note to one of my faithful missions supporters. This couple, above all others, gave faithfully every single month for 2 full years that I was with Global Infusion. As the person sitting on the receiving end of that support, that is a huge deal. And when you have someone who gives that faithfully, not only does it strenghten your trust in God and allow you to breathe a little easier each month, knowing that at least one check will be faithfully coming your way, it also adds up. This couple made such an impact on my ability to stay with Global Infusion as long as I did, and prepared the way for me to do things like go to Thailand and stay for six months, allowing me to meet Dan, and leading me to be where I am right now, sitting on this new couch with this new apartment, new ring on my finger and new man by my side for life. How do you put that into a thank you note? I guess that's why I'm here now typing this out instead of just crying into that envelope.
It leads me to ask a lot of questions. How many people have been effected in that way because of my obedience? Not only that, but also by my my faithfulness? Obedience, well that I can say that I do pretty good with... at least some of the time... Faithfulness? Yikes, that one is a little harder. I hope that there are some. I'm sure there must least one, maybe?
So let's not just focus on the past, but turn this into a challenge for the future... Who am I going to make that kind of impact on through my future obedience and faithfulness alone? I want it to be many! Being on this side of it, I want to be that person to as many other people as I can!
I've wrapped up the official "missionary" role for the time being (I say official, because we are all always called to be missionaries), so now that I'm not the one living on full-time support, who's life will I impact for eternity? Whose life will you impact for eternity? I hope for your sake, as well as mine, that it will be many.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Value of $10

Some of you may have already read my facebook statuses asking for $10 towards Global Infusion, but you might be wondering what will $10 do? I have worked here at Global Infusion, a foreign missions organization for almost 2 years now. We plan missions trips for groups all around the world and we handle ALL of the administration and planning to make those trips happen. We do not take a single penny to cover our administrative costs from the trips. That's right. I work here for free, becuase I believe in what we are doing. That's why I need you. Your $10 one time gift allows me to live here at the GI campus. It helps me buy food and put gas in my car. It pays for my upcoming trip to Guatemala March 21-29 where I (along with my fiance) will be taking a group of 8 from a church in Colorado into the mountains to distribute food and share Christ. Your $10 allows for the distribution of food to those Guatemalians starving in the mountains. It helps us send out literally hundreds of people this summer on nearly 10 different trips to countries like Egypt, Thailand, Ghana, Ukraine, China, and Guatemala, where hundreds and thousands will be encountered by these GI missions teams and have an opportunity to experience the love of God. That is the value of your $10. What other $10 you spend has that kind of effect? Can you give?

Donate now at and specify my name in your donation to help me raise the support I need for my last 3 months here. Your $10 gift can change countless lives. Thank you!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Asking, Seeking, Knocking

"Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8 (Amplified Version)

I don't like to ask for help. I have an independent spirit - I don't know, maybe part of being an only child. So this last year and a half has been hard on me. I've always had a job, always worked, always attempted to take care of myself. But when I came to live at Global Infusion and do missions full-time, I gave those things up. Even though I've worked a little bit here and there to supplement, the majority of my living has been dependent on others to financially support what I am doing. And it has been hard to live like that. Part of it is that I don't want to bother or inconvenience anyone. I know the state of the economy right now and that many people are having to cut back financially. I don't want to feel like a burden. Another big part of it is just pride, though. I want to be able to do it by myself. I know I have the ability to provide for myself and I would rather do that then rely on others (or the Lord) to take care of me.

Since I returned from Thailand, financial support has dropped significantly. I have a couple consistent supporters, for whom I am extremely greatful, but not enough to live on. I have bills coming up that I don't have the money to pay. And it's nothing extravagant. It's just the bare expenses of food, gas, car insurance. I've been throwing around the idea of trying to fit in another part-time job, but there just aren't enough hours in the day. And again, that's me trying to take care of things on my own without asking for help. I walked into church last night, after really debating if I should go or not, and the pastor spoke on the verse written above. He posed the question that maybe this verse isn't only talking about our prayer requests that we make of God. Perhaps this is a challenge of community - that we are to ask those around us when we are in need for help and give them the chance to help us out. I started crying as he spoke, knowing that I was trying again to avoid that level of vulnerability and avoid asking of others.

I know that I am doing the Lord's work and that He has called me here for this season. I know that as believers, there is a Great Commission mandate on our lives. One of my missionary friends (Sarah) challenged me that it is a privilege for others to support me to do missions because it allows them to fulfill their Great Commission mandate, something that the Bible makes very clear we are all supposed to do. I struggle to think like that though, and instead often end up feeling like a burden just always looking for handouts. I'm trying to see it differently and to change my thinking.

The bottom line is that I need your help. I think I have a hundred dollars to my name, and $600 of expenses each month. I still need to raise about $600 for the Guatemala trip next month, too. I'm only gonna be here for 4 more months, so all together that's $3000 I need to raise. Can you help? Any amount you can give will truly be a blessing. No amount is too small. If 100 people read this and each gave $30 that would take care of it. You can give through Global Infusion ( to support my rent and trip costs, or you can give to me individually and help me cover food, insurance and gas. Both are needed and both are equally important. If you aren't able to give, you still can help. Pray for me, and pass this along to someone you know who can help. Each person can do something.

Will you help me?