Coming Home: Meet The Hamman’s

IMG_3228QUICK FACTS:

Married: 25 years

Kids: 4

Home: Mustang, OK

Time with RYFO: 5 years

Got involved with RYFO by: A dream Tina had in ’92 about servings bands. Years later, at Cornerstone, God made this dream a reality by introducing the Hamman family to RYFO.

Fun Fact: The Hamman’s purchase auctioned storage units and flip the fun finds for income, donations, and personal inventory.

When we first arrived at the Hammans we weren’t exactly sure what to expect. I mean, what can you expect to happen when you pull up to someone’s house after 12 hours of traveling and you are totally exhausted? At the very least we assumed we would be greeted, shown our accommodations, and perhaps fed. However, as soon as we pulled into the drive way we were greeted with smiles, hugs, and a strong sense of coming home (and some awesome tostadas). We both felt like we had arrived home with family and that we belonged.

What a powerful testimony to the presence and peace of our Lord who dwells with and in His children.

Our conversation with the Hamman’s quickly went to deep places and within only a few hours we learned that we had many things in common. Our time with the Hamman’s was a tremendous blessing and completely confirmed for us why God called us on the road. There are many, many things that we could share about the Hamman’s because of how rich and full their lives are being lived. For example, Lonnie and Tina are in the process of preparing 3 sober living homes. Tina currently serves and teaches at a Sober living home and they serve bands on a regular basis. But folks, that’s just the beginning! The Hamman’s serve with every ounce of resource God has given them! We were blessed to witness the gospel in action through their lives and we learned so much from them in a short amount of time. One of the greatest lessons we learned from the Hamman’s was about resiliency.

The Webster Dictionary defines resiliency as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” As we spent time getting to know the Hamman family I can, with totally certainty, call them resilient. They are a family that has overcome so much: loss of several loved ones, loss of personal businesses, family crisis, health issues, worldly darkness, and the list goes on. The Hamman’s have responded to these challenges with grace and toughness. Each painful or difficult story we heard ended in a beautiful triumph. The Hamman’s have not only triumphed over bleak situations but they have truly become “more than conquerers in Christ Jesus.”

As a result of their own struggles the Hamman’s are fully relatable people. There isn’t a “religious” bone in their bodies. The Hamman’s have turned their sorrows into compassionate and heartfelt service toward others. They are living the gospel out loud, and filled with God’s presence. We believe that the following verse perfectly sums up the Hamman family:

“For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “let light shine out of darkness.” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-9)

We are so thankful for this experience and we are well aware that this is just the tip of the iceberg. We believe that RYFO attracts families with this kind of caliber who not only have gifts of hospitality, but naturally live a life of service that mirrors the heart of Jesus. A broken, beautiful jar of clay poured out for the kingdom.

If our time with the Hamman’s is any indication of what’s ahead, we are in for endless treasures and amazing experiences!

Thank you Hamman family for all that you do!

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The Wayward Son

Can you believe it has already been 10 days since we officially launched the RYFO Road Tour? For those of you that are new to our adventure, you can read more about the RYFO road tour here. The beginning of the tour has already proven to be challenging and yet, in the midst of challenge, we have already learned several things.

A few days ago, while traveling an epic 12 hours, I was especially feeling the challenge and difficulty of life on the road. Specifically, I found myself asking the Lord, “why are we living this way?”, “What’s the point of our trip again?”, and “How will we be effective for your Kingdom?”. As the road twisted on and the horizon spanned for miles ahead, I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into these questions and farther away from answers.

Before I could admit how I was feeling, a voice broke the silence. Simeon, my faithful co-laborer (and awesome Husband), received an email from a dear friend who had it on his heart to encourage us. As Simeon read the email I heard the sweet response of Father God to my questions. Our friend had taken time in the morning to pray for us and felt God lead him to a specific verse for encouragement. Our God is so faithful. 

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him,” (Luke 15:20). 

This verse is speaking about the wayward son. The son who took his inheritance early and hit the road. This son lived life lavishly, if only briefly. When all resources were exhausted there was only one place the son could return….home. It’s in the Father’s response to his son that we see the kingdom principle of redemption, grace, and unconditional love. Our Heavenly Father has this heart for us, each of us. Whether we stayed “home” or strayed far from it, our Father demonstrates His radical love for us just the same.

What a sweet answer to my question.

We are on the road, far from home, to encourage, build, and strengthen a network of homes that will receive the wayward son, even if he is still far off. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of musicians who live life on the road on any given day and they are in need of God’s radical love (and a place to crash with a good meal to eat). RYFO’s network of Host Homes get to be the compassionate arms that wrap around each son, each daughter, and extend the love of the Father. What a beautiful thing.

And what a great reason to live life on the road for this season. To go, to encourage, to love and strengthen these servants. We are honored to partner with God in this way.

Interested in knowing more? Read on for some trip specifics! Stay tuned for more thoughts from the Lohrmann’s as we live life on the road.

RYFO HOMES


QUICK FACTS: 

# of stays: 5

# of hours traveled: 38

States visited: 4

Distance Covered: 1,541 miles

May 4th – Our belongings were packed away in storage and we drove to our first stay with the Schottelkorb’s in San Dimas, CA

May 5th – Our official launch date is delayed due to our A/C breaking down in our car. We experience the first set back and unexpected adventure. However, we get much needed time with family. We also get to pray for our mechanic and bless him. Simeon attends a youth concert and we get to connect with sweet friends in the area.

May 6th, 7th – Car is repaired. We launch the tour and head to Phoenix, AZ. We stay with the Whiten family and experience rest and rejuvenation.

May 8th – We stay with the Fleming family and they host a small gathering where we meet new friends who are impacting the Kingdom in Phoenix. We get to pray for each other and we feel encouraged.

May 9th, 10th – We stay with the Gilbert family in Albuquerque, NM. We visit Calvary Chapel, NM and meet contacts for RYFO. On the drive to Oklahoma, Johanna prays for a server in a Route 66 Diner whose husband is blinded from cancer. Will you pause for a moment and pray for Viola and her husband for complete healing?

May 11th, 12th – We stay with the Hamman family in Mustang, OK. We are blown away by their servant hearts and we have a dynamic time of conversation and prayer. The Hamman’s give us a great “RYFO host home” experience and even take us to a local storage auction! We feel confident with our calling to serve the RYFO network. Will you also take a moment to pray for Lonnie Hamman who is living with partial deafness from hearing damage?

May 13th – We make the trek to Dallas TX and post up at the church, Bethel Dallas, to avoid the severe rain and to spend time with our friend Keegan Sidhu who is also hosting us.

At this point you might be asking, “how’s Judah doing?” simply put, he is doing AWESOME. He is sleeping incredibly well, enjoying each new place, and laughing and interacting with almost everyone we meet. We had no idea he was such a resilient little guy! We have already seen God answer numerous prayers for us.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support, we hope you continue to follow along the journey!

Excited to see all that is ahead!

Judah and the arrow

GO

Ryfo Tour

There’s a lot happening in our world right now.

Big changes are on the horizon.

In case you haven’t heard, here’s what’s new.

On May 5th, we are packing up and “hitting the road.” Our family is going on a 24 week Missions trip across the nation. We have 60+ planned stops. Our goal is to make it back to California on October 18th.

Wow.

We leave in 8 weeks. Wow. wow. wow.

People keep asking me how I feel and the best answer I can give is that I have two competing emotions.

The adventurer in me is excited. I love new places. I love doing radical things. And I love being in situations where God shows up in powerful ways. This trip will be no exception to that. God has asked us to GO and we have responded in a big way. We’re packing up our belongings, putting everything in storage, and committing to essentially live out of a van for 6 months. Okay God, here we GO!

On the other hand, the Mom in me is nervous. Yes, I will be taking my 1 year old on the road. For the first 6 weeks we will have 18 stops. That’s 2 days in each city. Every 2 days we will be on the road and in a new place. I already feel tired just thinking about it…

But that’s the beauty of following God. I already know that He is going to meet me each day, in a powerful way, and meet the needs of my family as we serve where we are called.

This trip, while exciting for us, is not about us. It’s about bringing the Kingdom of God to each place we go. It’s about serving those who serve others (Ryfo Host families) and it’s about sharing the gospel of Christ through loving others.

We will GO and go and go…

Wherever He calls us, we will go.

Want to know more? Follow us on our journey!

Nothing More Radical

The only perfect man. God in human form. Jesus was radical.

His message, His lifestyle and certainly His purpose on earth, all serve as evidence of His radical nature. In human history He has no equal, and in the ages to come there will never be another person who walks this planet sinless, and full of love and compassion the way He did.

And then the plot thickens…

When Jesus ascended to Heaven He left His disciples with a standard to live by, a specific commission, and the promise of His Spirit. As His followers we’ve been called to live as He did – Radically! Why? Because we carry the greatest news out there, and eternity is standing in the balance for all of humanity.

But what if our background and faith experience have left us with an incomplete Gospel?

That question has served as a recent focal point within the weekly staff meetings I lead for RYFO.  As a staff we’ve shared about our individual faith journeys in order to learn from, and challenge each other to venture into the dimensions of the Gospel we’re less familiar with.

As we’ve been learning together there are 3 dimensions of the Gospel – Word, Deed and Power. We can see each of these dimensions clearly evidenced by the radical life of Jesus. As believers, the Gospel we carry is truncated and distorted if we’re not operating with the Spirit’s leading in all three. The ideal is to move towards the point of their intersection.

The inspiration behind this discussion comes from a position piece authored by Sam Metcalf, President of CRM (the parent organization for RYFO’s ministry to musicians). As Sam writes the Word dimension “means that whatever Jesus says is important. It is trustworthy and, along with the totality of scripture, infallible. The gospel in word embraces an appreciation of apologetics. The gospel is true, and it is rationally defensible.” The Deed dimension “means that as followers of Jesus, we are compelled to focus on the real issues of our time where the Kingdom of God invades and touches the realities of earth.”  The Power dimension refers to “the presence of the Holy Spirit demonstrated by supernatural manifestations.

On their own, without the balance of the others, each of these dimensions can lead into dangerous territories. On its own the Word emphasis can easily become legalistic and void of any compassion towards others, or expectation for the supernatural movement of God. The Deed emphasis alone can quickly be distilled to nothing more than well-intentioned humanitarianism, a social Gospel lacking in biblical fidelity. Finally, the Power dimension on its one can turn into a kind of warped and bizarre spirituality where in exchange for sound theology, experience rules the day.

In light of these 3 equally important dimensions of the Gospel, I find myself challenged to pursue the radical commission of Christ, to spread the good news as He did, in Word, Deed & Power.

The Movement of God

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Sam and Petty Metcalf sharing at the World Wide Conference. Sam is the co-founder and President of CRM: Empowering Leaders.


We’ve all attended a conference or a seminar at some point in our lives. Typically the topic is intriguing, challenging, and serves as a catalyst for some thought provoking discussion. Sound about right?

Our conference experience in Mexico last month was that and so much more…

The Movement of God

In Us, Among Us and Through Us

Can you picture it? 700 people from around the world gathered together to passionately pursue the Lord! Now three weeks removed from the CRM Worldwide Conference in Cancun, we can clearly see that the theme of the conference, The Movement of God: In Us, Among Us and Through Us, was more than just a compelling topic for discussion. It was something we witnessed firsthand and something that left us personally transformed.

Throughout the week there were moments where God refined and transformed things within us that needed to be dealt with. His movement In Us was precise and gentle. His touch was that of a Master Surgeon. During our times of corporate prayer and worship, the manifest presence of the Lord was undeniable. He was moving Among Us! Finally, we saw His movement Through Us during times of ministry where Johanna and I were able to pray for several individuals who were seeking to hear God’s voice while experiencing His loving touch. In addition, I was honored to play bass with the worship team, and to lead worship for several smaller breakout sessions. The Movement of God is multidimensional, powerful and transformative!

It would be easy to go on and on about God’s movement during the conference, but in an effort to be brief I’ll share one example with you…

As the conference was coming to a close, we were asked to reflect on what we learned and experienced, and to ask God what He wanted us to take away from our time. As I was praying, the Lord revealed a picture to me. I saw a map of the United States with several volcanoes spread throughout the country. In the picture I could see that the volcanoes were not yet active, yet brewing beneath the surface was the potential for a powerful eruption.

As I prayed into the picture and asked the Lord for added discernment, He showed me that these volcanoes were a metaphor for the relationships we have around the country through RYFO. We have many relationships with individuals who share our heart to see transformation in the lives of musicians. As I continued praying the Lord revealed that, in order for these volcanoes to erupt, there needs to be a kickstart.

In light of the conference topic, I saw this picture as a prophetic representation of the current state of RYFO and a proclamation of the type of potential that exists. I am ready to see a Movement of God sweep through the Music Industry as individuals are activated and the Gospel flows out from them to transform the land around them.

-Simeon

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Our amazing view from the 6th floor of our resort! God was so good to us!


As mentioned above by Simeon, there are many things we could share about our experience in Cancun. God’s movement was evident and refreshing! Personally, I experienced God healing me on a deep level,and like Simeon mentioned, God was a Master Surgeon who worked skillfully on me, meeting my every need and removing the “junk” that has been building up over time.

One area of my life that God dealt with was my ever increasing anxiety. As a new mom, I have been slowly gathering more and more reasons to be anxious, even though I knew this was not God’s intent for me, I found myself suffocating with worry and fear over potential harms and danger that could affect my son.

God highlighted this dangerous sin in my life and removed it from me at the same time! I cannot pin point the exact moment it happened, but around the 2nd and 3rd day of the conference I felt lighter and more free than I had felt in months! During a time of worship I was praising God for the experience of freedom and it hit me: MY ANXIETY IS GONE!

A month after the conference I am happy to report that the anxiety has not returned and that feeling of freedom has taken root in my heart and shifted my perspective.

Another exciting takeaway from the conference is our newfound vision and direction for this school year at Concordia and what follows next; our dreams are BIG! And while our dreams cannot be shared just yet, we are confident that God is moving in our lives and grateful for His loving presence. Stay tuned for more!

-Johanna

Your personal lens

Your personal lens

Each of us sees life through our own personal lens. Our lenses can be shaped, colored, and fine tuned by many things. Personal experience. Our upbringing. Our political beliefs. Our religious beliefs. How much education we received. Where we live. How much money is in the bank. The friends we have. The list can go on and on..

Have you ever paused to consider the lens in which you view the world through – your personal lens? The first time anyone asked me to ponder such a question was 5 years ago. I was sitting on a hard, plastic chair in Soshanguve, South Africa. Up until that point I knew that we each viewed life differently, but the teaching that day sharpened my perspective on my own personal lens and caused me to think about other people’s lenses as well.

A lot has changed in the last 5 years. My lens has been colored differently by marriage, graduation, job loss, loved ones passing, new jobs, moves, and a deepening in my life with Christ. I see now how each event, experience, and truth effects my lens. All too often I see how it effects others as well.

Most recently I have been witnessing the experience of pain and the effect that has on the lens of others. Pain is such a real experience and it has real implications for how we view the world. The world can become sinister, unwelcoming, and cruel through the lens of pain. We can view the world as cold and eventually we view others the same as well. Even good intentions, through pain, can feel devastating and unwelcome.

There is a part of me that longs for total vulnerability on this subject and to just say it as I mean it. I fear that I have also contributed to a “perfect” view of life through social media, face book posts, and pinterest boards. I choose to keep a pretty, clean lens on social media; to only share the positive.

But isn’t life so much more than that? My lens is colored by much more. At times, my lens becomes smudged, cloudy, and grimy with the grunge of everyday life. Feelings of fear, anger, and shame are all to real to me. Life is by no means perfect. In fact, most times I feel exhausted just balancing all that lies before me. Keeping it all together is a full time job in itself! My lens is cracked, not perfect, and definitely in need of adjusting.

But that’s the beauty of it too. Life is not perfect. We go through constant change. We are always learning. Loving. Crying. Forgiving. Laughing. Dreaming. Losing. Failing. And trying all over again.

As I said before, our lens can be colored by many things. I believe one of the largest contributions to my lens is my faith. Without the lens of faith I believe I would continuously see the world through the lens of the “victim.” The pain of this world would cause me to feel that all hope was lost; too much to bear. But faith beckons me to believe in an everlasting hope that cannot be seen now. My lens has no frame of reference for what faith requires of me. I must believe without seeing that Jesus is the eternal hope.

That changes my lens entirely.

So, what lens do you see your world through? What will sharpen your view? What changes need to be made? Do some smudges need to come off? Just a little something to think about..

Growing Pains

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Do you remember having growing pains when you were a child? I do. My growing pains were so painful that I would wake up at night, crying and shouting for my mom and dad, while trying to understand what was happening to my body. I can still remember one of those nights; one of my legs was hurting so bad that I jerked from pain and kicked my older sister in the face (at the time we shared a bed and we slept feet to head..). Needless to say, my poor sister got a bloody nose and was convinced I did it on purpose. My growing pains just hurt so bad I could not help the reaction of kicking..

Fast forward 20 years and I still believe that we have growing pains. Sadly my legs have stopped growing but my internal self still jerks in pain from time to time as I continue to develop in character and self (wisdom, truth, love, etc). I believe that we will continue developing internally as long as we live and our development is a process that takes time and patience.

At times I find myself distracted by all the potential areas of growth as portrayed by social media and the world around me (see funny meme above). In the world today there is ALWAYS something that one could work on. This is especially true for women living in Orange County as the standards feel very high.I find myself ready to cast off the standards. This process of growth is already occurring in me (as long as I surrender to it) there is no need to force anything here. I want to trust God with what He is doing in my heart as He shapes me and stop worrying about the rest. I also want to keep perspective and not forget that God is with me in the process and doing something mighty (more on that here).

As I grow I find my prayer life changing and developing as well. Several days ago I found myself in a dried up prayer. Have your prayers every felt dry? It was as if I was standing in the middle of the desert searching desperately for water but drinking sand instead. MY PRAYER WAS DRY. Moments later, I felt reminded of the truth that we take one step toward God, and we can trust Him for the rest. So I reminded God of this truth, “Okay God!” I shouted, “Here I am, you do the rest!” within seconds my dried up prayer turned into a gentle rain storm. I felt God. I saw a glimpse of God as I closed my eyes. I felt the worry and the fears melting away. He is taking me to new levels.

And I cried. Because growing pains hurt. It is possible that internal growing pains are more painful than the rest. There are countless areas of growth for me as a woman to focus on (body image, finances, marriage, parenting, house keeping, careers, creativity, beauty, so forth) but I am learning that the biggest area of growth for me is quiet, humble surrender to the King who knows me (and my areas of growth) better than I know myself.

So, with all that to say, here’s to a new year with opportunities for new growth!

(And yes, I am toasting to the new year because after all, this is my first blog of the year! Missed the last one, catch up here!). 

Nudity, shootings, and love.

Halloween. For most it is an evening of dress up. A time to be heroic, scary, or royal. A time to take children out and gather the sugary loot. A time to be silly, different, anyone but ourselves. There is a lighter side to Halloween; it’s fun.

But where there is light, darkness creeps around the edges. For others, Halloween is taken to another level. It’s about idolizing the body, having a fill of pleasure, and being seduced by the mystery of the mask. It’s about drugs, sex, and pixie dust. It’s a night to be anyone but yourself.

In the past, I have viewed Halloween as a nuisance, something to be tolerated but preferably ignored. There have been years when I dressed up; experiences I can count on one hand. I have also taken kids trick or treating, which was enjoyable. But overall, I have been too aware of the underbelly of this holiday to truly enjoy the lighter side of things…

That was until tonight. Tonight, everything changed.

Did you know that on October 31st, 1571, Martin Luther nailed the letter of reformation to his church’s door? That simple act would cause a major uprising and eventual split of the church. This split would birth the Protestant religion which would inevitably lead to centuries of revivals and exponential growth in Christianity.

Tonight we met with an amazing group of passionate Christians who are believing for a new revival and wave of God’s love for Southern California. The meeting place was Hollywood. We worshipped in a small building called The Oasis and then broke into small groups to go out onto the streets and share one simple message to people on the blvd: God loves you.

We weren’t there to judge, we weren’t there to criticize, we weren’t passing out pamphlets or telling people to repent; we were simply asking the Father to show us where He was and who He wanted to love on and allowing Him to do the rest.

The streets were packed with thousands of dressed up, hyped up, and probably drugged up people. But not just people, His children. I had a few opportunities to share God’s love. One woman I met was named Nicole and she had an issue with alcohol and other addictions. The word God gave me for Nicole was that her new name was Forgiven; when she thought of herself, she was to think, “Nicole is forgiven.” We had a chance to pray with her and share with her how valuable she was. Other’s on the team saw people receive healing in their body; pain they felt completely healed and disappeared.

It’s easy on a night like this to see the darkness. We were surrounded by drugs, prostitutes, pimps, nudity, and an overwhelming sense of animosity, hatred, and fear. It’s more difficult to see the light. To see what God wants to do and where He is moving required us to be listening and following. We had to set ourselves aside and ask Jesus what His plan was.

Tonight, I watched as God honored and loved others through us. I was amazed that I wasn’t afraid or intimidated by what surrounded us; instead I was fired up to share God’s love in a simple, yet deep way.

While we were on the streets, a shooting occurred just a block away. People began running and eventually the riot police showed up. This would have been a perfect time to feel fear, but instead I felt overwhelmed with God’s protection and love over me.

There is so much more to say about tonight. I feel as if I learned eternal lessons about God that will, and are, transforming my heart and mind. I have done street ministry before, and honestly I had been so focused on thoughts like, “what will God give me? How can I be used tonight? What will I give to others?” that I I wasn’t really free to love…

how incredibly selfish and focused on me..

Ministry is about loving the Father, knowing the Father, and sharing the deep simplicity of His love with others. It’s not about me, my gifts, or what I bring to the table. It’s all about him..

And to tonight I got to see the Father love and honor half naked, under the influence, dressed up people who love to celebrate Halloween. I love that about His heart; it’s the true picture of love founded on grace, rooted in forgiveness. God is love.

Imagine that.

I must love…

Hello wordpress, it’s been awhile. I find myself sluggishly typing at 3:55am, well aware that sleep evades me. Tonight has been a long one. I cannot sleep because my mind, simply put, will not shut down. I had an encounter with someone last night that got my blood pumping, my adrenaline rushing, and my mind spinning wildly.

Who you ask? And why such a reaction? A hurting person, filled with anger, who decided to take some of it out on me. I am not mad at this person, in fact, I have already forgiven them. However, it has caused me to analyze and re-analyze the situation, my response, his reaction, and the point of why I do what I do.

I am a Resident Director. I live where I work. I work where I live. I get late night calls and work until early mornings. Not always, but some nights I find myself up later than I would prefer; but alas, there is a reason.

I find myself wrestling with the deeper implications of what this role means. Clearly, God has chosen me for such a time as this. Here I am, ready and willing to serve, but to what end? And for whom do I serve?

For the hurting ones. For the angry ones. For the ones who go out on a Saturday night dressed in nothing more than lingerie and high heels to find their worth and value at the bottom of the drinking glass. For the ones who feel ignored, lost, and alone. For the ones whose parents never said the words, “I love you.” For the ones who have no respect for others. For the ones growing and learning and becoming who God created them to be. For the ones who are like the girl I once was. For each person who is here.

The chances of me meeting every person on campus is not likely. In fact, I probably won’t know every student at Concordia. This truth doesn’t change my motivation to serve. In my wrestling this morning God reminded me of a simple, yet profound truth. Each person here was worth the death and sacrifice of Jesus. Each person here is worth serving and is worth fighting for. If Christ didn’t fight for me, I too would be lost.

There are people I could name that lost sleep over me. People who fought for me in prayer. People who were worried and pleaded with God for my protection. People who cared for me and loved me when I didn’t, or couldn’t love them back. People who I let my own anger spill over on. People who I hurt who had to forgive me. I am really no different than the people I am here to serve.

But today, I know my worth. I know that Christ did something for me that no one ever could. His sacrifice covered my deepest, darkest, dirtiest sins. His life lost so I could gain. I know this truth today. I walk in it. Jesus guides me, calls me, loves me, and strengthens me to do what the Father pleases.

And it pleases Him to fight for others. To love others. To value the life of others. To treat others with dignity, respect, grace, and love. To speak truth when lies abound. To bring light into the darkest places. To be poured out unto sleepless nights.

 

To live, as Christ lived, a servant of the most high God.

Alas, it is 4:19am and I am rambling away. I am thankful for this sleepless night. Thankful for the reminder of the simple, yet deep truth: I must love and value others because I am loved and valued by my creator.

 

 

 

The Disruptive Goodness of God

The year was 2006. I was in a relationship that my friends and family lovingly supported, but wanted better for me. I was struggling with my own desires and making bad decisions left and right. I was headed toward nursing, but was choosing self-destructive things along the way. That’s when I met Dave Bishop. Dave is the founder of a scholarship program for women called Pathways To Independence. In meeting Dave, I told him my life story, my dreams, my goals, and my failures. Dave offered me a full ride scholarship to the college of my choice in Orange County. Months later I found myself living in my very first apartment in Huntington Beach, away from my support system, and on a totally new path. My life had been disrupted in the best way possible.

Over time, my desires began to change. I started going to church on my own and found a church I wanted to serve at. For 2 years I spent 12+ hours at church on Sundays giving everything thing I could. That wasn’t all that changed, I found myself switching from Nursing to Social Work and going to my first 4-year University, Cal State Long Beach. I also moved from a solo-apartment to a house with 5-6 girls who were passionate about living for Christ.

In 2010 I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. The self-destructive things that I desired were replaced with a vibrant and passionate desire to please God, and God alone. I also found myself in one of the most life-giving and healthiest relationships I had ever been in. From 2007-2010 I worked in a privately owned Doctor’s office and only a month before graduation I was laid off. Another disruption that proved itself essential and life changing.

At this point in my life I had gained more confidence and more direction than I had before. I knew I wanted to serve and help people and I had a desire to love others the way Christ loved me. Within several months of being laid off I was offered a position at the Orange County Rescue Mission as a Case Manager. This would give me the opportunity to speak into the lives of others in a new and exciting way.

After 3 months in my new position another disruption came onto my path. The house I worked in was being closed down and the program was being changed. This meant that the staff of 6 was losing their jobs if OCRM couldn’t find another placement for us. I was confused and angry. Why had God brought me here only to take me away 3 months later? This disruption made no sense at all.

OCRM did find another position for me and transferred me to the Village of Hope, where I became the Admissions Manager. My confusion grew as this job seemed more challenging and far different than anything I would have chosen for myself. In my confusion, I decided to trust God completely with what He was doing. After all, I should have been unemployed again but God placed me in a situation that I had no control over and it became evident that He was completely in control.

I worked diligently in this position for a year and a half. During this time I was engaged and married to the man of my dreams, and best friend. Life was perfect. Me and my Husband were ministering to others in areas we loved and with people we loved. However, work did present some challenges, I continued to trust God and follow His lead on a daily basis.

On June 1st, 2012, another disruption to life came our way. I was let go from my position at OCRM along with several staff members. The day I walked away from the OCRM campus I lifted my hands in worship and praised God for all that He had done there, and for an opportunity to serve and love the people I met. I also praised HIm for His faithfulness because past experience taught me that He was doing something major in my life.

I was unemployed for 41 days. In those days I experienced waves of confusion, joy, peace, trust, fear, and rest. It was a mixed bag. But I remembered the importance of looking back on my life and recalling the situations that were tough, and the miracles God did as a result. I meditated on God’s perfect love for me and took a lot of peace in knowing that when I ask my Father for bread, He doesn’t give me stones.

On day 41 of unemployment I was offered an amazing position at Concordia University. With jubilee me and my husband accepted and have now been living on campus for nearly two months.

Shortly before receiving this new job offer, Matt Davenport preached a message at our church on the Disruptive Goodness of God. This message resonated deeply with my heart. My will and plans have been disrupted many times by God. Years ago I would fear when unexpected changes came my way, but today I know from experience that I can trust my God, even when changes are scary, confusing, and make no sense. I can look at the last 6 years of my life and see exactly what God was doing and it has been very good. Had I not experienced the disruptions to my plans, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

The fact is, God is always good. At times, we experience difficulty, heartache, and brokeness in our journey. This doesn’t change God’s goodness. God can use our bottomless pit and our hopeless situation for good. If we can learn to trust God in the unknown, shadowy places of life, we will be amazed and in awe when He illuminates the good work that was taking place at that time. We can’t always see what God is doing but if we look back on our lives and reflect on what God has done, we can see the road marks of goodness along the way, as disruptive as they may be.