Saturday, January 15, 2011

Katie and Luke

"A wedding calls us to our highest and best--in fact, to almost impossible---ideals. It's the way we want to live. But marriage reminds us of the daily reality of living as sinful human beings in a radically broken world." -Gary Thomas "Sacred Marriage"

As I reflect on the gigantic step of faith that my sister Katie and soon to be brother-in-law Luke are about to take in one week, I am amazed at their courage. Courage to commit to one person for the rest of their lives, to commit to walking through life's mountains and valleys, endure sickness and health, wealth and poverty, love and contempt... all in pursuit of working through the one type of relationship that Satan has targeted to destroy.

"We must never be naïve enough to think of marriage as a safe harbor from the Fall... The deepest struggles of life will occur in the most primary relationship affected by the Fall: marriage." -Dan Allender & Tremper Longman III

I look at Luke Patterson and see a man who is passionate about God's work. He has a desire to walk in obedience to God. From his commitment to volunteering at church to committing a year of discipleship training and missions... he loves the Lord. He has pursued Katie since her sophomore year of high school(that I can remember). Even when their friendship hit rocks, he remained a loyal friend who walked through difficulties of life with her despite an 8 hour distance when she went to school in Indiana. He is a man with many friends... good friends... true friends because he is a true friend...willing to drop everything to help someone out. He is not afraid of differences between people, not afraid to question a person, or call someone out. He's kind and thoughtful. He listens well and is considerate. He is courageous and I completely trust him to love Katie, work through differences, forgive her, help her, teach her, learn from her, respect her, and have fun with her.

Katie... when I think about what I'm thankful for about her, I am at a loss for words. She is the most beautiful girl. She's such a thoughtful sister. I remember when she was little, I told mom "You need to talk to Katie... she is the most selfish girl in the whole world." I laugh thinking about that. Katie has shown me so much about selflessness, humility, and service. She is so loving to people who are difficult to love. She has an ability to look past their shortcomings and have incredible empathy for them. She is always looking for her purpose in life... not wanting to waste the gifts God has given her. She is always up to have fun... sledding in snow, going to the humane society and walking puppies, going shopping, line dancing, shopping at Von Maur, dressing up, playing with make up, laughing at old videos, playing games... she is just someone that you would always want to have around.

Combining the two... fun, spontaneity, adventure, and adaptability are just a few words I can think of that might describe their marriage. They have a love that has already stood the test of difficulties, surprises and a fair amount of time. I see them raising wonderful kids who love Jesus and love adventure, I see them camping together, having friends and family over, leading mission trips, opening up their marriage to other young couples, counseling and mentoring, and most of all: honoring God through this gift of a relationship that he has given them.

I see both of them denying themselves for the other. Listening when they don't feel like it, loving when it's easier to hate, serving when they're on empty, laughing even when it's hard... and through so much denial of self in order to love the other, they will discover they are not only in an intimate loving relationship with one another but also and most importantly, an intimate and loving relationship with their Father in Heaven.

This picture = Katie and Luke perfectly:)

Special Gifts for one another

One of my favorites of these two:) Night of engagement!

I can't wait for Saturday, January 22, 2011. It is going to be so joyous!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Baby Herm/Kuke/Danucy

My sister is having a baby. My baby sister is having a baby.

As I sleep, work, play, live, God is forming... knitting together... creating... loving... knowing this little precious life. A life that I don't yet know... but my heart swells and flutters at the thought of Herm:)

When Lucy and I found out that a little life was growing in Katie's belly, we jumped up and down on the bed and started talking to Katie's belly button.... telling the little babe how much we love her/him, how excited we are to meet him/her. Then we got tired of calling him/her... "him/her". So we named him/her Danucy... combining Danielle and Lucy. And then we also named Danucy "Herm"... a mix of her/him. Then Luke's genius sisters named Herm/Danucy "Kuke" a mix of Katie and Luke. This little babe is so loved...

I lay in bed thinking of the little life... praying for "Herm" to know Jesus... praying that "Danucy" obeys Jesus... praying that "Kuke" is healthy... praying that "Herm" is courageous... I'm dreaming of Kuke's future... dreaming beautiful things for Kuke.... and if I being a human... not even Kuke's mamma... just Kuke's Aunt am dreaming up beautiful things and having my heart feel uncomfortably and overwhelmingly expanded with love for Herm....

I just wonder what it is like for God when he is forming these little babes. At the moment of conception... he said "This is the one I have chosen. This is the one I have created. This is the time for this one. I have great/grand plans for this one." It sends chills all over my body. And he did that for each and every person on the Earth. He chose each of us. We are no accident.

What does that do for how you live life today?

Check in with God... first thing.

The first night I was home from the Philippines as I laid down to go to sleep and began to worry about getting everything done on my checklist... I wished to go back to the Philippines where I didn't worry about the next day. As I examined why that was, I realized that I didn't need to worry about tomorrow b/c someone else had that figured out. All I had to do was go to sleep and then check in with one of my leaders when I woke up and I would get my assignment for the day.

I had the simple realization that life here is the same! I don't need to worry about tomorrow. I just lay my head down and make sure I check in with My Savior and Father when I wake up. He'll make sure he gives me my assignment and he had the entire day figured out.

When I woke up and began to go about my day... a day that began with a dead car battery and a saint of a woman who jumped it for me... I remembered to check in with God. Everything got done and more... It was sweet.

Teens in the Philippines

We went to a Catholic school and had one hour to share testimonies, play games, sing or just encourage the students. After singing and testimonies, my teammate and I had the students write down questions. It could be about God, America, teenage life, school, etc.... anything! Here were some of the questions:

1. Who is Jesus to you?

2. If you wronged someone and apologized but they didn't accept it, who committed the sin?

3. How do you know God deeply?

4. Give me one situation that strengthened your faith in God.

5. Do the Americans love Filipino people like they love Jesus?

6. What makes you think that God really loves us?

7. How would you show love to Jesus to other people?

8. Is there a time when you get angry with God?

Do you hear the curiosity? The hunger for something more? The desire for a deeper relationship? The longing for love, acceptance and assurance?

These students were ready to be discipled... ready to be brought into a small group and learn about the relationship they can each have with Jesus. We could only bring them encouragement for an hour, pray with them and guide them to scriptures to read... our time was short.

What they need is mentors who are willing to discuss hard questions, Scripture explained and revealed to them, and a filling of the Holy Spirit. We can pray that someone would go and begin to harvest... or we can say "I'll go, send me." Which one will you be?

A Story from the Philippines

During our bus ride to the island from the airport in the Philippines, we stopped at a rest stop frequented by tourists. Out of the corner of our eyes we saw some children reaching their little hands through the holes of a fence with big eyes that begged for attention. Moving closer we found two chickens and a make shift 3 walled shelter about the size of a bathroom and the height of 3 feet positioned under a tree.

Their clothes were tattered and I kept looking for parents to come and protect them from the strange foreigners. They didn't speak a bit of English and so we pulled Sherlyn (our team leader and a Filipina herself) into the conversation and she shared the Gospel with them. They prayed with Sherlyn and their smiles may have been a bit brighter. Sherlyn explained to us that they don't have parents and they are living off of begging from the tourists at the rest stop. There were 9 kids and the oldest didn't look 11.

That hurts. But it should. And so ask yourself if your heart hurts at the thought of 9 kids fending for themselves... with no parents to give them hugs, reassure them that the monster under the bed is not bigger than daddy, tuck them in at night, make sure they shower, have clean clothes, read to them, teach them, affirm them... the list could go on and on. Does it hurt your heart?