Monday, September 29, 2014
I feel like this season has been a rapid one, where I feel like I’ve switched from being a “bucket” to a “pipe.” I used to be a bucket that would receive from Christ, hold it for a while, pour out into others, and then go back to get filled. Now I feel like a pipe that is constantly being pour into, yet is also constantly pouring out. It’s definitely good. But I find myself having moments thinking, “I feel empty...wait, no, that’s not right--I do feel God right now--it’s just a very different state of being.” I’m used to carrying something for a while before I give it away. To have more time to process before I’m pouring out. But this pipe thing makes a lot of sense--I’m touching more and more people, yet not going dry!
It seems that God likes to make His changes bigger and more drastic these days. I have become more “people focused” in all areas of my life, not just at my church and job--which I didn’t expect.
Just yesterday I have the opportunity to help a different church that is restarting Sunday morning services brainstorm ways to make their building fresh, inviting, and more worshipful. I could seriously do this every day. I loved looking at their space and having ready ears to listen to idea after idea as they came to me. I love creating spaces that nurture community, that point people to love each other and love God. I love doing everything I can to take down little barriers the enemy may use to distract people from God’s heart--even something as simple as a map can help people feel more at ease and welcome, and can silence the enemy from planting lies like, “you’re an outsider” or “you’re not welcome here.” I love making room for children to worship, and for families to enter the presence of God in community!
Yesterday I also met with a friend who is pursuing the adventure God has given her to go on a journey, and I was able to bless her with my skills with blogging and social networks. I love that things I do, often for fun and in my down time, can be taught to others to directly further the Kingdom of God. It is so life-giving to use what I’ve been given, what I’ve learned, to help others pursue their dreams!
And honestly, that’s what it comes down to: serving others is the focus of this season, and when I’m doing that I’m making my King smile. He is clearly reminding me to make time for Him first, so that the flow of living water keeps coming down my pipe. And as that water flows, even though at times it’s stressful and feels overwhelming, He will overwhelm me with more than enough provision for whatever is at hand! What joy!
Friday, September 12, 2014
Saturday, August 16, 2014
"For I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me."
Philippians 4:11-13, GNT
"For I have learned how to be content—satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted—in whatever state I am.
I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want.
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me. I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.”
Philippians 4:11-13, AMP
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I hate that people forget. We forget the truth. It gets so clouded, so lost, in the busyness--or in the emptiness. In the pain. Or the numbness. In the tears. Or the hate. Or the apathy.
People “grow up.” We forget about the second star to the right. We forget how to fly. We forget who we are. We forget our identity. We get “hooked” by the world. By the lies.
We start to believe the lie. That perhaps, death is the only great adventure left.
It’s not. It’s not. IT’S NOT.
Robin Williams died, most likely of suicide.
I know people who have almost given into the lie. Into the lie that the people they love would be better without them. People who have almost given into the lie that death is better than the pain. People who have almost given into the lie that death is the only adventure left. People who have forgotten who they are.
Robin Williams gave into a lie. He believed it. He thought something was true that wasn’t. He forgot the truth he portrayed in that classic movie. He believed something like the lies that Captain Hook said: that death was the only adventure left.
He believed the lies to the point that he took his own life.
This is not ok, people. No suicide is ok. We cannot be ok with this.
Tell the people you love. Tell them you know what you’re talking about and you want them in your life. Tell them the truth. Tell them they are loved. Tell them God has purpose for their life. Tell them the story isn’t done yet. Remind them who they are! Do something. Reach out. Text them. Call them. Send them a message.
People need to be reminded of who they are. They need to know their identity. Loved. Forgiven. Redeemed. Chosen.
They need to know… to know and remember who they are.
Peter Pan remembered. It changed his life. It can change our friends lives, too.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Monday, June 2, 2014
It’s been super good. Definitely difficult. But I really think it’s going to be worth it. I’m taking it a day at a time. Here’s to the best year of my life so far!
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Friday, April 25, 2014
Since January, I’ve been working second shift most days, because that aligns with Peter and the WorshipArts schedule. It’s been very different--our average day starts at between 9 and 11 AM, we get to work at around 1-3 PM, and then we leave the church between 9 and 10 PM, and then we work on projects or spend time together until 12-2 AM.
It’s been interesting to see the pros and cons develop to this schedule. Definite pros are being with Peter more, only taking one trip to church and back (we only have one vehicle) each day, and staying up late and sleeping in late--it’s nice to have that schedule without the guilt I’ve had for falling into it in past seasons. Some of the cons have been surprising. I didn’t realize that I did most of my errands as well as most of my time visiting with my girl friends during WorshipArts in the evenings. Those things have been put off even more than in the past seasons, when it was hard enough to make grocery shopping a priority, for example. It’s also been much more difficult for me to help out at WorshipArts, because I’ve scheduled myself to get my hours in for New Day during all the practices.
What I really love though? Spending so much time with my husband. It’s been fantastic to be around for spontaneous brainstorm sessions, to be able to help him design graphics right when he comes up with the idea, and enjoy breakfasts together every morning (during the traditional dinner time, he’s teaching--so it’s been a nice change to have a consistent meal together every day).
I’ve also really enjoying getting acquainted with the “tumblr-verse” in this season of life. There are some really phenomenal people on there. My favorite thing, surprisingly enough, is that it’s not as personal as Facebook. People follow and unfollow people all the time, and it’s not a huge deal. And the best thing has turned out to be the questions feature. People ask some really deep, intense things and God has been giving Peter and I opportunities to speak into people’s lives. I wish I had time and energy to answer all the questions, but we do as many as we can. It’s been a really cool experience.
There are just a few weeks left in our WorshipArts season, so I’m in for another routine change in a few weeks. It’ll be a blessing to have our evenings open up a bit before we dive into three solid weeks of camps in July. And let me tell you--the fact that more and more sunshine is in my future is definitely putting a smile on my face. I’m ready for you, summer!
Thursday, February 20, 2014
What do you do, Tori? Oh, guys. My life is so full. It’s totally different every day, every week, at least the details are. But overall, I work at church for Kalamazoo and Vandalia, help out with WorshipArts, sleep, and occasionally eat something or shower, and have Peter-time watching a few different TV shows or going to movies. I try to do the following too, but it happens so sporadically: spend time with my core girls, or exercise, or mentor girls, or plan meals, or clean the house. I take pictures with my iPhone and love editing them, and that’s my manageable way of recording my life.
And then there is my Jesus time. Let me tell you--I’d be in a terrible place with Christ if it wasn’t for the wonder of recorded worship music. God has met me many a time with a “random” song on Spotify radio, or one from our mix CD in our car, or a lyric that I can’t get out of my head. I’m trying to read the whole New Testament this year. And it’s February 20th and I don’t think I’ve finished 10 chapters yet. His grace is sufficient to cover my mistakes. But I don’t want this busyness to be an idol. I don’t want procrastination to be an idol. I don’t want to look back at my life, and realize I “held something back in my life that I could have lavished out at Jesus’ feet” (S. L. Pradhan).
So I’m living this life. I’m trying to record it in bits and pieces. To use it to give God glory. Please, look at my life and see someone who’s doing what she can to love Jesus. I’m so not perfect at this. Don’t you dare try to put me on a pedestal, ok? Because that’s completely not where I belong. But I wouldn’t mind if you see my life AS a pedestal. Because I want to be lifting Jesus up with all the little things I do. With the way I love my husband. With the way I get excited about new iPhone editing apps. With the little moments I manage to see something I like to think is profound in a verse or a lyric and so I share it with you.
I want to have more time to pour out. I want to answer all your amazing and hard questions on Tumblr. I want to write great encouraging comments on your statuses on Facebook. I want to take you out for coffee or have you and your guy over for dinner or go out with that group and love life with you. But I can’t do it all right now and I have to fight the thoughts that want to tear me down because I just can’t.
I want to have more time to pour in, too. I want to spend hours reading the Bible. I want to spend hours painting and sketching. I want to read so many non-fiction, leadership, learning books. I want to inhale so much solid fiction I keep hearing about. I want to work on my voice and start singing more. I want to just be and pray for 2 hours straight at a time with nothing going on around me. But I just can’t find the time between everything else going on to make room for this stuff.
So it’s just not happening.
While everything keeps happening.
And I’ll just keep doing my best to not look at my own feet cause when I do that I trip, and instead just try to keep my eyes on Heaven, on the Cross, even when it’s foggy, to just keep my feet moving forward, and not stop, just not stop. Just keep living and keep smiling and keep Jesus in the center because if He’s not I’ll totally spiral out of control.
Jesus. Keeping our eyes on Jesus. Stay centered, soul. On Jesus.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
"How do you get past jealousy of other women? It is seriously killing me. I just can't stop comparing and competing."
In my experience, the real problem here is that you don’t know who you are in Christ. The only reason a daughter of the most High King would be jealous is if she was believing lies about herself. If you do not know your identity, if you don’t believe you are who God says you are, then you’re going to be comparing and fighting for approval.
When you really dig into the Word and listen to God’s perspective, you get free! Then you can forgive your past and others, see your own value, and even love the things about others that used to make you jealous. You are hidden in Christ. You are a new creation. The freedom this can bring is truly incredible.
Many concepts from the book, “The Supernatural Ways of Royalty” by Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson would help you, and I’d recommend you read it and verify what it says through your own study in scripture. You need to pray and ask God to give you a deep understanding of true humility (“Humility isn't thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less” and “Humility has eyes to see the awesome work our God has accomplished in the lives of others”). Then instead of being jealous, you can love and honor other women. It will take hard work, but it will bring you such joy and freedom!
Sunday, January 5, 2014
I can’t help but wonder--is the weather a reflection of what this year will be like? The goals I've set for 2014 are the most ambitious I've ever attempted. This year could be just as intense as this storm in many ways.
But my hope is this: that the intensity of my goals will push me towards the warmth of Christ, and that I will stay safe and secure in Him, just like I’m so blessed to do in the natural now, curled up, warm and cozy, in our little home.