From Family Life to Focus on the Family - The Back Story

Two weeks from today, I take a leave of absence from Family Life, just a few short weeks from entering my 4th year serving with them! Wow how times flies! I’m heading for Colorado and a new season in life. I’m trilled, I’m scared, I’m following His lead and I have peace!

Many of you have asked for the back-story on how I’m going from Family Life to Focus on the Family, so here it is (as condensed as possible!). For the past 6 months, the Lord has been stirring in my heart – creating a holy restlessness that I could not shake. Every time I would bring this ‘stirring or restlessness’ before the Lord, He would tell me to just seek Him and to begin getting ready for the next thing He had for me – though I had absolutely no idea what it was. Several close friends and mentors spoke into my life and they all said the same thing. The scary part was that those words of wisdom lined up directly with the passages of scripture that I would often open up to in my Bible. Passages such as this one, talking about the Lord’s calling and how He was going to declare something new:

"I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you." Isaiah 42:6-9

Everywhere I turned this spring the Lord was pricking my heart. To my intense frustration I could see the Lord moving in my life but could not discern what He was doing. For example, in March, while signing up for fall classes, I felt the Lord saying ‘Don’t. You’re just wasting your time, you wont be here for classes this fall.’ Well I shook my head, cleaned my ears out, and signed up for fall classes. Oh me of little faith! I had a good laugh at myself last week when I called and canceled classes at the community college!

After countless God nudges, and beseeching Him for wisdom and understanding,(when the only answers I would get were – continue to seek ME). I finally just said ok! I don’t get this, but I’ll file all these things away Lord and some day look back and say – Ah ha! Well today I look back and can say Ah ha! I now see where He was lining everything up!

During vacation out west in May, I spent a lot of time, arguing/praying/wrestling with the Lord. I was sharing my frustrations in regard to the ‘restlessness’ with my friend Christine the following conversation took place :

Christine: “what is it you want to do with your life? What are your dreams?

(looking a little aghast): “well continue in full time ministry! But I’m already in full time ministry!”

Christine (this was the question that changed everything): “if Family Life wasn’t in your life what would you do?”

Me (Without blinking an eye): “I would go to Focus on the Family!”

“well why don’t you?”

Me: “Cause they would never take me! – I love my job here.”
(I had never spoken the dream aloud of going to Focus on the Family – not even sure where that answers came from!)

For the next two months the “what about Focus” thought was always niggling at the back of my brain. It took me that long to get up the courage to even go ask them for more information. When I finally emailed them and asked for information on the Focus Leadership Institute, it was more for my peace of mind than anything else. I told myself – I’m just knocking on this door, it’s not like I’m walking through it!

I soon found out that I did not meet their requirements. I was relieved in a way, but also really and strangely disappointed! I was told to apply anyway and who knows? So I applied, and told the Lord, that by human standards, it was impossible in everyway for me to go, but if He wanted me to go, I would know it, based on the fact if I got accepted or not.

They only accept juniors and seniors in college, with over 45 credits and high GPA’s. I only have 13 credits (with a 4.0 GPA) and am technically still a freshman in college. By God’s grace, Focus’s admission board voted unanimously to make an exception an exception for me so that I could attend this fall’s semester!

I’m reminded that it is ALL Him!
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Cor 4:7

I found out I was accepted 5 weeks before the semester started and a few days before our busiest few weeks of the year at Family Life. To say life got interesting is an understatement!

I was tremendously excited but also wrestled with the Lord a lot too! Regarding my new apartment and finances. If I went to Focus on the Family, it would be an unpaid internship with them, meaning I would step out and live on 100% support until after Christmas. The Lord’s response? – “Do you trust me? Or just say you do?” Mark Batterson says that real faith is stepping out so far that if God doesn’t come through, you are in big trouble. I’m stepping out far! Here I come Lord!

A dear friend once told me if it was God’s will, it was God’s bill. He has proved that to me every step of the way. He only wants my obedience and unconditional surrender. I have watched God provide for me like never before in crazy ways and perfect timing through His people. Whether it’s a check in my mailbox or providing someone to sublet me apartment, my jaw hurts from hanging open, as I watch Him make everything fall into place. In His perfect timing not mine!

A week after I had faxed in all my paper work in, I got an email from Focus saying they are missing a letter from me regarding my financial assistance application. I panicked because I was on the road for the next 4 days with work, I wrote the letter in the car and got it to them as soon as I could. A few days later I was awarded with a half scholarship!!! But the amazing part was the timing, - funds had just become available to them, two days earlier. If my letter had gone in when it was supposed too, they wouldn’t have been able to give me a scholarship. Once again, God proves it’s all His doing and not mine!

I’m a sad to say ‘so long’ to all of my dear friends and teens here, but am very excited to see why the Lord is so bent on sending me west!
He is truly who He says He is and will do what He says He will do!

So my friends, with heart that is full of dreams and a little bit of crazy - it is time for me to say good bye and follow love! The love of my Lord!

The old FFH song 'Follow Love'
I'm gonna miss the simple town full of memories
I'm gonna miss just hanging out with all my friends
The rainy days and summer nights
Skipping stones by the river side
But i know.. its time to go

So heres goodbye heres so long
I must go and follow love
I feel my heart moving on
I must go and follow love
Carry on while I'm gone
This is what i've been dreaming of
I miss you so
But i must go, go and follow love

I've got a heart thats full of dreams
and a little bit of crazy
I can feel it pulling me to somewhere i have never been
I'm packing up and leaving home
To travel into the great unknown
Its time, i have to go

Hot Air Balloons

Yesterday, while running the Kid’s Carnival at Spedie Fest, I escaped for a few minutes to grab a bite to eat and try to find some sanity. It happened to be during the time they were getting ready to launch all of the hot air balloons. I sat in awe as lighthouses and ladybugs were blown up a mere 50 feet from where I was sitting. As I sat there the Lord started to show me that we are a lot like those hot air balloons. I love how He gives me illustrations when He’s trying to drive a point home!

Like the balloons we are created with all the potential we will ever have in the Lord. Everything we need to serve Him. We are born with it. “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph. 2:10 But it’s up to us how much we will allow the Lord to fill us with His presence. The Ladybug balloon in particular, was having a bit of trouble getting off the ground because she wasn’t filled with enough helium.

How often am I like that? Filled with just enough of the Lord to skim the treetops, but not enough to really soar? It’s good at the tree line, but there can be a lot of snags and the view from the clouds is so much better! So why do we not soar?

We don’t soar cause it’s painful to get there! The Lord has to cleanse the “me” out us first! (or at least the me out of me!) In order for a balloon to lift off the ground an intense fire in the bottom of the balloon heats up the helium. Without enough heat and air it won’t get very far off the ground.

How much is that like the refining fire of the Lord in our lives? He takes out and burns up the junk (and even the good) in life to make room for the best.

How high are we willing to soar? Are we barely getting of the ground or still in our boxes? Although I can complain and whine in that refining fire, I do want to see the view from the clouds and be used and filled to the potential God created me to be!

May we all “… be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Eph 4:19 And soar in whatever weird shape He created us!

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About Me

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I'm a fun loving, people person, with a passion for ministry and the Lord. My greatest desire is to see people come to realize who they are in Christ and how that effects every area of their relationships and lives.I want to know Him more.