Monday, February 21, 2011

Not the typical abortion post

A lot of my followers are not going to enjoy this post and I understand their outrage. But this is where I am today, this is how I feel. Me, the one in the trenches, who day after day not only sees but feels the pain of those in poverty and living life without health care and hope.

I do not agree with defunding Planned Parenthood. I know, I can see the look on your face.. and I get it, I do. I am pro-life, I swear it-- but as one of my main role models, Nancy Alcorn (founder of Mercy Ministries), urges Christians to not picket and whine about abortion clinics, instead, she says, start giving the girls alternative options (give them your resources to relieve their fear, babysit, provide transportation, fund organizations like Mercy) [please note that comment has nothing to do with prayer, I believe intercessory prayer can change things and is not vain, what is vain is yelling at a girl as her whole life crumbles down around her]

At my internship, I work hand and hand with Planned Parenthood, quite often. They provide my clients with health services that otherwise would leave them vulnerable to a very harsh world. Sometimes I wonder if the world takes better care of the hurting then we [those who know the hope of the Lord] do. I mean at least they are trying... we might not [actually I know we don't] agree with their tactics but they are trying to help. A majority of us 'church goers' close our eyes and choose to ignore the harshness of reality. [please also note none of the Christians I associate with are these people, don't think this is directed at you at all]

This post really has nothing to do with abortions exactly, since the money being taken away does not go towards that service offered, but I figure the title would catch some new readers in. It's just I am struggling with the fact if I am compromising in my appreciation on Planned Parenthood. But... I just, I know they are well intended. Those opposed to them say they have no respect for human life as they allow for abortions, but on the other hand they do care about human life, that's why they do it... they care about the hurting, confused girl in front of them. In their eyes, they are doing what is best. Do I agree with it? No. Do I grieve enough for those lost lives that God had plans for? Most definitely not. But I don't want to see how much worse things will get for my girls if they lose the benefits of receiving free services to health care, STD testing, birth control, parenting workshops, and counseling.

However, at the same time, I am limiting God with that belief. I am assuming that He will not provide a better service, or transformation for these girls instead. And I know transformation is possible, but not everyone chooses that so... is it okay to settle for rooting on the world's version of "help", while keeping in prayer that the girls will choose the freedom in Christ offered? I believe we have to meet people where they are at- and if that is handing out free condoms and clean needles [different organization] I think so be it. The world will always be fallen. We gotta do what we can, you can't ask someone to stop living a risky lifestyle until they expereince the love of Christ and choose obedience as a response to His faithfulness.

My thoughts then? Let's start focusing on giving people the opportunity to expereince God's goodness. Let's get out there in those trenches [wherever you feel lead to, this is not an exhaustible list of places] let's start healing, let's start SHOWING the good news along with preaching it. If Planned Parenthood's defunding is an answered cry from so many faithful, faithful children of God, so be it-- let it be then. But let's not leave the lost, lost. We have to replace that system, with something that works, something Godly... and please don't read this post and think your are not capable of bringing change, because you are.

First, get on board with God, learn what it is to be loved for just being you. Realize you were created on and for a purpose. Begin to dream and partner with God, as He begins to show you places in your life that need to be lined up with His word and be obedient [that also means you have to make the choice to read his word]. Refocus your thinking from what you can't do, to how great God is and what you two can do together and then do it. He promises He will be with you every step of the way.

Whether you agree with my thoughts or not, let's agree that it is a broken world out there. No one, and no agency is perfect. We are all striving to make up for an original sin that none of us can reverse. We are stuck on this side of heaven, desperately seeking and creating what we think are the 'right ways' and 'most effective treatments' for our own pain and grief. Even those who have found forgiveness, healing, deliverance and joy in Christ, continue to fall, continue to sin, we're all wrong, we're all imperfect. We'll only know true peace in heaven and at that point I'll know if my support of Planned Parenthood was wrong or not.

Opposing veiwpoints can be found here: Christian Post and Planned Parenthood
Rochester, NY statistics can be found here:  Skip to the last page and be shocked, check out these numbers and although sketchy website this is fact.
Healing for Abortions can be found here: , Mercy Ministries and Forgiven & set free
God's grace can be found: anywhere you decided to turn to Him.
Answers to all this craziness found in your prayers and listening to God's calling for your life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

-without an ache-

Praise Report, small but still very significant. This morning, I woke up without an ache for more, it just wasn't there... on valentines day none the less. The very day that most people, who normally don't even care- ache. 

It has been a long time since I felt as alive as I did yesterday. As sad as it sounds, I was finally in a room of Christians who actually wanted to talk about God. Sounds weird, right? I won't dwell on it- I am just happy- no not happy- satisfied.

Since August I have spent at least an hour driving everyday, most likely almost two hours a day. And yesterday for the first time, I drove home in the silence. No music, no phone calls, no bombarding thoughts of lust and envy. Just silence. 

In that moment God filled my mind with beautiful scenes, new dreams, and love. It wasn't anything special- like a face to face moment- it was just me and the silence, Him and His goodness. Something I have longed for, for a long time. ((not that my actions would show you that most of the time. the way I still disgustingly fill my time with things that don't matter and waste my thoughts on daydreams that only entertain the flesh))

It could have been the sermon. TFH rocked it yesterday. It was about renewing your mind and rejecting the lies of the enemy. A sermon I am very, very familiar with. But it felt different this time.

It could have also been the prayers of my faithful prayer warriors (let me know if you want to join my email list for my ministry). It was also the same day I started a new journal. Which I don't want to over spiritualize but I know God has been preparing for a new season and I felt the significance of *her giving me that journal.

.a season without ache.

As a team we have so much to get done this season, I just know it. Like I said a few posts back somehow I have just known. I know He will take care of me. I know I will no longer have to thirst. I know He is the ultimate healer. I know He is good. And even in tragedy He will save me and I will stay committed to Him. I get it, I do. Urban Ministry is no joke, but with my mind back to being focused on God ((something I know I will have to continually  do)) I feel so ready. It must be Him, I know it is not me. I am under-qualified and ignorant. But with Him, with Him... anything is possible *smiles* I really mean it.

How amazing it is also that last year this day I spent the whole day with the Mercy girls. How blessed I was to be a part of their transformation. To experience love :::real love::: with them. The kind of love that dies for you, even when you dismiss Him. The kind of loves that fills you up when you call on His name... and leaves you no longer aching for the world. yay.

Psalm 91: 14-16

“Because she loves me,” says the LORD, I will rescue her;
   I will protect her; for she acknowledges my name.
She will call on me, and I will answer her;
   I will be with her in trouble, I will deliver her and honor her.
 With long life I will satisfy her; and show her my salvation.”

Rescue. Protection. Answers. Guidance. Never alone. Deliverance. Honor. Long life. Satisfaction. Salvation. Why? Because she loves me, acknowledges my name, and calls on me.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Glee drama: The pictures say it all

I am really going to catch slack for this post. Readers, don't hate too much. Just got done watching Glee. Ridiculous show, horrible morals and stereotypes but- love it. Mainly because my eleven year old cousin and I can both watch it together. But don't get to thinking I am a fanatic or anything, I barely follow the love drama, I mean you'd have to take notes to really follow, they change crushes faster than real high-schoolers.

So, here it is. They got me with this line: "Just because I can’t be with you, doesn’t mean I don’t believe in you". Ahhh, come on Glee don't tease my heart like that. That is everything I want to hear. *sigh. I don't relate to the couple at all that said this, but I can relate to the feelings captured in this picture:

This picture was entitled 'Heartbreak'. Can't you see why?

They use to be together. They don't make sense at all as a couple. He has already kissed a bazillion other girls after they called it quits, but she still cares about him. She still wishes he would chose her, the goody good, over all the other girls throwing themselves at him. But even if he did 'choose' her they wouldn't work. She is ridiculously goal oriented. She's got a drive in her that is going to take her places, others her age can only dream of. He... well he is into being popular. He wants to have the best clothes, win all the football games and still stay tender hearted as he tempts every girl he meets with his charm, on purpose.

This is what fighting desire looks like

But still--she swears they had a connection. It made sense in her head. They continue into the season with both of them hurting each other, one cheating, another one lying. This episode, he released her. Well, she released herself from the confusion. He kissed another girl and said it felt like 'fireworks'. She knew even if he did feel that way for her at one point, he doesn't now. It was time to let him go. Let go of the foolish promises she held on to for way, way too long. Time to chase her dream alone and not let the weight of some charmer drag her down. As he said even though he could not ((or did not want to)) be with her, he still believed in her. He still thought she was a bombshell, just not the right girl for him. Wisdom, as I like to say, is knowing better and actually not doing it. So here is to wisdom. Here is to chasing dreams and letting go. Not that I have a related story or anything...

It's like I knew without knowing: A tribute to 2010

An amazing part of going to a Christian college has been the integration of faith in Social Work. One class in particular, the integration is the main focus and I love it!! One of our assigned readings is a book called "Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us". It gives suggestions on simple activities and responses to God that allows space for god to show up. Our assignments then are to do one 'discipline' a week and report back on how it went. 

This week I decided to indulge in self-care. Something others say I am not good at, but I really think for being as busy as I have always been and quite the overachiever I really do know when to take a break. Friday night I hung out with one of my girlfriends and just got ice cream and talked. Tonight I headed home after class, spread out a blanket and read love letters I have sent up to God throughout the past year.

I got to thinking about how amazing and completely transforming this year has been. I mean everything is different... everything. And for once I don't want to go back--- I want to go forward! Yay, for change! God orchestrated this whole year. He knew the challenges I would face, He knew the desires I would  sacrifice for Him. He knew how Graduate school was going to turn out and He most certainly knew I would find my heart's resting place at my internship. The very thing I was aching to have since my arrival back from Tennessee.

At the same time I was thinking about the photographer I work for ((also a real good friend for those who don't know and how she got to follow around a newly engaged couple (that morning) around all day as the gentleman surprised his bride to be with extravagant displays of love and elegance. I began to say out loud that I long for that and in the same breath I laughed and realize I already have it... God has shown me HIS BRIDE TO BE extravagant displays of love and favor and honor and grace and mercy and faithfulness. Time and time again this year, God heard my cry, He showed up and He provided. How can I be nothing but grateful?

So I decided to re-live this year trek I have had with Him. I knew my new year really didn't begin with January 1st, I think He was saving it for this moment. The moment I would realize how amazing He truly is and how blessed I am to be His child and lover all at the same time. He wanted me to sit in the blessings of the year and send Him praise, so He can begin to unfold my future. My very lovely future. 

So, if you have the time you are more than welcome to join me in re-living a beautiful year of my life. I pulled out different writings that now looking back make perfect sense for what He was teaching me in that season. Heartaches and celebrations that at the time were unprecedented. Somehow though, it's like I knew without knowing. I knew God saw my desires and He would answer, I just did not He would do it so perfectly and so quickly <3

Starting with my travels to Tennessee and living through the love and pain I experienced there. Then my return home that left me void and confused. My beginning journey into adulthood with my internship and Graduate school. My final decision to end things with Ryan and the unbelievable favor He poured into my life concerning my future at Youth For Christ. See what it is that has me so in love with this crazy God, this amazing, sweet romancer who never ceases to surprise me. Me, His bride to be  =)

 *The unknown... the unanswered... the leaving it in Jesus's hands... 
the full gas tank with 800 miles to go... 
the fresh packed luggage soon to be unpacked... 
the closed door soon to be opened, 
the first impressions ready to be made... 
the unknown- what a weird place to be*

It is so obvious He is jealous for my heart, He needs my full commitment to move on in everything, He needs to know that he can trust me to do His work, that He can start a fire in me and I will properly release it to others… and I am, I am holding back.

but even more so I believe I feel this craving because God wants me. I believe before he can answers the prayers of my heart, I must first remember what it is to marvel in His presence. What a blessing it is to sit at His feet and learn the ways of the Kingdom and feel His glory shine upon my face. 

Tears fill my eyes and start to run down my cheeks as I write- this is not common for me. Although emotional by nature, my heart is just overflowing with His desire for me. Yes, desire. That is exactly what I feel. He desires to be with me. He desires to hear my voice. He desires to see my dreams come true. He desires me. And honestly, what woman does not long to feel desired for? Or- desire to be longed for. I am not the creator of this thought, but why do you think we all have such underlying emotions, such strong ties to hope, a common need to be loved?

Shadowing what I can of the Program Director, as she has the job I want someday... but as I like to be, she is very busy.

Somehow in this process of myself staring at this hole I don't fit into,
I am falling more in love with myself.
I know who I am and I love it.
I know who I am in Christ. 

Am I meant to be great? Yes, but for His glory not mine. Am I meant to achieve? Yes, but not for my benefit but for others. Am I meant to do great things? Yes, but on His strength, not mine. Am I meant to get praise. No, no I'm not. I am here to serve not be served.

In your hearts you start questioning, "Yeah Kerri - that sounds nice but what about this addiction I am battling, what about my headaches that won't go away, what about the sexual abuse, what about waking up day after day feeling hopeless? How can I experience God and keep those out of my life once and for all? I am just so sick of battling this..."My answer, stop battling. Not even just the battle but the war has already been won. Step into God's love.

I am right there Kerri, telling you when to turn, when to stop when to put it into reverse. I will never leave you nor forsake you. It is your turn to lead. It's coming Kerri and it's coming soon so just prepare your heart. 

I feel so emotional here.
Like a train wreck yet peaceful.
Completely uncomfortable yet purposed.
Unstable yet steady.
Manic yet wise. 

Well, I guess that is why I am here. that is why I am a 'christian' the other six days of the week. That is why I consume myself in Your word, That is why I chase after Your goodness. That is why I refuse to compromise anymore. If-for-nothing-else that You will conquer in their lives- because in this story the battle has already been won, they just don't know it yet."

And I don't care how great OR NOT great your parents, environment, childhood was- it affects you, and you can't be blind to it. You must awaken your repressed thoughts, you must kick those awful coping mechanisms, you must figure out the root of why you are, the way you are and deal with it. Look your past straight in the face & say you are stronger then before and it can't have you anymore. Stand on solid ground and refuse to let it's complacency, it's denial, and it's ache rule your life anymore. Even when hurt is all you have ever known and it's easier to just continue on the familiar path- REPENT, meaning turn from your ways! Save yourself and those who desperately love you.

Ask me what I learned in Tennessee, this is my answer: I am worth waiting for.

And if you feel like you have already done that and you are dried up tired of waiting for your calling, getting no response- begin to do what Jesus did, that will keep you busy for awhile. Heal the sick, believe for miracles, sow into his kingdom, naturally and supernaturally. 

I just get this picture in my head of my standing on stage with thousands of believers in the audience and saying "You want revival? You want revival?" Then one by one I point to my heart, my head and my wave my hands and whisper revival each time to motion that revival must begin in ourselves first. Live a life greater than a great life. Then, the revival will come, and the revival will come. But it is only after the THEN that it can come. Delight in Him and He will delight in you.

Twice this week I have gone off on two guy friends of mine about how destructive promiscuity is. I mean you can't look at the girl's faces I have been for these months and tell me differently. People get hurt by all of us lonely ones trying to fill a void with semi-good relationships. We need to hold out, stop jumping into everything... especially beds. So I've learned a lot about this topic obviously.

As for all the other questions, I don't really know- words don't really explain. I mean how do you tell someone that your entire inner being has completely changed? How do you describe the transformations I have seen? How do you depict the picture of life living in God's favor? 

Lessons learned thus far from being home:
  • You can cry a lot of tears behind rosy sunglasses, without anyone noticing.
  • Friends are the ones who can look past your frown and remember how great your usual smile is and won't stop making you laugh until your smile is back.
  • Being in love is a wonderful thing.
  • Sometimes the best thing to do is just move on.
  • God is bigger than our plans.
    It's not that I am craving to be back south, actually I am not desiring to be anywhere. Nothing feels right. And my friends all swear it is for the best and something better is on it's way and perhaps they are right. But wow, my heart is aching for rest. There is no peace within this soul... something is not right, something is stirring- somethings about to change. 

    What if it is time to begin, like :::really::: begin. What if my ministry life is right around the corner? What if something crazyyy is about to happen?

    We wondered are we wasting our youth? Shouldn't the age of 22 be filled with late nights, high heels and memorable stories? This is a place I come back to often. This question of whose to say what is fun anyway. 

    It is funny I would have no idea how to tell someone how to get from point A to B now--even though that was one of the points of this blog tocapture those moments and hopefully use them to touch people in their walk. But it would almost be like asking a drunk woman for directions...
    Hmmm... what a wonderful thought, being drunk on Him and His wine. 

    So here is the tribute to the place that loved on my unconditionally, ripped insecurities out of me and replaced them with true confidence. Here is to the town that taught me what quality and richness of life really is. Here is to the people truly chasing after God's heart and unwilling to compromise life--and succeeding in miracles because of it. Here is to the minsitry that awoken my heart and made a worker out of me. I miss you, all of you. But again, I know it's here where I am meant to be-- for now.

    I can be the Kerri who is on fire talkin' about freeing the captives and such or I can be the Kerri who defeated daily by torturing thoughts of worthlessness. I can think about the future and plan great dreams based on the word of God or I can use my own past to convince myself it will never happen. It's not about the emotion, it's about the truth.

    He is stripping me. Every plan 'b' my heart can think of He is ruining. He has placed me in the desert and I am too mad to look up. I honestly just want to hear the words "you are so beautiful Kerri" and the worse part, I know it. I even KNOW my own insecurities. I know what it is I want, why I want it, and how I am searching for it in the wrong places. Yet.. I still search. I still crave... I still desire to be desired.

    Tonight, we'd rather cry about the world than take a chance on faith.

    A positive thought though is how great my internship is... like really great. God has significantly answered ALL my prayers and stayed COMPLETELY faithful to his prophesies and had DOUBLY blessed me in my work. Which is such His character, how could He do anything different but love on me, spoil me, bless me when its the last thing I deserve. Thank you Lord, Thank you for just being YOU.

    Following God's plan for your life feels even better and more refreshing than an early morning run, a shower after a long camping trip, a first kiss, or the first day of fall. As many of you, I have closed doors in my life, that allows for me to notice or take on the windows God has set up for me. 

    We are all just lost. We are all in some way lonely. We all want a place to belong.
    We all, I mean I... I just wanted to have someone see that I was having a good hair night.

    So as a fair leader I wanted to do the same... what is it that God wants me to do with my *big October news... honestly folks- I have no clue. All I know is I need Him. I am desperate for Him. I feel unworthy, but He- He is good and He will  speak. Here is my homework:
    Joshua 1
    6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
    Dear October, I never knew you would be the answer to all my dreams-- please, please don't let me step out of God's will. 
     I wonder if the process of one's life coming together is just as scary as having one's life fall apart. Change, whether for the better or worse, still evokes fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failing and most importantly fear that one will lose sight of what life is really about.

    Today is the day. This is the season. There will be salvation in this Urban Ministry. And I will be in Leadership. I am lost but loved, confused but cared for, scared but sacred, I am ready to accept the new season... "Here am I Lord, send me" (Isaiah 6:8). I am claiming Zechariah:
    "Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 
    'Return to me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to you' "