Sunday, June 3, 2007

Various Life Updates

Well, I've now moved into the apartments for Focus on the Family Institute. The last few weeks have been very busy, what with looking for work, having my oldest younger sister graduate high school (with the huge number of extended family members around that that implies), and then moving in here and having orientation - on top of working.

Yes, working. God's provision is absolutely amazing. I am in awe of how He has worked on my behalf. He has required some of me, of course, but much of the work He has simply done for me, in ways that I would never have guessed at. I'm working at the Mardel here in Colorado Springs, which is an immense blessing. I really like the people I'm working with here (though I very much miss my friends and fellow workers at Store #9 in Norman). But more than that, I have to stand amazed at how God worked. When I first got in town and spoke to the general manager of this store, she was interested but said she'd probably only be able to give me 8-10 hours a week, maximum. Now, I need at least 19 hours each week just to pay my regular bills - and there is much to pay for the Institute as well, and basic living expenses for being in the apartment. That wasn't going to work. So I immediately began looking at other possibilities. None of them were seeming to go anywhere, though, which was somewhat disheartening. Yet the Spirit continued, in His grace, to prompt me to simply trust Him. (That's an ongoing teaching right now: I struggle immensely at times, which is interesting, because there are times and situations about which I have no difficulty trusting.) And then He showed how trustworthy He is. Suddenly my manager wanted to know if I could take on more hours - maybe up to fifteen. I readily agreed. Then it was more - how many could I possibly work? And not only that, but I'm getting trained in multiple departments across the store, so wherever and whenever there's a need, they can use me to fill in. I'm probably going to have to ask them to limit my hours to some extent so that I can still have the necessary time not only to study but to truly and deeply connect with my fellow students here at the Institute.

Speaking of whom - I'm incredibly blessed at the people around me. My roommates (those who are here so far; one arrives tomorrow) are great guys with strong hearts for the Lord; I'm very encouraged. I know that God has put us together specifically for very particular reasons, and I'm excited to see what the rest of the summer will look like for all of us. We're all doing things we've not done before - like putting together a grocery shopping list. (We're all excited to be cooking and so forth... yes, we guys are excited about it.) I know that the Spirit will be using us to sharpen and teach each other, though I do not know exactly how. As well, the small team I've been assigned to is already proving to be a blessing. Just in the course of our orientation yesterday, it became very clear that God has put us together uniquely and purposefully: we fit together extremely well, and we work as a team extremely well. Our personalities all mesh well, and we complement each other nicely. We all have much to learn of course, but God is going to be working mightily this semester. That keeps coming up: it's a theme of every person who has spoken to us; and it is the sense that we all have in our own hearts. I was greatly encouraged by the word spoken to us on Friday night by Dr. Del Tackett, where he emphasized the transformation that they long to see in our hearts this semester - the very thing I've been praying for in this semester. God's faithfulness goes above and beyond. And the others I've met so far are also great people; from the other guys in the apartment across the way to the girls directly above us that we hung out with this evening to the various other guys and girls that we've met so far, all are hungry for God's word and for His work in their lives; and all are passionate about advancing His kingdom. It's an exciting place to be.

And yet - and I don't really understand this completely - I have a bit of fear for this semester. It's not related to finances; I know God will provide, though I don't yet know what it will look like. But as I pray about this semester, I'm increasingly getting the sense that it's going to involve pain - loss. I don't know what that means, or why I'm getting that sense. But it's getting stronger. I feel like the bubble of security is about to get popped, though I don't fully understand what that might mean or look like. And it's that lack of understanding that is triggering the fear, I think - the simple fact that whatever is ahead is unknown. I believe this is something from the Spirit, not just my own trepidations, though I do not fully know. I do know that I've been struggling with some emotional issues since Laurie Goree's father passed away a little while ago. It made me sharply aware of the brevity of life and of the immediacy with which people can be torn away from us. Yet this sense that some kind of loss might be ahead has been around since Christmastime. I can't explain it - the sensation of sort of bracing yourself, against what you don't know. I refuse to let my imagination run; what will be will be; yet there is still a certain amount of fear trying to minister. I'm turning it over to God; yet I am struggling because I simply can't see ahead of me. I would simply dismiss this as being triggered by having various people close to me experiencing different losses; yet it keeps coming up, and prayer has not given me any sense to the contrary; indeed it has seemed to confirm it. I had a moment this evening while hearing our Resident Supervisor's testimony and her statement that the semester ahead would be truly good for us, where she shared Psalm 126:3 with us, that I sensed both the truth of it and that this semester would be painful for me, and very much so. I am going to simply wait and see. I know that God is God; and this may pass - or it may come to pass. Regardless, He is God.

And I am excited about this summer. Not least about the different things God is calling me to do with it - the study, the fellowship, the writing. I have started on a large writing project that may keep my blogging down a bit, but I will still try to update as frequently as possible with everything else going on.

God is good. And He wants you to know Him better! I love you all. Our Father's blessing and keeping be with you; may His peace cover you; may His light shine on you and His love cover you. In Him,

- Chris


  1. It's been a while since I stopped by here. Seems like you are doing great overall. I wish my roommate from the fall semester mesh well with me :(. Thanks for the reponse comment on facebook, by the way.

    Regarding of your fear thing, it seems like God is giving a heads up for some kind of trail/tribulation of some sort you are going to face and you paid attention :). It sounds like He wants to see if you are in tune with Him for that trail to come. In your case, you are already are, which is good. Obviously, that's not the only reason. It sounds this loss could involving yourself, your friend(s) or anybody you know in your family having their life either being changed for the worse or being taken away somehow. However, it is easily tempting to either ignore the nagging feeling or go to automatic anxiety mode on the spot. Keep working with God about it. There is a reason why He giving you a heads up now. Fast if needed to. Go on one-to-one hike with God or something. Just keep working with Him. Try not to trivalize those feelings but don't let them hinder the process of being in the moment. After, how can anyone make a better tommorow if no one makes use of the present?

    "and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose"-Romans 8:28. I hope this verse helps.

  2. within the first year i was married, a friend of ours died a tragic death from a severe asthema attack in her husband's arms on the way to the hospital on the homecoming evening he was to coach the high school football team, also leaving behind their 8 month old baby girl, and two homecoming mums in the fridge - one for his beloved wife, and a tiny one for his baby daughter.

    i was 21 years old. i was devestated and shaken to my core for years. everytime my husband was late, i panicked. i lived with this "fear" that something like that would happen to me, that i would loose someone, that there would be a huge pain. but, it never happened.

    your fear may be valid, or it may simply be fear. i've found God to be One to prepare me for my days ahead. there are somethings we know are coming, like graduation, like planned surgery, like a root canal, like another semester of study; and there are many things we will never know of till the second they happen. regardless, God is already there, in that place, preparing it for you, and waiting for you there.

    "For He does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind, of self discipline."

    "He will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusteth in Thee."

    may you live in Truth and dwell in the amazing love and experience He is lavishing on you this summer :)

  3. Happy Birthday!
    Two decades old. It's hard to believe.

    Amen to the scriptures Ame shared regarding fear.

    And a quote I've always liked - "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself."


  4. wow ... you're twenty?!!! what a great age to be!!!


    uhhh ... David? what does that make us?!!!!!!!

    sometime ago, seems like yesterday, I watched three boys for about six weeks while their momma was going through a training course. they were 2,4, and 6. the six year old was in first grade, so i had the younger two during the day. the four year old would go out back and find blonde crickets and take them to the toilet and watch them swirl down the commode ... such a fun boy thing to do. but the two year old couldn't catch his own, so he would walk around the house saying, "Miss Ame, I want a bug! Miss Ame, I want a bug!" i was careful to show NO fear ... because they were boys ... and i didn't want to be inundated with bugs! my girls and i laugh about that. today they asked how old the boys would be. when i realized that was 1989, i realized they would be 20, 22, and 24!!! OMW!!! guess that little guy can catch all the bugs he wants by himself now!!!

  5. btw, Chris, i've been thinking about this post ... when we have something weighing on us, we tend to "see" it everywhere ... even in scripture ... which Satan knows VERY well ... and which he will gladly use to his advantage to weigh our hearts with that which does not belong there.

    i would be very careful with carrying a sense of such pain on the horizon ... and living in anticipation of such pain and tragedy and loss.

    my mentor instilled into me to only experience things once ... and when i stress over them ahead of time, i'm living them many more times than once.

    we live in a fallen world, and the Bible is VERY clear that pain and tragedy WILL happen to all of us. sitting on the edge all the time anticipating such pain and tragedy is not healthy. focusing all your time and energy and thoughts on God IS healthy. i promise you, He WILL prepare you for anything that is coming your way ... so relax into that truth and live the life you are given today ... NOT the life you think you may be given at some near or far date in the future.

    YES, pain is in your future ... as it is in mine and your parents and your sisters and my daughters ... that is biblical. living for that pain is not biblical. allowing God to fill you with Him and to continuously transform you into who He created you to be is biblical.


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