Monday, July 30, 2012

Esther: Chosen for Such a Time As This

This summer I had the joy of being a part of CYT's production of Esther: Chosen for Such a Time As This. God's work is always evident in CYT, but during summer plays even more so, because there is so much to do in such a short amount of time. This play is one of my favorites. During Esther's song "If I Perish, she sings, "I don't know what's before me, but I know Who stands behind me, so I'll walk with growing courage in my heart." That line has become the theme of my life. Backstage we always pray for the audience; that God would prepare their hearts and enable them to receive the message. We also pray the same thing for ourselves! I am so blessed to have so many friends who genuinely love God and seek to please Him, and it was an honor to watch how God worked in the hearts of so many of those I love during these two months.

We had many sweet times of prayer and worship throughout, but Saturday just before the final performance surpassed anything I'd seen in CYT. My friend played the song "Everything" by Lifehouse on his guitar, and soon we were all on our faces before God, praying and repenting. God moved. Friends I had never seen even seen cry were sobbing. We saw our brokenness and were in awe of God's faithfulness, mercy, and love. It was painful, but also an intensely beautiful thing to be a part of. We were barely able to pull it together to start the show.

So what now? What happens now that the show is over, the sets are down, the costumes are being washed and put away, and we're all going back to everyday life? Will we forget and move on? I am resting in Philippians 1:6- "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." What took place was His work, and He promises to finish that which He began! I pray that we will learn to walk with the same level of dependence and prayer which has hallmarked the past two weeks. Our God is mighty, worthy, and so very good! 

Here are a few pictures.

Zach and I got to dance together, and it was so much fun!

My lovely friend Bekah played Esther, and did such a beautiful job! We had lovely times and a good deal of laughter while carpooling, and it was a joy to watch all that God did in her heart.

Meg, Jenna, and Grace were my "children" for one scene. We had a wonderful time working on character development and creating a family dynamic!

Audrey and Megan's friendship is a gift such a gift from God! Their prayers and encouragement mean more than I can say.

Grace, Tori, Stephanie, and me waiting for color. :)

Mom and Dad!

Me and Zach with Patrick, who we have pretty much adopted.

Hannah Rose, my dear Ellerslie friend, who has been a part through prayer from the very start!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lessons From a Spider Web?

God can use the most unlikely things to teach us! Last week I was facing something rather confusing, and I went to sit on the porch swing to pray about it for awhile. As I prayed, a small, beautifully made spider web caught my eye. At that moment I sensed God saying "That's significant", and I knew He wanted to tell me something about it. In the past God has often shown me truth about Himself through His creation, but He has never left me hanging like that before! I wasn't quite sure what to do, so I just waited quietly, asking Him to open my eyes to see what He wanted me to see. This is what He showed me. 

A spider web is a dangerous place, and has been the ruin of many. One wrong step and you're trapped! However, there is a way to move safely on a spider web. The only one who knows the path is the spider, because he is the one who made it. In order to navigate a spider web, you must follow the one who knows the way.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Good and upright is the Lordtherefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. Who is the man who fears the LordHim will he instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land.The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lordfor he will pluck my feet out of the net. 
(Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 12-15)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Precious Gifts

Every once in awhile I just stop and realize how richly God has blessed me. Amid all of the struggle and confusion of life, I have so very much to be thankful for. We live in a fallen world, but however imperfect, there is so much beauty to treasure. Here are just a few of the gifts God has given me.

-My family: I love them so much. We are a quirky bunch, and differences lead to clashes at times, but as I've grown in the Lord I've grown to appreciate them more and more. My dad makes me laugh and listens when I want to talk, my mom's wisdom is invaluable, and her walk with the Lord has been an example for mine. My brothers are quite skilled at driving me crazy, but they are also some of my best friends. I pray that God continues to grow us closer together and closer to Him!

-My friends: Where even to start? God has given me friends who are serious in their walk with Him and encourage me in mine. We can laugh, talk and cry together. Honestly, I can't even express how much they mean to me. (Important note: These pictures are NOT all-inclusive! Just because you are not in one of them doesn't mean that I don't love you very much!)

Me, Barbara, Patrick, and Hope

Naomi, Annika, Kaylee, Jonathan, Julia, Zach, Joseph, me, Jamey, Melissa

Kara, me, Rebekah, Delise, Hope, Emma

 Shalea, Brie, me, Dusty, Angela, Hannah Rose, Faith, Karen

Laura, Emma, me

-Christian Youth Theatre (CYT): My second family! I'm not exaggerating when I say that God has used it to change my life. I love the acting, dancing, singing, and I love serving, working backstage, and teaching the kids, but in all of that, the best is how purposefully we seek to glorify Jesus together- to decrease that He might increase. We have such sweet times of prayer and worship, and it is through CYT that God has taught me (among so many other things) to look to Him for strength instead of myself.

Cast of Phantom of the Opera 2011

JESUS! 2011. Life changing.

The Three Bears: Phantom of the Opera 2011

-My church: This one is new. A few weeks ago, I became a member of Sovereign Grace Church. It already feels like home. Through Sunday morning and my home group; through the teaching and fellowship with other believers, I am constantly challenged and encouraged in my walk with Christ!

-Himself: The Gift above all gifts! I could go on and on. He opens my eyes to see all that He is, He fills me with a desperate longing to honor Him and then lives through me to make me more like Himself. He holds me when I hurt, guides me when I'm confused, brings me back when I stray, and loves me too much to leave me the way I am. He died for me, made my blind eyes see, lifted me out of my sin, and now calls me His own! I know with all my heart that even if all that I mentioned before were stripped away, He would be enough, for He has promised and cannot lie.

Thank you Jesus!