Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Tank is Full

(Photo credit)
My tank is full. I’m not talking about my gas tank (though that would be nice to have a full tank of gas); I’m talking about my quality time tank. As far as love languages go, words of affirmation and quality time go hand in hand. Being on the road these last 2 months, I had the opportunity to see a lot of people, in between weddings (some multiple times). Let’s be honest, one can only have an in-depth conversation to a certain extent as you try to talk above the music at weddings. I would rather be in a home on a couch, or in a coffee shop or gathered around the dinner table to have an intentional, focused conversation. One of the first things I stress when coming to someone’s house: I’m not coming to be entertained, I’m coming to talk, to hang out, to just be in the same room together. After being on another continent, in another hemisphere and in a different time zone for 2 years, I now know the value of being together and in someone’s physical presence.
In between all of the weddings I attended, I get to see some old friends, as well as new ones. What a gift!! Here are a few pics and stories of some (though not all) of the people I got my tank filled.
It was such a gift to go to Lori and Emily’s birthday this year. I will never tire of celebrating the lives of people I love, but to make birthdays in person are the best! Please appreciate the  picture below- the first one is at their 27th birthday dinner celebration in 2008 and the one below that is of this year’s celebration- AT THE SAME PLACE- Pasados- a good ole faithful!
In 2008

Next are Grant and Elizabeth Seifried! Prior to going and living in South Africa, Grant was such a great friend to have (and still is btw!) because we were both transitioning out of Pine Cove together and going to the mission field in different places and with different organizations. It definitely was a comforting thing to have someone remotely understand with you what one is going through/feeling/thinking. Within 2 years time Grant met, dated, got engaged and married Elizabeth! I did not know Elizabeth prior to meeting her at the end of September, but as I was about to leave Pine Cove in 2010, my friend Amy described Elizabeth and I replied to Amy, “Man, I wish I could be around here to get to know her because she sounds AH-MAZING and I am sure that we would be great friends!” Once I got home, I made it a point to meet up with them so I could meet Elle and get to know her beautiful heart and hear how things were with Grant on how the last 2 years were in South Sudan. I LOVED every second of it and was sad when our time was up. Grant and Elizabeth are now living in South Sudan. As you are reading this- please stop and pray for this newly-wed couple- as they transition to life together there- that the Lord would guide and direct their every step as they walk in faith and obedience and that His presence would be felt and experienced wherever they turn in their daily tasks and dealings. This is such a beautiful couple and the Lord is using them already in P-O-W-E-R-F-U-L ways for His glory. I am grateful to know them and already hinting to them that I would love, love, LOVE getting to do missions/ministry with them one day.
Grant & Elizabeth- Blessed beyond belief by their friendship
Then we have beautiful Hunter. Hunter is another who I should have met/known prior to leaving for South Africa. She worked one of the summers at Pine Cove while I was there. It is laughable when we discussed how many circles we ran in and yet it is only now that we have met each other. She is coming up on her one year anniversary with her husband Brooks. I know Brooks from the Forge class of 2010 (and Hunter was in the Forge class of 2011). GET THIS- Brooks is best friends with Grant Seifried and Hunter is best friends with Elizabeth Seifried. How AMAZING is that?!?!! It is so (and only) God to orchestrate something as beautiful as that. He gives good gifts!
I saw Hunter at Jenn’s wedding and knew that I must introduce myself to Hunter. She said that she would love to hear about South Africa and I knew I wanted to get to know her. I was Facebook friends with her and actually followed her blog when she would blog daily with updates about Brooks whilst he was in Ranger school. After the wedding, we made a plan and at the beginning of November I headed to Ft Hood to see her world on the post. We only had 5 hours together and we KNEW it would only be scratching the surface but I am so beyond grateful to have that time. She allowed me to share my pictures and stories of my time in South Africa- what a gift that was! My mentor, Lee, who had lived in Jo’Burg with me, told me over the phone later what truly a rare gift that was- to have someone listen to the ramblings that I am still trying to sort out all that the Lord has done in my life and heart over the last two years. I got to know her some too and her reputation preceded her with being passionate to use her giftings to be intentional to attract people  with her warm personality and point them to Christ. she has become a fast and true friend through and through and I am excited to see this friendship grow and continue!
Hunter- what a gem! Being in her presence is to be in the presence of a giant of the faith.
Then we come to Cierra. Cierra is now the Forge Associate Director, but we knew of each other before that. I won’t belabor the story here; ask me if you would like to know how our friendship developed- it's a fun story! I knew straight from the beginning that we would be best of friends. After giving my life away to the Forge Program for 3 years, it will always have a dear place in my heart. I wanted to be a resource for Cierra, while giving her room to breathe and grow. Her heart beats fast for the things of the Lord and it has been an honor to have a back row seat to see what the Lord is doing in, through and around her for His glory. Amazingly enough, Cierra I managed to somehow see each other at least once every week in the course of six weeks- and that is when we didn’t even live in the same city!! I even got the privilege to celebrate with her on her birthday (once again- a BIG deal!!)!
Cierra- she radiates joy bc she knows that the joy of the Lord is her strength!
This is only scratching the surface on the many people that I’ve seen since I’ve been back, but I just wanted to highlight these few. I know I’ve shared this quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer on my blog before, but I wanted to share it again, because it is so true and I am grateful for every friendship that the Lord has given to me by His grace:
“It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together



OH MY. Sister Suzanne. What an HONOR to be even mentioned here, let alone with such rich words. THANK YOU for being our friend. As you celebrate so many people who God has used to 'filled your tank', PLEASE KNOW, KNOW, KNOW, He is using you CONTINUALLY to fill MANY tanks. You are a GIFT and I consider myself so richly blessed to call you friend. Thank you for joining us in this season and for fighting alongside with us. We are BLESSED through YOU. Love love and love.

"Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude."
Colossians 2:6-7
I want my life to be flowing with an attitude of gratitude towards my Lord, Jesus Christ. How could I not? He has given me abundant life and it is my prayer that I clearly represent Him in every area of my daily life of what He did on the cross on my behalf.