Sunday, September 26, 2010


Before all else… things I’m thankful for:
The breath within my lungs. Stillness. The heartbreakingly beautiful sunset and ocean and canyons that captivate me. The breeze. My family. The friends who won’t let me fall. Grace. And my God, my God, my God beyond my conception.

            This has been a very difficult week for me. In five days, I’m not sure if I’ll have a roof over my head, I don’t know that I will have money for gas and food after my rent (should I be lucky enough to have rent to pay), or how I will be paying for next months rent. Dad has instructed me to look for flights home for Christmas now before they get too expensive and they are already out of my price range, not to mention how I will be getting gifts for everyone. My credit card remains full of charges from my best friends wedding this past month, and the list goes on.

            At my community group this week, the lesson confronted each person about what they would like to be prayed for. Prayer and I do not always mix. I have a horrible problem with vocalizing prayer and when given the option, I’ll always pass on praying out loud. I also have a very difficult time asking for prayer for myself. This past year I came to a better understanding of prayer and really delved deep into my heart and considered, “What if… What if I really believed in the power of prayer? What if we all really believed that prayer is an active, living thing that has purpose and authority? I know we all are supposed to believe it, but do we really?” I finally came to the understanding that it’s not a matter of What if, but It already is! and that is truth. The power of prayer can be a terrifying thing, especially if you’re not sure you are doing it correctly.

            Fully believing in prayer has given me a strength, but also a severe reluctance. I’ve always been the suck-it-up and walk-it-off kind of person. I have a desire to provide and protect, but I stop short when it comes to myself. Knowing what others are going through, knowing that my concerns are minute in comparison, and knowing the power of prayer… how could I possibly ask for prayer when I KNOW there are others in the very same room who need it more than I? And that’s where I find myself; too ashamed to ask for prayer even though I know I need help.

            So when it was my turn, after hearing the difficulties my friends needed prayer for, I was simply going to ask for some kind of general prayer but as the words came out of my mouth I just seethed. I couldn’t take it. Holding back tears I explained that it was impossible for me to ask for prayer when people are struggling with worse. It’s simply not fair for me to take that away from them.

            Once again my friends proved just how important they are to me. My friend Jenn explained that she considered it a privilege to pray for me and I should never deny someone the joy of being able to do that for me. I do understand. I feel the same when I pray for others. So when everyone prayed aloud for each other, I could hear Jenn praying for me and at that point I couldn’t keep the tears back any longer. I wonder if that is what Peter felt when Jesus knelt down and washed his feet.

            Sometimes I wonder what wicked forces still lurk within me. I wonder if I harbor demons and fight with them every day. I know they often blind my eyes and whisper lies to me, and become a barrier to the movement of the spirit. But, oh those times when the wickedness weakens, the demons untangle their fingers from my mind and release their icy grip on my lungs. Those times when I am washed in the spirit and feel humbled by God’s grace. Those fleeting moments when my heart sings out praises and the doubt fades away and the darkness flees and I KNOW I am loved completely… those moments break every reserve within me and builds me up renewed.

            Tonight at the Flood service, Matt announced that he joined the board for COTN. I was so excited I wanted to jump out of my chair. To see so many people with such spiritual strength joining COTN is such an encouragement. It reaffirms the heart of this organization. It’s another little road sign telling me that I’m on the right path.

            Something else Matt said tonight as he described the journey of Chris (COTN’s founder) and his father to accept the task of helping children in Malawi, was, “That’s a hard call to take”. I think all of us who have committed to serving the Lord through COTN are taking a hard call. I believe it puts us at the front lines in a spiritual war. I’ve heard many amazing stories, but they have come out of great struggle. The common factor is not giving up and having faith in God. As I look at my battles and difficulties and am acutely aware of the uncertainty of tomorrow, I know the devil doesn’t give up easily.

But God doesn’t give up. Period!

The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. - Psalm 121:7-8

Each night before you go to bed, my baby
Whisper a little prayer for me, my baby
‘Cause you know it’s hard for me, my baby
When the darkest hour is just before dawn
(Dedicated to the One I Love) – Mamas & The Papas

Monday, September 20, 2010


            Back to work. After this past week, I’m going to have to figure out how to function. The meetings were long and I had a lot of trouble getting a grip on things because I’ve never had to deal with business issues. I’ve been an actor, a server, and a personal trainer. Pretty much the bottom of the business ladder where I simply did as I was told. Aside from being on a few councils or clubs in high school, I’ve never really been through a process like this. And I was foolish enough to offer to take notes!

            For the San Diegans (at least the new staff members), we were kind of in the dark. We had been officially on staff for a little over a week. Neither of us really had any idea of what the old system was so helping with the transition to the new was kind of beyond us. I remember looking over at Amber several times while taking notes and simply saying, “What?” with a desperate lost look on my face. But we did learn a lot and now have a better idea of the organization and everyone’s job.

            Holly, Amber, and I stayed with a girl named Megan. I have to say that she is probably one of the most interesting, level-headed, inspiring people I’ve met. It’s people like that who remind me that there is a harmony about things and that we are all living for something more. We stayed at Megan’s parent’s house. Their house was in a little town called Seabeck. It was such a beautiful spot. It reminded me so much of the Smokey Mountains. Amber was especially happy about the huckleberries on the property. And we are all glad to find that she isn’t allergic to them.

            Each day on our way to the conference, we passed a lake with the mountains in the background. I loved seeing the fog lifting out of the trees. And it rained for two days. One of those slow, steady, calming rains. Ah… I think I left half of my heart in Seabeck.

By the time I we left I had a better understanding of COTN, met a bunch of talented people with a heart for the Lord, heard so many incredible stories I couldn’t hold back the tears, and discovered a whole new family. I was welcomed into homes, given advice, cooked for, prayed for, and enjoyed the best kind of company.

As I sat drifting in and out of sleep on the plane ride home, I couldn’t help but think about how I didn’t really want to go back everything I had left in San Diego. Yes, I love it here, but right now there are just so many road blocks to being able to work full time with COTN. Trying to find a roommate, worrying about my dwindling paychecks, having to raise my support, get the relay up and running, starting boot camp, comforting my friend, and finding time to do it all at the same time.

God provides. If I learned anything at all this past week, it’s that God provides… in his own perfect timing.

When I made up my mind
And my heart along with that
To live not for myself
But yet for God, somebody said
Do you know what you are getting yourself into?
(Getting Into You) - Relient K 

Sunday, September 12, 2010


            I am currently flying over the California Mountains on my way to Seattle, WA for the COTN conference. I am excited to dive into everything we have planned for the upcoming year. I have missed being engaged in a class-like atmosphere. I sometimes miss college lecture halls… well… the classes I found exceptionally interesting. I have no doubt that my excitement might fizzle after 30+ hours of conference meetings and discussions. However, for the moment, I am just going to sit back and enjoy the thrill of being a part of something new.

This will be the first time I have ever been to Washington and Seattle is actually a place I’d like to live at some point in my life. Before moving to San Diego I had only been as far west as Hoover Dam. I have plenty of time to enjoy the Seattle airport since my flights got switched and now I’m on a direct flight to Seattle with no lay over. I will be arriving close to 3 hours early. Maybe I should have planned to do my blogging then.

From the information trickling down to me, I’m finding that the San Diego offices, despite having gone from 1 to 3 staff members less than 2 weeks ago, are holding their own. It seems that our vision and determination is not going unnoticed by the national office. There is something about this group coming from San Diego, notorious for being laid back, and the Flood church affiliated with us that is causing us to strike out like a boy in his youth being convinced of his invincibility.

The way I see it, Holly, Amber, and I have nothing left to lose. We are certainly not invincible, but we are not incapable either. And though there is fault and failure in human endeavors, there is only promise with the pursuit of an initiative pleasing to God. Why shouldn’t we be excited? Why shouldn’t we go gung-ho? If God is for us, who can be against us?

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” Take Courage – 1 Peter 3:14

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Unfortunate News – The 5K race has been cancelled. I received an email today from our contact at the San Diego Running Institute. This has cut our prep time significantly. This is a rather large blow to our fund raising plan and comes when I’m already worried about money issues. I must stay positive:


  • We still have a contact with SDRI for the possibility of a future race.
  • We get to test our creativity and efficiency to come up with a new fund raiser for October.
  • My father had a great idea for an event.
  • We are alive.
  • God loves us.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. – Proverbs 16:3

(Side note: I walked the Freedom Walk this morning in memory of those who perished in the 9/11 attacks. May God continually comfort all those involved and protect this nation.)

Friday, September 10, 2010


This is the battleground…

I have never been in a state of such financial distress. I have never had much money, but being very smart with my money and budgeting has allowed me to keep from ever going into debt and confident that, though I won’t have much leftover, I will have enough to cover any bills.

It is a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach to know that no amount of money management can compensate for earning less than your living expenses. I’ve already spent weeks with one meal a day and no extra driving (aside from work). It’s strange to see your hard work and education turn to dust and everything you’ve saved up disappear until there is only one rent payment left before you are officially broke.

I got my paycheck from the gym today and it is half of what I usually make and less than half of my rent. In the past few days, I have also been informed that the trip to Seattle for the COTN conference is not going to be covered. I am still going, we just cannot affect the 2010 budget. In a sense that’s good to know for the future. Now that I am on staff I should be covered in the following years. However, Holly is taking the brunt of this by putting Amber and I on her credit card and once we start raising money, we will need to pay her back. A temporary fix, but a workable one.

            I have seen Holly give so much of herself throughout this process, even when I know that she doesn’t have much to give. I am amazed at her resilience. The sacrifice of our team and willingness to do so captivates me. What are we capable of? Mustard seeds growing into a field of wildflowers, becoming wider and more beautiful with every season.

            I know I over-stress my finances. But I want to get my COTN account started now. I love personal training, but there is no way it can support me in this endeavor. As soon as I am able, I need to leave the gym so I can transfer my time and efforts to COTN. Sometimes I see these obstacles in hindsight although I am not yet through them. I pull myself out of the situation and think how utterly ridiculous this all is, that I must worry first about funds before human lives.

But oh… what we can do once we get there.

Often times God demonstrates His faithfulness in adversity by providing for us what we need to survive. He does not change our painful circumstances. He sustains us through them. – Charles Stanley

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Today COTN officially accepted two new staff members to the San Diego COTN office. I am official! I’ve been in Ohio for my best friend’s wedding and got a text from Holly letting me know that I, and another team member, Amber, are staff members with COTN. Amber will be out Venture Trip Manager. My title is Local Events Coordinator.

I don’t know if I ever saw myself in a position like this. I guess I never really knew what I was capable of. Just sort of… I don’t know… wanted to do something, but didn’t really know how. I’ve always been chasing something that would be of meaning. I don’t think anyone ever really had faith in what I was doing. Nah… That’s a lie. I think people always thought I could do what I set my mind to. My friend, Alan, made the comment, “I have no doubt that you’ll be fine. You’re the one person I know will get through things.”, when I was unsure about my decision to move to Boston. I just don’t think anyone ever saw me moving outside myself. I know I didn’t. I wanted to.

This is standing on the edge. This is where the lines between “Can I do this?” and “This is what I’m supposed to do” run together. I can already see what a challenge it will be, but I somehow know that this is what I should be doing. Pastor Matt said, “It’s only when you understand that you are incapable of God’s work, will He use you.” That’s how you can be sure it’s God working in you.

My dad asked me to speak at our Wednesday night service in my hometown church. I wish I could say I was more prepared than I was. Dad simply said he wanted me to tell everyone what I have been telling him since I moved to San Diego. It’s hard to sum up everything in one sermon. There is so much that this community has done to strengthen my faith. In everything I feel that I have been lacking for years, I feel that I have suddenly been made whole. God did not create us to be alone, nor have I been doing what was required of me by trying to make it on my own.

When I lived in Boston the only people I knew were the people I worked with. I rarely had people to hang out with and I spent a lot of time at work or alone. I guess it’s what people mean with they talk about being alone in a crowd. Here in San Diego, I feel that I have been absorbed into everything, that I’m really a part of it. And not just a part of it, but a valued part. Community is more essential in our lives than most people realize. I consistently find myself brought to tears when I discuss the people that I have met here.

Today I join a new community with a very broad reach and many faces, a community of different languages and different Pedigrees, different needs and different social standings, but each an integral part of the community and as such… invaluable.

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and Yellow, Black and White
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world

And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. – Genesis 11:6