Monday, October 10, 2011

Pot Luck

Well my mind has been going, going, and going the past week or so. It's like my mind had a pot luck dinner and invited all its friends. A little of this and a taste of  that. Some things have tasted so sweet while others bitter. But my favorite is desseret. The sweetness of the Lord always finds a way to shine through. So grab plate and stroll down the table with me. Here are some samples of thoughts and events I want to share.

Language Barrier:
I have been here in the Ukraine for almost 8 weeks.
With this time I have been able to pick up a little Russian, a little.
I have interacted with people who speak English.
Communication has happened, but oh how I long, I yearn for more.
Frustrating and Beautiful all at the same time.
Well the Lord has His word to put in my mind on this.
He invited me to sit in His seat for just a moment. Sit where He sits and imagine His perspective.
I got a glimpse of the barrier between Him and His children.
we interact.
there is some communication..
He reaches to our level and communicates with us.
we pick up some things and ways to communicate.
but He longs for more, He yearns for something greater.
It cut me to my heart and lead me to prayer.
Sure I might not know how to fully communicate with my Heavenly Father, but He wants me to try.
He wants my frustrations. He wants me to think it through. When I can't find words He wants what I have.
There is no language barrier between us and Him.
so why have we created one?

English Teaching:
Max and I finally had our first interaction "teaching" English at a school.
we walked down our gravel road, stepped on the trolly, got off, took the wrong trolly, walked back to the stop, waited for te right trolly, and found our way to the school across town.
as we walked up to the door I heard a knock on the upstairs window to be greeted by waving teenagers. Exciting.
the two of us sat in the front of the class room with about 18 students between 14-17 yrs old.
we introduced ourselves and began a classroom discussion on home, family, hobbies, food, music, childhood dreams, etc.
most unexpected moment-a quiet girl sheepishly raised her hand to be the first to share about her favorite music. hard rock & heavy metal. the classroom was filled with laughter in surprise.
after our hour was up they asked when we would come back again. all was well and good.
we even had two students walk us back to the bus stop. I see good things.
Simon Says this week.

Spirit Train:
ysterday we headed back from Kiev. 12 hours later we arrived in Donets'k this morning.
I started getting a headache but chose to ignore it for a while.
the headache decided to also bring an upset stomach.
so I climbed up to my top bunk, placed a towel over my face to block out light, and prayed.
I have been challenging myself to resist selfish prayer and check my heart.
after reassuring myself that it wasn't selfish to ask the Lord to keep me from praying about not throwing up on a people filled train car I prayed and prayed.
the Lord provided and lulled me into a restful prayer time coupled with reflection.
I dreamed with excitement about future possibilities.
Spirit: "Ashley, what do you think about most often? What makes your mind tick? What do your daydreams paint a picture of? What does your hear burn for? Thos are your passions and dreams. Place them in my hands like I have placed them in your heart."
my family.speaking.teaching.shepherding.
sweet and sorrow family: some know Jesus, but are yung in His ways. a few laugh. others turn to opposite extremes. a couple hearts resemble stones. I want to pray with my family, not just be the one asked at holidays. I want to dive into the Word with my sisters. I want to worship alongside my brother. More than anything I don't want any of them to leave this world, face Jesus and say "I didn't know." while I walk this earth doing "ministry" in every other place but my family.
speaking: gives me more excitement in dreams than most things yet bring about more doubt and fear. Is that the enemy trying to scare me away from something incredible? Praying through that.
teaching: while I am not a master of much I would love to help teach those who are in a place I once was. I used to be void of the Word, empty of biblical principles, cold to the Lord's passion. I would love to teach on those things with the knowledge I do have, whatever that may be. And all the while the Lord will be teaching me in the moment.
shepherding: acoring to a recent spiritual gifts test this is my top. giving it a title makes me back off. knowing what it is ignites my heart. teaching others, living life with them, watching them mature, laughing and crying, praying, getting excited, oh!
the Spirit was speaking to me on that train.
I pulled out my journal and scribbled some challenges He gave me.
it was a beautiful, awkward place.
tears rolled down my face as a gained a burden for my family more than ever.
tears streamed as I was joyus and sorrowfull all together.

the sweetness in the end:
Jesus is Lord and He is making sure that I stay near.
when I was a new believer I saw people walk away from the church and then God as they aged far more often than I should have.
I feared that I would do that. I thought it was a way of life.
I wondered if I would say I was passionate and be faithful yet walk away in the end.
God is my caring Father who disciplines me in times of need.
Jesus is my teacher and guide.
and the Spirit is strong. He has His way in me through methods I couldn't imagine on my own,
the Trinity together is beautiful.
there is no walking away from life.
they have not become a part of my life.
they invaded my heart and transformed me, baptizing me in the Spirit and giving me a new life.
there is no walking away from life.
the only thing to take me out is death, which only brings us into a closer relationship.
He is the sweetness in the end, always.