"dream great dreams and find the courage to live them"

-erwin mcmanus

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Some of the other Big Sisters and I have been reading through Hebrews after the girls are in bed.  A persistent theme throughout the book is how the sacrifices were not sufficient to cover sins, but Jesus is.  Jesus is enough.  It says this over and over again.

9:26 He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
10:14 For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

The theme pervades this letter to the Hebrews.  Jesus came one time to give forgiveness for sins.  And it was enough.  It was enough for all.  It was enough to save, to redeem, to satisfy the wrath of God.

Yet we strive so hard to be something.  To achieve something.  To be seen a certain way.
All we need is Jesus.

A wise friend once said, "Sometimes we need to stop trying so hard to be people who look like Jesus and just be who we are, people who need Jesus."

We need Jesus.  And He is all we need.
Let us stop striving.  Let us stop working so hard to accomplish worthless things, to achieve status or academia, to be right or to look the best.  Instead let us love unconditionally, "preach the Gospel; and if necessary, use words."  Let us glorify God in all that we do, and disregard our own desires and longings.

Sigh.  Easier said than done.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

holy community.

Once upon a time I had a blog that I severely neglected.

A few weeks ago, we had our house trips.  The first week was "Staycation", where we just did fun things around the city.  We painted pottery, saw a movie at an outdoor theater, took a tour of a chocolate factory, went rock climbing, and so many other good things.  It was all-around a really good time.

But the week after Staycation was even better.  By far.
Half of us went to Camp Barnabas, a summer camp for people of all ages with special needs.  We were volunteers in the cabins, paired up with a camper to be with them for the week, to help them with whatever they need, take them where they need to go - to facilitate an awesome experience for people who otherwise wouldn't have an opportunity to go to summer camp.

I wasn't expecting a whole lot when we left for camp, but man, it was so much more than I ever could have expected.

I was assigned to work with a boys cabin, which allowed a much-needed break from this estrogen amoeba known as the Shelterwood Girls House.  There were seven other volunteers, a cabin dad, and two staffers.  But by the end of the week, we were like family.  No exaggeration, it felt like we had all known each other forever.

We were forced to work as a team, to push through all of the hard things that come with working with campers with special needs, to encourage one another, to come alongside those who needed encouragement and support.  Each night we came together and had "family time" after the campers were in bed.  We talked about how we saw God working throughout the day.  We prayed for the campers.  We prayed for the staff.  We prayed for one another.  We prayed over one another.  We shared in a way that glorified God and brought us together.

This time is essential to creating the kind of community necessary to thrive in an environment like this one at Shelterwood.  I left Barnabas with a new vision for what things could be like here.  A vision for what this group of Big Sisters could be, that would allow us to be better Bigs who are closer to the Lord and closer to one another.  It was a beautiful picture.  God did not create us to be alone.

In a week and a half, I get to visit friends in Chicago, and then spend a day at Lake Lundgren, and then a few more days with my family in Green Bay.  I'm excited, to say the least.  I am so in need of a break.  I am need of time.  Time driving.  Time in conversation.  Time in memories.  Time to process.

On a completely unrelated note, feet are weird.  Just look at them.
And that's how I know it's time to go to sleep.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

thoughts on friendship.

What is friendship?
What makes a friend a friend?
Is a relationship still a friendship if it becomes long-distance?
What is it if you no longer live life together?
Is a person still considered a friend if you don't talk for extended periods of time, then catch up and act as if the time lapse never happened?
What does it mean to love and care for a friend when they are far away?
At what point do you let go of an old friendship that gets lost by the wayside?
At what point is that lost friend no longer a friend?

Just some things I've been thinking on recently.
If you have any thoughts, please share. :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011


I've been noticing lately how wicked are the intentions of my heart.
There are times when I do a thing simply because I know it's right, and then I harbor resentment.  There are times when I volunteer for things and then do them grudgingly.  I sacrifice and then play the martyr.

Tuesday's Bible study with the girls was led by the wife of the Doulos director.  She talked about iniquity and the intentions of our heart, repenting of them, allowing God to sift through our lives to get out the chaff.  It's a painful process, as we are forced to evaluate the deepest parts of who we are and why we do what we do - but it's good.

Just because we don't actively sin, it doesn't mean that we are free and clear of it.  Instead, we are guilty of sinning in our hearts, sinning where no one sees, sinning where it looks like we don't sin at all, which makes us look oh so much holier than than we really are.

I prayed a prayer that night that God would reveal to me the iniquities of my heart, and boy, is it being answered every stinkin day.  Whether it be through making vividly apparent the judgmental thoughts and the rude unspoken comments, or through the conveniently coincidental readings and Scriptures and sermons and devotions on the same topic, God is revealing them to me.  And, honestly, it hurts to see the ugly parts of who I am.

And yet He loves me unconditionally.  I sure do serve a good God.