Tag Archives: prayer

I’m moving to Virginia!

Since I’ve known since January, I figure it’s time I announce this. :) That picture you see is in the choir room at a school tucked away in the mountains in Virginia. So….

I’m moving to Grundy, Virginia to work at Mountain Mission School!

For those of you familiar with MMS, you know that this is such a unique opportunity – one that still makes me ask God, “Are you totally sure you have the right person for this?!” I’ll be teaching choir and living with the high school girls. For those unfamiliar with the school, the staff is full time. Like, full time: The staff members are teachers, counselors, mentors, shoulders to cry on, cheerleaders, etc – and I think those are just the roles they play before 10 AM. :) Life is lived day in and day out with these kiddos. It’s a mission of the neatest kind. Kids from 18 months through 20 years old are living and being raised to know Jesus at Grundy. I’ll be moving on June 29.

Common questions I’ve been asked recently:

Are you excited?

Yes, I’m excited, albeit completely terrified. I’ll be excited once the stress of the move is over and I figure out what I’m doing (And no, I haven’t started packing, so if you have any boxes you need to get rid of, I’m your girl! …or if you want to sell me a flat screen TV at a decent price :) Doesn’t have to be flat screen, but they’re easier to mount :) ).

How in the world did this come up?

Long story short, I heard about the job not being filled and tried to avoid it like the plague. SOMEONE (read: Dave Sims) told them I had a music degree and a background working with juvenile delinquents & teens in general. The rest is pretty much history.

Are you near the beach? (Where’s Grundy?)

The exact opposite, actually. :) It’s in Appalachia right next to the Kentucky border – about 45 minutes from Pikeville, KY. I’ll be about 6-7 hours away from FoCo. In other words, not so far that y’all can’t saddle up the horses and come visit. :)

Is that the choir that comes to Sterling every now & then and sings?

Sure is! MMS’s choir is a traveling choir (so much like Chorale, for those of you fellow IWU Chorale clods). I will, of course, post all tour dates. If you can, come see the kiddos sing! You will not regret it! Friends from college & friends all over, I would love to see you again if we’re ever singing in your area, and I know you’d be blessed by their songs.

How can I be praying for you?

Short answer? Yes. That’s how you can pray for me. All of the things need prayed for. :)
Allow me to be transparent for a second. When I made the decision, there wasn’t an, “Ah ha!” moment with God where the sky split open, a dove descended, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is what I was meant to do. Quite frankly, I don’t much buy into this ever-present idea of seeking out a calling for one’s life day after day. I can tell you what your calling is: Go and make disciples of all nations (did I mention Grundy has over 60 countries represented there?). That’s what you’re called to do. You’re called to make disciples wherever you’re at. I believe God places calls on peoples’ lives, absolutely. Paul is a great example. But Paul was going about his business, doing what he thought he was supposed to be doing when God made his red carpet appearance (Granted, Paul was murdering Christians for their faith, but he was convicted that he was doing the right thing, and he pursued that. I’m not saying that makes it right. I’m saying he went about with his daily life and God stepped down into that to get him to go elsewhere. He didn’t spend night after night agonizing over whether or not he was “following God’s will for his life.”) All of that to say, I’m leaping in faith. I’m diving in head-first and not looking back. I’m doing it because I’m (at least somewhat) equipped to do it, and Grundy has a need. There’s the bare-bones answer. So I need prayer! Ways to be praying:

Pray for the kids. This whole thing is first of all about Jesus and second of all about them. They need your prayers to continue to grow and be shaped into the people God wants them to be. Pray that whatever it is God needs them to know, I get out of the way and teach it in such a way that it goes beyond choral music. Pray that this is never about the music, but that the music is just another avenue to glorify God. Pray for a smooth transition for them as they adjust to a new teacher!

Pray that I stay open to opportunities and surrender my abilities to God. I was recently asked to teach elementary music, and I have absolutely zero experience in that arena. I feel like the widow bringing two small coins. I have literally no experience, but I’m willing to try it. Pray that continues. I’m the kind of person that either shuts down completely when I don’t have immediate success, or I go all-out and fight to get to the top. Neither of those are healthy, obviously. Pray for balance and just a willing heart. That’s all God needs to work through people, if I remember correctly.

Pray that I would stay out of the way. If I’m going to do this and do this well, it will be purely because of the grace of God. Done any other way, it’s destined to fail. We have a huge opportunity coming up at the end of October and the only way it’s going to be considered at all “successful” (albeit in worldly, human terms) is through our hard work, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and God’s sweet & sovereign grace!

Building relationships with the students. This will have to have careful attention, especially this first year, as these kids neither know nor trust me.

Adjusting to Grundy life. It’s a total 180 from life as I’ve known it for 25 years!

While I’m very sad to be leaving Fountain County, I’m pretty excited (read: still terrified) for what’s ahead, especially considering some prayers I began praying and questions I began asking God around October of 2014.

Many people have also asked how all of this is going to work out now that I’m now dating someone who lives in South Carolina. I’ll tell y’all the same thing I’ve said since Grundy became an option in December when I wasn’t dating anyone: I’m not at Grundy for one year. I’m not at Grundy for 25 years. I’m at Grundy for however long the good Lord wants me there. If that’s one year, fine. If that’s the rest of my life, fine. If that’s 7 years, 8 months, 2 weeks and 3 days, then fine.
God has continually reassured me since making the decision (in January) in the gentlest yet most obvious ways that this is exactly what I need to be doing at this time. As I said before, there was never some moment of the sky being split open and I was given a 100% definitive answer, but since making the decision there has been continual reassurance that I’m walking/tripping/stumbling/skipping/falling flat on my face on the path I should be walking down/tripping all over/stumbling here and there down/skipping down joyfully/falling flat on my face on. :) I watched a video about adoption a few weeks ago and the mom’s words really struck a chord (ha! get it? Chord.. Cord.. I’m teaching choir….) with me: “Pursue it until God closes the door. If the door doesn’t close and you’re continuing to ask him to guide you, keep going.”

Truth be told, I tried multiple times to get the door to close. It didn’t, and it wouldn’t. I’ll be at Grundy until God grants me his blessing to go elsewhere or until he calls me elsewhere. I’ll pursue him where I’m planted, regardless of where that is, and I’ll continue to contribute to making disciples where I’m at, wherever that is. As for tomorrow, I’m not going to worry about it. Jesus can take care of it. I have enough on my plate today. And as for June 29, the day is quickly approaching, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t tear up even thinking about it. I’m leaving a lot of wonderful people and the place that has been home to me.

So there it is in a nutshell! I covet all of your prayers and cardboard boxes. :)
Pray. Seek. Do.

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Stop using prayer as a cop-out.

I’ve noticed an interesting dichotomy between the people of the Bible and the people of today (other than the addition of iPhones, lack of 12-year-olds herding sheep, etc). Read about David, Joseph, Noah, Rahab, Abraham, Caleb, Esther, Joshua, Peter, Paul etc and you’ll find a common denominator:

They did something.

No, really. They did something. They didn’t just pray about it, or pray about it for two months before doing something (at least not that I’m aware of).
They didn’t pray about it and then go ask their accountability partner, D group leader, youth pastor, or friends to pray about it.
They didn’t pray about it and then decide they needed to sit down and study Scripture (or, well, the Dead Sea Scrolls..) for a few hours.
They didn’t pray about it and wait for God to write a sign in the sky.
They didn’t pray about it and talk themselves out of doing something hard.
Not all of them even took the time to pray about what we know them for: They just did what they knew they needed to do.

Stay with me. If the hair on the back of your neck is standing up, just stay with me. Far cry from most of our modern-day Christian culture. Far cry from my life, to be honest. I have a habit of asking God why things are the way they are. Sometimes a little out of spite, and other times I’m legitimately asking why something is going down the way it is because I’m searching for clear understanding. I think God really gets a kick out of it when I ask “Why?!” and then pray for understanding or patience. I think he shakes his head and chuckles every time. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few months, it’s that when you pray for a character trait, or even a fruit of the Spirit, God doesn’t give it to you. Ever. But he gives you situations where you can choose whether or not you’ll practice those traits, learn, and grow. Our relationship with God isn’t 50/50. If that’s how we view it, we miss out on a lot. Our relationship with him is 100/100. We give 100% because he has already given, and continues to give 100%. And that means a willingness to just do what he tells us to, when he tells us, which would be the exact same for every God-follower:

Go and make disciples.

I talk with older teens in the youth group quite a bit about the concept of God’s will because most of them start freaking out about “God’s will” during second semester of their senior year when the eleventh hour is upon them. Natural and understandable for a Christian kiddo. But I tell them all the same thing: God’s will is huge. It’s not confined to one pathway. God doesn’t lack creativity to the point of only being able to work out one path for every person. God’s will is huge, and he gives us a lot of choices (because love is a choice). He’s already told all of us what his will is: Go and make disciples. Go and make disciples working as a barista in a coffee shop, in a manufacturing facility as a laborer, as a dentist cleaning teeth, as a pediatrician working with kids, as a teacher shaping young minds, as a computer geek who shows neverending patience when a clueless person such as myself calls & asks for IT help.

God’s made it pretty clear what he wants us to do. I’m not sure why we need to spend extravagant time praying about what we already know we should be doing.

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Another One Bites The Dust

For those of you who don’t know, Miley Cyrus has just come out with a new video – “Can’t Be Tamed.” Good girl gone bad. Typical Hollywood story. Seriously Hollywood? Do something different. Stop influencing girls to turn into seductive temptresses. The Internet has enough soft porn on it; try a different marketing scheme. This one’s old.

Once again, the girls of America will catch the underlying message of, “This is what I have to be to turn heads.” I’m assuming that nearly half (if not more) of today’s teens and young adults will fall in love with this song. Why? Because it talks about the wild child in all of us. Here are the lyrics, and then my commentary..

I can get a bit crazy
Have to get my way
24 hours a day
Cause I’m hot like that
Every guy everywhere
Just gives me mad attention
Like I’m under inspection
I always get til 10
Cause I’m built like that

I go through guys like money
Flyin’ out their hands
They try to change me
But they realize they can’t
And maybe tomorrow is
A day I never planned
If you’re gonna be my man understand

I can’t be tamed
I can’t be saved
I can’t be blamed
I can’t, can’t
I can’t, can’t be tamed
I can’t be changed
I can’t be tamed
I can’t be (can’t be)
I can’t be tamed

If there’s a question about my intentions
I’ll tell ya
I’m not here to sell ya
Or tell ya to go to hell
I’m like a puzzle but
All my pieces are jagged
If you can understand this
We can make some magic
I’m on like that

I wanna fly I wanna drive I wanna go
I wanna be a part of somethin’ I don’t know
And if you try to hold me back I might explode
Baby by now you should know

I can’t be tamed
I can’t be saved
I can’t be blamed
I can’t, can’t
I can’t, can’t be tamed
I can’t be changed
I can’t be tamed
I can’t be (can’t be)
I can’t be tamed

I’m not a trick you play
I’m wired a different way
I’m not a mistake
I’m not a fake
It’s set in my DNA
Don’t change me
Don’t change me
Don’t change me
Don’t change me
(I can’t be tamed)

I wanna fly I wanna drive I wanna go
I wanna be a part of somethin’ I don’t know
And if you try to hold me back I might explode
Baby by now you should know

I can’t be tamed
I can’t be saved
I can’t be blamed
I can’t, can’t
I can’t, can’t be tamed
I can’t be changed
I can’t be tamed
I can’t be (can’t be)
I can’t be tamed

Here we go.

“I can get a bit crazy.. Have to get my way.. 24 hours a day.. Cause I’m hot like that.. Every guy everywhere.. Just gives me mad attention.. Like I’m under inspection.. I always get til 10.. Cause I’m built like that..I go through guys like money.. Flyin’ out their hands.. They try to change me.. But they realize they can’t.. And maybe tomorrow is.. A day I never planned..If you gonna be my man understand.. I can’t be tamed..”

Any Type A, headstrong girl with even a hint of a wild side in her will love and relate to this song. Congratulations Miley. You’ve written a song that encourages girls to be selfish, egotistical, and rebellious. First of all – If you have to go from sweet to scandalous, chances are your career was never that musically strong or grounded to begin with. It’s probably safe to say that your persona was being followed more than your talent, or lack thereof.

She says, “I go through guys like money” obviously trying to find a guy who won’t change her. This seems like an .. understandable .. thing, but it’s rather immature. If this new video was a stunt to show she’s “more mature,” it failed. Epically. At least it failed for those who walk in faith. And before I get harped on for talking about faith, please read..

In a 2007 interview, Miley Cyrus said that her faith is “the main thing” in her life, and (sounding like her father) she told USA Today that God wants her to be a “light, a testimony” in Hollywood (“Miley Cyrus Fulfills Her Destiny,” USA Today, January 1, 2007).

Read more at Suite101: Is Miley Cyrus a Christian?: The Faith of the Star of Disney Channel’s Hit Show Hannah Montana http://protestantism.suite101.com/article.cfm/is_miley_cyrus_a_christian#ixzz0n1Js1K5o

I’m not exactly sure this video help that whole “being a light” image. Christians aren’t sinless. There isn’t one that is. However, I’m going to put my foot down on this one. This was entirely preventable. Miley, you’ve let those of us who saw you as a decent role model for younger girls down. In fact, I would never EVER recommend Miley Cyrus as a respectable celebrity ever again. She’s lost all credit in my book.

From a Christian perspective, change is imminent if one is going to stop “going through guys like money.” Yes, get over it America, you’ll have to change pieces of who you are for relationships. Why? Because God better be changing you to prepare you for marriage. I know that there is NO WAY I could ever enter a marriage being who I am right now. Certain things will have to change. What specifically? The part of me that can relate VERY closely to this song. This song could very well be my personal anthem, but instead it sickens me because she’s embracing this as a good thing. Rebelling and “going against the grain” is only good when you’re standing up for something. Standing up for being “who you are” is a load of crap in this case. Let me reiterate that: It’s a load of crap. She’s standing up for not being changed. In what sense? You won’t let go of your wild side? You won’t submit to someone because you’re too stubborn and selfish to admit that YOUR ways might be wrong? Oh cool. Yeah. That screams maturity. If she can’t be changed, then clearly everything she does is correct. I’m just so sick of songs like this for so many reasons!

Let me make all of this a bit more personal..
One of the main reasons I absolutely hate this song is because of how closely I can relate to it. It’s taking a lot of self control to not buy this song off iTunes. Anyone who knows me would agree with what I’ve said entirely. I thrive on not being tamed.. and it’s something I struggle heavily with. It’s been a battle since high school. The song on my senior video is “Wild One” by Faith Hill. I can remember talking with Dave one night and telling him that I never wanted to lose the edge that I have. Settling down means losing a certain level of excitement.. but it also means entering into a completely DIFFERENT level of excitement.  My fear is a very shallow one: losing the edge, losing the appeal, losing the enticement. However, when I’m 50, if I’m still seeking that out, chances are I’m the most immature 50 year old ever. In essence, I’m afraid of not being young forever. Being unwilling to be “tamed” or to “change” means you’re unwilling to grow up. Period.

Here’s the thing: If you’re going to make the claim that your faith is the most important thing in your life, then live like it. Don’t write a song about how you should have your way all the time and then claim to follow Christ. For those of you who say I’m being too harsh, please – just shut up for a minute. I know I’m pushing the envelope, but I’m so disgusted with celebrities claiming Christ and then pulling a stunt like this. If you have a problem, a struggle, whatever, that’s fine. Just own up to it. Don’t try to make it look “hot” and dress it up so you can fit Hollywood’s definition of cool. If you REALLY want to stand out, then don’t do what everyone else has succumbed to. Stand for something. Put some clothes on. Tell girls it’s okay to be afraid of being tamed, but that it’s a sign of growth to sort of “tame the beast.” I know there is a side of me that will never calm down because it’s God-given; the desire to never put down roots, to always be on-the-go, getting to know God’s people, doing ministry everywhere that I can, to fearlessly pursue what he has planned for me.. THAT’S the wild child I shouldn’t ever let go of. Miley has the same side; I hope she discovers it.

Should I ever reach my dream of a famous recording artist, you’re hearing it here first: I will NOT fall to Hollywood’s schemes. I will set an example for young women, and I will live out my faith fearlessly, even if that means not being at the top of the charts all the time. I don’t sing for my own glory anyway. Do I want to be in the lime light? You bet. Why? Because I’m sick & tired of girls looking to promiscuous women for their role models. I want them to look to Christ first, and look to the Christian women around them in their local churches second. I’m so tired of the voice of reason being choked back by what’s “in.” I’m tired of girls being led down the wrong path. Real women stand up for what’s right, even if it isn’t what’s popular.

-steps down off of soapbox-
-screams into a pillow-

Okay. I’m done.

Pray on friends. Pray for those in Hollywood. Pray HARD. And pray viciously.

Matthew 11:12
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.

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Victoria Donner

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