Exhaustion comes before rest, right?

Answer: Exhaustion can end in needed rest if rest is chosen, but it’s definately not God’s desired pre-requisite! He intends instead for us to live…resting in Him. What that looks like I look forward to learning in deepening reality for the entirety of my life.

WOW! Since Thanksgiving, I’ve had quite a ride emotionally. I can’t help but call this time since I returned in mid-Nov. “sweet”…like a treasured giddy excitement waiting behind a curtain of hopes for what is to come. My heart is so content to be where I am, but my body has hit an exhaustion that gives me little room to push beyond it. Friends have spoiled me with understanding and grace as they watch me struggle to learn how to stop for a day maybe two…how much longer can I take of resting? 🙂 Ha! Can I just say, God has been waking me up early, no matter the time that I go to bed? I awake wide-eyed like a child wanting to go out and see their stocking hung and to open the presents under the tree…but all I want is to read His Word and talk with Him. Even journaling has taken a back seat. Praise HIM…for desire for Him comes as a gift for us all – It seems we can only fully begin (yes, those two words fit together here) to receive the gift of rest only after we begin to seek after Him with our hearts. He’s more than “worth” taking our last ounce of energy or our first stretch of the morning to reach for…

Home From China…still working on my heart’s translation…

CHINA….I cannot tell you all that God allowed for this trip due to certain restraints on me, but I can tell you that this 1 1/2 month extreme adventure was one that has truly changed me – unlike any other I have ever experienced. Details can be shared in person and I’m sure that I will continue to speak about all that I learned as I feel that is why I was sent…to bring it back to America. By His grace, he allowed me to document this journey more than any other tour yet – video, pictures, and journals almost every day. I was able to communicate with those back home a bit through the internet as well! From a leper colony to hiking mountain ranges where no one had ever heard the NAME; from the underground to the University, from the villages to the metropolitan cities…was no ordinary undertaking. This region no longer feels foreign to me. The changes that have taken place since I was there in 2007 are phenominal. The people won my heart and although I feel no leading to live there, I cannot wait to return.
It was only a month or less prior that everything began to come together. Like only Father does, He brought together the impossible! In March I had met a person serving the “underground” while in Rome on a train to the airport. She ended the conversation saying, “I feel like I’m gonna see you again!” In Aug. (about 4 mo. later) I recieved a call from her husband asking if they could take me up on my invitation to come and stay with me. “ABSOLUTELY!” When they came I realized that they had felt led to come by way of Nashville for no other reason but to visit me! It was during breakfast that they began to candidly share about a mission outreach and invited me to come along. I had already been invited to Japan and quickly realized that Father was leading me to forgo that part of Asia until after this curious endeavor. I also got back in contact with family I had known from a previous trip and they pleaded with me to stay as long as I could and began putting together an intense itinerary which would lead me to people I had never met and places I couldn’t pronounce or find on a map day after day. I was thrilled with the prospect, and deeply humbled by this opportunity to serve that was being laid out in part before me…most of which I would only be told after I stepped off the airplane. After much prayer and watching Father work in various ways to assure me that He was calling, I accepted and my friends and I began passionately pray and seek Him for all that would be needed before and during this extreme trip. God would later provide nearly 5,000$ through prayer warrior friends and people from afar (just in time of course), He helped me to physically and mentally (well, He had a lot of work to complete there 🙂 prepare as well.
I arrived on Oct. 2nd, the day after “National Day” a day commemorating 60 years of Communism and all that entails. I had the priviledge of traveling with 15 others for the first three weeks where I saw and experienced what makes angels rejoice over and over, and then the last 3 weeks I headed out solo to travel and reach many of the family throughout different provinces – from one to the next with incredible memories of His work inbetween.
The landscape, scenery, food, interaction, and travel made me feel like I was in some National Geographic film, but the memories truly make me long for the time when all of us will be together in our home we long for…The joy, the love, the similarities, the one NEED we all have in common – the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. I have not yet found the words to express what goes on in my heart when I think of this experience as a whole. I will never be the same. I am convinced, there is much more to come.

What’s that mean?

WOW! Since Thanksgiving, I’ve had quite a ride emotionally. I can’t help but call this time since I returned in mid-Nov. “sweet”…like a treasured giddy excitement waiting behind a curtain of hopes for what is to come. My heart is so content to be where I am, but my body has hit an exhaustion that gives me little room to push beyond it. Friends have spoiled me with understanding and grace as they watch me struggle to learn how to stop for a day maybe two…how much longer can I take of resting? 🙂 Ha! Can I just say, God has been waking me up early, no matter the time that I go to bed? I awake wide-eyed like a child wanting to go out and see their stocking hung and to open the presents under the tree…but all I want is to read His Word and talk with Him. Even journaling has taken a back seat. Praise HIM…for desire for Him comes as a gift for us all – I believe we can recieve the gift after we begin to seek after Him with our hearts.

To say that this year has been unexpected and full would be an understatement. I have definately had years where I’ve been away more, but in regards to overall “fullness” of a year…this one has been packed: personal change and extreme growth, rooting at “home” all over again, extreme experiences, tours, decisions, watching God move in power to bring people along in the ministry, heart tenderizing and refreshing, hunger and therefore discipline strength, and travel! One thing that has not grown has been my blogging consistency! 🙂

Last night we had a Christmas party at the house…It was everything beyond what a movie can allow you to experience…the prayer where everyone focuses on Jesus and makes a commitment to continue the journey, the warmth of love, the taste of food, the smell of nothing burnt, the sound of laughter and deep conversation and even carols being sung by a seeming choir (we are in Nashville folks)…it was precious, homey, and memorable for sure. Money tight, I began to go around the house looking for things I could create Christmas decor around…It was as if I found the most randomly placed decorations everywhere I looked. I spent a total of $17 and the house and yard seemed to envelope us all with the crisp freshness and warmth of the season! Well, at least I enjoyed it! I’m so thankful – no decoration is a need, so I was delighted to be surrounded by wants fulfilled! 🙂

About Amy

When Amy gave her life to Jesus for God’s glory at age 14, she never could have dreamed that she would be ministering Internationally and Nationally speaking and singing with Meant for More. But the story of how she got there was a bit unexpected…

It feels good to write out loud again….

As if I’m scared to write, I sit here looking at this page. It’s been so long since I’ve written anything that I wonder when I should start again. Is anything ever big enough to neccesitate someone taking a momment of their lives to read it? Is it like crying wolf to send something from me if it’s not at the greatest quality I could ever write? NO! For perfection is far from me, so I merely journal tonight my thoughts recently…at least a few of them. No neccesity here…just a hope that somehow God may use them in your life. …(It really feels good to write out loud again :))

1. NEED…Whether we feel that desperation surging in us or not, we need Him. In Yellowstone there is a gyser named Old Faithful. When it surges far below where our point of view is, it may feel like nothing is happening…there’s not activity. But, what’s hidden is about to be seen with a force unlike what would have ever been expected had we have seen the surges throughout the whole process. Inside us there is a surge of need, but nothing will shock us more than the actual truth that will be shown once we know Him more and more…I dare say we won’t see the explosion of our need until we see His glory and grasp His holiness for eternity’s duration. With every step we are fighting against the gravity of sin. The liar’s determination to keep us from moving forward forces our every step to become a struggle. When I lived in Iceland I learned quickly that our greatest threat was not the snow and cold, but the fierce winds – literally dumpsters would roll and our jeep almost blew across the ice into our neighbor’s house! In one book on Iceland someone put a picture of me leaning forward and the wind holding me up. I remember walking to school and fighting to take each step forward, but loving running the opposite way…the direction of the wind. It was as if I could almost fly! But, to get to the destination I was heading to required me struggling against it! Likewise, I used to hate it when other, older Christians a bit sinical and seemingly discouraged, would come and unload on an excited new believer the woes of following Christ. It was as if they had come into a haven where the wind wasn’t against them and were complaining about what they had just been through…they had obviously given up in part because they weren’t telling me anything about the bliss of their destination (not the final one)! Sometimes we are heading toward something and are just struggling to see any direction that we are going…as if the wind has pushed the snow in our face as well. It’s in these times that we must remember that, if He can do anything, He can use anything – especially the struggle (even when we are seemingly going through it!) I’ve learned that when facing these “woes of struggle towards Him”(if that’s truly what they are) each step becomes a marching stomp fluttering the dusts of the aromas and tastes of joy all around us…producing an only greater hunger for Him..our destination. (Romans 5:3; James 1:3, Rom.8:18).

2. There is nothing I know…Literally, nothing but Jesus really matters. In comparison to Him, what would I want to know more? Everything good that we know is just an imitation of the reality – no matter how great we may consider it to be.

So what have I personally learned? (You’ll want to read this one!)

1. I don’t really have a desire anymore to ask God to “move” I want to ask Him to change me…then others. I’ve seen too much to go backwards.
2. He still does miracles – yes, you can say they just happened…but why? 🙂 Supernatural? I couldn’t have made it happen!
3. God brings us through embarrassing moments to humble us – we are nothing. He is our worth… I’m glad we can laugh at ourselves..glad that’s allowed.
4. I think the thought of someone who dying because they gave up would be harder for me to handle than someone who died fighting to live and then God took them home – By far.
5. I can handle not one more…not one more e-mail tonight. I think I got all the way through April Emails on all accounts tonight! Whew-Hoo!

SO HERE GOES THE STORIES BEHIND THOSE THOUGHTS…READ AS YOU WILL…

1. RETREAT: COSTA MESA, CA. Ft. Irwin Ladies PWOC APRIL 17-19, 2009 and following! 🙂
I’m just going to give you a video. Just can’t express it in writing.

2. WRIST: Cist…gone through God’s use of a fence and a lawn mower!?
Okay, so those of you that are picturing something gross…look for a different story – THIS IS A STORY OF GOD doing something out of the ordinary! Simply, for months I’ve had a fluid cist on the top of my wrist from typing wrong or something. I had surgery about 7 years ago and then it came back…the only danger is if it starts getting in the way of the nerves. While on tour in Europe (Mar.) I prayed that God would provide some surgeon (they can do anything there – no law suit danger etc.)…but He chose not to allow anyone to notice it in any of the countries I went to. I continued to pray as the cist began to grow and get a bit painful. I knew that I didn’t have insurance and that God would either provide the money or the person to do something. While on tour in Oregon someone noticed and gave me homeopathic oils to help and cure it…still nothing. During the next and most recent retreat in CA. I prayed with friends and began to realize that wisdom would soon detail that I may need to see a doctor for it was becoming painful even when I wasn’t moving my wrist – not a good sign. I returned on Tues. night and decided that on Friday (yesterday) I would go to a doctor in Nashville that someone had told me about. On Wed., the morning after I returned, I decided to go and mow my lawn (no, I haven’t de-railed and no, mowing my lawn and living through it was not the miracle:)). There was one fence that was difficult to manuever by and I ended up jamming my elbow against the fence and the lawn mower pushed my wrist back. Suddenly I wondered if I had broken something (I had no pain, I had just felt something pop) – I looked down and GOD HAD COMPLETELY BURST MY CIST! That was the best scenario that could have happened…surgery was worst, needles were just as bad, but bursting would be more likely to keep it from coming back, Lord willing! Ironic, they used to smash a Bible on them to burst them…this time God just used His Word…”with God all things are possible!”(Matt. 19:26) “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”(Eph.3:20) PRAISE YOU LORD!!!

3. DOVE AWARDS: How Not TO Be An ESCORT…How to be humbled…(Funny)
Mandy my roommate and one of my best friends was playing at the Dove Awards and I wanted to support her from the audience. Being gone for so long, I was late in the game in trying to be a seat-filler – I knew that a little coaxing and convincing may be needed so I included in my e-mail reasons why they (the production company covering the live award show) could trust that I wouldn’t do anything crazy: I had formerly worked in L.A. as a ABC coordinator,talent wrangler, Assoc. Producer, Asst. to a Feature Film Dir., etc. To my surprise I got an email back from someone who had forwarded my letter to the person coordinating more than seat-fillers. They offered me a choice of volunteer jobs and I accepted to serve as a “talent escort.” I would later see that titles from the past mean nothing – they just get you to places you probably aren’t ready for…as was the case with me. When I arrived, dressed like I was going to a funeral, we were wisked in the production trailer and somehow they had NO person for me to escort! I was fine with that! I would just fill in and help everyone – get a walkie and make sure everything ran smoothly! Soon, due to their being a need, I found myself becoming the official escort to some of the most well-known performing artists of the night…not to mention the industry.

From the time I accepted to serve, my heart was bubbling over with a desire to serve and love them well – whomever He would place me with. I longed to share whatever God would lead me to in order that they would be focused beyond the glitz and honor they could recieve…and that, most of all, they would leave encouraged to continue on more boldly than before. I wanted to be used whether that was cleaning their plates off the tables or praying for them while they were preparing to hit the stage! What I didn’t know was how to be an escort – at least not for this show! I had been a talent wrangler for the Movie Guide Awards with celebrities, red-carpet and all, but what does that matter…I had forgotten how to stand outside of a door and wait. Truth is, I had never been an escort. Don’t get me wrong, the coordinator in me took over and soon many were asking me where to go, what to do, etc. BUT, no one had told me how to be an escort!! I spent time with my “celebs” (they would hate being called that and sure didn’t act like they knew that at all). I talked with them…brought in food, laughed, joked with them, saw baby pics…I treated them like they were family (they were!) and that they had come to my house for dinner! But, I noticed at one point that there was a bit of slight uncomfortability in a couple of them…I stayed outside. If I had just been someone that came with friends to a concert and met up with these same people, I think it would have been different. But, I was an escort which put me in an awkward position. I had actually met one of them before (several times) and really enjoyed talking with her…THEY were no different than they would have been to me if I were on the street – probably even nicer to me! BUT, I was awkward because I would have probably been friends with them at any other time, but I was now in an irritating role…One of the few instructions I was given was to literally “stalk” them to make sure they were where they needed to be for this live show. Afterall, who wants to hear, “You’re up in 5!” – NOBODY! Then here comes the clencher…It wasn’t until the end of the night – literally after most of my talent had left and I was cleaning up – when someone told me that we weren’t aloud in the rooms! WHAT? Was I not supposed to treat them like they were at my house for dinner? That was how I would have loved them, and how I treated them all day – Bringing them food and drinks, talking with them, etc! 🙂 AHH! These poor people! I tour now and I tried to offer them what I would have wanted – to leave them alone and protect their time of silence for them! I probably should have tried harder because they probably could have used a bit less of me asking them if they wanted another drink of water, etc. There were many other normal meetings with other celebrities, friends, co-workers, and even with my talent that were great and edifying times for sure – GOOD times (praying with others etc.)…but I left feeling a bit like apologizing to them…in fact I even wrote a note to one of the key players who I had hounded about rest and God’s design for it. Honestly, I could truly care less about celebrity and hope that I never really reach fa
me unless God is in front of me where they see Him and I can hide behind as I follow. It’s not an easy path to trod. The celebrities I worked with I believe felt the same…I was blessed by them all. But I have all the respect in the world for authority and position (or at least try to). They were in a position that night and so was I…just on a different plane for the day. Then while I was talking to another person, my headset got mangled in my hair as I tried to take it off – someone actually felt the need to come and help. All I can do is laugh at myself embarrassed to think of how many times they had to see my face while in their private room. Those poor people need an extra blessing from you, Father!

In lesson, I struggled for a day wondering why, with my intentions to love and serve in a way that they would need, I had felt like it was such a “fumble.” I may have gotten to the end zone, but, in my mind, the impression that was left was that they might have been relieved when they left. Truly, I know that I exaggerate for they even asked me to stay longer, and I had great conversations with several of them. But, when I asked God why I was allowed to walk that awkward walk on Thurs. God laid on my heart – “Humbling.”

Lord, I praise You for caring enough about me to remind me that I am nothing without You…that anything good that people see in me – or any good impression made – is only You shining through – Your favor. Lord forgive me for thinking as much as I have about what man thinks of me…even if it’s a small amount- it’s still a waste of thought that could be spent on You. I also thank You for the people that I met, and I praise You for their hearts. Lord, bless them, encourage them, keep them humble, and show Yourself to them as they stand before You in front of so many clamering…and even “fumbling” many. It’s obvious, Your love outweighs our faults…Thank You, Father. I love You!

4. Just an extra thought.

5. E-Mails for Today – DONE! (I think I’m learning that I can’t read them unless I’m ready to answer right then! 🙂 You think that will work? I’m a people person…give me people!! 🙂 Thank you all for your notes…words are one of my love languages, so I love reading all about your lives and all that God’s doing, etc. Keep them coming…it’s just the writing back that I get behind on! 🙂 Thank you!

Amy’s Notes
I’m reading in I Samuel right now and am learning from the story of David as he keeps God’s commands and then suffers the consequences when when He doesn’t uphold God’s commands as a “must”- as sin that will hurt not only God but all those involved. (Tons of other lessons as well.) I’m reading a book called, “The Case for the Real Jesus” by Lee Strobel – really good for the short answer on questions that are hot topics in our culture. Praying for purity of heart among many other things.

We met in a small room with walls-papered-gold rooms…a hotel with venice rustic paintings, fountains, and fireplace settings made to look like we had just walked into a European hotel suite. We were in Costa Mesa close to the ocean with about 40 women who were used to living in a desert. It was hillarious how green the lettuce looked to them! 🙂 (The little things we neglect to notice!)

Friday night – I thought that since they were arriving from their 3 hr. drive at around 9:00pm, they would probably not be thrilled to see “Session” written on their schedule for the night. But, then again, I would be having many suprises throughout the weekend. Bibles and notebooks in hand, these women (many of whom had given up one of the husbands few free weekends at home – not in the field – to come on the retreat) had been praying for God to move long before they arrived…it was obvious through the excitement and expectation I could read through their eyes. God laid on my heart to just scrap the bulk of my notes and challenge them…then to have them each pray and ask God for something – personally and for this retreat. I had given verses to many and as the first one began to read aloud she began to cry…I had somehow given the next woman the same verse. I, realizing that God was doing something, I had her read it again…then God had me have them sit down. Women cried while they prayed that evening.

SAT. Morning – I was thrilled about the session and I left, again having watched God direct me to scrap most of my notes, wondering what exactly I had said. What did I remember? Women hungry, crying, and excited for more. Then I sent them out to read one of three “random” passages I had felt led to offer them as they embarked on a “date with God”. It was like a feeding frenzy everyone scurrying to be alone – Some of them had never thought of having that kind of one on one time with Him. I gave them three things to do/answer while they read. From that point on it was like anyone I was around couldn’t wait to tell me what God had taught them! One woman had been led to memorize the whole chapter and did! She quoted it to me on the bus to Doheny Beach while reliving everything that God had shown her as she said it! Shocking!

SAT. Evening….We had all arrived at the beach and although it was cold we gathered in a sort of woman-pod overlooking the rolling waves and masses of birds in the distance and began talking. I began to pry as to what God was teaching them…as if someone had just given someone an outlet to share what was about to explode within them, one woman shared that after years of guilt she had been freed to accept God’s forgiveness! The rest of the retreat I don’t think I saw her with a dry eye or smile. She got it! Then there was another that spoke up telling her story…the same conclusion. The rest in the circle told of their breakthrough as well. I noticed that the once outgoing friend next to me had quickly become silent. After hesitantly sharing, she finally concluded, with deep “searching” within, that she was ready to forgive and I watched her allow God to break down that wall! She was different from that time on.
It was cold, and I was concerned about the women not wanting to listen around the campfire. I went to the side of the bus and prayed and prepared…He led me to speak on “We all have a choice and we must choose!” I applied this to the Christian’s life especially – what are you unable to move through/past? But, again God floored me! After I finished speaking (by the way, God laid on my heart to also add the story of Paul speaking to the Aeropagus on Mars Hill about their “Unknown God” that Paul wanted to reveal to them – I would later learn that someone had begun to talk to the one unbeliever and mention Paul,etc.)

There are so many other details….But I’m falling asleep. It’s hard to be detailed on blog…I want so badly to tell you this in person! 🙂 More tomorrow.

Ft. Irwin Conference…God completely changed my plans…

Here I am in Costa Mesa at a retreat – one in which I feel I will probably leave with much more than I could ever give….Lord, what you can do there’s no telling till after! 🙂

Two things I wanted to share. I had a huge powerpoint ready and was excited to start with a full session challenging them to look at life from a perspective beyond what they are bombarded with daily, etc. We drove 3 hours through the desert where I’m staying to the European styled hotel (they just brought me cheese and fruit! Sweet!). When I was told that the bus of women would be arriving between 8:30 and 9:00, I realized that this was going to be a very late session…after they had also traveled for over 3 hrs. I expected tired women, instaed they were either really good actresses or they stopped for Starbucks on the way! 🙂 They came Bibles in hand and ready to take notes.

As for me God had laid on my heart to have them pray and ask Him for whatever was on their hearts for this weekend…to cause them to have reason to seek for more of Him themselves! I studied and every verse seemed to be about His Word…seeking for His glory. Then He led me to something I had written on Easter and prayer Scripture. At a very unemotional time, the first lady I had asked to read a verse on prayer began to cry – hardly able to make it though the verse. I pointed to someone else standing and she looked at me and said, “I think you gave me the same verse!” I told her to read it as well – wondering what God was doing. Then God laid on my heart to not have them read any more verses…that was all. He wouldn’t let me and I didn’t want to go against Him even if it didn’t make sense to me. I spoke…then WE PRAYED…many of the woman were wiping away tears. I’m in awe of You, Lord….Continue YOUR work – I so can’t wait to see what you are going to do tomorrow! Your Word is So rich and You are so beautiful…I want to shout it from this rooftop!

4 min.

That’s all I have left of this year….If there was one thing that I could do right now it would be to Praise GOD…thank HIM for what He’s done this year- my life. I don’t know that I’ve ever been more excited about a birthday in my life. I am SO thrilled about what God is doing in me….I’m hungry for more of Him…It’s really all I have to write. I’m so hungry. I LOVE YOU LORD!!! I’ll shout it..just tell me when! When/How can I bring You the most glory? 🙂

Hospital Diary…with Mema

Five days and nights in, and I find myself feeling like Doogie Houser and wanting to write a lesson from every day in here with Mema! So from this night on, I plan to write something – be it ever so small or long…just my thoughts, journal, and diary.

Dinner at this hospital’s cafeteria ends at 7:00pm so, due to visitors and taking care of Mema, I have not made it once. But, it’s a relief to know that they open up at 11:00pm to 1:00pm for dinner for those that are still awake. Had it have not been for Mema asking me how much I ate today and then telling me that it will make a difference later on, I wouldn’t have gone. But, I’m thankful that I did.

Last night