Glory to God

God has purposes far beyond our own comprehension. And sometimes, you can see exactly what His vision is and not feel like you even deserve to be a part of it.

Ever since April, Ben and I have been on a wild journey with God. We have seen miracles, signs, wonders, peace, struggle, confusion, and everything in between. But nothing and no one could ever prepare us for what is going on right now.

We have always known that our story is not exactly the "American dream". We haven't dated for 2 years. We aren't waiting until after college to get married. Ben didn't ask my dad for permission. Our families didn't jump up and down when we got engaged. We don't have full time jobs. We don't have financial stability.

In most people's eyes, we are totally out of our minds crazy. And I admit, I agree. But God has had a vision for both of us that seriously cannot be shaken, despite multiple attempts by others and ourselves.

In April, I told Ben after our first date that I couldn't date him unless he was willing and wanted to jump on a very fast train headed I don't know where with me. I think he knew exactly what I was talking about because God had been moving him too.

Since then, Ben and I have seen God shape us and change us and bring us close. In July, we got engaged and our entire world changed. I had a vision for my life, but now I was thinking about our life.

Ben and I planned our wedding for May of 2010. We had the date, the place, the time, everything... and then God closed the door HARD. So we started over and we thought, "Oh! Let's get married July 4th! That's when we got engaged!" The excitement started all over again and we couldn't have been more thrilled.

Then my old boss and dear mentor, Jeff Davidson, told me and Ben that we should get married in December of this year. We both laughed and just shrugged it off. (Hint: When God speaks through godly people...you may want to listen)

We then realized that Ben's old boss's husband and good friend of ours told Ben even before we were dating that he gave us 8 months until we were married (our wedding is 8 months and 2 days after our first date!). Once again, we just laughed and let it go.

During Vision Weekend at The River, God put a huge boulder in front of us. We both felt God saying "December, december, december..." and we broke down. We thought, "Ok, how is this going to work? And how many people are we going to make mad? And how are we going to provide for ourselves before we graduate? Where are we going to live? How would we have a wedding so close to my sisters' weddings?" etc, etc, etc.

Then the greatest peace that I've ever experienced took over any worry or concern I felt.

Ben and I surrendered our plans and our hopes so that God could start to work.

And yes, we have probably hurt some people because of our wedding. We know that this has not been easy for people and that this isn't what's easy for us either. If it were the "right" way, we would wait until after Ben graduates and do this when it's the "right" time.

We started planning our wedding the last week of October with a very small budget and limited resources of our own, but we told God that if December was when we were supposed to get married that God would provide.

Since we prayed, here is what God has done.

For the wedding:

-my family has voiced concern, but is supporting us

-Ben's family has voiced concern, but is supporting us

-decorations have been donated

-veil & shoes were given to me

-tuxedos got $20 off of each one and Ben's for free

-free invitation designs

-20% off printing invitations

-my dress was ordered on a Friday and came in 5 days later

-we got half off of our reception site

-we got the cleaning fees waived

-we got our flowers for half off

-we have someone doing music for free

-someone volunteered to alter my dress

For our life:

-Ben's parents have decided to pay for Ben's car insurance until he graduates

-it just so happens that our school money that we get back next semester is EXACTLY enough to pay for our rent from Jan-May

-our parents have shown us so much wisdom and encouragement

Here's the big thing. We knew that once January came, we would have rent covered. But how in the world are we going to pay for December?? We are both broke and don't see a silver lining for miraculously making $900.

So the prayer began.

We prayed about our property manager, what kind of place we wanted to live, in an area, for a vision and boy did God deliver!!!

Our property manager is a strong believer, young, a newly wed, and a church planter! The house is the perfect size. It is safe. And God gave us a vision for what He wants us to do there. It's not the vision that I thought it would be and it's not exactly what everyone else is doing either, but it's what we are handed.

We have a deposit due Thursday for the house. Last Saturday, Ben and I prayed that the $300 would be there if we were meant to get the house. Well, it just so happens that we got $200 cash at our wedding shower and that Ben was blessed with $100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We were on top of world and absolutely shocked at what God has done! But the worry of another $600 being due in three weeks shook us. So Ben and I just prayed.

God surely answered.

Yesterday my dear friend Jessica Dunlop called me and said, "Wow Amy, I'm so excited you got your deposit! But I have to tell you something..." Jessica rallied people together and in two days we have received $600 and our rent is PAID!!!!!!

Ben and I cannot even being to express the emotions running through us right now.

But I'm going to be quite frank. Ben and I don't deserve this money. We don't understand why this has all happened. We've been struggling with sin, distant from where God wants us, and selfish. Yet God is opening door after door after door for December to fall together perfectly.

We grieved this yesterday.

But what we learned is the gospel. Nothing we do or have done or will do can ever break God's plan. No, we don't deserve the vision He has given us and the amazing gifts that we have received, but the truth of the matter is... no one and nothing can punish us for our problems and we can't fix what we've done. More than anything, we want to. We both want to feel like we did something to make it right. We felt like we had to give up something or give something back in order to feel forgiveness.

The early church gave up everything they had for people who were in need. People that messed up. People that didn't even know they were messed up. God is bigger than our failures and He wants US to carry out His hope. Ben and I are absolutely overwhelmed and amazed at what God did through our friends, our family, and His body. I know that this is all a small (but HUGE) stepping stone to whatever God has for us next. I cannot believe that we serve a God that would take two small people like me and Ben and to care enough to provide for us and to help us succeed.

THANK YOU for being the Church. THANK YOU for listening to Him. THANK YOU for believing in Him enough to believe in us. THANK YOU for showing us that He is all you need.

"What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

14 And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. 15 What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again."

-Ecclesiastes 3: 9-15


His beauty

I sought to see His strength,
Kindness covers my weary cares.
His heart beats hope,
My love finds longing.


Today's Inspiration

April 29, 2009
Gracious Uncertainty
. . . it has not yet been revealed what we shall be . . . —1 John 3:2

Our natural inclination is to be so precise— trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next— that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, "Well, what if I were in that circumstance?" We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life— gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God — it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, ". . . unless you . . . become as little children . . ." (Matthew 18:3 ). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, ". . . believe also in Me" (John 14:1 ), not, "Believe certain things about Me". Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in— but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.


Love in the face of fear.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
They are of the world.
Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.
We are of God.
He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us.
By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has seen God at any time.
If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.
God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.
But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.
-1 John 4:4-19

This is a hard excerpt from scripture to swallow. The end message is that HE LOVES US, but the first part means we actually have to acknowledge that we know He loves us... and sometimes that's hard to do. We often don't see ourselves as His beloved little children. I don't think I've ever woken up thinking... "I am God's beloved little child." Most of the time I wake up thanking God for who He is, but never considering how He may feel about ME, His child.

It would be a lie to run away from it.

I've been finding it difficult to pull things to the surface. We spend each day surrounded by tasks and interactions with people and to do lists and maybe a friendly conversation or two. It's not too often that I (or others) really sit down and get to the meat of it all. That's what love is. If God is love, then those conversations are essential. God gets down to the bare bone with us because He LOVES US, and in turn, we should do that for one another.

I think the Bible calls it out perfectly - it's fear that paralyzes us from love.

I know I've put some thoughts out there, and to be honest - I don't have an answer for this. I guess that's why I've put it out here... for your input. This is been stretching in my brain the past couple days. Let me know what you think.



Right now I'm going through the study of "A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. So far it's been amazing journey. Right now we're walking through Psalm 19 and it's probably been the most impacting for me.

Oh how I wish to be the simple made wise. David's desire to be close to the Lord is contagious when you read how beautifully he puts his excitement for the joy of Him.

How often do I radiate His law? I pray that the breeze of the Spirit takes over me as I strive to be well pleasing to Him.

Psalm 19
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.

4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.

8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.

11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.

13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.