Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sometimes It's Overwhelming


His goodness, I mean.
I sit in my office smelling the coffee in my mug and it reminds me of my time overseas.
I sing the words to a song that was always uplifting in college – “Lord, you are good and your mercy endures forever.” Only truth from the Word can create such songs of renewal.
I look out the window and can’t see past the trees across the parking lot – though it was just yesterday that those trees were bare as I planned a Rent-a-Youth day in January, and researched places for our fall retreat in November.
November…just a month and a half after I had moved to Lenoir.
Lenoir…People often ask me how I found the small town of Lenoir. I didn’t. Lenoir found me … in Puerto Rico … by the hand of God.
Sometimes the easiest thing in the world is to look backwards and see hands. Sometimes we want to base our today on all those little hands that touched us for a moment. Hands that hurt us, hands that betrayed us, hands that make us feel angry or bitter. And then…hands that held us, hands that uplifted us, hands that made us feel loved and supported. But then…there are those hands. The ones that were there when we were hurt or held, betrayed or uplifted, the hands that held steady regardless of feeling angry, loved, bitter, or supported.
The hands that cared enough to sustain Israel through her Old Testament rebellion, sin and restoration. The hands that care enough to sustain me through my rebellion, sin and restoration.
The hands that represent
            love
               peace
                  grace
                     mercy
                        healing
                           promise
                              compassion
                                 forgiveness
                                    faithfulness.
Wow. This is the hand of God. I’ll never deserve it, yet He’ll never withdraw it.
I can base my today on those hands.
Lord, you are good and your mercy endures forever.
                                   

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Welcome to Fairfield

As many of you know, I am now the Youth Director at First Presbyterian Church in Lenoir, NC. I moved down here almost 2 months ago and thought it was time to share with everyone a little about where I am. To start, this shows you the house that the church has graciously allowed me to live in. This house is large, beautiful, and full of history dating back to before the Civil War. I tried to put some pictures together to give you a small tour. It starts in the front before going around to the back of the house to the driveway and then in through the back door - my main entrance. The stairs that the house photos end on lead right back down to the same door - the "tour" goes in a circle through the downstairs, upstairs and back down. At the end you get to see the friendly neighborhood visit that Milo received, as well as my office at church! Enjoy!



video

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

OH Youth Ministry, I Love You

My favorite:
When I go to a middle school band concert to see four of my students play and when one sees me in the hall afterwards she says, "Adrienne! What are you doing here?!"
"Oh, you know Val, I was just wandering the halls of Hibriten High and lo and behold a middle school band concert finished up! I'm here to SEE YOU, silly!"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Reactions to an Apple

This brown box is sitting in my office. Inside is a black box. Inside that box is a silver sliver.

The secretary says, “You have a package…”, and my heart jumps to my throat as I run into her office to snatch it off her desk. “Thank you!” I call back as I race back down the hall to my space. First thing I must do is take pictures with the brown FedEx box that holds my new treasure. As my right hand is hitting ‘send’ on the phone, sharing the good news with friends back home, my left is already reaching for the scissors to slice open the seams of tape that separate me from my new toy. I remove the brown, cardboard corner protectors and slide out a black box. The top of that box is immediate removed and I sit staring down at my brand new Macbook Air. All that is missing from the moment is angelic voices and rays of light streaming into my eyes from within that white apple.
I reach for the tab and peek under the computer as I raise it slightly, then rapidly return it to its resting position and replace the guardian black lid. I am at a loss as to how this thing ended up in my hands, and what I am to do now. Guilt alternates with curiosity in the next moments as the lid is removed once again, and I stare at the perfectly packed expensive accessories under the laptop before replacing it once more. A fury of emotion results in the black box being secured under the cardboard restraints once more within the confines of the FedEx cage effectively locked with duct tape.
I reflect over last few years as my dinosaur of a Dell constantly needed attention and encouragement to continue its life, that I would jokingly say, “If I ever need to buy a new computer, I’m getting a Mac.” This flippant comment resulted from many things: I’ve never heard someone say they regretted getting a Mac. It’s impressive that people literally have had to make it a goal to create viruses for Macs. Time Machine is pretty cool – to have AND to look at. And let’s face it…of all the shiny things in this world Apple products are pretty attention-demanding.
Even with all this, when I resigned myself to the fact that the dinosaur wasn’t faking every time I opened the top and the screen went black, my Dell is very near and dear to my heart. It was easy last Friday to click “buy” on Apple’s website because it’s what I had trained my mind to expect when this time came. What I was not ready for was this brand new “shiny” walking into my brand new life and landing in my brand new office. As a creature of habit – spontaneous, yes, but habitual all the same – so much “brand new” can be a little overwhelming. The unknown is EXCITING. The unknown is NEW. The unknown is SCARY. The unknown is sitting in my office…At some point I may pick up the scissors again…

This brown box is sitting in my office. Inside is a black box. Inside that box is a silver sliver…that I bought a week ago…that I don’t know how to use.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Once Again...

I find myself in the blessed and incredible opportunity of continuing the call that I received 6 years ago - leadership with youth and missions. I am back in Puerto Rico with YouthWorks!
Since arriving here 3 weeks ago, my team and I have been busy preparing our site for students to arrive in just 2 short days.
Please be in prayer for us as we begin 7 weeks of programming for high school students. We desire this summer to be impacting for them as well as the community that we are living with. God is going to do great things!



My 2011 staff team! Josh = crazy guys with hands up in the air...Scott = blue sweatshirt... Jenna = girl leaning out the the far right of the picture....I'm front and center of course ;-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's time

Every day at least one thing happens or crosses my mind that morphs itself into blog post form in my brain. I realize you never would have guessed it because it has been WAY too long since anything took physical form.
Let's approach this classically...where I've been - where I am - where I'm going...

August 10: Completed a most INCREDIBLE summer with YouthWorks in Puerto Rico.
My team! Juan, Johnny, Me, Andria

Sicomoro!


August 11
: Moved back to Chicago with my parents.

August 19: Registered to get an associates degree in Criminal Justice at College of DuPage.

August 27
: Went to Mexico City for a week and a half with my good friend, Ali.
Subway, subway, subway

Epic soccer game - the winning team!


September 8: Began working with Oasis High School Ministries at Grace Bible Church.

While I may have believed and even sworn at times that I would never do two things - 1) move home after college, and 2) go back to school after I graduated - I am convinced this is where God wants me right now. He's funny like that...He saw me making my plans, watched as those plans fell into place, bringing me fleeting happiness through manifestations of what I thought were the greatest dreams and passions imaginable...and then allowed them to fall to pieces. Why??? So that I would finally lift my hands to Him and say, "I can't do it on my own. Put the pieces where YOU want them." He leads me with greater peace and endless joy as I walk toward an unknown future than I ever could give myself as I walked toward my own man-made facade.

The journey certainly continues!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Positivity Week!!!

There are many decisions in life. I’m not just talking about what sports team to go out for in 6th grade, or what college to go to, or who to marry. These are all difficult decisions that may be faced, but I’m talking more about choosing virtues.
It is necessary to CHOOSE to:

Love

Respect

Persevere

Forgive

Trust

Be Joyful

I had many opportunities this summer to make the decisions to: get up in the morning after another 5 hour night, continue having conversations in Spanish even though everything takes me twice as long to come up with, keep serving people who didn't want to be in Puerto Rico, and most of all BE JOYFUL through every circumstance.

After one particularly trying week, my supervisor had the genius idea of having positivity week - no matter what happened, we were going to find the joy in EVERY situation! And you know what? We did! No one can steal your joy away when it is grounded in the Lord! Never give up hope :-)