Wednesday, August 1, 2012

sleep deprivation and an engagement

If you aren’t already aware… I have an announcement
Most of you already know which is why I’m posting… because apparently when you get engaged your body wants to deprive you of sleep.  I’ve hardly slept the last 4 nights, got the most this past night and it’s only 5 am and I’ve been up since 3 if that tells you anything… went to bed at 11! BUT… In Jesus name, I will be rested and well regardless! Somehow still making it through each day, too much to get done!! But I figured since I can’t sleep I’ll update you guys again (and it is soon after my last post). J

For those of you wondering we don’t have a set date yet, however it will be sometime in December/January, and yes I mean this coming December or January.  J Sorting out dates and venues now.  We know exactly what kind of ceremony we want and know God has the perfect place picked out for us.  We know the date we want to get married and we’re certain God will provide the venue for that date! I can’t explain to you guys… as MUCH as there is to get done and sort through not just on the wedding side but on the actual what life looks like when we get married, we’re both at peace and know God’s got every big and little detail already sorted out for us.  He’s provided above and beyond up to this point and we believe we’re only going to see an increase in that as we enter into marriage.  We’re SO pumped!!  We so appreciate all the well wishes and prayers and thank you as you continue to pray for us as we come together and begin life as one. To answer some of the questions I know everyone is asking, we WILL be getting married back home in GA, but we will be moving back out here after the wedding.  Max finishes school in November and we both plan on doing a second year (at least) starting in January.  So we’ll get married with enough time to come back here and get settled before classes start. SO MUCH TO DO, but God’s got us.  He’s purposed us together and we know it, and know that every detail pertaining to that, he’s got it already sorted.

So, now for the story you all want (some of you have seen pictures).  Max flew in Monday morning and I picked him up from the airport… He told me I got to pick what we were gonna do his first day back, last week while he was home, but by the time he got showered and comfy it was too late so we just spent the day doing what we do best, being together.  We went to the royal botanical gardens (which sit right on the harbor, they’re STUNNING grounds and one of our favorite places), we took a blanket and books and just hung out and read for a few hours.  Max was really quiet all day and he’d already told me before not to bug him about something being wrong, he was just gonna be jetlagged, so I didn’t… I just thought he was tired.  It got pretty cold after a while so we decided to go get some coffee at Starbucks on the harbor and just hang out there.  We walked in and two of our friends from school/church were working and ended up giving us free coffees (that wasn’t planned).  I already was so blessed by God for that I just thought it was so sweet how he would bless us with friends that insisted (they came and took our order, they don’t do that at ANY Starbucks) even after Max got up to go pay they were just like seriously it’s no big deal.  So we got our personalized coffees (I got a hot chocolate) they wrote our names on it… and I was happy as could be! J My boyfriend was back and we were just relaxing having the best day.  So after a while, it was like… 4:30/5?? We go to leave and Max said lets not go home yet, if we do I’ll pass out and won’t be able to sleep tonight… So we went for a walk along the harbor and run into two of our friends from school busking (playing on the street for money).  So we stop and chat to them for a minute and I see Max’s flat-mate sitting back behind them but he’s tucked away and not paying attention, so I ask Max if it’s Zach and he acknowledges that it is, but doesn’t move to speak so I just assume we’ll see Zach when we get home.  Ha!!! So conversation finishes and our friends are gonna get back to playing, I start walking until I realize Max isn’t beside me so I stop and listen because he has, and that’s when I hear the song our friends were playing.  It’s our song.  From senior year before we ever started dating but were hanging out and liking each other? Ya know?? Those times… this song from an unheard of artist, became “our song”.  NO ONE other than my sisters and some friends know that song… So, at first I’m still like “wait… how do you guys know…” and then I get it that something is actually happening because Max is reaching for something, his flat-mate stands up and another one comes out from for real being hidden, I start freaking out asking what is going on… I look at Max and he’s got red eyes (they weren’t red just a minute ago) he’s shaking, and I’m just looking at him like is this really happening and he’s nodding his head knowing I’m so confused as he takes my hand and gets on one knee, he’s apparently saying that he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me (I didn’t hear it) and asks me to marry him.  I didn’t even know what to do… I couldn’t speak and I was just standing there with my mouth open… nodding my head like an idiot!! So… He stood up and put the ring on my finger… we got cheers from all the tourists who had stopped to watch… it was hilarious!!! The whole thing happened SO fast, I didn’t even know how to piece it together.  Still am just like… really???
We’ve gotten to spend the last few days together and it’s been so good… because I’ve had time to realize and he’s had time to recover from jet lag… it’s been so great!!! I just look at him and am so overwhelmed every time… and am feeling more and more settled knowing I actually get to spend the rest of my life with this amazing man.  So incredible!! We’ve been so blessed!!! Everyone over here is so stoked!! Ha! We can’t walk a corner without getting a congratulations… but it’s so good!! J Max got called out in chapel the morning after, as a praise report and I was up in the offices so I heard it but wasn’t in there… and the whole college just started cheering.  One of my friends was like I for real almost started crying!! She was like it was a full on minute at least of the loudest cheering, and as soon as the emcee said Max’s name it just erupted… J It’s so cool!! Ha!! SO, thank you all for the love and support!!!!!! We’re so excited!!!! J And if you want to pray that I’ll be able to sleep, I wouldn’t mind that either! J We love you all and are so encouraged and excited!!! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Long time, I know!

I’m so sorry I’m terrible at updates… I promise it’s not intentional! :/

Regardless of that fact,  here’s what’s happening down here in Aussie Land…
God is moving and it’s actually incredible to bare witness to!
We just had the 26th Hillsong Conference where leaders and believers from all around the world came, not only did they come… but with them they brought their kiddies.  Whom I got the massive privilege to host.  Conference was incredible.  From Kidsong, to Jam (youth) to actual conference itself for the adults… God was up to something.  We had numerous kids give their lives to the Lord.  And it wasn’t in the manner that some kids just do… The first night of conference, before we’d had any day rallies… Beci Wakerly (Kids Pastor) brought such a Holy Spirit driven, God given challenge and word to our kids and the leaders hosting them that week.  I can’t imagine God wanted anything other than that to kick-start the week he had planned.  It was how the whole week was.  The kids had life and fruit bearing messages spoken to them two times a day and I’m telling you they weren’t your typical, average Sunday School teachings.  They were similar concepts, but the holy spirit refused to be ignored and made himself known to those kids that week.  I had the privilege of getting to pray with the kids who made decisions a few times after altar calls, and some of the conversations I had… wow!!! One little boy who attends my Saturday night service became a Christian in his heart that week.  I asked him why he was back there because I thought he’d already made that decision before, and he told me he’d done it because his friends had before, but he wanted to do it that night for himself and because he meant it.  I got the blessing of praying for him and God gave me a word for him… That little boy is going to be apart of changing the world one of these days… I tell you what!! He already is!! He’s a kid, yes… but He’s a kid who loves Jesus and prays in faith and believes on behalf of his friends and has preached… And to think it’s only his beginning! HOW GOOD IS GOD??? Another little girl told me (I didn’t know her before the week) she was JOYFUL! And When I say joyful I mean overwhelmed with joy!! Not in a hyper, oh my gosh I’m so excited, kind of way that kids can be when they hear something pleasing to their ears… no! She was JOYFUL, and she couldn’t keep it to herself that Jesus came into her heart that night.  She was half in tears, half couldn’t stop smiling… because she said she’d raised her hand before because she wanted the bracelet and because her friends did… but she raised her hand that night because she knew Jesus wanted her to for him.  She was so overwhelmed by the fact that she didn’t even want the bracelet she just wanted Jesus to be in her heart and make his home there… I’m still just… in shock at what God did in that one week.  I was speaking to Beci the following weekend at church and just told her it was an unreal week, and she couldn’t agree more.  What God did was different to what He’s done in years past.  He went to a depth with the WHOLE conference He hadn’t been before.  And it was more than just Kidsong I heard that about.  The conference itself… shifted something for all in attendance… Jam (The youth part of conference) kids face down surrendering situations and lives and circumstance to their maker! Wow… He is  SO good!! It was an incredible week, but honestly one of the most challenging of my life.  I was emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted.  Never in my life have I woken up in the morning and literally not know how I’m going to make it to the end of the day! I experienced his grace and strength within me in a new way, and it was unreal.  There’s no way possible I would have made it to through the week without His help. 

But it was awesome and I wouldn’t do it any other way! And NOW… in my life… Max has been home fore 3 weeks and gets back on Monday! WOO HOO!!!!! J haha! We’ve sworn off distance for the rest of our lives!! Never again!! We don’t care that we’ve two 6 month periods of distance like this… never again!! Ha! J
So He gets back… I had to change jobs because of government/visa requirements! I had my last day at E-sprit on Monday, have interviewed all week at various places… and I got a job at Coach and start work/training Friday this coming week! It was the one I wanted most, and it’s the one I got!! J She asked me if I was excited when she called to tell me, I told her I was containing myself so I didn’t hurt her ears with my cheers of excitement! We got off the phone and I almost started crying! God’s goodness and faithfulness is unreal.  In my moments of doubt and fear and worry and unfaithfulness, He still carries me and provides and presents me with opportunities that our simply wants!! He’s so good!! There’s a lot going on other than this as well… but I wanted to update you guys on conference and what’s kinda new!! J
ALSO, both of my sisters are back from Africa!! Thank you for your prayers and support of them!!   God moved and used them!!! He’s too good!! J

I DO promise I’ll try and do better! There’s so much more I want to tell you guys but I think this is good for now!!! I hope you all are enjoying the sunny hot weather! We’re still kinda freezing over here at the moment, but the days are looking more and more promising of SPRING!! J

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Time is flying...

Wow… It really is already May!! I think I’m in denial of the fact we’re already in the 5th month of our year… CRAZY!!!!  So… to catch you up on my life… Here’s what’s happened since I last wrote…
Max’s mom came for 2 weeks in March… She was here for the women’s conference and we got to attend together.  The conference was actually life changing! God was so present and so at work and really shifted and shed some light on things for me personally and it was the first time in a LONG time, I felt the personal connect with God in such a corporate setting.  It was so incredible, and to be able and share some of that with Max’s mom and see some similar freedom come to her, was such a blessing.  Only God could have orchestrated her time here and what He did himself in the time that she was.
April came and went, my mom turned 50!!!! WAAAOOOOO!!!! My dad successfully pulled off the best surprise party for her, because he’s that incredible! My parents had their 29th wedding anniversary.  My baby sister, Linda, attended her junior prom (and was the classiest most stunning 17 year old ever).  I signed to part time at work and am working 4 full days a week. Such a blessing and will actually help me in 2 months when I have to find a new job (visa requirements of Australia).  So that’s been really good. I found out that my little sister, Ashley, will be spending her entire summer in Uganda changing lives and curriculums in schools to incorporate the Gospel. HOW COOL IS THAT?!?! God has just really been pouring his goodness and provision over my family and it’s the coolest thing to see.  To know all of their hearts rest in the security of His hands, and that He’s using them to further His name, it’s one of the greatest honors I have, to call them sisters and parents.  I still can’t get over it sometimes!! He’s so great!! Stephanie, my older sister, is heading two Malawi (Africa) for the 3rd time on a medical mission trip, this year will be her first as a RN.  It’s just been so incredible to watch God move and work through their lives, it’s an encouragement to my life and what God’s using me in.  LOVE IT!!!! 
Moving into May, I’m transitioning into some new roles with at church in the areas I serve.  God’s just been doing so much and releasing me and opening doors in some areas and I’m just in awe.  I hold every responsibility with awe and appreciation to God for the opportunity.  I’m in the process of becoming the Saturday 5pm Kids service pastor.  It’s actually been overwhelming in the best way.  I feel so inadequate because I understand and appreciate the title and weight of the role in a way I wouldn’t have 2 years ago when I first got here. 
Just blown away and blessed is what I feel these days.  I feel completely inadequate in every title I carry, but I know God’s empowered me with His Spirit to carry them.  God’s been doing so much and revealing so much to me, it’s been a completely different experience from my first year here. 
Max and I hardly get to see each other, in a week with 7 days… we see each other maybe 3 out of those 7, and 2 of them are just quick “hey, just wanted to see your face for a second” visits. Haha! It’s been challenging but God’s totally blessed the times that we do have together.  It’s been such a year of God’s goodness and favor being poured out on us as a couple and us as individuals, we’re so blessed.

So, yeah… that’s what’s been going on!! I’ll try and do a better job at posting more regularly and not have to do a month recap again.  But for now… that’s what I’ve got.  I hope and pray that all of you are experiencing His goodness and love in new and fresh ways this year as well, and if that’s now how it’s been, I pray that the second half of yours you’ll see fruit from the sowing through the hard ships.  Because our God is SO good, and I might not have given details through some of the hard years it seems I’ve gone through, and do I think I did them well? NO, but I’m so glad God’s goodness doesn’t rest on my faithfulness.  But that He’s just as good and faithful regardless of me, because He’s God, and despite how messed up I am, He desires intimacy with me, and to use me to make Him more famous across the world in which we live.  All glory and honor is His… I love it!!! No name more worthy or deserving than the name that IS above every other name, Jesus.  If you guys have any questions about anything, life whatever, or have encouragements for me… write back, let me know! :) I’m happy for the one-on-ones.


Monday, March 5, 2012

this twenty-second year, and a bit before

Hello Hello!!!!

So, it’s officially been more than a month since I’ve been gone!! CRAZY!!! It feels like I never left here, and doesn’t feel like I could have been home for six months because how long I was there was too short for it to be six months!!! So weird!! How so many things actually change, but it feels like nothing has!! :)

Anyways… life is good here! Colour Conference is in a WEEK!!!! AGH!!! I get to attend which I’m very pumped for!! Max’s mom gets in Friday, the 9th, and she and I are getting the privilege of going to the women’s conference together, where Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer will be the key speakers!! :) The power of women in unity… things can happen, and circumstances can change, and lives can be moved, and women can know love for the first time, the earth can actually shake… OH the possibilities!! It’s going to be great, so excited and expectant!!

Max and I are going to have a GREAT visit with her, and I know God’s going to move and refresh both of us at conference!!! It’s absolutely, 100% the BEST thing ever to have family come visit I’ve decided. This is Ms. Mem’s second trip over here, and I think I’m more excited this time than I was last time, because I now know how wonderful it is to have family come visit, and experience and share in this life we have here, and it’s just getting to see family. It’s great!! I can’t WAIT!! Max is beside him self with excitement!! He hasn’t seen her in about 7 months, so it’ll be a sweet reunion! :)

Life is keeping me on my toes. It’s definitely a different experience not doing college and just working and serving… but I’m enjoying it. Prayer request- I need a new job. I LOVE E-Sprit and the people I work with, and was beyond blessed to be able to come back to an immediate start there, but I’m not getting the hours I need, and when all I’m doing is working for the moment, I’m a little bit out of ideas on what to do with my time, and how to NOT spend money doing those things. I can’t wait to get my jewelry stuff to me, but for now… I’m out of options, and would love a set schedule and expected income. So PLEASE be praying for me on that end, as I am praying and looking.

So, I’m living in a new place, with 3 incredible girls. Seriously… I couldn’t be more blessed. It’s like I’ve known them my whole lives!! Susie is Austrian, Thea is Swiss, and Selena is Australian, and it’s the best roommate/living situation I’ve ever had. It was my birthday this past weekend and they couldn’t have made me feel more special. Selena went home for the weekend (as only she can, because the rest of us are from overseas) but Thea and Susie loved on my like only family can. :) They are def. God picked friends for me. I was skyping my family Saturday morning for my birthday, and Susie and Thea both came and sat by me as I was talking to my whole family (ash came home for the night) and it was like we were all family. Stephanie messaged me later and was like “OH MY GOODNESS, I love them!! They’re so funny!! You guys are hilarious!” :) It’s true… these girls bring so much joy to my life, I couldn’t have even dreamed up our friendships. :) The 3 of us serve in the middle school ministry, FUEL, together on Friday nights. Fridays are a long day for all of us, because for anything at church, you always have to bump in and bump out. Each room is used for at least 3 things, so you always set up and pack down each time. So every Friday night, we set up and pack down before and after the night. It makes for a pretty long afternoon/evening at church. Well, Max had already gone home because he had to be up at 4 for work the next morning, so Thea and Susie took it upon themselves to start my birthday celebration ahead of time with the rest of the fuel team. I was upstairs by the windows that overlook the entrance to the church, talking to some other girls, when all I hear is my name being yelled. I thought I was crazy for a moment so I ignored it but kept hearing it… So I start looking around like “where the heck is that coming from? Who’s calling my name??” And I turn around and look down… and Thea and Susie have gotten me a cake with candles and everyone is on the steps outside of the church with sparklers lit, waiting for me to come down and sing happy birthday to me. I seriously felt like a princess!! It was so great!! :) Definitely one of those unforgettable moments! And ya know what?? It didn’t even take a boy (Max) to be present for me to feel like a princess!! It was the love of my two girlfriends that made me feel so special. I love how God does that… how He knows exactly what you need, when you need it, and who you need it from. He knows my battle with feeling accepted and loved isn’t from Max, but from friends, and ya know what?? He’s got me covered.

It’s been so interesting being back, because some things that I was dealing with when I left are still around and still being dealt with… but God’s doing something new. He’s loving on me in a different way, and it’s personal. I’m believing it’s more than just the rough and tough sorting through of self, but that I’m going to see fruit and goodness during this year, and I am.

I’ve been so challenged lately in my thoughts and my thinking, about people, life, situations, church (my whole life experience in church, not just a specific one), leaders, friends, relationships, and God’s just like… renew your self in me. Your mind… just sit with me. I promise you won’t be disappointed, and I haven’t believed him. All the hurts and frustrations that I’ve experienced, EVER, in my life, I associated with who God is to me. What it means He thinks about me, and how our relationship is… that I’m actually more than just disposable to my friends or to the church, but I’m disposable to God. When really… that’s what the enemy has fooled me into thinking. To associating people of God, with God, and God’s still separate. One of the staff pastors was preaching yesterday morning, and he said that a lot of us instead of following Jesus, follow and try to become like the leaders of our church, but God is bigger than our church leaders. He’s separate from the church. The church is His LOVE, but it’s not Him. It’s been SO INCREDIBLEY refreshing to sit back under the heart of this house. It’s so eye opening, and when the spirit is moving and is allowed to move, what God does. Last night in worship, I just felt like I couldn’t go anywhere, I couldn’t focus on anything, I couldn’t encounter God, until I got on my knees and laid it down, so I did. I fought it for a minute, I was like “Lord, can we just do this with me standing up” and He was persistent “just kneel before Me, lay it down” and I did. Oh my goodness, it didn’t matter what the person next to me was doing or how they were worshiping or what song it was. NOTHING ELSE AROUND ME mattered, because I was with Jesus. I was with the God who created me, and knows me more intimately than anyone else possibly could. I was with the Lord who has chased me and pursued me and loved me when I haven’t loved or trusted or sought after Him. He was there to meet with me.

It’s been ages since I felt that way, and it was so much more than anything I’ve ever felt before. Because God isn’t about keeping us in the same place or getting us back to where we came from, He’s about giving us more. More than what He’s given us before, meeting with us more than He has. It’s so overwhelming when He takes you to those deeper places for the first time. It’s actually like “How could I have done life without this??” Because He is life, and His desire is life for us. It’s actually amazing.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Did you know??? To aussie land I go... again! :)

Ok, so here we go… again! CRAZY!!! For those of you who don’t know… I’m on a plane again… headed back to the land down under (Australia, for those of you still not sure where), because yet again it’s where I feel God’s told me to place myself. HOWEVER, while some of you might think you know what I’m doing… not everyone does. So, to update put everyone on the same page, I’m here in Sydney but I’m not going back to study at Hillsong for the time being. That might happen again, later, but for now, I’m going simply because the God I’ve asked to direct me in every decision of my life, has said “My grace is enough to cover any decision you make, wrong or right… you’re my child and I know your heart, and my grace covers your steps.” This is a new thing for me… making decisions based on the grace he’s extended to me and not on what He’s spoken to my heart. So, I’ll be working fulltime and taking online classes, working towards my bachelors. So weird… and I know some of you are scratching your heads thinking “How does that make any sense?” Well, I can ‘t tell you how it makes sense, because I don’t know how it does. But I do know God hasn’t called me to make sense of everything He asks me to do, He’s just asked me to obey. SO, that’s what I’m doing. :)

One thing I’ve ALWAYS adored about how God works is, in Psalm 37:4 it says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Well, if you piece that scripture together with the rest of His word, delighting yourself in Him is so much more than simply saying “God, I find my joy and delight in You,” but it’s having your heart turned towards Him, on a daily basis. It’s making decisions based on who He’s called us as His children, to be. We’re to love as He loves, to serve as He serves, forgive as He forgives, show grace as He shows us grace, SHARE His love with others the way He’s shared it with us. Whether you think you do this or not, or think you’re terrible at any of them, God knows what it is we desire, and if what we desire is Him above all things, or want to want to desire Him (I hope that makes sense), all He wants us to do is seek after Him, and fall more and more in love with Him. If we’re doing THAT, it’s so funny to watch how all the other things seem to just happen. Not always without us noticing, not always in the most comfortable way, but they happen. In seeking Him, and wanting Him, and loving Him, He starts molding and shaping. SO… delighting (seeking, loving and wanting) in Him, He gives us the desires of our hearts… GUESS WHAT?? Delighting in Him means your desires become HIS desires. I love it… I kinda just beat around a large bush to get to my point, but it’s too great to not go in depth with. I love the fact that this basically tells us, delighting in Him makes us more like Him, because our Hearts become more like His, and He will give us what it is our Hearts desires, because they’re the SAME THINGS He desires. I think it’s beautiful.

It’s such an assuring thing for me, for Him to have said “I’ve got you covered in grace, so just decide” because I think, it means I’m becoming more like Him. Does that make sense? I hope you can see how the two fit together. I think it’s so neat and it’s him reassuring me, “Hey, I see you, I see what your sowing and what you want and I know your heart, so YOU decide this time, because I want for you, what you want.” Ha!! :) Just makes me smile. He’s a good God.

It was a much needed reassurance that HE does see me, and hears the cries of my heart, and still has a plan for me. It’s been a very inactive past year and a half as far as “things happening.” It ‘s been a very personally challenging, and foundation building time. LOVE those, don’t you? Ha! Talk about times where you feel like He’s not there… it’s been crazy. But ya’ll He SEES, and HEARS His children. He KNOWS where you seem to be “stuck “ but it’s exactly where He intentionally has you placed. I’m praying and believing that this season over here, will look different than last time. BUT, whatever it looks like, I know He’s working in me. As long as I can cling to the sometime illusive-seeming truth/promise, “I know the plans I have for you. They are PLANS FOR GOOD and NOT DISASTER, to give you a FUTURE and a HOPE,” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT); “NEVER will I leave you, NEVER will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NIV). Whatever the season is, prosperous, stormy, or sowing in what seems like a desert, He DOES see me, hear me, and still has plans for me. He knows my heart, knows what I long for, what I desire to see happen in my life and in the lives of others. My desire for this season, is that it’s glorifying to Him. No matter what my circumstances are, He still deserves my praise. He’s still holy, and worthy and to be glorified. That’s what I want.

Well, there you go, that’s my update. So we’re all on the same page about what this time is, it’s not “Hillsong” or anything else you could possibly title it, it’s my life. It’s just a season in the life of one individual who’s made a commitment to glorify God in my life. I’m privileged to be able to work it out with and for you guys. Updates won’t necessarily be about “life at Hillsong,” but just about what God’s doing in my life, where He just so happens to have taken me across the world. :)

I love you guys! I’m beyond blessed to be so supported in following the Lord. Thank you guys. :)

Rosa Michelle :)

PS… I landed at 6 am Friday morning (Thursday afternoon in the states) and Max was gone to summer camp with the middle school kids when I got there… but I got to see him last night and it was SO good!!!! :) It was SO wonderful getting to hug him for real, a little bit weird… because it’s the voice/face I’ve been talking to for 6 months over the phone/skype… and instead of being eye level, on my screen, I had to look up and stand on my tip toes to hug him!! :) It was wonderful!! :) :)