It’s not love any other way

It’s not enough just to say that you’re ok
I need your hurt, I need your pain
It’s not love any other way. -Tenth Ave North

To love you have to be so vulnerable… I really like how this chorus plays out in this song. When you’re just saying that you’re okay, you aren’t really opening up to a person to let them love you. I know that I hate being vulnerable with anyone, but I also know that it is required in order to really love anyone. I tend to lean in the direction of putting walls up to avoid any hurt, but that isn’t so practical, now is it? If walls just keep going up, you’re alone and all you’ll ever be is just okay. I want life to be more, to have more, okay just isn’t enough for me anymore.

This also comes with the ability to take on another’s hurt and pain, which isn’t easy either, but when you feel that hurt and pain with them, it’ll draw you closer. Today while I was praying for a friend I got choked up, because I know that there is hurt and pain in her life. I wasn’t expecting it, but to know that I love this friend so deeply that I shed some tears for her and brought this realization to light.

I love these moments of realization and revelation in my life, these moments of excavation into my heart.

Avoidance… is that a word?

I think that it is pretty clear that i have been avoiding this here blog the last couple of months. I guess, it’s just hard to express what I have been going through and what I have been feeling. God is still so amazing, that will never change!

I feel as though i’m stuck between these two worlds not really knowing where I fit in. I am home or should I say I’m in Poulsbo, WA. I feel as though my heart is spread out around the world in the people and lives that i have grown so close to in the last 6 months. I guess the hardest part is knowing that there are people out there that know what I have been though, that know the changes that have happened to me and were witnesses to them. At the same time i have people, family and friends here that have known me for years, they can see the changes too, but haven’t walked through them with me so they don’t quite know who I am.

I must admit, I’m not fully sure of who I am either! I know that I’m much more confident in who I am in Christ, and I know that I hear his voice all of the time. It just seems that it is a little harder to hear when I’m at home. I guess I wait and see what he has for me next…

Thanks for your prayers!

unpacking

Sometimes throughout the week I find that I pack everything up and try to wrap it in a nice looking present that I can share with people about what I have been learning. I don’t like to spew everything out in different random sessions, this is me being an internal processor. This week is different though, I feel like I’m about to overflow with  information, so I thought that I would “unpack” some of it for you.

 

This week we have been learning about the father heart of God. It has been amazing, john Bills is a great speaker that really gets my mind turning. For example… Love your neighbor as yourself. What about that? We’ve heard it so many times, but do we practice it? Do we even know how to love ourselves much less our neighbors? I guess we have to understand God’s father heart for us in order to love ourselves the way that he loves us and in turn love our neighbors. I would like to say that I love people, and I do, but to what extent? I want to have compassion for people that I love them the way that God loves them. Even the people that are so cruel to others that you might think that the only thing that they deserve is death, but God loves the pedophile as much as he loves the pastor. What? How can that be? I guess we have always been told that he loves everyone just the same, but it is hard to grasp it sometimes when put into context like that. What about the men that buy children so that they can be trafficked around the world and sold again for sex. How can I love them? Well, here it is… I can’t., but if I have the heart of God, his father heart and understand how he loves them, then I can. I’m not there, but I’m asking God to take me there, to reveal to me how he loves those people.

 

This is really just the tip of the ice berg. There are so many questions, and we have long moved past loving your neighbor in class, but I’m still processing some of that. I just needed to unpack a little bit of what keeps me awake at night and what my brain is wound up on all day.  I hope that this causes you to think as well. I would love to know what you think about all this and if there is a way that you can apply it to your life.

Natalie

The Fear of the Lord

This week we have been looking at the subject of the Fear of the Lord. It has been quite eye opening for me. A couple of things that stuck out to me were Fear of man and communication. If I fear man and what man thinks about me and what they will say, even to the point of not talking to someone that God points out to me when I’m out and about. If I choose not to obey, then I’m saying that I fear what man thinks of me more than what God thinks about me and what he is asking me to do. I know in my life I would much rather fear God than man. Really, what can a man do to me? they can say something that may be hurtful for the moment, but as far as my eternity, that’s what matters.

Then there is the whole area of communication. He has been challenging me to be a person that speaks when it is necessary, i don’t want my voice to be something that people are so used to hearing that they drown it out all of the time. I want my words to have meaning a purpose. I want my attitudes, body language and speech to always glorify God and be a good testimony to him.

I’m not sure how all of this will be played out in my life, but i know that I want to continue to walk into these areas and figure out how to live them out. To step out in faith, become more comfortable with who he has created me to be. I want to be a person that makes a difference, I know that these areas will help me move in the direction that God’s wants me to go. Where ever that may be!

rights

God is so good with everything that he has been teaching me this last week. We are learning about media evangelism, well, not really. We have an amazing speaker who listens to the voice of the Lord and has been taking us in a totally different direction. He, Richard, has totally felt like we’re something different and very mature as a DTS, so he has been walking us through what it looks like to follow after the calling that the Lord has placed in your life. It is all about serving. Being a servant with wherever and whatever God is talking to you about. It has been a process learning what it means to love Jesus with my whole heart. I have been so blessed to be able to lay down my rights and give God all of my giftings to do with what he wants. When we hold onto things on our hands, we aren’t able to do anything else, our hands are full. We can’t even embrace God if we’re holding onto something so tightly that we won’t give it up. So, I’ve decided to give up everything that I feel like I have the right to hold onto as my own and embrace my Savior. My family, he knows what it is to seperated from his father and now I can share in a little bit of his suffering by being away from my family. In that, I can become more intimate with him and learn more about what he went through for me and in turn become even more aware of things that I can’t even begin to feel like I’m obligated to hold on to. Now, I have some amazing leaders that are speaking into my life here and one thing that Jess said today is that it isn’t that I have to give it up, but it is a choice. I could go home and live a “normal” life and He wouldn’t be hurt by that, but i don’t think that I can go back to ordinary living, not after just tasting this life of living 100% for him. This is where I’m at and this is what I am going through at this moment, I’m sure it’ll all change soon, but i just wanted to share that tid-bit with you.

In other news… I found a Dr. Pepper, it was the first one since I left. It cost $3! crazy, I guess it’ll only be a special treat every once in a while. At least I know where to find it now!

Thanks for all of your prayers,
Natalie

Week one, check!

Chillin\' in the auditorium updating you!Well it is Friday afternoon and I have finally finished one week here. It was about 7 days and 2 hours ago that I arrived in Perth and God has been nothing short of amazing. My hair has gone a bit wacky as you can see, it really enjoys flipping out. The base is actually in the midst of a small quarter. So one base right now we have about 200 people. There are lots of staff around that are working on other ministries and/or getting ready for the school that begins in July when we leave. We’re headed for J-city, Indo for at least part of the time, but we might go to some other countries too. We’ll see what God has planned! 

I’ve been doing some reading in my personal time in the book of Judges, what a bunch of cool stories. Once again God pointed out Gideon to me. The man that came from the smallest tribe, smallest clan, smallest family, and he was the least in his family. Despite all that the world would love to tell him that he couldn’t do it, God had other plans. It is great to be reminded that God has it all in his hands and he knows what he is doing. All the while Gideon was looking for signs from God to confirm what he felt he was telling him. It’s ok to ask the hard questions of God, he just likes us to be in communication with him. We’ve had a week of lectures and it has been intense. The nature and character of God. It was so cool today. We were talking about his character and every time after we got done with another character attribute of God, we would pause and go into a time of prayer. We’re meeting with the other DTS and the School of Worship so it is a bigger class. It was amazing to sit and reflect on God’s character. His Love, Mercy, Righteousness, Holiness, Wisdom, Faithfulness, and Truthfulness. To take 15 minutes or so to stop and think about each of those characteristics in God. It was a great time to think, to talk to him, and to just process through some of what we were just taught. I must admit, this is all stuff that I have learned before, but some of the ways it was brought to my attention really made me think. God is revealing things to me that I know with my head, but I’m now understanding in my heart. 

All of my classes are Bible classes that teach on different subjects. The media comes into play when we have and afternoon media workshop twice a week and we’ll go over some different things and have some different projects included with that, I’ll make sure I share them with you.

Well, dinner is in about an hour and I should work on my journal for school and try to be a bit more social, rather than sitting behind my computer. If anyone wants to send me anything, you can mail it to 

Natalie Shaw

PO Box 8501

Perth Business Centre

Western Australia 6849

Feel free to ask me any questions that you may have and I’ll try to answer them on here so that everybody knows, or I can email you too. There just seems to be so many people to keep updated that it’s tough to write individual ones to everybody. Thanks for all of your prayers, don’t stop now! God is working in my life and I’m so excited for who I’ll be on the other end of this whole adventure.

Love you all!

a little louder please!

Do you ever catch yourself asking God that? A little louder please, God. I think it is kind of like telling him that there are so many other things going on around you that trump His voice that you can’t hear what he is saying. I’ve been learning a lot about listening to God, to people, to friends, and to family. I know that a lot of my life I’ve always felt like I was too busy to stop and have that conversation with someone. My life over the last few months has slowed down dramatically. All of it a part of God’s grand scheme. He amazes me so much. There are days that I can’t explain the awe that I have in Him and how he is working in my life. It’s those small things that He wants you to listen to. The “call this person to see how they are doing” or “remember to tell so-and-so Happy Birthday, it’ll mean a lot.” Those things that really won’t alter history or even a life at that moment. It’s the compounding effect that listening has. This last week I spent close to probably 20 hours with a good friend talking and catching up. Doing a lot of listening, but also getting that chance to talk. That’s what relationship is all about right? You talk and they listen, they talk and you listen. That’s how it should work with God too. Usually it is I talk, then I talk more, and usually a little more, then I don’t stop to listen to anything that he says back. I’ve been working on this though. I’ve been listening to the small things… “Your mom isn’t in produce, don’t even look over there, go the other direction” crazy huh? but doesn’t he say that he’ll give us the small things and if he can trust us with that then he’ll give us more? I was just reading about the master in the Bible that is going away and he gives three of his servant different amounts of money. One get $5000, another get $2000, and the last one gets $1000. The first two go invest the money and come back with double when the master returns and the third goes and buries it in the dirt so he doesn’t loose it. The master calls the first two, Good and faithful servants, come share with the master. The last one is called lazy and evil, and the master doesn’t want anything to do with him. He gives the money to the servant that has $10000. Now if God is going to direct me is a small situation like at the grocery store, I better listen, then I know what his voice sounds like and can listen to him when I’m trying to figure out who to share the gospel with next. Those are the life changing times that I want to be able to hear his voice and follow what he is saying. I bet you that first servant had somehow earned the trust of his master to even be given that $5000 in the first place, even if I do only have $1000, I want to make it count. So maybe it is time for us to tell everyone/everything else to quiet down instead of telling God to speak up.

miracles

That seemed to be the only way that I could title this post. My God is a god of miracles and I saw one happen right in front of my eyes today. Let me preface it by saying this… Yesterday was a bad day. It was a doubting Thomas day, where I was questioning my trip to Australia and trying to figure out if it is actually “do-able”. Yes, tears were involved, and yes, I had my moments of frustration with people making things harder than they needed to be. I went to bed feeling downright defeated. Saying “God, I can’t do this car wash tomorrow on my own, I need you, otherwise it won’t happen. I just don’t have the strength.” His response? “Of course you can’t! That is what I have been trying to tell you!” So here I am last night trying to fall asleep and making sure that I remembered everything that I needed for the day, kicking myself for once again being so foolish and thinking that I could do any of this on my own.  Then I woke up this morning and first thing was first, I gave the day to God. The day of the car wash. No phone to call people to make sure they were coming. Just me and my dad going in faith that others would show up. Obviously I have good friends and Aliah and Deanna showed up, half asleep, but they were there! I should have known it would be a great day from the first car. We got done washing a car of a friend of mine and I was handed a $100 bill. What? God are you for real? Yes, my child I’m here, even at a car wash. Ok, just checking… I’m still human, He’s still God. As the day wore on and cars never failed to fill the spaces to be washed, God kept showing up. Of course there were those hugh Suburbans that only gave us $5, but every little bit helps. Friends stopped by to offer their support for a little while here and there. They had a tough time leaving because so much help was always needed. We didn’t even have people holding signs! cars saw the ones we had posted and kept pulling in to get their filthy cars cleaned from the winter grime. By the end of the day, our backs were broken, the wind chill was starting to kick in, finally cars slowed down. We cleaned up, and made our way home to count God’s blessing. We quickly showered and got warmed up, and then my mom and dad, Deanna, Courtney and I sat around the table as we made our guesses to how much was in the canister. 300, 350, 600, 550, 400, but my God had other plans. At the end of the day God raised $823.18! It’s true, people were so generous and God was glorified. We sat at our dining room table with our jaws dropped, grabbed hands and thanked Him for His blessing. What a day, what a boost of faith. and on top of all this, the weather was absolutely amazing, it couldn’t have been any better. Thank you all for supporting me, I needed today and God knows how to take such great care of us in our inadequacies. That’s the cool thing about being connected to the source of life. That’s my miracle today!car-wash.jpgThanks for the photo Joe. Here I am in action! Washing away, I think I even got a little sun on the cheeks! 

weakness=strength?

Really? Let me explain… I was reading in my devotional time tonight in 2 Corinthians when Paul was talking about what and what not to boast about. Here is the verse that really stuck out to me:“9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12 You see, I’m one of those people that likes to “have it all together”. For the most part, I do, on the outside. I try to be the strong one that anyone can come to, the one that works hard and everyone can count on. There is this one little thing though that always seems to catch up with me. My face. well my face is always with me :), but seriously the pain that I go through daily living I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. The other day, I was talking with my parents, my life has been in a crazy state for the last few months. I’ve been digging deep to find these roots that seem to have gotten rotten along the way. In my search i’ve found that I’m great with masks. Yes, masks. I tend to put them on so that people don’t really see me. I’ve been working on being real with people. You know, this is who I am and this is what you get. like it or leave it. Some like it others do leave it. So, back to what I was saying… talking with my parents. There is in me a lack of confidence, i know, i know, I come across as very confident, but deep inside I’m still trying to figure out who I am and I’m not always sure. So, here I am laying it all out and you may be curious as to why or what that verse has to do with anything. Well, my mom asked me the other day where that lack of confidence and lack of self-esteem came from. The only place that I felt I could pin-point it to is when I got sick with a sinus infection, ended up having surgery to fix it, and now 7 years later i still live in daily pain. There is something in my life that I can’t fix, I can’t make it better. I’ve been to numerous doctors and it won’t go away. This brings me back to Paul. He had a thorn in his side that he repeatedly asked God to remove, but he didn’t. Guess what the other question that my mom asked me was? “Natalie, what if you’ll always be sick like this?” oh as in this could be the thorn in my side Lord? You mean that I could have to live with this forever and get used to it and continue to live with a reminder of how weak I am? I guess it is a great way to keep someone humble. I’m not perfect, I never will be, and I might be sick for the rest of my life. Frankly, I’m really tired of spending money trying to get better, when maybe, just maybe, are you listening Casey Treat? It might be a part of God’s plan for my life to be sick like this for as long as I live. “When I am weak, then I am strong” That is what it says, then that is where i’ll find my joy. Goodbye acupuncture, goodbye ENT, goodbye neurologist, goodbye allergist I’m done trying to fix something that is there for my own good. 

love: redefined

I’m in the midst of reading a McManus book, if you haven’t read him, you should. I’m reading Soul Cravings. I have just barely started it and it is already making me think twice about a lot of stuff.

The first section, which I’m about half-way through is talking about love and how we all desire it so deeply. We are designed to love in a way that most of us aren’t even close to knowing. Beyond that though, there is unconditional love that comes from our creator. We tend to do all of these religious things to make Him love us, we’re so used to conditional love. We think that someone will leave us if we don’t do something for them, and so we treat our creator that way as well.  Think about it, people pray five times a day facing the east, or pray the rosary, or make sure they have all of the Worship lyrics memorized… Whoops! Did I just say that? We get to the point that something is such an act to show Him why he should love us. “God, I pray everyday, read my Bible, and go to youth group each week, is that enough?” That’s what goes through so many people’s minds, isn’t it? We feel like we have to earn it, just like everything else. What if we actually realized that it is two-sided love, that He is passionately pursuing us? What would happen if people found out that this love was free? Nope, you don’t have to go church, it’s free. No, you don’t have to earn back some trust with him because you messed up once, it’s free. What would happen to this world if people found out that the one thing that they are searching so desperately for was FREE! Our culture likes that word, especially if there isn’t any fine print, nothing that puts conditions on it, no dates to cash it in, no certain amount of time to have it for free and then you have to pay double. None of that. How would they respond then? So, what’s the issue? Here’s my opinion, those of us that call ourselves believers aren’t convinced of it either, so how could the unbeliever know.

I don’t have all the answers to these questions, but I do know that my creator loves me unconditionally. He knows me better than anyone else, yet he still loves me without condition. I better realize this and stop beating myself up for mistakes, and stop letting other people beat me up for my mistakes. I’m forgiven, he still loves me and I’m moving on. I’m sorry if you’re still stuck at the starting gate, but I’m going to finish this race.