My Spiritual Journey from May 2008 - May 2009

I recently emailed some close friends to ask for prayer as to what my next step in serving Jesus might be, and I thought that I'd go ahead and include the bulk of that email on my blog. I think I have a few reasons for doing so. I might not always be around for my kids, but I want them to catch a vision for life outside of themselves. It's not really about what they want to do with their lives, but rather, what God wants to do with their lives. So, why not model that and give them a real life example of how I include God in my daily living?

I also want to be transparent and real. In the past few years I've had numerous people ask me how I feel God's presence in my life. Or how I know He is speaking to me. Or how I choose to spend my time, etc. ... And through the years this is how I've done it, and through the power of prayers and God's Word, He speaks. If we listen.

Read on ...
“God’s Gentle Whisper”

You might remember that last Spring God and I decided that it was time to be done coordinating MOPS so that I could specifically focus on being a mommy, serving together with my family in caring for our refugee family, and getting ‘refreshed’ after many years of leadership within the MOPS world.

It has been a wonderful year, one in which I have seen God working in my life, and I have felt His hand very specifically in numerous ways.

Overview of what God has been putting on my heart:

Last year, between Feed My Starving Children, being involved in Hiyam and Maryam’s lives, interaction with homeless people and reading a very powerful book on homelessness, “randomly” stopping by Pacific Garden Mission, I have felt, now more than ever, a call to put my faith into action by helping the underprivileged – the least, the last, the lost.

The Lord has gently tugged at my heartstrings, showing me that He has wired me up to have a high sensitivity to ministries that meet the tangible AND spiritual needs of the poor. Back in May I ‘randomly’ stumbled upon a blog that was making simple ‘pillowcase dresses’ to send to orphans in Africa. I wept as I realized the OVER-ABUNDANCE we have here in America and the EXTREME LACK that such a huge percentage of the rest of the world encounters every single day.

And in that moment, I felt God whispering to me, saying, “Alysa, use your organizing and people skills to live intentionally about what I’ve put on your heart … the least, the last, the lost. Be an example, lead by example, help people jump in and put their faith to action, too.”
This past year I did a study on Elijah {a guy in the Old Testament of the Bible} and I love the part in his story where he feels God’s presence. And it wasn’t in the powerful wind, or the earthquake or the fire … but it was in this gentle whisper from God. And I feel like this year has been a year of God’s Gentle Whisper on my life.

All throughout this past year, and especially since that moment with God in May, I’ve been asking Him to make it clear to me what He wants me to get involved in. You see, one of my many downfalls is the fact that I’m easily excitable and I want to do it all, which, in years past, has led to a bit of over-commitment on my part. You know, meet the needs that I see before me. Meet the needs that I see on the internet about little kids in Africa. Meet the needs that I know our church has. You get the picture.

So all that to say, rather than do what I want to do … I want to do what God wants me to do. And I’m so ready and willing and excited about the next adventure He has in store for me.

How I’m Wired Plus Past Experiences:
For years now I have felt strongly that I am to serve within my giftings and abilities and I’ve felt more and more freedom from the Lord as to how He wired me up, and then simply acknowledging that DNA ….

a. I’m administrative through and through. I love leading in logistics.

b. I’m an encourager.

c. I love change. My ideal job would be to do a job. Finish it. Start another one. The thought of doing the same thing for the rest of my life terrifies me. {Perhaps that’s why I find mothering so exhausting …}

d. Being a Preacher’s Kid, I know the inner workers of “church” and feel very strongly that there need to be those that come alongside pastoral staff and encourage and help …

e. Being a former missionary and growing up in the home of missions minded parents, I feel a strong calling to missions; whatever that looks like. I get fired up when we have missionaries in our home. I love my missionary kid ties. I love hearing about what God is up to around the globe. I want my world to be bigger than our little street in Chicago and I want that vision for our family.

f. I had an opportunity to jump back into some public speaking this spring and I’ll be honest, I absolutely loved it … and if I could somehow make some money doing it, I’d love to be a motivational speaker; challenging people to put their faith to action.

Books that have had an impact this year:
Besides the Bible, where I have felt moved by God to show compassion on the orphans, the widows, the poor and the lost, there have been a few other books that have played a significant role in this past year. If you get the chance to read them, I know you will be moved, too.
a. Making Ripples {Mike Breaux}
b. Under The Overpass {Mike Yankoski}
c. The Prison Angel {Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan}
d. Messy Spirituality (Michael Yaconelli)
And, just today, as I was prompted to write this email, I picked up a new book called “The Irresistible Revolution” Living as an Ordinary Radical {Shane Claiborne} And this, I know, will be another one of the books that has a profound impact on my life. I just know it.

Potential Future Options

Work: Without going into great detail, Jack and I are trying to figure out what to do for Maddie’s schooling. We love the little private school she was at last year, but quite frankly, can’t afford to put both kids through private school forever and don’t necessarily want to put both kids through private school. So, there is the potential of me needing to work part-time, to help with schooling at least for this coming year, if we were to leave her where she is, so that we can think through potential moving options, etc. (A long story in and of itself … I mention it more so that you know that is a factor in all the potential options)
Work Options:
a. Developing a business of my own {I’ve always wanted to do this, but I realize it takes a tonne of time and I’m not sure I’m up for that just yet. Earlier this summer I was gung-ho about the potential options, but now, it just exhausts me to think about pulling off my own business from scratch.}
b. Approaching my old bosses, asking them what sort of ‘at-home’ work they could conjure up for me to do on a part-time basis.
c. Finding a ministry like Feed My Starving Children or OCC or SPC that could pay me to work from home, blending my ministry and work together.

Church: I feel very strongly that a responsibility of any Christ-follower is an involvement in his/her local body of believers, and having taken the year ‘off’ I feel it is time to jump back in and get involved again. With that being said, these are some options that are very appealing to me:
a. Serving on our missions committee. {Perhaps in a role that encourages our church to get involved, a liaison of special events where our people rub shoulders with the least, the last, the lost.}
b. Serving administratively behind-the-scenes, doing special projects for our Senior Pastor and his administrative assistant. {This suites my need for change; do a project, wrap it up; on to the next one. It also suites my administrative bent.}
c. Marriage Matters Logistical coordination. Part of me thinks this would be a great fit for my giftings, as long as I had a team to delegate. Jack and I also would need to talk through if we’re planning to get involved in this ministry this year, which we haven’t done.
d. Serving on our Creative Arts team at church. I’ve been approached to help be an administrative “producer” of sorts for our creative arts team and that is very exciting, too. Blending my creative needs/desires with my administrative abilities.

Outside Ministries:
I feel strongly that I cannot sit by and not act on the tangible needs around me. While I am excited about getting involved at church, I feel compelled to get involved outside of church, too. Whether that is with Feed My Starving Children, or OCC, or other ministries, I just cannot ignore the specific call God has given me to reach out right here in Chicago and meet tangible needs, and also by helping people jump in and put their faith to action, too.

Where you come into this journey:
I took the time to lay this all out, simply to ask you to pray.
a. Would you walk alongside me and ask the Lord, on my behalf, to show me His next step for my life? This is one of those moments in my spiritual journey, where I can tell and feel and KNOW that God is moving me in a new direction, and I’m so excited about it, but in that excitement I don’t want to get side-tracked into what my plan is for me. Because as you can tell by the above, I have about a million ideas, all of which are good, and none of which would be wrong or bad. In fact, I’m pretty confident that I could do any of the above and be right smack-dab in the middle of what God wants me to do with my life. And yet, somehow, I know that God has this specific something in mind for me as I walk into this fall, and I don’t want to miss it.

b. Would you ask for discernment for me? That I would know what is just me being easily excitable, and what is God saying, “Alysa, I’m working here. Come join me.”

c. Would you pray that I would be disciplined to be on my face before God, praying diligently about this new adventure?

d. Would you pray that I would have courage to contact old bosses just to see about the possibility of ‘work-from-home’ options? For whatever reason, I’ve been apprehensive about just picking up the phone and calling them and asking them for their advice, help, etc.

e. Would you simply pray how the Holy Spirit prompts you to pray?

Go God.


Sara said…
you are in my thoughts n prayers...

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