Murray #5

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My cousin Chase died today. The words taste foreign. My brain can’t reconcile what has happened. I’ve never lost someone close to me before. I had hoped that we’d be one of those unicorn families that are never struck with sudden death or disease. This morning I realized that I had been completely and immovably convinced that my family was under the protection of unstoppable forces; that horrid things didn’t happen to us. They couldn’t.

I was wrong.

Chase was born just a couple of months after my younger sister Emma and at the time our families lived together. My mom’s side of the family has always been extremely close. The cousins are more like siblings than cousins. Loosing Chase this morning has been a whirlwind. Grief comes in waves and in different ways. Mostly I still don’t believe this has really happened. A huge part of me feels like this is some tactless cruel joke and Chase will come walking through the door any minute. My brain and my heart can’t seem to communicate or come to terms. It’s been a long day to say the least.

Chase was killed in a car accident early this morning. My stomach churns typing out the words even though I’ve heard them a hundred times today. He was only 21.

I’m a Christian and when things like this happen the world seems to watch you extra closely. While I’ll never in a million years claim that Christians have it all together, I will still proclaim that Christ does. I don’t understand why God allows the things that He allows. I don’t understand why good things happen to bad people or why bad things happen to good people. I don’t understand why some cars can roll and people walk away unscathed while others are taken from us. I could go on for hours about the questions I have thrown at God’s feet, sometimes screaming at Him while I’m at it. All I do know is this, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18.

The strength and grace that I have seen in my aunt and uncle today surpasses all understanding. Not to say that they aren’t broken and grieved beyond belief. They are angry, but they have peace. They are crushed, but there is hope. They believe to the depths of who they are that God has overcome the grave, and that Chase lives in and with Christ. I’m in awe of the beauty they have shown today. They are, truly, beautiful people. My heart is shattered for them and Chase’s three younger brothers. My heart is shattered for the rest of us cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends that will miss Chase for the rest of our days. Chase loved God with all his heart, all his mind and with all of his strength. He is very much alive. He is very much loved. He is very much missed.

I love you Chase.

Audacious.

I’m reading the book “Audacious” by Beth Moore. It’s been phenomenal so far. I really appreciate the way she can communicate complex theology simply. And she’s funny to boot. God speaks to me most frequently through books. He has a way of putting the right message into my hands at the right time. I love that He does that. He knows I love to read. He knows I love words and the impact that they have on my heart. It’s just another tiny way He shows me that He knows me, ya know?

Anywho, the chapter I read today was about need vs. want. It was so fascinating. As humans we definitely do what we want to do more than what we need to do until we are desperate. Then, and usually only then, we want to do what we need to do! In fact, we spend so much time stressing about what we need to instead of simply doing it right then and there. Before I get anymore confusing, I’ll share a little blurb from the chapter:

“I hear what you’re saying you need to do and that’s good. That’s important. That’s conviction. That’s godly. But this is what I’d really like to hear you respond to: What is it you want? What drives your heart? What exactly has you at My heels? What are you seeking? What are you really looking for? Because this is where you’ll find your affections…”

I don’t want to ramble on any further because I think these questions are important. It’s an important discussion to have with our hearts and ultimately with Jesus. After thinking on these questions I made a list of my answers.

What I (really really really) want:

-To know Christ

-To know His word

-To be a godly wife and mother

-To be kind

-To be dependable

-To completely trust God with finances and my daughter Scout

-To have godly wisdom and insight

-To be able to teach with confidence

-To write books

This is what I want. This is what drives my heart. This is what has me back at His heels. This is what I’m seeking. This is what I’m really looking for.

-Ali

Inspired.

I’m currently reading “Kisses From Katie” by Katie Davis. She is a missionary to Uganda who has adopted 14 orphaned girls and started Amazima Ministries (and she’s MY age….24). Her story is inspirational. There is no better want to describe it, in my opinion. It’s hard to walk away from the stories in this book and have my life remain unchanged. It’s amazing the things that can unfold by simply saying “Here I am Lord! Send me!” “Yes, Lord!”. I know surrendering our lives comes at a cost, but no cost is greater than the one Jesus paid for our lives already. We were bought at a cost. We are not our own. Katie Davis strives to live with that mind set every day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not praising Katie. I praise the work that the Lord has done through her. I am, however, admiring her unrelenting state of surrender to Jesus and His plans for her life. She picks up her cross and carries it. In all honestly, when I first began reading I thought, “well it’s a lot easier to pick up your cross when you’re living in a third world country and you’re stripped of all the luxuries of the western world.” But that just simply isn’t true. Making the choice to say “God, you have my ‘yes’ to whatever plans you have for me.” Is difficult no matter where you are. It’s asked of us, wherever we are.

I am just so so so inspired by Katie’s stores in this book. I see a 24 year old woman making such a huge difference in people’s lives because her life is all about Jesus. That’s what I want. It’s what I’ve always wanted. I’ve just been incredibly selfish and lazy in so many areas of my life. God has shown me more about His love for me, and for others through this book. I am called to help and love others in any way that I can. My life is not my own. I serve a God who serves, laziness is not an option. A selfish life is not an option. Following Jesus and His plans for me is the only option that I am satisfied with. Adventure is out there! Especially if you follow Jesus.

This is a video interviewing a young boy named Augustine, one of the hundreds of kids that has been impacted by Amazima Ministries started by Katie Davis. Grab a tissue! It’s good stuff.

“I am your steadfast, so don’t be afraid.”

I just returned from a little under three weeks in the Czech Republic. I love love LOVE that country and the people within it so much. It really does feel like a home away from home. I’ve grown very close to some of the Czech’s there and I miss them when I leave.

The ministry that is done there is WONDERFUL. Sometimes I am guilty of envying the Josiah Venture staff and all that they do there. The trip is honestly the highlight of my year. I cannot wait to go back!

But, as amazing and wonderful, and moving and powerful the time is there…..it’s also very much a time of spiritual warfare. I often feel very under attack when I’m there. While I’m not surprised by this and even prepared myself for it…it. still can get very overwhelming.

This song was my “rod and staff” while I was in the Czech this summer. It’s such a sweet song. So comforting. So reassuring. God is so faithful to give us freedom and peace when we need it most.

I honestly could never get enough of Jesus and His love for me. Amazing love!

Happy listening 🙂
Ali

Reward for Obedience

“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield crops and the trees of the field their fruit. Your threshing harvest will continue until planting and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.

I will grant peace in the land and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove savage beasts from the land and the sword will not pass through your country. You will pursue your enemies and they will fall by the sword before you. Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.

I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you have to move it out to make room for the new. I will put my dwelling place among you and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God and you will be my people. I am the Lord, your God who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to he Egyptians. I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.” Leviticus 26:3-13

He never breaks a promise. Beautiful.