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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Giving Up "Good," For "Great!"

Yes, yes, it's true. I'm leaving for Denver on MONDAY. That snuck up fast didn't it? I'd say that even I keep forgetting but that would be a lie, haha.... I could leave tomorrow if asked. I'm SOO excited, feeling ready and California summer satisfied. But there are a few awesome things I still get to do this week around here and for that I'm grateful. God knows what's up :) He really has brought everything together (I've seen it even more clearly in the last couple months) that it leaves me in awe every time I think about it. It's impossible to know where to start with things such as this... so maybe I'll start with answering questions...? Settle in, this blog read will be a little bit of a time investment but I hope it worth the time :) 

How the heck did you end up in an Around the World Discipleship Training School at a campus out of Denver?

Well... as some of you already know, I moved home a year and a half ago at an all time low. Heart broken, defeated, tired, broke, disillusioned. I set out on a long and much needed refining process and actually started to accept the fact that if I was really being obedient to God's nudging, then Grass Valley was exactly where I was supposed to be. Man did that hurt my pride..... But God knew what He was doing and I saw (like He already knew) that I needed to be home to heal, to rebuild my foundation, and foster the relationships that would later help me launch out again, healthy and closer to Him than ever. Don't get me wrong here though, it wasn't all smooth sailing.... the year 2013 was relentless, not just for me but for my family as well. God's provision through all of it is what really shines through all of it though and I know those hardships only served to refine me further into the person He was shaping me to be leading up to YWAM.

It was around Christmas 2012 that I was researching “what’s next?” options, mostly in regards to Schools of Worship, YWAM kept popping up! I discovered that in order to attend a YWAM School of Worship, you need a Discipleship Training School (DTS) program first (it’s a prerequisite for any of their secondary programs.) My interest in a DTS was peaked again! You see, while I was visiting Twin Cities Church’s sister church in Uganda on a weekend trip from Kenya back in 2010, my team stayed at a YWAM campus. It was there, at only 19 years old, that I encountered an Around the World DTS team. They let me sit in with them during their evening worship and also listen in on their daily debriefs. To this day, I remember sitting there in that tiled common room and thinking “These are my people!” They were young adults, around the age I am now, traveling the world completely sold out for Jesus! I really see this DTS as a culmination, a celebration, of all He has been doing in me this year. It’s my sacrifice of time, energy, money, jobs and heart to thank Him for all He has done, is doing and has yet to do in my life! Oh, and I picked the campus in Denver because I visited CO earlier that year and thought it be a good fit ;) It'll be 2 months in Denver doing my lecture phase and team building then 3 months of outreach. The countries that we have lined up are Guatemala, France, Hungary, South Africa, Nepal, and Hong Kong!  

What have you been up to this past year?

Oh goodness... since my last post I've been on mission to Mexico, was asked to join the Twin Cities Church Celebration Arts Team, started and then finished up a year working at TCC as their facilities care ministry assistant, rocked a summer, traveled up and down the west coast and half way across the country, was in and out of a great but short lived relationship (an experience that God really used for good), became an NC Campus Life staff member, one of my best friends got married and up until this point I've raised up to 70% for my program tuition. Pure beautiful chaos! 

Highlights: God is GOOD!

- My mom and I were given a house after being semi-homeless because our post fire damaged house was still being remodeled.

- During one of THE HARDEST weeks I'd had since moving home God showed up so big! 
It's such a crazy story, writing it here wouldn't give it justice but it started off with me stepping back (due to some discomfort) a bit for the amount of time I was spending caregiving. It was a big step of faith for me, seeing as I didn't have another source of income. The very next day another client joined the network that needed just the type of care I'm comfortable giving (which is basic care and we don't often see a lot if need for that.) It was amazing timing and after an interview it felt like a perfect fit.... I started on a monday and then my week took a turn. That night I got a phone call that ended very poorly and left me worried for a friends safety. It rocked me emotionally and by Wednesday I was exhausted and fairly defeated. I was sitting in my mom's office crying, trying to get up the energy to head to my second shift of the week at my new job site, when Kim Thompson from TCC called and asked on behave of Dave Bollen (the worship pastor) if I'd like to be a member of the Celebration Art's worship team. "Think about it, pray about it, and get back to me?" Uh? The very ministry I'd wanted to be apart of for so long (but asking isn't really my thing) just offered me a spot! It was such a pure God moment, I was in shock! It perked me up enough that I was able to head to work and completed what I thought was a good shift. 

After work I spent some time with the beautiful girls I have the privilege of being a leader for at TCC then we all headed to the Church for our midweek HS small groups. As we were climbing in the car, I got a text from my mom saying that I needed to call the client, it looked like things were not good... I was shaken but got the girls to the church before calling the client from my car in the parking lot. Long story short, because of a few small "strikes" I was laid off... And while I'm not proud to admit it, I cried. I felt exhausted and defeated, like I couldn't win. Like I had nothing to give. Something that felt like such a God thing just completely crumbled and I was at one of my all time lows....

But then I got a text from pastor Brett... He has texted me earlier asking if I could meet him early before groups and so was letting me know that he could meet me in the reception area. So I wiped my tears, tried to put on a strong face and went into the church to meet Brett. He started off our meet by handing me something to pass along to my mom (I thought that was why he wanted to see me) but then he paused and said something along the lines of "Hey Aubrey, I know this sounds kinda crazy, but there is a job opening at the church... and us pastors were praying today about it, and your name popped up... and it just made sense... I ran it by Pastor Ron already and he says 'that's the best idea i've heard yet.' So here is the job description. Think about it, pray about it, and let me know what you think?") Well doesn't that sound familiar! I started crying.... Brett looked surprised. "Brett I know you don't normally offer jobs to people who are crying but I literally JUST got fired, like 5 minutes ago in the parking lot, before I walked in here." 

Needless to say I was shellshocked by the week. God, in one day, during a painful and hard week, open doors for me toward the longings of my heart. You see, a few weeks earlier I'd been praying and talking to God about my desire to work at Twin Cities again (I'd been an SM intern back in 2009) but it didn't feel right to ask the church about a position so I let it go... And then I got offered a job at the place I wanted to work 5 minutes after being fired! If I would have still had that client, I wouldn't have been able to accept the job at the church. WOW!!!!

- I got gifted with a miracle. God provided a way into a locked house when I was in the middle of an emergency (my dog was having a seizer due to heart complications, her meds were inside and I had locked myself out.) I managed to stay calm, to pray, asking God to show up and I received a huge affirmation of the power of prayer. When God doesn't open a door, He may just open a window! And a locked one at that!  

How are you feeling now?
Oh my... I'm rambling!!! Ah! Honestly there is just SO MUCH I could share. I guess I want to wrap up in saying just how incredibly thankful I am to all the people God has brought into my life to guide me through this season. 

To my TCC family, I don't know what I would have done without my church home to come back to. Thank you for always being there.

To my new Campus Life family. God really gave me a gift when He led me to you. Your support, as I've been gearing up for this YWAM trip, has been over the top and I KNOW God placed you in my life at this very season for the support and the love you added to my life.

To my family and my besties: I honestly appreciate you all more than I could ever put into words. You are a gift from God and I'm praising Him for each of the special moments I've been able to share with each of you pre me taking off for parts unknown. My heart is just so full! I know I can leave satisfied and ready.

Thank you for everyone who has prayed, supported, etc. etc. to help get me so far along on this YWAM adventure. The Showcase and Silent Auction was so humbling as I saw so many people I love rally together to help me follow my dreams. I still have a little chunk left to go on my tuition but I have no doubt anymore of God's calling. Thank you for believing in it, for never doubting for a second that I would be going to Denver, even when I panicked (you know who you are ;) and almost gave it all up. Never has it felt more right. Never have I felt more supported. Thank you for being apart of the foundation God has been crafting. For being apart of the healing. I know I'm most likely only going to be gone 5 months but I miss you all already. 

I may not know exactly WHY I'm going on this trip yet but I know WHO it is I love and serve. The sacrifice of some really good things, things I love, sometimes makes me scratch my head, but God is jealous for me and He deserves my all.

So here is to giving up "good," for "great!" 

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