Monday, February 16, 2009

There is something so special about being an aunt. For those of you that have nieces and/ or nephews, you know exactly what I am talking about. The joy of watching your brother or sister become a parent. Watching the little ones discover new things every day! Enjoying play time or dance parties. Making valentines for Emily's party. And so much more! Last Thursday night as I was taking Emily home, she wanted to listen to the song about Jesus' eyes... (Brandon Heath's song "Give Me Your Eyes"). This is one of her favorites on the ipod and we usually listen to it over and over and over again. As we drove, I listened to her sing about wanting to see the world through the eyes of Jesus. She knows every word to the song. My prayer is that as she grows, this will be her desire... to seek the Lord and to share Him with others.

This Valentine's day will be one I will never forget! Not because my non-existent man took me to a fancy dinner or brought me flowers, but because my little sister, Kathryn and her husband, Luke, announced that they are prego! Such joy! We were all sitting in the living room as Emily opened a present from them... a shirt that said "Future Cousin." My first thought was: Dang it! I have already booked my flight to Egypt. Then Kathryn made me feel better when she told us she is due in October. Whew! I will be home in August. We are all very excited about this new little one joining the family. Some of my favorite childhood memories are from playing with my cousins. Family is such a blessing!

So... for now... Aunt Rachel is going to soak up all the time I can with Emmy and Alli before June and will be browsing baby departments for Baby Bilberry... I am praying for a boy or twins! haha!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Kay Warren (The Next Big Idea Conference)I had the privilege and honor to sit and listen to Kay Warren share her passion about being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. As I am preparing to go to Egypt, her words pricked my heart, stirred my soul, and will forever remain in my mind. She began by talking about the so-called crowd that followed Jesus. They showed up wherever He was, wanting to be healed, hoping to get to touch His garment, and desperately seeking help from whatever was happening in their lives. Each of these people came to Jesus for what Jesus had to offer. Each of them sought Jesus in a time of crisis. But after the healing came and they were set free, they simply disappeared in the crowd. Then, there were His disciples. These are the ones that followed no matter where Jesus went, no matter what was happening in life, and no matter what was on the other side of the mountain. Meals were shared, tears were shed, and life was lived. These were not just people in the crowd, these were His family.

Luke 9:23 states that “If anyone wishes to come after Me (Jesus), he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Jesus laid out 3 requirements to be a disciple and these are some of my notes from Kay’s talk on this beautiful Wednesday morning as God met me there and spoke straight to my heart.

1. Deny Yourself-
• This means saying no to my comfort, to my “rights” as an American, to my pleasures day to day, to control of what comes next, to my dream of being a wife and mother, to ME and YES to GOD and GOD alone.
• We say we will go wherever God leads, and then we add our own but…I will go here… but… don’t make me leave this behindI will follow… but… please keep me close to my familyI am ready to serve… but… only if it is in a gorgeous placeI will go… but… only on my terms and conditions
• We must be ready to say “Lord, I will go wherever You lead me and I know that You can be trusted.”
• Whatever God asks, I pray my answer will always be YES with no if’s, and’s or but’s.

2. Take up my Cross
• The cross existed for one reason only during the time of Jesus and that was to die upon
• Jesus died for me and I must die (to self and the world) for him
• We often say this illness is my cross to bear or this person in my life is my cross… FALSE
• What is it that so disturbs me that I cannot live with it another second? What is it that I will die trying to solve?
• I get disturbed about everyday things… parking spots… food being cold… not getting my way… but am I disturbed by poverty, dying people, AIDS, orphans, the lost? Am I ready to die in pursuit of solving these problems and spreading the name of Jesus to those that do not know HIM?

3. Follow Me
• The way I spend my time, money, energy, resources reflects what I follow.
• Do these things reflect Jesus in my life or me?
• Will I allow God to gloriously ruin me for the Kingdom or for the world to simply ruin me?

Kay ended with a powerful story about a couple that shared the love of Christ with prostitutes. They would walk the streets and simply say God loves you and we love you. Each day as they walked, one woman would stand in disbelief. But as they continued coming back and eventually inviting the women to their home for dinner, the woman realized that these people do love them. They set the table for women that were selling their bodies to the lusts and sin of the world and made the invisible God visible. Because they set the table, this woman accepted Christ.

Who are you setting the table for? Our task is to make the invisible God visible so that those around us will know His love not only by our words but by the way we live.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Not too good at this...

It has come to my attention that I am not very good at updating and keeping a blog. What gave it away? Well, 2 things. 1. I could not remember my password and 2. My last entry was in June of 2008. Either nothing has happened since then or I am just the world's worst blogger! I think it is more of the 2nd part.

To catch you up a little bit. September 18, 2008 my bro and sis-in-law had another beautiful baby girl, Allison Paige Bitter. Emily has done beautifully as a big sister and is so much fun to watch as she is the hovercraft! In October I traveled to Belize to help with a conference for the Light of the Valley church and was so blessed by my time with the women. Belize is gorgeous... even during a monsoon.

Finally, to top off 2008, I joined a team of 7 from my church and our adopted member from Cali to Egypt. We traveled there to help with a festival that was taking place at Wadi Sports Camp. My life will never be the same. God touched my heart in a way that I had never experienced and my love for the Egyptians and Muslims has impacted my world in a huge way. I will be posting a letter I wrote after I returned home from my trip. I know it is a little long, but it will explain my growing passion for this place.

2009 started with a bang... or a stomach virus! Yuck! But, thankfully things are rolling now. Today we booked my flight to Egypt. I will be returning to work with the Sports Ministry on June 8 and will stay until August 17. My first reaction is utter fear. I have NO IDEA what God has on the other side of this mountain and all I know is that my time there will be the most amazing experience ever and the most difficult. I know that God has called me to this and I know He can be trusted.

My purpose in starting the blog again is to keep you posted on what God is teaching me through this time and where this journey leads. I hope you will join me!

ALICT 2009

ALICT 2009
27 students... 24 nations... 3 months in South Africa


Closing Ceremony

Closing Ceremony
The Joy is in the Journey



It's just juice