Friday, October 28, 2011

A Love Letter

  I am currently in the process of waiting for the clock to strike 5am. Why? I am heading home for the weekend! I can't sleep however. So I've decided to share something with you. :)
  These past few weeks have been life changing. God has been speaking identity into my life. I am beginning to feel full of the strength of the Lord. I am beginning to believe God from the bottom of my heart when He tells me that He loves me. I am being vulnerable and He is rewarding me in that.

"When I called, you answered me,
you made me bold and stouthearted."
Psalm 138:3

  The WPC (World Prayer Center) where I have class every day has this wonderful opportunity for me. 24/7 prayer. There is a special room, the Furnace Prayer Room, where people gather together and pray at all times. It is So wonderful! There is always someone in the room praying. Except for in the middle of the night there is also a worship leader playing music and singing as the Holy Spirit leads them. I'm going to share a picture of the FPR with you later because as I said already, it is just so wonderful! (Thank you to my housemate Alex Tola for getting me to say the word wonderful all of the time)
      Because of the 24 hours of prayer 7 days a week every night of the week there is a main prayer meeting that many people gather together and attend. Most days of the week that main prayer meeting starts early in the evening. Wednesday and Friday nights however the main meeting is 10pm-12am. These late night prayer meetings are the favorite!
  Last night was only my second time attending a Wednesday night prayer meeting. It was Wonderful! Actually, wonderful doesn't even begin to describe it. God showed up. Right away. I truly feel that I spent some time at the seat of the Father. While there I asked Him to tell me a story. I asked my Father "What do you love?" The answer He gave me truly moved me. It is something I desire to share with you right now because, well, God loves you and He wants to know it deep down inside of you.
  I wish you could close your eyes and let me read this to you. I know this is rather impossible since you have to use your eyes to read. So I ask that as you read this be open to what God is saying to you in this. Believe it. It is truth.

I love to see you smile.
I love to see you step out in faith.
I love to see the dreams I place inside of you grow into fruition.
I love when you choose to sit at my feet.
I love when you open up your heart to me and choose to be vulnerable
-That is when strongholds are broken!
I love when you step out of your comfort zone.
I love when you choose to trust me.
I love when you pick me over others.
I love to hear you pray...I love listening to you.
I love talking to you.
I love when you choose joy.
I love when you serve from your heart.
I love when we meet in our secret place.
I love when you worship me and hold nothing back!
I love when you run to me first.
I love when you let yourself be you.
Do you understand what I am saying to you? I love you. I LOVE you. I LOVE YOU!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Power of Encouragement

   Hi friends! I pray you are all doing well.
   I am doing pretty great if I do say so myself. :)
   I find each and every day that God is So Very awesome! I love it!
   Every Sunday night we have what is called The Gathering. All DLA students, full-time and part-time, get together for a night of worship and teaching from one of our wonderful leaders. This last Sunday was so very great indeed. After worship we took a few minutes to go around to our friends and speak encouraging words over them. The timing on this event could not have come at a more perfect time. I am doing swell, growing in the Lord. There are however areas where I am not sure if I am really growing. I think I am but Satan comes in and tries to tell me that I am not improving. So I get discouraged. Stink! Every single person that encouraged me on Sunday night was definitely listening to God. Every single encouragement I received directly correlated to the areas I was not sure if I was really growing in but so desire to. God sent me people to tell me that I was indeed growing. Don't give up! As my pastor back home would say, "Keep on keeping on." ;)
   Jesus - your timing is impeccable!
   Last night during a prayer meeting I decided to continue on the growth topic and look back in my journal to see where God has brought me recently. I teared up as I read God's promises to me from before I came to DLA.
"The Lord is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made."
Psalm 145:13
February 2, 2011:
   Oh Stefanie, I know that just stressed you out to find our that your interview is not until the 18th of February. I am fully aware that scholarships are due on the 14th. Do you not think I knew this before I had MaryBeth call you? I know everything! I see it ALL Stef! I know what I am doing. I am calling you to simply leave it in my hands. Trust me Stef. Do NOT fill out that Leadership Scholarship. If you do, you are showing me that you don't trust me. Whose plan do you want to follow? Whose do you believe is better, mine or yours? I am the Alpha and Omega. I am Peace. I am love. I am everything you need.
 (When I was worried about what to do this school year God said "Trust me." As you all know, I am exactly where God wanted me to be!)

February 24, 2011:
  Stefanie I know life is difficult. You work more than you did before. Take it as a blessing. I am helping you get the money for Colorado. I will not just hand you all the money you need. Some of it will come more easily than others but I want to see how serious you are. Do you desire to go to this school as much as I desire for you to go? I have such GREAT things in store for you Stefanie. I am so excited for you to go! You are going to miss your family though. You must lean on me. You must let me be your one and only. I am everything you need.
  (When I was frustrated with going to work and school full-time, when I was in desperate need of encouragement, God came through. He also provided me with ALL the money I needed for school, just in time!)
 "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,
but let us encourage one another -
and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Hebrews 10:25

Are you in need of encouragement? Get together with fellow believers. There is SO much encouragement in gathering together and speaking life into each other's lives.
Ask God. He is the Greatest Encourager of all!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lightning McQueen

   I have talked to several people lately who have named their cars. Definitely not something I've thought about doing. I love my car, it was a blessing from God, but it's a car. It doesn't need me to name it.  However, one time I gave a friend of mine a ride somewhere and her little boy was very excited to ride in "Lightning McQueen." My car is red...get the parallel? ;)
   The reason I bring up my car is that I have sad news to share with you. About Lightning McQueen. Last Monday we had the day off because we were helping out at the high school retreat during our actual weekend. After going on the jr. high retreat without a day off in between the retreat and the school week too many people got sick. Now, we have Monday's off after a retreat weekend!
 Anyway, I had the wonderful privilege to go out for coffee with my dear friend Hannah on my day off. I had an incredible time talking with her and sharing what God has been doing in our lives. I left Starbucks feeling quite overwhelmed by the greatness of God.
  I got to my car and there was a flyer on my windshield. I looked at it briefly but not recognizing what the ad was for I threw it in my car with the intention of throwing the paper away when I got home. Instead of just heading home like I planned on I felt God directing me to keep on driving down the highway and exit onto a different street. I'm so glad I did! As I have been praying for God to romance me, He has been doing just that. My detour took me to a new part of Colorado Springs that I had never been to. There I discovered a beautiful park with the trees looking quite fall-ish. If you know me, you know that I absolutely LOVE fall! (When my sister sent my care package to me she included leaves from around town) God had revealed to me a special place. Our place.
 Let me just say, when I got home that afternoon I was in an Extremely good mood! As I arrived home however I got out of my car and noticed something. Something sad indeed. My dear Lightning McQueen had a big dent in the side of it, and paint marks all along the dent. Someone had hit my car. How had that happened I thought? I surely would have noticed if someone hit it while I was driving. LIGHT BULB! That's what that note was on my windshield when I was at Starbucks. On the back of the ad was a note that said "Sorry I hit your car. Please call my dad at this #." They left their insurance information and their contact info. I felt so blessed in the midst of my sadness. Yes, my car is no longer dent free (besides all the hail damage). I am currently waiting to hear back from the insurance company to know if their insurance will truly pay for the damage or if they will call my car totaled. Regardless of what happens, God is so good to me! I was blessed by the sheer fact that the person who hit my car left their contact information. How many times have people had their cars hit and the person who did it simply left the scene. I am blessed by the honestly of this family. And their willingness to pay for the damages.
 I'll keep you updated on what happens with Lightning McQueen. ;)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Corem Deo

   Last weekend I had the opportunity to go on the high school retreat. I didn't go as a leader. I went as part of work crew. This means that we served all the meals to the students and cleaned up after they left the dining hall.
    Never have I ever been to such a nice campground! We went to Crooked Creek Ranch in Fraser, CO. Every trip I take takes me further and further west into the Rocky Mountains. Boy are they beautiful!! I thought Colorado Springs was the most beautiful city ever. Now I know better. ;) It's like our relationship with God. Once we grasp a new part of Him and think we understand Him more, He opens our eyes to the fact that there is SO much more we don't understand or haven't experienced yet. Never will we fully know the beauty of God. That is part of God's majesty!!
  Back to the retreat. It was So awesome being there and serving students. As you can see by the picture, this was no ordinary dining hall. The evening dinner on Saturday is always a themed dinner. This year it was superhero night!! We made the dining hall even more impressive with tablecloths, linen napkins, and fancy glass drinking cups. It was so much fun to see everyone dressed up in their costumes! Even the servers got to dress up. I was "Super Stefanie" ....copying my costume from a few years back when I was "Super Aunt." ;)
  Never have I ever been to a campground that provides towels, sheets, and pillows for every person staying there.  I went to serve and I left feeling so blessed. Each member of work crew was given a bag of candy when we got to the retreat, and our work crew cabin was stocked with lots of snack goodies for us. Again, blessed. They didn't have to do any of that for us, yet they did.
  The name of the retreat was Corem Deo. This means 'in the presence of God.' Ah...God was most definitely at Corem Deo! After I finished help cleaning up the dining hall I was able to sneak away to the evening service Saturday night and Sunday morning. On Saturday the speaker was talking about how we must be passionate for God and run full force after what He calls us to do. He used the analogy of a white rhino. They are massive, ginormous animals. They can't see very far in front of them but they can run up to 30 miles per hour. We must be like the rhinos...get a vision for what God wants us to do and run hard after that. We will be so victorious!! It is so amazing to be able to worship Jesus with young people who are passionate about God. Several hundred people together in one room singing praises to our King = beautiful!! :)

Crooked Creek ;)

Outside the dining hall.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Great Romancer

  Every day I fall more in love. With Jesus. I just can't help it. I asked Him to open my eyes to the ways that He romances me. Best idea ever! My eyes are are overflowing with the love of God. He loves me. He really loves me! It is not a half-hearted love either. It's the Real deal. :) The really cool thing about how God romances me is that it is in the little things. Sure, He does big things for me as well, like providing me with all of the money I needed for DLA, but there are a lot of little things along the way. It works so well that way.
   I don't need much to make me happy. The right song on the radio at the right time. Beautiful sunrises. Seeing mountains on my way to class. Awesome cloud patterns in the sky. Bright fall colored leaves on trees. A hug from a friend. An intense prayer meeting where God reveals a new aspect of Himself to me. Truth. Freedom from lies that I have believed. New revelation on God's Word that I have read so many times before. Worshipping my lover.
  I have realized lately how so many of these instances are God showering His love on me.
  Last Thursday my housemate was talking about how excited she was to check the mail that afternoon because she was expecting a package. I was happy she was so excited but told her "I Really wish I would get something in the mail. I've only gotten one letter since being here. And a license. I told my mom she could send me a care package, but I haven't gotten one yet." I left for school before the mail came. Later that afternoon my friend texted me to say I got a package in the mail. Considering how we had JUST had a conversation THAT morning about how much I would love a package I thought she was teasing me. I texted her back to see if she was joking. Nope. ;) It was supposedly a big package!
  I got home that evening to receive a wonderful box in the mail from my sister. She got all my family to put stuff together into the package and send it to me. God is SO awesome. He is so perfect in His timing. The very day I said I would love to get something, I got something. The best part, I had NO idea it was coming. Can you say perfect?? :)
From my famly, Rachael, & God! ;)

Noticed the rat sticking out of the lunchbag?
'The Mexican' has been returned to me.
Anyone have a clever way I can return it to my sister? ;)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dry Bones

   God is so very awesome! He rewnews our strength when we are weak. I have been praying for healing for my father for as long as I could pray. Somedays it is very discouraging and it feels like he will never be healed. Yet....
   I've been reading in Luke lately. I came across a very encouraging passage. Luke 18:1-8. It is the parable of the persistent widow. This widow kept going back to a judge who cared nothing for her or her God. Time after time she would come back and ask the judge to grant her justice against her adversary. Because of her persistence the judge granted her justice. In this passage the Lord says "And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly." God reminded me of His faithfulness through this passage. He has never failed me, nor will He. He promised to heal my father. However, it is not on my timetable, rather on His.
   2 weeks ago God gave me a passage to pray over my father. Ezekiel 37:1-14. God tells Ezekiel to prophesy over these dry bones that are lying in the desert. To prophesy life into the dry bones. God was going to bring His people back to the land of the living. God was going to breathe life into dry bones and raise up His people. My absolute favorite part of this passage is the very end. "Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord."
   God does the impossible. He does it on His timetable. He does it so His glory can shine. There is NO ONE greater than God. No not one!
   God gave me a song to go along with the scripture. I challenge you to listen to 'Dry Bones' by New Life Worship. Read Ezekiel 37:1-14. Ask God if you have any areas in your life that He wants to prophesy life into!?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Community Week

  SO much has happened in my life in the short month and a half that I have been in Colorado Springs.  God is moving. God is doing something miraculous in my life. He is breaking me off all the things that are not of Him, all the things that get in the way of our relationship. He is making me stronger, by relying solely upon Him. God is good!! Actually, He is WAY beyond good! I have been re-learning how true it is that when we are at our weakest points in life, God comes in and blows us away with His strength. I was struggling with something, so I told God I just couldn't do it without Him. That night I just felt overwhelmed by His love and power in my life. He put new direction in my life. He is so Amazing!
 "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That 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 9-10
  I think it's time to share some fun things I have been doing. We had a community week last week. This means we didn't have class time in the morning. Instead we got together for fun activities

Pumpkin Carving!!
Katie and Kylan
All of the full-time DLA students!
Milbia, Me, Mali, and Lindy
 Monday was fall festival. We carved pumpkins, bobbed for apples, had an apple cider chugging contest (difficult to do!) and then we enjoyed a bonfire at night time.

Tuesday we went for a hike at Mt. Herman. It took us FOREVER to finally start hiking. We went to a place we couldn't get in at 1st. Then we decided on Mt. Herman but we went all the way to the top, had to drive back to the bottom, started hiking, had to go back down to meet the rest of the group And Then we got to hike. It was a beautiful hike and worth the crazy wait!
Having fun rock climbing!!
Sean, Caleb, Tucker, and Meghan

Wednesday we played a game called Bigger and Better. We started with a penny and had to go up to people and ask them to trade us something either bigger or better than a penny.
Our exchange went something like this:
Penny - new pack of mints - little pink football - a make it yourself sushi kit -
 football helmet - kids footstool - trampoline guard - a bike!

Thursday we went out for ice cream...all of the DLA students.
This means around 100 people in one ice cream store.
 It was packed, to say the least. :)
SO yummy! I had oatmeal cookie ice cream. ;)

Silly boys! Caleb, me, Brenna, and Tucker in the front.