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Learning to swallow the humble pill

Hello there everyone!

Most of you have heard many times from my husband, Brad. This is my first time posting here and most likely will not be my last. That being said I wanted to share a few tidbits the Lord has taught me over the course of this year.

 

As most of you know, at the beginning of 2014 I was very ill for almost three whole months. I was so sick. I thought I might die. I had anxiety that I might just die and no one would notice or even care. Of course it was a completely nonsensical lie that I believed for a chunk of 2013 as well. I thought for sure I would just disappear and no one would miss me. I struggled with the need to be important. If I was not important for absolutely every part of my children’s life and or my husband I might as well have not been important at all.

You know what? I truly thought I had nothing to offer. I spent days in the bed with negative thoughts swirling around in my head. The voices spoke louder. I heard “You are never worthy. You are never good enough. You have not earned your way to be loved. You are not memorable. No one cares about you. ”

I made the mistake of feeding the lies that drove me to a deep selfish and narrow minded idea of who God was. While I was very ill God said “Come to me all who are weary. Come to me all you who are weak. Come to the fountain and dip your heart in the streams of life.” These words came from a favorite worship song I grew up singing. I quickly ignored those words of truth. I became even more ill.

Take a step back and I will tell you I had been praying for God to heal me of the addiction to sugar. I was so addicted I would eat between 2 and 4 chocolate bars a day. It was not only an extra expense it was not in tune with what God wanted for me. The man upstairs let me know He wanted me to stop eating sugar for a short time. It took three months for me to give up sweets for a while. The only way I was able to give up sugar was because I was so ill that the thought of anything but salty crackers might make me become even more ill.

As I would lay in my bed, ill and sick and practically dying I heard His voice again “I am healing you of your addiction to sugar, Michelle. You asked for my help and I am helping. I did not promise this would be easy. But you are being healed and I am here to help you. I am making something new in you. This is for your good, Michelle. I LOVE you.”

One day I began to feel better. I could eat soup and crackers and I did not feel absolutely nauseous afterward. Gradually I got back into eating salad and chicken. Every day I felt stronger and my body was leaning down. Color returned to my face slowly. Then one day I realized I had not had one thought of sugar. One day turned into almost four entire months of no sugar.

Once I realized I had been healed, truly healed, I fell to me knees. God promised something HUGE and He followed through! Then why was I so surprised? Because I did not have the faith He would do what He said He would do. God opened my eyes to how much He cared about ME. He wanted the absolute best for His beautiful daughter. God not only healed me of addiction to sugar, He healed my mindset that I was not important. He surrounded me with scripture, people and words from His own mouth that told me “You are mine. I love YOU. I created YOU for a specific reason. Oh and no you will know every reason I created for you right now. You have a lifetime to learn about me!”

Sometimes the “absolute best” means walking through miry clay and getting stuck in thorny bushes. You get no experience of grace, mercy or healing unless you go through a truly hard time.

This entire year of 2014 has been called “The Year of Healing” for me. God has called me to do some pretty strange things such as leading worship {Which if you knew me you would know singing in front of people, on my own, was not my idea of fun.} Things have changed!

You see, God has healed me, He has humbled me. I am not the same person I was at the beginning of this year. He has made something new in me. It did not come without swallowing many humble pills..but I have a feeling I will be swallowing those for the remainder of my life.

 

 

Chapter 28: Following Christ

“Then He said to them all, ” If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

Luke 9:23

Wow!  Very clearly Christ has invited all of us to serve Him unconditionally.  The number one problem in this world is this:  we are self-centered.  All major issues are driven by selfishness.  Jesus! Fill our hearts, be our desire!  Come Lord Jesus, come!

This last month has been crazy!  Can you believe that we have 8 days left in the month…November is around the corner.  I have already started hearing Christmas music, which can mean one thing.

The year is drawing to a close.

But it’s not over yet!

God is moving in our lives and I cannot wait to see where He takes us.  It is exciting to think about what a limitless God can do when we fully surrender our lives to Him.  I know that He is asking Michelle and I to dream big and trust Him.

God has not yet released us from Poland.  God wants me to work with the coffee community here in Krakow.  God wants Michelle to trust Him with her voice(worship/music).  These are three truths I can say without hesitation or question!  Praise God!  I feel like a child holding my father’s hand.  He is leading us forward, to uncharted territory.  But!  As I look up to His face, I see a captivating smile.  The kind that is expressed with such joy that even the eyes give away the excitement, love and care!  We may not see what lies ahead…but we know that it is wondrous!

I want to take a minute to encourage you.  God reveals truth in our lives and we must pay attention.  Sometimes it is a simple whisper to talk to someone we don’t know.  Often God has given us talents that He wants us to use for His glory.  Maybe he wants you to do mission work over seas?!  Regardless of what God has spoken to you, listen to Him.  God would not ask something of you if He did not have a plan!  God’s will is God’s bill, we are here to serve Him so let us live lives that reflect this!!

Will you take a moment to say a prayer for my family?

-To boldly follow God’s leading

-For wisdom and discernment

-To continue building relationships with our friends here in Poland, and our ability to share Jesus with them!

Will you continue to pray for our friends who recently lost their father?  Not just for strength and wisdom, but also perseverance as they continue to adjust to life after loss.

Pray for our friend?  She is seeking God’s direction in her life, she also has a family member that will soon pass away.  Such a trying time to have pain in the midst of trial.  May God grant her peace!

Praise God!

-The Adams family had a wonderful Gospel Event!  Many are seeking Christ in new ways through the choirs and their concerts!

-For peace in this time of transition.

May God bless you and keep you.  May He be the source of Peace, Comfort, and Joy in your life.  May you seek Him wholly.  Take up your cross, and follow Him.

If we can pray for you, please contact us.  You are not alone!

Ministry: In Detail

When working at Starbucks, as I’ve stated before, I witnessed a diverse community that gathered under one roof.  It seems to be the most diverse place I’ve ever been.  I believe this is why ministry in coffee shops is so vital to the future of the church.  I don’t believe I adequately answered what Coffee Shop ministry looks like, so let me show you some examples.

Let us start with the understanding that their are two points of ministry at coffee shops; behind the counter and in the cafe.  As a Barista, I never dreamed that I would find myself involved with ministry while making coffee.  I don’t know how many times we would find ourselves mid-rush and mid-discussion.  Sometimes our topics would simple, like a new concoction of syrups to add to our coffee, the latest video game that you had to try, the best new release in theaters, or ‘what in the world did that person just order, is it even legal?!’  But more often than not, we would find ourselves waste deep in life.

Some will argue that you can find good conversation at any workplace.  I have found a deeper level at coffee shops.  Maybe its the close space in which we work, the smaller staff to familiarize yourself with, or maybe it is the environment that we work in.  Coffee shops are places of intimate space.  We find the quick responses to why one missed a shift, how school is going, and ‘what’s up?’ are expanded to shift long conversations.  Sometimes we parry ideas, bridge question to meaning, and other times we are just present.

Listening.

Maybe even a shoulder to cry on or another to hug.

I’ve played part of counselor, friend, and pastor.  I’ve discussed what I believe develops successful marriages and relationships, all matters of theology, homosexuality, politics, and life struggles and victories.  All these conversations were discussed in an open dialogue that allowed me to share my beliefs without their being judgment.

Then there is the cafe side of ministry.  This can be to, with or as customers in the coffee shop.

Most of my early ministry at coffee shops, I was apart of a few bible studies that met regularly.  We found the environment to be right for open discussion as well as a pick me up in the early morning.  I thought this was the extent of ministry in the shop (on the customer side), until I arrived at Sweet Surrender.

As a cafe owner/operator:  You need to be invested and involved in your local community/city.  Outreach programs, cleanups, game nights, movie nights, book clubs, presentations from non-profits, workshops on resume building, homeless and lower income initiatives.  Whatever you can to get your customers involved.  Whatever you can do to be present in another persons life.  Whatever you can do to open the door to conversation.

As a customer: You need to take what you love to the coffee shop.  You like to knit, read, edit pictures, play games, hang out, plan stuff, organize events, pray, or breathe.  Take it to the shop.  It is amazing what happens when you live life in the public.  Sure it is not always quiet, not always the best alone time, but you open yourself up to community.  You would be amazed at how many other people are interested in the same thing you are…and how much you have in common with others!

Think about it.  Any and Everything can be ministry.  Get out there and share life with others.  That is what it is all about.  Why not search in the most diverse gathering point you can find?

 

 

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