31 December 2009

Little Things


December 30, 2009 All glory goes to God alone, and here are the means He has used to shape me.
--
All the things that have made a difference in my life:

Parents who prayed for and with me~ When I was younger, I remember waking up and going to sleep to the sound of my parents praying together for all us kids. They took every opportunity to pray with us, whether we were going to church, the store, music lessons, or what have you, first we would always pray. Now they continue to pray for me even though I am out on my own, and whenever I call we always end our conversation in prayer. The little things do make a difference.

Parents who read God's Word to me~ All throughout my school years, my mom would always gather us kids together before a school day and read to us from the Bible. My dad would also take time after dinner to have us get our Bibles and sit and read them together as a family. At a very young age, I saw how important the Word of God was to my parents, and so it became important to me too.

Parents who demonstrated "Tough Love"~ My parents were faithful to discipline and correct me.

A Dad who made me dream~ My dad would always take time to talk to me about what I wanted to do with my life and how I wanted to serve the Lord when I got older. He encouraged me to go out of my comfort zone and reach for the stars. He was always there to give me advice---still is(-:---and help direct me.

A Mom who gave me "Back Scratches"~ I still look forward to “back scratches” from my mom when I go home on leave. She lovingly took care of all us kids and at the end of the day would give us back scratches. She showed us how to serve, to be kind to others, and to live selflessly.

There is so much more I could say, but I shall sum up my thoughts with this:
The little things we do today do make a difference in tomorrow, and little ones do see the little things done and it will impact their tomorrow.

30 December 2009

Pressing Forward

December 30, 2009

God knew I needed to hear my dad’s message on Sunday---when you put your hand to the plow do not look back. God sent His Son into the world to save sinners, and Jesus---the Savior of sinners---has sent us into the world to make Him know. We are His lights in a dark world; we are to be the ones who shine His glory to those who hate Him. We must not shrink back in fear, but go forth in faith. The way is not easy or comfortable but it is the way of Christ---He stands in the midst of the fire and we are called to follow Him.

I was challenged, encouraged, and certainly convicted by my dad’s message. Challenged not to turn back---God is the one who led me to join the Coast Guard and leave family and friends behind for the sake of His name. I am on the Midgett for a reason; He has placed me here to be His light; to point to Him, and make His glory known. I must not look back now that I have put my hand to the plow---I must press on and live by faith.

Encouraged that living for Christ is not easy---I hate being separated from my family, from those I love, but I am encouraged that the pain I feel now is a part of God’s plan to make me more like Christ. I cannot follow Christ just so long as it is easy and comfortable for me---no, I am His and I want to be broken and poured out for Him. It hurts and at times, I cannot take another step, but it is Christ who keeps me going and gives me the strength to take each new step.

Convicted that I should not just stop at “not turning back”, but I should ever be pressing forward---I am back in Seattle, but it would be very easy to live half heartily and shrink back from serving the Lord by living in the “what ifs” and “if onlys” of life. I must not just be here on the Midgett, but I must put all of my heart into the work of the Lord---shining His glory here on the Midgett. I must not live in the shadows of my fears and sorrows, but I must live in the shadow of the cross of Christ reflecting the glory of the Lord.

Jim Elliot put it well, “Wherever you are, be all there.” This is my aim and goal to be all here on the Midgett, shining Christ to the people around me. This is my mission---pray for me.

Back to Work

December 30, 2009

Well, I made it back to Seattle on the 28th. God certainly blessed me with a refreshing time home with my family. He is the One who worked everything out so I could be home for Christmas---I am so overwhelmed by His kindness in giving me such a wonderful surprise. Now I am back to work on my quals, and I am determined to finish getting all the sign offs I need the rest of this week and take my board next week. I become overwhelmed by it all so quickly, but I must remember to work hard and leave the results in Gods hands---Work Hard & Trust God. I’ll get qualified in His good time.

Yesterday I was on duty. We scrubbed one of the weather decks on the outside of the Midgett with “rust be gone”, sanded, and did some priming. I had a great time listening to some of my dad’s messages that I had downloaded. You can’t beat working out in the fresh air while listening to messages from God’s word! I am truly blessed.

28 December 2009

The Gift~By Bethany & Rachael Waite

(This is a story my two little sisters wrote and gave me for my birthday...it's amazing! So sit back, enjoy, and learn.)

There once was a noble ruler who lived very far away. Solomon, for that was his name, had planted a beautiful garden full of tiny flowers and magnificent trees. This ruler was preparing a place in his wonderful house for a little girl that he was adopting as his child. Her name was Johannahtu. Her golden hair that shone was pulled back into a small braid, freckles dotted her nose and her dark brown eyes sparkled. Solomon loved her and they spent many happy days playing in the garden together.

“Father?” Johannahtu asked one day. “why can’t we go into the forest?” (For a forest surrounded the garden) Solomon looked down at her and answered. “Because there are things in the forest that can hurt you. Promise me that you will never go there.”

One night an evil enemy came from the forest. The evil band of men planted poisonous seeds throughout the garden. “Hurry!” Shouted the leader of the men. “They can’t stop us now! We will win and all this land will be ours.” They did their work and ran off into the shadows of the woods. But, through a window in the house above the garden, was Solomon who had seen everything that had happened.

In the morning Johannahtu jumped out of bed and ran for the door. “Wait a minute young lady. Where are you going in such a rush?” Solomon said in a laugh as he caught her in mid-run. “To get some flowers from the garden, to put on the table for breakfast.” Johannahtu replied. Solomon looked out the window at the garden then back at Johannahtu. He smiled at her and picked her up and sat both of them down on a comfortable sofa. “There’s something I need to tell you first.” Johannahtu looked at him with her full attention, for she sensed concern in his voice. “Our garden is no longer safe. An enemy came and planted bad things in the garden to try to hurt you.” “Does that mean we can’t play in the garden any more?” Johannahtu asked sadly. Solomon smiled at his daughter who was almost in tears. “We will still go out to the garden; but, it will not be like before.”

Solomon looked straight into Johannahtu’s eyes. “You must always stay close to me… always. If you stay with me, these things will not hurt you. ”

Days went by and the garden slowly changed from it’s perfect beauty to a tainted beauty as a result of the ugly and dangerous plants that had started to grow.

One day Solomon and Johannahtu were taking a walk in the garden. “I miss the way the garden first was,” Johannahtu sighed. Solomon looked over the garden and breathed in the sweet air from the aroma that the garden still brought and then replied to his daughter. “One day I will fix our land. It’ll be good again, like it used to be, only more so.” Johannahtu looked up at her father and asked, “When father, when?” “Soon, Johannahtu.” Solomon said calmly. “But, when’s soon?” Johannahtu pleaded. “I call all time soon.” Solomon said looking back down at his daughter with a smile.

As more time went by the poisonous plants were taking over the garden. Johannahtu shuddered as she and her father passed the horrid things, but even in the midst of it all Solomon and Johannahtu still had fun. There was still beautiful flowers for Johannahtu to pick as well and that was the exact thing she was doing that afternoon. Her hand grasped around several tiny blossoms when something else caught her eye. It was a flower that she had never seen before. Johannahtu looked up at Solomon and he squeezed her hand, then she whispered. “I’ll be right back.” Then she slipped her hand out of her father’s grip and ran after the beautiful plant she saw. When she first saw the plant it seemed so close, but the farther she went the farther it seemed to go. Johannahtu looked back and saw Solomon in the distance beckoning to her. She said again under her breath. “I’ll be right back.- I’ll keep you in my sight,” Then she went on. When she finally got to what she wanted she stared at the delicate yellow petals that opened up like a golden trumpet which was attached to one of the enormous and dangerous plants she had seen many times before. (but her father had always been with her when they passed them.) She looked back again to see where her father was, but all she saw was garden and all that was in it. Johannahtu started to panic she couldn’t see her father, what would she do? What way would she go to get back home? But, like before she turned her attention back to the plant. She wanted the flower terribly, it was so tempting. She thought she could reach it without getting hurt by the ugly thorns that surrounded it. She reached her small arm up to the dazzling blossom, when her fingertips hardly touched one of the flower petals she gasped in pain and grabbed her hand and drew it back to herself. She looked down at her fingers, they were bleeding. What Johannahtu didn’t know was, that the small blossom was covered with poisonous stickers that couldn’t be seen. They were more deadly than the big ones that grew everywhere else. Johannahtu’s fingers throbbed in pain, faintness came, she fell to the ground from the aches that swept over her body. All at once she realized what she had done. “You must stay by my side” Solomon’s words echoed through her mind. She had left her father’s side and now how hopelessly lost she was without anyone to help her, or so she thought. As she lay there scared and alone everything started to fade then it all went blank. But someone was coming to rescue her, who knew all along what she had done and he was coming, even before she knew she needed help. Then a shadow was over her little body and there stood Solomon her father. He gently picked her up and carried her to the house and laid her on his bed. Her face was pale.

The poison from the plant was in her blood and it was quickly taking her life. The only way to save her was if someone pressed their own blood where she had been pierced, so that the good blood would cover the wound and heel it. That was the only way. It would get rid of the poison in her but it would enter the one who gave the blood.

Solomon reached and grabbed a knife and he quickly cut his hand. As the scarlet blood oozed out, he placed his hand on Johannahtu’s fingers. The poison quickly went into Solomon. Suddenly, Solomon became pale, his strength turned to weakness as he fell to the ground. Johannahtu’s eyes fluttered opened and she felt the pain leave her as quickly as it came. But pain struck her again as she looked over the bed and saw her father. The one who had loved her to the end, even when she had left him. She slipped off the bed and fell on Solomon’s chest and wept. Johannahtu grasped for father’s callused hand and then gazed at both of their hands. They were both stained with blood. She looked closely at the scar on her father’s hand and then at her own, the blood on it was not coming from her, she covered in her father’s blood. Once Solomon’s slow and heavy breaths stopped Johannatu cried out and wept all the more. All that night she cried and clung to father, but in the morning she woke up and was surprisingly shocked that he was not there. Johannahtu rubbed her puffy red eyes as more tears fell down her face as she remembered what had happened the day before. She heard someone’s foot steps coming which stopped at the door. Then she heard a voice, “Why are you crying Johannahtu?” Johannahtu turned her head toward the door and she saw through her tears a blurry image, which she thought was one of the house servants. “Why did you take him away?” Johannahtu asked in a whisper. Then the man in the doorway put on a huge smile and said, “Johannahtu, look Johannahtu.” Johannahtu sat up and wiped her eyes with her apron and then she saw what she had been longing for. It was Solomon!

“Father!” Johannahtu cried out as she ran into his open arms. “But how are you here? What happened, I thought you were dead?” Johannahtu questioned. Solomon looked into his daughter’s sparkling eyes and answered. “Death is not more powerful than me, Johannahtu.” Johannahtu laid her head down on Solomon’s firm shoulders and whispered in between her sniffles. “Do you still love me father?” Solomon smiled and said. “Nothing you do will make me stop loving you child.” “I’m sorry father, oh, please, please forgive me.” Johannahtu shut her eyes tight and waited for her father’s response.

Solomon put his scarred hand on Johannahtu and spoke gently.

“I already have.”



























26 December 2009

Overwhelmed




December 25, 2009

I am completely overwhelmed by the blessings God has given me. He is so kind and worked it out for me to come home for Christmas to see my family. Not only that, but He also allowed me to get an earlier flight from Seattle so that I arrived in New Mexico ten hours earlier than I expected. Oh, how wonderful it has been to spend time with my family---to play with my little siblings, catch up with my two brothers in the Army, and be with my parents. I was not supposed to be home this Christmas, but God gave me a wonderful surprise!

I have had so much fun sledding with my siblings, playing the guitar, seeing my friends, playing hide and go seek with my little brother and sisters, baking cookies, relaxing, and just being HOME. God is very gracious and I praise Him for this blessing---I am completely overwhelmed!

But it only gets better…because no blessings I have already mentioned can compare to the greatest gift God gave that first Christmas day---His only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus has saved me and now I am a child of God! I am hidden in Christ---He is always with me. This gift fills my heart with inexpressible joy day after day. God is with me! I am saved! I am a child of God! I do not deserve this great gift from God, but He has given it to me anyway---what a God I serve!

18 December 2009

Perspective


December 17, 2009 Right now I am tucked away in my rack, enjoying my nice, warm sleeping bag. I thought I would take a few moments to write down my thoughts before turning in for the night. Oh, how I love these quiet moments of the day when I can look back and see what God is doing in my life and teaching me. Today I have been on duty. This morning I sanded and stood watch; later I helped tape off and paint the 01 Deck [second story, outside passageway of the Midgett]. What a beautiful view we had of the lights of downtown Seattle as we painted in the dark, finishing up our last tasks of the day. People pay money for such a view, and here we got to enjoy it while being paid! Life is all about our perspective, whether we look at it from God’s perspective or not makes all the difference in the world. I know God has placed me here in Seattle on the Midgett for such a time as this, yet at times I doubt whether He really has a purpose and plan for me. I struggle with my circumstances and instantly forget that His ways are not my ways and that the road heavenward is not an easy one. When I run into difficulties and challenges that overwhelm me I easily forget to keep my eyes fixed on Christ and instead gaze upon the surging waves. However when I look at my life from God’s eyes it looks much different. Yes I may be struggling and hurting, but it’s for a reason and my response should not be a critical complaining spirit but a joyful and submissive one. I should not follow Christ just so far as the road is smooth and painless; no I must follow on wherever He leads.

Another Day

December 15, 2009

Only six more days and I’ll be home, Lord willing! I am so excited that I get to be home with my loved ones to celebrate Christmas. I am looking forward to seeing my parents and my siblings---what a wonderful week it shall be! God is so kind in giving me this opportunity---I aim to make the most of every moment and cram in as much as I can.

Today I sanded the stanchions [guard rails] on the 01 deck and started priming them. We have pretty much completed all the big projects on the boat and are just working on little jobs here and there. I am so happy to be done with my fire main drawing---I still have to get it signed off, but that shouldn’t be too hard. It’s taken me lots of hours of work, but soon it will be behind me. God so graciously helps me daily with my qualifications. I start worrying and He gently reminds me to put my trust in Him and not rely upon my own wisdom and strength. He will help me accomplish the challenges I have ahead of me.

A Little Thought

December 15, 2009

God overwhelms my heart with His faithfulness each new day as He continues to work in my life, transforming me to be more like Christ. He is in control of every detail of my life---the big and little ones---and is bringing about His plans in His perfect time. I am comforted by the peace He bestows to me in turmoil, the joy He fills my heart with amidst sadness, the strength He supplies me in weakness, the courage He gives me when I am afraid, and the love He lavishes upon me because of Christ. I am anchored in the cross, hidden in Christ, held by God’s grace, and unwavering in my confidence that God is faithful and good---in Him I will glory all my days!

Faithful to Inflict

December 13, 2009


I wanted to share some verses I read this morning that stuck out to me. Psalm 119:75b-76: “In faithfulness You have afflicted me. May Your unfailing love be my comfort according to Your promise to Your servant.”
When I am going through tough times, hard challenges, and difficult situations I can be sure that God is faithfully afflicting me. He is holding me in the fire and refining me and making me more like Christ. God is not One who sees His children hurting and comes to comfort and help them through their pain---no, He inflicts His children with pain, suffering, hardship, etc. in His faithfulness. He uses these hard things as tools to shape and mold us into the likeness of His Son. It may be a painful process, but a beautiful product will be the end result. I am challenged and challenge all who read this that when you are facing difficult days and situations in which you wish God would ease the pain and make life easier, cease striving [be still] and know that God knows what He is doing. The hands that hold you in the flames---that inflict awful pain---are pierced. He knows depths of pain we will never come close to…He loves us and gives us only what is best. So rejoice! Rejoice in God…that He is faithful to inflict.

10 December 2009

Thoughts for Today


December 10, 2009

Today I did some more sewing. God continually fills my heart with joy in knowing Him---Praise His name! I had a fun night last night with some of my friends from church. We had a movie/game night---it was a blast! God has blessed me tremendously---He has made me His child and saved me. Knowing Christ and being hidden in Him is awesome…the greatest blessing and gift ever! He has blessed me with friends at church who encourage me in my faith, friends on the Midgett whom I can share my faith with, family and friends back home who support me in prayer, awesome care packages and letters, coffee at Seattle’s Best, sunny days and cloudy days, food, clothing, and the highlight of my month---going home for Christmas! I serve an awesome God who is great and greatly to be praised. Not just because He gives me such wonderful blessings, but because everything He sends into my life is a blessing---for His glory and my good…even when it hurts. I will count my blessings today and not leave any out---the good and the bad because in the Lord they are all good.

Praise the Lord!

December 9, 2009

Today the sun shone brightly and the sky was clear, but was it cold! The temperatures were too low to paint, so all us deckies kept busy doing other odd jobs here and there. I helped sew chaffing gear to our new lines [ropes that tie us to the pier]. The chaffing gear was old fire hoses that we replaced with new ones. I enjoyed a change from painting and sanding, but my hands got so cold and I could hardly feel my toes! God gave me a smile though and strengthened me through it…I even had fun as I sat sewing and freezing!

The highlight of my day was calling my family who just got back from a mission trip to Africa and catching up with them. Oh, it was so good to hear their voices and hear some of what God taught them and how He worked in and through them while they were on their trip.

God is so awesome and continually reminds me of how amazing it is to know Him. What a joy and pleasure it is to be His child! By grace I have been saved…it is all of Christ. He fills my heart with joy and gladness---He is my dearest friend. He has blessed me beyond my wildest imagination. Praise the Lord---O praise the Lord!

04 December 2009

Fun Times!

December 4, 2009

Another week has flown by. Work has been fun, challenging, and awesome this week. Yesterday I worked up on the stacks, wiping down and painting. I felt like I was getting ready to go rock climbing because I had to get in a harness and climb way up to the top of the Midgett. So here I was dangling over the side of the stack with my harness and a flimsy board to stand on. I am definitely making some head way in overcoming my fear of heights!

Then today I was up on top again just below the stacks, painting the top of the hanger---clipped in with my harness. Good thing too because at one point I slid down the side and was just chilling there for a while enjoying the view! I couldn’t really go anywhere until someone came to help me down with a ladder. Fun times!

God has sustained me this week with His grace and filled my heart to overflowing with His joy. I just can’t help but smile as I am painting and working because I am hidden in Christ and He loves me! He is holding me and giving me strength. He is awesome!

So as I close my blog post for this first week of December, I thought I’d end on a funny note. So most everyone who knows me knows how much I disdain animals especially dogs. Well, good news for all you animals lovers out there---the Coast Guard has changed my mind on this subject and I just can’t wait until I can get myself a dog of my own(-: It won’t be for a very long time, but someday…
Keep in mind though, I still do not consider myself to be an “animal lover” but I am looking forward to having a dog of my very own to take care of someday.

01 December 2009

Closing Thoughts for November 2009

November 30, 2009

The last day of November 2009 has finally come and is almost past. Time just speeds away, but there are moments when I feel like some weeks and days drag on forever. I suppose that is just the way life is. As a follower of Christ, I am here on the earth for His honor and glory, and I should be making the most of every opportunity.

My day was fun and filled with sanding and painting again. It is amazing how God sends beautiful sunshine into my soul on grey, cloudy days. He gives me a smile on my face and a song in my heart---He is awesome! After work I took off downtown for some exercise, coffee, and e-mail. Now I am back on the boat, waiting for dinner. Then it will be back to work, studying and going hard at my qualifications.

Today as I look back over my weekend and what God is doing in my life, I just stand in awe of His faithfulness and love. I am so weak and so faithless, but He holds me still---He is constantly at work in my life even when I don’t realize it. He is with me so I will not fear. I may live in a dark place and be surrounded by people whose lives reflect the darkness, but I know the Light of the World---I know Jesus and He is with me always. The very reason God has placed me here is because it’s a dark place and I am to shine the light of Christ here. May I live every moment in such a way that everyone who passes by me will stop and wonder why I can be joyful when I’m painting, happy when I am on watch, smiling when it’s 8pm and we’re still working out, and working hard when others are slacking off. I want to point to Christ here on the Midgett. I am not my own---I was bought with a price---I will glorify God.

28 November 2009

A Chance Encounter? Never!


November 28, 2009

Wow! I have just had an amazing, crazy morning like never before. God certainly is not a God of coincidence, but plans and purposes everything that takes place in our lives. He is strategically placing us where He wants us in order to bring Him honor and glory. So let me share with you my story, which is really just a small part of His story. May Jesus receive all of the praise and glory for He alone deserves it.

I woke up this morning and decided to spend my day off playing my guitar at the park in downtown Seattle, and then maybe go get coffee at the library or something like that; but God had something else in mind for me today. I made it to the park, got out my guitar, and started playing a little. Well, a guy with a guitar of his own came up to me and asked me what kind of guitar I had, which struck up a conversation about what kind of music I played. I showed him some of the songs I was playing---some of Mark’s music that I had printed at the library a couple days ago---and we started talking about Jesus and God’s Word.

He told me he had just got off the phone with His mom who was trying to get Him to become a Christian and how he just was not buying into it. So we started talking about Jesus. I shared with him that God’s Word is truth and that Jesus was the only one who could fill the empty void in his life. He started telling me his story. He had gotten into drugs and was battling addiction, he just got out of jail not too long ago, he was trying to get clean, but had just had a drug relapse and nearly died from an overdose the night before. So here I was sitting with this guy wondering what in the world am I doing---this sure is not the safest way to spend my Saturday; but God had placed me here on this bench with this lost, hurting young man who needed Jesus in his life. And so I sat there with Him, praying and pleading with God to work in his heart. This was definitely a God thing!

At first, he argued with what I was saying, but as our conversation continued on things seemed to start sinking into his heart. At one point, I just looked at Him and told Him point blank: “You need Jesus. He’s the only One who will fill the emptiness in your life.” And he agreed. The drugs only left Him emptier after each high. I prayed with Him and committed him to Christ. I gave him my little New Testament to read and told him I’d be praying for him---He wanted me to tell my family so that they’d be praying for Him as well. We were about to part ways when he asked if I’d go with him to his drugs anonymous meeting, which was just up the street a ways. For a second I was thinking, “Man what would my family and friends say if they saw me now---throwing caution to the wind.” But I also thought of Jesus, coming to earth and going to the sinners---identifying with the lost. So I prayed in my heart asking God for wisdom, discernment, and courage to be Christ to this young man. On the way, he called his mom and started telling her all about it. Then he handed me the phone and told me she wanted to talk to me.

She told me that she had prayed me up this morning, and had asked God to send someone into her son’s life who would point Him to Christ. She said it sure was not a coincidence and that she thanked God for me. I was just amazed at what God was doing---completely shocked and excited about the work I was seeing Him do right in front of me.

I went to the meeting with Daniel and listened as they had their sharing time---many drug addicts shared about their struggles. Near the close, Daniel raised his hand and started sharing about how he needed help. He told them about his relapse into drugs and asked for help. Then He started talking about the coincidences of the morning, which weren’t really coincidences in his mind anymore. How his mom had talked to him about Jesus and then someone in the park. I was just exploding inside at the next thing he said. He continued on saying that now he believed in Jesus. How awesome! Praise God!

I do believe Daniel’s confession was genuine, but I know he has a rough road ahead of Him. Please pray for him as He presses on, and pray for me to know how to help him. He wants to come to church with me sometime so I hope to get him linked up with one of the men at my church. I am just blown away by what has happened today---God is truly awesome in how He brings us to Himself.

Trials

November 27, 2009

God does not send trials and suffering into our lives for no reason; everything has a purpose. He sends both rain and sunshine upon the earth to accomplish their assigned purposes, and He also sends both hardship and happiness into our lives to bring about His sovereign plan. It is not always for us to know why God does what He does, but we should joyfully submit to His will and persevere through trials, counting it all joy. Yet This is very difficult to do; but as I look back over my life, I also realize that it is from the depth of my soul’s agony that the beauty of Christ-like character blossoms. God’s refining fire purifies my heart and purges deep within my soul, causing intense pain as He holds me in the flames. I cry out and long for relief, but God’s love for me is so great that He does not cease from His perfect work.

27 November 2009

I Give Thanks to You!



November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Prayer


Precious Savior, I give thanks to You for Your abundant love. You endured the pain and agony of Calvary so that I might be free. You experienced the greatest pain and loneliness---You bore God’s wrath---so that I could draw near to You. You have given me life---abundant life!

I give thanks to You for Your constant care and strength that You supply me with when I am weak, for Your endless mercies, and Your awesome friendship. You are my greatest treasure and my joy throughout the day. Every moment is better because You are with me ever leading me heavenward.

I give thanks to You for friends and family who support me in prayer and who have invested so much in my life. I thank You for the parents You gave me to raise me in Your ways and teach me to follow hard after You. I thank You for siblings who encourage me on after You and remind me to keep my gaze fixed on the cross. I thank You for dear friends who constantly urge me on in my race.

I give thanks to You Almighty God for the struggles and trials You send into my life. I thank You for the challenges and difficulties. I thank You for the Midgett and the challenges I face here. Your hand is in this and You are the one guiding me. I trust in You and look to You. I thank You for the loneliness, for the homesickness, I thank You for the hurting, and the pain. Oh, Savior, I praise You for the joys and sorrows, for the pleasure and pain, for the trials and triumphs, and for the delights and difficulties. You are awesome and I will trust in You. Blessed be Your name! I will give thanks to You---for You are good; Your love endures forever!

Pressing On


November 25, 2009

God has truly blessed me with another wonderful day. I got to go downtown and play my guitar and enjoy some coffee. Yet amidst these blessings my heart still struggles with great homesickness at times. My soul is tossed and thrown about by the seas of this life and terror and fear clench my heart, but Christ is always present---always holding me through each struggle and through each pain. The blessings God bestow are not always beautiful in themselves; but by and by in His good time, He will show us His beauty through them.

I am challenged right now to constantly fix my gaze upon the beauty of the Lord as I am hurting and feeling weighed down by struggles. He is my treasure and in Him I have salvation---I have hope! He is a rock and a refuge to those who call upon His name. These little sufferings I am experiencing now are of no comparison of the joy and happiness I’ll have someday in glory when I see my Savior face to face. Until then I must run this race God has placed me on with all I’ve got in Christ’s strength and for His glory.

My heart may hurt now, but one day I’ll be home. Time may seem long now, but really it will only feel like a blink and I’ll be in the presence of the Lord. He has placed me upon this earth for a reason and so I will press on. He upholds me and sustains me with His grace.

24 November 2009

Thanksgiving


November 22, 2009

I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner. I have so much to rejoice and give thanks to God for…I am blessed beyond measure. True I will not be with friends and family per se this Thanksgiving and I’ll also be on duty, but as I was thinking about this earlier I realized that I will not be alone. My dear heavenly Father is always with me and my best friend ever---Jesus Christ---is always with me. He has blessed me abundantly this year, and I will rejoice in Him.

I give thanks to You, O God! You are awesome and beautiful; You are my greatest treasure and pleasure in life. I thank You that You have placed me on the Midgett, that You are taking me through difficult days, and that You are faithfully making me more and more like Your Son. I thank You for the joys and sorrows, for the sun and the rain, and for carrying me through it all. I thank you for the joy You put into my heart. Your love is better than life! I thank You for all the blessings You pour out upon me, but most of all I thank You for Jesus Christ---for the salvation I have in Him. I stand in grace with the hope of eternal life before me. Blessed be Your name!

All in All

November 22, 2009

Perhaps one of the hardest, but sweetest lessons God is teaching me right now is that He is all I need. As He had been removing all the crutches I have leaned on for support over the years, He is teaching my heart to echo what Paul wrote to the Philippians: “I count everything loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord….” Apart from Christ life is empty---everything is empty apart from Christ---but my wayward heart clings to its crutches. Praise God that He is faithful to make me like His Son---that He stripes me of comfort and my earthly all so that I find my all in Him alone.

The joy of the Lord strengthens me and His presence causes me to persevere through all circumstances. I am loved by the Creator of the universe, the Almighty God, the Savior of sinners---and in His hands I will find rest.

21 November 2009

The Cross Before Me

November 20, 2009

The weekend has arrived! I am still on duty until tomorrow morning, but I am looking forward to a little break from work so I can get some of my own work done on my qualifications. Today I mostly stood watch and made security rounds. I am planning to venture out into Seattle tomorrow for a while and then do some hardcore drawing---I have to complete a set of drawings (diagrams) of the different pipe systems running through the ship. It boggles my brain and that is for sure!

God is continually teaching me and reteaching me such timeless lessons here on the Midgett---lessons like working hard, trusting in Him, rejoicing in sadness, clinging to Him, and the list goes on. I serve a faithful God who is faithful in keeping His word of transforming me into the likeness of His Son. He chips, chisels, hammers, and sands me to make me who He wants me to be---a painful process, but a beautiful product will be the end result. I want to be like Jesus and I want my life to be a fragrant offering to my Lord. His grace sustains me and upholds me as I press onward with the cross always before me.

JOY

November 19, 2009

Today was a counting day---lots of inventory! It was a fun break from the sanding and painting I have been doing the past several weeks. I cannot write it down enough just how awesome God is in blessing me with His joy throughout my day. He puts a song in my heart and a smile on my face as I go about my tasks. Oh, how great is the Lord!

Now I am taking a break to do some writing and reading---good old R & R. The rest of the night I plan on getting some studying done towards my qualifications. I do get so overwhelmed at times about all I need to get done on my quals, but God has blessed me so much in giving me great parents, siblings, and friends who help me press on and take one day at a time. God is going to get me through and it is with Him that I shall do valiantly.

I am reminded often as I go throughout my days that following after Christ is not easy, but the joy of running after Him is endless. So I will run hard after my Lord for His glory and my joy that others may see and know that Christ is the Almighty God---Maker of heaven and earth.

18 November 2009

Work---With A Purpose

November 18, 2009

Whew! I am feeling worn ragged and it’s only Wednesday! Yesterday I had a very long work day---basically from 7am-12am. The boatswain’s mates on this cutter are relentless! At times I feel about ready to pop like a stretched out rubber band, but God sustains me moment by moment and gives me the strength I need. I’ve been learning a lot about work and worship---how they’re not two different acts done in different places and different clothes. Rather as a follow of Christ I should be living my life as a continuous act of worship---whatever I am doing, I should be doing it unto the Lord.

God is stretching me like never before; constantly challenging me in new ways and in ways I don’t like to be challenged. He loves me enough though to put me through pain so that I am refined and transformed into Christ’s image. I should not just look at work as “work” but as the opportunity that God is giving me to be made more like Christ, be a living testimony of how great God is by the way I work, and the very thing God is using to prepare me for going into missions. I struggle, but God is greater than my struggles. I am weak, but His grace is all I need. He is with me so I will not fear.

This is the battle I face momentarily---fighting for joy in Christ as I work and am far away from family. At times I don’t think I can go on and in fact would rather not go on, but Christ is faithful when I am faithless and does not leave me alone. He comforts me and holds me by His grace.

So today as I was sorting and resorting what seemed to be a million float jackets and moving them here and there, God gave me joy. I struggled, but He held me and brought me through the day. I pray that I pointed others to Christ as I worked today---He is the reason I am here. So I do have a purpose to the seemingly pointless work I am instructed to do. The biggest complaint I hear from other Seaman is that the boatswain’s mates have us do pointless work just to keep us busy---but I am not working pointlessly. I have a purpose in my work---a purpose from God. So I will not just work to get by, I will work with a purpose and do my best even when I am tired and weary---pray for me in this. God has placed me here on the Midgett to be Christ to these people. They need Him desperately and I am here to make Him known. I am here to glorify my Lord to this end I will labor. I am never just doing a pointless task---I always have a purpose in whatever I am doing because God has a purpose for it all.

Worship

November 16, 2009

Today was the start of another work week. I woke up bright and early, perhaps wishing I had had a few extra minutes to sleep, but ready to hit the day hard nonetheless. The Deck Force mustered in the Boatswains hole and then we began our day from 7am to 1pm. I did a whole lot of sanding…power tools are always fun to work with!

As I was sanding today, I was thinking about what a dull, boring, and mundane job I was doing. My life as a seaman---for however long that I’ll be here on the Midgett---will consist of sanding and painting and some more sanding. But my thoughts did not stop there…

As Believers we are to live every day worshiping the Lord…not just on Sunday at church, but everyday of the week in everything that we do. So as I sanded away, I was challenged to not just make it through my sanding and get through my workday and have it behind me, but to worship the Lord and enjoy Him as I sanded. Just because I am working does not mean I cannot delight and worship Christ, and in fact I should be worshiping Christ as I am working---whatever I do, I should be doing it unto the Lord in a heart of genuine worship.

Christ is my greatest treasure and if this is true it will reflect in the way I treat others, talk, act, think, and work. So today I was not just sanding---I was worshiping Jesus---and it made for an awesome work day. I may have been covered in dust, wearing funny-looking ear protection, and running a sander; but my heart was overflowing with joy from the Lord as I treasured worshiped Him.

So today do not just live life, getting by while dragging your feet along; but rather worship the Lord in whatever you are doing and glorify His name. Worship is not just singing to the Lord or going to church on Sunday, it is not always an exciting experience per se, but worship is pouring out one’s soul to the Lord day by day and step by step---treasuring Him and finding His love better than life. The smile turned heavenward during a difficult task, the heart quietly rejoicing in the Lord through turmoil, and the weary soul waiting in hope for the Lord are all ways we worship throughout the day. May your work place be transformed as You not only work but worship the Lord in all that you do.

15 November 2009

Lessons From Hannah

November 15, 2009

God has truly blessed me today with time worshiping Him at church. Oh, how refreshing it is to sing praises to God with fellow Believers and hear the Word taught. In Sunday school I was challenged by our study in 1 Samuel. We were going over the story of Hannah when she gave Samuel back to the Lord and the prayer she prayed before leaving him with Eli. Her prayer is amazing and what makes it more amazing to me is that she prayed as she is about to part with her beloved son. Yes, she had promised the Lord to give him back, but still the pain had to rip her heart to pieces at the thought of leaving Her son. However she joyfully surrendered to the Lord and treasured Him above her earthly longings and desires. I want to have such a genuine faith exemplified in my life as well that when I am going through difficulty I turn to the Lord in joyful worship. I want to treasure Him above all things and count all as loss compared to His worth. So today I rejoice in my Lord and Savior…I rejoice even in hard times…I rejoice because I am in Christ and I am held by grace.

Not Home Yet

November 14, 2009

Today has been tough, and I have struggled fighting for joy in Jesus Christ. My desire and longing is to be completely satisfied in Christ, but it is a struggle and battle that is not easy to fight. I have been missing my family a whole lot lately and finding it hard to press on in my new life on the Midgett. At times things seem so dark and cloudy and the beauty of sunshine and light seem to have disappeared.

God is not absent though even when I feel discouraged. No, He is right here at my side, carrying me through every difficulty. He knows that this is best and He loves me enough to put me through tough experiences so that I come closer to Him.

So right now as my heart feels heavy and burdened, I quietly submit to God’s will and surrender my longings for home and familiarity for the road that God has deemed best. I press on for His glory not my comfort. He shall sustain me and uphold me. In my weakness His strength will be seen, in my sadness His joy will be made known, and in my loneliness His friendship will become ever dearer to my heart. He is my all in all---He is my treasure. May I live these short moments of life in light of eternity. I am not home yet.

Heavy Blessings

November 13, 2009

Today I was thinking and wondering how Christians should deal with disappointment in a way that honors and glorifies Christ. I know we all face disappointments in some shape or form and I am sure we would all agree that we do not like them. However, even though we do not enjoy disappointments how can we respond to them so that God is glorified the most?

I was thinking about this today because I had some disappointments myself---a big one and a little one. My big disappointment is the coming realization that Christmas is coming soon and I am 99.9% sure that I will not be able to come home for Christmas. I am going to miss out on seeing my two brothers who are in the Army, I will miss seeing my other little siblings, my parents, and my church family. So I was thinking and wondering how to deal with this disappointment in a godly way.

I came to the conclusion that I have to remember that God is the one in control of every day of my life---He’s the one writing my life’s story. All of my days are written in His book before they come to pass so I must trust Him and what He is doing in my life. He knows what is best and I must rest in His will. The other thing that has helped me deal with my disappointment is by rejoicing in the Lord---thanking Him for all the blessings He gives me even the heavy, difficult ones like not going home for Christmas.

My small disappointment happened while I was tuning my new guitar. I was having a tough time tuning it because I did not have a good tuner and one of my strings popped. I had been so excited about playing it after a long time without a guitar and now here I was going to have to wait until I could order some more strings.

I find that it doesn’t matter if it is a small disappointment or a big one, we must deal with them the same way. Disappointments can become joy stealers if we let them, but if we fix our eyes upon the Lord we can turn them into a reason to thank and praise the Lord. He has a reason for everything and though we do not know all the “whys” we know the one who does. Trust the Lord and rejoice in Him through disappointments. Do not become discouraged and bitter, but let your heart be filled with thanksgiving to our all-knowing, loving heavenly Father.

Lost In Christ

November 12, 2009

Life can be very confusing and it is so easy to distort the truth with half-truths, white lies, and deception. As Christians, our spiritual lives are just as confusing and it is easy for us to become discouraged and depressed from our circumstances, because of our sin, and because of a million other reasons. The road we are walking is not easy---the journey heavenward is steep and not many travel upon this path. If you are struggling, weary of battling sin, discouraged because you do not see yourself making any progress in your faith, tired of pressing on, and just worn out then come take a walk with me---you are not alone---but I will warn you now, we might get lost…

Just imagine a steep rocky path, leading up to a mount prepared for the condemned who are carrying their own crosses. Upon this path stumbles one who is marred beyond recognition; blood dripping down his face and body from awful beatings. He makes it to the place of execution with the help of a bystander who was ordered to assist him with his cross. He is than nailed to the cross and left to hang upon it and die. The death of the accursed endured by the perfect Lamb of God.

We are not done yet, though, because as bad as the physical suffering this man has already endured is---His suffering gets much worse. His Father whom He loves turns away and forsakes Him because the man took upon Himself our sin. His Father can no longer look upon Him because He became sin for us. Instead, the Father pours out all His wrath and anger upon the man, punishing Him for our sin. This man---Jesus---drank the bitter cup that should have been ours.

And now here is where we become lost…we are lost in Christ. Because now when God sees us He does not see us---He sees Christ. He sees the righteousness that Jesus gave us in exchange for our sin. We are completely hidden and lost in Christ. We will never lose our salvation because our salvation depends upon Christ not ourselves. God sees Christ when He looks at us.

So when you are discouraged about your faith take heart…you are lost in Christ. When you sin, repent and remember that God will forgive you and loves you because you are lost in Christ. When He looks at you, He sees Christ because we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Nothing depends upon us and our effort everything depends and rests in the work that Jesus accomplished at Calvary. We are lost in Christ, hidden in Him. What joy and gladness this will bring to heavy hearts because the salvation we have is not based on works but on grace---the grace of God.

12 November 2009

Power Tools!

November 11, 2009

I had another fun-filled day on the Midgett. I was really feeling the power as I used a needle gun to chip away at some paint. This was a momentous day because it was the first time I have ever used a needle gun or really any power tool for that matter. It was fun!

Tonight (or perhaps tomorrow morning is more precise) I have in port security watch from 4am to 8am…fun stuff! I’m looking forward to it even though it cuts away at my beauty sleep. It will be another new challenge and experience.

God has truly blessed me abundantly today. He has showered me with His love and strength, and put joy into my heart. Oh, how I miss being around Believers who love the Lord, but Christ sustains me and is my closest friend. Even though I am lonely for Believers, He blesses me with unbelieving friends whom I can share my faith with. Pray for me that I do just that…be a bold, courageous, discerning witness of Christ.

I come away from this day knowing and believing with all my heart that God does all things well. I struggle (and will continue to struggle) but God is all I need. He does all things well---everything He brings into my life is for a reason and is good in light of eternity. I will press on today, trusting in my precious Lord and Savior.

10 November 2009

Ever Seen Food Fly? # 9



November 9, 2009

Oh how very nice it is to be relaxing in my rack back in the grand city of Seattle! We pulled in to port around 3pm today after some smooth, fast sailing the day before. I do not know if it was the fact that we were going so fast or the seas got worse last night, but whatever it was I could hardly get a wink of sleep. The Midgett would roll one way and I’d be up against the wall. Then the it would be tossed the other way and I’d nearly be flying out of my rack! I could find a good position to get in that kept me from rolling around all over the place, but at least I was not sea sick. This morning was probably the funniest morning yet. As the cutter’s tossing and turning in the waves, people are in line for breakfast doing their best to keep from toppling over because of the waves. One second I’d see someone walking toward a table with a plate of food and the next thing I’d know is that the person’s plate is empty, and the food is flying across the mess deck! Drinks were spilling, people were slipping and sliding all over the place. I was in line and a huge wave came and the cutter made a dip so I slid back against the wall, and then it rocked the other way and here I’d go again. Life on a ship! Never a dull moment for sure.

As we came close, I threw line three over to the pier (I was so nervous I wouldn’t throw it high enough, but it made it across with out a problem…yay!). We were all decked out in float jackets and hard hats…it was definitely a cool experience!

I enjoyed visiting the Coast Guard Exchange and talking to my family later after escaping from the Midgett. All in all God certainly blessed me with an exciting day, filled with new experiences and challenges. He continually strengthens me and fills my heart with joy. One thing is though, I can’t just sit around waiting to feel that happy feeling well up in side of me…no God’s definition for joy is an action. So I rejoice, I give thanks, I cry and ask Him for help, I preach the Gospel to myself, and He supplies my needs. He gives me joy in sorrow, peace through storms, and smile on my face when I am weary. He is my all in all. Blessed be His name!

Never A Dull Moment # 8

November 9, 2009

I lose all track of days here on the boat…so it’s hard for me to believe that today is Sunday. I truly missed being at church today and worshiping the Lord with fellow Believers, but the Holy Spirit ministers to my heart and constantly comforts me. This morning as I stood my watch, the waves were much more calm and subdued than yesterday. The sun glistened over the water making it look like a golden sea of ripples. These are the sorts of blessings God sends my way to pick me up and put a smile on my face amidst my struggles, fears, worries, homesickness, etc.

I am certainly staying busy on the Midgett. Between double helm and lookout watches from 8am-12pm and 8pm-12am, I also have to study like mad to get qualified in various different jobs. At times I feel so overwhelmed that I won’t be able to get qualified and I’ll just fail and be stuck on the Midgett forever, but God reminds me that I am on His timetable and that is all that matters. I will do my best, but I must leave all in His hands and not become frantic and worried.

Every day I am learning new things---nomenclature to different pieces of equipment on the ship, how to drive the ship, how to report contacts from lookout watch, and the list goes on…there’s never a dull moment! Pray for me that I would make much of Christ throughout my time here on the Midgett and that I will not allow my fears and concerns to keep me from serving the Lord to the fullest. He’s the reason I am here and in His strength I will persevere.

One positive thing for which I am truly grateful…I have still not been sea sick. Yay! Lots of people aboard are sick and not feeling good, but so far I’ve just been riding the waves!

Standing Watch # 7



November 7, 2009

I stood helm and lookout watch this morning. The waves were rolling and crashing, reminding me of the time that the disciples were in a terrible storm. They nearly lost all hope and then cried out to Jesus who was sleeping through it. He calmed the storm by a word from His mouth. I enjoyed watching the swirling waves today, knowing that my Savior made and sustains them as He does and will continue to sustain me.
Operating the helm was pretty cool…not many nineteen year olds get to drive a 378’ boat!

One thought struck me as I was standing lookout. The key to being a good lookout and protecting the safety of the boat is diligence. You have to pay attention and watch the horizon even when you’re tired or bored. All that to say, what would my life look like if I took the same amount of diligence and care in killing sin and watching out for roots of sin in my life as I do on lookout watch? I need to be diligent and vigilant in killing my sin and destroying it. Christ is my strength, He is the One I want to honor and please, and by His help I’ll fight the sin in my life and destroy it.

Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing # 6


November 6, 2009

The Lord’s friendship is so dear to me and has become more precious to me than ever before. Working from dawn to past midnight with only a couple hours of rest in between and with people I don’t know has made me turn to the Lord and depend upon Him in a new way. The blessings He sends me are amazing and far outweigh the difficulties (which are blessings themselves!). He sustains me with His love and grace.

It is so easy to get off track and begin worrying and wondering how in the world am I going to make it through my time here on the Midgett, but I must mortify such sinful, faithless thoughts. God will sustain…I am His ambassador, His witness, and will be here as long as He sees fit. A verse in 2 Corinthians stuck out to me, “Sorrowful yet always rejoicing.” That is where I am at---sorrowful, but always rejoicing because I have everything to be joyful about. I am a child of the Almighty One and I get to serve Him on the Midgett. He is my treasure, my love, my joy---and I will honor Him by working hard, doing everything with a good attitude, and reflecting the Light to the lost sinners aboard the Midgett.

Oh, God, You have placed me here for a reason. Use me as Your vessel to be spent and poured out for Your glory---to this end I live and breath and press on. You are my treasure and my greatest delight. Fill my heart with joy and may I ever sing Your praises through the darkest night.

Setting Out # 5


November 6, 2009

I began my day in God’s Word, and found great comfort and encouragement in Paul’s second Epistle to the Corinthians. I studied Helm & Lookout Watch for most of the morning before Liberty expired for all hands. After that we mustered on the flight deck. All us new guys received our new covers [ball caps]. We were called up by the Captain, saluted him, shook his hand, took our covers, and saluted him again.

Next all us deckies prepared for “Special Sea” and manned our mooring stations. I was on the focsle (front part of the ship) on line three. I helped pull in the line (rope). Things went smoothly and we drifted away from the pier. The rest of the day was spent securing for sea…basically going around and tying stuff down and making sure there were no lose objects around.

One exciting thing happened while I was out sweeping the main deck’s starboard (right) side. I looked up from my sweeping and noticed dolphins jumping out of the waves! Amazing! I thanked God for letting me see and enjoy a part of is creation I do not usually see.

05 November 2009

Behind the Clouds # 4

November 5, 2009

Amidst the raging seas of life and swirling tides of time
Stands one who walks upon the storms and calms this heart of mine.
He holds my heart in nail pierced hands and sustains my soul by grace
And though my eyes fail to see His work, I will trust Him and press on in faith.

The clouds block Him from my view---My precious Savior I can't see,
But I know without a shadow of doubt His eyes are upon me.
So I will press on toward the goal---this pain is apart of Your perfect plan.
And though my soul hurt , dear Lord, I will ever sing praises to You.

Fixed On The Son # 3

Fixed on the Sun~
November 3, 2009

As I sit in this airplane flying to San Diego, my thoughts turn to the adventure before me, my prayer and aim is to learn as much as I can, experience as much as I can (while honoring Christ), and grow closer to God through it all. He’s placed me here for a reason---so I’m going to sit back and enjoy the ride (thank goodness for seat belts---or I’d probably jump out! Just kidding!) knowing God is taking me where I need to be. I plan to make the most of every moment and not waste a second of it.

I fix my eyes on Christ---sometimes clouds get in the way, but my gaze must remain fixed heavenward. I joined the Coast Guard because I wanted to do something hard and I was telling my dad the other day, “I am realizing more and more that doing hard things is HARD.” Funny but so true. Living for Christ is hard, but worth it. You can’t give up even when the going gets rough---when things get rough that is good. It means you’re on the right path.

So press on with me today…whatever God may be teaching you, embrace it. If it burns---let it burn. If it hurts---then let it hurt. Turn the suffering of the moment into rejoicing for all time, turn your pain to praise, and know that if you are focused on heaven nothing can be too difficult to bear in Christ’s strength.

I write these thoughts to my own heart because I struggle staying the course that God has placed me upon. I hurt so I want to quit, the way gets hard so I want to find a new way, but God is faithful when I am faithless. I press on in His strength and help He continually fills my heart with joy beyond my wildest dreams.

The View From Here # 2

The View From Here
November 3, 2009

I’m in the air now en route to San Diego. The view out the window is amazing! Beautiful snowcapped mountains seem to go on for miles. Flying is such a good way for we humans to be reminded how small we really are because we see how big our world is---and think, it is nothing compared to God! How awesome it is know and rest in the confidence that God is holding me in His hands when I am nothing!

The journey so far has been enjoyable. I’ve been talking to the new “boot” who just graduated and is still stiff from boot camp (look whose talking!). He’s a seaman apprentice, so we’ll probably be doing a lot of painting together. We’ve been reminiscing back over our boot camp experiences…oh those were the days! Just kidding!

I am glad I’ll be arriving to the Midgett with other rookies like myself. One sad note on my journey so far when I was back at the airport---I have never spent so much money for such a tiny cup of OJ before! The price was so bad I can’t even write it down, but I’m trying to move past such aggravating memories.

Snug As A Bug # 1

Snug As A Bug~
November 3, 2009

I woke up bright and early this morning and finished some last minute packing. I rolled my sleeping bag up as tight as I could and then my roommate---FS3---and I pushed and shoved and squeezed until we finally latched my sea bag. Of course then I realized I had not packed my towel---so we had to start all over again!

Next we lugged our bags downstairs and laughed when we saw the car we were about to pile into. I would be traveling to the Midgett with four other Coasties---OS3, FS3, FN Harps, SA Jeppesen. So we maxed out the trunk with sea bags, boxes, and backpacks. Next four of us piled in the back and OS3 stuffed two more “sea bag” size bags on top of our laps. It was a little snug to say the least! We did end up making it to the airport without popping out of the car on bumps, and we all managed to somehow unfold ourselves out of the car once we arrived. So that’s how we kicked of our adventure to the Midgett!

02 November 2009

And so it begins...

November 1, 2009

And so it begins…my life, living on the United States Coast Guard Cutter Midgett. I’ll be flying down to San Diego, California bright and early Tuesday morning to catch my boat! I am one of three other Coasties checking in on the Midgett, which is nice because I won’t be the only new person on board. I am getting all packed and ready to head out. I am excited, but nervous. God is sending me to the Midgett for a reason---to be His witness, bringing Him glory by what I say and do. This will be an amazing opportunity not only to gain invaluable life experience, see new places, and grow closer to the Lord, but also to be a missionary to the lost sinners aboard the Midgett. Pray for me…yes, pray for me.

God blessed me with another wonderful day at church, transshipping with fellow Believers and worshiping the Lord.

Precious Lord, I press on for You, through You, and in You
My heart may be weighed down with loneliness, weariness, and difficulties;
But You are the One who raises me up and carries me.
You care for me, love me, sustain me, and comfort me;
I may feel alone, but I am never alone. I may feel lost, but I am hidden in You. I may feel overwhelmed, but you are holding me by Your grace. I may feel like quitting, but Your hand keeps me on this path…Your faithfulness upholds me…Your grace sustains me…You are my all in all.

31 October 2009

The Teacher

October 30, 2009

I cannot even express what an encouragement it is to know that my friends and family are praying for me…and keep praying. God is teaching me so much, but He does not always teach His lessons in quiet, safe classroom settings…no He used storm tossed seas to teach the Disciples about His power and authority, He used hunger to demonstrate His compassion and His Father’s provision, He used sinners to carry out His plan, He used sickness, death and life, sin, sorrow and joy---all to teach His people and bring His Father glory. He sent His followers out as sheep among wolves---they were placed in the world but they were not of it. Jesus asked His Father to protect us---to protect us from the Evil One, not from pain, hurt, suffering, sacrifice, storms, sin, sinners, etc. Our souls---what matters---are safe and secure in Jesus.

These are comforting thoughts for me as I learn these good, tough heart lessons. God has assigned me my portion and my cup---He has placed me with unbelievers 24/7 (for the most part), which can be wearisome for my soul. Pray that I stand firm in Christ---that I remain steadfast to Christ yet follow in His example by being a friend of sinners. Christ will protect my soul, though it is weary, so I entrust it to Him to sustain and strengthen me to do His work---to be Christ to these lost sinners. Pray that I see them through Christ’s eyes, that I’d have the same compassion that Christ had for the “sick” (He did not come to the well, but to the sick---the ones in need), and that I’d leave all in Christ’s hands (worries, fears, etc).

The mission in front of me is not easy (Although I sure wouldn’t want it to be easy in the first place!), but I am spurred on by Christ and His example (Heb. 12:1-3). The joy He supplies me with is like dynamite in my soul and the hope I have in Christ is beyond words---I have the best mission in the world (we all do!) of sharing the best message ever! Christ died for sinners…we can come to the Father by His blood…in Him we can be free…Christ offers us life---ABUNDANT LIFE! Such a message is worth suffering to share, it is worth the weariness, it is worth the loneliness, it is more than worth anything I can undergo. It is message I am unworthy of, but can share because it is not based off my worth, but off Christ’s.

God is giving me opportunities to share my love for Him with the unbelievers around me through my actions and attitudes. More and more though, He is opening up doors of opportunity to share my faith through conversations with the new friends I am making. I struggle, but Christ is so faithful and patient with me. He is leading me by the hand and teaching me every step of the way, how to share Him with my coworkers and unbelieving friends. He is not an easy Teacher, but He is a good Teacher. May I be like Mary of Bethany who sat at Jesus’ feet, learning all she could from Him---may that same soft and teachable spirit be true of me as I continue down this path that God has placed me upon.

Gertrude


October 30, 2009

Yesterday was a momentous day for me…drum roll please. I bought my very own red sleeping bag! It is so pretty and warm---I think it shall serve me well as I take it aboard my cutter with me, which should be happening fairly soon. The latest word is that I’ll be flying out to the Midgett with a handful of other Coasties this Tuesday. We will be flying into San Diego where the Midgett is having its last port call before heading up the coast to “home sweet home”. I’m excited and nervous, but probably more excited. I know two of the other Coasties headed for the Midgett---a fellow non-rate whom I’ve been working with in Port Ops the past two weeks and a Food Service Specialist whom I’ve been sharing a room with the past week. So keep me in your prayers as I head out next week. I won’t be gone long---only 7-10 days---enough to get my feet wet (hopefully, I won’t get sea sick, but we’ll see).

Oh, I forgot to add one thing to my post about my new sleeping bag. It has a name (the sleeping bag that is)---Gertrude. Isn’t it perfect??!! I can’t take the credit though for such a brilliant name. Nope, I had to consult my good friend in California about the perfect name for a red sleeping bag…and Gertrude it was.

29 October 2009

Lord, Grant Me A Heart of Compassion~


October 28, 2009

The past two days, I have spent my time destroying weeds! Quite the difficult and challenging task, but truly enjoyable while out in God’s creation on a nice autumn day. I had plenty of time to think and pray while I was chopping and pulling. I was thinking about weeds and how they are such a good picture of the sin in our lives. We can spend our time, pulling and fighting and destroying sin, but right after uprooting one sin another one shoots up. Only through Christ Jesus do we have a remedy…only by His blood shed on the cross when He took our sin and gave us His righteousness can we properly deal with the sin in our lives. We must confess and trust in Christ Jesus. We could not and cannot take our own sin away---no matter how much chopping and pulling we do, it will never be destroyed---only Christ can remove our sin from us because He became sin for us. These were the thoughts I was mulling over today.

I also enjoyed a nice afternoon out in downtown Seattle today. I stopped at Subway for some dinner and then headed down to Tully’s Coffee for some WI-FI. I checked my e-mail and updated my blog. As I was downtown, my prayer to God was that He would give me a love and compassion for the lost people in this city…that I would not just pass by people and be glad that I’m not in their shoes, but that I’d see deeper beyond what my eyes can see---that I’d see their great need for a Savior and that my heart would be broken that they are lost and without hope. I have true and lasting hope---I know Christ---but I am so unmoved and unconcerned for the soul-condition of people around me. Oh, that my heart would yearn to share the Gospel and long to tell the lost that there is hope---that Christ came to save SINNERS. This is my constant challenge, battle, and longing---that I would have a heart for the lost. I believe I can only accomplish this, as I look unto Jesus, knowing the depth of my sinfulness, the height of His great grace and mercy, and the need to share such wonderful, good news with lost sinners.

Lord, You came to earth to save sinners---You did the unthinkable...You died for SINNERS. Oh, grant me a heart of compassion for the people around me---these desperately lost sinners who need You. Work in me as only You can and give me the same heart You had for the lost, may I be spent reaching sinners with the Gospel, and may I be Your hands and feet here in Seattle.

26 October 2009

Blessed Beyond All Measure

October 25, 2009

My weekend was definitely a whirlwind of fun! God has truly blessed me in ways I never would have imagined. I love the song, “Blessed Be Your Name” (which I got to sing in church today!), especially how it talks about Christians taking every blessing God has given them and turning them back to praise to Him…always keeping in mind that everything God brings into our lives is a blessing---whether we like it or not.

Saturday I slept in till 7am and then headed out to explore Seattle. I made my way by foot and bus to Tully’s Coffee and ordered a large hot cocoa…yum! So I drank my cocoa, checked my e-mail, and did some reading. Next I was off to the library, and let me tell you it is a huge library! Just huge!!! I definitely had an amazing time at the library.

One thing I have come to appreciate more and more is the body of Christ. How wonderful it is to fellowship with fellow Believers! I got to go to a young adult Christian fellowship Saturday evening and then to church Sunday morning. I was encouraged, refreshed, and recharged as I sat in church worshiping the Lord and learning from His Word. I am thoroughly enjoying the church I have attended the past two weeks---Faith Bible Church. They have welcomed me with open arms and made me feel right at home. A dear, sweet older couple---Helen and Jack---invited me over to their home for lunch today. I had an awesome time fellowshipping with them and enjoying their company.

God has definitely blessed me…blessed me with homesickness, new friends, loneliness, a new church family, and new opportunities to grow closer to the Lord. I am blessed beyond all measure!

Lord, blessed be Your name! Your grace and loving-kindness are amazing…Your mercy and love is awesome! I thank you for your blessings---all of them.

24 October 2009

Shining the Light


I have spent the past week doing lots of exploring in downtown Seattle. It's been an exciting, scary, and amazing sort of experience since I have never lived in a big city before. My thoughts today, as I walked around downtown watching everybody rushing by turned to the hope I have in Christ, and how hopeless the people around me truly are. Just walking down the street, I am surrounded by all sorts of people---homeless people, businessmen, tourists, salesmen, street vendors, kids, teenagers, families, all sorts---and all without hope. These people are all searching for the answer to their problems, and what struck me today is the fact that I have the answer! Jesus Christ is the answer---He is what they need to fill the void in their lives and give them hope.

God has placed me here in a dark place. I am to shine the light of the Gospel and be Christ's witness---I can't conceal the joy I have in Christ and I can't hide the salvation He has given me. I have the answer! But that doesn't mean it is easy to shine for Christ---penetrating the darkness is not easy, but with Christ it is possible. As I fix my gaze upon Him, His light shines through me. I am not the light, but only a reflector of the Light. I can't be a witness of my precious Lord and Savior if I am not fixing my eyes and heart upon Him---I can only point to Him as I am looking to Him.

So I am challenged this week to be a reflector of the Light---to point to Jesus Christ and glorify His name. I am nothing---He is everything! May He receive the glory!

Never Get Over God's Grace!

A Glory Hunter: Romans Message #61 October 18, 2009

Never Alone

October 22, 2009

So I just finished eating a delicious treat of Turkish Delight and managed to get myself covered in powdered sugar! Another day down and I am still awaiting the Midgett’s return. I am learning to constantly cast my cares upon my heavenly Father who holds me safely in His hands.

I have been enjoying lots of time to read lately. It’s weird not having little siblings to play with in the evenings)-: But God has given me special times with Him in His Word. I have been reading through John in the evenings and in the mornings, I am making my way through the Prophets. The good, old hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” holds a dearer and more precious meaning to me now that I have tasted what it is like to be in a big city away from friends and family. The truth stands firm that I do have a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 17:17)---Jesus is always with me; always at my side. I may be alone, but really, I am NEVER alone.

In this joyous promise---that Christ is always with me---I press on down this path that God has placed me upon. He sends His children joys and sorrows, He gives and takes away, and He is good. I will praise Him in the sunshine and in the rain! Praise Him with me!

October 23, 2009

The weekend has arrived! Now I am doing laundry, cleaning my room, and taking a moment to relax. I definitely feel a lot more comfortable here on base now than I did last week, and believe it or not I think I am finally catching on to saluting officers as I am walking down the street…sometimes I still forget if it’s morning or afternoon---that makes for an awkward pause!

God is so good and faithful to me. I have no right to complain---I can only rejoice in what He is doing in my life. All that to say, I wouldn’t consider it all fun. Living far away from home and missing family and friends is sure not fun, trying to adjust to a new city and job is not fun or easy, but through it all God is leading onward and taking me through each difficulty. He knows I need them and loves me enough to give them to me. So I rejoice that He is working on my character---not my comfort, drawing me closer to Himself---by taking away the props in my life, and showing me the depths of His grace and strength by showing me the depths of my weakness and neediness.

22 October 2009

An Unexpected Ride

October 21, 2009

So today after I got off work, I decided to be adventurous and get off base for awhile. I made my way by foot and by bus to a sub sandwich shop and bought dinner, then down the road to one of my coffee spots where I get free WI-FI. I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and caught up with my e-mail and blogging.

Then after thoroughly enjoying my time out in downtown Seattle, I began my journey back to base---but things did not go as planned…

I caught a bus that got me part of the way back to base, but had to wait for a second bus to finish my journey. Another bus came around the corner after several minutes of waiting and I hopped on. All was well until it turned down the wrong road and got on the interstate…at this point in time, I realized I had got on the wrong bus. I sat in my seat thinking to myself, “Wow, what do I do now?” think, think, think…

I pondered many options at that moment in time as I watched my base pass by through the window. Panic and fear did enter my mind…I really was hoping I wouldn’t end up too far away. God had everything in His control of course and I made sure to leave that bus behind at the next stop. I called a taxi cab and got a ride back to my barracks.

All in all, I spent a little extra money today that I had not envisioned spending, but got to explore a part of Seattle Ii never would have seen apart from getting on the wrong bus. I was reminded once again of God’s complete and total control in my life and that sometimes His plan (most of the time) is not always the most direct and easy way to the destination we believe He is taking us too.

God definitely throws twists and turns into our lives to cause us to depend upon Him. The Christian life isn’t easy, but it’s worthwhile!

21 October 2009

The Power of Joy...In Christ



~The Power of Joy...In Christ~
October 20, 2009

Another good day of work has come to an end, and now I am off work. God has been teaching me so many things the past several days while I have been here in Seattle. Perhaps the biggest thing He has impressed upon my heart is the power of joy. My days are transformed when I thank God instead of complain, rejoice in Christ instead of finding things to be critical about, and wear a smile on my face instead of a frown. Joy turns an UGLY cloudy day into a BEAUTIFUL cloudy day…it turns a boring day of painting yellow cement posts into a fun project to be accomplished…and perhaps the best part is that joy is contagious! You can’t help but pass it on.

So my challenge from today is to be joyful in all I do and not allow a complaining, critical, and discontented spirit control me. Joy overflows from our hearts as we pour them out in thanksgiving to God. So pour out your heart to God, thanking Him for everything…and be prepared because you may be swept away by the joy that will overflow from your heart once you begin!

More Thoughts from Psalm 27

The LORD is my light and my salvation---whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life---of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

God blessed me with another amazing day…and brought me through my second day on the job. Some of you may wonder what I did, so I’ll tell you all about it, step by step. First, I woke up bright and early (well, it was early---but not so bright) at 5am to read my Bible, eat breakfast, and get ready for the day. Then I headed over to the gym at 6:30 to exercise. At 8am, I began work with some other fellow rookies, painting. We painted up till lunch time then took our lunch break…then continued painting until 3pm. I headed downtown to a nice coffee shop for some hot chocolate and to check my e-mail and face book. After that I headed back to my room and ate dinner (good old’ Mac n cheese!) That was my day!

I’ve been thinking a lot about Psalm 27 lately---I find it so encouraging, challenging, comforting, convicting, etc. Never would I have imagined myself living in a big city like Seattle working in the Coast Guard, but this is where God has placed me. I miss my family and friends back home, and wish I could have brought them all with me! But God has placed me here and so I will rejoice (Pray for me…it’s not always easy to rejoice). I know I am receiving amazing training for the mission field, and in fact have an amazing mission field in front of me with the other Coasties I am working with. I am excited about being here in Seattle…I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world…but also pray that I keep my gaze upon Christ because I know I’ll waste this great opportunity He’s given me if I am not focused on the Lord.

Destroying Our Idols

God's Will or Your Own?

THE MISSION

THE MISSION

Written for my family as they move to Cameroon, Africa to share Jesus love with the people there.

Rejoicing in all God has done.
In your lives, I see Him displayed
As your greatest treasure of all;
Your mission: to proclaim His name.

Fix Your eyes on Christ…Run hard to the goal.
Consider the work He has done, He has saved your souls!



Press on, HOPE IN GOD…IN HIS HANDS you are safe. UNDER HIS WINGS…you are held---
you are HELD BY GRACE.
Take up your cross, follow Christ, let His praises resound.
Be BROKEN AND SPILLED OUT
as you journey HOMEWARD BOUND.


Cheering you on as you go
As you make much of Jesus today,
Considering all else as loss
Compared to the Savior’s name.

Fight the battle of faith…stand firm in Christ.
Trust Him with all of your heart, give Him your life.



Press on, HOPE IN GOD…IN HIS HANDS you are safe. UNDER HIS WINGS…you are held---
you are HELD BY GRACE.
Take up your cross, follow Christ, let His praises resound.
Be BROKEN AND SPILLED OUT
as you journey HOMEWARD BOUND.


Praying for you in my heart.
May God’s sustaining grace push you on
To follow Christ outside of the camp,
Calling the nations to join the song!

Jesus is mighty to save
For while yet sinners He died in our place.
Shout---shout His praise For He has given us grace!


Press on, HOPE IN GOD…IN HIS HANDS you are safe. UNDER HIS WINGS…you are held---
you are HELD IN HIS GRIP OF GRACE.
Take up your cross, follow Christ, let His praises resound.
Be BROKEN AND SPILLED OUT
as you journey HOMEWARD BOUND.


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