Tuesday, December 13, 2011

restoration and the promise of heaven.

Today was gloomy and cold. The air was heavy and everyone was slowly shuffling around. It was foggy and unclear and there was no way out but through. Yet it was also breathtakingly beautiful.

All I could think about was how the day represented the hearts of so many people across Arizona. Hearts that were grieving the loss of a friend, leader, mentor, husband, and father yet rejoicing in the fact that they were blessed enough to have a man like that in their lives and praising God for restoration in heaven.

Troy Gray passed away last night after battling cancer that he was unexpectedly diagnosed with this summer. He was 29 years old. He leaves behind his wife, Kelly and two precious kids, Garrison and Aven. Troy was also the YoungLife area director for Tempe, Arizona and his love for Christ was evident to the many lives he impacted through this ministry

I personally was impacted by Troy in so many ways. He spoke at a winter camp my senior year that further guided me in my walk with Christ. His ridiculous skits and program characters have had me laughing to tears. He spoke two summers ago at Lost Canyon when I was there with the kids I lead. I have never seen so much life change in the lives of teens as I did that week. I remember sitting with a cabin of girls and asking them what they loved about the week and what they were going to take home with them. Every single one of them mentioned Troy. They mentioned how he talked about Jesus in a way that they could understand and made the gospel real to them. They talked about how his humor showed all the joy he had in his heart. They talked about how the husband he was to his wife makes them not want to settle and wait for the man that God has waiting for them. They talked about how the father he was showed them a glimpse of how God the father loves and protects them. My eyes fill with tears as I write this and as I think about the void he leaves behind.

Seeing all of the posts on Troys page and on my news feed not only showed me how loved and cherished this man was, but reminded me of why I love the ministry of YoungLife so much. I cannot express how blessed I am to be a part of this community. A community that is there through the peaks and the pits of life, a community that will fall to their knees and pray for each other at any given time, a community that mourns the loss of a truly great person while celebrating the life he lived and legacy he left behind. 

I have never seen such a large group of people come together and rally as much as I have seen in our YL community these past couple of months. Some of these people have known Troy for years, some do not know him personally, yet we all come together to lift up a family that means so much to this community.

I was talking with friends last night about how it is times like these, when our little human brains cannot fathom the will of God, that we want to be angry with him. How can this be part of Gods plan, his perfect plan? How can a mother being left to raise two kids that will never get to grow up with their father be a perfect plan? How can something as horrible as cancer be a perfect plan? In times like these I just have to praise God and believe that He has it under control, believe that He will use this for good.

Throughout my life I have seen cancer take a hold of so many lives. I have seen loved ones literally fight for their lives. I have lost my best friend, my grandmother to cancer 4 years ago and still feel a void in my life that has yet to be filled. I have seen many family members fight it, and some have come out winning. I have seen it affect friends and Younglife kids. When the most amazing junior leader I have ever met lost her mother to cancer a month ago I was stuck in a place with God where all I could do was ask why. There is a little girl on my heart that is battling this horrible disease right now and I just want to scream at the top of my lungs that it is not fair!

But cancer does not win, death does not win, satan does not win.

Hearts are feeling a void today. The brokenness and hurt are felt as we mourn the loss of such a great individual. But there is beauty, so much beauty.

Troy is in heaven completely restored and free of disease. He is with a loving father that just could not wait any longer to be reunited with his good and faithful servant. And believe me... he would not want to trade places with any of us. We have yet to experience eternity so we sit here mourning when we should be rejoicing. Troy is not bound by the chains of this world anymore.

As I sit here tonight I am filled with a thankful heart. Thank God for defeating the grave, thank God for eternity without the disease and brokenness of this world, thank God for restoration. I know that Troy is resting with Christ tonight, that his big booming voice is causing belly aching laughter through out heaven and that he is looking down on his precious family tonight as they celebrate his life.

Thank you God for the promise of heaven, and the community of YoungLife that you have so graciously given me. I will never be the same.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

major.

I have had the same major since I was like... 4.... honestly. I was the girl who came home from school and made my grandma play school with me. I would make lesson plans and decorate my 'classroom' and basically my family always expected that I would grow up and become a teacher. I started my first year of college as an elementary education major and then took a semester (that turned into 2 years) off. When I finally went back to school last year I was mad that I took so much time off. But looking back it was actually a good thing, a blessing even, that I took that much time off. If I didn't I would have graduated this May and started the process of becoming a teacher.

But about 10 months ago God started putting the idea of switching my major to Christian studies on my heart. I ignored it and told myself that it was smart and safe to continue my degree in education. But I just could not shake the thought of it. Selfishly I wanted to switch, knowing that while I am still in school it is something I would actually enjoy studying. But although I've dreamed and dreamed about having a career with purpose, a career where I get to travel the world, and love Gods people, and tell people that the creator of the universe is PASSIONATELY in love with them, I was just afraid to go through with it. I knew it was something my family would not understand, in their eyes you go to college to get a "successful" career where you can make lots of money. Finally, God started yelling so I would finally hear him and I knew I needed to change it. Despite all the advice I was given to just stay in education, despite people telling me to be practical, I made up my mind. So a week before classes started up again, I changed my major and all of my classes I was signed up for.

So far it has been amazing. And although most people switch majors like 5 times in their life, I never have and have always planned on having a career in education since I was little.

But I have so much peace about this. Soooo much peace. And no matter what choices I make and paths I go down, I know God will use it to bring him glory and that is really all I can ask for. Thats all for now. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

time well wasted...

 Just when I thought I was going to get back into the blogging game, pinterest came along. Now all my internet time is spent wishing I lived here...
 and praying that my family will look like this one day...
 and that I will make adorable things for my adorable kids...
 and i mean really? this is just so damn cute.
 and this...
 and this describes me perfectly...
 and drooling over dream outfits...
 sigh...
 and projects i tell myself i will one day attempt...
 exactly where my heart is right now...

 oh sweet christmas season, please hurry up...
 and i want this...
 oh and planning my fairytale dream wedding minus the little detail that i dont know who my husband is yet...
fist pump.

So thats where all my time has gone lately. But in my defense its a lot better than sitting in front of the tv or facebook. :)


So that is my life right now as well as being stressed beyond belief about a million things and trying to just let go and let God. Waaaaay easier said then done, but im working on it. Until next time friends...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

come be the fire inside of me.


I dont want to talk about you like youre not in the room...




I want to look right at you...




I want to sing right to you...



You wont relent until you have it all...




My heart is yours...


Reciting this over and over and over. My prayer this lovely Wednesday night.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

the girl that disappeared all summer...

My last real post was March 14th... pathetic. I want to be a blogger! Like a legit blogger with super wordy inspirational thoughts and pictures of an exciting life. One day...

Anyway a lot has happened since March...

I got to help throw my best friend a beautiful bridal shower.

and a crazy fun bachlorette party...

and then got to be a part of the beautiful ceremony.
the reception was definitely a night to remember. so much fun!
God blessed me with another semester of leading YL.

And in April I went on a road trip with friends to San Diego. It was a beautiful couple days of lunch at sea port village, rainy nights in down town San Diego, volleyball on Coronado island, and ending it with a retreat at Oakbridge.
Before I knew it another semester of college was done. And my summer had officially started.
I started it off with hanging out with junior highers and a cowboy haha. This is my little sisters cheer competition.


Then it was "make Rikki feel super old" time and time to watch some of my beautiful high school girls a lot of whom I have known since they were freshman graduate.
I met her on that same field four years ago. :)

Julie, Chelsea, Krista, Krystal, Taylor, Angelica, Selina, Shirin, Tina, Britni, Lindsey, Ali, Leann and so many other girls that have been so much of a blessing to me than I could ever be to you... I am soooo proud of you all. You continually make me proud with your change the world, love filled hearts.

Then it was time for summer camp....

An amazing week with amazing kids. And I am so so so humbled and blessed by this ministry. Praise Jesus for the walls broken down, decisions to come home to the creator of the universe, laughs, tears, and adventure that took place that week.

Then I got to go back to Lost Canyon and live there for 3 weeks. Yay!

The ride up wasnt so fun haha... a little too crowded...

Celebrating 4th of July.
Best laughs and inside jokes ive ever had with these 4 girls...



My real life roomie. :)
Oh, how we miss this little girl!
I get to lead in the same area with these amazing people. Have I mentioned how blessed I am?!
I get to see you TOMORROW!!!!!!!!
Ended the session with a 4am hike to watch the sunrise with these amazing people. :)
You all have my heart for eternity.
Since I have been back my summer has been filled with a lot of work, a lot of sleeping...
A lot of food and trips to the movies with my siblings...
Friends. :)
Oh and hanging out with Justin Bieber... no big deal...



It has been a good summer. A summer of growth and God telling me its time to grow up. I am so ready for this next semester to start though and ready for fall and beautiful weather... Thats all for now, my loves.