And Then It Hit Me

Thursday, September 29, 2011  ::   2 important comments

One of the common discussions that emerged from Retreat de Moxie over the weekend is that we didn't feel beat up because it wasn't as introspective as past retreats.  To be honest, I've had to release my disappointment in not having the intensity level that I so love. Being the prophet that I am, I love a good Holy Spirit wake up call. They may not be fun, but they are oh so good.

This evening I had a brief conversation with my friend, Emily. When I told her my struggle, she told me that this year's retreat was just as intense for her as the other years and she began to tell me about what God is asking her to do and why it will be difficult.  She articulated it beautifully and I'm not going to steal her story for this blog, so either I'll ask her to write a guest post about it (please, Emily?) or you will have to ask her to fill you in.  It's good stuff.

The planned theme that we focused on over our weekend together was understanding the importance of sharing the story of Jesus in our lives with those who don't follow Him.  After the first session, speaking and music, it became clear that another major focus of the weekend was the holiness of God. Beautiful worship and discussion filled up the space of the building, as well as the space of our hearts. Maybe it didn't slap us around, but it drove many of us to our knees.

I was thinking, praying, and surrendering any results that my flesh wanted from the retreat this evening after I talked with Emily.

And then it hit me.

Friends, the intensity that I so long for is coming. Oh, I so hope we press in and embrace it!

It will come in the choices that we will be facing to open our mouths with our friends.

It will come in the soul filling delight He will take in us when we do open our mouths.

It will come in the rebuke of His disappointment when we choose to not speak His great name to our friends.

Intensity will come when we see our friends choose to follow Jesus.

Intensity will slap us hard with grief when some our friends reject Jesus.

It will come in the self-discipline it will take to continue to pray for a burden for our friends and the spiritual gift of evangelism.

It will come as He refines us to speak our stories for His glory alone.

The intensity of a retreat like the one we just experienced may not have been overwhelming in the moment, but if we continue to take to heart the deep things He so beautifully revealed to us, we should be continually refined, challenged, encouraged, rebuked, and growing in deep heart wrenching ways.

Oh, I'm excited now! To think that the punch you in the gut results that I so long for will be constantly coming our way in the coming days gets my blood pumping!

Are you ready? Here we go.

Filled Up and Poured Out

Wednesday, September 28, 2011  ::   7 important comments

How many sentences can I type and delete to try to start this post about the retreat? About 20 or so.

The difficulty is finding words to describe what the retreat meant to me and how I'm feeling now that it is over. Retreat de Moxie is my favorite Moxie event of the year. In my opinion, great things happen through-out the year, but getting to pull away and be together for an extended amount of time is irreplaceable. 

This year was very different from the previous four retreats. In past years, the topics have been heavy, punch you in the face type topics.  Inner-healing, the art of apologizing, dangling from the sky on a high ropes course, and being challenged to completely surrender everything can leave one feeling a bit exhausted. The great name of Jesus and the importance of sharing Him with others was our focus and aim of this year's retreat which was much more energizing. 

As I've wandered around in my mind for the last couple of days, I've struggled with really missing my moxie friends and wondering what I should be doing next. (Don't worry, I have a real list. I would just rather be planning a retreat.) In order to not be downcast, I've been disciplining myself to think through some highlights of the weekend with 41 of my closest friends. 

These are in random and strategic order all at the same time.  

**Musical worship. Angela was anointed in a powerful way to lead us to sing praises to Jesus. The new songs we sang fit perfectly. If I close my eyes and listen I can hear the sound of 42 women singing in perfect unison, "You are holy, holy, holy, God most high and God most worthy!" Or, "To you our hearts are open, nothing here is hidden, You are our one desire." Or "I will carry your name, Jesus, your name, forever!" Ah, so beautiful! 

**Heather being prompted by the Spirit to read Revelation 5 and the worship the took place as a result. 

**As I would speak during the sessions, different people's stories would come to mind and fit into whatever I was saying. I loved it. I loved seeing people tear up (hopefully from encouragement and not embarrassment.) I loved having the opportunity to publicly proclaim the great ways I've seen God move in the lives of the women of our church. 

**As I spoke several times I struggled through my temperament (people-pleaser) and spiritual gifting (prophet.) If I wasn't focused and teaching, I may have laughed out loud at myself.  

**There were so many first timers on our retreat this year! 

**Sara and Angela showed us a new level of how secure they are, how creative they are, and how weird they are. Truth be told, the weirdness we saw probably only scratches the surface of just how strange they can be. Thanks for the dance, ladies. And, thanks for planning a great organized laughing time and a fabulous scavenger hunt. 

**Sitting in one of the bunk rooms talking and laughing about the most random, hilarious stuff was life-giving. 

**The relay worked out way better than I could have imagined. I've already had some ideas for legs of next year's relay. 

**Jenn running towards me all wild and floppy will forever be etched into my brain.

**Julie attacking me with a water balloon and successfully soaking me.

**Watching women sit in small groups through-out the weekend getting to know each other better. 

**Snacks, snacks, snacks. 

**Lauren, Nicky, Tamara, and Jen sharing their stories with us. You ladies did an outstanding job! Thank you so much for entrusting us with hearing what God has done in your lives! 

**Watching people wrap gifts to symbolize their story in Jesus as a gift to others and paint rocks to symbolize carrying whatever they had learned over the weekend encouraged me greatly.

**My favorite moment of the entire weekend was having a friend walk straight up to me after the evening session on Friday and hearing her tell me she gave her life to Christ. If nothing else was accomplished over the weekend, her new life in Christ was worth the trip! 

The great news is even though a new life in Christ is absolutely the highlight, I believe God accomplished so much more. I've been praying for my friends who attended the retreat that each women would continue to press into the things God spoke to each heart, that it wouldn't be a weekend high, but a continuation of the steadiness of life transformation. I've been praying that our friends who couldn't come on the retreat this year would feel connected, involved, loved, that they would hear stories of the retreat and would be encouraged and not filled with envy or regret.  

As a women's ministry who is part of a great local church, "let us not grow weary in doing good for in the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up!" (Gal 6:9) Let's remember that "the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." (Matt 9:35) Let us press in to fill our mouths with the great name of Yahweh! May we carry the name of Jesus with honor, diligence, and humility.  

I cannot wait to see the fruits of what was learned at this year's Retreat de Moxie! 

I love these women! 
Thanks, Laura Moore, for taking such great photos of our weekend! 
Feel free to share any thoughts you may have about our retreat! I would love to hear them. It will either help ease my loneliness or make it worse, but I'm willing to risk it! 

P.S. I've already got some GREAT ideas for next year's topic! :) 

Moxie Memorizers

Thursday, September 15, 2011  ::   15 important comments

Lately, Lamentations 3:19-23 has been ringing through my heart and mind. "I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I will remember and my soul is downcast within me. YET this I call to mind and therefore I have hope." It goes on to talk about his wonderful mercies and faithfulness that are new to us every single morning.  The point is that I'm so glad I have such a treasure stored up in my heart. God has been using in my life in such sweet ways.  I pray that many of the verses you have stored into your heart overtake your thoughts as you go about your day to day responsibilities.  

Like I said at the beginning of the month, I'm working my way through Romans 12.  Sometimes I get so antsy in wanting to memorize. There are so many great passages I wish I already had in my heart. I get impatient waiting for my brain to be able to catch up to my desires. For now I'll stick with a few verses a month. I'm pretty sure if I try to memorize more than that it won't stick.  

Romans 12:5-6 
so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.

Post your what your memorizing in the comments. If you've missed the last few times to post, jump back in. If you are new and want to join the fun, please do!

Unique and Loved

Wednesday, September 14, 2011  ::   3 important comments

Today I sat at Starbucks to get some work done.  I scoped out the tables and chose the area where I thought I would be least distracted, as well as have a nice view of all that may go on in the cafe area.  Three hours of focus time waited in front of me like an eager coach watching me at the starting gates. Productivity would be my friend today.

Within five minutes of arranging my round wooden table with my iced green tea, oatmeal, computer, Bible, and note pad, Michelle wanted to start a conversation.

Michelle was loud. I mean really loud. She was checking out something on facebook and she roared with laughter and leaned over to tell me all about her friend in Pennsylvania.  I smiled and asked her a few questions and from that point on, we were friends.

She discovered I like tea, not coffee. I learned she likes venti coffee with lots of cream and sugar and she can get refills for 54 cents.  She prefers the banana walnut bread and chocolate covered graham crackers. She is the admin for several very important facebook groups.  Her mom loves pumpkin spice cookies with nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon. She takes penicillin for an aching tooth. Her good friend passed away in 2007 and she still carries her friend's ID around in her fanny pack.

Throughout the morning, Michelle would randomly erupt in boisterous laughter. As people would come in and leave Starbucks she would shout something friendly their direction.

Within the first few minutes of sitting next to Michelle, I was faced with a choice: Put some earphones in and ignore, or watch, listen, and see what God may want me to learn.

It wasn't long before a lump filled my throat. "Oh how Jesus must love this woman" flooded my thoughts. She is such a treasure, no inhibition. She displayed a taped up Holy Bible on her table.  When she asked what I was working on, I explained Retreat de Moxie to her. She instructed me not to go on and on as some speakers do. "Just stick to the point. Paint a picture with your words, but don't get off track." Wise, indeed.

Meeting Michelle and engaging in conversation with her on a day I wanted to focus and be in my own little world was a trip down humility lane. As I thought about how Jesus loves her, it also turned me to thoughts of repentance in thinking I'm more important than I really am. Michelle told me five or six times what she was doing on facebook was very, very important. I'm sure it was! Who am I to feel like God would be more concerned with my retreat preparation than Michelle taking care of her facebook groups? She was passionate about her work. She said out loud, "I just love this facebook friend" in the same way I often say that I love the women of Moxie.

I was also convicted through Michelle's joy. She was friendly and happy. Her laugh was awkward, but contagious. She talked to people. The Starbuck employees knew her name.  She obviously wasn't concerned with what people were thinking about her.  Joy and conversation filled her morning.

Many times over the three hours I worked I had moments of agitation as I was writing out something "really good and profound" only to be interrupted by Michelle. In those moments, I took a deep breath, turned to her, and engaged in the image of humanity God set before me this morning.

I'm so thankful for his sweet reminders that he loves people so deeply. I'm thankful he loves me deeply. I'm thankful he has set the task of leading Retreat de Moxie before me. I'm thankful that he allowed me to meet the beautiful, uniqued, joyful Michelle this morning. I'm thankful that through all the conversation I had with Michelle, productivity was still my friend.

Please take moments of perceived interruption and ask God what he wants to speak to your heart. It will be worth it in so many wonderful ways.

No Spoilers

Tuesday, September 13, 2011  ::   6 important comments

This time of year my brain and heart are consumed with thoughts of Retreat de Moxie preparations. Each September I have the privilege/responsibility of leading about 40 women from our church during our annual retreat. I've been spending time in study and prayer thinking through what God would have me say to the women this year.

Thankfully, each session is coming along nicely. Excitement in my heart grows by the minute. Worshipping Jesus in the cool mountain air with 40 of my closest friends and then sharing the message God has laid on my heart is truly a beautiful experience. I can't wait!

Unfortunately, I just can't blog about deep things right now. When I sit down to share with you things that are on my heart retreat topics come to the surface. There is no way I'm going to put any spoilers on here! What fun would that be?

Because I know not all of you get to go on Retreat de Moxie with us next weekend, let me leave you with some encouragement....

Get involved in community! Attend a Bible study at your church. Call a woman you've wanted to get to know and ask her to coffee.  Be bold and courageous. Commit to a church, engage in what is going on, and connect with people in the community God has for you. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and ponder all of the "I wishes" that come to everyone's mind.

---I wish I had friends.
---I wish someone would call me.
---I wish I had more time.
---I wish I could be part of that group.
---I wish they knew my name.
---I wish I was braver in approaching people.
---I wish I belonged.

All of those statements are legitimate deep needs of the heart. We were created to be part of a community, but often we sit and hope for it to come to us. To be honest, I love to be invited, but if I'm only waiting on invitations, I'm going to be sitting at home most weekends. Let me encourage all of us, me included, to take initiative, be risk takers, turn off our computers and televisions, and hang out with some old and new friends.  Let us love and give as Christ has loved and given to us.

Friends and Food

Tuesday, September 06, 2011  ::   10 important comments

One of the most interesting culinary expansions for the Haynes family this year came from my friend, Alysa Bajenaru. She's a freaky food genius. Not only is she a great chef, but she's also a registered dietician, so the foods she teaches about are delicious and certainly nutritious.

Sweet Mexican food.  DEE-lish.

I've choked down the smashed up, gooey, sugary, marshmallow ick that so many people enjoy at Thanksgiving. Personally, I never liked the stuff. So, when Alysa used diced, sauteed sweet potatoes in her famous enchiladas, I scoffed. However, the spicy flavors of Mexican food mixed with the subtle sweetness of the potato works to combine flavor explosions in your mouth.

Now I use sweet potatoes sauteed in olive oil with chile powder, garlic, cumin seed, black pepper, and kosher salt in almost all Mexican dishes...enchiladas (rolled and stacked), burritos, nachos, tacos, stews... you name it.

Tonight we had nachos for dinner. The whole family loves this meal because each person can pile on exactly what they want. It was pretty basic tonight: Ground turkey, brown rice, pinto beans, sauteed sweet potato, cheese, guacamole, green chile salsa.  Sound good? It was.

This is Carah's plate.  She likes everything except the green chile. Her preference is traditional salsa which I also had on hand.

I opted for a healthier version and used fresh spinach for the base and crumbled a few chips on top for desired crunch.

I wanted to give you all a glimpse into my family's eating habits, make you drool a little, and possibly inspire you to try something new, but the point of this post is actually more purposeful.

My friend, Alysa, is knowledgable registered dietician who writes a great blog full of advice, delicious recipes, and pictures of her beautiful family. Her husband was on staff at Second Mile for a season, but took an exciting coaching job in the game of baseball that the whole Bajenaru family loves. Alysa was a vital part of Moxie (our women's ministry) and is sorely missed. She's a great wife, awesome mom, and wonderful friend. She was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease and seeks to live and eat in such a way to feel good and honor God with her attitude. I hope you will click over and check out her coolness!

Alysa, you are loved, missed, and valued. Thanks for sharing your life and knowledge with us. I hope you feel encouraged!

Linking up with Jami, the mastermind in encouraging us to encourage others. Thanks, Jami! 

Moxie Memorizers

Thursday, September 01, 2011  ::   14 important comments

Happy September! Last Moxie Memorizers post, several of you commented that you were so excited it was time to post your next memory verses. I can't tell you how happy that made me! Seriously, I'm so thankful that as a group we are learning to love taking God's word into our hearts and minds. The power in His word transforms lives. To say I'm thankful to be on this journey with each of you is a huge understatement. Thank you for sharing how God is working in your heart through his living active word with me and with one another.

I've been feeling lately that I should undertake a good meaty chapter. Part of me wants completion in December so I can start the year completely new, but I can't escape the leading of the Spirit to press into Romans 12. Many moons ago I memorized Romans 12:1-2, so I'm starting out with verses 3 and 4 for the first two weeks of September. Since I spend so much time in the car which is a great time for me to review and memorize, I'm going to really try and push myself, extend my brain and heart capacity. I don't know how many verses I will take in, but please know, this isn't about quantity for any of us. Our hope and goal is that deep meditation on what the Spirit wants to say to us will be the focus of memorizing. Discipline pushes us through the times of wanting to give up, but His sweet whispers of teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness is what we desire.

Romans 12:3-4 For by the grace given me, I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself in sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not have all the same function...  

I'll pick up with verse 5 when I can.

God has me on a pretty sharp learning curve right now, and I'm praying Romans 12 brings more clarity to this season of lessons.

Post away, friends! Feel free to share anything extra that's on your heart.  As you read each post, say a prayer of encouragement, discipline, and joyful blessing over your scripture memorizing friends!