Tuesday, August 21, 2007

51 Weeks

There are only 51 weeks left until my birthday!

I act like such a little kid when it comes to celebrating birthdays. When I was younger it was the presents that were the object of my anticipation. As I grew a little older it was the level of privilege that excited me, like shaving my legs, driving, getting a job and voting. The year I turned 21 people were anxious to know if I was beating down the bars for my first legal drink. My answer to that question was, "No...now I can adopt children!"

There is, in my mind, only one more "big" age mile marker before getting senior citizen discounts... (Scott, this might shock you :-)


In the state of Colorado you must be 25 to test drive a car. And that is what I want to do next year, Lord willing, on my birthday. What car, you ask? Two, if I could... a Hummer and Corvette.

On this birthday I completed 24 years of walking, living, breathing, working, crying and laughing. The number 24 seems so old and still very young. I cannot believe how quickly this year has passed. It is no wonder that people in their 80's say that the years are like days to them.

Every year around my birthday I take time to reflect and do some serious introspecting. What has happened this year? What trials did I experience? What happiness did I enjoy? Who did I meet? Did I fulfill any dreams? Where did I go? What books did I read? What were my greatest strruggles? How did I come to love Christ more? Has my faith in Him grown? How am I serving Him? What am I going to do this next year to serve, love and believe Him more?

What has happened this year?
Oh my, a ton! My dad was jobless for most of 2oo6 and that proved to be a monumental family challenge! On top of the financial pressure, we all experienced deep hurt from the church situation we came out of and 2006 was spent healing. We watched God do God-things by providing for our every physical need and restoring our hearts emotionally.

My dad asked me to get a better paying/full-time job to help with family finances. This caused me a great amount of stuggle because I loved my job and the flexibility working part-time gave me. Yet, I knew that God was calling me to surrender my comfort and join Him in an adventure. In September I was offered a job with OMF International and Initiative360. To make a VERY long story short, I accepted.

My faith grew in amazing ways as I watched God provide for our financial needs by giving me a job that perfectly fits my passion for world missions. It was difficult to leave American Family after working there for 7 years, but I knew it was what was best for me. The longer I work at OMF, the more I believe that!

Holidays came and went, the winter in Colorado was VERY snowy (10 weeks straight with at least 6-8" a week!) In February Initiative360 closed down and OMF hired me full-time. It was sad to see a place shut down, but even in it I knew I was here for a reason. I was able to be apart of key meetings and offer my perspective and experience from the church situations I have faced.

The last thing I will share about has affected the second half of my 24th year the most. For the first time in many years I felt severe pain in two friendships. I will leave details aside, for they do not matter, but I will say that I have not cried and hurt this bad in a long time. For several months I severly struggled with the one friendship and pleaded with God to do a miracle.

He did- inside me. When the problem first hit at the beginning of the summer I knew, without a doubt, what God WAS doing and was going TO do inside of me. He was making me more like Jesus. And that is what I always pray He would do. I can honestly say I did not question Him or ask Him to take away the pain like I have done before.

I sought Him with all that was in me. And He gave me more of Himself. He opened my eyes to see sin inside of me and He also gave me confidence that I was obeying Him. He showed me that the life of true discipleship can be very lonely. When I stand stong on who He is and what the Word says people are going to get upset, call me judgemental, etc. And that's ok.

Later I may post more on the two situations and the Biblical issues that were the focus of the relational controvery, but for now I will say that it caused me to dig into my Bible! I know more now why I believe what I believe, Biblically, and am confident in what the Word says.

Lastly- DAWN AND MATT were here!!! Their flight home from MD was delated 2 DAYS and they were able to spend time with me and my family. It was SO much fun. It was fun to have Judah and Samuel together. It was a delight to see them with my family. It was precious to see Dawn BIG pregnant! I cannot wait until I see them again!

Where did I go?
Two places stand out to me the most:
1- California. January 18th I shocked Dawn by showing up on her door step for her 25th birthday! It was a wonderful trip and I continue to love her more and more.

2- Manitou Spring, Colorado. Ann Marie and I went down to Summit Ministries to relax and be with friends. It was very refreshing to be with like-minded girls after having just felt some great pain in the friendships mentioned above.

What books did I read?
Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper (read it 3 times)
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Bible :-)
Ephesians (did an indepth study)
Hebrews (did an indepth study)
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Athiest by Norm Geisler
(There are more but I cannot remember them....)

What were my greatest struggles?
* My dad being jobless
* Changing jobs
* Financial pressures
* Friendships
* Singleness

Has my faith in Him grown?
YES, oh, YES!!! I cannot begin to describe the transformation that has taken place inside of me the last year. My love for God has grown and deepened. I do know Him better. I am realizing how much farther I have to go and am glad that He is not done with me yet! 100 years would not be long enough to discover the depths of who He is.

A Look Back- 5 Years
2002- I would have been 19. I had just come home from my second trip to Romania. I was engaged and planning my wedding. I was also planning my third trip to Romania.

2003- I was 20. I was engaged for half of my 20th year and then I broke off our engagement. It was a rough year, to say the very least! It was wonderful too, for God healed my heart like only He can!

2004- The wonderful age of 21. God continued to do a beautiful transformation in me. I learned so much about who I was in Him and what He was calling me to do. My convictions and passions began to take a deep root.

2005- Glorious 22! The family struggles began this year as we faced a horrible situation at our church of 7 years. My dad was asked to leave because the new pastor did not think my dad had a calling to ministry. We began the unemployment journey. I fought desperately against bitterness. God taught me to love instead and gave me a jealous heart for His church.

2006- 23, here I come. I began working at OMF, dad got a job and life began to return to normal. My love for God through world missions grew and matured. I faced friendship struggles. The Ben Zornes Band blossoms and keeps all of us busy!

2007- Finally 24. I am looking forward to what God has planned for me this year. Many people, including myself, hope that God's plan for me this year would include a Prince Charming. We shall see. God is my treasure and in the next year it is my goal to know Him and believe Him more.

My life verse remains my aim:

"'You are My witnesses,' declares the Lord, 'and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know Me and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me no god was formed nor will there be one after Me.'"

Isaiah 43:10

The Next 5 Years- God
Only God knows what He has arranged for my journey the next 5 years. Marriage? Children? Traveling to Asia, India or Europe? Death? Life? Joys. Pain. Laughter. Tears.

The only thing I know for sure is that my quest to know and believe God will be the focus of whatever happens between now and the time I am 29. I want to look back and say that I lived it well, people saw Christ in me and that He was glorified.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Worldwide Tragedy and God's Mercy

This is a call to prayer and to praise. It is a call to prayer because there are many things happening in our world that cause us to rely on God more and more. It is a call to praise because our God is relyable, all knowing and merciful.

Each morning at OMF we open our day with prayer. There always seems to be enough to pray about that we could continue for hours on end. Three things were the main focus this morning, though, and they are:

1- Minneapolis and the collapse of the bridge. (Read about it HERE)
2- North Korean missionaries being held hostage. (Read about it HERE)
3- Taiwanese village (where animal sacrifices are still being done.)

These three things are happening all at once. There are a million other stories that could be added to this list as well, including our own needs.

Pray. Pray that God would draw all men to Himself. Pray that your own faith would grow.

Read. Read the news. Pray as you read.

As I was praying and reading this morning, I read an article by John Piper about the collapse of the bridge, which is one mile from the church where he is pastor. We wonder why these things happen and he proclaims:

"The meaning of the collapse of this bridge is that John Piper is a sinner and should repent or forfeit his life forever. That means I should turn from the silly preoccupations of my life and focus my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on God and embrace Jesus Christ as my only hope for the forgiveness of my sins and for the hope of eternal life. That is God’s message in the collapse of this bridge. That is his most merciful message: there is still time to turn from sin and unbelief and destruction for those of us who live. If we could see the eternal calamity from which he is offering escape we would hear this as the most precious message in the world. "

We have the most precious message in the world in our hearts, heads and hands. May it be precious to us as we know Him and praise Him!