Caffeine Fast

When Headaches Turn Into Loneliness

This month’s kingdom fast is caffeine. In my life that means coffee. My dearly beloved. My morning’s best friend.

The first week was rough, complete with headaches.

This second week, though, something interesting happened. Loneliness replaced the headaches.

I miss my friend coffee. I smell coffee, and I become sad that coffee is not in my life. I just want to hold, smell and taste coffee. My heart hurts a little because I love coffee so much, but it’s not part of my life right now. I just want coffee!

Then it hit me. “Huh, interesting. Do I ever miss Jesus this much?”

Do I ever miss Jesus when I fall into a busy spell of life and my abiding time is abbreviated and the to-do lists and work thoughts push aside my all day continual enjoyment of his presence?

Are there ever times in my day when I sit and think about my friend Jesus in the same ways I’ve dreamt about coffee this week?

How many times this week have I cried aloud, “I just want some coffee!” A lot. And how many times have I cried aloud, “I just want Jesus!” Zero.

….

My goal for the remaining fifteen days of February is to cry aloud each day, at least once, “I just want Jesus!” and see what happens. I’ll let you know.

Advertisements

PART THREE: People

The final installment in my short update series.

PART 1: Outgrowing Things

PART 2: The Work


The work is necessary, but it’s also fun and worthwhile. Still there is something else in life to keep in mind: people. My word this year, SHARE, has much to do with people.

I finally wrapped my head around leaving Nashville for Springfield. I finally figured out what my work actually entails. Then I saw that my life must revolve around more than content strategy and writing and editing. There are people God has placed around me, both for my benefit and for theirs.

That is where my one word for the year, SHARE, comes in. I am being pushed to interact more with the people and world around me. Much of that will come through downloading thoughts and quotes and life lessons through this blog.

Others will be more personal interaction. Like the ‘surprise’ meet-ups I’ve had with Springfield friends I haven’t seen in months. I ran into my friend Adie at the grocery store last week. We’re having breakfast this week. I dropped a few books off at Evangel University and thought, I wonder if I’ll run into Deb [one of the young ladies who traveled to NYC with my team last March]. I did! We went out for Pineapple Whip the next day with another one of my Evangel/NYC girls, Brittany.

This week is my birthday. This is my third birthday since moving to Springfield, but it’s the first one I’ve actually spent in Springfield. The last two were in Phoenixville, PA with the Global Initiative team. I had no idea what to do this year. Usually I have no problem deciding how to celebrate my birthday. Three years ago, before I moved, I had an epic grilled cheese party.

But up until yesterday, I was at a loss. Then my friend and fellow The Human Right team member Alyssa suggested we make sushi for my birthday. YES! From there it seemed right to invite my Springfield sushi friends, Monique and Susan, to the little party (especially because both are moving soon). Then I invited Leslie who was with me in Pennsylvania last year when a winter storm knocked much of the power out in Phoenixville. She planned a little party by lantern for me. This year I invited her to a party that will have lots of light.

It’s all part of SHARE. Two little divine meet-ups last week led to more intentional time with friends. A birthday leads to another round of birthday memories with people that I didn’t even know three years ago. God moved me here where he needed me when he needed me, and now I celebrate another year of friends and life with another round of new people. The people I meet, the friends I make, not one is by mistake, and I intend to SHARE with them and them with me.

When was the last time you saw each other?

Today’s SHARE experience: A Skype call with my friend Shannon who lives in Tallinn, Estonia.

I last saw Shannon eighteen months ago (give or take) at her going-away party here in Springfield. Since then, we have just tracked each other through email updates, blogs, Facebook, etc.

But today, from the second my phone connected to her computer, it was like no time had passed. A friend of hers was sitting nearby and asked, “When was the last time you saw each other? It’s like you saw each other last week.”

I love those kinds of moments. I love those kinds of friends.

I have plenty of those kinds of friends. And this year I will have more of those moments.

Shared passion, shared joy and shared experiences know no physical distance. Location and time are relative when hearts plug into the same grand story. Kindred spirits, Shannon and I will carry on with our individual assignments knowing that our very similar jobs in very different contexts work toward the same end: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14).

I am immensely proud of my friend and her journey to Estonia. I miss seeing her here in Springfield, but I don’t want to see her anywhere else in the world right now. Except maybe in Budapest this summer, when we’ll be roommates for a week.

PART TWO: The Work

In December I started a small series with PART ONE: Outgrowing Things. I thought when I left Nashville, that I left editing. But as it turns out, only my location changed. My work did not.


I finished my first assignment with Global Initiative in June and transferred to Live Dead Arab World in July. It took several months for the role to fill itself out, but I think we have it figured out. I serve in two ways—communications and student mobilization.

I share this as part of a recent realization. I am a professional editor and a writer, and have been for seventeen years. Content strategy and words are my gift and passion. When I moved from music journalism in Nashville to my work in Springfield, my profession moved with me—God relocated it. He took what I did for an industry and began to use it in a ministry. I went as far as I could in Nashville, and at just the right time, God moved me to Springfield.

Each member of our team brings a set of experiences and skills. Mine includes content strategy and a call to equip the church to advocate for the lost. It took me some time to wrap my head around it, but God finally got through—I create content to mobilize the church to reach the unreached. I serve the Arab world from Springfield…for the time being.

#OneWord365: Share

A Nashville friendquaintance* Alece founded OneWord365 a few years ago. It’s a movement that ditches the New Year’s resolutions for just one word. In 2011 my word was SEE, and in 2012 it was READ. I don’t remember choosing a word for 2013, but it probably would have been MOVE. I didn’t have a word for 2014, though it likely would have been TRUST. I’m back at it this year. My word is SHARE, and it kind of terrifies me.

I’m an introvert. I tend toward shyness in groups of new people. I default to listening over speaking. I enjoy the observation that comes with people watching. I’m an input person and happily take in as much information as possible.

What I am not prone to do is share. I speak when spoken to. I answer questions when asked. I share when the spirit moves me. I initiate conversation when deeply compelled to. But very rarely (and maybe never) do I gather people around and say, “Listen to this.” Even typing that sentence, I feel like someone just grabbed my heart and started squeezing it really hard. The idea of announcing that I have something to say freaks me out.

Yet since November I have felt the Spirit saying that I need to say more, that I need to share more, that I have something to say, that I need to say it. God put the word ‘shepherd’ on my heart. For years in Nashville I was the learner with some truly wonderful teachers. But now it’s time for me to give what has been given me.

So my #OneWord for this year is SHARE, and it will take various shapes. There will be blogs here. There will be emails, text messages and cards. There will be lunches and coffees. There might even be phone conversations. If I have your phone number, email address or mailing address, I might pop up in your mailbox from time to time. If I’m in the same city as you, I might invite you for a meet-up. Maybe you’re a friendquaintance, and I only know you through social media—I might message you. If/when you come to mind, I will make sure you know. When I have something burning on my heart/mind, I will make sure you know.

God has asked me to SHARE this year, and with his grace, I will do it. I will not only speak up when the Spirit moves, I will also share what matters most to me today, this week and this month.


*Friendquaintance: An acquaintance that would be a friend if time and space were on our side.