Tuesday, January 26, 2010

And the winner is...

The winners of the Happy 50th drawing are:

1) Depression: A Stubborn Darkness by Edward Welch

Winner: Dawn Michelle

2) Sandpaper Dolls Live @ 21c CD

Winner: Courtney Wright

Congratulations ladies!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hello, Anxiety

In the last year or so I've begun struggling with anxiety. I'm not talking about worry (I've always dealt with that to some extent, we all do), I'm talking about anxiety - mind racing, fixating on things with an intensity that you know is *well* more than what's merited, maybe a bit of trouble breathing, definately trouble sleeping, etc. I don't know that I've had any full-on panic attacks, but I've had a few panicky sob-fests that freaked me out pretty thoroughly :}

Yesterday I woke up with my alarm and couldn't get back to sleep. (Normally I'm one of those "hit snooze and I'm back to sleep before my head hits the pillow" kind of gals.) And apparently the thing keeping me awake was what I would pack to wear for the conference I'm attending later this week.

Really??

Yep. I praise God for extending His mercy and giving me some outfit ideas - and I promise you I know how silly it sounds that I was this stressed about "outfits".

But after that I was still feeling anxious. My mind just wouldn't stop picking at me. I eventually went into the room across the hall (where I've set up a little "den" for myself...it's quite cozy). I think I wound up praying. Eventually I realized my anxiety had lifted and left exhaustion in its place.

Then last night as I was trying to go to sleep I realized my anxiety had returned. I don't think it was as stressful as what I'd experienced in the morning, but I still couldn't get to sleep. The "outfit" thing was still bothering me a little as were a few other things - all pretty small or unlikely things.

Around 1 (an hour after I went to bed) I got back up and returned to my "den". I pulled out my guitar and a couple worship tunes and sang through those. Then I emailed a friend to tell her what was going on and ask for prayer. I doubt she got the email then but I wanted her to know what was going on and, given that anxiety and I are becoming good friends, assumed I'd still need those prayers by the time she did see my email.

After that I decided to journal what I was worrying about - maybe I just needed to see things on paper so I could look for truths that countered the lies that had me feeling so anxious.

I was still feeling stressed and it was about 2 at this point so I decided to go ahead and get a shower. I'd been putting that off for the morning but I decided that, with as little sleep as it looked like I'd be getting, I wasn't likely to have time in the morning. Plus I thought the hot water might be soothing.

Nope, still anxious and awake :}

I was back to sitting in my den again, preparing for one last go at putting myself to sleep (and if that failed to give up and try to get some work done) when God, in His mercy, provided the truths I needed to remember in that moment:

God has promised to never leave me (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6)
He has promised to always love me (Romans 8:31-39)
He is a God who keeps His promises (Hebrews 10:23)

Those truths cut through the anxious thoughts and, reciting those 3 things to myself, I went back to bed and finally got to sleep.

Those truths aren't some kind of magic formula for fighting anxiety, but they were what God used last night to silence mine.

If you struggle with anxiety, can I encourage you to keep fighting the fight, to keep praying, asking for prayer, worshipping God (who is always worthy of worship), hiding His word in your heart, etc.? For our battle is not against flesh and blood ( Ephesians 6:10-18).

Lord God, please grant us the grace & strength, in you, to keep on fighting and encouraging one another in the fight.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Haiti

I received this email from some friends of mine who work for a ministry that is currently organizing relief efforts for those affected by the recent earthquakes in Haiti.

One of their big needs at the moment is a cargo plane capable of hauling 15,000 pounds or more. If you have one, or know someone who might, please contact Jeff at Jeff.Rogers@go-ministries.org.

One easy way to help is by attending the BreachBent benefit show/silent auction tomorrow night at the 930. I'll be supporting Jamie Barnes. It's going to be a great show and it's a *really* easy way to lend support to these relief efforts.

You'll find other ways to help listed below. Here is a concise list of their needs as of January 20th.


Email from the Rogers:

First of all, this is lengthy and worth your time so please abide!

Secondly, forgive us, due to time and our urgent work w/G.O. Ministries in responding to the current crisis in Haiti you may have received this email more than once. In an effort to get the word out quickly we compiled data as fast as we could to get the word out.

I, Jeff, was in the Dominican Republic last week when the quake hit. While leading an Exploratory trip we were visiting w/friends from one of the churches we work w/in the impoverished community of Halto del Yaqui drinking coffee when we felt the quake. We joked about it b/c it was nothing major as far as we knew. Our return to Santiago and reports from Haiti shocked and grieved us. G.O. has been responding like mad since the quake. God has opened doors for us to respond in areas that previously had no aid coming to them. We’re staging relief from an airport in Santiago where we have a hanger at our disposal. Through a near overnight partnership w/volunteer pilots and small planes we are landing relief aid on stretches of road and modest airstrips. While larger efforts have been bottle-necked due to traffic, we have been able to supply aid by air, land and sea (I mean, It’s ridiculous how God has equipped us through the strangest of partnerships). Meanwhile, I have returned to the states as of last Friday and Vicki and I are coordinating relief efforts from Louisville where our international headquarters is located. We have been too busy to stop to update our ministry blog. God has provided media attention here stateside and we are in the search for cargo planes and pilots who are willing to move relief aid from our warehouse in Louisville, KY where we are gathering relief aid to Santiago, DR where it can then be delivered to help meet the need in Haiti. If you have a connection to a cargo plane capable of hauling 15,000 pounds or more, please contact me. This is an urgent need!! If you know someone w/an old air show WWII bomber we can repurpose that sucker to get supplies down to Santiago!! We’re praying about a possibly c-130 connection right now! Join us in that.

In the meantime…

Vicki and I wanted to invite you to the Breachbent Benefit show this Saturday the 23rd at the 930 Listening Room if you are close to Louisville. Proceeds from the show go to help fund our work with G.O. Ministries as well as the G.O. Help Haiti relief fund G.O. has established in response to the terrible crisis in Haiti.

We will also be hosting a silent auction during this event.

Please consider coming out in a show of support for us, for G.O. and for our friends in Haiti.

Visit www.go-ministries.org to see how we are currently responding to the Haitian crisis

P.S. Here’s the latest specific updates as to what’s going on in terms of relief w/G.O.:

I am privileged to tell you the following:

On Tuesday, 12 Jan 2010, a 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti. G.O. Ministries happened to have a team in Santiago at the time. Here is a video clip of what it felt like: Moment of Earthquake You see people laughing because it was an unusual occurrence. As news reports came in, we began to realize how serious the situation was and began to prepare to help. God can do immeasurably more than we can imagine, and we never imagined this past week! But God is good and gave us the opportunity to aid in relief of this tragedy. Several of our staff members were featured on their local news. Michael Jeff and Wilby

On Wednesday, we began to understand the extent of the devastation. People immediately began to call and offer their help. Brook Brotzman, president of G.O. Ministries in the US, was already scheduled to travel to the DR that day. After he was on the ground in Santiago, we began to analyze how we could help. We were contacted by several short-term mission teams that were stranded in various locations in Haiti. A group from Eastview Christian Church had been in Pilatre, trying to get home to Normal, IL. Their flight, which would have placed them in Port-au-Prince at the time of the quake, had been cancelled. They were able to get a bus to the border between the Dominican and Haiti, where Tim Krauss, one of our full-time staff members in Santiago, was able to meet them. We then gave them overnight accommodations and got them on a flight Thursday morning. Another group was stranded at a orphanage in Jacmel, southwest of Port-au-Prince, but closer to the epicenter of the quake. To get to them, we found a boat from the Dominican town of Pedernales to the coastal town of Jacmel. The boat was very small but we crammed in as many supplies as would fit and sent Tim to go retreive them. Due to engine problems on the boat, the team returned across the border the next day by land. We were also taking supplies in via the border town of Jimani when possible. In total, we helped 5 different mission teams evacuate from Haiti. Here in the office, we set up ways for people to help by donating and with their prayers. Here is a video with Tim and John preparing to depart: www.vimeo.com/8754211

We obtained warehouse space in the hanger at the Santiago airport in order to store supplies. We used five five small planes to fly supplies in and out of Jacmel and Leogane daily to drop relief supplies. We continued with boat trips as well. We were able to recruit several pilots in order to keep flights going into Jacmel non-stop. You should check out the view of the airport on Google Earth. It is just a runway with a place to turn around. Landing Strip

On Friday, Romano and Wilby, G.O. partnering Haitian pastors, headed out to Port-au-Prince separately. Here is a video that Jeff made of Romano prior to his departure: http://www.vimeo.com/8754093 They left to search for family they had not been able to reach. Wilby found his family members alive but Romano learned that his brother is dead. He leaves behind 9 children. We continue to pray for the orphans created the day of the quake.

Over the weekend, the opportunities to help did not stop. Our staff in Santiago helped assist a UN peacekeeper and his team of volunteers who stayed in our dorm. They were stranded on their way to Port-au-Prince. They assisted us in setting up our relief efforts. We were able to use our warehouse and the hangar space we obtained at the Santiago airport to collect supplies. We have some pictures of our staff buying supplies and the planes. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gohelphaiti We also helped a reporter from the Wall Street Journal with lodging and helped him into Jacmel to report on the conditions there.

On Monday, we began to realize that supplies on the island of Hispaniola were running out. We now need to collect the needed supplies here in the US for transportation to Haiti via the DR. A friend, who is the director of a Haitian orphanage, asked how would she distribute the baby formula she had available? It could mean the difference between life and death. My heart breaks that anyone would find themselves in that position. We are working to get needed supplies as quickly as we can to alleviate the desperate need on the ground in Haiti. We were also able to help get needed pain medicines into Haiti. Pfizer had made a donation to go via a non-governmental agency. We worked with the UN to coordinate the transport of these medicines into Haiti. What a great God we serve!

Tuesday, we began to organize collection of supplies. We have obtained warehouse space in Louisville at 7325 New LaGrange Road. We are contacting the churches in this area to begin collection of needed supplies. Please review the list attached to this email. We can only accept the supplies listed as the need for those items is the greatest. We will ask for additional items in the weeks to come, so please limit donations to what is listed. We are arranging cargo plane transport to take these items to Santiago for distribution into Haiti. It takes 100,000 lbs. to fill the plane. We are again asking God to provide in a big way through His people.

Medical supplies are an immediate and overwhelming need. There are doctors on the ground who cannot treat those sick and injured because they have no supplies. If you are able to secure a donation of medical items, especially orthopedic supplies such as casting materials, contact us right away. We would also be able to purchase these items if a large donation were made.

Your donation has made an immediate difference to the people of Haiti. Please continue to keep the people of Haiti and GO Ministries as we assist in the relief effort in your prayers. We have spent every donation as quickly as they have come in. As of yesterday, we had received over $150,000 in donations. We are spending the money as quickly as it comes in. Please consider giving again or passing this information on to other people who may be interested in what we are doing here.

Many thanks for everyone's support.

Grace and Peace,
The Rogers

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy 50th Post, little blog

To celebrate the 50th post on the blog I thought I'd have a little give away, something to draw out all you lurkers :} The goodies are based on the things I typically blog about (which seemed logical).

1) Depression: A Stubborn Darkness by Edward Welch
2) Sandpaper Dolls Live @ 21c CD

In order to "enter to win" one of these goodies simply comment on this post with which goody you would prefer and how I should contact you if you win. This latter point is expecially important if I will need to get your address to mail you said goody.

If I get lots of responses I'll give away one of each thing, otherwise I'll just pick one commenter at random and they will get the goody they chose.

I'll select the winner next Wednesday morning.

Okay...go!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hope, Hoplessness, and Pain

I'm finally, *slowly* finishing Depression: A Stubborn Darkness. Welch's point about hopelessness and pain and where our hope should rest really struck me:

Some hopeless people who anticipate only death cite Scripture that says "I desire to depart and be with Christ" (Philippians 1:23). But Christ is not what hopelessness people really want. The God-talk is misleading. The goal of hopelessness is to end the suffering, and if God happens to be here when it happens, fine. But God's presence is not essential....

What is your story? Your goal is to accept Scripture's telling of it and make it your own, but too often we add personal edits and devise alternate endings....We leave the Father's house and embark on our own journeys, and we foolishly hope in this life rather than in Jesus. We make our story about pain, and we climax it with the release of pain rather than with Jesus....

Most people believe that eternity will be better than the present. This, of course, is true for those whose hope for Jesus' return. When we see Jesus, "there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain" (Revelations 21:4). But there is something that is arguably even better. Therefore, if you are going to look forward to the gifts God gives us when we see him face to face, hope for this: when we see Jesus, we will no longer be people who sin (I John 3:3)....

Given a choice, a sinless eternity with the loving God is much preferred over a pain-free one where sin still bedevils.