25 March, 2007

Quick Update:

My best friend had a baby!!! A little girl: Ella Grace. She was born on the 16th at 1:40pm. I am so excited, and sad that I cannot be there to hold her. But everyone is doing well, and I can't wait to see her when I come home.

Work is going well. I just got assigned to a regional project from the Near East and North Africa. It's a group of 20, 20-30 year olds studying economic, social, and political change. I'm excited! We are working on getting them appointments, and they are traveling to Denver as one of their city stops. I wish I could go with them! We sent another group there last week, I really wanted to go and be their driver, but no such luck. I am learning more, and settling in. I feel like I know what I am doing from start to end on a project, which is nice.

The city is starting to reveal spring. The cherry blossoms are coming out. The street I walk to the metro has some cherry blossom trees on it, and they are blooming as are the tulips and the other flowers (so pretty!) As a friend said the other day, I won't feel like a native until I've seen the blossoms. And DCers take their cherry blossoms seriously. I thought it was just something that happened – like the leaves changing – but no! They have a festival, parade included. It's crazy! And the Washington Post printed a "blossom" calendar with ideal days to look at them (April 4th). It should be fun. I might do a night tour on the 3rd to take pictures and capture the blossoms at the "ideal" time.

Church is amazing. I love it. It's as if everything I hated about other churches (the lack-luster, feel good, no accountability, Prayer of Jabez crap that infects 98% of American churches today) bothers these people too. This church – oh I don't even know if I can describe it – it's friendly and welcoming, totally focused on God and His kingdom. It's not afraid to ask hard questions and say, "actually this is wrong" and stand behind that. It's not seeker friendly – it's follower friendly – and that makes such a difference. This church is un-willing to water down Jesus' message or his accountability or His love just to get people in the door. If you want to be told that living with your boy friend before marriage is okay and getting drunk every night is not a sin go to the church three blocks down – because the church I go to will tell you God has more.

They're doing a series right now on sin. And Sunday's was on self-sufficiency (which p.s. (and this is for me too) is a sin!) we need God, we need each other, and to tell either that we can do it without them is wrong. We were not made to live isolated lives separate from each other. And when we write others off, or consider ourselves better, or just refuse to open our eyes to other people – we sin. We reconcile ourselves to God (sometimes) but never approach each other. And it's not always in a "I'm sorry" way, but a "Can I help you? Can you listen? Can we just be?" way. In DC that is such a powerful message. My biggest complaint has been the inability to get to know people. DC is a cold city to break into. Authenticity is not valued, or people don't have time for another friendship. Yet, in the midst of it is this little church will to struggle and be open in a city that tells them it's foolish.

I love it.

Lent is kicking my butt. It's been a struggle. To spend time with Him means to be refined and I am weak and exhausted. To not mention satan's attacks. I spend my day fighting off his lies. Either way I am beaten and dog-tired. At church on Sunday I did not want to be there. I wanted to go sit somewhere and journal about how tired I was (apart from the church – self-sufficiency – irony huh?). But I stayed, and I took communion and faced satan's attack head on. And God released me from it and showed me yet again it's only him.

I keep saying "bring it on" because if it can make me stronger in Him, or make me more reliant on Him, then, dude, let's roll. I, maybe for the first time, understand a) the need for the spiritual armor Paul talks about, and b) how living a life fully reliant on Him is the sweetest thing of all. I tell you, I could not get out of bed, or form a sentence, or go to work and function - if it was not for my Lord and His sufficiency. I'm not being dramatic - I am that tired in my soul, in my heart, in my mind, in my body - but He, He gives me strength to get up and get through.

It's Him, it's all about Him.

Lord, help me to decrease so You increase.

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© Amanda Lunday