Friday, May 01, 2009

Wowsa

Do I EVER have a lot to tell you, blog world!  Do I EVER.

Let's start with the facts, or, shall I say the FACT.  I am going...to the University of Puget Sound!  [applause...applause]

How did this decision come about, you wonder?  Because, dear people, my God is GOOD.  Let's recap.

The past five months have been some of the most intense of my life.  While I was a blissfully happy member of the IHOP community and resident of the great, flat Kansas City, my heart was...sore.  Sore is really the best way I can describe it.  It wasn't broken, it wasn't shriveled up, it wasn't dying, and it wasn't dry...it was just sore.  Jacob wrestled for a night?  Pshaw...he's got nothin' on my five months. (I kid, I kid...)

God was gracious the whole time.  It was almost like I could look at the whole situation in third person -- Oh look!  There's Annie.  She is in the middle of a FIRE.  It's so good for her heart, but it's one of the most intense refining experiences she's had in her short seventeen years.

I remember one morning specifically, sitting in one of Tim Reimherr's sets.  I said to the Lord "Oh, it would be so cool if you gave one of the singers a song for me...would you?"  

[Insert for you if you're not familiar with IHOP and the Prayer Room: the singers on a worship team sing prayers, basically.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit downloads a specific song to a singer, and they'll just prophesy with their song for a while.  I bet you that pretty much every day you could find at least one person who sat in the prayer room and thought "wow, that song she sang was just for ME!"  For a beautiful example from one of my friend Tim's sets, click HERE and then click on "He's Like Spontaneous"]

Sure enough, that morning, it happened multiple times.  First it was his singer with red hair who sang something to the effect of: "Some of you are wondering...He sees...some of you are asking 'Is God good?  Is God faithful?'"  My heart was struck  -- at the root that is what my cries were.  Maybe I wasn't accusing him of not being faithful, but I was laying in bed at night crying "God, when will you answer?  Do you promise You'll answer?"  Tim went on to sing: "If you ask for His heart, He'll give it to you...just ask for His heart."

The Lord was speaking the whole time, and I was learning.  I was learning big things, like how to wait.  You can try to "learn" to wait while everything around you is working out and is under control, but I was forced to learn to wait.  Two weeks ago, with a college decision deadline looming on May 1, I had no idea what was going to happen to my life.

March 30 brought rejections from all the Ivy League schools I had applied to.  I cried for two minutes, it stung for a few hours, and then I was over it.  Encouragement flooded in from twitter, and OJ bought me a milkshake and prayed before our Chick-fil-a dinner: "Lord, thank you that Annie didn't get into those crummy schools.  Amen."  

Then next day I left for California to visit Westmont College.  On the plane there, Elizabeth and I (we traveled out together) watched the movie Amazing Grace.  Let me just quote from an e-mail I sent Kelsey the next morning:
As we watched I felt so weighted...I feel like him!  That line of "I have a glittering political career ahead of me, and yet in my heart I want spider's webs..." feel SO familiar!  It seems like there is so much potential academically, for my brain, for my music -- but I want to walk away from it all and do something simple...just save babies.  His battle to do what burned on his heart and what others saw for him to do -- I know that battle intimately.  The fact that he felt torn in two on the inside yet couldn't explain it to people on the outside -- that he tried to describe it and felt like it fell to the ground in his friends' hands...
As I thought about what to do for college, I was so torn.  It felt like there was a holy unction inside me that said "You will ACTUALLY be able to change something.  Your life will make a difference."  I believed (and still believe!) that I could save babies, and if it was actually possible, then how could I bring myself to sit in a classroom for four years instead??

I came home knowing that I wasn't moving to California for college.  (Although, I have to say -- the Lord is doing some crazy awesome things there!  Pour it out, Lord!)

The week before Easter, things started happening rapid-fire fast.  We had a Call staff meeting, where everything was outlined about how things are changing.  That change included that the whole team was being disbanded, as of April 30.  If we wanted to keep working for TheCall, we were totally welcome to come talk to the leaders, but, across the board, things were going to have a fresh start.  It took a few days and some heaving sobs (a LOT more crying that getting rejected by the Ivy's. :) to realize that this was, in reality, an answer to prayer.  I asked the Lord a few months ago that something would actually happen to show me whether I was supposed to leave or stay with TheCall.  I had imagined that "something" would be more like my boss sitting down with me and saying "Sorry, Annie, but we just don't need you on the team anymore."  I am blown away by the goodness of God that surrounds how it actually happened.  Imagine having the door to one of the most significant things ever to happen in your life close without ONE OUNCE of rejection.  God is amazing!

My sister Amy repeatedly pointed out to me that you couldn't get around the significance of the days.  Done with TheCall April 30, college decision due May 1.  Leaving TheCall was no light thing to my heart -- it seemed like everything I burned for was happening in their vision.  Praying for an adoption movement, seeing a youth movement sparked...   Just the thought of leaving the team had me crying in that meeting.  

On Easter my dad called.  He gave me wisdom, he spoke to what he saw going on in my heart, and he basically said that staying in Kansas City was out of the question.  That took about two days to sink in, and then I had peace.  I know it was God, because three days before I had been sitting in my car in the IHOP parking lot, heaving sobs, hardly able to breathe at the thought of going away.  Ever since I've had peace that leaving Kansas City is the right thing.  Hard, but right.

Then the Tuesday after Easter, Suz and OJ returned from a weekend trip to Tacoma.  They came home bubbling about what had happened.  Basically, to put it in a nutshell, there is a powerful movement in its beginnings to literally fulfill the Great Commission.  People who have never heard the gospel are going to hear about Jesus, and my church in Tacoma has been called to be an integral part of it.  There are so many streams to this river of a story, but basically the deal is that Suz and OJ are going to move to be a part of it, and I am too.  The gospel is going to be preached, and my generation is going to hear about Jesus then be called to go tell MORE people about Jesus!  

You see, I know God has been calling and drawing my heart gently for the past few months toward preaching the gospel.  For one, I don't believe there exists a Christian who's not called to preach the Good News.  Of course, knowing that and having a passion for the lost are two different things.  On my birthday, God called my name in a very specific way at church.  One of the things I knew He spoke to my heart about was an opening of my mouth.  I can't stay silent, because the world needs Jesus!  It's been on my mind every time I go to the store these past few months, feeling like all I see are broken people who need to know God.  

In the past week and a half, God has given my parents peace about me going to UPS in Tacoma, something they never expected.  They know His voice, though, and are sending me.  I love you, Mom & Dad!  

The last piece to fall into place was a disappointing financial aid package from the top-running Christian college that my parents would have otherwise loved for me to go to.  I love it when the Lord brings clarity.

So I'm enrolled.   I sent my letter and my check yesterday.  God is doing something big, guys, and I'm going to be a part of it.  It's going to go around the whole earth -- people who never knew about this saving grace are going to meet the God-Man Jesus, and it's going to spread across the earth.  Across the earth, and across the campus of the University of Puget Sound --across my campus.

2 comments:

Kacie said...

Yay - what a beautiful story of God's leading, and I do think it's awesome how God led your parents too. And, beyond anything spiritual, Washington is gorgeous and I'm jealous. My brother and sister in law live in Portland.

I'm excited to see God use you on that campus! Yay Annie. :)

miriam said...

omg anna! i love your story and im glad that God is using you and is going to use you way more! you are a blessing to me! and i love you sooo much! plz pray for me! im not doing good and pray so that God help me too with my family and my college decision too! i miss you !