Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Calm Within the Storm

Police lights are flashing through my dining room window and the buzz of a helicopter crescendos and decrescendos as it circles our block.  When we drove up to our street an hour ago we saw police cars everywhere and the end of our block taped off and my heart sunk.  I prayed, "Please, Lord, don't let it be one of the kids."  I thought, after everything else going on, not this too.  But, on the heels of that thought came another...even if...the Lord is your peace and you will get through.

Praise God what remains outside is the search for someone who led the police on a high speed chase and parked their car in front of our house.  I am thankful that no one was injured.  But the twin thoughts I had just before we discovered the real reason for the police presence struck home a message God has been speaking to me the last two days in particular.

We are in a tough season of ministry.  The past few weeks have been overwhelming and it just doesn't seem to let up.  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were not good days for me.  If you know my personality you know I spend a lot of time in my head, which helps me do my best work, but in times of distress it can also overwhelm me with the negative implications of situations.

But the last two days the Lord keeps reminding me that my peace is not in my circumstances.  If it was, I'm going to need a whole lot more chocolate in my life :).  Yesterday God reminded me that even if I don't feel like it, His mercies are new each day and His strength is more than enough to get me through whatever comes my way.  Then I heard a song on the radio.  "Sometimes He Calms the Storm" is one of those songs that I normally cringe at when it comes on the radio...but the words said just what I needed to hear.  Listen to it HERE.  This is what it says....

All who sail the sea of faith /Find out before too long /How quickly blue skies can grow dark /And gentle winds grow strong.

Suddenly fear is like white water /Pounding on the soul /Still we sail on knowing /That our Lord is in control.

Sometimes He calms the storm /With a whispered peace be still /He can settle any sea /But it doesn't mean He will.

Sometimes He holds us close /And lets the wind and waves go wild /Sometimes He calms the storm /And other times He calms His child.

He has a reason for each trial /That we pass through in life /And though we're shaken /We cannot be pulled apart from Christ.

No matter how the driving rain beats down /On those who hold to faith /A heart of trust will always /Be a quiet peaceful place.

What a beautiful truth.  We as Christians are offered a calm WITHIN the storm.  Life keeps rolling on with all its challenges, but I must train my heart to acknowledge the "peace that passes all understanding"-a peace that knows that God can create beauty out of ashes.  Tonight, in the chaos that was our street, we got a perfect opportunity to spend an hour with our neighbors, talking and building relationships.
Who knew sirens and police helicopters could bring thoughts of peace?  Only God and those introduced to His abundant mercy.  I'm glad I have been introduced, have you?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Am Not in Control...and It Is Obvious

I (Adria) am a shameless control freak, which makes life a bit bumpy. 

It looks a little bit like this.
1) I make my plans.
2) I determine that I'm probably the only one I know that can accomplish my plans to perfection.
3) Life begins to do what life does--exactly what I don't want it to do.
4) I begin to freak out.
5) God points out the fact that I'm being a little egotistical.
6) I finally realize that I am not in control of the world.
7) I still freak out.
8) God has his own plans and accomplishes them perfectly.
9) I resolve to do better next time.
10) Repeat cycle.

Today I found myself covering steps 3, 4, and 5 in full force.  This week we decided that we were going to put on a benefit concert and silent auction to help raise funds for the recent copper thefts.  With $200,000 worth of damage and some recent media coverage we decided it would be best to start the process soon.  So, with basically only Andrew and I in the office this week we (well, basically me) started planning.  We have only until early next week to finalize the date, venue, and performers.  Let's just say this has not been a smooth process and I've felt increasingly overwhelmed...thus number 3 and 4.

In addition to feeling like everything went wrong today, we had another thief get up on our roof this afternoon and had the police here AGAIN.  Then the thief RETURNED about two hours later, and long story short, there were a few minutes involving him, Andrew and myself that were scary enough that I got a little perspective...about when number 5 kicked in. 

Will it really be the end of the world if my plans fall through?  Am I willing to trust that God has got things under control...even if that means breaking down my plans for His own?  So, I'm sitting here, exhausted from the adrenaline let down, listening to about 30 guys play basketball in the gym and two very energetic boys playing horse and cowboy around the lobby and I'm just grateful that God is God and I am not.  I think I'm going to go home tonight and try to rest in the knowledge of number 8 while I commit myself to number 9.  And maybe, just maybe, I can avoid number 10.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November Update

November 1, 2010

Dear Team,

Greetings from St. Louis! Being a part of World Impact and serving in St. Louis is such a delight. Adria and I both feel very blessed to be doing something that we are called to do and that contributes to God’s plan for this city.

We do not take the fact lightly that you send us out with your prayers and faithful support. So, as we celebrate this season of Thanksgiving, this letter is written with each of you in mind. We look over our list of supporters, and it never ceases to humble us. We are so grateful to be partnered with such wonderful people as God has laid on your heart (as He has on ours) the unchurched urban poor of the inner-city.

On our ministry team are friends that have faithfully supported us for years, even when it has been a great financial sacrifice to do so. We have family members who have never missed even a month of support and who pray for us daily. What a loving and giving family we both have! We have people who have joined our ministry team after hearing us speak about World Impact at their church or who have come to serve with us for an event or program, all of whom are now joined with us as new friends and family through our now shared journey in Christ! We have several wonderful and generous church communities who are passionate about reaching the lost and who partner with us to do just that here in North St. Louis.

While in the city, God has taught Adria and me a great deal about community. The inner city is a place where it is necessary to depend on the support of those you love and trust and sometimes those whom God providentially sends your way in a time of need. Many of our neighbors and friends here have modeled this connectedness for us and given us a clearer picture of what living as the Body of Christ is supposed to be. Your partnership has also taught us this reality, in that we cannot separate our calling to serve from your calling to send! Praise God for His Church!

So, as you gather with friends and family this Thanksgiving, know that we are praising God for you and your faithful partnership with us and for the work God is doing. Also, know that you are always welcome to come and visit. You are an important part of our lives, and we would love to share it with you first hand. May God, in His great abundance and grace, continue to strengthen, guide, and bless you richly!

Grace and peace,

Andrew and Adria Medlen

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Week that Felt Like a Year

Since last Tuesday we were robbed three times, conducted five stake outs, dealt with police, became our own publicists, did four tv news interviews, set up and hosted a Fall Fest for over 200 people, continued networking to start raising funds for the thefts, and all of this on top of our usual weekly tasks!  We are all exhausted. 

The highlight of the week was Sunday evening's Fall Fest.

Everyone enjoyed the maze constructed out of refrigerator boxes in our gym and then chili dogs!

Andrew wore this wig...these kids have the same reaction we all did.


Well...maybe that falls in line second to sleeping at night.  Did I mention we're all exhausted?

IF that photo wasn't enough of Andrew's hair, check this out: WORLD IMPACT'S FALL FEST ON TV!