Thursday, December 16, 2010

December Update

December 1, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Days tick by like the second hand on a clock. Under scrutiny they mark their regular rhythm but as soon as you look away, caught up in life’s activities, the pace quickens until quite all of a sudden an hour has passed, or a week, or a month, or a year. Being fond of closure, in contemplative moments caught between barrages of activity I (Adria) like to think about closing out another year. I like to mentally tie up loose ends, finish outstanding projects, and feel like I saw progress in life and ministry that reflects a calendar year’s worth of time.

However, although God Himself created time, setting its internal workings to tick tock at just the right tempo, His eternal hand reaches all of time. He is not bound by time, nor is He concerned about finding closure in one year. His plan extends into eternity. This is both comforting and extremely frustrating for someone who likes to check things off a to-do list. So, what I would like to do—give you a nice and neat little summary of this year—I cannot. But what I can do is tell you the highs and the lows of this year and ask that you take a step back with me and put this year in the context of an eternal plan designed by our heavenly Father.

This year…

 God called us to pursue adoption. He began to teach us about our own spiritual adoption and to open our hearts to new ideas about family. We are still anxiously waiting to see how God will grow our family.

 As of June our staff now consists of 5 people. We are often over-extended and feel inadequate, yet God is teaching us to rely on Him and trust that He will bring more laborers.

 God provided 5 Summer Staff to run a wonderful program for 40 consistent kids!

 After four years of building relationships a family across the street finally brought their kids to participate in our Summer Program! God is working in their family. They have since married and are opening up to the idea of church in their lives.

 In October we were hit by three consecutive thefts that left us reeling with nearly $200,000 of damages. We are still working and waiting to see how God takes care of us.

It is easy to let each of the open-ended issues wave over me with anxiety, or to feel so tired that it is hard to focus on the goal. But, one of the comforts that the season of Advent brings to me is that we are in the hands of an eternal God, with an eternal plan, who knows first hand what it feels like to live inside the confines of the time He constructed. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6.

Andrew and I pray that this letter finds you all able to rest in the peace that we are offered through our Messiah, regardless of what our highs and lows were this year and what open-ended issues might linger into the new year. We are grateful to be walking this journey with each of you and your prayers and support are truly part of God’s provision to sustain us.

Rejoice, the Messiah is born!

Andrew and Adria Medlen

Monday, December 13, 2010


The last few weeks left me feeling like I got sucked into a wind turbine and spit out on the other side all akimbo.  As I arced through the air and landed in the middle of the busy street I'm left thinking, "What the heck just happened to me?!!"  Friday night was our Hearts for the City Benefit Concert and Silent Auction...the climax of a very harried, and short, story plot.  This weekend I had to close the book, take a deep breath (which looked like sleeping like the dead for hours at a time) before opening the pages tomorrow to find the resolution.  There is much yet to be done and of course, Christmas is upon us, which for all it's promises of wonder and cheer often adds to my stress rather than releases it.

But, God is teaching me things and I am resolved to try to be at peace with that.  I did manage to force myself not to open work emails this weekend and only rarely succumbed to the constant nagging list of follow-up tasks scrolling through my head.  If you know me, you would be shocked at how often I just sat and told myself to think of nothing.  And you know what?  It felt rather relaxing. 

In times of extreme insanity you are forced to prioritize.  Improvise, adapt, and it is said.    There is a strange sense of empowerment in the realization that there is so much I am powerless to force into being...when I've done all I could do and the rest is up to the Lord.  Now if I can take that knowledge into the less "life and death" moments I think there'd be a lot less stress in my life. 

With my personality it is hard for me not to internalize my performance in tasks and roles as my identity and my worth.  I wrestled at the concert feeling like everything was so perfect for an audience of hundreds, yet less than a hundred came.  It smacked of failure and shame.  But, at one point I paused my administrating and sat and listened to the song our performer, Mark Roach, was singing.  He sang the chorus of his song "You Are"--"You are my God and my King/You are the words that I sing/You are the reason I made this offering."

It hit me that rather than sitting there thinking about the lack of attendance or what that said about my identity and capability I needed to rest in the fact that I gave everything I had and it wasn't really for anyone else but the Lord.  I heard a quote once that "Duty is ours and results are the Lord's" and that's exactly what I felt the Lord spoke to me in that moment.  We put on a beautiful event, we did raise some money, and some great people came...the amount of people and money was completely up to the Lord. 

I struggle to hang on to that perspective in life.  But, I want the Lord to continue to teach me to leave everything I have in what He's called me to do and take my pride and identity out of the results and put it in the faithfulness of my work to my King.

"You are my God and my King...You are the reason I made this offering."