Monthly Archives: December 2015

Gift to Collide

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Merry Christmas!

As you celebrate God with us, God come down, God with flesh and blood and an Adam’s apple, God colliding with us, will you consider taking part in generously giving to Collide’s end-of-year giving campaign?

We are about 15 months into being a non-profit, which means we partner with diverse churches and gather people from across the church spectrum, as well as people outside of the church. This move on our part puts us on our own financially. We don’t have any big brother churches  or denominations funding us, or any rich sugar daddies 🙂 We took a leap of faith to become a nonprofit as we felt so led by the Lord, watching Him drawing women from all sorts of churches and women outside the church to our events, counseling program, classes and mentoring program. This decision has been so rich in seeing the beauty in diverse gatherings that encourages unity, and we see lives being radically changed! But it has been financially tricky to continue shaping and composing ministry events and gatherings, while keeping those events affordable for attendees. We offer scholarships for women to attend all our events for free if they cannot afford to pay, as we never want money to be an obstacle and we hope to continue to be able to do that. We offer 4 sessions of counseling to any person in need of that help and healing, and we hope to continue to be able to do that. We meet with women, leaders and churches across the county and even outside the county, inviting them to collide with the One who continues to build hope and redemption into lives. We hope to continue to do all these things.

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What most people don’t know is this:

  • We have partnered with over 7 churches in the past year and have seen amazing things happen in the lives of women!
  • We have had 1,650 women in the last year come to our events and this does not include those who hear the message when we travel to churches outside the county to share the good news!
  • We have a team of 21 women volunteers, (plus 50 other volunteers on the day of event)s who make Collide happen.
  • We have one paid staff person who is an administrator and she works 12 hours a week.
  • We have churches across the state who have asked about having Collide at their church and we have to say NO as it will take paid staff members to pull off more events and ministry gatherings outside.
  • We have BIG vision for the year to come and need your partnership to pull it off!
  • We have no office or printer or… you get the picture.
  • We do not own basic things for events like tablecloths, coffee dispensers, etc.
  • We don’t have storage space.
  • We have no church or denominational financial support.
  • We keep ticket prices affordable, however they do not even cover the cost of putting on an event
  • We rely solely on the generous donations of individuals like you.

What once was a small group is now a growing organization whose amazing growth preceeded its resources. So we are asking you as the year-end approaches to consider generously giving to Collide so that we can continue seeing lives changed!

If you would like to give a one-time donation or commit to a monthly gift, you can give online by clicking the donation button or you can mail a check to our address: Collide: PO Box 30651 Bellingham, Washington 98228.

Anticipation by Hannah Atkins

Hannah my story

(Photo courtesy of Jen Fox Photography)

Oh how I love this woman! Her and her family are like family to me! They were used significantly years and years ago to help find Jesus. It has been such a joy to watch Hannah grow up and start her own family and to now serve together doing ministry! Hannah is on the Collide team and we call her our Martha Stewart. She brings an eye for design but even more importantly she brings with her a big heart of compassion and care. You will enjoy every minute here as she shares that big heart of hers!- Willow

In October, I had the privilege of sharing my story at Collide. I have to say that the opportunity to reflect on the past several years impacted me greatly and has led to even further healing. I shared about our experience with infertility and pregnancy loss and the journey I have been on to hope for a blessing when it is not right in front of me. The Advent season is significant to my story and has provided space for me to enter into my longings, to really feel the tension living in the now and yet longing for all things to be made right.

According to Wikipedia, “Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning ‘coming.’ Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.”

I have had plenty of longing; it has become familiar to me and to be honest, it is comfortable. I am more than familiar with anticipation, in fact, anticipation and I have an unhealthy relationship. My disappointment and hurt have taught me to expect or anticipate more disappointment and hurt. As a means of protecting myself, I anticipate less than enough to avoid the gut wrenching crush of yet another disappointment. I am learning that this is not the anticipation that God has called us into.

It is mind boggling to me that my deepest hurts and disappointments have taken me on a journey of learning to trust God, and to start to anticipate more rather than not enough. My longing has shown me where I don’t trust God, where I feel that He is not quite enough, and challenged me to see God in new ways.  

It takes faith to trust. It requires me to believe in what I don’t see, to believe in something bigger than my circumstances or the circumstances of others. To anticipate joy is to trust that in my scarcity He is, and will continue to be, enough. This is what excites me, this has revolutionized my anticipation. It has given me hope when I feel that there is no hope. Every day is like a second coming. I see His kingdom come into my daily life. He takes the broken and restores it.

My longing and my anticipation now have a co-dependent relationship, one is not present without the other. I long for love to invade our hearts and replace hate. I long for restoration of broken relationships. I long for every child to be protected and cherished. I long for every refugee to have a safe home. I long for every person to have a voice and be truly heard. I long for those suffering with illness to be healed. I long for peace. My hope is in a God that will restore all things back to Himself. I anticipate that He will fulfill the longings of my heart even though His timing and the outcome often looks different than what I expect.

My prayer for you this advent season is that in the midst of the longing you would experience a glimmer of hope. That you could anticipate joy and wonder.

Be Still by Laurie Arndorfer

Laurie my story

Laurie is a new member of the Collide team and brings with her a great sense of wisdom, life experience and care for those in need. She not only works in a vocation caring for people but she brings that gift to the Collide table leading our counseling program. Enjoy her post here on the challenge God has laid before her to also care for herself and her relationship with Him!- Willow

My life has been defined by a preoccupation with busyness and performance.  

It started when I was a child, trying to meet expectations of teachers, my parents, my 4-H leader, and other adults in my life.  I received praise and accolades for doing well in school, sports, music, and other activities which involved me trying to do my best and be my best.  I felt embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed if I didnt look good or perform well.  It soon became a self-imposed dungeon of trying to look good, sound good, and perform to the best of my ability.  This frenzied, frustrated, stressed out, overwhelming way of being has characterized much of my life.  Im just beginning to sort it out.

My husband and I attended a Soul Care Intensive retreat in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado this past summer.  We met with another couple, a bit older than us, and with much wisdom about how God might speak to us, and what calling He might have on our lives.  We were forcedinto stillness.  We met with the other couple for 3-4 hours per day.  The rest of the day and evening was spent completing reading assignments, meditating on verses of the Bible, praying and resting in silence.  At first I wondered how I would make it through 7 days of this.  You see, Im not good at being still.  In fact, Im really terrible at it, as most anyone who knows me well can attest.  My culture and background have taught me that rest is equated with laziness and productivity with success.  Busyness and getting things done have become my identity.  

So, I started out the retreat by going through the motions and following the rulesas Ive been taught to do.  I attended the sessions, did the homework, walked along the prayer trail and meditated on my assigned scriptures.  But my heart wasnt in it.  I felt stressed out trying to know God and hear God.  I kept pushing myself to do it right.”  

As Parker Palmer so vividly points out, “The active life also carries a curse. Many of us know what it is to live lives not of action, but of frenzy, to go from day to day exhausted and unfulfilled by our attempts to work, create and care.”  This has been my life.

Then, I was asked to go with my husband and a staff member, Craig, on a prayer walk out in nature.  The goal was to walk very slowly, and to focus on the tiniest gifts that God may have put in my path.  Again, I started out with a less than stellar attitude, power walking down the trail.  Craig had to remind me to slow down.  I walked along that trail, as slow as I could make myself, looking at the mountains, the first aspens beginning to turn yellow, the interesting shapes of rocks, the reddish brown color of the dirt.  

Instead of just looking, I began to actually see.  I saw that God has an amazing order to things: there is beauty everywhere I look, if I will only pause.  We stopped on the top of a steep incline and looked over the expanse of mountains and trees around us.  Craig asked us to close our eyes and to just listen to what God might be saying.  I closed my eyes (very tightly mind you), and at first I didnt hear anything.  I asked from my heart, God what do you want me to DO?  How can I know you more?”  Then, the funniest thing happened.  God didn’t tell me or impress upon me that I needed to DO anything. But I got a clear message, maybe for the first time in my life. It was not dramatic or loud or forceful.  It was quiet.   I heard God say to my heart, Be still.”  Me?  Be still?  Nothing else.  Just be still.  This still small voice brought me to tears that day.  I am brought to tears when I consider it still.    

The rest of the days of the retreat came and went.  Instead of dreading the stillness and the minutes ticking by, I began to experience something in the stillness.  Peace.  It did not come suddenly, and it was not dramatic.  It was just an overall sense that all was well and that I didnt need to rush.  That God has this. That God has ME.

Returning home was, and continues to be, a challenge.  Since the retreat I’ve been trying to adjust to my daughter heading off to college and leaving us empty nesters, a job that is stressful and challenging on a daily basis, downsizing into a much smaller house, and trying to train a brand new puppy who came home with us this summer.  It is a daily surrender to let go of the internal wave of anxiety that drives me forward,  and instead to take the gentle hand that leads me without criticism, force or condemnation.  

Truth be told, I really fail at this a lot of days. But on those days when I listen to the Spirit’s quiet voice within me saying “Be still and know that I am God,” and on those days that I focus on the fact that I am a human being and not a human doing, I can cope better with the chaos around me. I can rest in God and be open to where He might lead me. I can love the people He places right in front of me. I am hopeful that God will continue to teach me a better approach to living, and I understand what He means when he says to me, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”