Monthly Archives: October 2016

Rise and Go

Rise and Go_Online Invite

Ladies, if you are in or around Whatcom County, our first day for women of this year is quickly approaching! As always, we have surprises up our sleeves, amazing speakers, stories that will inspire you right out of your seats, artistic expression, worship, a lovely lunch, special gifts and so much more!

We plan to center around Luke 17, where Jesus takes a survey and suggests 9 out of 10 people don’t return to give thanks to God. Okay, maybe Jesus didn’t take a survey, but He does heal ten lepers and only one returns. This one leper came to Jesus in pain and in healing. We are going to center around this passage where one man’s gratitude impresses Jesus. We have speakers and teachers drawing from Luke 17 and teaching on so many different things:

  • What a Pain! How God can use our darkest places most.
  • Faith for the Journey
  • Every Step a Prayer
  • A Modern Day Lepers Perspective
  • Worshiping God in the Midst of Pain
  • Pleading with God- Does He listen?
  • A Healing Journey: How to walk towards healing when it doesn’t feel like it is happening how you had hoped.
  • The Gift of Anxiety
  • Moving from Broken to Beautiful; how God can use pain as a gift.
  • Finding God through Listening prayer
  • Finding God in misery and loss
  • Exploring Forgiveness, Apology and Reconciliation
  • Becoming the Storyteller your Story Deserves
  • What to Expect when Entering Therapy

I hope you will consider joining us for a day to remember! Register here... And for those who can’t attend, we would love for you to pray that women will experience the love of God in a way that is life changing!

Answered Prayers by Kristen Hamilton

Kristen is new to the Collide team but I have known her for years as a college student at Western Washington University! In that time I have watched her faith become her own and her love for God and service multiply into a great yearning to do amazing things with her life! She just returned from a year-long mission and experienced the need for God to show up in the little and the big. I hope you enjoy hearing how God answered her prayers and are encouraged that He will answer yours! -Willow

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God answers prayers. I know this seems simple and common sense, but I think sometimes we forget it. We forget what a BIG God we have. We forget simple prayers can be answered as well as the complex ones, and that even our un-asked prayers can be answered. We forget God knows the desires of each of our hearts.

When I graduated college from Western Washington University in 2014, I had big dreams, well at least in my eyes. But then everything I thought would happen fell through. I was lost and confused. I did not understand why God would do this to me, why He would not show up in the little things.

This last year of my life, I have grown immensely deeper roots in the Lord. If you looked at me last September and then looked at me now, you would see a completely different person. I have found freedom from control having power over my life, I have learned to seek approval and affirmation from the Lord and not from others, and I have gained an incredible amount of experience with new mercies and grace.

For eleven months, from September of 2015 until July of 2016, I lived my life on an eleven month mission trip called the World Race where we traveled to eleven different countries. Yep, you heard that right. Eleven countries in eleven months. I spent my life in Eastern Europe, Africa, and South America. I spent my life living as an overseas missionary with thirty-three people I now call family.

God gave us the words “hospital” and “alive” in a listening prayer for our team in Zambia. When nine of us came down with a really, really bad case of food poisoning and malaria, He answered our prayers with hosts who kept us fed, a hospital that provided us with IVs and medication, and tremendous love and care for each other even though we were sick ourselves.

God answered our prayers for rain in the middle of one of the longest droughts Swaziland has seen, where the corn crops were dying and farmers had been out of work for months leaving families with absolutely nothing to eat.

We prayed  for rain in that small village, day after day of walking around the village and through the cornfields begging God for rain. We prayed for rain to grow the crops and we prayed for rain to heal the people. When “the day of a thousand vomits” happened, as we affectionately referred to it, we prayed for each other. We prayed for healing as vomit went everywhere, we prayed as one after another we succumbed to food poisoning, and we prayed as the doctors missed veins trying to insert our IVs in a hospital with no running water.

At the end of Zambia, only five months in, I was ready to quit and fly home. All I wanted was to talk to my best friend. But the wifi cut out, and then the rain, thunder, and lightning began. I stood and watched in awe as God lit up the skies. The thunder and lightning were just sound and visual effects. The rain beat the ground in a cacophony I am far too familiar with. The rain, oh the rain, is where God pulled me back to Him as He gave me a much needed piece of the Pacific Northwest.

Elephants have been my favorite animal since I was little. In Zambia, three of us chose to use one of our adventure days to ride elephants pretty much in the wild. They roam free but are cared for well by an amazing staff. We rode for over an hour. We rode through the Zambezi River which feeds Victoria Falls, a natural wonder of the world. To top it all off, when we were finished, we FED our elephant and the baby elephants. A childhood desire of my heart had been immensely filled.

On a fourteen hour bus ride from Ecuador to Peru, I was sitting next to a friend who I highly looked up to for wisdom. We dove into a conversation about God’s grace and mercy, about how we have new mercies each day and how God’s grace covers us exactly when we need it. It is just that. God’s grace covers us exactly when we need it. Not a moment earlier or a moment later, but exactly when we most need it.

Somehow on that long overnight bus ride, it clicked. I did not need to worry and stress endlessly about how everything would work out when I arrived back home in the States. God had a plan, even if I could not see it.

I have been back in the States for about seven weeks now and I will never forget the conversation on the bus. God’s grace and mercies cover us each and every day. God’s grace comes not when we want it, but when we need it.

Coming home from a year on the mission field, I was absolutely completely broke, but miraculously an entire month’s worth of gas and groceries was covered with a housesitting gig I was  asked to do last minute. Bills were covered when the parents I nanny for gave me extra money just because they understand it is hard to jump back into the world of being an adult. His grace and mercies flowed in through deep conversations, quotes from books, time in my hammock, and roommates who make me belly laugh on the hard days.

God understands and knows the desires of our hearts. He answers the big prayers, the little prayers, and even the un-asked prayers. His grace and His mercies are new each and every day, covering us exactly when we need it and for what we need.

Dear Pacific Northwest Friends…

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The days are about to get darker, shorter, and rainier. I am a firm believer in having a pre-conversation before we are head-over-heels in hate with what is about to go down. So let’s talk about this now, instead of waiting until we are trudging through February wondering why we’re bummed out and irritable. 

Let’s remember a few things…

1. We are all under the same sky. Everyone else- your neighbors, co-workers, spouses, kid’s teachers, all of them- is living with less light and bad hair days. Their alarm clocks are screaming at them in the pitch dark too. Let’s have patience for one another and hand out extra doses of encouragement.

2. Vitamin D is your friend. This is no Dr.’s joke. 

3. Be the light you long to see. Bring someone a candle. Drop off a pot of soup. Send a card. Stop and help the guy on the side of the road changing his tire in a torrential downpour.

4. Don’t hibernate. We are not bears. Don’t close your fall door, not to be opened until spring. You will start to shower less and maybe stink. You will get too cozy in sweats and not want to to put on jeans in spring. You will start making blue light your replacement for sun light. Don’t do it! It will suck you in and kill your brain cells and zap you of your zeal for life! Go for a walk and collect fall leaves. Take a snow day and sled down your street even if you can still see pavement. Put on your best coat and a plaid scarf, and frolic through a park pretending you are in a GAP ad.

5. Umbrellas poke people in the eyes. Just go for it. Get your hair wet and wear the rain with pride. Run through puddles and jump right in the middle of one holding your kids hand. Let the downpour hit your face on a good long run and yell “Briiiiing it!

6. Become friends with the pleasures that summer sunshine doesn’t offer. Drink hot coffee. This is what we are known for here in the PNW. Get a good cup, one that fits your grip, and enjoy every sip. Light a fire. Put on fuzzy socks and read one of the ten books you have been wanting to read. When the power goes out, play hide and seek like you are 6 again. Make chili and invite the widow over. Sit and listen to her story over hot cider. And don’t forget apple crisp. Go find the apple tree that someone is neglecting and pick those gems. Peel their sun kissed skin off, slice them and then douse the top with the delicious taste of brown sugar, butter and oats. Bake and enjoy with vanilla ice cream! Let’s be grateful about the things winter brings that summer does not.

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7. Remember the dahlia. They might be dead soon, nowhere to be found. The flowers fade, but those dahlias in all their majestic colors, they will be back. Magenta. Pale pink and white. Fiery orange. Crimson Red. Bright yellow. Spring will come, but first winter. Enter into this season, for God has something for us in winter too. 

8. Have the courage to reach out. Don’t let seasonal affectiveness get the best of you. Don’t find yourself lonely or bored, wondering why. Don’t wait for the birds to fly back and the weather to perk up before you act like you again. Call a friend and go bowling. Who cares if your game is in the gutter. Go volunteer at the food bank. People need sustenance and you can help. Invite someone into what’s going on, on the inside, not just the out. They do share the same sky, remember.

9. When you’re tired of walking to your car in the rain, loading groceries in the rain, exercising in the rain, don’t forget that there are others who live in the rain. Their sleeping bag, their tent, their grocery cart of belongings, are all damper and colder and most likely lonelier than you. Every day that it rains and you find yourself complaining about Washington and thinking about moving to California, stop yourself. Instead, replace that head space with compassion. Every time you grab a coffee at a drive through, grab two. One for you and one for them.

10. Lastly, live victoriously. Jesus said there will be troubles in this world but He has overcome the world. The winter blues, depression, endless darkness, and anything else you or your loved ones will experience this dark and rainy winter will be overcome. You have got this people! You have access to Light that shines in any darkness. You have access to Hope that is bigger than any despair. You have access to a God who puts death to shame and instead brings forth life again and again and again. Just like the dahlia dead in winter, it’s brilliant colors will pop out again real soon, we too will overcome.

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