After getting back from Drive, I had a very full couple of days, replete with crying, laughing, and everything in between.
In many respects, Drive felt like a Sabbath, but in other ways, it did not (in terms of stop and rest – it’s hard to stop and rest at a conference called Drive). Thankfully, Tina and I are off to vacation today for a couple of weeks! It’s all about rhythm…
Please don’t think of us while you’re not on vacation. My thoughts are especially with you students in finals. Sorry, that sounded like I was teasing, but I genuinely meant that my thoughts are with you students!
In the meantime, here’s some things that made me experience the fullness of life over the weekend:
1) Nikki’s Memorial Service – Nikki Holden was a member of a church and an extraordinary person. She was a teacher for 20+ years at Evangel Christian School, and it was amazing how consistent the remarks were about Nikki and her impact on children and her unwavering faith in God during the turbulence of life.
Here’s a portion I read from a testimony she gave at NLF before a sermon I preached back in September. The written portion here describes her reaction to finding out she had to go through her second round of chemo. After being in and out of the hospital for 2 years, she passed away couple of weeks ago.
I knew I could yell and scream and carry on and have to go through it anyway… or, as much as I was sad and disappointed, I could embrace what God was doing and move forward.
It’s been a roller-coaster of a year in dealing with fear, depression, doubt and anger, but also experiencing joy and peace in the presence of the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness.
Having cancer has been the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to me, but it’s also been one of the best things to ever happen to me, because I never really suffered in my life before now. But now I’ve walked through this valley and I’ve seen God’s faithfulness.
I still haven’t gotten the outcome that I hoped for a year ago. But my hope is in God, not in the doctors, and not in the chemo. He is my healer and my protector and I know I can’t just sit at home and live in a bubble. As best as I can with his strength I have to live the life he has placed before me.
A couple of months ago, I read Psalm 119:91 which says, “All things serve you.”
When I read that verse, it just gripped my spirit. I knew that even this cancer can serve him if I let it. My testimony is not that I had cancer and God healed me, but instead, I have cancer, and by God’s grace I am journeying through it.
Nikki was a remarkable woman, and it was a beautifully uplifting service to take part in.
2) Karis’ First Birthday – Fun times with the Villodas and Valle families, celebrating the ever-popular Karis Villodas. She’s mad fun to be with, and there always seems to be a crowd around her. One of my biggest highlights was seeing her eat her first cupcake. Too cute.
Villodas + Valle = GREAT TIMES. Check out Rosie’s blog to learn more of Karis and family.
3) Open Mic Nite – We raised over $600 for Global Partnerships as different artists did their thing. Wild talent of singers, musicians, dancers, rhymers, actors, rappers, and poets on display. Click here or on the image for more pics. Hoozah.
Next time, I’d love to see Mike Favilla do a bhangra dance to raise money for the Philippines. Who’s with me?
4) Smart Feet – Preached a message on having smart feet from Jeremiah 42-43. If you don’t know what smart feet are, you can find some resources here.