30 September 2010

Vulnerable Love and 10 Days...

“To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.  The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.  The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”  The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis

Let us love with an all-consuming, vulnerable, Christ-like love... Will and I are preparing to go to MAF in 10 days for our evaluation.  We are daily reminded of our purpose... To love the world unabashedly, purely, and rightly. To proclaim God's true and HIS salvation!  Remembering, "This is LOVE: not that we loved God, but that HE loved us and sent HIS Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." - 1 John 4  Let us go into the world and tell of this vulnerable love.

29 September 2010

To the Least of These...

"Whatever you do to the LEAST of these you do unto ME" - Jesus (Matthew 25)

What a humbling thought... I rush daily through the hubbub of life, sometimes without even a glance at the hurting, hopeless, and lost.  I am so consumed with my own thoughts, agenda, and "to-do's" that I lose focus of my purpose.  I to quickly forget what my CREATOR, God, designed me to be. We are children of God (Gal. 3:26). Therefore, we need to have the heart and mind of Christ - Love.  Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love NEVER fails (1 Cor. 13). What does that look like? How do I show Christ's love to the world? 

I got a glimpse of what that should look like last night at the grocery.  I had just finished bustling through the store with my list of items. I totaled everything in my head and was so proud of myself that I was under budget!  I slipped into the line behind a single woman... Finally no waiting in the grocery line! 

Then I watched a scene unfold before me.  I gazed only to find a woman - tired, worn, weather... Her forehead furrowed as she was trying to understand what the cashier was saying. I listened in. The cashier said, "I'm sorry, but it is saying you have insufficient funds." The woman's shoulders sagged as if the weight of all 60 something years had just fallen across her back.  Her only words were soft and saddened, "I checked this morning and I had $29.04 left in my account. That should be enough to cover my groceries... Please could you check again? Or start removing things until it accepts my card. I need to take something home..."  
My heart broke. My mind racing - $29.04 left to her name... Then the selfish part of me went to look at the registered, just to make sure she didn't owe too much money. I immediately began the mental excuses for my glance, "Well, we don't have much either. We have so many bills to pay.  I need to make sure her debt is not too much..." 

I stopped, horrified by the thoughts that flashed through my mind! Would Jesus have thought these things. NO! HE would have loved selflessly and met this woman's needs.   

I thought about what HE has done for me on the cross...  Did HE, Jesus, stop to assess how much I sinned? Did HE pause before dying for my sins to measure the depth of my debt to say, "Will this cost me too much"? 

NO! Jesus died for all my sin because HE loved me selflessly, beautifully, and perfectly.  "For God so loved the world, that HE gave HIS only Son, that WHOEVER believes in HIM should not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16 

Who am I to call myself a Christ-follower and choose not to love as Christ.  I need to stop and choose to love period.  

So, the question still is pressing into my heart - Will I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the helpless (Matthew 25)... How I love the "least of these" is how I love my Savior... 

Carol walked away with tears threatening to breech the rims of her tired eyes. Her small, tired, weathered hands clinging to the groceries that God alone provided... 

27 September 2010

Our LONG Overdue Story - God, Facebook and Us

So it has been an entire year since our worlds collided. Literally!

Many of you are probably wondering our story which God so perfectly ordered long before we became one...

The story begins on Facebook (yes Facebook) around June 18th, 2009. Well, actually the story begins far before this point. Will had been praying from Vancouver, Washington that God would give him a wife who would long to serve besides him. He was desiring to serve God with Mission Aviation Fellowship and serve Christ overseas. I (Nan) was on the other side of the states in Birmingham, Michigan working as a Medical Device Sales Rep. I had told my mom around June 1st, 2009 that I thought God had intended me to be single for my life. My mother (in her wisdom) told me she thought God desired me to be married. So, that day we began to pray for my husband (not knowing that it would be my Sweet William).

Flash forward now to June 18, 2009. Will Grant had commented on a FB post of our mutual friend. It was not his post that intrigued me as much as his picture. Will's picture was the gorgeous expanse God's beautiful creation - the mountains offsetting a rugged wooden cross. I was newer to FB and thought in order to ask this "Will guy" where the mountain-scape was located I must friend request him. So I did. We exchanged a few pleasantries like: Who are you? How do you know our mutual friend (Will attended APU with him in Cali and I went to school K-12th Grade back in Michigan with our friend)? Where do you live (Will - Washington and Nan - Michigan)? Where is your picture (Alaska)? And that was that! I added Alaska to my "bucket-list" of places to go and closed that chapter.

Two weeks later I get a random, yes random, email from Will Grant that said, "If you are ever in
the Pac NW and want a plane ride to the beach let me know." My initial thoughts... "Ummmmm... Okay?" I decided to play the game and told him via email, "Okay, as long as we go back-packing and whitewater rafting I was in for the adventure. Smile." Then we started emailing back and forth. Then one Saturday afternoon we finally talked on the phone. It was decided that I would think and pray about coming to Vancouver, Washington for a visit. I talked with my godly and wise mama. She told me she would pray about the decision and get back to me with her thoughts the following day. Well, she did! And she told me she had peace that I should go...

So, the next month and a half Will and I chatted on Gmail video chat for hours each evening. It became more and more apparent that what was happening between us was not just about us. God had brought us together, no question! I was in awe as Will was such an amazing leader in our relationship. I never had experienced a relationship with a guy that put Christ before me in everything!

On August 12th, 2009 I flew into PDX and met my Sweet William for the first time. I knew this was the man that God desired for me to marry. Later that night over dinner Will told me he loved me... out of exhaustion (up since 12:30am PST b/c of the time difference from Michigan) I said, "Yeah, me too" to Will's declaration of love. Poor guy thought I wasn't interested (but I was just so tired I couldn't think of a better answer)! But, later that night we talked further and he realized that I decided to and longed to love him as well! Over the next two weeks we grew to know each other deeper and realized that our hearts were desiring the same thing in life - to serve God together in whatever capacity HE (God) desired for our lives.

The second day into the trip we were informally engaged and Mom and Dad Grant were busy planning our Honeymoon for December! I flew back to Michigan and begin the chaotic process of closing the Michigan chapter of my life... putting in my 2 weeks notice at work, saying good-bye to friends and family, packing up my condo, selling things to pay for the cross-country move... And spending every spare moment having coffee dates with my mom who I knew I would dearly miss!

On Labor Day, 2009 Will flew in to Detroit to move me out to the Pacific North West! We loaded up the Penske truck and spent the entire day with my wonderful mama. Then we had to say good-bye. It was the hardest good-bye I could have imagined...

We began the journey which lasted for two days. The first leg was made up of many laughs, a 24-pack of Red Bull, countless King Sized candy bars, and amazing memories. One memory that will never be forgotten was in Miles City, Montana. After driving from 5 pm-8pm the next evening we finally pulled over in Miles City, Montana to get 2 hotel rooms for the night (separate rooms of course). We had just finished watching football when I told Will how hard it was to have just left my family. He comforted me and asked me to close my eyes because he had a surprise. Due to the fact I was more than sleep deprived after 35 plus hours without sleep, I thought Will had a surprise to welcome me to Washington and my new home.  I closed my eyes. When I opened them Will was down on one knee. He asked me to be his family and walk beside him, serving our God for the rest of our days. Of course, I said, "YES"!

We finally arrived in Vancouver, Washington after our two day trip exhausted, but happy! William moved me into the home of some girls from the church until we got married. Well, that only lasted for two weeks time. Both of us decided there was no point to waiting to get married until December. We wanted to honor God in our relationship and knew that we would have to bump up our wedding date in order to remain pure and honor GOD first. So, we went to the courthouse in Hillsboro, Oregon on September 25th, 2009! We moved into a little apartment and began the most incredible marriage that was perfectly ordered by our God!

Since then we have experience an incredible journey that daily strips us of ourselves (especially me) and teaches us to put God first, then each other, then others and THEN ourselves. It has been an amazing year of our lives. Happy ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!

Each day, God draws our hearts closer. We feel that our next step is to join Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) to serve God overseas in the coming days. If you would join us in prayer as we have our evaluation with MAF in October, 2010 and will hope to join in January 2011.

Thank you for joining us in this joining perfectly designed by our God!

15 September 2010

Aerial Shots & 25 Days...

25 More Days of Training
Life has seemed somewhat of a whirlwind over the last several months... We are fully immersed in our training: flying 3 days a week and engulfed in aviation books the 3 opposing days. I (Nan) have become the designated back seat passenger on our training days. I spend my time observing the radios, techniques, and activities of my fabulous pilot hubby. I must say a pilot's job is one for an incredible multi-tasker! I never knew so many things could happen at once: Talking to ATC (Air Traffic Control), using the instrument panel (which provides the pilot with info about the flight situation of the Cessna 206: height, speed, altitude etc), maneuvering, dealing with passengers (me) and "simply" flying! But pilots, like my hubby, do it all!

Aerial Shots and Life Lessons
God has a funny way of teaching us lessons through daily life, if we listen... I have seen this as my back seat flying days have lended to the learning of photography. I daily undergo the task of snapping as many aerial shots as possible until I have obtained the right focus, lighting and perspective. This is similar to my relationship with God. Day by day I can choose to have the focus and perspective of being overwhelmed by the stress of this season - unsure how our bills will get paid, where we will be this time next year or how... well you get the point. Drowning in worry. OR I can choose to simply TRUST GOD. Not to be trite; it is true. Psalm 62:8 says, "Trust in him (God) at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us." God knows all things and will take care of HIS people, I must choose to rest in that promise. So instead of drowning in worry, our family has chosen to Trust in God always and find peace in HIM!

Well, in this process of trusting, Will's pilot skills improve daily as we draw closer and closer to our deadline at MAF (October 11th-22nd). We pray each morning and night together that God will prepare our hearts to deepen our trust in HIM each step of the way! Thank you for joining us in prayer as we step closer to our time at MAF...