Trust, The Continual Lesson

So, so busy.  I hate not being able to, at this season in my life, update my blog consistently.  For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while now, you will know that one of the biggest things God has been teaching me over the years is TRUST.  I think it started my sophomore year at a Cru retreat called “Fall Getaway” when I realized I needed to surrender all that I was holding onto so tightly.  The lesson continued on the first Summer Project I was on as a student when I realized I wasn’t trusting God with the Multiple Sclerosis I have.  The year following, I was on fire for Christ, and I could feel him with me all the time.  For an entire year, Christ was bubbling out of me as I excitedly dove into a relationship with him I didn’t even know was possible and began pouring my life into others, to encourage their faith.  My relationships became more authentic as I hungered for Christ like crazy.  And then came this summer, when the feeling of Christ pumping in my veins stopped.  All summer, I scrambled to figure out what was wrong.  I continued to seek Christ daily and serve him with my all.  After Project this summer, I fell into a funk that I didn’t even know I could.  I would go in and out, trusting he was there, then again convinced he wasn’t.  There have been numerous times where I’ve lifted my eyes off myself and seen his face.  That’s all I need.  To continually see his face.  There have been some really low times this semester, but I began to trust that God was right beside me, even when I couldn’t tell for sure.  It’s a new kind of trust, but I like it.  I have been learning so much this semester.  True, I don’t feel Christ all the time, but I do feel like I know him better and that I am a whole lot closer to him than I was before the first Summer Project I went on.  I have come so far in my relationship with the Lord.  I still have a long ways to go, and the road will get longer as I continually realize how much I don’t know, but we keep moving forward.

I have been trusting Christ with the “little stuff,” and he’s shown me how huge that is.  Not walking well?  Having a bad day?  Freaking about homework?  He can’t miraculously give me the power to teleport or do my homework for me, but he does help with the whole attitude-thing.  This last week has been the first in a very long time that I haven’t had time for a quiet time, to get in the word and draw out of it aspects of God and other cool stuff he might teach me through it.  But that’s okay, as I trust him like crazy to be right there and teaching me even without the dependability and easy access of the word.  One night this week, probably too late, I was having kind of a breakdown.  So I opened up to 2 Peter and read all the way through.  I found this awesome passage in it, and I texted the reference at 12:30am to my friend Tiffany who replied, “Thanks.  Go to bed.”  I digress.

TRUST: “Totally Relying Unthe Son Totakecareofit.”  That’s not just like giving up and saying he’ll make it work, it’s more like handing him the reins and standing up off the throne of my life and saying, “You do a better job than me at this whole life thing.  Even if I don’t like it, I trust that whatever you do is for my good.”  Like right now, when I am having the most trouble falling asleep, I trust that after I publish this and go to sleep, tomorrow will be a good and productive day (because I need it).  Even if it’s not, I trust that all this work I have to get done will indeed get done before it’s due.  (Preach it!)

In writing, I think and remember things better.  I have also learned that preaching truth to myself, even though I may already know it, might help me to KNOW it for realz.  (This post was as just for me as anybody.)

Anna 🙂

Tik Tok Parody for SITC Milwaukee Project 2012

Picture taken using Dave's camera

So, I rewrote these lyrics sometime in June for the staff transition banquet.  And, because I wanted to reference these lyrics in another post of mine, I thought it would make more sense if I just shared it here.  In such a secular and not-quite-appropriate song for all those chillins out there who do indeed listen to this music, I Jesus-fied it and gave it a meaning.  A lot of it also relates to our Summer Project, so this is for those students.  Enjoy =)

Wake up in the morning prayin to my Lord
Grab my Bible, I’m out the door, I’m gonna spread the word
Before I leave, meet my team by the chapel to chat
‘Cause when we leave for the day there won’t be time for that

I’m talking action group on the Mon-days
Interludin as we share grace
God always on our minds, minds,
Practical training of all kinds, kinds,
Socials of all fun-ness,
Trying to reach out all God’s awesomemess

Here’s Life, got the knife
Of the word take slice
City, it will be
A place that’s living free
Tick tock on the clock
But the work of God don’t stop, no

Project, will affect,
How we will reflect
Renown, of the crown,
Of the king that’s all around
Tick tock on the clock
But the work of God don’t stop, no

Ain’t got a care about world, but got Spirit in me
Ain’t got worry how things go, ‘cuz God’s way will be
And now, the peeps are lining up cause they hear we are different
And we share the love of God and lend them a reference.

I’m talking about ‘speriencing God’s grace, grace
God showing us his face, face
Gonna lean on him through the race, race

Now, now, we go until Jesus comes back, back
Or the city is transformed, formed
Ci-Ci-City is saved
Mil-wau-kee is

Don’t stop, let’s talk,
Lord, I will not give up
Right now, gonna bow
To the king that’s like wow
Tick tock on the clock
But the work of God don’t stop, no

Project, will affect,
How we will reflect
Renown, of the crown,
Of the king that’s all around
Tick tock on the clock
But the work of God don’t stop, no

Lord, you build me up
You break me down
My heart, it pounds
Yeah, you got me

With my hands up
I praise you now
We sing that sound
Yeah, you got me

Lord, you build me up
You break me down
My heart, it pounds
Yeah, you got me

With my hands up
Put your hands up
Put your hands up

Now, the party don’t start til God shows up

Don’t stop, make it pop
Lord, blow my doubts up,
Today, gonna play,
When we hear what God say
Tick tock on the clock
But the work of God don’t stop, no

Project, will affect,
How we will reflect
Renown, of the crown,
Of the king that’s all around
Tick tock on the clock
But the work of God don’t stop, no

Almost-the-End of Project Poem

So, the Transition Banquet is tomorrow, and staff is gone on Sunday.  It’s been a great summer, staffing the Summer Project I was on last year!  I’ve learned to embrace just who God made me and I’ve been realizing God’s heart for the nations.  It’s been great!  So.  In reflection with the Lord, I wrote this poem and this prayer.. =)


I know why you called me here, two summers in a row.

It helped in your plan to teach me and help me grow.

I may not like “the city” but I love the people here.

Though I’m just a small town girl, you’ve got my listening ear.

You’ve chosen me to represent you.

You live through me so you can move.

You show me my brokenness to remind me only you can.

But you delight in the daughter of yours I am.

I’m learning every day, and I pray I do forever.

I pray you continually use me to make lives better.

Only you can save and rescue your people.

You who built the church before it had a steeple.

Keep directing us all to the cross,

Keep reminding us that without you, we’re lost.

I pray for the brokenness of this earth,

This place that was broken way before Jesus’ birth.

I pray that many relationships are found with you,

I want everyone to experience you way more than I do!

I pray for the nations that seem so far away.

I pray that they’ll be rescued and listen to what you’ve got to say.

I praise you for your heart and who you’ve always been,

I rejoice that with you in the driver’s seat, we too can win!

Lord, you are awesome and I will never forget,

All the good you’ve done and that you paid my debt!

This poem is getting longish but I could go on and on.

I could write of you forever, and sing of you in every song!

Be with all who read this as they go through their day.

In Jesus’ name I conclude and I pray.


Written by Anna Olson, 6-29-12.

Staff Hunt 2012

I am currently disguised and hiding.

I didn’t do anything wrong.

Nobody accused me.

But THEY are looking for me.

“Do you have the time?” they’ll ask.

But I left my watch with my old identity.

It is forgotten.


I hope they don’t find me.

I hope they keep searching.

Because then time will be up.

And they will have failed.

Success will be mine.

Two hours I’ll sit here,

Pretending to be somebody else.

And then I will emerge.

I will be me once more.


Note: Written during the staff hunt, obviously.  I wrote more but it’s boring, so this is what you get.  I was told being in a coffee shop?  Predictable.  Three out of the four groups ended up finding me, but it was great fun!  =)


The Poverty Simulation, 2012

A year ago, I wrote this post about the poverty simulation I went on as a student on Milwaukee Summer Project 2011.  This year, I did the pov sim again.  As staff.  I was the one who got to obnoxiously knock on a door and wake up the occupants of those who were sleeping, telling them to get dressed and get downstairs.  I got to inspect students to make sure they had THREE items only (example, a ponytail was an item, a sweatshirt over a t-shirt counted as an item).

The whole simulation was so different!  What they did (that staff had them do) was different than what they had us do last year.  Here, it’s been different every year.  The pov sim the students did this year was 24 hours.  They slept in a warehouse for part of the night, then we evacuated them because of rat-infestation.  We brought them back, but an hour later gave them beds for the remaining 6-7 hours of the night.  Yes, the conditions were harsher, but staff was nicer.  We’d mislead them and take away items, but I thought the general attitude of the students was a lot more positive.  They recovered quickly, as well.  Because there are only two guys, we broke them up into groups of five (a guy in each).  As the students were telling us about their day during debrief the next morning, I saw Christ through their encounters and through their revelation.  Tom, a homeless person one group talked to, offered them his food.  He also told them where they could sleep that night and where soup kitchens were located in the city; he was concerned about the girls.  The students bonded together super well; they became a family by day three of project.  They prayed together and encouraged one another.  What Christ did in them and through them amazes me.  I don’t feel like I got as much out of pov sim last year as these students got, but I am learning tons this year, even though I didn’t experience the pov sim first-hand.

God called me back to the city this summer with purpose.  I have gotten to meet many new people I would never have met otherwise.  I have the opportunity to disciple two of the girls.  And, I have been learning (or, re-learning) many things, including God’s heart for the poor.  I finished Jeremiah a few weeks ago, and I started going through Isaiah when I got here.  I read “Generous Justice” by Tim Keller before getting here, and I am just learning tons about what God asks us to do for the poor.  It’s pretty amazing.  I have grown so much in the last year as I look back on it, but I am continuing to grow.  Being here is like adding fuel to the fire.  Jesus is so great and he’s continuing to teach me every single day!

Goooooo Jesus!  Wooooo! =)

Smiling always, Anna =)^2

Excited(!) About Jesus!

If someone who I have never watched a movie with before, watches a movie with me, they may notice a few things.  I squeal, and scream a little inside sometimes, which makes noise, too.  I have a tendency to make comments throughout movies.  Also, I laugh at instances that may not seem all that funny to the other viewer of said movie.  Some people have said that I’m funny, but I think that inside, some people eventually find it annoying (cuz this happens a lot).  Only my sister has bothered to tell me so, but I still try to contain my…excitement?  Adrenaline?  Whatever it is.  This gets worse when I’m watching a movie I’ve never seen before, but even with a movie I have…I get real anticipatory of a scene coming up and might start laughing at it before it’s even on the screen.  I also get this way when I’m reading; however, nobody knows what’s going on, so I guess it’s a little weird.

I get that excited about non-fiction, real life stuff, too.  It just doesn’t happen as often.  Sometimes I’ll be on the 4-Wheeler chasing or being chased by the ranger in the yard, sometimes it’s when I’m on the jet ski or even when I’m simply planning an adventure.  I don’t always get that excited about fiction when I’m writing it, but when the idea comes to my head, yes, I’m laughing out loud.  (If you’ve been getting the sense from reading this so far that I’m a little bit different, I probably am.)  But, another thing that can get me this excited is JESUS.  And on Sunday, when we went to an African American church in Milwaukee, I found people who I could relate to in this over-excited, showing it in a that’s-different kind of way.  They didn’t even try to sustain their squeals of excitement—they let those squeals become shouts.  Nobody cared when comments were made throughout the service (they all were doing so)!  Have you ever seen the movie “Rack, Shack, and Benny”?  It’s a Veggietales movie.  Well, at the very end, they’re all singin a song and praising Jesus called “Stand Up.”  (Unfortunately, there weren’t any good quality versions of that song on YouTube, or you’d be watching it now.)  A scene is shown of the outside of the building, jamming out to the music.  Well, that’s how this church would look if it were shown from the outside in an animated movie.  There was dancin and there was shouting; there was clapping and there was stompin.  It was great.  And nobody was getting annoyed at the dancers and the shouters, the clappers and the stompers, because it’s NORMALCY.  I could feel the floors shaking, for there were people stomping their feet in front of me and behind me.  All this to the of the four-part gospel voices as they led the room in singing, “I give you ALL THE GLORY!”  God is so awesome!

*A side note from a music nerd: I love gospel harmonies.   The worship was AWESOME.  They keyboardist was in charge, directing cues to the singers even as he was playing.  He was  just awesome, playing the “twinklies” during the times that the pastor and other people went to the front to speak, etc.  There was a drumset playing at the same time as a percussion setup across the room consisting of bongos and congas, wind chimes, and a cymbal.  There was also a trumpet playing, and the instruments alone were quite epic.  Then you add ten very strong voices, and WHOA!  It was great!  I loved it!  I loved listening to it and singing along with the third line of the thick, thick chords.  The voices by themselves were epic.  Have you ever heard one of them sing by themselves?  What voices!  Alright.  And now, back to the blog you clicked on to read.*

I absolutely loved the enthusiasm.  It was getting me excited about Jesus, too!  I truly want to get that excited about Jesus all the time!  And why should we not all be this excited about Jesus all the time?

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20

Jesus is all and does all good.  He is God, who loves and has compassion for every person.  He grants us mercy and gives us the gift of grace.  And, on top of all of this, he longs to have a personal and intimate relationship with each and every one of us.  If, on a scale from 1-10, you were to rate how much God desires a personal relationship with you?  It’d be a 10!  What would you rate your desire to know this being in a personal way?  Do you know him already?  Then let’s get excited!

Smiling with extra excitement,Anna =)^2

Depending and Trusting

So this weekend, I began to worry WAY TOO MUCH.  The Lord knows all things, like what I’ll have for lunch.  He knows all my troubles, and he’s already helping; he knows that when I lose my mind, that in my head, I’m yelping. Don’t worry, he assures me, because he already knows.  He sees where I’m going and that I’ll try to write prose. Just trust me, he tells me, because sometimes I don’t want to hear.  If I trust someone else, I become full of fear!  Anna, he says my name with comforting compassion.  God knows all of me; for it was me he hand-fashioned.

So I’ll trust my Father God, for he knows what’s best.  He’ll lead me and guide me and remind me how much I’m blessed.  It’s really silly that I try, for on my own I’d die.  I’m depending on Jesus with everything, for I know he can do anything.  I’m trusting that I’ll have a safe summer, that God will protect me, a drummer, who likes to rhyme.  (And you’ve seen it work out smoothly, some of the time.)  I trust that I, the one who likes to find smiles, will have a nice drive over hours and miles.  Though my MS feels worse than the past, I trust that God will give me strength to last.

I leave for 2012 Milwaukee Summer Project on Wednesday.  I am trusting and depending like never before, all the way!  You’re invited to be part of my prayer team, which would mean: pray that I might have a safe drive on Wednesday; pray that in the week of staff training we’ll hear God’s say.  Pray that as the Project begins, all involved will find in Christ kins.  =)  Pray that as staff, we’ll let Jesus speak through us, that all of the students will gain what Jesus has to offer and teach; plus, pray all the students will learn and grow like crazy, that the Lord will use them and call them for surely.

I am so excited for what this summer will bring.  Jesus Christ reigns, which is reason in itself to sing!  I smile for all the work God is doing; in the inner-city and down the street, he is actively pursuing!

Smiling always and filled with trust and praise, Anna =)^2

An Update and a Prologue to my Summer

For first, I am done with college for the year (and I’m going to be a SENIOR when I get back in the fall!  Whaaa?).  I came home from the stress and such of the last few weeks of classes to join my family in preparation because my youngest sister is graduating from high school TODAY!  Woo!  Her open house is tonight.  More family will be here today (excited).  And yes, Laura will be in the same town as her other two sisters next year (although a different school)!

For second, this summer, I am going to Milwaukee Summer Project 2012 as STAFF—yes, the same project I went to last year, but the other side of things.  Summer Project is such a good thing, and I have seen and experienced what God can do in such a spiritual greenhouse.  Staff only stays for half the summer, so I’ll be home July 1, but I’m super excited for the opportunity and to pour into a few of the girls that will be there!  I am kind of nervous, as my MS isn’t really behaving itself too well, and heat affects it in a bad way.  But I am totally trusting the Lord here and doing what I know I can do to help (exercise, treat my body right).  He called me to be staff this summer, and anything and everything is possible for God.

You are all invited to join my prayer team for the summer!  At the moment, prayer requests include:

–          For the staff, as final plans are made for the summer

–          That God will use the staff and what they have planned to fulfill what HE has planned for the summer

–          And for me, that the MS I have won’t interfere with what this summer has in store!

Smiling in excitement!

Anna =)^2


When I was diagnosed with MS, walls went up.  Some were already there, but the new walls went up with great speed.  And they continued going up.  Fight or flight?  Well, since I couldn’t run, I usually hid.

I used to hide behind being the best, being—or at least seeming to be—better than you.  I am not the best at anything, but I am my best at everything.  I used to hide behind my black belt and drum set, behind my “bad-ass” reputation (that some couldn’t even see, but it was somehow there, not that I stopped it).  Though I was never and am even less now physically strong, I am strong.  I used to hide behind the crowd, and though I wanted to stand out, I still wanted to blend in.  Now I see where I am in it, and from the crowd break out from within.

It has been a process, but my walls have been coming down.  I think it was this last summer when I began to see God trying to get my attention until I put my complete trust and dependence all in him.

I’ve never liked asking for help or accepting help offered.  I didn’t want the extra attention it drew.  This last summer on project, though, I think I was babied a bit (not that I minded).  I received help without asking for it when I needed it.  It has taken a long time—seven years, actually, but I have finally stopped being embarrassed or ashamed of my limp and the help I need from others.  I started using the handicap sticker in my car because if I’m tired, it’ll just get worse if I go on a hike to find my car where I parked it.  I link arms with friends who are walking with me so that I can go slightly faster and not topple over (or get completely wiped before I reach m destination—it depends on the day).  John Stott quotes one of his Christian influenced, Rev EJH Nash in Radical Disciple: “Indeed, humiliation . . . [is] the road to humility” (105).  I have looked past the humiliation of not being able to do things on my own, and have become humble enough to ASK for the help.  Stott states, “I believe that the dependence involved in these experiences can be used by God to bring about greater maturity in us” (102).  God used the dependence I need on others physically to get my dependence on him spiritually.


“God’s design for our life is that we should be dependent” (Stott, 110).  Indeed, he is talking about all walks of life: when we are a baby or sick or old, we depend on others for physcl needs.  But, Stott continues, “We are all designed to be a burden to others. . . . And the life of the family, including the life of the local church family, should be one of ‘mutual burdensomeness’” (110).  We hate being burdens to others, I feel it is in our nature.  But don’t you see?  If we are called to be ONE BODY, don’t shared burdens come with that?  Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

This does NOT mean to be a needy person who lays out all her problems to everyone.  I think we can all agree that people who just do that aren’t very much fun to be around.  “There are times and seasons in which we are called…[to]…independence rather than dependence” (Stott, 109).  I think prayer is a biggie, to pray for other burdens that have been shared with you, or even your own burdens.  For who is bigger than this all?  “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh.  Is anything too hard for me?”  (Jeremiah 32:27).  I also think that dependence on God is a necessary always.  “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Smiling and Depending, Anna =)^2

Smiley Saturday: Project Friends

My excuse is that I didn’t really have a computer on Saturday, but now it’s Tuesday, so that only kinda works.  My smiley for the week: my Project friends!

It was super awesome to hang out with them again at TCX!  Sharing community and how we’ve been, sharing how our walk with the Lord has been going, and sharing our current struggles.  These people are the first Christ-centered community I have been apart of, being totally open and letting them in.  I love them all, both the ones I saw this last week and the ones I didn’t get a chance to!  I am so thankful for THEM, and they are my Saturday smiley