Anxiety by Patrick Stoll

I’m not sure this blog is needed, but I think it’s important to me that I explain myself. That I tell you why we do what we do and why you may have felt burned by us. I hate it, I hate that I have made people think we are unreliable or flaky, but the reality is that we had to be. Let me start at the beginning.

            Right before we got pregnant with Shiloh I would have these episodes where I would get really sick to my stomach. Essentially, I would eat and then feel terrible. We thought maybe it was just not eating healthy and we tried to do gluten free, whole 30, and all the other millennial diets, and found nothing helped. When I got pregnant with Shiloh, I felt amazing. Besides the pregnancy symptoms I had not felt that good in a long time. I was losing weight, yes pregnant and losing weight, I had energy and never had stomach aches. My whole pregnancy went like this. About two weeks after having Shiloh I gained 50 pounds and began to feel insanely sick all the time. There were days I literally could not get out of bed. My body ached like I had climbed a mountain, I felt nauseated, I would get dizzy, I had ocular migraines, you name it, I had it. Once I finally visited the doctor we went from diagnosis to diagnosis, from diabetes to brain tumor (which is a whole different story). This went on for two years, two years of pain, and missing out on life with Shiloh and Patrick. Patrick moved from husband to caretaker, and that was so hard. (just so you know I respect him so much more for how amazing he is at taking care of me)

            As all this was happening, a very long series of events led me to find out that I have a condition called Fructose Malabsorption. Fructose Malabsorption is “a digestive disorder in which absorption of fructose is impaired by deficient fructose carriers in the small intestine's enterocytes. This results in an increased concentration of fructose in the entire intestine.” This is a fancy way of saying that my body cannot break down fructose sugar, which is about everything we eat. Fructose is naturally occurring and synthetically made. So I went on a strict diet that banned me from eating apples, lettuce, bread, milk, grapes, cereal, and a whole lot more. The easiest way to say it is no fructose, gluten, lactose, or soy. Guys, this very much limits my food intake, but after one week of doing the diet completely I felt amazing. I felt better than I had felt in 10 years. But one of the hardest things was with this sickness came a ton of anxiety. When I would go to the doctors my resting heartrate would be 120 or higher, just from the amount of stress caused by leaving the house. I was constantly on guard. I remember having so much anxiety one time that I went to bed thinking I was going to never wake up because I felt so overwhelmed.

            Needless to say this overtook our lives. This became the main focus of everything we did. We had to stop doing things we loved, things we were dedicated to, and things that fueled us. My anxiety was off the charts and it was killing my spirit. While I am now feeling a lot better and feel more like a human again, the anxiety has not completely gone away. It lingers and it destroys. It is so much better but yet it comes out at times and shakes us. Anxiety is not something that empowers me, rather it destroys me. It makes it hard for me to make decisions, it makes it hard for me to step out of my comfort zone, it makes me think all my friends hate me, it makes me wonder about every aspect of my life. It is like someone is sitting on my shoulder telling me that no matter what I do, it is never good enough and that everything will go wrong. We have taken a lot of steps to help with this but coming out of this sickness and into a new world that currently involves the anxiety has made me into a new person, a person I have to learn to love. This is not the most fun, but it is refining. It is a conversation I have with God daily to improve on, and something that we are learning to overcome. I bet you’re wondering what all this has to do with you, and why I wrote it. Well really, we know that we haven’t been the most present, that we have made choices that seem strange, or done something that feels like we aren’t interested in who you are. But truthfully, we are not striving we are surviving, and we are taking it day by day to be normal. But we wanted to tell this story because we want you to know we love you, we care about you, and we want you to know who Jesus is so you can know ultimate love. Thank you for all who understand and give us grace, because we need it the most now more than ever. 

 

 

 

The Messy Message by Patrick Stoll

My life is a mess. Literally it is a mess. I have the best two-year-old daughter ever, but she is a tornado around the house. I could/do spend all day following her around cleaning up. Any of you that has ever had a two year or currently do, understand this perfectly. Well, I spend a lot of time worrying about her messes. It drives me insane when things are messy or I just become very apathetic and it piles up.
Recently I was talking with a speech therapist about my daughter’s eating habits and she made sure to tell me how important it is for me to let her get messy when she eats. She told me that using the fork to scrape or wiping her mouth every time she gets something on her face can actually cause big consequences in the long run. She basically said that is causes the child to be aware of the mess and self-conscious about it. This kind of shook my world. I am the queen of wiping her face and trying to keep her tidy while eating. It makes me insane to watch food fall all around and not be able to help with it. Needless to say this transition wasn’t very easy.

I felt so out of control, so desperate. But something occurred to me in all this. Is this how God feels? Does God sit there and watch us messy up our lives and wish so badly he could sweep us up and carry us. I think so but also what happens is he sees the bigger picture. He sees the current mess we are in and he says “I see you, I love you and I will continue to allow you to grow” God doesn’t make mistakes; he is the perfect father. He knows everything we need to grow into an image closely related to him. He sees our mess and says he sees the benefit and growth it will bring in the long run. I see my daughter sitting knee deep in spaghetti, I’m not ignoring that fact, but I am looking ahead to see what greater lesson is she learning.

Our messes don’t have to be cleaned up. Our messes need to be used to further our love for God. Don’t you see that God is giving us the most beautiful messages through his undying love for us to be like him? Because he is perfect. I want to be like Christ, not just because we’re called to it but so I can be filled with grace, compassion, truth and on and on. Sometimes when I feel like I failed or something just really bad happens, I stop and think what would it be like to be a person who has no hope in this situation. Because at the very end of the day, when all you fight is gone and you feel empty, remember God is there, holding you up. Can you imagine (or maybe you know) what it feels like to get to the end of a bad day and have no hope. There are people in our world who are in a mess, just straight up messiest messes and they have nothing to rely on. This is the mission, this is where God is glorified, when we are at the messiest and we see that it is still and will always be more than enough. 2 Peter 1:3 says; “ His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” If we don’t have him, his goodness, then we have nothing. This is why he calls us to go out and share his word. This is why evangelism is important, because if no one told you why or gave you reason for your life to be messy, wouldn’t you feel overwhelmed and just terrible?

 

Did you know Kaylee writes for a blog called Missional Women, which is a women's ministry in Master Plan? To check out more,  click here!

THE FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN COMPASSION AND TRUTH by Patrick Stoll

Lately, this idea of compassion has been tugging on my heart. With politics, social justice issues, and everything in between hate is everywhere and compassion seems to be a memory of something we used to know.

Compassion is the foundation of a love we don't deserve or mercy we were gifted. Compassion is not separate from truth, but it is thought so little of in regards to grace.
Compassion fueled Jesus.

It is equal in importance to the attributes of God as any other attribute, because it is rooted in love. Compassion is love in its darkest and worst days. Don't confuse the idea that compassion takes away the value of truth, rather it says "I know this is hard, and I will walk with you hand in hand" 

here is this one lady my husband knew from high school who likes to comment on my husband’s statuses about pro-life issues. Initially she started pretty harsh and it was hard to not fly off the handle and just yell, but what I learned is God calls us to have compassion and grace for people.

And EVERYTHING God does is with purpose and intentional. He doesn't teach us about compassion for fun, it’s because that is an attribute all of us should exhibit. Despite my sinful nature to yell and be snarky to her I decided to give her grace and seek compassion from her.

Because of that decision, we now have a full blown beautiful relationship--that not only shows compassion but also speaks truth. Recently she commented on his status and said “I have felt nothing but respect from both you and your wife, and for that I truly thank you. You are the Christians this country needs most right now, and I wholly appreciate your devotion to the betterment of people in general. “

There is a lie that speaking truth and compassion are two separate ideals that can’t go together. But Jesus shows this beautifully with the story of the woman at the well. Most people use this as a story to justify not judging one another, but what this story really shows is how Jesus reached people by showing compassion for the woman, and lovingly speaking truth to her. He shows this woman grace and compassion and loves her with truth. We can do that. We can be that type of example for people’s lives while not sacrificing truth.

We don’t have to wait to share the gospel or build a relationship with people to share the Gospel, but what we can do is show people the attribute of compassion while we talk about these issues. We don’t have to be mean, but we do have to speak truth. I weep with my friends who weep and mourn with those who mourn because even on our darkest day God is doing the same. Don't forget compassion when you speak out for truth, because my friend’s life hurts, and sin is in every one of us. It's compassion that carried the cross for Christ, and compassion that allows us to carry the burden of sin. Jesus' compassion and grace.
 

“12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

 

 

Did you know Kaylee writes for a blog called Missional Women, which is a women's ministry in Master Plan? To check out more, click here.

The Evangelism Waiting Game by Patrick Stoll

What gives me the right? I struggle with this question a lot. Who am I to do this? I really feel I am a natural born leader, it’s just in my nature to want to lead. But I struggle with feeling like I deserve to be. Who am I to tell people what is right or wrong?  I want to be one hundred percent sure of myself before I ever take any steps in leadership or I just want someone to come out and ask me to take the lead.
 
This can be good, but generally I’m finding in ministry this is bad. What I do is constantly tell myself that it’s not my place.
 
Currently my husband and I are raising support to be on staff with Master Plan Ministries and we have had a heart to reach out on college campuses for Christ for a long long time, but still I don’t know where I fit into the authority piece.
 
Who am I to just jump out there and tell people about Christ? Do I have the training? Do I have all the facts?
 
While I can justify all these questions I ask myself, the only true answer is heck yes! I not only should do that, but God has commanded me to! The great commission is simple and complex at the same time.
 
“18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.””
- Matthew 28:18-20
 
 It’s not about if we feel we’re in the right place, God has called us to share his news to the world. How are we going to doubt God’s call for us?
 
He doesn’t say, “go out and tell people about me once you feel comfortable,” He says that he alone has the authority and He calls us to go out.
 
He doesn’t call the prepared, the equipped, or the most prestigious; he calls the children of God.
 
When we stop spreading the good news, we are saying it’s not important or I’m not important but God has said you are worthy to deliver the news because he is worthy.
 
I think it’s easy to wait until we are in a place where people ask us or we feel we have some authority. Even as a veteran student leader on our ministry team I always had it in the back of my mind that I would wait until I was on staff to evangelize. Then it became, “Well now I’ll wait until I’m fully supported and on campus” And I know that would turn into, “well once I’ve gotten some time under my belt I will evangelize”. But no! God calls all those who believe in him to share his word.
 
God wants us to tell people about Christ not for our benefit but for His glory; the glory so powerful that was all get to be a part of it. Anything less than that is not allowing God full power in our life. God is bigger than our self-doubt, bigger than our awkwardness, and bigger than anything else that would keep us from sharing him with others.  Multiple times in the Bible God calls us to share the Gospel, because if we truly believe this is the best news, why do we keep it to ourselves? No one has ever died from awkwardness.
 
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” –Acts 20:24

 

Did you know Kaylee writes for a blog called Missional Women, which is a women's ministry in Master Plan? To check out more, click here.

Master Plan Update by Patrick Stoll

Hello!

Kaylee and I are excited to announce that we are officially on staff with the non-denominational Christian campus ministry Master Plan Ministries. Master Plan was founded in 1985 by Russ and Linda Akins. Please check out the ministry at www.masterplanministries.net.

Kaylee and I have been student leaders with Master Plan serving the Auraria Campus for the past 6 years and felt the calling to pursue campus ministry for some time now. We cannot express how excited we are to see God's plan unfold in our lives as campus missionaries. We recently finished our training and have started the journey of raising support for our salaries and ministry expenses. We can't wait to see how God calls people to further His kingdom in so many ways and are ecstatic to see where God takes our little family through this journey!

_Patrick

A Pure Heart by Patrick Stoll

Our campus ministry has been diving into the Sermon on the Mount as told in Matthew chapter 5. As we pour into the beatitudes, there have been a few questions that have been raised by myself and several students. Jesus starts out the sermon by teaching [Mat 5:3-11 NASB] 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me."

Each of these things in which we are blessed, also draw us closer to God and closer IN relationship with Him. One of the biggest questions that came from looking at these the past few weeks has been which beatitude do we struggle with the most. After discussing with several students, almost everyone came to the conclusion that being pure in heart is not only difficult, but tiring to commit to. The other beatitudes (righteousness, meekness, peacemaking, etc.) seem to stem and have roots in having a pure heart. For instance, if you are not pure in heart, how an you be righteous or be a peacemaker? Pure of heart goes beyond just doing the right thing or having the right attitude; it shifts into aligning with the word of God and correcting your attitude and actions to the heart of God. This starts with prayer and giving your heart over to the Spirit to guide you. This also presents and opportunity to posture yourself in the awe of the God of this universe and the understanding the love and desire for relationship with you.

When Jesus calls for righteousness, he is not calling us as Christians to hold a sign saying that gay people are going to Hell. This is not righteousness from God or from Christ. Simply, righteousness to God is Christ and His blood and our living to practice the love that he has for us and standing up for the truth that is the Gospel and not wavering from these.

Pray for a pure heart. Pray for God to revel what needs to become pure in your heart and life.

_Patrick

2015 Favorites by Patrick Stoll

Yeah I (Patrick) know, its been 2016 for a while now \\ 3 months to be exact \\ and I'm a little late on the weekly post. Sorry all. But! 2015 was a pretty great year and out of 2015 came some of our favorite things! So here they are:

I love coffee. I love coffee shops. I love meeting students and friends at coffee shops so naturally in 2015 I went on the quest of finding my favorite coffee house. Thanks to some really smart people and some really good craftsmen/women the coffee game in Denver and the surrounding area have provided not only beautiful spaces to think, create, and talk but also fantastic roasters. My favorite place of 2015 has become Amethyst Coffee. Not only do they just understand coffee at a level that I will never understand, they love explaining and sharing the craft.

They always feature a guest roaster that rotates, but they consistently have fresh roasts from Commonwealth Coffee. Commonwealth has quickly become my favorite coffee. They feature small batch craft single-origin roasts which are always killer, but their standard roasts are always a knockout. Beautiful coffee.


The folks over at Precept Ministries International have developed some amazing tools to better understand God's word, how to apply it to life, and to accurately articulate the Word. The inductive Bible Study has been around for some time, but I really started using it and applying it recently and have fallen in love with this method of studying scripture. It is a free tool that has helped me think through and press into God's word and the beauty of Scripture. You can check it out here: http://precept.org/about_inductive_bible_study

(Honesty time: I started using this in 2016, but before this post was written...)


My next favorite 2015 thing has been the Spoon Graphics blog. As a designer I am always on the hunt for good graphic resources and ideas and Spoon Graphics fits the bill. Chris Spooner is the designer and mastermind behind the blog and a few other designs websites. His instructions are on point and resources are just as great. Its a fresh break from the often times bland and generic creative markets out there (see what I did there). By all means, this should be used as a place to source ideas, techniques and assets to be applied to your great and original artwork (not just copied and pasted and presented as original work). Check out the blog here: http://blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/


This favorite of 2015 is a double whammy. Its both my favorite teach from 2015 (early 2016) and my favorite podcast episode. It comes from Pastor Andrew Arndt whom is the pastor of Bloom Church Denver. Just take a listen. The episode is called "First Sunday after the Epiphany" and can be found here: http://bloomchurch.bandcamp.com/album/epiphany-2016


I could go on an on about my favorite things of 2015, but I'll end on this one. My favorite clothing company of 2015 quickly became Moore Collection. This little Denver shop is ran by our good friends Taylor Palmie and Tanner Barkin. All of the beautiful designs and printing is all done in house by these two. You can find them at almost every flea event in Denver and the surrounding area, many local "Colorado" stores, and over at http://moorecollection.com/.

The Future by Patrick Stoll

As many of you know, Kaylee and I have been working towards meeting our personal and financial goals to better posture ourselves to enter ministry full-time. Last December Kaylee graduated (which I could not be more proud) and I will receive my degree this coming May. As we made the decision to buckle down, and purse what God has been calling us to, submitting our application to join a college ministry seemed like forever away. The hard work has paid off, which could only have come through support from our loving family and friends. We are now 1 month away from our interview to join a campus ministry full-time! This website is going to be the place to get weekly (or more frequent) updates as we pursue this grand adventure. We encourage you to share, comment, and engage in what we post and share.

Thank you to all whom has helped us get to where we are and that have extended love,

Patrick Stoll