Heidi Koppen

In Ireland

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Day to Day

Forest Walk

Though it was meant to be more relaxed, this summer has been packed full! I am thankful because of the fact that I still don’t know if I will have to leave in October (it all depends on if I get this visa extension). The crazy back to back pace of the summer, and some unexpected extra loads of work, has left me totally exhausted and a bit burnt out with kids ministry. This whole last month I have been crashing and vulnerable to spiritual attack. One day when I was really low and struggling I went driving and found myself at a hiking trail where the forest had been burned quite badly during the summer drought.

Walking through this forest was so cathartic. I could relate to the burned out look of the trees. It was raining and though the fire had been months before, I could still smell the smoke and ash. There was a little warn path that hadn’t gotten burned because it was already stamped down, there was little grass bits along the path. As I walked and sat there in the sprinkling rain, I could see how God is giving the rain that was so needed and that this place will regrow into a nice green forest again. My heart went to a song that my church back home used to sing, “You Have Redeemed My Soul”. The lyrics, ‘I was a hungry child, a dried up river, a burned down forest; and no one could do anything for me. But You put food in my body, water in my dry bed, and to these blacked branches You brought the spring time green of new life. Because, nothing is impossible for You. You have redeemed my soul from the pit of emptiness, You have redeemed my soul from death.’   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVRj5C2pS7w

I am so thankful to know the God of the universe who cares for those who might seem so insignificant and forgotten, people like me and you. We so need His grace and love to live and grow. It doesn’t mean we won’t get burnt out, but He knows exactly what we need, and because of the cross, He is approachable.

The marathon of planting seeds

It’s been so good to get my feet back on the ground and get back into regular ministries. The kids were asking me is it fun to live in America. I had to say there’s a lot of great things but it’s real life and so you’d get board just like here or tired or just feel normal. I can relate this to mission field. It’s so thrilling and a battle with huge victories. What an amazingly fantastic work to be in (or supporting like you are). In the same token – it’s also real life. You have to be reminded that God has placed you here and any movement is in His hands. At step by step, one aspect of God mentioned at a time, one visit, one kind act and one encouragement at a time. We’ve got to trust our powerful God that He will use all of these little bits and some clearer sharing times to mix together, to plant the seed, to water and cultivate and tend and, please God, one day see someone personally trust Christ for salvation And then you can be a friend to help them grow. Keep serving, keep spreading God’s amazing love. God this is our prayer!

 

Galatians 6:9  –  And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

I lift my eyes up 🎶

Intentionally looking to God, reading my bible on my balcony today, I was reminded of the song :

“I lift my eyes up, up to the mountains, where does my help come from? It comes from you Lord, maker of heaven, creator of the world. Oh how I need you Lord, to come and rescue me, to come and give me life.”

This song is written from a different psalm than I was reading but it ended up in my heart as a response – I was reading Psalm 57. In the middle of it, the writers heart is bursting into singing praise to God aloud, not caring who might hear it. It said His loving mercies fill the sky to the clouds. I looked up off the page to the hills near my apartment and started to sing the above song – this beautiful warm ray of light broke through the dark clouds and shone right on me. It was a sweet moment – and a good reminder to look up to Him.

Again and Again – But With New Insight

Isn’t it funny that the same scripture can come up again and again and though you’ve gotten a lot out of it before, all you thought you could, something fresh and new jumps out. During this first year and a half of being in Ireland, Psalm 27 has been in the center and keeps coming up as my theme passage. It talks about a heart’s desire to gaze on the beauty of the Lord, to seek His face, to fear not but be strong and let your heart take courage. This psalm is so beautiful and resets my focus from distractions, pressures, challenges, the goals, desires and trudging, to remember that this is eternal life, to know the only true God. The desire in this psalm is just to seek His face.

This last week there were three occasions where I was walking in Dublin City center and ran into someone I know. I couldn’t believe out of the thousands and thousands of people who walk through those streets I would happen to be in the same exact place and time as a friend of mine, let alone three different friends at three different times. Tonight God put a cherry on the top. When I was heading home from a long day in town my bus driver paused for a moment, I looked up and saw one of my elders from my tiny church who’s a bus driver. Again, this had to be just the perfect circumstances out of the hundreds of people he would have come on His bus and that I would happen to wait for the stop at that right time.

With each of those incidences of running into a friend, I was walking along on my own, getting from one place to the next and then I look up. I’d be sauntering by, seeing countless passing strangers and then see a face, a familiar face, a face of a friend. Suddenly my face would bust into a smile, I’d get an extra skip to my pace and my backpack would even get lighter. It’s just so nice to randomly meet with people who mean something to you when you’re in a busy city. This is the feeling I thought of as my friend shared Psalm 27 with me again this week and the parts that talk about God’s face or seeing Him and she pointed out the seeking of His face would be time in the word. When we seek His face, when we get to see His beauty and spend time inquiring in His temple -do we make that connection of the joy and light and refreshment in it? – Wow He’s so special, what a privilege!

Remembering Psalm 27 – Encouragement!

Last year I had Psalm 27:14 on my heart and I wanted it to be the theme of my year.

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! (Psalm 27:14 ESV)

It has been quite a journey this year – wow. Too much to even process. That might have contributed to struggles these last two months. In these months I’ve been brought down by discouragement and wanting to know God’s direction and to be sure I’m doing what He wants me to here. I gotta say, started to loose sight of the incredible hope and courage of my theme verse. I’ve been told that discouragement is one of satan’s sharpest tools here. I didn’t feel like I had much strength to pull out of it. Just to pray ‘I trust you God. I believe, help my unbelief.’

God is amazing.

Right in the middle of this weak and low place, He finally pulled things together for us to start a youth group! Great way to show me that I don’t need to take it all on my own shoulders. He’s drawing me out of this low place and this week I’ve finally been feeling more like myself. I could still use some prayer and encouragement I’m sure, but as I start to come out and catch fire/vision again – I feel so foolish to have lost sight even for a moment. Have you ever been there? This week I was blessed with the thought that I can’t mess up more than His strength, or His faithfulness or His mercy can overcome. He will bring back, heal, work through and carry me. He has such desire for your life too – just look to him. You on’t need to stay stuck.{Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! Psalm 27:14} You’re not alone.

Rest… a command?

This week I’ve been thinking through a novelty idea.. God commanded His people to rest. It’s part of His law to set aside a day once a week to set it apart as holy to Him. He talks about giving cattle a rest and even letting the land have it’s time of rest after seven years of farming. He was so serious about it that He warned the Israelites that if they didn’t follow instructions for the farming sabbath and year of jubilee that He would have them captured and drug off to a different land so that the land of Israel would be empty and get rest for all the years of rest that were skipped. Later on, what do we see?- the Israelites being taken into captivity for exactly the amount of time God described.

This month and a half since I got back from my trip to the states has been SO FULL! I was worried it would take me a while to get back into the swing of things. But, it’s been amazing how how many opportunities God has brought to me and how much happened in such a short amount of time. I’ve met quite a few new amazing friends my age, discovered an international outreach, joined zumba in the community, connected with college girls, started some door to door (I’m a bit rusty), visited a lady who speaks to spirits, went to a ladies conference, started the ball rolling for organizing a children’s Easter club in a close neighborhood, and some more fun stuff. So much was going on I didn’t even take time to write anything on this blog (sorry). But, I love being so busy and using up every moment of my day. Life’s but a vapor right! There comes a time, however, where you’ve gone on none-stop for too long.. Let’s just say I wasn’t being very wise about taking my Sabbath rest seriously (something I’ve always had trouble wrapping my mind around) and I got sick with a bad cold/flu that completely knocked me off my feet for over a week. I was canceling and saying no to things, can you imagine! Me saying ‘no’ so I could stay home and rest?! ‘wha’

-Sometimes God puts you on your back so you look up. Maybe I should learn to put up my feet every once in a while so I don’t have to get knocked off of them..

Thoughts on the waves

I know this is a terrible quality picture-but it represents the sights and experiences of the sea that brought to life some thoughts of the Lord.

During days of constant busyness like this week, Kaitlyn recently suggested that we make sure to have ‘nature time’ to just go to the sea and breathe/think. Today after a children’s craft morning and before going to a couple of events at different churches I needed this ‘sea shore time.’

It was stormy today and dark when we got to the shore. Man! The waves were so powerful! I climbed down to a big rock jetting out in the water and the waves crashed loudly all around me. I was almost blown off with the wind and got splashed a bit as well. I couldn’t help but be impressed with a stormy sea and think of the two nights where the disciples were on a boat in the middle of very similar roaring dark waves. It’s one thing to think of stormy waves but another to be standing in the midst of it. The time Peter came out to meet Jesus walking on the water and the time He was sleeping in the boat -They were afraid of the stormy waves and Jesus rebukes their lack of faith and calmed the storm like it was nothing. -It’s like He’s saying, hello! I know there’s a storm but do you not realize who’s in it with you?! Even the waves obey His command. – sometimes we need to “Be still and know that I am God.”(Psalm 46:10)

Feeling powerless?

Do you ever feel powerless to make a difference? You have a burden On your heart and you think it’s too big for you or you’ll never be able to do anything about it in any real way. I think thise feelings come from listening to the enemies whispers and forgetting the truth about our hero and his super power.

Yesterday on my run, God reminded me of truths I think I had lost sight of this past week or so. Specifically of God’s heart of blessing and grace and how He desires to hear our prayers and fill them with power. These are things I’ve spoken on befor!. Yet, I still continually need reminders.

James 5:16 says the prayer if a righteous person has great power as it is working. You might think, oh that can’t be me; I’m not a righteous person. Wrong! Do you really think others would be able to muster up more righteousness than you? Can you make yourself more righteous? No. We are made righteous before God through he finished work of Christ on the cross. When in sin and doubt go to 1 John 1:9 confess and He is faithful and just to cleanse your from all unrighteousness. Believe it! And Eph. 2:30 speaks of the power at work in is- that vs1:19 says is power of the Holy Spirit and His great might.

I’d love to ask you to tap into that incredible power of prayer to pray for a youth conference Kaitlyn and I are helping with this weekend. Pray God grabs hold of youth in this country. We need His power.

A Watched Pot Never Boils

Have you ever heard the phrase, “A watched pot never boils”?

Well this is sort of how I’ve been feeling these last couple of weeks while I wait on the Lord to show me the work I’m meant to be doing or what His plan for me is. I’m staring at this ‘pot on the stove’ in so much anticipation of what ministry will be like when it really gets ‘cookin’. One thing I’m learning is that this process of getting rooted and networked in a new place before starting up ministry takes T-I-M-E. This is a big change of pace for me and I can get antsy just wanting to “get going”. I’m realizing though how much I just want to be ‘busy’ even if being busy or doing things to fill up every minute might not be as important as taking the time to start things out right.

It’s amazing how God used my bible reading this week to speak to my exact situation. As you can imagine me in my impatience with adjusting, I’ve been getting flustered by wanting to know how things are going to all fit together and wanting to get started already. I’ve been in Luke and got to 10:38 about Martha and Mary. It says that while Mary sat at the Lord’s feet to listen to His teaching, Martha was “distracted with much serving.” She asked if Jesus cared that she was left to do all the work and then to tell her sis to help out. Then Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Here I am getting anxious wanting to do do do and to be busy, but what I have is the chance to ‘not be distracted with much serving.’ I have the chance to start out here one step at a time with what’s in front of me. I just need to plug into the church here and get rooted while focusing on my own relationship with the Lord. To enjoy, drawing near and listen to Him as He leads. It’s something substantial that won’t be ‘taken away’ and maybe that will overflow to the people around me.

As always, easier said than done, and I’m sure that I’ll feel impatient about waiting on the Lord’s lead. I’m so thankful for this reminder though, and my eyes are set on Him. Please pray for what I lack in patients and a motivation for deep personal study. My prayer is for you too, as bits our every day life tasks might frustrate our sense of purpose and timing. Press on and look to Him-He does want to use this life we have! The trick might be staying so closely in touch with Him that we’re ready to jump in when He says go.

Hold It All With An Open Hand

I once read a discipleship book that explained that we must hold everything in life with an open hand. It says that because everything belongs to Him we need to be willing let go otherwise He may need to pry our fingers when He sees it as best to take it away.

Well, I’ve been learning a bit more about this concept because I am facing the thought of selling almost everything I own and moving out at the end of May. I never thought of myself as materialistic but.. I like my stuff. It’s taken a long time to get a full house filled with nice furniture, myriads of books, sweet vintage kitchen things and decorations as well as all my impressive amount of clothes. I like it all and  I’m quite sentimental so it’s honestly hard to let go. But what affects me much more than the prospect of reducing my things down to a few suitcases and even staying in people’s spare rooms for three months, is thinking of the people I will be leaving.

My friends are like family to me and my church is a central part of my life. My roommates are moving on in two months and I will be leaving my church and everyone else in five. How am I going to say goodbye to my Jr. High girls, to families I’ve had small groups with and to all of the people I love at Emmaus and house church? I will need to let go of my life as I know it and put it all, along with my future, in His hands. Elisabeth Elliot said, “If my life is once surrendered, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hands but would be safer in mine!” He is ever faithful, ever true, and He offers to be my friend. I must hold it all with an open hand.