Wednesday, March 28, 2012

So Far Gone in You

I can't believe how fast life has truly flown by. I'm sitting on a black iron chair, outside North Central's  white 5 pillar European looking library with the view of downtown Minneapolis to my left, watching the golden sunset. It's been 7 months since I started going to North Central. It has honestly hands down been the greatest 7 months of my life. I was just reflecting back on how God has truly been so amazing. It's only by His loving grace that I ever lived to see my 19th birthday. And I don't say that to exaggerate, I mean it literally..... So I pray that as God inspires me to write these following words, that you would be blessed and encouraged...~Ruslana Evelyn <3

Looking back on the year of being the cute age of 18, God has worked in my life in so many ways. It wasn't at all easy, that year had it's own challenges, trial, struggles, hopes and joys. My heart firstly goes out to all my dear friends who are figuring out what college they want to go to. I was SO there throughout the ENTIRE HELLISH process. The best advice I can offer is simply to pray and ask God where He wants you to go. I know this might obviously sound like a "DUH" thought, but seriously, God hears the cries of a passionate heart. NEVER go through the college deciding process I went through. I applied to 6 Christian colleges and 3 public colleges. yeah....I mean if you're totally overly adventurous like I naturally am, totally go for it, but save yourself some stress....=) I love how God worked in my college situation despite my crazy stubbornness! I had my heart set on going to Colorado Christian University up until the 3rd week of July....It was honestly by God's grace how I ended up at North Central. God truly led me to His Heart for my life.....Don't be afraid to make a last minute college decision....I did and it still turned out more than I could have ever dreamed of! Jesus continues to bless me with His loving signs that I was truly meant to be here. NEVER EVER give up hope in your college situation, Jesus IS WITH YOU EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF THE WAY!

Today during chapel, a young man by the name of Darin Strout preached a sermon on " pursuing God's passions, visions & dreams in your life. I absolutely LOVE sermons that talk about the passions God has placed on our hearts to bring glory to Him!!! God. Sized. Dreams. Sometimes I seriously think I was "cursed" with too big of a God sized dream. I've questioned Jesus many times at how this vision will come to pass.After chapel, I went up to the front and fell on my knees and just cried out to God inside my heart. I thought I'd type this prayer out, so that if you feel in your own heart lead to pray it out as well...

"Father God, thank You for all that You are and how You blessed me with the day to live to see my 19th birthday. It just amazes me how You were truly faithful every step of the way even when I felt like giving up on life.Jesus you've placed this God Sized Dream on my heart, and I honestly feel like somewhere along the way the passion, the fire, the zest & energy of life was lost. Fear took a hold of this passion and I froze, I doubted, my whole world was shaken before my very eyes and it felt like the very depths of my heart and my soul were crushed and burned to the ground. Jesus in Your Holy & precious name, into Your graciously loving and compassionate hands, I rededicate this passion You have placed on my heart to glorify You. I pray that by Your mighty hand that you would place a set a new fire burning inside my heart, a refreshed energy and life inside this shattered soul of mine. Restore what has been made broken. Restore Your creation to Your original purpose. I pray for all the joys and hopeful moments that I'll encounter along this life journey that You would be with me. I pray that You would put those blessed dear friends in my path that you want me to meet in this beautiful life. I pray for connections and opportunities for Your Passion in my life in YOUR PERFECT TIMING. I ask for patience to grace and light the way of every step I take, especially in those moments when life is completely falling apart and nothing makes sense, and there's no perfect stained glass picture. Jesus remind my soul that YOU are in control and in the end you only have good things in store for me.Heavenly Father, I pray that this would be THE YEAR of my life where I would relentlessly and RADICALLY live for You in such a way I have never imagined to live. Jesus with all of my heart, soul, and mind my heart's greatest desire is to LIVE for you WITH EVERYTHING that I have within me. I want to give you EVERYTHING I have  EVERYDAY of  THIS YEAR and the rest of my life. Jesus I pray that no matter what challenges or trials or hardships I will face in the future for every single year You bless me with to be alive to glorify You, that you would give me the heart to pursue Your Passion RELENTLESSLY UNTIL MY LAST DYING BREATH. In Jesus name, Ahmen."

Re dedication of passion is something I desire to do daily. It brings my life focus back into God's perspective and where He wants me. Currently, this is where God has lead me so far. He confirmed in my heart this past year,that I am called to go reach my generation of Europeans and Russians. As for what ministry method to go about doing this, He has confirmed that it will be through Music Ministry. He's also placed on my heart the vision to possibly plant a few churches in my dearest eastern European homeland country of Lithuania. This may sound like I have it all together, but honestly, I DON'T. This is just a general picture, and God is day by day revealing more of the details. He's placed on my heart to start praying for the specifics such as who will be part of this music ministry band, what country to start in...etc. LOL and you wonder why I say I feel "cursed and blessed" at the same time with this God. Sized Dream! =P One of the greatest ministry blessings I came across this year was STEIGER INTERNATIONAL. It's a European based music ministry that desires to reach the hearts of young people for Christ in Europe, Russia, the United States and throughout the world. Words cannot describe what a miracle it was to discover this music ministry. I'm continuing to pray for God's direction, if all goes as planned...LOL (we'll see) I'm hoping to go to Steiger International's Radical Missions school summer 2013 in Germany. As of now, it would be my dream to branch off of Steiger International with my own music ministry. I can possibly see myself being involved with Steiger for the rest of my life, or a good portion of it. Until then, we shall see where God leads me this year...

As I've come to realize...Jesus is always full of surprises.....<3

Friday, March 16, 2012

Where We Were Meant To Be All Along

WOW, I can't believe in a month and a half, I'll already be done with my freshman year of college at North Central University...Words cannot describe how beautiful this year of life has been....

A few days ago, I FINALLY switched my major worship leading...You may be thinking,....really? People switch their majors all the time, it's no big deal...behind those words lies a story, a life, ,a vision, a dream, a passion. To put it simply, at this point in my life, this is where my heart is at. I can't bear the thought of lying there in my bed before I fall asleep just thinking of that  Russian girl my age walking the streets of Moscow, her heart suffering, she's in a broken relationship, wanting someone to love her back. Or the Lithuanian guy searching for meaning and purpose in his life, every day just waking up and not having a passion to live life anymore. Those thoughts keep my passion in check.

When it comes to missions, the first continent that pops into society's mind is Africa or perhaps Asia or the middle east.  There's no sugar coating this, but Europe and Russia are DYING. Their spirituality and passion to live for Christ are long gone. How can I just stay in the overflowlingly blessed Christian country of America and pursue a "normal" life? I've realized the so called "American Dream" IS SO NOT ME...I honestly don't care about having the nicest house, car or financially savvy job....ESPECIALLY with the passion of worship leading that God has placed on my heart, FINANCES? LOL, WHAT FINANCES? This was probably one of the most controversial aspects growing up. I remember talking to people and they were like "How are you going to make a living with worship leading, are you in right mind?!?!?!" I can't even begin to tell you how much my worship arts passion was burned through the fire by society. Honestly the answer to this finance question is....I simply don't know....It's all in God's hands...This response I know makes quite a few people feel uncomfortable. We're so used to being secure, comfortable, we forget how BIG a God we serve. We underestimate His power. I remember in highschool my teachers and classmates and friends asked me what I was going to do when I went to college.....Back then  I said I was going to major in teaching english as a foreign language and minor in worship leading.MINOR IN WORSHIP LEADING?  LOL....oh the white lies we tell people just to blend in with the rest of society... I was ashamed to admit that my true "lowly financial passion" in life was worship leading....WHY was I so ashamed to tell my fellow teachers, classmates, and friends from highschool where my heart really was? I honestly think it was because "Worship Leading" from where I was from, was absolutely UNHEARD of. I remember all my classmates saying how they were going to major in some prestigious degree, wither it be Chemistry, math, biology, nursing, doctor, or lawyer....I felt like the town I was from looked down upon worship leading. I felt like they considered it to be a "degree of low and non prestigious status.." and you know what I think to this day? I. Don't. Freakin. Care. Society needs to once again WAKE UP and realize that this world is SPIRITUALLY DYING, and we can't just sit on our cute American butts, living our cute American lives, driving our cute American cars, eating our fat cute American food, and live in our cute American house thinking that "someone else, that's not me" is going to reach the rest of this LOST WORLD for Jesus.
I have a confession to make, to all my classmates in highschool, the whole academic thing was SO not me. If you knew the academic HELL I went through you would have not lived to see graduation day. I was under enormous pressure, and growing up in a small freakin town where everyone expected you to be this great smart a** academic someone, it was a joke. If I could do it all over again, I would have not been so overly focused on stupid academics. Don't me wrong, doing well, getting all A's in school is WONDERFUL, if you're that type of person. If YOU yourself would have been under the stupid academic situation I'm sure you would have thought differently as well. Also, just to let you know I HATE SCIENCE. I HATE MATH. Sorry, but that's so not me.SURPRISE. =P God hasn't called me to be a scholar in those areas  (Thank God, I would have seriously died) and I'm completely fine with that.

Do you want to know where my heart is truly at? God gave me the passion of Christian music on my heart when I accepted Him for the very first time into my heart when I was 8 years old. Going to Sonshine Festival and Lifelight Festival (Christian music festivals) for the past 7 years ever since I was 12 is what really ignited my passion for worship leading. How could I ever forget and disown those nights standing in the middle of a Skillet mosh pit with tears streaming down my face as John Cooper sang the song "Last Night" or "Yours To Hold"? How could I just quietly move on after standing outside on a warm sunset evening crying out to God singing "By Your Side", and "Hold My Heart" as Tenth Avenue North, Mike Donehey sang words of truth into my life....How could I just toss this thought off my shoulders after hearing Dawn's testimony ( Lead singer of Fireflight) share her heart and me realizing for the first time in my life my freshman summer that God, doesn't expect me to be perfect and having the chains of perfectionism fall off from my life? How can I just merely smile at those too many to count Christian concert experiences and just move on? I honestly wish you could have been there with me to experience every Christian music concert I went to, so you'd realize why my passion for worship leading and music ministry IS SO STRONG. Those experiences changed my heart...and the VERY essence and breath of who I am......

 My heart's desire is to reach my lost generation of European's and Russians for Jesus through music ministry.......

I'm so glad I FINALLY WOKE UP to the passion God placed in my heart.  It took me almost 19 years....Yes, it will be financially risky, adventurously unpredictable, and it's DEFINITELY not prestigious in society's eyes....but in Christ's eyes knowing the peace inside my heart  realizing I'm where He wants me to be....that in itself is worth waking up to every day for the rest of my life....<3

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Passion

I dedicate the following poem to all my passionate dear friends who have a vision to change the world....~Ruslana Evelyn~

Sitting on the living room floor on a cold sunny winter day,
The sweet 8 year old girl was playing with her dolls,
Her dad quietly places a CD in her lap,
She runs upstairs to delightedly anxious to listen to it,
The lyrics transform her into another time, another place,
 another world 15 years later  that she doesn't even know about,
God places The Passion deep inside her soul,
She sings,
Her passion is put to the test through many, many, many fires,
It is thrown off Mount Everest and rapidly crashes into rock, after rock after rock,
Her passion finally reaches the bottom,
It lies there silently, so cold, so barren,
Her passion doesn't seem to have the strength to get up,
It is then trampled on by the Nazi army,
every soldier's footstep, thousands upon thousands of them, stomping and crushing her passion by the heels of their feet as they walk by,
It is then kicked into Auschwitz hell...
Her passion is an ash, floating in the air,
It quietly lands on Stalin's desk,
Her passion sees the faces of suffering, hopelessness,and darkness too deep to speak of,
bloodied, bruised hands reach out to her passion,
from a far off distance she sees a thread of light,
she walks barefoot on the gray calloused chalky ground,
It starts to rain and thunder creeps in,
She runs toward this last gleam of hope,
As if it were for the for time, she looks into His eyes,
she is at a loss for words,
tears streaming down her face,
She says, "God, here's my passion that You gave me..................
it went through so much..................................................
but somehow You gave me the strength to hold onto it.....................until my last dying breath......"

Song: War of Change ~Thousand Foot Krutch