Saturday, August 15, 2015

Our God Of The Impossible

Welp have to apologize !! I didn't realize I hadn't touched this blog for 3 months. In all fairness I have had a full plate, from getting my TESOL Credentials on the weekend , working full time during the week, trying to balance healthy relationships with friends and family and trying to use all the spare time I can find to work on packing for a move to Africa. The house has been a whirlwind of a mess with suitcases and piles of stuff in what seems like every corner of each room . It's all part of the process ,things have to get worse, more cluttered before they can be organized and put in there place. As we are just about 3 weeks out from departure I can confidently say I'm feeling more organized and and calm .

The devil has been relentless in his attacks on my body , mind and spirit . As time gets closer to leaving and plans become more concrete the road has become more challenging to walk . I have been tested in multiple areas. High stress and anxiety have manifested themselves in various forms . Besides this I have been blessed in not getting seriously sick this year. The Lord is daily preparing my heart and mind for the future . I will be thrown into a world of unknowns , far out side my comfort zone. My way of life , including simple daily tasks will require me to adapt and cope in whole new and unfamiliar way . Yes it will be exciting , yes it will be new , yes it will be challenging , yes I will be homesick , yes I might cry more then normal , yes I will have rewarding days , and yes through it ALL God will carry me through.

I have meet many people through my blog and social media who have started to follow along as I begin this new adventure . I receive comments daily about how cool i am and how amazing it is that I get to do this . There's this over romanticized view about missions and life on the field .The call of God to serve Him overseas in lesser developed parts of the world is not for every one or nobody would be left to live in the states . If it was an easy , non sacrificial decision then I wouldn't have fought it for 24 years . It's scary ! There is risk involved! Challenges to overcome! But much joy , freedom, and reward to be had for the servant of God who follows Him wherever He may lead. It is a blessing and honor to be called to such a life don't get me wrong , but also a huge cost to count . The Father never promised our happiness but He has promised our holiness . If we will surrender and obey , He will bless , sanctify , and glorify these mortals bodies to mirror His perfect holinesss. The fact that God would save those who once rejected Him , and use as instruments to further His kingdom and accomplish work on this earth continues to blow my mind. The Lord doesn't need us but chooses to use us for His glory and our good.

****These song lyrics are taken from Isaiah and have been my strength and song in recent weeks**** (Meredith Andrews Soar)

You say You won't relent , won't forget , won't let go .
As I wait on You , i am going to run and not grow weary.
I am going to walk and not grow faint.
Rise up on wings like eagles and soar.
I know in everything You are with me .
I know Your working as I wait .
Creator, Keeper , my life Breather.
Sustainer, Savior and Stronghold Breaker .

Soo thankful for the promises that God gives me to hold onto to . Regardless of how I feel or what I believe in the moments of defeat , confusion and dispare I'm humbled by the knowledge that God never lets go , never naps on us, is ever present and consistently faithful .

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Beat Behind My Heart

I have been home from Uganda for almost 11 months now. It is so hard to believe it has almost been a year since the Lord shook my world and turned my world right side up. This time last year I was packing and organizing for a trip that little did i know would completely change the course of the rest of my life. This weekend we celebrate Mothers Day. I have been thinking a lot about woman and especially mothers all over the world. Mothers definitely have one of the hardest jobs in the entire world. Particularly in third world countries, mothers are the end all be all. They have such hard lives , filled with so much responsibility upon their shoulders. Mothers do the cooking , cleaning , child raising , and much of the providing for the family. All in all they rarely complain or show signs of weakness, giving up is not an option for them. All they have and all they are is poured into their family.

During my time teaching preschool and loving on the babies at Amani Baby Cottage I was forced to ask the hard questions. The Lord really began to work in my heart and place a specific burden on me. With 147 Million orphans in Uganda alone I began asking questions and seeking answers. In Uganda there is not a shortage of orphanages and homes that house children  in need. Where are these children's mothers? Why so many deaths during childbirth for both the mothers and babies? Why do the mothers feel their only option is to leave their 2 day old baby at orphanage gates or in the bush? What can I do to help ? What are the dire needs of these moms? All these questions and more burned in my heart , causing me to lose countless nights of sleep. Loving on needy babies is the "easy" part, but I knew the Lord was calling me to go to the root of this problem. My heart breaks thinking of these mothers who are so hopeless , enduring hardships we cannot even imagine , and having no option but giving up their own children. It isn't like this is what they want their life to look like they are just that desperate. This is a picture of ultimate humility and sacrifice as they place their children's needs above their own desires.

Every year 5,840 woman die in childbirth. Every year 76 babies out of 1,000 will die before their first birthday. Uganda alone ( one country in Africa) contains 147 Million orphans. If a mother shows up to a clinic or hospital to give birth and do not bring a Birthing Kit, they are turned away and rejected service. A Birthing Kit cost a little under 7 dollars which contains soap , gloves, razor blades, umbilical chord ties, etc. Just knowing these few facts, it is plain to see that the need is overwhelmingly large. There are small things that  we can do to help reduce these numbers and provide hope to these families. It is my joy and honor to be able to come alongside others with the same God given passion and serve. When you recognize that a birth kit as cheap as a fast food meal in America can save a life, you realize there is so much you can do to make an impact. As we serve these woman physically we have the joy of seeing these womans lives changed for eternity. As they experience love and hope in a tangible way here on earth , we get the opportunity to share the Gospel with them and their babies.

This is the beat behind my heart . I sit back and I think how blessed am I that the Lord would give me His passions , and allow me the opportunity to serve Him as His hands and feet to this world. In James Christ tells us exactly what pure religion looks like in His eyes. Of all the things Christ teaches us through His Word , He could have  easily picked anything as the most important . LOVE!!!! He says LOVE Me and LOVE others. Super simple and straight forward right. Pure Religion?? He gives that command to us in black and white. Care for the Orphans and Widows in the  word!! This isn't something to do if your bored or have nothing better to do. Noo out of our love and obedience for Christ this is our calling, and purpose in life. May we not just have the head knowledge and talk the talk but may we love the Lord well through out actions. Stepping out in faith, being His hands and feet and obeying the commands He has given us. What you find out is that you will be more blessed in serving then those to whom you are pouring ourself out to. May we be quick to loose our lives for the sake of His glory and fame.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

When God Calls Us Out

"YES we will fail , but God  will prove his enough-ness to us. He will show us time and time again that all we need is found in him. All that we lack finds an abundance in his grace." 

Love this encouraging article by John Piper. Read it and listen to the song. Let your heart be encouraged and your spirit set free. 

When God Calls Us Out

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Real Valentine

In lieu of Valentine's Day there have been countless articles produced all over social media. Articles full of ideas, opinions , expectations and standards that people have in regards to a day where they want to be shown love and show love in return. Soo many people who place so much pressure on themselves and the ones they love the most. Don't get me wrong I am not opposed to this day in any form . Ever since I was little my parents and significant others over the years have done amazing things to make me feel special and loved. While those special people have gone almost as quickly as they have gone it has me thinking.

As I sit in a gorgeous beach house in Rosarito , overlooking the ocean with good food and good company I am reminded of what this day should really be about. Feelings, possesions,  and even relationships come and go. There is only one love one person who feels the same way about us and is constant in His companionship day in and day out for eternity. For this I am grateful, because of this I can remain unmoved when the world tries to rock me. This year has brought many new loves into my life and I am soo excited for the chance to see God's true love manifested through each relationship. The verse from John 4:19 has been in the fore front of my mind this past week.

We love because He first loved us!!

How incredible is this verse. I mean stop and think about its significance. Read it again and try to grasp what it's really saying to us. Our desire and ability to love stems directly from Gods love for us and in us. How incredible that even on days when we don't feel like loving someone we are still able to. Not because of who that person is or what they have or have not done for us but because of who Christ is and how He chose to love us first. Even now while we are still a hot mess on most days , as a child of God we have full confidence in the righteousness and holiness of our God and Father. 

Gods love for us is not something that can be measured or tallied. Gods love holds nothing back , He gave up everything even to the point of sacrificing His only Son. Giving up what was His greatest possesion. Gods love for us had been perfect, set , complete from the beginning of time. Like human relationships where we strive to add love and brownie points to eachother based on what we do. Gods love does not grow or diminish,  it is unconditional and unquantifiable.

Because of the Spirit that resides within us , and that Christ has done for us He has called us to love deeply and with no condition. Like Christ we are called to love without expecting anything in return , giving sacrificially in  our understanding that all we have is from the Lord. I love the way John Piper put it...............

 "This Valentine’s Day, as the world keeps a tally of love, may we never forget that God’s love for us is greater than anything we can imagine. It is greater than googolplex and more than the stars in the sky. It is immeasurable, steadfast, and permanent. And that same amazing love has been given to us to extend it to others. May we give that love, without keeping score, knowing that God’s love for us keeps no record, because in Jesus, our debts have been marked: “paid in full.”

Happy Valentines Day !!!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Trying to Survive Without Prayer

I am currently reading Tim Kellers book on Prayer ( Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God ). I highly recommend the book. Tim does such a great job of writing from his personal experience and study , providing his readers with relatable, practical material backed up with solid scripture references. Countless hero's of our faith , even Christ Himself survived on prayer. It was a part of their lives that was disciplined , committed and highly active. The depth of our prayer life as Christians is related to the success of our lives in all other areas. Prayer is our life line , and direct communication line to our heavenly Father. I know for my self and many friends we can understand what is feels like when we know the person we love cannot be reached. Even if you could pick.up the phone and dial their number or shoot them an email. That feeling knowing they won't receive it for days, for weeks , maybe months !! Those who have been in a long distance relationship , when your friend goes on a long trip , or your loved one gets deployed to a foreign country. That feeling of distance , disconnection , and anticipation can be excruciating at times. I help but think that is how the Lord feels in His dealing with me sometimes. Frustrated that I don't pick up my phone , answer my text , or reply to His email more often then not. So many things He wants to tell me , things my heart longs to hear , information that would be so helpful and yet I don't have the time to connect for minimal times a day. I ask myself WHY ???

I am constantly convicted by the Spirit in regards to my prayer life. It is an area that constantly needs work. Quality prayer is directly linked to our view and knowledge of the scriptures and the Father Himself. Prayer is an extended conversation with the Lord and stems from the Bible , God's personal love letter to His children. May we strive to love and know the Word inside and out so that we can know directly the One we are conversing with in prayer. We long to speak to you often and hear from you Jesus even more.

Here is another great article on Prayer that the Lord brought to my attention this week. It ministered to me hope it does the same for you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Embracing the Good Over Evil

So I am currently at work and let me tell you. There is nothing worst then writing a whole blog post on your phone like a text. But alas making the most of my down time while the baby takes his nap.

So it's confession time. I HATE social media. The junk , gossip , and dirt that can be found there is disturbing to say the least. Social media is ruining kids , families, and marriages. There have been multiple times where I am scrolling through Facebook and wonder what the heck I'm doing. Wasting time , and filling my mind with unwholesome  content. I have contemplated many times just shutting down the whole account and forgetting about. For some reason iv never actually followed through. In the process the Lord has prodded me to flood  social media with Godly articles , worship music , encouraging quotes , and uplifting content.

On the other hand of hate the Lord has also shown me what a blessing social media can be. Over the past year I have been able to meet people all around the world who have similar passions and interests. Being able to network and make new friends in Africa even before I get there has been amazing. Social media can be used for good.
For example:

 Just the other day I received a message from a good friend and fellow missionary over in Uganda. A friend and Ugandan woman they have been ministering to was serverly burned when she fell onto hot coals after being demon possed. In Uganda if you are disabled or don't look normal to the public they shun you. The way this woman is being shunned is through un-employment. In order to provide for her kids we know she needs work. In a few short minutes we were able to contact multiple ministries,  friends , and hospitals in seach of reconstructive surgery for this precious daughter of God. 

Let's chose daily to use social media to be a light in a dark world. People are watching you whether you feel like it or not . Use your stage to the glory of God. Lets use it meet likeminded people , raise awareness , promote Godly living, and fight against the injustices in the world. 

All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 
So, whether you eat or drink, orwhatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just asI try to please everyone in everything I do,not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
1 Corinthians 10

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Big Life Changes for the New Year

The blog has been extra quiet over the holidays!! I was really really sick the entire week before Christmas, which landed me in the hospital dehydrated and suffering from bronchitis. The Lord always works it out with my schedule , as just the time i got sick i had a clear calendar with no pressing responsibilities. I was able to sleep and catch up on much needed rest just in time for Christmas morning. I spent Christmas Eve in bed but was able to muster enough strength to join my entire family Christmas morning and the following day.

Saturday my car was packed and I was off to explore the California Coast, San Francisco, and spend a few days camping in the Sequioa National Forrest. We drove many miles exploring the beautiful state we live in with some very good friends from college. We rung in the New Year around a fire, eating Ramen, drinking wine, and trying to stay alive in 0 degree weather. There is no place I would have rather been then basking in God's creation, looking back on all the year had brought my way and looking forward on all God has in store for 2015. ( We will talk more about that in a little bit, SOOOO EXCITING!!!!) Its such a blessing to still be so closely involved in the lives of sweet friends lives that I met in college and be able to still adventure and share life together. Even though i was not feeling the greatest , still recovering from being so sick it was an awesome week.

Now for the next bit of news. I came home from my road to meet my future brother in law (so weird to even being saying such things). My sister and her fiancĂ© are visiting from Chicago. It has kinda been a mad house as they try to plan a wedding in what seems like a week, before they have to go back to school for the last semester before they get married. Its all new and exciting and i am happy for them. Everyone deserves to find their own great love and coming from the baby sister who swore she would NEVER EVER get married it just goes to show that everything can change when you find the right one. I never ever in my wildest dreams would ever plan for my younger sister to get married before I did , BUT I am couldn't be more content in Gods provision in my own life. The fact that He has taught me to be able to rest and trust in His perfect timing couldn't be more comforting. I LOVE the fact that the Lord is the author of my life story, because I know that He is orchestrating a plan that is so unique and perfect for who I am and what I need. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else or anyone else. The wedding is August 1st and will be here before we know it. 

Soon now we can talk about the best news last!!!!! BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!! I have kept it on the down low for the past 4 months or so as I have been praying, talking and working through some details and plans. As most of you know I was given the incredible opportunity of teaching preschool and ministering in Africa this last summer for 6 weeks. I knew it would rock my socks off but I had no idea all that God would have planned for me because of that trip. God shook my world upside down and around in a few circles and placed a burden on my heart so strong that it denied me the ability to return to "normal" life as I have known it to be. In September of 2015 I will be packing up and moving my life entirely to Africa. The Lord has opened many doors for work and ministry full time there. I never would have seen this as something I would do with my life, but through the work of the Holy Spirit I can't see my life being any other way now. While it is all new and exciting and I can't wait to get back to a country and people that I have fallen in love with, I also realize the struggle that will come with leaving my family, friends , and hometown behind. It will be quite the transition but I am confidant that the Lord is slowly preparing me for all the adventures and new things I will encounter. Everyday life in a 3rd word country is not a walk in the park but I have so much support from family and friends who have been following hard after the Lord, outside their comfort zone for many many years. 
To help me settle and get situated my mom will be joining me for 3-4 months and my dad will also join us for a few weeks in the beginning. As far as the specific work I will be doing their is still in the process of being sorted , I have various avenues of opportunity that I will be pursuing. I have been given the opportunity to use my training in cosmetology to teach business and skill classes to widows. I will also be working with young woman who already have skills in hairdressing but want to open their own salon business. Teaching english as a second language will also be on the agenda as well as working in local slums ministering to young teenagers as they work through unwanted pregnancy and becoming a mother. I am beyond grateful for all the open doors and relationships that have already been established. The Lord has been so gracious in making the way clear as He has called me to this life on the mission field. The support and encouragement from family and friends only makes me more excited. There is still a lot of work to do before we actually get on the plane to fly out and I would so humbly welcome all prayers. All posts and updates will be posted on this site so stay on the look out. As it gets closer I will have more details and specific prayer requests to share. 

As I spend the last several months in the states I am trying to adventure as much as I can and spend as much time as I can with dear friends and family. While the days are long and hard and everything in me wants to jump on a plane tomorrow I know that I will never get this time back so I am not taking it for granted.  2015 has already proven to be an amazing year and I know it will only get better from here. My prayer for this year is that we would be more bold in giving our "Yes" to God. That we would be challenged to draw closer to the Lord more then ever before. That we would not bask in all that we are not but rather on all that Christ is for us. 

O Lord,
Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in Thy presence,
in Thy service, to Thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth Thy praise,
testify Thy love,
advance Thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father as my harbor,
Thee, O Son, at my helm,
Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.
Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy counsel to instruct,
Thy law to judge,
Thy presence to stabilize.
May Thy fear by my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy.