Friday, June 29, 2012

A Story About Stories.

Sometimes it sinks in.
Sometimes I let myself remember.
Unfortunately, it doesn't happen very often.

I'm talking about Uganda. I claim my love for Uganda everyday.
I don't really though. I really don't like talking about my experiences in Uganda unless
it's with the team that went with me. Others don't understand... and I'm still trying to accept that.

Last night, as I sat through a meeting I let myself open my heart to debriefing again.
We had a debriefing on our trip... They told us we would return to ''normal'' in about two weeks.

They were wrong.. How can I ever go back to normal?

I have at times wanted to continue writing on our team blog... Then doubts creep in, ''They are sick of you talking about Africa. Get over it.''

Tonight, I don't even remember why we were talking about it, but one of my girlfriends in Uganda came up in conversation. And instead of just saying her name and going on with the conversation/story I let myself see her again. To hear her laugh. To hear her voice.

I don't like talking about it. I don't like people misunderstanding the point of
my story. I wear my Uganda necklaces, talk about out trip, the memories, but I don't open my heart to experiencing it again.

Through several experiences of sharing I have built bricks around my passion for Africa, specifically Uganda.
It is reserved for when I am with those I trust... Most of the time, with Jesus and my journal.
People have made assumptions, jumped in, interrupted, and made my trip just another trip. Or they hear my heart and have me labeled as a missionary automatically. I don't even have a right to make that call. Do I want to? Yes. Can I really? No.

It makes me feel like we are burried in statistics. Although they can be used for good... our mentality is most likely built around them.

Read on...

I don't even find this blog enjoyable. It is forcing my heart to break again. For her:

And for them:

      I took these pictures. I hugged these girls. You know what I want? I want them to be in my Bible study. I want to pray over them; give them a home. I want those younger ones to be the ones I babysit; the ones I tuck in at night, have dance parties with, read books to, give baths, and clean up messes for. I want them to be at church with me on Sunday morning. I don't want to face the fact that they will be taken advantage of. That they will sell themselves. That they feel hopeless. That they might have been beaten minutes after they left me. That they might die without knowing the God that created them so very beautifully. They just desire what we ultimately all do: Him. Oh, Jesus, please bring them to you.
There is nothing I want more right now then to be in that village.
I just want them to know Jesus.

These girls will not have a chance at life until their ''Fathers'' {if they have one} stop spending all their income on alcohol and women. Jesus can change that. And how I beg Him that He would.
Will you join me??

If I don't experience this trip again, if I let all the discouragement to phase me, I'm not letting this trip be what God wants it to be. He wants me to share what He did... Not keep it to myself!
He doesn't promise that people will understand. He doesn't promise that people won't hurt my feelings when I'm telling another story. But, after all, He doesn't promise easy living.

It is extremely easy to say, ''Tim and Kim's Family Group.''
It gets harder to say, ''________ family.''
And even harder thinking about holding their hands... and hugging every single one of them goodnight under the stars.

It makes me wonder about how we treat His story. We twist His sacred Word and I'm worried about my stories?! He inspired writers to put down about His Son's life. The life of the Man that saved the world. That came to earth as fully man, fully God. He knew how we as humans would misinterpret His Word. How we would not believe Him; How we would use His ''stories'' for our benefit.
Yet, to save the rest of us, He had to... and wanted to anyway.

I don't know why God let me behold so much beauty. I don't know why He let me live my dream in Uganda. I don't know why my heart is so very twisted for these village people right now. I could tell you what I think, but I won't. He knows... and in time He will reveal it. In His timing. For now, I will pray.   

''A broken heart He does not despise.''

It's hard when people complain about the heat. It's hard when little kids beg for a new toy when they have a house full of ones like it. It's hard when I know someone isn't telling me the truth when they say they are ''good.'' It's hard when I see empty praise, empty prayers. Since I have this passion though, God will use it... If for anything else, for me. If He wills, for someone else as well.

Allow yourself to see a face not a burden. Allow yourself to open your heart.
There is something in your life that God needs you to open to Him.

This is where our healing begins. And maybe even their's, too.

Yes, Lord, yes.

In Abba Father,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

''being a mary'' conflicts.

''Everybody's got an opinion
Of what they want me to be
Everybody's got a condition
That I may never meet
So tired of looking in the mirror
It always says the same thing
I want to be about something different
Something more than the mirror can see''
lyrics from The Definition of Me by Mandisa.
People have expectations of me that I have realized more and more lately. We all have them at the end of the day, but I have been more aware of them lately. They might expect me to say yes to every babysitting job or every mission trip... everything. I feel like this summer in particular I have chosen the beautiful thing: sitting at His feet. In doing this, I have reaped the ''benefits.''
While being closer to Abba expectations have been questioned.
People hopefully will notice a change in me; in my attitude, but for now all they are noticing is
my lack of certain activities... It isn't a pretty sight. I want to spit nails if one more person
asked me why I didn't do this... or haven't done that. I remain somewhat okay and then my Mom gets
the excited version of the story later. :)

I have been a Martha. I have chosen that for now I have to literally be a Mary before I can BE A MARY in my heart and soul. I need sanity... a crazy schedule is not going to allow that.

Will I have some busy days in the Summer? Yes I will. But I have not allowed certain ''toxic''
things that I can control into my calendar right now. It IS more than okay to say no. As long as in saying no, you are saying yes to Jesus.

Katie Davis' most recent blog post explained my feelings right on the spot... To read what she's been up to... :) Click HERE.

Ones from around the community have asked me if I regretted not going to a certain event.
I was in shock. To me, it was like asking, ''The Lord didn't tell you to go to this, but everyone expected you to, because you went to Africa, so are you regretting it?'' Ugh. :/ Now, they don't know the whole story. I understand that. I am not complaining, I am stating that in saying yes to Jesus even your most amazing mentors may not understand. Jesus went against His Christian culture... and it seems so am I.

If I would have done these things, I wouldn't be leading a girl's small group Bible study. We have had only one meeting, but big things are going to come from it... if they haven't already. Christ is doing wonderful things through this.

Messy life. Jesus uses things like this for some strange reason. :)
In this time, I pray my identity will become more than the mirror can see. An unseen thing far more glorious than a stressed, exhausted junior high girl. :)

In Abba,

Written June 19, 2012.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

rain, rain, rain, rain, beautiful rain.

I stand on the warm, damp cement with my toes curled on the first stair of our front porch. As to not give into possibly having a cold... but I didn't want to miss the mist. Or the downpour. I let the rain wash away my makeup considering I hadn't yet taken the time to do that nightly ritual.

I am terrified of storms. Absolutely. Terribly. You see, though, God and I have a thing for rain.
I hug myself and put the hood of my hoodie on my head as if to shelter my somewhat still put together hair. While we lived in Mississippi I danced in the rain with my pooch. It poured. If I stood directly under the shelter of our front patio space it was as if I was in an outdoor shower. When I went in the house, soaked still in my pajamas, I glanced in my parent's master bathroom. The curls framing my face while my eyes were tired... I whispered, ''I want to be a missionary.''

Is this part of my fear? His magnificent awesome leading into something scary? Maybe it is beyond the childhood memory of a childhood storm... Or maybe I analyze things!

Tonight, I would sing the African song that I know, ''Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain.''
I would glance back best I could to the moment that I imagine to be 4 'o' clock in the morning along the hills of Lake Victoria. That moment you realize you have more time to sleep, so you cuddle yourself back into your pillow asking sleep to hurry back. In that moment in Uganda, it was thundering. God was clapping. Clapping away my weariness; clapping away my loneliness; clapping away my fears; clapping away my pride. In a tent full of 5 women total, He was singing over me. As I like to imagine Him doing this night.

The Lord has been showing me His majesty and His tenderness lately... all in one.
The wind being violent and comforting at the same time, as well as the rain.
The thunder being God's clapping and His lightning His strobe lights coming down from the clouds. He clapped tonight in the way that send the little children to sleep in between the comfort of Mommy and Daddy. So, of course, that allows this hopeless romantic a time to daydream... and of my sweet children running in to find their rescue. As I gaze to the clouds, I am utterly in awe that I have been above those clouds. That means, when God sends a storm, He has to reach down farther to do so. ;)

I did myself the pleasure of a few twirls on my sidewalk... to tell Him that I accepted His dance. I accept His offer. Every offer. Every single day.

My hair is still frizzy from it, but I couldn't take it out quite yet. I had some memories to dig out again.

Listen to Him. He is clapping.

And in case ya'll couldn't tell...
It is raining in Kansas. :)

In Abba,

Your majesty//gently washes over me//makes my heart begin to sing//joyfully.
~Joyfully by Kari Jobe.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Last night's beauty. :)

These are some of the extravagant beauty that was in Kansas last night. :) I was thankful that
I got to capture some of it- although pictures don't do anything justice. {First, I am going to add some Kansas beauty from Saturday afternoon.}

We are in the midst of wheat harvest. It is fun for us non-workers :)

This is one of my favorites.

Skip forward a little over 24 hours:


Layers of beauty.
Bottom left kinda looks like South America, doesn't it? :)
If that doesn't speak of His love and majesty I don't know what does. :)

Like an explosion in the sky that remains.

The Lord used some pastel watercolors on this one. :)

Wait till the end of this. I was so happy to get it. You can probably hear me say, ''YES!''

Until next time,
In Abba,

Sunday, June 10, 2012

after the mountain.

Any of us that have been a Christian for more than 5 minutes have had a spiritual high.
They most often come after being with a group of people- small or large- that engage into the heart of God together. It makes you want that all the time. So, because it truly is easy on the eyes to see that we jump in automatically. Praising Him; praying heartfelt. It is easy in that place. We can admit it.
Those places are crucial. Those places are also meant to be parted from.
If Christians could hang out at retreats every moment of every day of the year...
Well, we wouldn't get any lighting of the world accomplished if we didn't walk down from the mountain. But Jesus walks down the mountain with us.

Matthew 17

The Transfiguration

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
9 And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” 10 And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 11 He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. 12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

Notice that Peter told Jesus the obvious. ''Lord, it is good what we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.''

It was indeed good that they were there. It just wasn't His plan to camp there. Peter wanted to hang out with them. Completely understandable. Think about the
topics they could have discussed if they WOULD have camped out there! But if you read on,
think about how many wonderful things wouldn't have happened if they would have.

My Commentary points out:

They [Peter, James, and John] were later to be the witnesses of his agony, and this was to prepare them for that.

He doesn't give us these experiences for nothing. They have a purpose... and we discover them if we treat them properly.

He was still speaking.
We get ahead of Him, don't we? Trying to perusade Him when He is chasing after us.
We assume what would be best and act on it. There is a fine line between GOOD and RIGHT.
So, when Peter was still talking 100 miles a minute God made him and James + John fall to their faces.

Notice, that when the voice of God told them to listen to Jesus some of the first words out of his mouths were, ''Do not be afraid.''

I contemplate that meaning many things.
Obviously, He was telling them to not be afraid of the voice. Could he also have been saying, ''Do not be afraid to leave the mountain. I will go with you. My glory will still exist, even if you don't see it.'' And with my sense of humor I hear Him saying, ''And don't be afraid that you just made a total fool out of yourself. I still love you the same. :)'' Here in this moment we
see the mightiness of God and the tenderness of God-- within seconds. A fierce voice, a gentle touch.
The voice is crucial, but so is the touch. You cannot seperate the two characters of God.

Here is my insight about coming down from mountain top experiences. These are the reasons I believe we tend to fall and slip on our way:

  • We do not hold onto the truth of the experience, but merely the high of it all. So, when we don't have that high we don't know how or what truth to cling to.
  • We focus on the Mose's and the Elijah's. We don't see Jesus alone. They had just seen JESUS unveiling His beauty, but then wanted just a tent for Him-- and the exact same ones for Moses and Elijah. Although the fellowship has to take place, we can't have fellowship and make that our worship. The two are completely different... though there is a time for both. They blend by our making.

You will have a mountain. Praise Him through it while clinging to truth. You will need it.

These are just a few of the many insights I will share with you for today. This passage is so rich and full.

I pray that when I arise and when you arise when we are afraid, that we would see no one, but Jesus only.

In Abba,

Friday, June 8, 2012

letting Him in.

There is a famous passage of Scripture that many people have heard in the context of an invitation to know Christ as Savior. ''Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door I will come in'' (Rev 3:20 NKJV). He does not force Himself upon us. He knocks, and waits for us to ask Him in. There is an initial step, the first step of this, which we call salvation. We hear Christ knocking and we open our hearts to Him as Savior. It is the first turning. But the principle of this ''knocking and waiting for permission to come in'' remains true well into our Christian life.

It might come as a surprise that Christ asks our permission to come in and heal, but He is kind, and the door is shut from the inside, and healing never comes against our will.
{boldness, Emilee's.}In order to experience his healing, we must also give him permission to come in to the places we have so long shut to anyone. Will you let me heal you?
He knocks through loneliness. He knocks through our sorrows. He knocks through events that feel too close to what happened to us when we were young- a betrayal, a rejection, a word spoken, a relationship lost. He knocks through many things, waiting for us to give Him permission to enter in.
Give Him permission. Give Him access to your broken heart. Ask Him to come to these places.
~ From John and Stasi Eldridge's book, Captivating.
I had never really thought of it that way. Sometimes, yes, we are to broken spiritually to get up and walk to the door, but just whisper, ''Come in.'' But maybe the reason we can't feel His presence in times such as this it's because we don't GET UP and answer that door! He is calling you by name...
His compassion is aroused, but a doctor cannot get ready to operate on a patient when the patient DOESN'T KNOW.  Healing doesn't come against our will. Hear His voice, answer the door.
Allow Him to romance you... in a way that only Christ can do. Restoring your soul; loving you; delighting in you; healing you. Give Him permission to minister to your heart.

Invite Jesus over for dinner tonight. Or dessert and coffee. Whatever. Just invite Him in... and the least of these... for He is knocking. Waiting for YOU. For you.

In Abba,

Monday, June 4, 2012

passing through.

Mom and I went on a roadtrip last Wednesday. {Being my first day of Summer! Woot!}
We drove to my brother's house, stayed the night, and then took my nephew and niece along
with us to my Grandparent's home in Illinois. On the way to my Grandma and Grandpa's
we went through my hometown, drove by our old church, and went to eat at a little place
to eat in smalltown, USA having a population of 200.

While I lived in Mississippi and northwest Iowa all I could think about was Southeast Iowa.
Then, the LORD moved our family to Kansas. It was by no means my idea, but I went because it was what my parents wanted. Looking back, we all know that He specifically put us here for a very specific reason. This is home... for now. We love it. Sincerely and wholeheartedly.

You see, when visiting southestern Iowa while living in northern Iowa and Mississippi we would
feel familiar there. We felt like it was home. Home is a big word.

When going back to Iowa now I feel comfortable... It is indeed familiar.
BUT there is a big gap between familiar and home. I might not always
feel familiar in Kansas. I still feel like the new girl often, but
this is where the LORD has placed us. So we will see what other marvelous things He brings
about in this place.

While going through our home church, seeing old friends, eating at my childhood favorite
''restaurant'', all I could think was, ''I am just passing through.''
I love those people and fellowshipping with them; keeping in touch with them.
But I was just passing through. I had a home where my identity was found in different things
other than what I looked like when I was 5. I had a home where I felt I could be most impactful AT THAT TIME. I have a home, a church, a family, a lifestyle, a relationship with Christ,
that could have only happened if I would have moved away from my place of comfort. It wasn't easy moving... but oh! Am I glad we did!

We should have this passing through attitude all the time. We ARE NOT home.
We have Christ at our home. On earth though, we find Him through many things. We have a place where our identity IS in HIM all the time. I have a home where I will be with my Jesus forevermore. So, for now I will keep on blooming and glowing for Him in the way that He shows fit.
We shall surrender all, loving, and savoring this journey, because after all...

We are just passing through.

Home soon,