Friday, January 25, 2013

Hunger

I'm hungry.
I'm fasting and I'm hungry.
(I know, one isn't supposed to talk about fasting whilst fasting, but... )
I've officially hit 24 hours without food, and my tummy is RUMBLING.
I am hungry.
Yes, I am hungry for food.
But also for so much more...
I am hungry for a better life.
A life abundant.
A life where Perfect Love casts out all of my fear.
A life where I am mindful
        -of time
         -of money
         -of food
         -of other people's hearts
         -of my own heart
         -of God's heart
A life of deep relationship with Jesus, where my ache to be known overcomes my fear of being known,  where my hunger to know Him more and more is continually fed and fueled.
A life of wholeness.

I'm hungry for depth, connections, purpose, focus, and rhythm. I'm hungry for roots and wings.

Everything I'm hungry for is something I deeply ache for, and yet am terrified of. And so far, that fear has kept me paralyzed. I procrastinate. I put it on the back burner. I am too busy. I'll face it when I absolutely have to. Well, I'm running out of excuses. I'm not too busy anymore. And these are choices staring me in the face. It's time to stop running. It's time to face my fears. And so far this fast has shown me it's possible.
So, I'm hungry and I'm scared, but that's what it takes sometimes.
Here's to growth. Here's to change. Here's to 2013 and the marvelous mystery it holds.
Most of all, here's to the One who holds it all, in Whom my fearing heart can safely trust.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

An...ti..ci...pa...tion.


I love airplanes. 
They take me to beautiful places and the waiting arms of my favorite people. They transport me across mountains, oceans, plains and valleys. And since my life is what it is, I'm usually in the state of aching for someone or somewhere or both. I spend my time off and my spare cash on plane tickets. Seriously. 
I also love the anticipation of planning a trip. 
Buying plane tickets? such a happy day. 
it's really happening! I have literally danced all over public places because I have purchased tickets. It's pure joy. It's worth every. single. penny.  (though I wouldn't mind if those tickets cost less pennies!) The real anticipation usually begins with a ticket purchase, though in some cases it starts long before that. But it builds. The ache of missing someone? The excitement of going home, or to a new place? There. For sure. But there's no complaints. I'm not sad or frustrated by the separation anymore. Because the reunion is in my sights! It's coming! So.. I wait. Sometimes, not very patiently. But.. it's worth it. And a few days (or even a week before) I get SO EXCITED I can barely sleep. When I lay my curly head down on that sweet pillow, the rush of anticipation floods my head and my heart. I have to calm myself down. Deep breaths. Think of something else. Anything. Eventually, I fall asleep. Oh, and the night before? Good luck. haha. I usually only get a few hours of sleep.. because I am so excited I can barely stand it. I can't stop smiling. :D I'm nearly jumping up and down. Sometimes I am jumping up and down. Because it's coming. Together again: two of the sweetest words in the English language. And, oh, glory, there is absolutely nothing like running across an airport into someone's arms. (Or frankly, any establishment whatsoever.) The running tackle hug of reunion is the BEST THING EVER. just about. Oh goodness. My heart is so full of joy just thinking of it! 

And yes, it is pure bliss. The best. THE BEST. oh… goodness. And yet, it's a shadow. It's a shadow of what is to come. The best reunion ever. The one we've waited our ENTIRE LIVES for. The ache, the one we carry around in our hearts… it will finally be filled. We will really be going home. Home, home. Not just some place we live. The place where we belong. It's His arms, we're flying to. It's Him we're running to. And oh, glory. It will be better than the best reunion on earth. No matter how many years you've waited for a plane ticket, for the airport run, (and I've waited years, sometimes) as perfectly sweet as that moment is, it's nothing compared with what is to come. 

And so, in this season of Advent, I'm waiting. And it's true, I'm waiting on a plane or two (hooray!!!) but even more than that, I'm waiting on my Saviour. I'm waiting… with the same breathless anticipation, because He's coming. He's coming to visit from worlds away, coming down to our home, and I'm waiting to welcome Him. My heart is aching.. I am longing for Him. I'm longing for Home. And, so, on Christmas Day, I get to celebrate His arrival. I won't be at airport, but I'm running to His arms.  

And so, for the next 22 days, I'm embracing the ache. The longing. the separation. the homesickness. Because it will end. He is coming! Hope is on the way. He is coming! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

today's lessons

Today...
we're eating waffles.
we're trusting Jesus.
we're learning how to not throw fits when we don't get our way.

What are you learning today?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

All I Need.

Today I want..
to eat chicken and N'shima. to dance like a crazy woman in church. to wear a chitenga. to wander dusty paths to random villages full of beautiful. broken, and precious people. I want to catch a taxi to town and be crammed in with strangers and chickens and things like what and so. I want to drink a Stoney and pay for it with Kwacha. I want to greet everyone with "Muli bwange? Bweno! Muli bwange?" I want to drink tea three times a day. I want the day to end with a brilliant orange sunset that fades into a night of a million stars.

I want to study and teach. and study and teach. and study and teach. I want to teach old people. I want to teach teenagers. I want to teach moms & dads. I want to teach kiddos. I want to teach them about Jesus. I want a classroom full of kids with a chalkboard and dusty floors and open, expectant hearts. I want a dozen or two smiling faces with checked shirts, trousers and skirts. I want to teach them about Jesus, yes, but also about the water cycle, and phonics, and multiplication tables, and germs and John Locke. I want them to learn how to read and write in the language that they think in. And in a language they can use for opportunities far beyond their village. I want to love them deeply. To know their names and their stories. To pray for them. To cry with and for them. To know their dreams. To laugh at their silliness. To challenge them. To see them the way Jesus does. To love them with His everlasting, unfailing love.

this is what I want.

but today...
I have a different gift.

today I have Texas.
I have black pants, black collared shirt, black socks, black shoes, green apron. I have pumpkin spice lattes. I have upside down caramel macchiatos. I have Walter. I have a Bible on my phone, a journal in my hand, and my heart open and listening. I have a family with potty-training, WALL-E, and Bible sing-along songs. I have a stinky, but lovable dog who sometimes leaves "presents" on my rug. I have a   gracious couple who have discipled and nurtured me and done whatever they can to help accomplish God's call in my life, even if that means letting me live with them. I have kiff music on my ipod. I have a meeting with ladies who keep the admin of our local church flowing. I have a Natelet coming into the world, and a friend who needs help sorting and preparing for his arrival. I have Arepas. I have a city that is really mine to live in, and love on, and embrace fully. I have a local church who knows how to do community, and a vision and a passion for the global church. I have the promise of one more fall-ish day in the forecast. And I have the confidence that this, here, and now, is exactly the precise place on this planet I am supposed to be.
which is all I need.

so, Africa-dreams, will have to find their little home in my heart and settle there once more, waiting patiently until it's time to fly again. :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Challenge Accepted.

In my wanderings of the internet, I've found this. 
And I'm stoked. 

I just found it, so I'm starting today. 
I did my first read through this morning. 
And boy, did it kick my butt.
I've got a long way to go between what I see in my life and what I read on the page. 
 
Here's to a month of learning to think like Jesus. 
Of bringing my life into line with the Gospel. 
of "seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.." 
Ahhh, so excited! 
Wanna join me? 
grab your Bible and start today! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Exposed

it all began late last Wednesday night.
I had stayed up too late watching too many episodes of Parks & Recreation.
I was heading to sleep, but decided to just give FB a once over. I was scrolling through the newsfeed seeing the usual, exciting things happening in lives of friends near and far, a picture of someone's lunch, a political post (or seven), a few pics of adorable children, and some inspiring Bible verses, when something caught my eye. And as I read it, my stomach dropped to my toes and has been there ever since. This terrible feeling began to rise and caught in my throat. A friend had posted that now all of the sudden, FB had taken once private messages between people and had made them public by publishing them to people's "walls".

Panic flooded me.

Ever since I had joined YWAM and began my crazy travels around the world, FB had become my primary form of communication. It was the easiest way to stay in touch with my friends all over the globe. This is the problem with having friends close to your heart but not close to your geography means that messages that spill your heart pour out though the keys and fly off to their destination digitally. Which meant....

I realized that some of my deepest secrets, my greatest fears, and the affections of my heart toward several boys over the past few years may, in fact, be visible to "the whole world" or 617 of my closest "friends".  I felt like I was totally exposed. Everything. My past. my present. All right there in plain view.

Immediately, I clicked on to my profile and began scanning. 2012? nope. 11? nope. 2010? oh... yeah..  yikes. 2009? Even more yikes. 2008? YIKES.  I followed the steps recommended by the poster to hide these messages. And then I began the journey over to close friends' pages. The same thing. More than an hour later, the panic still hadn't left me. That yucky adrenaline feeling was still in the pit of my stomach. I have to get rid of these posts!  I was exhausted, so I resolved that in the morning I'd write to all these friends, some of whom I'm on kind of shaky ground with now, and ask them to please do the same and hide these posts. Defeated, I closed my laptop and finally switched off the light.

But I couldn't sleep.
I still felt totally exposed.
my head wouldn't stop reeling.

so I picked up my phone. and after a quick check of timezones, I sent off a text. I knew this friend had a lot of personal FB messages as well. The reply I received mirrored my own terror. Friend was in class and asked me to check their own page to survey the damage. It was similar to mine. Some of the panic was relieved. We conversed about how terrible it was of FB to do such a thing. And then we decided to delete all of the messages we had exchanged. It was just too risky. Finally, I drifted off into a fitful sleep.
I was hoping I'd feel relief in the morning. I didn't.
Eventually, I found the words, and posted a status warning other friends about what had happened. They all found private messages posted to their walls. Ugh.
Exposed.
for the whole world to see.
And then.. in the course of the morning, a friend found this article where FB says they were all just old wall posts, and suggests that people may have been more forthcoming in "public" posts as the whole FB community felt (and actually was) much smaller. I'm not sure I believe all of it, (There are several posts I swear used to be in private messages, and other things I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have posted to a friend's wall.. but.. )

the whole debacle made me think. a lot.
How would I respond if every single "private" message I had ever written were suddenly made public?
what would the fallout look like?
how would I deal with everyone knowing and reading the details of the depths of my struggles of some of the most difficult seasons of my life? Would the ugliness of my brokenness be too great?
What have I said about people, friends even, when I thought they weren't listening?
Have I always spoken in love?
Aside from the personal aspect, I want to make sure I'm speaking, writing, texting, and in all ways, conversing in love and respect, that if suddenly all my conversations were there for all the world to see, I'd have nothing to be ashamed of.
how about you?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Apparently, God Answers Prayer.

So I was going through some of my old journals this afternoon.
I found this entry from February 2006, when I was 16 and a Junior in high school. I actually remember sitting in my old silver Volvo in the parking lot at Whatcom writing this... but little did I know what God was doing... 

2/13/06
Daddy, I've never had an overwhelming passion for Africa. I never really felt called or wanted to go there. But ever since that night You've started a fire in my heart. I want to make a difference there.  When I found out today that every day 6500 Africans of AIDS and 9500 contract it! How many of those 6500 don't know You? And how many of those 9500 will be part of tomorrow's 6500? Or next week? Or next year? And who will save them? Who will share Your hope with them? I hope it will be me! "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'' - Isaiah 6:8.
Daddy, let Your consuming fire burn in me!  Deepen my brokenheartedness for the people of Africa, give me a broken-hearted love for them. Help me to love them like You do. Help me to love the fatherless and the orphans and the widows. Open up a road that I might take...
I lift up this continent to You. I pray for unity among all of the countries. I ask for healing in the AIDS epidemic. I also ask for the nation of South Africa. God, show Your healing hands and loving heart there. Send people to answer Your call. Provide doctors and nurses and teachers of Your word. Fill this nation with Your glory.  "But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted perish." - Psalm 9:18. "You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more." - Psalm 10:17-18. 

I love it! I cannot help but just sit here and laugh, grinning from ear to ear. Boy, did God answer those prayers!!! And how about that crazy prayer for South Africa? I didn't know pretty much anything about that country. I had gotten a magazine from Global Expeditions, a ministry of Teen Mania (who I now happen to be about 30 minutes away from in Texas. haha!) and had cut out all the countries they had trips for and glued them one by one in my journal, so that I'd pray for some nations. And yet...  how perfect was it that South Africa was in the right place in that journal. And how I'm even seeing that prayer answered. I just spent time with many friends who answering that prayer. Exactly one month ago today, I was sitting in class at UCT with 200 people who are studying to be doctors in South Africa! This is ridiculous. How amazing is God?!

So, the moral of the story is this... God answers prayer. He is faithful. And His timing? Incredibly perfect. The passion He's put in your heart? It's there for a reason, and if you commit it to Him and ask Him to grow it, He will. It may take a long time before you see it come to fruition, but, man oh man, when it comes...  you'll be blown out of the water!