What Was The Point?

This August will mark eight years since coming home from YWAM and my time around the world. Lately I have been mulling over my time overseas wondering if I really did anything. I keep seeing news reports of terrorist attacks on so many places I love and where friends have been and I start to ask myself, “What was the point?” I personally didn’t see any professions of faith or miracles although I know of teams in my school who saw great things. Then I remember the parables Jesus spoke of about seeking out the lost sheep and going after the one.

 So He told them this parable: “What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?  When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance.

Luke 15:3-7 HCSB

That was the point, the one, I may not see how their lives unfold but I will never forget their faces and I will forever pray for them.

These two young ladies are just a small portion of the ones who captured my heart in Jaipur at a VBS we put on. Being in the slums with the Bhat people was something I will never forget. The joy that these kids had in the midst of so little was awe-inspiring. When my kids start to complain that they can’t continue playing on the iPad I remember how the simplest of things brought them such glee.Kampala Jaipur Beauty

This girl and her mother were on one of my bus rides in Turkey. Her mother was so incredibly generous to me, she saw that I was a fair-skinned blonde which is often targeted by men and so she stood up and insisted I sit with her daughter so I didn’t have to sit by a man on the bus. To see her heart to protect me was beautiful and this girl, she stole my heart. Although I only knew a few words in Turkish our time was full of smiles and giggles as we played with my camera.

Turkish Bus

The other woman in Turkey who captured my affection was a shop owner from Selçuk. She was the only lady shop owner and she told Jemma and I stories of abuse she had faced in the community just for being independent thinking. She also asked Jemma and I to pray for her which was an honor. Some of my favorite souvenirs were from her shop.ShopOwner in Selçuk In Cairo the church filled with kids where we put on skits and the room was filled with laughter is something I will never forget. Egypt was a hard place for me, I physically was ill a lot of my time there and there were multiple times where I felt demonic attack nevertheless I fell in love with the land and the people. Only to come home to meet my husband who had spent a prolonged time there shortly before I arrived. When we first married we thought we would move there, who knows maybe one day.IMG_1998

Why do I share all of this? To remind myself that they are the point, the one, the random person I met on the bus, in a shop, at a VBS they were the point of it all. For nothing else than to show them love in that moment. I may not know what impact if any was made this side of eternity but I am grateful I was given the opportunity to go in search of the one.

Maybe the one is the kid at the park who is being obnoxious but really just wants someone to play with, or perhaps the cashier who is huffing and puffing as they scan each grocery item or maybe its your very own kid who in that moment needs you in a different way and you take the time to be who it is they need.

May we always be in search of the one.

Birthdays – Choosing to See the Gifts

Birthdays, like new years, I kind of love them. There is something about a trip around the sun that makes me reflective and grateful. Two years ago my birthday had a bomb dropped on it and last year I spent trying to forget the pain of the year before but this year, this year I am choosing to see differently. Part of me wants to avoid this year in hopes to not carry over the pain of the last two years but ultimately I am expectant of year 28 in a new and fresh way. I am believing this birthday will be one of redemption and new life.

Romans 8:28Back in 2009 I would often turn to Romans 8:28 which says, “We know that all things work together for good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” This verse has been popping up in my mind more and more the last few weeks and I don’t think it is by chance but instead a promise over my 28th year. The greatest gift giver is going to exchange the ashes of the last couple of years and make it beautiful. He is going to take the fire I have faced to purify and refine me. He won’t leave me alone in the midst of it all.

Life is messy, painful and sometimes downright cruel. It is easy to become consumed by those painful things and not see all of the beauty in a life with God. Things like my oldest wishing me a happy birthday while snuggling up next to me first thing in the morning. Throughout the Bible there are promises not for an easy life but of a fulfilling one, one marked with His goodness and love. If you take the time to look around you, you will without a doubt see His extravagance. For me His love is sometimes the color of the sunset, the random item on sell or my boys telling me a story. Life in and of itself is a gift.

For my birthday I am choosing to look at my life, where I am, albeit messy and painful at times as a gift. My boys, my husband, my life as the greatest gift I could ever have dreamt up. No, things are not perfect and I could probably paint a picture that would garner me great sympathy but if I truly believe what I have confessed all these years about the Christian life, about marriage then I need to change my perspective and see life as a gift, one created to glorify the Creator.

***Awesome Coincidental Gift***

Every year my great-aunt Trudy sends me a birthday card, it arrives like clock work each year almost always the day before my birthday so I can open it the morning of. I don’t remember ever not getting a card. Cards come adorn with stickers and bunches of x’s and o’s on the inside. Well this year it came with a sticker verse but not just any verse….Birthday CardRomans 8:28

I just about wept when I saw the sticker on the back. Nothing like a sweet kiss to confirm what I had already been feeling like was the promise over me this year. God is in the details, He cares about the little things, He loves you.

Here’s to my 28th year!

ABC not XYZ // Only the Beginning

Beginning // Nothing Like I ExpectedMy whole life I have had big lofty dreams, ones that I have been told were too much and that I shouldn’t expect it to happen. When Ian showed up my dreams had to be re-fashioned to fit another person and with each kid we have had my dreams have once again had to be re-shaped. In the midst of the growth of our family I had begun to believe my dreams were strewn about the cutting room floor and I would never get to live the life I had once dreamt up and that all of my former critics were right. The pain this brought to my heart over the last few years has been at times unseen and at other times all consuming. I knew that I knew I was meant to walk this journey with Ian and every addition has been nothing short of God’s perfection. Yet the loss that I felt left me confused and longing for greater understanding of what I thought I knew when I was younger about what I would do and who I would be; because stay at home mom living in the suburbs of Texas was not what I had envisioned.

The other night I was standing in the kitchen cleaning, well honestly I was pouting but just the same dishes were being done. (Often some of my best cleaning times are when I am stressed or angry) As I was scrubbing dishes airing out all of my grievances to God as the rest of my household slept peacefully I found myself blurting out, “God, I thought I was going to ‘XYZ’ but here I am at ‘ABC’.” Instantaneously, I heard, “exactly, you are only at the beginning.” I stood there dumbfounded in the middle of my kitchen feeling liberated in a way I hadn’t in some time. My journey is only beginning; I am merely at ABC. This means all of those lofty dreams that I thought were on the cutting room floor were in fact just being repositioned in the film of my life. The cast needed to be bigger, the dream wasn’t over just not exactly how I originally envisioned.

Knowing that I am not at the end gave me a new lease on life, it seems silly but it is way easier to live in this season knowing I haven’t actually peaked. Even typing that out feels silly now; of course I haven’t peaked I haven’t yet turned 30. Somehow in the midst of becoming a wife and mom I have felt lost and as if my dreams were no longer of any importance that I had forever resigned myself to supporting roles helping my husband and children achieve their dreams while mine laid there rotting. In reality though mine aren’t rotting they are hibernating better yet they are germinating and in the right season they will blossom and be seen by the world around me.

So to those of you out there reading this, the young moms, the singles and even those who have entered into what many people refer to as their final act, the grandparent aged and older, don’t give up on your dreams. You don’t know where you are in your alphabet line; I definitely didn’t think I was still chilling out at “ABC” until the other night. In Isaiah it is written, “I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.” (46:10) Maybe just maybe that dream you once held onto was something God was declaring to you about your end and not your beginning. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) He didn’t put dreams in you as a joke, He is faithful to complete what He started in you (Philippians 1:6)

Take heart in the fact that you are not through. There is breath in your lungs for a reason my friend. Be mindful and better yet hopeful that there is more to come.