To Honor and To Grieve

Growing up I remember asking my mom why things hurt me so bad, she would respond with, “You love deep so you hurt deep.” For years I would try to just not love as much, I didn’t know how to handle the pain. I figured it would be better not to fully love if it would help manage the heartache. While in Oxford, New Zealand in 2009 God began a process of softening my heart in a vision when He welcomed me home as a Father, that fall He gave me a vision of a heart transplant, with my marriage and each child layers of barriers have slowly flaked away. Since the beginning of last year my heart has been at war trying to shield me from pain that had built up over the years. Pain from offenses and people that I thought I had forgiven and moved past. Pain that I had tried to explain away and justify. Pain that I had convinced myself was foolish, selfish or unwarranted.

The Father has been faithful to woo me and my heart to Him and just under 2 weeks ago I began to fully see my poor attempt to keep my heart together and chose to unrelentingly go after a whole heart, the heart He intended me to have, one that fully felt and fully loved. I went into this week with words from Him, words of encouragement and hope, there was an excitement knowing that on Saturday I would celebrate 6 years of being married to the man of my dreams. We have both been in awe that we made it to this point; the last year almost destroyed us. I had begun the process of acknowledging the pain but having joy in the midst. Well Tuesday night came like a sucker punch to the gut, the kind that knocks the wind out of you and all you can do is lie there writhing in pain.

Ann was a woman I had really only just begun to know along with her daughter but my love for them quickly grew deep and took root in my soul. Before I would have told myself to feel this way was dumb possibly even selfish, how could I grieve so deeply for a woman I really didn’t even know by comparison yet I sit here not even 48 hours out from her passing riding the roller coaster of emotions. Sure there is joy in knowing she is with the Creator of the Universe but there is a sadness that runs so deep that there are no words. So instead of trying to minimize it, I am ruminating in it, I am absorbing the emotions and being who it is I was created to be. There will be time to learn balance but in this moment I want to make sure that I don’t hide from who I am called to be. The loss of Ann was followed by news of a sweet boy who never got to feel the kiss of his mother against his cheek because he was gone before he was placed in her arms. Oliver Sze is honestly a child I probably never would have met personally but I loved his momma and the time we had together in YWAM, I was there the first year she lead and loved the moments we shared. I was ecstatic when I saw her fall in love and marry the man of her dreams, Wilfred, joy multiplied the day I learned their family was going to grow. There are a lot of things that annoy me about Facebook but I am grateful I get to follow the lives of those I have once crossed paths with. To learn that after carrying her sweet boy 10 days past her due date only to have him placed in her arms lifeless is something unimaginable. As I sat there in bed after reading her brave, vulnerable post about her loss all I could do was lie back down and be completely consumed in tears. She is facing a loss I cannot fathom and honestly my deepest fears as I prepare for my 4th son’s arrival.

I don’t know how this is going to look, this journey of becoming a woman who fully feels and fully loves but I am not willing to give it up now I will honor the lives that were taken too soon by fully loving and fully grieving them. Ann Crowell you are and will be greatly missed the lives you have touched are too numerous to count. Oliver Sze your story although cut far too prematurely your legacy is only beginning as your parents vulnerability as they walk through this will be a testimony that changes lives, you precious one will change lives from the arms of our Father.

Seven Years of Re-calculating

When you use a GPS and get off of the path it wants you to follow it says over and over “re-calculating” the last seven years has been something like that for me. I landed at DFW airport fully intending for my time back in America to be short lived. I had come home quickly after my YWAM graduation to celebrate my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary as a surprise for my family. I had my plans, God had His. Although my life has not been what I had expected it has been far better than I could have ever imagined. Sure I miss the long flights and experiencing new cultures but creating a family has been kind of amazing.

The last seven years has been a whirlwind. It started with the end of my season at YWAM with a graduation on the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem.Rachelle 4

Then I met Ian just weeks after being home and never did I expect a relationship to form but we quickly became best friends and went on our first date on my 21st birthday.IMG_0195

Just a mere 53 weeks after being home I married him. If you would have told me that I would meet and marry a man just over a year after completing YWAM I would have told you are absolutely insane! At our wedding we got to get the first taste of God’s provision in our marriage when we received the camera Ian had sold to get out of debt back as a gift from his friends.8-21-100978

14 months after we said “I do”, we grew to a family of three and we began to create our own Christmas traditions._MG_1406

18 months to the day almost to the hour we grew once again to a family of four and Judah became obsessed with being a big brother and that hasn’t changed to this day.IMG_3819Not even two years later we added our sweet Zealand. He has brought a joy to our home we can not explain. He is also the first baby to be a baby, into everything and absolutely crazy.IMG_1427

And here I am on the 7th anniversary of coming home and I can say that Texas is far more my home now than it was then. My life has been given a completely different direction but the sweetness outweighs the sorrows of dreams lost. In God’s sweet grace today He gave me a new vision of future, one that is fresh and fits my whole family. I am excited. I am grateful for the journey even if it has been full of unexpected detours.

To the Christians Who Openly Disdain Trump

To the Christians Who Openly Disdain Trump:

I don’t care your political views or the countless reasons why you don’t want to see Trump in office. I don’t care that you disagree with him building a wall or calling himself a Christian. I don’t care that the candidate you back is the better option for our country, they may be. What I care about is the fact that you spew hate, which is the over arching argument why most of you say you can’t back Trump. Do you see the problem here?

Do you see how calling someone a bigot because they support Trump is a little far fetched? It’s like saying you like dogs therefore you are a dog. To openly declare that someone can’t be a Christian and support Trump is absurd. I think of countless times the righteous rightfully stood by the wicked. I think of Daniel and his time in Babylon and of David with Saul. Those men honored the headship of the country they were in and loved them.

I don’t know if Trump is a Christian. I don’t know if he would have been the one that I picked out of the crowd (but I probably wouldn’t have picked David out of his brothers, so I don’t know if I would trust me). What I do know is God loves fiercely and doesn’t even desire for the wicked to perish (Ezekiel 18:32). I also know that He relentlessly pursues and will use whatever measure necessary to win the heart of His child. Maybe, just maybe, God loves Trump and maybe, just maybe He is using this election to woo Trump to Himself. You don’t have to support Trump politically but as someone professing to be a follower of Christ why not love him? Why not honor him? Don’t vote for him if you don’t agree with him but don’t attack him at every chance you get. What message are we sending the world when we are filled with just as much hate as the next person? The beauty of being a follower of Christ is that we have true love residing within us.

By NO means am I saying I do this perfectly but my desire is to always be growing towards love.

So please, can we stop with the finger-pointing and the name-calling? Can we choose to love even those we don’t agree with? Can we stand as one so the world will be drawn to the one we love so much? Now is the time to bring unity to the body for the Bridegroom is longing to come for His bride.