The One

Today I found myself in Little India.  It was just a quick stop before heading over to the prayer room.  There’s this little shop I get where I get my eyebrows and upper lip threaded.  No pain no gain with that apparently.  Anyways, I was rushing to leave that bustling and somewhat chaotic part of town when I flew right by a man on crutches who was begging.

Honestly, I barely looked at him and told him no, even when he continued to call out to me, and continued to rush away.  I rounded the corner, hidden by an oversized truck and about a half block from my parked car, and came to a stop.  In that moment of decision I had a question come to mind.  “Am I willing to stop for “the one?”  I had 5 ringgit in change from the recent beauty venture.  Should I give it to him?  Instead of taking too much time to overthink it, I went back around the corner and approached him.  He eagerly received me back.

His left foot and calf are turning black.  He’s a diabetic.  From his broken English I gather he has no family and sleeps on the streets.  I gave him the money and asked him if I could pray for him.  He readily agreed.  As I prayed and asked Jesus to fill him with His love and bring healing to his body, I was stunned when I saw a tear fall to the ground out of the corner of my eye.  This man is real flesh and blood, full of emotions and needs.  Beaten down and broken like all of us.

I looked at him more closely as I prayed, trying to see him more as the Father sees him.  When I finished, he thanked me, with a peaceful and grateful look on his face.  I told him that God has not forgotten about him, that Jesus loves him.  He mentioned that he goes to the homeless drop in center a few streets over, and I excitedly tell him that I have friends that help there.  We exchanged some thank yous and God bless yous, and then I was back on my way.

The entire episode took me less than 10 minutes, and I almost missed that opportunity because I was too busy rushing to “ministry.”  How does that even make sense?

I recently listed to a sermon from Bethel about how our “ministry” is meaningless if we’re not willing to stop for “the one.”  This is why this question and them was fresh on my mind and heart.  If the gospel is only relevant in Christian worship circles or mass conferences but doesn’t apply to every individual then something is seriously missing.

These opportunities to minister the love of Jesus and the love of the Father are everywhere, but we must be sensitive to stop and respond.  We must be willing to be inconvenienced, to be in awkward situations.  Loving people isn’t always easy and fun and convenient.  How many of these moments have I missed over the years because I’m consumed with MY plan, MY agenda, MY schedule, what’s convenient for ME?  It was a convicting moment for me.  I easily brushed by him, avoided eye contact, actually said no and initially felt no compassion for this man.  Where was the heart of the Father in me at that moment?

Oh, how I need the love of Jesus to wreck my heart once again and give me His eyes and heart for the hurting and broken!  Lead me to the cross, that place of blood-stained, selfless sacrificial love.  May my eyes always be on the lookout for “the one” and my heart filled with love to pour out.

We can change the world just by loving on one person at a time.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:8

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30 in Review

“No fear can hinder now the promises You’ve made. “

In May of last year I turned the big 30 and entered an officially adult decade.  I’d say it’s been one of my best years to date, probably the best year of my life so far.

It’s flown by. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind honestly.

I furnished my first apartment and experienced the bliss of living alone. I saw my dreams come true as I was able to make space around my very own table and love on people from all over the world.

It was a gift.

There were many mornings and evenings of quiet, just me and Jesus and my coffee. I could see the sunrise over the ocean from my apartment windows. I got to make a home from scratch.

I also had no one to blame when there were dishes in the sink.

Prayers, worship, tears, laughter and lots of good food were exchanged in that little 3 bedroom apartment, my home.

Old dreams were dusted off and brought back into the light. It can be painful to exercise renewed hope, but we’re not fooling anyone, including ourselves, when we pretend like we’re okay with unfulfilled dreams and desires. It’s scary and vulnerable, but there is no great gain without great risk. At least that’s what I’m banking on.

I’m feeling increasingly like myself these days, more so than I ever have before, if that makes sense. It’s taken almost a decade to become okay with who I am and who I’m not and discover the essence of who God has made me to be. I’m finally coming into that peace and settledness and rest that comes with knowing Him and therefore knowing yourself. I still have my moments (and even days) of fear and insecurity, but I walk in victory far more than in defeat as of late.

I spent most of last year with 4 little Australian cuties and had the luxury of a work visa. This meant less travel (bummer) but less anxiety about immigration (celebrate!).

In 2016 I went to two new countries, Laos and Myanmar, and fell in love. I also discovered a little piece of paradise in Koh Lipe, Thailand that makes for awesome visa run trips.

I made the trek back to my motherland after almost 2 years of being away. It was filled with love and good friends and great family and delicious food. I got to stand up with one of my very best friends as she vowed her life to another. I was back in Colorado after a 6 year absence, and the San Juan Mountains confirmed what I already knew to be true – I love this place!

Home was filled with meeting new family members and reconnecting and resting. It was the sweetest time. There’s really no place like home and being with family. It was a joy to meet my new little foster sister in person and immediately fall in love with her whole person.

My time ended in NYC with one of my besties. The whole trip was more than I could’ve hoped for. I went back to Malaysia filled up with joy and lots of tears. It was harder than usual to leave this time around.

Things began shifting a lot after I got back.

I ended up moving. I sold almost everything and tearfully turned in my keys and stepped into a new position of managing a hospitality house for missionaries.

Bittersweet.

I signed up to staff again at the house of prayer, something I thought I’d never do. It’s funny how the very thing that you can fight the hardest against can become the thing that you become most passionate about in the end. What a difference three and half years has made. A real life testimony of that classic Bible verse:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” II Corinthians 12:9

2017 has been full on, more so than I really care for honestly. On top of my 4 part-time areas of service I took the plunge to go back to school and finish out my bachelors degree after being MIA for almost a decade.

Things have certainly changed.

I lost my work visa at the end of 2016, so it’s been back to visa runs and immigration lines and required travel expenses. 2016 just seemed too easy in a lot of ways, but I think it was the rebuilding and strengthening I needed after 2 years of feeling broken up.

The last quarter of my 30th year has been a bit crazy to say the least. Major changes (with more to come), new roommates, new home, loss of visa, lots of sickness, loads of work.

In the midst of it all though, there is a sweetness. I am overflowing with thankfulness to be back on the team at the prayer room. I’m treasuring those little moments more than I used to. I feel an increased privilege in living out the life God has called me into.

I know, I know, most people think I’m a bit crazy. They’re partially right, but I’m okay with that! I’d much rather live at peace with God than have favor with man, and that generally doesn’t fit into a nice, tidy box.

As I press on, I’m learning the delicate balance of being resilient in a healthy way. Still hoping and risking and loving in the midst of rejection and being misunderstood and not picked. I’m learning how to keep my heart soft instead of putting up walls. I’m learning humility over pride and to be vulnerable without feeling ashamed.

All in all this decade is off to a fabulous start, and I’m anticipating good things in the midst of the uncertainty ahead. I’m trusting that He is taking me from glory to glory. I’m believing that He is for me and not against me. I’m believing and pressing in for the more.

So cheers to another year of life and love and adventuring with Jesus!

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  

II Corinthians 3:18

 

Feeling all the Feels

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Recently a friend and I were catching up over FaceTime.  Sharing what was happening in our lives.  Both of us had some pretty big changes just happen or that were about to begin.

With changing seasons and fresh paths most likely comes a roller coaster of potential emotions so how do we move forward and be fully present when the “past” is only a half-step behind us with it’s dirt still clinging to our boots?

How can live in the present with vision for our future and the next generation in a healthy way?  How can we transition well or even brace ourselves for upcoming changes when we’re still in the trenches of our current seasons of life?

As we were discussing the future and challenges and emotions my friend encouraged me to “feel all the feels.”  

Translation: Don’t stifle and stuff.

Grieve as you go.  

Live fully in the moments and take nothing for granted.  Bawl your eyes out when you’re feeling sad.  Pause and take in the scenery and soak up all the warm fuzzies when they come.

Embrace the pain.

That’s the really icky part, but when you realize that you cannot selectively shut down  your emotions, then you’ll learn not to numb the painful ones.  As excruciating as it is, we must allow ourselves to grieve and to feel  the pain of loss and transition.  I believe that to the depth that we experience pain we will also be able to experience joy and peace.  We cannot selectively numb and be whole and present simultaneously.  

We need to “feel all the feels” no matter how uncomfortable some of them may be.  

Sure, we may temporarily feel better about not being a mess at the time, but we know that when we look back we’ll be disappointed that we shut down, disengaged and removed ourselves from the present in order to self-protect and avoid.
It may seem silly to cry over a spatula, but I’ve done it. You can read about that one here.

And the thing is, if  we’re ever going to live abundantly and fully in our lives then we’re going to need to deal with our demons and face off with our emotions and the deep corners of our hearts that we want to pretend aren’t there.  Sooner or later as most of you know, they will find us.  

Someone will rip off that bandaid to reveal a gaping wound that you never attended to.  That inflatable beach ball will pop up out of nowhere and blast you unexpectedly.  You’ll end up being in a new season or a fresh relationship with so much of that old undealt with stuff that you’ll miss out on the joy of the moment and being fully invested right where you are.

It’s not easy and there’s no magic recipe for soul tending and transitioning well.  I think the main thing is to pay attention to our hearts, be kind to ourselves and to live a courageously intentional life.  We shouldn’t compare or set a bar for how we should be feeling.  We must allow ourselves to grieve.  We must admit when we’re afraid.  We shouldn’t try to gloss over those sad feelings.  We mustn’t take the joy of the moment for granted.  I believe we should pause and feel and be right where we’re at.

A big part of this for me has been to start being more honest with God and shift the way that I pray.  I’ve been uncertain if it’s okay to tell God what I actually want, afraid that somehow this means that I’m being disobedient or believing that I’ll taint the grand plan and miss the mark because of my desires.  That has left me with abandoned pieces of my soul that for the longest time felt like a graveyard instead of a garden.

I didn’t want to touch those place because it felt too painful and dry and revealed areas of hopelessness that were messy and easier left unattended to.  I didn’t want to “feel all the feels.”  But I’m come to the point where I want to be whole.  I want to be fully alive.  And that means embracing all of who I am and trusting God with all of me. 

The Father, my Father, doesn’t want a canned prayer of submission without an ounce of faith in it.  I’m coming to believe that He actually cares about the desires of my heart and wants me to share them with Him.  Not in a “genie in a bottle” sort of way, but in a Father/daughter type of way.  Where I’m real and raw and honest.  Where I’m cracking my fragile heart open and trusting Him to handle it with the utmost care.

Sure, it’s way easier to live an ankle deep life instead of diving into unknown depths.  But after wading around in the shallows for too long, life gets boring and predictable and down right unfulfilling because in our gut we know that we’re made for more.  That gnawing feeling (the Holy Spirit, perhaps) is trying to tell us something.
We must embrace all of who we are and who He is.

Do you ever think about that verse, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

There is a joy set before us.  We must endure the hard things.  We can’t skip them.  Jesus didn’t skip the cross and go straight to the right hand of the Father.  He felt those nails in his hands.  He looked Peter in the eyes and felt the stabbing pain of denial.

Jesus could filter all of these emotions through the truth that was rooted and grounded in Him and by the security of His relationship with the Father.  He also had long-term vision.  In the midst of the physical pain and rejection and mockery and being misunderstood by the masses He knew who He was and the greater plan far outweighed His current circumstances.

If you’re in transition or a changing of seasons, don’t let the waves of emotions drown you or callouses to cover your heart.

Be in your life.  All day every day.  
Let the dry bones come to life and let faith replace fear and doubt. 

Let’s have vision for eternity now.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him,”  Philippians 3:8 

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

God – the Supernatural?

I had an interesting experience recently.  I began to pray something to the effect that Christians would be open to the supernatural.  Then all of a sudden I realized, mid-prayer, how ridiculous that sounded as it came out of my mouth – praying that we would believe that God could work in supernatural ways.

Merriam-Webster defines God as this:

1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as 

a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe 

And the supernatural as this:

1 : of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil

2 a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature

The Creator and Ruler of the universe implies to me that He is indeed supernatural and completely other than man and our human ways.  

Why is it a stretch for us to believe that a supernatural being, the Ruler of the universe, could manifest Himself in unexplainable ways?  I’m not meaning to sound judgemental at all to those that believe that He doesn’t work that way any more or to those that are struggling to believe it.  I’m simply trying to look at it from a logical point of view.

I believe that humans are supernaturally created.  Our bodies are absolutely miraculous and shout intelligent design.  I don’t think there’s a chance we got this way by accident.

The earth and the universe are indescribable and so perfectly placed it’s undeniable to me that it wasn’t purposeful.  

These two things alone display that God is extremely supernatural in His ways.  They are are so beyond us.  He created something out of nothing.  He breathed life into dry bones and put a living soul in each being.  Seriously, how amazing is that?!

I believe He is far more capable of things than we think, and that He is longing to co-labor with us to display His glory in the earth.  The question is not “can God work supernaturally,” but “will we make space for Him to move?”

C.S. Lewis hits the nail on the head:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

We are too full on the things of this world which leaves little to no hunger left for things of God – His supernatural ways if you will.  

Just to clarify:  I am not saying that we should merely seek after the supernatural for the sake of seeing unexplainable things and experiences.  My heart in this is for the church (the sons and daughters of God) to walk in the fullness of all that He is and all that He extends to His family.  We are co-heirs with Christ, walking with the deposit of the Holy Spirit inside of us!  Let’s not settle for less, friends.  There is always more to know and experience and discover.  We will never exhaust His love and wisdom and grace. 

Andy Byrd recently said:

“If you know how to do it, your dream’s probably not big enough.”

We should need God to come through for us.  We should need the Holy Spirit’s guidance and empowerment daily.  We should need more than we can dig up within ourselves if we are actually living a life of faith.  Our dreams should bigger than what we can accomplish on our own.  Where’s the faith in having goals and ideas and dreams that are within our limits?

May our hearts and minds be open to all that God is and what He does and not just the bits that we can make sense of. 

I personally don’t want to worship or give my life to a god that I can fully understand and put in a nice tidy box.  I need more than what I can conjure up and explain.  I need supernatural wisdom and strength and grace to make it through each day.  There’s gotta be more to God than what I see and know.  

His Word is filled with stories of His supernatural ways.

Think of Jonah being swallowed by a whale and living to tell the tale.

Remember how He led Israel by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night.

Recall how He parted the Red Sea for His people when they were trapped by their enemies.

What about that time He spoke to Moses through a burning bush that didn’t burn up?

And how about when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into a firey furnace and came out not even smelling like smoke, but the guards that threw them in died because of the extreme heat???

Then there’s David and Goliath (I Samuel 17), Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6), Sarah and Abraham conceiving as an elderly couple (Genesis 21), Samson’s supernatural strength (Judges 13-16), Solomon’s gift of wisdom (I Kings 3), God extending daylight in order for His army to have victory (Joshua 10:12-14), and we haven’t even made it to the New Testament!

To me, I just don’t see how we can create a logic and a theology that says that God doesn’t work the way…well…the way that He’s always shown Himself to work even before He gifted all of His children with the deposit and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

I sure as heck don’t have it all figured out, and I don’t really care if I ever do.  I just know that I want to get ahold of all that He is and what He does, as much as I possibly can.  He’s the source of life and peace and love and joy, and I want to dive as deep as I possibly can into those realities.  I want to really know Him, kind of like David did in the fields as a shepard boy and like Mary listening at Jesus’ feet.  I want to walk in step with Him and be a part of what He is doing each and every day, and that’s going to take something beyond me, something dare I say…supernatural.  

Control, Trust and Our Little Boxes

My current car-less lifestyle has caused me to slow way down.  The previous two months I was running like crazy, sometimes coming and going from my place 5 different times a day.  It’s not my favorite way to do life, but I had briefly committed to more than I should have.  My life these past few weeks has looked drastically different, but I think it’s just what the Father intended. He’s sneaky like that.

Things have been bubbling up the past several months. My car breaking down (again) only 4 days after I returned from the U.S. seemed to be the final straw to me realizing that all of my self-perceived control over my life had been taken away.  Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but it’s how I felt.

I never really thought that I needed or even liked to be in control, and in a lot of outward areas in my life I honestly don’t.  I can be very go with the flow.  I can adjust to new circumstances and cultures without a whole lot of difficulty, and I believe that I’m a fairly easy person to get along with.  When plans change I’m pretty adaptable.

But apparently there are lots of areas in my life where it absolutely drives me crazy that I am not in control, and the realization of that has been a bit of a tough pill to swallow.

This process has been wrecking me.

I like to know what the expectations are of me and be able to meet them.  I like to know the rules so that I can play the game and win fairly.  Dos and don’ts help me know if I’m doing things the right way and measuring up – to others standards, God’s and my own.  I prefer things to be straightforward.

The reality is that much of life and journeying with Jesus isn’t like this.  My 20s have been quite eye opening.

The more I know the Father, the more I don’t actually know, and things aren’t as cut and dry as I once believed.

God is not inside the box that I’ve created for Him.  When I look for Him there these days He’s no where to be found.

For a girl who’s been a pretty dedicated Christian for the past 17 years this has caused a huge perspective shift, worldview change and a major lifestyle alteration.

My black and white Christianity no longer exists.  That cookie cutter has been broken. All of those grey areas that I previously wanted to avoid don’t seem (quite) as scary anymore.  Believe me though, a few years ago they terrified me.

Just to clarify, I in no way mean that I don’t believe in absolute truth.  I 100% do.  There are many non-negotiables and straightforward Biblical teachings.

I’m talking about the grey areas.  The “room for interpretation” areas.  The preferences.  The cultural and societal norms of right and wrong and this way or that way.  Traditions that are taught as truth. Personal standards held up and imposed as the standard.

God continues to tear away at my precious box. He gently encourages me to keep opening up my hands and loosen my grip on those things that I can’t control anyway.

When I stop and look at it, He’s actually leading me into more freedom.

In the process it’s revealing my heart and showing me that deep down I still don’t trust God as much as I thought I did with particular areas of my life.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the fruits of the Spirit, of someone walking in step with the Father. When we find ourselves bearing the “fruits” of anxiety, worry, stress, hopelessness, depression or apathy we should pay attention and not let these things go unchecked in our lives.

For me personally, some of these “fruits” have highlighted my control and trust issues. I know that this is not how I am made to live. I am made for abundant life. Life full and overflowing. A life filled with faith and hope and love. A life of freedom and joy.   To love and to be loved for who I’ve been created to be.

We all are.

We have to decide who’s worth our trust. We must throw fear back into the pits of hell. We have to learn to lean into hope and faith.

Let’s let go of control and step into deeper trust.  Let’s wade through the muddy waters together and find out who God really is and how that changes everything.

Things most likely won’t turn out like we plan, but I have a hunch that in the end we’ll look back and say that it was worth it.

 

Kid Stuff

There’s just something about little kids.

They’re so uninhibited, so unaware of the pressures of this world.

They laugh and run and play and dance. They don’t care if anyone’s watching.

They don’t know how deep the water is, and they always believe that Daddy’s going to catch them when they jump.

They don’t worry about how the bills are going to paid or what the neighbors are saying about the condition of their front yard.

They skip without a care in the world and run straight into the ocean without the slightest twinge of fear, splashing and giggling all the way.

They are unaware of their social status.

Their world is simple. They build sand castles and play hide-and-go-seek.

Smiles and laughter seem to come so easily.

In a sense, they are free.

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The are innocent and unassuming and gloriously unaware of what’s politically correct.

But they aren’t free for very long.

Soon culture will let them know what’s expected. Pressure upon pressure will be placed upon them to perform and please everyone around them.

They’ll go into debt to get a degree that they don’t really want but that’s what’s expected, and they’ll be looked down upon if they go any other route after high school.

Little by little they will conform to be exactly whatever everyone else tells them they should be.

It’s no longer about who they are, but it’s about who they’re expected to be.

I have to say that being a grown up isn’t quite as glamorous as I imagined when I was in middle school.

I mean it has some really great perks, like eating as many chocolate chips as I want before I go to bed, but the pressure to perform and meet the standards of current culture is just so suffocating at times.

Take my life for example.

I’m fully aware that at my age I’m expected to be married with at least 2 kids and driving a min van (no offense to my min van driving friends; y’all are the real heroes).

And apparently my lifestyle of moving and missions is what’s kept me from getting a man. “You don’t stay in one place long enough.”  That’s what I’ve been told anyways.  Thanks.  I’ve been wondering what was wrong with me.

Expectations. Pressures. Conforming to the standards of others. Making all of the right decisions because that’s what I should do.

Before you know it we’ve squeezed every ounce of us out of ourselves and become just another face in the crowd, meeting all of the expectations set up by Hollywood and the media.

You realize that you’ll never be “that girl” or “that guy” because it’s an impossible goal, but you’re striving to anyways.

Maybe then you’ll be okay with yourself.

But then you won’t be tapping into who you really are. You’ll just be playing a part and showing up for other people’s lives.

I’m discovering that this reality of God as our Father has some pretty great perks, and that if we truly embrace Him as our Father and live as His children then we will be ushered into some chain-breaking, unhindered freedom – to be ourselves, to love, to explore, to be okay with who we are and embrace our part in His grand story.

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As adults I think we all jokingly laugh about wanting to be a kid again, not caring about the rent or the laundry or what Mrs. Smith at church said about the pastor’s shirt on Sunday.

But I think that there is something real in our longing to be free. And I’m beginning to believe that it’s not just some wish-upon-a-star Disney dream.

I’m beginning to think that this freedom is within reach, and that this set of cultural expectations, striving and self-consciousness is for the birds.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating to go against all cultural norms and be some detached crazy.

I’m just saying that we shouldn’t let the chains of other’s expectations lock us down and hinder us from who God truly created us to be.

We should open ourselves up to living a Kingdom lifestyle instead of just what our culture or others dictate for us.

Let’s tap back into being little kids.

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Together let’s dance and not care who’s watching. Let’s be confident in the skin that’s been crafted specifically for us. Let’s do what we love to do. Let’s try something we’ve always wanted to try and see what happens.

Why not? What do we really have to lose?

As a wise man recently told me, “Try yourself on.”  Be you.  Start discovering who you actually are after all of the obligations are peeled away.

I still have a lot of questions, but I think I’m ready to keep on digging.

I’ve got a lot of things to unlearn and tons of discoveries yet to make.

The really good news is that darkness (lies, guilt, shame, condemnation) have to flee when when we switch the light on.

Sometimes we need someone else to flip the switch to help us see.  So let’s celebrate and spur one another on.  Speak some life over someone, even yourself today.

We have a Father who loves us and who actually delights in us. Let’s live like we have His affections today, because we actually do.

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beYOUtiful

(slogan from a campaign at sevenly.org)

Photos from my World Race journey in Rwanda, Nepal, Tanzania & India

Preparing, Anticipating & Waiting

As I write this, it is December 7th.

Lord-willing, in exactly one month I will be boarding a plane, and my journey to Malaysia will begin.  After about 32 hours of travel time and changing planes in 3 different places I will arrive in Penang with a fresh start at the beginning of a brand new year.

I wonder when reality will set in.  How long will it take me to realize that this is actually real?  I’m actually moving to Malaysia.  

This season of waiting and preparing and anticipating is almost over.  The day when it will come to pass will be here soon.

I guess December a month that is all about preparation and anticipation and waiting.  Christmas is almost here.  Trees are being decorated, presents are getting wrapped, goodies are baking in thousands of ovens and travel plans are being made for the big day.

Parents are making lots of preparations.  Kids are doing LOTS of waiting and anticipating.

We never know exactly what the day will hold, but we all hope for a special day with memories that will warm our hearts for years to come.  There’s usually a few lovely surprises tucked into the day as well.

It makes me think of Mary waiting on little baby Jesus to come and pondering the angel’s words that had been spoken to her so long before:

 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”                                                                            Luke 1:32a

Like Mary, when God speaks to us and we respond with a heart of obedience and love we don’t truly and fully know what’s ahead.  A lot of times we think we do, but I’ve come to find out that I really don’t.

I think the important thing is that when we trust the One who speaks we can respond in full confidence knowing that He is faithful and good and that it’s all going to work out – even if it doesn’t fit into our nice little box of expectations.

During these times we make preparations.  We wait and we anticipate the things to come.

Right now I feel like I still have a million things to do to logistically prepare for this move, for this new chapter of life.

I’m anticipating that God’s going to come through.  If He’s really called me to do this thing then He’ll provide for me.

In the plan-making and praying and seeking there’s also the waiting.  

Realistically, I still need about half of my funds to come in in the next 2 weeks.

My flesh threatens to take me over with anxiety and fear and push me to strive to make it happen in my flesh, by my own doings.

Then there’s His Spirit within me gently calling me to trust and continue to be faithful to Him.  He reminds me that He is outside of time.  He speaks to me of His promises and His love for me and His ability to do the impossible.  He calls me to abide in Him

This tension is refining me.  It’s calling me into deeper intimacy with Him on a level that I’ve never experienced.  It’s showing me more of my dirty flesh and sin and also so much more of His grace, mercy and love for me.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of weeks as I continue to prepare, anticipate and wait.

I want to thank you for being a part of my journey, for reading and praying and sticking with me even though these past couple of years have been a bit crazy!

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