Passion is a gritty kind of love, tough and

optimistic enthusiasm that overcomes negativity and inconvenience to make it

through to the end. (10,000 Reasons Overflow)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Romans 8:28 moments, He uses it all

This was a crazy week, it was just amazing... Before I left for Haiti, I felt like a literally got a beat down before I left for Haiti. I almost didn't even go, that's right, the day before I almost said "forget it, I don't even want to go". But thankfully I am not a quitter. I could not disappoint my team.

Now in my life, I have been abused by many, almost got hit with a golf club by someone who claimed to love me (thank God it was almost). But right before i left felt like one of the worst attacks I've ever had on my life.  I remember laying in bed, just sobbing, sending out prayer requests to people who I trusted to pray not even knowing what to tell them to pray for.  I remember praying to God saying "You must fight this one for me, I can't do it this time"

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14 NIV)

So I continued on, grabbing onto Jesus like a baby chimp attaches to it's momma as they swing through the jungle over high places knowing it doesn't want to fall.

I'll tell you that through this time, God has spoken to me so much. "Don't worry about them, just serve and love Me, I love you and if you do that, I will never be disappointed in you".

Then today in church we sang "washed by the water" and my heart broke wide open, and I sobbed.  Thankful. Thankful for that hard time, thankful for the time i spent with God. Thankful that no matter if I please man or not, pleasing God is what matters.

I find myself thankful for Romans 8:28 moments.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

Even when the rain falls
Even when the flood starts rising
Even when the storm comes
I am washed by the water

Even when Earth crumbles under my feet
Even when ones I love turn around and crucify me
I won't never ever let you down
I won't fall
I won't fall
I won't fall as long as you're around me

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Oh Haiti

There is something about Haiti. 

I was packing up my bag and thought "oh Haiti". It's a place, it's a feeling, and it's even a smell :) (Carly you know what I'm talking about). It's a cross between sweat and dirt. Oh Haiti. I wish I could somehow bottle it and keep it for the times when my heart aches to be here.  I think I might even be able to sell it to some friends.

I keep thinking back on this trip, I've lead it no differently than my last 4 (I co-lead two trips last year). Sure I pick up a thing or two to improve but I'm so shocked about how great this one has been. Each one has been a little less dramatic than the last. This trip had a group of people who just wanted to serve Jesus by serving His children. I can't tell you how happy that makes my heart.  It seems that each has been touched by Haiti in a way that only God knows where it's going to lead! And I'm excited that most of them want to come back, not because of the glamour of an overseas mission trip but because they love the beautiful people of Haiti. (Haiti doesn't seem that glamorous when my hair is in a pony, I'm wearing shorts and a tshirt and my butt is soaked with sweat...)

I feel like I came here and did exactly what God asked me to do. I served Him well and that makes my heart oh so happy!!!

I don't know why He ever chose me for this or anything for that matter, but I'm so thankful He did!!

Oh Haiti, until we meet again

What's next

I am about to take off from port au prince back home and I always feel like it's the top worst feelings in my life. 

Even with two trips planned for the end of 2014 and 2015 it never seems to get easier. It just doesn't. 

I find myself falling deeper in love with Haiti every time I go. I find myself caring more and more about the people I serve with.  Just when I think I couldn't love them anymore, they seep more and more into my life. It's hard to even describe.

I think so much about my life and what God expects from me. 

I think of this verse:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NIV)

I don't know what He plans. I know that my life is changing drastically. I know that He is requiring me look at so much. To see all sides of a story and to seek Him to find the ultimate Truth.  That is what I learned this trip. 

I sometimes feel so absolutely burdened by whatever it is that God expects from me. I have no idea! I just know to be absolutely faithful. I find it no surprise that last year I felt so burdened and prayed about who I should share those burdens with, and I did... And my friend just moved away. 

I know God has a plan. I KNOW HE DOES!! I know He has great things in store, you know that very
Popular graduation verse...

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Yeah, I get it. I know He does! But I sometimes feel so held back by not knowing, by things that have hurt me and have kept me captive for so long (people pleasing!!! Ugh) but keep reading...

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14 NIV)

God is faithful and sovereign. No doubt about it.

Act justly
Love mercy
Walk humbly
Call on Him
Seek Him 

It's not that hard. Really it's not.

It's rather simple. My Lord does not ask things of me that I cannot do, quite the opposite, He asks me to put down my cross and follow Him. 

And so I will. 

I'm thankful. 

And honestly a little scared, but it's time to step out. Not knowing what is ahead but in faith walking.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Let there be light

The majesty of God never ceases to amaze me. This morning was rough. I am exhausted!!! At about 3:30 everyone who slept on the roof (8 of us) had to come down because it was raining.

After getting everyone settled I was awake for an hour longer, apparently God had something He wanted to say and He kept me up to listen. And spoke He did, and listen I will :)

Change is a coming, and while scared of change mostly because I don't know what's ahead, I'm taking off the straps that have held me for so long and looking forward to something new and a lot quieter. I'm looking forward to going places that are good for my soul.

This morning there was the brightest red sunrise. Made me a little nervous (red sky at night sailors delight red sky in the morning sailors take warning) but as the sky was lit, everything reflected red. As the power and lights were out, it reminded me that His Power is never out, that light cannot be distinguished (john 1:5). He is majestic. And as I walk into a new way, a different path, I'm thankful that His light is a path for me feet :) (psalm 119:105)

Pursuing a heart after God's

Every night the children recite psalm 23 and it's honestly one of my favorite things for me to hear. Last trip my heart just spoke about it.

Last night Madam Claudette lead the devotions and she chose that scripture to begin with.

She talked about how david messed up a lot but came back to The Lord repenting of his sinful ways and praising God.  

I just want to be that way. I hate my own sin!!! And it makes me want to hide like Adam and Eve but we are so blessed that even in our wicked ways, God takes is back.

I think that is a hard lesson for me because it seems that man just isn't like that. And so often i see God like people who lead in my life.  And they scold me and leave me and then sometimes it's hard to accept God's love and grace. I can remember one time a someone made me feel so terrible about myself, that I was so awful that I isolated myself, and actually thought that the pain from that was so great, that sucking in dirt (suicide) would be my best option. Clearly I realized that wasn't the best option, forgave the person  and moved on. That lesson taught me most about how God truly is there for me in my darkest of times and how we must love, everyday, no matter what. 

I want to love so that others can experience the love and grace of God, surely that is something i want to do but more than that, I want to be a woman who chases after the heart of God, never giving up, except to give up my sinful ways, and when i do, quickly snuggle under the wings of The Lord, repent, and then praise Him. 

I'm so thankful for the life of David, he has shown us what it is like to run straight into the face of God and continue to seek after Him. What a great example of a man after God's own heart 

Sword of the spirit - lessons in a stabbing

When I first became a Christian, I had a friend who lead the high school Sunday school. She had invited me to come or maybe I invited myself but whichever it was, I will always remember it and it was such an incredible lesson to learn and really seep in because really there are so many attacks against us.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

I have been thinking so much about words and how they harm others. I am thankful that when someone really hurts me I try to think about what my part in it was. I pray and seek God to reveal truth to me, and in that I pray that He reveals ways that I may have hurt others in the same way so that I won't continue with such behavior. That may seem weird to some but God gives me great wisdom in those times. It's a blessing in the middle of pain. It becomes a Romans 8:28 moment for me.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

In Eph 6 it says about the sword:
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17 NIV)

The sword is part of the full armor of God. The Word of God. It is used for speaking life into the hearts of others, it is a beautiful love story that God has written to us.  It is sweeter than any love letter you'll ever get from a lover. It brings light and love to the darkest of places.  God stitches His love into our hearts and in my life it seems verses that my mind may have forgotten come right out of my heart.  I love how He does that!! It's a secret weapon I sometimes don't even know I'm carrying ❤️

I'm thinking so much of words, truth. Thinking of speaking them to myself and to others.  We can say things that people need to hear with being mean or harsh, and when we speak truth to people, even if it's hard to say, we must remember we must earn the right to be heard in their lives, and we earn that right with LOVE.

I'm so thankful for the lessons I've learned through the pain that I've had. It's caused me to pursue Love, to really hear what God has had to say in my life and to my heart. It has shut the mouth of self doubt, ugly pride, and left me with a clean heart, washed by my own tears that went seeking after the tears and blood that was shed for me by my Savior. 

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Saying see you later!!!

When I look back on the last seven years as much as I am crying because my friends are leaving, I can't help but smile a million smiles.

I've loved a love that is incomparable to anything I ever thought possible. I've made a million memories. I thought about some of my favorite memories, how postcards in the mail make me smile. How three little boys grabbed a hold of my heart and stole it forever. How kids so broken by the world were healed by Jesus! Families were made whole.

Yes, it's hard to see my friends go to Colorado but it just means that we will have a great place to visit. One trip planned and another about to be booked :) it means reading over Facetime and making videos.

I can say that because of my friendship with two amazing people who turned into 5, I'm braver than I ever thought I'd be, closer to God than I ever knew possible, blessed beyond any human measurement. 

Yes it's hard... But it's not goodbye, it's see you later... 65 days and counting... 

Everyday no matter what.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What an amazing week!!

I've met a lot of amazing people here this week! 

So I love this neighborhood, though it might be possible that I have a false sense of security here this week ;)

I've been thinking about how hard it must be to take care of these houses. Sure, they are pretty inexpensive to buy, so even if someone could afford to buy them, if they were living on a fixed income it might be hard to fix them up or take care of the upkeep. 

So let's say you're someone living in one of these houses making $18 per hour (which equates to about $36k per year) that's really not that much. Before taxes that's $3000 per month, estimated $2000 per month after taxes. House payment even if it's only $500/month, food, utilities, phone bill, car, gasoline... It wouldn't take much to burn through that. And now you've got to put money aside to "someday" put on roof. Which by the way most people haven't been taught to put away for someday because they've been living hand to mouth their whole lives. And they need to take care of things now.

And that's where people who carry Jesus with them, step in. Bill hybel says "excellence honors God and inspires people" and I'll tell you, it's done just that. This community (not all of it but a lot of it) has gotten out with the volunteers and stepped alongside, we have served each other.  I have a friend I've known for a long time that lives over here and he's so happy with how things are cleaned up. He's volunteering himself.  My new friend Miss Ernestine has been out here everyday. Loving and inspiring, those around here and me. She's love in the flesh. She calls me "baby". She inspires me. And I hope one day to walk with her into church. 

This has been one of the best experiences of my life. Tomorrow is the last day and I have so much to write. 

I'll tell you, all my days, I'm thankful to be chosen by love. 

This girl, right here, she's the one God loves.

He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Luke 10:27

Look at this school

How 5 people can impact my life and now I am doing

So the cat is now out of the bag as they say, my friend’s, the Dorband 5 are moving to Colorado.  I’ve known for a little while, 3 weeks or so, and I’ve held tight to this secret and now it seems a lot more real as people started to find out.

People called me as they found out, I think mainly because they knew I loved those 5. They would cry, and I’d put on a stupid brave face sometimes and sometimes I’d cry right along with them.  And sometimes they’d speak “Christianese” to me. They’d say some really stupid corny stuff that Christians tend to say when they don’t know what else to say but they want to sound Holy and trusting.  I don’t know, it’s dumb. I hate Christianese, especially if someone is talking to me. I just want to tell them to SHUT THE HELL UP.  Yesterday, someone who doesn’t even know me started that whole “it’s gonna be ok, God has a plan” stuff, and I just said “I’m sorry, this sucks, and I don’t speak Christianese”.

Everyone keeps asking me how I am doing.  I don’t know, I take each minute as it comes, and some of them I barely make it through, and some I joyfully sob through because I think I’m the luckiest girl on the planet because I got to be Auntie to 3 little boys who stole my heart at first thought. And I got to be friends with two people who truly are the most like Jesus I’ve ever met.  They have taught me how to love and to accept it. They have taught me how to give grace because I learned how to receive it. 

I’m thankful for years of serving with them.

When thinking about my favorite moments in Youth Ministry, the list is so long, I couldn’t pick just one.  And I can barely remember any yucky ones.  Isn’t that amazing?! 

Two people who believed in God’s love and grace who came to Downriver (I have no idea why anyone would come to the arm pit of Michigan – unless God called them) and changed lives, impacted them with love, these two are world changers and certainly changed my world.

By the time I get back from Haiti, they will be gone.  And I am sad.  That’s how I am doing. There might be moments when I just stand there and cry because my heart is completely broken, and moments when I laugh so hard thinking about these 5. They have touched my heart in ways I never thought possible.

So I’d like to end with this…

Yes, I know it’s going to be ok
Yes, I know God has a plan
Yes, I know I can go visit (my first plane ticket is already booked)
And yes, this sucks

I was the luckiest person on the planet to have loved them, and that won’t ever changed.

Dorband5, I loveyou every day, no matter what or where.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Its possible to make a difference!

It's been a crazy week so far! It's been down and it's been up! As I've been driving around, my heart is spinning. (I'm the runner for the groups)

I drove past St. Suzanne's church yesterday and thought about my gram. We used to go to church there when I was young. Funny how it seemed so big but it really wasn't as big as I remembered (I'm gonna see if I can go in there today or tomorrow).  I found the greatest school (ok so it doesn't have windows- but they say I'm a dreamer - but I'm not the only one). I've seen tons of houses that went from blight to beautiful. I've seen beautiful houses that id even move into. I've seen some id like to level and start over. 

This project is crazy amazing.  There is strength in numbers, the hearts of the people who are working and who are living there.

I gotta problem though. 

Don't I always?

I don't want to just come in and leave. And they have a one year plan. Which is so awesome! So what do I do? How do i plug into that? Logistically that is not easy. I live downriver and work in Troy. I felt so strongly in the last couple days that God has been saying "I know you love the waterfront but don't forget about here"

What does that mean?

I have no idea.

Like really.


That drives me crazy!

So as I drive around today, I'll pray.

I'm in love. I'm in love with Haiti and I'm in love with Detroit and I feel like it's an obtainable love.

But I don't believe that God gives us unattainable love. A cross, it joins the obtainable love in our hearts.

Not sure what God's got planned but I'm thankful He loves me and is a light to my path.

All things are possible with God. Matthew 19:26

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


It's a crazy thing.

I went to bed tired and crabby!!! Why? Because I was wet and cold and I let people steal my joy. And I might have been dehydrated.

It's true. I came home made one of my favorite things in the whole world. Roasted broccoli. Seriously it is one of my favorites. I relaxed and watched a movie and took a really hot bath, and felt better. I think I would have been way better had I had some ice cream.

It crazy rained last night. My heart is breaking for those with flooded basements. Finished or not it sucks. Even if it's clear water, it sucks. If it's raw sewage it sucks even worse.  And it's happening to everyone and there isn't anything anyone could have done to stop it. I woke up and normally the first thing i do is pee, but today I check my basement. Praise The Lord the basement is dry.

Thankful for food, friends, a warm, dry safe place to lay my head, thankful for a Savior who loves me.

I'm thankful for so much.