Passion



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)


Monday, June 26, 2017

Feeling... better

I decided to get back to the land of the living yesterday afternoon. 

I thinned out my closets and it felt good. We spent the afternoon poolside with family, talking about Uganda and thankfully talking about anything but Uganda. 

Today it was work back to normal, a really long day eating lunch at my desk (which is normal), conference calls on my way home and even one while I made dinner.  After I made a really amazing dinner (for real, it was really great) we straightened the garage, had a little bonfire to get rid of some of the small twigs that were in a box in the garage, then filled my bike tires and took a spin around the neighborhood. And then a little while later we took Cookie for a walk. 

As I sit on my porch feeling like I am able to breathe again, I realized how good it was for me to write some things out that I was stuffing. 

I'm thankful. 

I'm thankful for people who reached out to me, who didn't make me talk if I didn't want to or couldn't. 

Sometimes it's all just too much for this girl. I just need real life.


Thanks for your prayers and your love, it's carrying me through. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Feeling

I have never gone on a mission trip and felt  like i made less of an impact. 

I dont feel like God has done some miraculous work in or through me. 

It's so weird.

I saw miracles, but I see miracles every day, my heart is open to them. I know the power of God and His majesty. We preached the Gospel, we fed people, we clothed them, loved them. And yet I sit here wondering... 

the words are spinning in my head, I don't even have them to express. I'm trying to move on but I can't. 

I feel...

Stuck

Maybe I'm not supposed to FEEL like i made some kind of impact. Maybe I'm just supposed to trust God that He called me to the trip, I did as He instructed, and that should be good enough.

I don't know what to take from what I've seen and use it in my every day life.  It's confusing and odd to me.  And to be perfectly honest, I hate it. 

I had been praying that God reveal to me what direction He wants me to go. And I still have no idea. It's frustrating and I'm not good at waiting. 

I feel like this is a terrible repeat of what happened when adam and katie left.  I'm keeping my heart open to hear. 





Thursday, June 22, 2017

His provision


I always learn a lot of lessons when I go on these trips.  I know that when I am there I do good, I hope that in the moments when I am there I am used by God.  I also know that God shows up and writes lessons on my heart.
 
We went to a refugee camp one of the days we were in Uganda. We took what was left of the dresses, skirts, shorts, and Sani panties.

I looked at the amount of kids, I looked at the amount of items we had, and I thought this is never going to work. There isn't enough. Now if you know me, you know I was panicking. We need more. Instead of worrying about it, I prayed with the team that was with me. "The moon team" (a story for another blog). "God You know I'm freaking out, please let there be enough for all the children who are here, please make fishes and loaves of these clothes".

There was 174 dresses/skirts, 87 shorts, and a ton of Sani panties. 

Not every child was sent in, but the line never seemed to end. All the girls that were 9 and above got Sani panties AND a skirt (which was not my plan- my plan was only Sani panties).

Somehow when we left, there were leftovers. Not just one or two but piles of left over clothes. In my minds eye I could not figure out how that could happen. But i know I prayed! And I know God answered. 

His provision is enough.

It's more than enough.

Monday, June 19, 2017

next...

Today is our last full day in Uganda. We fly out tomorrow night. 

I'm exhausted, and we are going to safari today yet part of me wishes we had one more day of ministry. I am sure I could do it but I'm glad to have a rest day.

I still don't know what's next. I thought in coming here I'd get some grand answer instead I leave with more questions than I came with. Great.

Part of the issue is that really the only down time I had was in the bathroom or sleeping, and that's the way it goes on mission, especially overseas mission trips, we are here for such a short time, it has to be impactful.

We opened a lot of doors for the amazing church we worked with. They were invited back into schools and prisons, to know that our mission will live on long after we are gone makes my heart happy.

As we prepare to leave it is setting in for others on the team the magnitude of this trip, and I'm praying specifically that this week springboards them forward into serving. “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”  James 2:17 ESV

I'm so thankful that I was here this week, I'm glad I was able to use my weird organizational skills to keep things running a little more smoothly. I'm thankful that I've been able to love others as they love. 


I will be home soon and as I take some time I pray that God moves me forward, that God speaks to what is next.  One thing I'm sure of, it will be great and full of Him!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Home soon

Yesterday was our last day of "mission" today we are going to church and I'm excited! I love church. 

As our days wind down to go home (which 16 hours on a plane does not sound fun! And it won't be) people start to talk about what they are looking forward to when they go home.

I have arranged to have an iced tea in the fridge when I get home and my niece is making me my favorite donuts. But besides the bathtub there no "thing" im looking forward to. I'd love to cook a meal, but all I'm really looking forward to is hugging people I love. 

Mission trips make me remember what's important. It's not my fancy car or any one thing I possess, I can actually see why people sell their possessions and give to the poor, because things don't matter.

People are important. I'm looking forward to working in the city, loving people, loving those in my community.

I'll cry a million tears I'm sure, because I've cried a million but I know that I've got lots bottled up.

What am I most looking forward to?

The people I love most!

Be prepared to be hugged. Hard.


Friday, June 16, 2017

The beautiful children of Uganda

The next few days are going to be difficult. 

Yesterday we went into the prisons and we met street kids. 

It is going to be hard for me to get out of my thoughts. I have seen things I can never un-see. I know and understand the magnitude of it all.

I know I can't save all the people of Uganda but I also know that I am not called to do nothing. I often wish that I didn't have such a burden for injustice and need. I often wish that I wasn't so serious and that this was a box I check off. I'm not a Christian and I need to go on a mission trip. It is not that way for me. God calls me to do this work, even for just a week, and the honor and magnitude of caring for people is not lost on me. 

My eyes looked into the eyes of those boys yesterday that were dirty, and had ripped clothing and were hungry. A young boy looked up at the pastor and had a sad face and rubbed his belly. He was hungry. He was fed, but this cycle will start over. The boys were so beautiful yet, their was a hunger, a need, in their eyes. 

We met boys who have been rescued from the streets. Their lives are transformed. They are clean and fed and in a loving home and getting schooling. I looked in their eyes and I saw peace. There is barely enough food for them, but they eat and they share what they have. They are loved by a beautiful couple that takes care of 55 boys. They get used instruments donated and they teach them music, it helps in the transformation. 

I wish there was a switch that I could flip and just laugh and move on in my life but God didn't create me like that. I know what it is like to go hungry for a short while, but I can't imagine a life of that.

I didn't take pictures of these children because to me they are not objects to be looked upon and felt sorry for, they deserve to be respected but their lives are etched in my heart forever. 

I've seen some very hard things in my life. But those street kids, their lives, they matter to God and something must be done. 

Sending love from Uganda.

(I'll tell you about the prison ministry later, that also wrecked me). 


Thursday, June 15, 2017

It's Friday and my heart is changed

Thinking and processing yesterday. There are no words.

There are so many needs and yet such joy!

There were 1000 people yesterday that we encountered in the camp and yet the total in that are was 100,000. What does that even look like??? I can imagine it. 

As an American I feel so blessed and yet so helpless.

My heart could break in a million pieces. And normally I'd cry for hours, but yesterday I chose to look at the greatness of God.

I choose to see their beautiful faces and the needs He did meet. 

I can't completely comprehend the greatness of God and His mighty power and I know He is good. I wonder why He has chosen to do the things He has done or why He hasn't brought rain. It's all a mystery to me.


My heart is exploding and not sure what to do with it all. I'm on mission and there isn't time to process it all. This has been a short week filled with very long days and I'm thankful for every single minute of it!

And it sure puts into perspective the things that I complain about at home!

Sending love!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Speaking in Uganda


When I was 16 months old my mom died.  I was raised by my father, who did a good job raising me, he always provided for us, it was not always easy.  My dad is a good, good man, but in all my life I can never remember my dad saying I was valuable or beautiful.  These are words that a girl needs to hear form her father, and even though I never heard those words, I knew my father loved me. 
As I grew older I looked for attention from boys, I looked for love and acceptance in all the wrong places.  At 19 I found myself pregnant, by the point I found out, I had left the father because he did drugs.  I wasn’t going to keep my baby- I didn’t want to be a single mom. But I decided to.  I did my best to take care of her, sometimes I had 3 or 4 jobs, and went to college.  We attended church when I wasn’t working because I wanted my daughter to have a relationship with God, I thought it was too late for me but I hoped she would.

I lived a life that everyone thought I had it together, I dated the best looking guys, I was a single mom that owned her own home, nice car, great job.  But really people didn’t know the shame I carried.
I had always believed there was a God in heaven, but I had never experienced His grace.
Then one day some friends asked my daughter and I to go to church with them.  I remember the songs we sang, that my heart busted wide open!  “I could sing of your love Forever”, Draw Me close to you, and come, now is the time to worship!  And I wanted that! I wanted to sing of God’s love forever.  I cried and cried and cried.  I loved Jesus! I knew that He died for me and my sins! And I knew that He was my Lord and Savior that day!

As I grew to love Jesus, I longed to read His word, to hear all that He was saying to me. I’d go to bible studies to learn more, I memorized scripture. There was always something that held me back though.  Even though I knew I was His, I still was held in bondage of never being good enough or sometimes being too much.  And then one day when I was helping at Youth Group, our Pastor talked about how we were God’s masterpiece.
Eph 2:10 NLT For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

At that moment, I realized that God made me, He had plans for my life!  He made me new in Christ, and I wasn’t too much of something or not enough of others, I was created by Him for Him!  It was a freedom I had never felt before.  There are moments when I get insecure and when I feel like that I read His word. I remember that He loves me, and made me just the way I am supposed to be.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Preparation Study!

I decided at some point that I was going to read about who God is to prepare for my trip.  I looked up a reading plan on the Bible app and was very pleased with the study I found. 

Here are the names and definitions and the verse locations of what I studied, enjoy!  You can find the link here:  http://bible.com/r/cJ


      1.        Jehovah El Emeth – God of Truth Psalms 31:5

2.       Jehovah El Gemuwal  - God of recompense Jer 51:56

3.       Jehovah Elohim Tsaba – God of Hosts Psalms 59:5

4.       Jehovah Elohim Yeshua – God of my Salvation Psalm 88:1

5.       Elohei Chasdi –God of my kindness, goodness, and faithfulness Psalm 59:17

6.       Elohim Bashamayim – God in Heaven Josh 2:11

7.       El Bethel  - God of the House of God Gen 35:7

8.       Jehovah Jireh The Lord will provide Psalms 59:10

9.       El Elohe Yisrael The mighty god of Israel Gen 33:20

10.   El Emuhah The Faithful God Duet 7:9

11.   Elohei Tehillati God of Praise Psalms 109:1

12.   El Hakabodh – The God of Glory Psalms 29:3

13.   Elohim Chayim – The living God Josh 3:10

14.   El Hayyay – God of my life Psalms 42:8

15.   Elohim Kedoshim – Holy God Josh 24:19

16.   Elohei Ma’uzzi – God of my strength 2 Sam 22:33

17.   Elohim Machase Lanu – God of our refuge Psalms 62:8

18.   Ben Elohim – the Son of God Matthew 16:16

19.   Elohenu Olam – Our Everlasting God Psalms 48:14

20.   Elohim Ozer Li – God my helper Psalm 54:4

21.   El Rai – God seest me Gen 16:13

22.   El Sali – God, my rock 2 Sam 22:47

23.   El Shaddai – Almighty God Gen 17:1

24.   Elohim – The plural of El, referring to the One true Creator God, Divine, Deity Gen 1:1-2

25.   Jehovah – Lord, master, relational God Gen 2:4

26.   Jehovah El Elohim – The Lord God of Gods, the Lord, mighty, powerful, strong, One overall Josh 22:22

27.   Jehovah Elohim Ab – The Lord God of your forefathers Josh 18:3

28.   Jehovah El Elyon The Lord, the Most High God Gen 14:22

29.   Eli Maelekhi – God my King Psalms 68:24

30.   El Simchath Gili –God my exceeding Joy Psalms 43:4

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Lessons in airport



Well we are off on our first flight. I think airports can either bring out the best or worst in us, don't you think?

Are you an on time traveler? Do you come early? Are you late? Are you ready to handle security? 

Are you smiling?

I love traveling. I LOVE it. I try to be as prepared as possible. I'm thankful to have this amazing opportunity to travel and God gives me the opportunity to serve Him while traveling.

So I'm an early traveler. I like to be better than on time.  One time (ONE TIME!!) my boss almost made me miss my flight! Running through the airport! I was a stress ball! Never again!

I try to be kind to the people in the airport. I love traveling even though I'm (slightly) neurotic getting ready to travel!  


It's hard for me when people aren't prepared but I learn from it, I'm able to assist and it reminds me that everyone has different gifts and I get to use mine in the airport :)

the crazy in my head!

It's 7:49am and I've almost cried 100 times!

I leave for Uganda today.  so this is what I've been thinking...

Sleep in sister, you won't be in your bed for 11 sleeps

I love my bathtub (I only shower 1 or 2 times a month, all the rest of the days I take a bath)

I have two pairs of sunglasses and at some point I won't know where either pairs are

three new books... My Mother was nuts (Penny Marshall), Clapton, Where the light gets in (Kimberly Williams-paisley) and I can't figure out which one to read first

I hope I don't die.

I've thought about each person who has said they have prayed for me, purchased a t-shirt, given a donation.  I've thought about it all!

did I remember to pack (fill in the blank)

I'm so glad I packed the pillow and pillowcase that my mom embroidered is packed and with me.

Should I take my old torn bible that has gone on every trip or use my new ESV and continue to mark that one up.

17 hours on a plane is a long time

I can't wait! 

I need more dominoes!

I hope the window air conditioner keeps the house cool enough until I get back to get the central air fixed. 

I hope I don't die.  LOL

If you pray, please pray we are safe (and I don't die) healthy, that God works in and through us, that people will come to know Christ as God works in and through us!  That we will love first! 

Please pray specifically for me, that God will make His direction clear what is next.  What to do about the community garden (for next year).

Sending love!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Heart wide open!



I've been preparing for my trip and I'm all packed (of course I am) and I have room to spare in my suitcase! 

Gathering all the stuff and getting it ready is a lot of work. But not the hardest part of the prep.

Opening my heart wide open. That's the hardest part.


I really try to live open heartedly, to love fierce, and love big, but often there is a little part of me that holds back because I know that living with an open heart will cause it to get hurt.  When my heart is wide open, I can listen to a song, and find myself crying or I'll send a text to my friends and by the end, I can't see the words because I'm sobbing.  Yes, I probably would walk around crying ALL.THE.TIME if I didn't keep up some kind of guard.  Happy, sad, complete joy, and heartbreak.  Let's face it...  this ain't the movies and no one looks good crying in real life. 


The very first time I went to Haiti I had no idea what I was in store for. And it was amazing and hard. And each time, it was beautiful and hard. This experience will be no different. Just like in my real life i will take good care of myself. I'll make sure talk about what's going on in my heart, I'll journal, I'll spend time with others and by myself. I'll laugh, I'll cry, and I'll let go of all the things that hold me back.

It's hard for me to not know what's coming (I'm not alone in this, right?), but there is peace in knowing I'm going where I'm called, I've honored God in my preparation, and hard work, so I'll walk forward in His grace and love. 
 
This song made me cry today! (lyrics below video)







In Your justice and Your mercy
Heaven walked the broken road
Here to fight this sinner's battle
Here to make my fall Your own
 
Turn my eyes to see Your face
As all my fears surrender
Hold my heart within this grace
Where burden turns to wonder
I will fight to follow
I will fight for love
Throw my life forever
To the triumph of the Son
 
Let Your love be my companion
In the war against my pride
Long to break all vain obsession
Till You're all that I desire
 
Turn my eyes to see Your face
As all my fears surrender
Hold my heart within this grace
Where burden turns to wonder
I will fight to follow
I will fight for love
Throw my life forever
To the triumph of the Son
 
And I know Your love has won it all
You took the fall
To embrace my sorrows
I know You took the fight
You came…
 
And I know Your love has won it all
You took the fall
To embrace my sorrows
I know You took the fight
You came and died but the grave was borrowed
I know You stood again
So I can stand with a life to follow
In the light of Your name
 
Turn my eyes to see Your face
As all my fears surrender
Hold my heart within this grace
Where burden turns to wonder
I will fight to follow
I will fight for love
Throw my life forever
To the triumph of the Son
 
And I know Your love has won it all
You took the fall
To embrace my sorrows
I know You took the fight
You came and died but the grave was borrowed

I know You stood again
So I can stand with a life to follow
In the light of Your name
And I know Your love has won it all
You took the fall
To embrace my sorrows
I know You took the fight
You came and died but the grave was borrowed
I know You stood again
So I can stand with a life to follow
In the light of Your name
 
 
 

Monday, June 05, 2017

Joy in balloons!

 

These might look like just a bag of balloons to you but to me, they are PURE JOY!  There are so many things that I have on my list of things I like to bring with me on a mission trip. They fit sneakily in your pocket, and they can bring hours of fun!  And yes, I know sometimes they pop!

I've seen kids blow them up and hit them for hours, I've seen them play volleyball, or blow them up and make funny noises as the air expels.  I've seen them filled with rocks to make musical instruments. 

I can close my eyes and remember when Maxtalena was sick in my arms with a fever, it was Haiti, and it was hot, but she needed someone to love her, and who am I to pass that blessing up?   HA!  When her fever broke, she sprung up like a rocket!  She played and played and played with a red balloon, she'd throw her head back and laugh from the bottom of her belly!

I'm so thankful for my friend who purchased these for my trip! The laughter and love and joy will carry on in my heart forever.

I'm so thankful for all the ways God provided today!  I can see His hand all over my life!

Sunday, June 04, 2017

6 days...

I leave in just 6 days.  I’m a little nervous about the trip, standing at the front of the church this morning didn’t help LOL.  I made Rachel hold my hand since I was so uncomfortable. 
I was driving today, praying about my trip. I had just dropped off the food for the meal when I’m gone.  Before you think I’m some saint (if you’re reading this you already know I’m not!) it was just hot dogs, buns, and baked beans. 

I was praying that when I return that I’m empty.  That all the love I have in my heart is poured out while I am gone.  I was thanking God for so many people who filled my heart with a crazy love!  People have donated to my trip, listened to my crazy, given me last minute donations when I needed capris for my trip, helped me pick up Little Dresses for Africa dresses, shorts, and sani-panties, people have prayed over me when I was nervous, they’ve prayed.  So many different ways they have loved me!  It has been really really amazing!  I feel so… undeserving.  But the truth is God loves me so much!  I am His masterpiece.  His workmanship and He never stops working in my heart or in my life, even when things are really hard.  He’s stretching me, growing me.  Molding me who He wants me to be. 

I’m excited and nervous about the trip. There are some moments that I’m super excited about the trip.  Today when our leader Victor said we are going to a refugee camp, I think I almost lept for joy!  How exciting is that?  I mean, I know most people would not be excited about that…  but I am.  I mostly can’t wait to just hug them and love them whatever that looks like.  I don’t know. I don’t even know what to expect but I am excited for God to move. 

I know that this is a trip of a lifetime.  I know.  I know that there will be great moments of hard, and great moments of beautiful.  I know that it will be a beautiful collision.  It is not easy for me to open my heart, because I know that there can be hurt in that but in that hurt, AND beauty, God does the most wonderful things. 

And this is my prayer in the harvest, when favor and providence flow,
I know I’m filled to be emptied again, this seed I’ve received I will sow
~Desert Song by Hillsong United


Friday, June 02, 2017

Words and emotion....


This is a part of post I shared with my team... I thought I'd share some of my heart as I prepare to leave for Uganda. I'm pretty much packed and what I still need is on a list to get this weekend. I'm pretty much a professional mission trip packer by this point!

HOWEVER!!

I saved the hardest task for last! Writing my testimony.

I saved the "hardest " thing on my list for last for a few reasons. I hate speaking in public, mostly because I hate people looking at me... I knew that it was gonna be emotional AND God has done so much in my life and heart I could probably talk for 10 YEARS without stopping to breathe, eat, or sleep (or even pee!)

I started doing a reading plan on the Bible app about who God is! Because I knew it would speak to me, and I love learning about who He is and where it is in the bible! He's a Mighty God!

I finally settled on the verse Eph 2:10 to build my testimony around. I started writing and it was so overwhelming, I got so emotional I had to stop writing because my words weren't clear.

I don't know what God will do with all these words and feelings but the work that He's done in my heart just preparing for this is overwhelming! His grace! His love!

Maybe it's easy for you to write God's story in your life and then talk about it in front of people (you're so lucky!!!) but that has always been my struggle! I'm hoping I don't pass out speaking or start crying like a crazy but if I do... God will be there, just like He always is!

Here's a song that has been on repeat in my brain and heart lately