Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crazy Faith and Ark Building Friends

Can you imagine for a moment with me, life for Noah or Abraham????

God says there will be a flood. He starts building this ark. It takes YEARS to build an ark. Years. YEARS of building something that has no worth to anyone. (an ark? on land?) Years of people most likely telling him he was crazy for believing these promises. In fact, Noah was told about the flood and how his sons and their wives would be saved before he even had sons! He was told about this flood 120 years before the flood came. That is a LOT of time to doubt.

I bet there were days of hopeful expectation, whistling while he worked. Days of strength as he praised his God and believed in the promises and carried out the instructions he was given.  

I bet there were also days of doubt and confusion. Days when he came home asking his wife, "was it really true? Are you sure that God really appeared and told me these things?" If this is true....where is the rain????? Why is this so hard? Maybe the angel should come back and tell me every single day?

I bet there were others in his life who were downright evil about his ark. It says that the world was excessively evil during this time. I can only imagine that people were absolutely horrible to him. Criticizing him. Making fun of him. Questioning him, his faith, his sanity.

God tells Abraham that Sarai will have a baby. YEARS go by. Nothing. Can you imagine being at Sarai's 98th birthday party????  A friend leans over to Abraham, points at Sarai's old, wrinkly body and says "really, Abe? Maybe it's about time that you gave up that dream?"

I bet he, like Noah, had days of strong belief. Nights when he and Sarai laid under the stars, with his hand on her stomach, dreaming of their future child.

I bet he also had days where he had no clue what God was doing. I bet he had days where he cried out to God in pain and confusion.

What I hope that they both had is good friends..... While I know that they both probably faced horrible doubts and criticism, I hope they also had friends who helped their faith.

Yes, I know that Noah and Abraham might have walked this road alone. They may have been the ONLY ones who believed in their promises. But I hope that's not true. I hope that their wives stood beside them. I hope that when they were filled with doubt and confusion that someone, anyone really, stood next to them and said "I remember the promise even when you don't"

I have a few friends like this in my life. Friends who seek God on my behalf. Friends who beg God for His fulfillment of His promises in my life. Friends who battle for and with me to stay in the truth. On the days when I look around in despair and think that I am lost and may possibly be crazy, they are there. They are just a text or a phone call away. They are listening and responding when my desperate text of "I need Jesus to say it again" comes through. They are there to text or call me and say 'I went to Jesus on your behalf and I heard Him speak confirmation of the promises and say that you are to hold on....He will fulfill every good promise He has made"

I want to be a friend like that. For promises big and small. Some of the promises and truths I need to be reminded of are small and some are huge in my life. Some are promises of healing, some of hope and a future. Some are promises that I am not alone and forgotten and that Jesus always cares about my pain. Some are that He loves and cares for my Ugandan mamas more than I do and will fulfill His plans for them. No matter what the promises are....having someone remind me of them is ALWAYS a blessing. I want to do that for others. I want to regularly ask them about the promises God is speaking into their lives. I want to regularly take them before the Father and ask for precious promises on their behalf. I want to search scripture with them when times are rough. And then....when they struggle, I want to be a phone call or text away so that when they don't believe, I can hold up their arms and believe for them.

Want to join me in being those kind of friends? Want to join me in being the one who, when a friend despairs, we say "But His promises are TRUE - No matter what!" Want to implore the Father on behalf of our friends? And then to be the people who speak truth and life and HOPE for the promises to come?  Noah may very well have built his ark alone.....but I want to help my friends build theirs....always believing and holding on to the promises that He always fulfills His promises....even the crazy ones :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

An Unmanageable WildFlower

***This is from my counseling session yesterday....thought I'd share it with you***

"I never fit into any neat boxes," I hear Jesus whisper at the same time that my counselor says to me, "Brandi, I don't think you are every going to be understandable to others or fit into neat boxes. I think He is going to call you to do and be things that don't fit into what others deem acceptable."

I sigh. I know this truth. I even love it at times. Other times, it hurts. People are unkind and the truth is....sometimes I long to be understood - to take an easy path. Jesus is kind, though and whispers to me in these hurting places.... He tells me that people won't understand me because I don't fit into their boxes. I'm no longer the good, Christian girl that follows along with everything everyone thinks she should do. On the other hand, I don't completely fit into the "bad" box that they want to squeeze me into either. I do things, say things, believe things, hang out with people that they disagree with or are uncomfortable around....but at the same time, they hear me speak of my Jesus and somehow see the beauty of Him in the most unlikely of packages. And this confuses people. And this is ok.

"I want you to be a wildflower" I hear Him speak so clearly.
Used with permission from Sweet Abby of LoveRoots Photography

In that moment, I see 3 pictures. All of wildflowers.

The first shot is a beautiful field of wildflowers. Yellow flowers spread out before me. Beauty that is breath taking and awe-inspiring.

The second flower is one blossoming from among the ashes in the burn scar here in the mountains. With the major wild fire that spread throughout our mountains just a few months ago, the burn scar is often evident. Dark swaths cut out of the beauty of our beloved mountains. Ashes where there once was life. It is here, amongst inches of ashes that I see a flower rise forth.

The final shot is a flower blooming in the rocks. When you go mountain climbing here, you will often find flowers where there should seemingly be none. Flowers growing out of rocks with no soil around. These flowers are baffling and beautiful because of their unpredictability. You want to lean down and cheer them on; to support and affirm their strength and beauty.

Here is where He stops me.

"I want you to be a wild flower. This wildflower fought it's way through the earth in dark places, standing strong to shout of my beauty.  That is you. You will fight through the darkness in hard places to declare my Beauty. You will declare my beauty where people think there should be only darkness and ashes. You will speak to others of beauty where they think only ashes are possible."

When we are planting our gardens and making our landscapes beautiful, we are simply mimicking the beauty of the wild. We take these big, beautiful pots and carefully place beauty where we think it should go. It is perfectly planned. It is carefully maintained. And yes, it is pretty.

Wildflowers on the other hand are wild. They appear everywhere. They are unmanageable. They are unpredictable. They are wild. They are scandalous - insisting on appearing where they have not been planted. They exist and shout beauty with wild abandon. They aren't just pretty, they are jaw dropping, awe-inspiring beauty.

That's what He is calling me to to join me? Want to be a wildflower? Forget the pots and pretty lines. Forget the manicured lawns. Let's exist among the weeds. Let's fight through the ashes and the rock to shout His beauty. Let's love and live and shout beauty with wild abandon. Let's be unpredictable and unmanageable :)

Me...after climbing a 14er....admiring the wildflowers on the hillside
In the end, right before we finished up, He reminded me of one more thing. He reminded me that not only does HE love the wildflowers....but I do too. The wild abandon thrills my heart. It really is ME. It's what He loves about me. It's who I want to be. It's who He is.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wake up sleepy one....

SheLovesMagazine is doing another synchroblog - this time on ALIVE. What does it mean to be alive? To FULLY live? How do we celebrate a movement of women, of people, coming alive and living their authentic story of God's grace in our world? These are the questions I've been pondering today....
Created by Melody Ross of Brave Girls Club (you should follow them on FB :)

In many ways, I feel like this entire blog has been about me coming to life. It's my story of learning to dance. It's my journey of Jesus breathing life into my dry bones. So today, I want to breathe life into you. On my hardest days, I needed others to speak life into and over me. To remind me that I would breathe and dance again.

But first....I need to validate your sleepiness. If you feel like you've been sleeping for a long time, like you haven't been truly ALIVE, there is probably a very good reason for this. You probably needed at some point to go to "sleep" emotionally to protect your heart. Maybe you were sexually or otherwise abused as a child? Maybe you've been living in an abusive or oppressive marriage? Maybe your church upbringing has oppressed you and told you lies about yourself? Maybe you've lost someone near to your or been abandoned in some way? Life is hard and there are a million reasons why we might let our souls go to sleep. It's safe when you're sleeping.

It reminds me of someone who is in a horrible car accident and their body goes into a coma. This coma protects them. It allows them to diminish the feeling of pain. It allows them to rest. It doesn't however, allow them to LIVE and run and dance and do all of these things that their hearts desire to do. I think some of you might be in this coma. This coma has occurred because trauma has happened in your life and pain has come. To protect yourself, you have gone inside of yourself. This was smart. I am in no way saying that this is always a bad move! Often times, this is what allowed you to survive!

Sweet friend, it might be time to wake up now. It might be time to do more than survive, but to thrive. 

Waking up from a coma can be hard, I bet! Can you even imagine? One minute, protected and sleepy....the next, awake and realizing what has truly happened to you and that now you have to learn to walk or talk or eat again? The crushing realization might make you want to be back in that coma. Yes, you know that running and laughing and dancing and swimming and eating with friends will be day....but the path to get there might be very, very difficult and painful.

The same might be true for you. Waking up may be very hard to do. One does not usually awake from the kind of slumber that you have been in and dance that first day. Often times, a hard road stretches out between waking and dancing. The path of healing and realizing what has truly happened to you. The path of surveying the wounds. The path of slow healing of all of those wounds and learning how to dance. This is a path I have taken and I know the pain of it all too well. I know the devastation of realizing what has been done to you. I know the agony of walking through those memories again so that they might be healed. I know the difficulty of learning how to dance with my Jesus after so long being oppressed. It is a painful, beautiful journey.

I am here to tell you that the path is worth it. Waking up is worth it. YOU are worth it. The world needs you to be ALIVE. Jesus wants to breathe life into you. He longs to hold you and heal you. He longs to teach you how to dance.

So....precious, amazing one...are you ready to wake up? Are you ready to LIVE? 

Monday, September 24, 2012


At about the 100th time that one of my kids tells me that their boo boo hurts, I sometimes get annoyed. There. I said it. My patience is not infinite. I get overwhelmed sometimes by the complexities of my children's needs. I get annoyed at times by the frequency of them.

It is here, in my inadequacies as a mom that the analogy of God as a parent falls short. Because God is like our parent...but not like us....thankfully :)

He NEVER gets annoyed at my pain. Never.

Sometimes I have to be reminded of this truth.

Sometimes I think I need to hide.

When the pain hits....again. When the same ache takes my breath away that took my breath away almost 2 years ago...when I hurt again in the same way. I begin to think hiding is my only option.

In fact, when pain hits so hard that I feel the need to reach out to another, I will often find myself asking 'who did I confide in yesterday?" Needing or wanting to protect others from my pain. Surely, they are annoyed? Surely they are thinking "Seriously, Bran? Get over it already....Move on. Pick yourself up." Surely Jesus must think the same thing? Surely He must think "I've spoken to you about this. I have spoken hope. Live in it. Stop hurting so much" or "seriously? you are crying about this AGAIN?"

but no....



That is not what my Jesus thinks. Nope. He always wants to hear my heart. He knows already....and He is already desiring to hold my heart here. When I DO go to Him, I often hear Him whisper "I know it hurts sweet b, I know and I'm sorry" He holds my heart there. He whispers again the hope and the life and beauty He has promised me. He tells me that this mountain does have a peak. He tells me that high places are just ahead. He lets me cry. A lot if need be. Even if I had just cried a few hours before. He tells me that my pain is valid. He whispers through groans that I wasn't supposed to be treated that way or that of course I miss that person or that He knows this or that is hard and painful. And then He goes back to speaking sweet truth and helping me stand to walk again.

So today....if your heart's ok. He STILL has compassion on your pain. He hasn't tired of listening to you cry. He isn't annoyed by the fact that all is not always sunshine and butterflies in your heart. He is pleased to sit with you in your pain and hold you there.

He wants YOU. the good. the bad. the hard. the ugly. the painful.  he loves being in relationship with you. And pain...the bad times....they make the good times all that much better and more filled with depth.

So crawl up into His lap today if you need to. ....(I'll scooch over if need be, since I'm already up in His lap :)....and let the intimacy that comes from sharing tears be yours....

Friday, September 14, 2012

No More Answers

A few of us have started reading through scripture together. We are trying to do it in new fresh ways. Attempting to explore the text and notice things we haven't noticed before. We are asking questions of it that we may have been afraid to ask before. After growing up in a Christian home, having read the Bible for as long as I've been able to read, it's easy to think I know what each passage is saying.

Ok, so we've only been doing this a week, but already it's blowing us away :-)

We are taking one chapter each day to dwell on. We read it first in the message version....then often times we will read it throughout the day in other versions or search different commentaries or sermons on that scripture.

As we are working our way through John, I am noticing a theme in what sticks out to me. Boundaries.

Jesus had some impeccable boundaries!!! In John 7, his brothers try to get him to go into town for the festival. They even reason with him that if he wants to be a big deal, he should get a move on and perform publicly. Jesus, however, stayed back and did it his way. He was not peer pressured, even by those who had the best ministry tactic.

As I read through the stories of His life and interactions with people, I am constantly drawn towards Jesus' "sense of self". I know that might sound silly. I mean, He IS the God of the Universe....why wouldn't He be pretty self confident? :) It's a quiet strength. He knows who He is. He is humble and doesn't feel the need to beat people over the head with it. He never smacks someone and says "don't you know you're talking to your creator, son?!" He quietly goes about his business, knowing his place, knowing his calling.

In fact, it is that quiet confidence that allows him to NOT answer every single person's questions. People misunderstand him and it seems to roll off his back.

This quiet confidence amazes me. 

In the past 3 days, I've read John 7-10....people question him, disbelieve him, accuse him of horrible things.....half the time he doesn't even RESPOND!

I'm pretty sure somewhere along the way, I read this verse:
1 Peter 3:15 "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"

and somehow thought that it said:

"Brandi - whenever anyone questions you, you better have an answer for anything you do, say, think or feel. If not, you should listen to them. They very well could be right.Allow anyone to say anything and respond every single time." least that's somehow what I ended up believing.

I think I was so far on to one side of a seemingly good pendulum that it became a horrible bondage in my life.

Is knowing that my own heart is sinful and deceitful a good things?  yep.
Is having people speak into my life a good thing? yep
Is being able to explain my heart or actions to someone good? probably

But none of those things gave me the quiet confidence that I see in Jesus and all of them left me in bondage to others' swinging opinions. Some people thought I was awesome....some that I was too much or should find balance in this area or that.

I was left straining to be myself while feeling frustrated because others didn't understand me and thought I should be something else. Neither option left me with quiet confidence. If I was who "they" wanted me to be, I wasn't me and I knew it. If I was fully me, I felt judged and sinful or rebellious for not conforming.

I want to be like Jesus.

I want to live in quiet confidence of who I am and what I am called to.

I want to do this with others speaking truth and life into me (so thankful that I have more than a handful of people who not only speak truth, but recognize and affirm the Spirit of God within me!)

I want to continually be presenting my heart to JESUS for examination....not to others.

Being accepted and understood isn't exactly a Biblical concept! So why was I pursuing it?

Did I think that Abraham's friends would have understood if he told them "so, hey....God told me to go sacrifice Isaac"  ummmmm no.

Do I think all of Noah's community thought that a flood was coming and building an ark was pure brilliance?  nope.

Did the religious leaders approve of Jesus' actions? Miracles even? Nope. Nope. Nope.

So I think I'll settle for being misunderstood.  Let's be honest....I'm often misunderstood anyways, might as well settle into it :) Might as well continually go to Jesus for my worth and my assignments in life and live that out with quiet confidence. No need to explain or beg people to understand. Just live, love, give and be who He wants me to be.

Wanna know what question He always DID have an answer for? "what must I do to be saved?" and "will you heal me?"

And the question I will be ready to have an answer for....will be about the HOPE that He has brought to me. Beauty. Hope. Life. Freedom. Let's talk about those things with gentleness and respect like 1 Peter actually says instead of quizzing each other and then living for approval and understanding :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thoughts on sin, holiness, self care and the misconceptions of freedom :)

**warning, multiple analogies may appear in this blog as I process visually as I write :)

I've been pondering and processing sin and holiness lately and I have some thoughts that I'm going to throw out there. These may seem a bit edgy to you. I understand that. They would have seemed that way to me a while ago. I had my thoughts and ideas about holiness and believed them to be thoroughly justified and reinforced and without need to budge. Unfortunately, I also have seen them to not really I've been doing some pondering with Jesus lately :)

I think there are some misconceptions about me floating around here lately. Because I am absolutely passionate about freedom and healing and how Jesus absolutely adores us right where we are at....and because I don't talk a whole lot about sin and the need to be holy....some people think I'm sliding down a slippery slope :)  With freedom comes sin, right? With absolute love and acceptance comes no "accountability" and more sin? With boundaries and self care comes selfishness and a living for self.

nope. not necessarily.

I believe that freedom is a lack of bondage. I also believe that sin is bondage. I don't think Jesus randomly says to avoid things because He just thought it would be fun. I think the things He tells us to stay away from are damaging to us. They are choices we make out of wounding. So, true freedom would never lead into sin! Freedom is about being so dearly loved that I don't NEED sin anymore. I don't need to choose bitterness or anger because I am freely loved and safe enough so say those things aren't good for me. The more healing and freedom I get, the LESS appealing sin is in my life!

But you are right....freedom gives the OPTION of sin. Jesus allows us to be free to choose. Without that freedom, the choices are silly. He wants us to CHOOSE Him and healing and freedom. So I can see why freedom is scary. It's like telling someone you love "you can walk away from me if you want". I've done that....actually quite a few times....and quite a few times they've taken me up on the offer! But the truth is, that my friends now who have chosen with absolute freedom to stand by my side, are much more valuable. They didn't stay my friend because they HAD to....they CHOSE to and that is a precious thing.

I remember being so scared of boundaries. "But wait," I would think, "I'm supposed to die to myself." I couldn't understand how boundaries could actually promote selflessness. Simply put, however, they do. Of course they can be misused for selfishness, but that is not their goal. The goal of self care and boundaries is to recognize that what Jesus says about me is true. I am uniquely made, called, gifted and worthy. He has made me a beautiful temple chosen by Him as His bride. Therefore, I should treat myself as such. I need to take care to make sure that I am resting and taking care of my heart and soul. It is not ok for me to be destroyed at whim. Most of the time, when we don't have boundaries, it is not because we are more selfless, it is because we think Jesus needs us to work that hard. Taking breaks and resting affirms the truth that He is God and He can take care of this world! Shockingly enough, in my own life, the more I have taken care of myself, the more of me there is to pour out onto others! I think that the friends of mine that live in relationship with me on a regular basis would say that I show greater levels of self sacrifice now than I ever did in the past. I have it in me to give now. I am filled up and taken care of so I can pour myself out at times. I also know that it's Jesus' deal to heal you - so I can walk alongside more hurting people without taking the burden on me. My friends regularly joke that my only advice is "have you asked Jesus about that?" :) I am not in ANY way saying this to brag that I'm selfless.....I know I have a long way to go to serve and love like Jesus does....but I say this to calm your fears if you have been afraid that if you approach self-care and boundaries that you will surely be a self centered person before too long :)


Here's the bottom line: I think holiness is a by-product of a life lived in intimacy with Jesus.

It's like everyone gets upset because I don't talk enough about the cookies (either the sin or the holiness, pick your cookie) and I want to scream "that's because I think it's better to talk about the process of making the batter!!!" Cookies are a by product!

Jesus said "if you love me, you will do what I command". He did NOT say 'If you do what I command, you will love me". Nope. Obedience does NOT necessarily beget love. Pursuing holiness doesn't necessarily mean you are pursuing Jesus.

However, if you pursue loving Him more, knowing Him more, walking with Him more, allowing Him deeper and deeper access into your soul.....the natural outcome is obedience and holiness.

So yeah....I don't talk about sin and holiness a bunch....because I think they are byproducts of our lives and how our hearts are oriented. I think they are problems that in large part take care of themselves if I am really seeking Him and allowing Him greater access into all areas of my heart and having Him heal and redeem those areas.

We become like the people we hang with - Alicia and I took our 6 kids out to dinner the other night. We tease that we are like sister-wives without the husband :) We shared a meal. We ordered for each others kids. We even went to discipline one kid at dinner and both said the same thing at the same time! Is that because we are twins separated at birth? Nope. It's because we spend lots of time together. We take on each other's mannerisms after a while. Just a few minutes of listening to me talk in Uganda will prove that :) I've got a killer Ugandan accent (which many, many people tease me for ;)

So it just makes sense that if we pursue Him, holiness will come out.

I read 1 Peter yesterday in the message and a few verses jumped out at me:
1:13-16 So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”

Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. (vs. 18)

5:6-7 So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

It seems like so much pressure and guilt and striving is taken off of my shoulders in these verses.   Be pulled into a life of holiness. I see that as a beautiful invitation to a fabulous party. Being pulled by the arm, gently and with excitement....I can hear Jesus say "come to the party! be holy as I am holy!" This is Him desiring to share of Himself. Not, "hey, you be this because I am". I get this. I always want my friends to be in on what I'm doing. I want them to join me in anything I think is exciting. "come do I am....because it's amazing" Its not because I think people should be like me, it's because I want to share my life with my friends.

I especially love the verse about living carefree before God because of how careful He is with me. You see, with Him I am free. Free to be me. Free to be loved completely. And you know what? When you are loved well by a person who is even more amazing than you are, you are compelled to be the best version of yourself. Sort of like in the movies when the man says to the woman, "you make me want to be a better man"  sigh :) Have you ever felt so loved by someone that you felt accepted with all of your flaws but also like they saw what you could be too? It makes you want to soar. It makes you want to blossom and bloom and be and do everything God has planned for you. This is how it is when we spend time with Jesus. We don't need to seek out holiness to make Him more happy with us. Nope. He loves us wholly and completely right where we are at....but for some reason....the more time we spend with Him, the more we want to soar and be everything He has for us. We want to get rid of the things that hold us back (the chains, the sin, the ick in our lives) and be free to dance and soar with Him.

Do I believe we can be lazy about holiness? Yep. Of course. But I think the solution is in the question we ask.

Instead of asking "are you pursuing holiness?" Maybe we should begin asking our friends "Are you traveling life as a journey with a deep consciousness of God?"  Are you taking time for your relationship?  Just like any relationship....marriage or friendship or even the beginnings of a good business or workout schedule.....are you putting the time into growing your intimacy with Him? Giving Him greater access to those areas of your life? Are you learning Him and loving Him more?

Because when we focus on intimacy - holiness is simply a beautiful by-product :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Where Miracles Lie

Confession time: this last week has been hard. On multiple levels.

Personally speaking, I look around and I see ashes on many levels. While this whole "I'm not hiding any more" thing is great and's also scary as hell. I am triggered at many turns and still live with wounds, especially the wounds of people walking away from me. I find myself afraid of what will be said of me now that I am not hiding. I find myself afraid of people walking away. I get tired of doing life alone. Being a single mom is hard. Leading a ministry of any kind is hard. I am created to do life in community. Yes, I know that's true for most....but it's way true for me :-) I want a partner in this life and in this journey. I live in the longing and ache of that. I live with the wounds. I live among the ashes.

In ministry, I get overwhelmed. So many needs. I woke up Friday morning to word that we have approx 25 more kids in our school fees program than I originally thought. I woke up to news that 3 of our mamas need surgery and one of our kids does. I woke up and was overwhelmed with the need of it all before I even had both eyes open. So much pain. So much suffering. So much need. How can I do it? I know it's His responsibility and not mine, but it weighs heavy on my heart for I am the one who has looked into their eyes and now must be their voice.

Within my circle of friends is much pain. Friends walking out of abusive relationships. Friends staying in abusive relationships. Pain all around. Ashes that seem to grow by the day. Memories that they process aloud with me that are memories no person should carry. Christians turning away from beautiful people in their moment of greatest need and vulnerability. My heart breaks.

This morning on my way to breakfast I was listening to my new New Life Worship cd and the song "Great I Am" and all of a sudden, just like perspective changed.

"We want to see dry bones living again - singing as one "Hallelujah"

Yes, my heart screamed! That is what I want! I LOVE to see people come to life. I LOVE watching hope come where there was once hopelessness. I LOVE watching beauty grow from ashes. I LOVE watching "dry bones" live and dance again.

And I knew as my heart soared a simple truth to see dry bones live again, you must hang out in the cemetery. You have to hang out among the ashes, in the cemetery, with the dry bones if you actually want to see them rise to life.

You see, the beauty of "dry bones living again" is the dry bones part. That's the miracle part. Dry, dead, lifeless bones coming to life.

The miracle is often in the chasm. It's what makes it a miracle. It's what makes it astounding. This is why we love stories like this in the movies: of a pauper made king. There is no great emotion and wonder tied to a princess becoming queen. No. It is when the young prince decides to go out among the people and find himself the most unlikely (by the worlds standards) girl and make her queen. That is where a movie script lies.

We are enthralled by wonder and enraptured by miracles.

Let me tell you - if you want to see miracles, you've got to hang among the desperate.

So among my ashes, both personal, ministry and for my friends, I have hope. I will humbly and gratefully stand among the ashes with my friends here and with our mamas in Uganda....because, this is the stuff miracles are made of. These are the people God redeems and does glorious things with. These are the situations that are ripe for the kind of wonderous miracles that enrapture my heart.