Monday, December 31, 2012

What I want....for you and for me. With all my heart....

 Dear ones....

As we close out one year and get ready to walk into the next, it's tempting to put some things into boxes. To categorize and put away an entire year of experiences. One thing the Lord continues to speak to me about is how I look at timing WAY differently than He does! (yeah. no shock to those who know me well :) His work continues without thought to the passing of one year on to the next. The chapters in our lives form together to create a beautiful book of our lives. And the chapters we do have in our lives are rarely segregated into years!

All of that to say, this isn't a wrap up 2012 post because I think I'm in the middle of a chapter, not finishing one out right now! It's a.....this is part of my story....and it's continuing - as is His faithfulness. Instead of wrapping up 2012 or giving my one word for 2013....I want to share my hopes and dreams...for me and for you as we continue to write and rewrite and LIVE the story that God is planning for us.

Freedom. I desire freedom for us in our inmost beings. Physical freedom for all....that no one would live in oppression and slavery. I desire emotional freedom that we may know our own wounds and seek a God who can heal them and bring freedom. Spiritual freedom as we unravel our boxes and begin to allow God to be God. Relational freedom....that you may live in relationship with those who are good to you and treat you like you deserve. May you have the freedom to be FULLY yourself. May you have the freedom to walk away from what it is not good for you and to run hard into the things He has planned for you. May you cling with fury to the promises He has for you and walk out of the chains He is destroying.

Beauty. May you seek His face and His beauty. May you sink into the truth that He loves you deeply. May you understand how your God sees you. May you understand in the depths of your soul that He desires GREAT beauty for you. The God who created ALL beauty longs to create beauty for you. So stop settling for surviving! Stop settling for mediocrity! Strive for beauty in everything. Long for it. Want it. Beg for it. Then walk out what He calls you to walk out to see this beauty.

Dream. dream big and let Him wash His dreams over you. You serve the God who created the UNIVERSE, you don't think He can accomplish the dreams and promises He has placed within you? Let yourself dream. Then follow those beautiful dreams He has placed in you!

Hope. Even when it's hard. Hope. Choose it. Live in it. Let yourself feel crazy because you hope so strongly even in the face of ashes or pain. It's hard. I promise. Hope is the thing the enemy seems to attack the most. But it's beautiful and SOOOOOO worth it!

Join the adventure. I want you to sink into beauty and truth and grace and mercy and the unfathomable love of Jesus. I want you to experience freedom and healing in your most inmost places. Then....I want to invite you to join the party :)  The great big God that we serve is actively pursuing a hurting world and He wants YOU to be a part of this great adventure. He wants to see you soar to new and amazing heights, dive into the depths of darkness that our world to bring hope and participate in His beautiful work of bringing healing and redemption throughout the world!!!

I want to be the kind of girl who loves fearlessly because I know deeply how loved I am. I want to be free in every way possible so that I might live out my freedom and healing in a hurting world. I want to constantly tear down my boxes and re-evaluate everything so that I might not hold to tightly to things that are untrue. I want to see people. Truly see them. I want the people around me to experience love and service that makes them heal because it must be from the hand of God. I want to desire and pursue my Jesus passionately and be willing to walk, believe, hope and dream whatever He asks of me. I want to see beauty. I want to watch dry bones dance and slaves realize their freedom. I want to walk with others into their dark places and hold their hands while they come alive. I want to see Jesus more clearly, be held more closely by Him and walk dangerously into the great adventure that He has planned for me....and I want that for YOU too :)

I desire these things for you...

with all my heart,

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Married to Vincent Van Gogh :)

"Beauty comes....but not for you" he whispers sneers into my ear. I tell a friend. She hears it too, she gently confesses. We believe for beauty for one another. We stand firmly on that point. No need to waiver. It is not a question in our minds. God will surely bring great, overwhelming, breath taking beauty to my precious friend who has hurt so much. Isaiah 61:7 springs to my mind.
"Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours."
We believe. We stand. We encourage. we doubt. Oh wait, that last one isn't supposed to be in there, is it? But it's true. We doubt. We so often doubt. That voice....that horrible little gets to us. We cower in shame, ashamed that we would believe such a thing. And yet, the enemy uses "proof" to show us that God is not for us and beauty will not come. He doesn't, however, use very good logic :) He tried to lure you into believing, "You can't see the beauty, so it's obviously not coming."

Wait a second. Is this true? Is that a good logic that follows reasoning?  Nope. Not so much. I can't see the moon right now, but that doesn't mean it won't rise tonight? Just because something isn't happening in this moment, in no way guarantees that it won't ever happen! You aren't pregnant today, but you long for a baby? That doesn't mean you will never be pregnant or be a mama. You are alone today and you long for a precious man or woman to love you? You could meet this man tomorrow! Whatever the dream or promise that He has laid in your heart....just because you can't see the fulfillment today, does not mean that it won't ever come.

I don't know what your dreams are. I don't know what pain clutches your heart. I don't know what beauty you long for.

I do know the one who longs to hold you in your pain, walk with you in your waiting and bring His sweet promises to pass (I just don't know when ;)

Often though, we hide. We hide our hearts' dreams from the one who planted them. We hide our longings and our pain. We hide from the very one who can help us....

I went through a beautiful walk through this snowy canyon a few days ago with my friend Malory. As we walked, we talked about beauty.


He created THIS.

And yet I doubt.

How silly my doubt seems when compared to this MAJESTY!

It's as if I am happily married to Vincent Van Gogh and yet lamenting that I want a painting SOOOOOOOOO badly. Why oh why do I not have a painting?

Can you picture my husband? Vincent Van Gogh. Gently pulling me aside and saying, "Sweetie....maybe I could paint you something? I mean, people have said I'm sort of good at this :) Why don't you ask me? Your loving husband who adores you? Who would want to paint you something more? I promise. I want to. AND I'm capable at creating beauty.

Maybe Jesus wants to whisper the same thing to your heart?

Maybe He wants to remind you that YOUR bridegroom adores you and would love to create beauty for you. Look around.....He is capable. Beauty is sort of His thing :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 I go.

I'm just going to ramble here and sort of just share my heart to catch you up....not going to worry about being flowery or poetic. This is wordy. Could I go back and make it concise? Yep....but I'm inviting you on the journey as I figure it out you are getting ME....unedited :) Consider yourself warned :)

For a long time, I have known that God is putting a big vision in my life. Once I heard about the issue of human trafficking, I was immediately drawn to this issue. I knew that God's heart beat for justice and for the oppressed........

But I was involved in Africa.

I felt conflicted.

I felt like as I switched from issue to issue that people would think I was scatterbrained. Actually, I was told that. I was told that I was all over the place and no one would listen to me.

But Jesus spoke to my heart 'it's all about justice. It's all about freedom" It all ran together because it was all about ONE issue: Justice....taking on many faces: poverty, trafficking, abuse, etc.

I've known that one day I would want to start something....but what? I know when you start a non-profit that you have to actually KNOW what you want to do :)

So I waited....I waited and I waited because I didn't want to start something too small.

I had lived in boxes for too long and I was afraid that in my limited thinking that I would plan too small :) I didn't want to do that.

I think God is clarifying my vision though. I know the "smart" thing to do is to keep it inside and to figure it all out and then present it to you as a finished product. But....that's not the way I roll :) Pretty and packaged isn't my thing. A broken girl leading broken people to make a difference in this world and inviting people on the grand adventure is more my thing.

But then came the fear. Fear of really diving into the trafficking. Fear of the pain that lies there.

I told people for a long time "I know my calling is in trafficking....but I won't do it until I'm married."

Ministry is freaking hard. It is. Life in the mess is incredibly hard. Life lived in the midst of injustice is ridiculously hard.

and it's hard to do alone. Oh I know I'm not alone, alone. I know I have YOU :) I know I have amazing friends all over the world that walk with me and cry with me. But the truth is, I'm alone. I'm a single mama. I don't have a partner in this world for whom I am his greatest passion (besides Jesus juking me here :) and his first priority. I was scared to go to India or SE Asia and face this pain myself. I was scared to see the pain and not have a partner's shoulder to cry on.

Walking through pain with others, particularly those that you come to dearly love (even if you only know their name) is hard. There have been MANY nights over the last 2 years when I have cried myself to sleep over the pain that others must face. I have cried out to God many times, "I will do this. I will walk into the hard, dark, messy places with people....but please oh please at least let me not do it alone" I was/am scared to hurt so badly in the places of greatest darkness like the red light districts across the world. I was afraid to go into the places where the enemy is SO present without someone who "has my back" spiritually. What's funny is the one thing I'm not afraid of is physical danger. Guess I have the boys at Krav to thank for that :)

So I waited.

But the truth is. I am alone. It's a fact of life. and I can't wait any longer. If the Lord is calling me to walk in my calling and to begin to "soar" (as my precious Elena puts it so often) than I am just going to have to trust that He will give me the people necessary to hold my hand while I do it. One day I'll have a partner by my side to do ministry with....but for now....I must walk ahead in faith.

So here are my thoughts about what I believe I am called to's 2 fold actually.
I first want to find 2 groups of people....

1. I want to find great organizations doing amazing things in this world. I want to create a network of organizations around the world. A network of friends. I want to find great orgs around the world that are working in the area of freedom and justice. People who work against the chains of injustice for either poverty or trafficking. They could do helping orphans and keeping them in school or doing awareness campaigns. Even women's cooperatives like what we do in Uganda can be considered trafficking prevention! They could do rescues or brothel investigations. They could do restoration homes for girls/boys who have come out of trafficking. They could be orgs that focus on empowerment and reintegration.

2. I also want to find lots and lots of normal, broken, messy people around the world who want to make a difference.

And I want to help.

I want to help organizations to know how to work with advocates. I want to help them see advocacy as helpful to them and as people joining their team. I want leaders of organizations to feel loved and cared for and encouraged by whole teams of people around the world.

And I want to help normal, broken people like me know that they CAN make a difference in the world. I want to inspire and empower them to get involved in God's call for freedom and justice around the world. I want to invite them on the great adventure that is following God's call. And I want to help them learn how to use their voice and their talents for His glory.

I'm thinking what it will look day...

1. maybe speaking, writing, facebooking, etc and inviting people on this great adventure. And then, as people step up to the call and want in on this party that we call making a difference,  (this is the inspire  part :)

2. When they respond, I help them in learning how they can use their voice and talents to make a difference by:
      1. connecting them to a great organization. Because I will have created a network of great orgs I can just ask 1. what part of the world strikes your fancy? Africa? SE Asia? Europe? S. America? Here?  Ok, now that we know that.....tell me what part of injustice makes you angry? What part do you want to get involved in? Prevention? Schools? Empowerment? Rescue? Restoration? Reintegration? Orphans? And once they know these things, I can introduce them to the great orgs I know!
    2. Then we brainstorm together about how they might use their voice, their talents to make a difference. like the group of artists that is going to come together to decorate safe houses or the school teachers inspiring their students to raise money for school fees.

So there it plan. Inspiring and empowering people to get involved in God's call for justice and freedom throughout the world.  We will do this through forming a network of great organizations that we know are doing what they say they will do and are committed to really utilizing advocates as a part of their strategy and on their team and connecting them to trained advocates ready to make a difference.  What do you think? Specifically...anyone have a name idea? :)

In keeping with my...."Ok, I guess I can't really wait around any longer....better get soaring" plan, I feel like I'm being asked to plan a trip to SE Asia. I am planning/considering a 2 week, 4 country trip to begin "vetting" the orgs I will work with. My initial plan is to go to Mumbai, India - Bangkok, Thailand - Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Singapore, Malaysia. I will spend 2-3 days in each city and will see 3-4 different organizations that are making a difference. My goal would be to understand the issue of human trafficking more deeply and to connect to great organizations on the ground making a difference so that I can come back, offer my humble voice to them and begin to recruit and train advocates for them.

Am I scared? Yep. The enemy whispers "hey, one is asking you to speak or write or in any way inspire" but I know this is my call. The enemy says "your heart will be broken and you don't have anyone by your side to comfort you"  yep. true. but that doesn't mean I shouldn't walk ahead anyways. The enemy says "you already have too much on your plate" yep. but when I think about heart thrills and my eyes spill over with tears to think about God using me to make a difference in this world.

so here I go....