Jump a plane to Africa. Open up an orphanage step up with house parents and opportunities for women to be empowered. Help those littles find forever families. Love on lots of babies. Teach and teach some more. Write and write until my heart’s on paper in a way that shares the hard and the good. Play and love and dance and sing and laugh and have fun. Marry that man who I don’t think I know yet but who I secretly hope dreams and longs and aches and loves Africa like I do and is maybe just maybe wondering if there’s a girl who loves it as much as he does. If I knew I could, I would live out the passions in my heart and make God smile as I do it.
–Just sayin’ I like the last line the best. The lines before…they’re just glimpses and not the full picture…they’re ponderings in the making…a few of the things that come to mind when i shut my eyes tight. they’re the things i see with blurred edges….the God, I would love to do this or have this happen or for you to bless me abundantly in these ways, but I’m learning to die to self and to trust that You know what’s best and know the best timing. a letting go, a waiting.
your turn! so excited to hear about what you would do if you knew you could…almost like the question i love to ask: what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
the weather lately has been rainy and cloudy. my head is a bit cloudy and my throat hurts. my heart feels fuzzy around the edges. tattered. weary. ready for bed. sleep to chase away these cluttered thoughts. i mull over the next question in that little book that i thought would be an “easy” read because oh you know…i know who i am and what i’m about…or i thought i did… first that book was asking me to relinquish those dreams. the ones that as i wrote i realized weren’t future dreams, but were stuck in the past. the next little chunk started asking if i am sacrificing to know god or to go along with the crowd. then it reminded me that the first step in dipping into the satisfaction of god is letting go of our futile quests of satisfaction outside of Him. as if those two didn’t already have me reeling and then it stopped me in my tracks with this question…
do you enjoy god?
so, how about you…do you enjoy god? are you satisfied by Him?
There is a purpose in the waiting. You are not forgotten. He is holding your hand.
Bind up these broken bones. Mercy bend and breathe me back to life. But not before you show me how to die.
And so…I camp out and wrestle with learning how to die alongside these thoughts from “Five Little Questions” by Dannah Gresh (the title is deceiving…they totally are heart booty kicking questions.)
Look with the eyes of your heart so you can see the hope God desires to pour into you so you can follow His footprints to His perfect plan.
Are you prepared to relinquish those unrealized dreams that God never planned to be yours?
The place of our suffering is the place where we find the hope for freedom to live the life God designed for us. Embracing it gives us the courage to move past our fears.
Afraid there’s no hope for you? Look with the eyes of your heart. There is hope.
Your turn (i’d love to sit at your feet and listen to learn from your heart…): What are some desires that God has shown you? Have you had to relinquish unrealized dreams and if so, what helped you along the way? What does hope look like for you? Any other thoughts?
I arrive what feels late now. Muttering under my breath over and over the only prayer I can put together: Help, God.
Standing alone feels vulnerable. I feel exposed.
With just enough strength, I breathe deep and walk in the door.
He’s holding my left hand and I feel Him squeeze tight. Maybe that’s just in my head, but either way, I know He’s there walking with me. He promised me. He’s the only one who has said He’ll never let me go, never leave or forsake. I cling to those promises even though everything in me tears at them with too many experiences of empty promises and of being left. I let Him be my family.
The clattering of voices and people mesh into a tapestry that I watch rather than engage. In the blur of moments, I am asked and then find myself with a baby in my arms. I did happen to say earlier that I am always willing to hold babies.
I drink in the feelings of how tiny fingers move together. I notice the rhythm of breath and the way wispy hair brushes against my face. I revel in the way her head rests on my chest quietly.
I exhale a prayer thanking Him for the breath of heaven in my arms and the answer to prayers she is. I rest knowing she is placed in a family who loves her and loves Him.
Soft, silent tears fall down my face. She feels like Zandile. I’m holding her like I held Lerato. My prayers turn to trusts and hopes. Trust that He has a home for Zandile. Trust that He provides all Lerato needs. Hopes that they both will know Him.
With my arms and heart full, I taste the hard love. I am overwhelmed by the love that gave it all for us in such a brutal way. I sing a sweet Hallelujah mingled with tears. He gets the mix of emotions.
I breathe deep in the moment to taste all parts of His love.
I remember the love as I settle in for the wait that comes with Saturday. A waiting for a victory already won. A reminder to press on toward the joy set before us.
I’m curled up in my papasan chair nestled in with a space heater at my feet and my bible propped open to Isaiah. Covered in blankets and clutching a fluffy pink pillow, I soak up the words. Amidst the pages with scribbles and notes, I see the hard love. My Papa. My Lord. My Savior. Speaking words over me to remind me once again (as if I didn’t carry it around in my back pocket already) that His ways are not my ways. The verses remind me that He really does love me fiercely. Fiercely enough to break me. To strip me of the things that need to go. To rip out the roots that bear no fruit. To teach me to wait and mostly to trust Him in the waiting. The tears still fall at the loss mingled with longing yet nestled alongside the tears a glint of hope resides. The hope that causes my breath to catch as I taste how it feels to add “yet” to my “I’m not ____…yet.”
Isaiah 19:22 He will strike and heal it.
Isaiah 25:8-9 And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces….and it will be said in that day: Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him…
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep [her] in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You because [she] trusts in You.
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you.
Your turn: Share with me 5 or 2 or 1 or however many minutes or seconds you have on hard love or hope or tears or whatever your heart is settling into…
Last year as part of my journey with joy, I recorded and kept track of the things that brought me joy or that I was thankful for throughout the day. On Mondays, I would do a little recap and share some of them. Here’s my thought today with a few pictures…and words that scratch the surface of the depth of being thankful for africa…
(above: photo taken the day i left africa…. below: mmmhmm a recent photo!)
thank you for showing my heart a home. thank you for breaking me. thank you for letting me see God in new ways. thank you for stirring up passion. thank you for opening my eyes. thank you for being beautiful, glorious, messy, and lovely. thank you for letting me love you. thank you for letting me love you even now from afar. thank you for keeping my heart.
p.s. i’m trusting i’ll see you in His timing. especially since i hold you in my heart and you hold my heart. ke a o rata.
The distance between my head and my heart often gets in the way. I know things, but my heart lags behind. I know the words, but I don’t believe them yet. I step out and then I step back. I let the things that should be far back in the distance of my past alter my present. The hurts, the tears, the ache. They all seemingly press into my future, but I don’t want them to cause me to miss a moment. God is ever the gentleman waiting for me to hand over my broken pieces. He’s waiting for me to be strong and courageous while encouraging me, pursuing me, and loving me right where I am.
Mostly, He gets it. He gets me. He gets the way the 3000 mile trek to Africa makes my eyes get welly all.the.time. He gets that I’m learning and asking questions. Learning still how to do life here. Seeing that things are different. People are different. Ministry is different. Life is different. Even as I long for the 3000 mile distance to disappear, He calls me to be “all-in” with Him and Him only. To live in the uncomfortable distance. Of wanting and waiting. Of learning how to go slow rather than jump. To test the waters and make sure this is the distance He wants me to go. To learn that trust and hearts are given bits at a time. To operate out of the deep wells that He filled.
He beckons me to keep walking with Him even when I don’t know the distance.