big love

“Enlarge your house; build an addition.
Spread out your home, and spare no expense!”

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

The tears well up in my eyes as I savor the faces on a flat, lifeless piece of paper.  They capture my heart all over again.  I scrunch my eyes and cringe when I think about how time passes much too fast.  The heart connections held together over skype make me want to jump through the screen for a hug.  My heart bursts.  Sometimes I forget how much love expands.  The missing stays even if I run headlong into those I love because there are still the ones elsewhere.  I realize now that I’ve wanted to plant roots deep and to tether my heart to one place mostly because the missing wrecks my mascara.  Somehow, I naively think that I could still plant roots into one place except I’ve already learned how to love all over the world.  No matter what I do now, the fierce love for those too far to hug follows me around.  The leaving, the staying, the constant adjustment to change twists my heart.  Fear begs me to pull back and protect myself, but that’s no answer at all.  That’s missing out on the beautiful love. I’m learning to embrace the overwhelming, crushing, heart-aching love in the moment even though I know the missing will come.  Taking risks to enlarge my tent and spread my “home” wide with love.

Because, loving people is worth it.

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and this makes me think that maybe just maybe i’ve had hope all along.

and trust i’m choosing. over and over. trust that hope won’t disappoint.

hope in god. that is.







i want my knife back…

A few weeks ago, I heard a sermon from Bethel Church that shared testimonies about God restoring things in the physical sense.  One of the testimonies shared how a college student lost a paper when his computer died and it “showed” up on the brand new computer.  Another was where they coined the phrase “I want my knife back…” literally was where a knife with significance was returned to the owner.  My response to the stories: Awesome! Such faith and belief that God cares about the little things too.  But, I didn’t really think I’d find myself in a “I want my knife back…” situation any time soon….

Before the triathlon, I had on my Lerato long sleeve shirt because well let’s be honest, I like to wear a bit of Africa on my sleeve more often than not especially on days I’m a little thin around the edges.  Except the swim was first, so I took it off and left it in the bleachers with a friend.  Through some circumstances that don’t really matter, the shirt got left there and my post-race mind didn’t think to ask for it or grab it before leaving.

Only later did I realize that wait a second that was my lerato long sleeve shirt that I love and that I can’t replace.  A shirt that is cozy and comfy and from my friend June (who I get to see in June!!!!!!!).  Plus, it has my Sesotho name on it: Lerato.  In case you didn’t know, I’m a bit sentimental when it comes to things especially Africa things (Gifts is definitely one of my higher love languages…after words of affirmation).  I’m still holding onto a pair of jeans that probably should be thrown away but they’re the pair I wore when I told Lindo “see you in His timing.”

Back on track, all that to say that I wanted my shirt back.

A few tears and a few “Ah, shame, okay, God, I’ll keep prying my fingers off Africa and let You be God and do what You want to do and lay it all down again…” Gotta love how He uses even a silly little shirt to show how tight my grip is on things…

Mix that with a lot of trust and some mutters of “I want my knife shirt back…” I let it go and went about my day with a whole lot of peace.

Except the pretty awesome thing about God is that He cares about the little things and He sees us. He put those desires in our heart for a reason and likes to encourage us along the journey.  My heart beats Africa and He sees that.  I like to think that David probably had a few “I see you…” moments from God while he was out in the fields waiting to take steps toward his destiny.

A few faith steps later and the shirt was back in my hands.

Plus, a little bit of extra hope and trust came with it.

pretty cute, isn’t it? and wow my hair was long then…

my boys

I’m not a mom yet…but I have boys. Specifically a boy in Africa that stole my heart away and he’s always on my mind as I’m whispering prayers to God and trusting God to take care of him while I’m three thousands miles away for now.  Not to mention all the other babies in Africa that hold my prayers.  I have boys I’m coming alongside and helping train up as I lead the Children’s Ministry and these boys steal my heart and breath as they are that beautiful mixture of loyal, fierce, and sensitive warriors.  And I have other boys that are hurting yet bold that I see every day as I work in the schools. These are the boys that I pray for now.  Yet, I must say He’s definitely given me a tender spot in my heart for these little warriors and who knows maybe He’ll even bless me with a grown one to walk beside me and little ones from there.

–Sometimes an off the cuff quickly written response to a blog post about praying for boys shows me that somewhere lodged in my heart there is still hope and trust and mostly that even now God’s filled my life with these little warriors I love. Not to mention that this came after I had just gone out to buy presents to send to my little man in Africa. love him. love them. whispering prayers to Him.

(yeah that’s a foam sword in hand…we had a sweet sword fight that day and played soccer and sang Hakuna Matata and he painted my face and lots of hugs and ke a o rata whispers…what a beautiful good-bye/see you in His timing)

heart tears: orphans

“Another photograph to wrestle in my head…another sleepless night..these thoughts of you like bullets to my soul I’ve got to find a way to get you home…i hope you know there is somebody searching for the way to get you here…as angels hold you tight may you sleep in peace tonight so dream dream dream my child here the whisperings of hope.”

Here’s the adoption story that goes with the song above–it’s awesome go watch it…made me cry…along with this song too: Come Home Beautiful

“she is beautiful but she has never known a love that will never leave. someone to help her see that she is beautiful. she’s redeemed. she is loved. she is the bride of the King.”


Even though I decided to stay home and REST instead of heading to Idea Camp: Orphan Care, I totally enjoyed the conference from the comfort of my bed!  My heart got captured right from the beginning when I heard this quote:

“A life interrupted is a life inspired. When life is interrupted by a story then inspiration is sustainable.”

Now that hits home and takes me right back to South Africa.  My life was interrupted there. I carry those stories with me  They are deep in my heart and the numbers that surround the orphan crisis hold faces.  Faces of babies I’ve held.  And so it makes the statistics even more heart-staggering.

Hearing like-hearted people share their passion for orphans stirred up even more in myself:

“What frustrates me about solutions for orphan crises is that people think we only need more orphanages & adoptions.”

“Orphan Care starts with the local church. Transformation there is sustainable. Work through the local church and let them be the hands and feet.”

“Man created orphanages for children, but God created families for them.”

“Every country wants their children to stay…”

“Caring for orphans is a lifelong investment. It’s not a cause, not a campaign.”

“Solve the problem, don’t just manage it.”

“Every situation of injustice we have seen in the world is because of a broken relationship.”

“Raising up a child in the knowledge of Jesus Christ takes more than giving up a latte…”


Caring for orphans goes beyond adoptions and orphanages.  Empowering, equipping, and igniting a culture of transformation needs to happen on a community level.  Not only do the needs of the children need to be addressed but so do those of all ages because the root of problem starts there.  The hope and power of Jesus Christ produces lasting transformation and that’s where it starts.  I could say so much more and will in time say more, but I’m still processing and sorting through these heart-thoughts.  Though, mostly (especially after listening to this awesome message on meditating and listening to God) I’m seeking God for His specific, direct, clear guidance and direction as to where, how, and what my own role will look in this and I am trusting His timing.


What stirs up passion for you?

teacups and love

since i’m in the mood here’s a little picture fun….

my lovely tea cups from my church’s teacup & cookie exchange. the red one is from this year and the blue and white is from 2009. i love a little competition and opening presents. though, i must say i get so indecisive and stressed about what one to pick when it’s my turn!

cute cute hat that i got for my birthday from a dear friend for my birthday

my little man holding my sunglasses and being all cute. love him and love the randomness of this picture.

someday. hopefully soon. i will own a papasan chair. i don’t know what the cushion will be like yet, but it will be grand and i will curl up in it and read my bible. i might just even put it in my office.

speaking of bibles…i am quite seriously pondering buying the maxwell leadership bible so that i can use it for the little 6 month chronological read through (starting january 15th!! more details to come…but you should ponder and then totally join me and others in it!). any thoughts on it or bible versions?

ohhh and speaking of doing the chronological read through…did you know that i’m PUMPED to go see my lovely friend who did sprinting the bible in 90 days with me?! because, um, well, i am. so yes, this is going to be an amazing end to 2010 and hopefully starting 2011 off with a little sparkle.

One Word 2011

and with 2010 coming to an end…so does my word for the year (joy).  well, not that it ends! but i get a new word for 2011. i’m a bit scared of my word but i just know god has BIG things in store and wants to use this word in an eye opening way…come back on 1/1/2011 for the official reveal. are you going to pick a word to focus on for the year?

p.s. it’s almost christmas =)

mama lion

I would see him sometimes. Waiting in the kitchen. Sitting in the stiff backed chair. He wore a blue uniform.

My eyes leapt on him like a mama lion. Defiantly, I kept walking to capture as many moments of love as I could.  Until they called his name, my baby was mine. We were inseparable.

“Lindo” a voice called out.

And so my baby scampered down from my shoulders to go with this man.

He took away my baby.

I watched them walk down the dusty road and let my eyes lift to the left.  I pondered. My mind traveled down roads of potentials:

Was he a good man?

Did he have a family?

Would my baby get enough to eat?

Would he ever adopt my baby and take him away for good?

My eyes strained to see the last glimpse of the man in the blue uniform with my little man at his side.  I watched as long as I could until another darling squiggled into my arms.

Even so, I prayed.  I held him in my heart.

I let God hold his hand.


*To read more about Lindo…though especially check out this one and this one.


the unbreakable one

steadfast in love

and in battle

you never will give up

with mountains to climb

your heart of a lion will rise up

and your love will speak louder

some say lose hope in being a true man, but i say i’ll be like my Dad


I am stuck on this song. Unbreakable by Paul Stephens. I keep listening to it on his website.  Someday I’m sure I’ll give in and spend the $0.99 but until then while I have fast internet this works.

So, how does this relate to babies? Well, see, I have all sorts of babies in my life.  I have my baby (Lindo). Okay, he’s not really *mine* but I claim him.

Then I have my Hope House babies and my kiddos from camp and my church babies and church kiddos and LaunchPad kiddos and  I have my kiddos at school and my babies that I hope will call me mama one day.

Basically, I have a lot of kids in my life. I pray for a lot of kids. I hug a lot of kids. I spend time with a lot of kids. And I love them fiercely. I keep saying that lately, but it’s true for people in my life and not just the kids. I love fiercely and am oh so loyal.  In listening to this song, I realized…this is one of those things I want my babies and kiddos to know.  I want them to know Jesus intimately in a way that they see Him as the ultimate Dad–Abba, Father.  That He first and foremost is the Unbreakable One.  But, I also want them to have men in their lives that live this out, a man they can follow.  I want my baby to grow up to have a heart after God’s like the king David did.  I want my girlies to not settle for anyone less than a protector. I want love spoken loud into their lives.

So, babies and kiddos…I’m praying for you. I’m expectant of all that God is doing and will do in and through you.  He’s got BIG plans.

So, what about you…how does this song speak to you? Do you have “unbreakable” ones in your life?

p.s. I have a follow-up post to this one coming soon about my “knight in shattered armor.” It’s still brewing in my head and has been ever since I read this post, but I’m excited about it 🙂


I find him lurking on the sidelines.  Treading water near the shoreline.  Near enough to go by unnoticed yet close enough to leap into the moment when the opportunity arises.  I don’t like when he stops by…especially unannounced.  He is unwelcome. unwanted. wholly part of the old.  He brings me down and brings on the tears.  He whispers lies. He stirs up doubt and wants me to hide. He shows up at the most inconvenient times when my heart is already a tad raw and vulnerable.  Ah, but that is his specialty…timing.  He wants to show up when I’m weak, but what he forgets is that when I am weak, my King is strong.  He wants to keep me from running into my Savior’s arms.  To make me feel that because of what I have done that I cannot go my Beloved.  He’s wrong. When I take refuge in my Strong Tower that is when I am complete.  The battle is already won. And as my eyes gaze into my Protector, I am radiant with joy and there is no shadow of him.  He is not allowed to take up residence in my heart or on my face.  So, every time he tries to make an appearance, I turn to the One who answers my questions and who loves me. My Defender is the one who will kick him far away so that I instead will be covered with grace, mercy, hope, joy, love.  I am after all…like a sparkling jewel in my King’s crown.

Zechariah 9:16 The LORD their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.

1 Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Isaiah 62:3 You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Proverbs 4:9 She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty.

Isaiah 51:11 The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Psalm 34:5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

ht: inspired after reading Sara Markley’s post.

my people…i’m overwhelmed at how god takes care of me

i just am overwhelmed at how much god takes care of me:

*being able to sit in the sun at a park to get some hugs and soak up real, raw, honest, authentic, and godly truth, love, and wisdom from a lovely woman of god. all of which strengthened and encouraged me.

*god giving me peace, words, and guts to actually say what needed to be said and move forward.

*a bike ride turned into dinner, conversation, and s’mores…being able to just go along with a family and be taken care of and loved on by them.

*a willing, patient, and ever so loving friend to eat some late night perkins food to keep me company when i don’t want to be alone

*all the texts, prayers, conversations, and outpouring of love and support

*being able to talk with lindo and his family and hear “i love you too much.”

*time playing with adorable little ones in the nursery to begin to heal the ache at church

*a simple, unasked for i’ll walk into church with you and sit with you…not to mention get you kleenex for those tears you’re pretending aren’t there and the come on, you gotta laugh at that look, and the prayer for a protector….

*knowing god is crying right beside me and He even laughs when I remember about my “defiled turkey” and how I don’t like kleenex and how tears cover my face and neck even when I am so determined at not crying and putting on a tough face…

*being held by my people and prayed over

*a chance to catch up with one of my interns

*a god-timed visit of two friends coming this week which will be complete with big hugs and a little getaway

*”Your love never fails, Your love never gives up, never runs out on me, confident in the change, higher than the mountains I face, overwhelms and satisfies my soul and I never have to be afraid”