puppy tips welcome =)
puppy tips welcome =)
I love how God works things out. I do. I sat here thinking how am I going to write a post that shows my heart and offers an opportunity and in the midst of my writing I realized that it’s Friday, which means I get to link up with The Gypsy Mama. Love that…and then I found out what the prompt was and how perfect it fit in with everything. I was going to do two posts, but they connect together so…here goes… Five minutes on….
There’s a place I call home. There’s a place I find my heart and mind wandering to all the time. I can’t seem to get her out of my heart. I thought once some things settled the ache would go away, but it intensified. I thought I could go and then continue on my life as before.
My life got interrupted.
My heart changed.
My eyes opened.
I still see her sunrises and sunsets. The stripes of the zebras and the elegance of the giraffe. The power of the lion and the ugly baby wildebeasts. The dirt paths that took my feet running up and down hills at the foot of mountains that caught my breath.
The people who stole my heart. The babies that fought for their lives. The little ones who lost parents. The park filled with children. The place where I put a name and a face to the statistics about AIDs, rape, and poverty. The joy unspeakable mixed with a hope for a different future.
You can take the girl out of Africa, but you can’t take Africa out of the girl’s heart.
She’s still home.
Tomorrow I run. I run for God. I run for Africa.
Now here’s the fun part.
You can catch the vision too.
Not only will I have Africa on my shirt, Sesotho on my wrist, stories in my heart, and prayers on my lips for Africa for 26.2 miles, but I also am going to be intentional and strategic about giving.
I’m still being the persistent widow who keeps asking God for a chance to put my feet back on African ground, but until then I’ll be like the other widow in the bible who gave abundantly and cheerfully.
I’d love for you to partner with me and send a little love and encouragement both my way and Africa’s way…maybe you can give $2.62 or $26.20 or $262.0 or $2,620 or maybe you can commit to pray for a 2.62 minutes or 26.2 minutes or 2 days or really however long or much God puts on your heart. He knows, you know.
I breathe her in and start with just a little taste. She seems familiar, but it’s been so long since I’ve tasted her goodness. I thought I didn’t want her hanging around, but then I slowly started letting her come back to play. Once I started boldly and consistently confessing trust, there she was. She showed up with her bright sun rays and dancing laughter. She wanted me to come dream with her.
Now, with trust, I’m un-digging my heels and stopping my tantrum to learn even more about trusting fully, but hope? That just seems a bit…risky.
Except the funny thing about hope is that she sneaks up on you. You start trusting God with those heart desires and next thing you know hope has blossomed. Deserts into Eden. A beauty in the waiting with hope and anticipation. A face set on His best no matter what it looks like. So, I breathe her in deep even though it’s not what I intended. A deep breath of resting and enjoying…the Gardener who is making my deserts oh so beautiful.
Come play along with the 5 minutes of free writing on “Deep Breath.”
What are you breathing deeply lately? What are you hopeful for?
i’m gonna believe that we will see the kingdom come to earth.
i’m gonna believe that signs and wonders follow hearts that burn.
i’m gonna believe that sickness and poverty will cease.
i’m gonna believe the power from the heavens will release
yeah light up the world with Your love
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.
He is the joy.
He is the love.
He is holding my hand
while I wait.
“Katy girl…as you continue to release, trusting in Him completely, you will be utterly amazed at what He will do with and through you. You remind me of Esther. She waited, studied, questioned as she allowed herself to be prepared. When/As she walked into her destiny she gave all, trusting completely in God fully aware that even her life was at stake. She allowed herself to be completely vulnerable and exposed…for such a time as this. God will lead you to the very place He is even now preparing you for.”
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16
Words stay with me. Long after they have been spoken or written I carry them along. Sometimes I really need to learn how to hit the delete button faster, but other times the words carry God-weighted goodness. The words above I’ve held in my heart for well over a year and still have the cute card. God whispered words encouraging me along the way to trust, let go of the masks, and embrace the adventure even with the risks. Whereas, the verse above is one that I am carrying, mulling it over, pondering it, holding it in my heart just since last week. When it was spoken, I didn’t recognize the context and didn’t fully see the implication.
After reading Matthew 10, I held my breath. Jesus called them each by name. Gave them a charge to go to the lost sheep. Sent them among the wolves. Gave them power to heal, cleanse, raise the dead, and cast out demons. To freely give because they had freely received. To love much because they had been forgiven much. To endure to the end even while others hate them because of His name’s sake. To remember how valuable they are and that God will take care of them. To take up their cross. To give to the little ones. To teach and preach and be like the Teacher. To speak what is given to them by the Spirit of the Father.
With the verse came the charge and the confidence that the armor (Ephesians 6) has been given for me to wear into this battle. To be like Esther knowing full well that lives are at stake–not just mine–but to trust and walk forward in obedience confidently with Him. While knowing that He has a purpose for such a time as this as well a time for preparation and becoming…wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.
I wrote about journals last week and it happened to be that I went out to buy a new one that day as well. I went with the intention of finding one with my word on it: Trust. God one upped me and provided one that not only has my word from last year (joy) and this year, but also the word hope. Hope and I have been having a bit of a wrestling match the last few weeks…hope’s winning. Here’s what’s on the back of the journal that hit my heart in a “Oh…really. Eish. Okay, God.” complete with a nice little eye roll and a sigh of here goes…
not to mention this is what was written on the back of the journal:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good…to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
To hope is to long for something with all your heart knowing that it can come true. Explore those longings, your God given dreams, and your hopes for the future on these pages. Refreshing quotes and verses will help you put your thoughts and prayers into words.
What are you longing for, hoping for? What is something you would write on the pages?
Can you believe it!? We’ve been reading the Bible in chronological order for 43 days! I know I’ve said this to multiple people over and over but…I am loving it and I am LOVING my Leadership Bible. So good. So full of richness. If you are looking for a new bible and like learning about leadership then I would highly suggest it! Beyond that, I’ve been mulling over a few big themes. Here’s my mini recap in bullets of the areas where God hit me over the head as I looked back (especially the very last bullet point…that’s my big takeaway so far):
What has God been hitting you over the head with in your reading?
I wore the shoes. Cute, black heels. No socks. I don’t like socks. I was determined that if I was going down that I was going to do it looking good. These shoes are one of the most vivid things that I remember from this day last year. I can hear the clicking as I walked on the stone path. The sliding door to get inside. Sitting in a chair with my legs crossed. My jeans fell just short enough that you could tell I wasn’t wearing socks. I even later made a comment about how at least my shoes were cute.
In many ways, I clung to them. I stared at them. The tears fell when my eyes stared at them. They were my statement: “I am still a person.” Unlike the mascara that didn’t work to keep my tears from flowing, they kept me feeling a small bit of life and steadiness and feeling beautiful. I don’t remember the reactions. I don’t remember my exact words. But, oh I remember those shoes. I confessed sin in those shoes. I stood before a community and exposed my heart.
Beating wildly, my heart lay on the floor. Ready to be stomped on and discarded. They didn’t. Instead, many of those faces freed their own hearts from the seeping blackness that gets in the way of new life. They shared too. We bared our hearts to find freedom in the truth and expose the lies. It was beautiful. The body of Christ. Vulnerability turned into intimacy. I left the night with a glimmer of hope. Hope that these hearts would walk together toward Christ. All the while, clinging to the promise: God works all things out for good. God works all things out for good. God works all things out for good. God works all things out for good.
And so, here I stand, exactly a year later. I stand wearing those same shoes. I don’t wear them to camp out in the past. I wear them to remind me of all that God has done and will do.
I stand in the newness of life. A different woman. A woman who no longer needs shoes to say: “I am still a person.” I stand as a woman who wears the crown of forgiveness and who is called lovely by her Beloved. I am His. He delights in me.
Confession is powerful. This day last year was the event, the game changer. The trajectory of my life changed. But, now, I stand knowing that healing, wholeness, and transformation need to be fought for every. single. day. There is no quick fix or magical pill. Life doesn’t have a pause button for you to get your stuff together and then come back.
No, even today, I need to make the choice. To choose to live as who God says I am. To continually dig my roots deep into Him and Him alone. To be vulnerable and held accountable by the Body. To get back up when I stumble again because I do fall still. To let others walk with me. To keep on choosing it. To keep on pressing on and digging deep. Why? Because that’s where the abundant life in Christ becomes real and I am free. That’s where *knowing* God becomes more than just words. Besides…
Truth always wins out.
“now is the time to step from the dark into the light. cause you can’t change what you’ve done. but you can choose who you’ll become. and every moment is a second chance at starting over. move from the past to the present tense. you can start over again. you don’t have to be who you’ve been. you can change within. it’s never too late.” -starting over by addison road
*if this stirred your heart and you don’t quite want to leave a comment. i would love to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org
At kids’ camp, I heard a comparison. A simple one: When we raise our hands up while singing during worship, we are like little children asking to be picked up. I keep coming back to this in my heart so here’s my slightly expanded story version:
A little girl runs up to her father and stumbles on the way. Skinned knees and teary eyes, she still looks up. She sees her daddy’s eyes and flings her arms up in the air begging to be picked up. Oh, how she longs to be scooped up into her father’s loving arms! Her heart is laid bare with its desire apparent: to be held. She is vulnerable as she half lays on the ground yet knows that he is safe. She puts herself fully in his care. Finally, with a swoosh of air, she is shielded from all that surrounds as his strong arms draw her near. She is so close that she can hear his heart beating.
Lately, I keep finding myself singing my heart out with arms held high. I find myself as that little girl who is working her way toward her Father’s arms. Stumbling along the way and yet still reaching for Him. Desiring to be held in His arms and to know that He’s taking care of it all. Surrendering all to Him and gazing into His eyes. Because, really, it all comes down to….
that He will pick me up off the ground
that He is making all things beautiful
that He will do beyond all that I can ask or imagine
that His timing is best
that He holds my messy heart
that He will go back to Africa with me
that He is preparing us
that He loves us
what are you trusting?