Thursday, December 29, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place
I look at the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day
Why am I anxious?
God knows what I need
You know what I need
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
The LORD sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the LORD with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.
He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
the LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love."
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Tears. It hit me today... "What a precious little boy!" "That's my Daniel", I reply, looking at my computer screen. It's five simple words from a random lady that brings me to tears. I am sitting in a training... dazing and wishing I was in my classroom... when my mind turns from Math TEKS to Africa. Tears. Not simple watering. Burning liquid inside my eyes. Straining in my throat. I have to get up and go to the restroom to try and regain my composure. how can I yearn for him so much? I was only with him for a few days and yet he is burned into my heart.
I miss it. I miss the uncomfortableness. I miss the difficult sights. I miss the beautiful language. I miss the excitement. I miss the humbling ways the Lord allowed me to feel, when people I did not even know were so ecstatic to see me. I even miss the smells. But most of all, I miss him.
He is eight. At least that's what he believes. His health is poor and his English is worse. But I understood him. When you hear love is a universal language it is so true. The first night I ever laid eyes on him I knew it. There was something different. I had already spent a week in Uganda and hugged, played with and prayed over hundreds of kids. But when he looked at me that first night, my heart grew 10 sizes.
We bonded immediately. I tried not to scare him, or to play favorites, but I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I felt a tug when he looked at me. The first time he smiled, I remember like it was yesterday, my eyes filled with tears. I instantly knew that THIS child was different than the rest. That THIS child would not only get my attention or prayers or love... but he would get my heart.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Here comes the self-righteous part. The older brother heard the feast going on and asked a servant what the occasion was. The servant told him that his brother had returned and the feast was in honor of his safe arrival back. The brother was livid. He had stayed. He had obeyed. He had worked hard and continuous. The young brother was selfish. The young brother squandered their father's money and was disrespectful. The father comes out to invite the elder brother in and the brother unleashes his anger on the father. His father answers with tender violence (a way to scold yet love). He answers his oldest son, "Son, you were always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was fitting to celebrate and be glad at your brother's arrival. For your brother was dead and now is alive; he was lost and now he is found!"
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart ! I have overcome the world ! " John 16:33
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak " Isaiah 40:29
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine" Isaiah 43:1
"I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life." John 6:47
"Jesus said: 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies'....." John 11:25
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Heb.11:1
"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be moved, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed." Isaiah 54:10
"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them, I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16
"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy maybe complete" John 15:11
"...but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." John 16:22
"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. " Isaiah 46:4
"I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me." Proverbs 8:17
"...the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him! " Isaiah 30:18
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:7
"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." Jeremiah 29:12
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:1,2
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3: 5,6
".....He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths...." Isaiah 2:3
" But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour. " Titus 3:4-6
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
I just got back from spending 15 days in Africa. I was in Uganda for a week and Kenya for a week. I thought I knew what it meant to be uncomfortable until I went there... I soon learned that all my "reservations and discomforts" were going to be thrown out the window and that my prayers for brokenness, to be humbled and sifted would soon be answered in a very BIG and LOUD way.
Hurt. This word was seen in so many different ways. There was hurt everywhere I looked on my trip. People were hurting... physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They were hungry. They were naked. They were dying. They were in pain. They were abandoned. They had diseases that were both visible and hidden. There was so much hurt and I was overwhelmed.
Yearning. These people were yearning for more...or even some. They yearned for food. They yearned for shelter. They yearned for love-- a simple smile would do. They yearned to feel worthy. They yearned for things that I could not give them. They yearned for satisfaction and all I could do was point them North. I could only provide the hope for yearning that comes through faith. The yearning that comes from a Savior not a "mzungu" (white person).
Faith. These people love Jesus... and they love Him hard. There is no reservations when they worship. They don't worry about the volume of their voices, the appearance of their actions or even if those actions are being noticed! They lose themselves in their Savior. They scream out to their Beloved and know that He is not only listening to them, but that He is understanding their pain, desire and faith.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the POOR. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the CAPTIVES and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are OPPRESSED, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor!" -Luke 4:18-19
I prayed for the Lord is break my heart and to ruin all of the plans I made. I desired my uncomfortableness to be tested and for my faith to be stretched. I hoped to see the Lord... to truly SEE His works. To experience Him in a way I had never experience Him before! I craved to be humbled and "forced" to completely rely of the Lord. To have my control and stubbornness stripped away and left completely vulnerable and empty. Not only wanting the Savior but whole heartily needing Him.
On this trip I was bruised, broken, spent and left vulnerably opened. I can honestly say it was two of the most difficult weeks I have ever experienced. However, the way I experienced the Lord was unreal. Things happened that you only read about it the bible. Prayers were answer instantaneously. I never doubted the Lord-- but because He loves me so much He allowed me to see Him in a completely different way. He allowed me to see Him in a supernatural way that is unexplainable. He didn't need me to be used on this trip but He allowed me to serve these people and babies as a tool of the Lord. And in doing this He allowed me to draw closer to Him and have a clearer vision of Him and His Kingdom. He revealed parts of Himself to me that I would not have appreciated, understood or desired had it be shown to me anywhere else or at any other time. He let me die to myself, be reduced to nothing, be 110% humbled and vulnerable (which is not a fun or desirable place to be) and give Him all the honor and glory and praise.
::Sweet Jesus as I come back to my life here God I ask for opportunities to talk about what I experienced in Africa. Allow me to use this not to exalt myself but to exalt YOU! Father, let these stories and pictures point to Your love and grace. As I get back into the swing of things let me remember how to rely on You... even when the situations aren't always as uncomfortable. Don't let me be easily swayed by pointless things, but instead let me heart be surrounded with things not of this world. Let me radiate you in my interactions with others. My heart will yearn and hurt for these babies I left in Africa, however, let me not be burdened by their circumstances but by their salvation. It doesn't matter where they live now if they don't know where they will be living eternally and desire for it to be with You. I shouldn't be consumed with how they are being fed physically but rather spiritually. God let me never, ever forget You and Your universal love!::
Monday, June 13, 2011
"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:5-7
"In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears." -Psalm 18:6
"If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." -Matthew 21:22
But after meditating on such verses I think about how often I do this... Is my gentleness evident to all? Am I free from anxiousness? In my distress do I CRY out to the Lord (first)? Do I believe I will receive whatever I ask for in prayer? And the reoccurring answer for each question is... NO!
This morning I read about Hannah in 1 Samuel. Hannah was barren and yearned for a child. Unlike me, she did praise God despite her pain. Unlike me, she continued to pray the same prayer believing that the Lord would hear her cries and answer her. Unlike me, she did find comfort completely in the Lord and His presence in he life. She didn't allow certain circumstances to determine whether she approached the throne or not. She was seeking God in the good times and in the bad times... in the times of strength and in the times of weakness.... in her joy and in her bitterness. Instead of getting mad or complaining about the hand she was dealt, she took it before the Lord. And in verse 18 it tells us what happened..."Her face was no longer downcast!" Simply by taking her troubles to her Father, her misery was released from her. Now this doesn't always happen. Sometimes the Lord allows us to go through these difficult situations and uses them to teach us perseverance (James 1:2-5) and how to draw closer to Him.
In my study today it said "What do you typically do when faced with difficulties? Take them to God or complain to friends, get angry or upset, say things you shouldn't, etc." Dang. I felt convicted with that one. A situation that occurred just a few weeks ago came to my mind. I heard something that really hurt my feelings. I felt embarrassed, rejected, angry and sad. And instead of going to the Father with my hurt and disappointment I let that person know EXACTLY what I was thinking. It was immature and hurtful to him. It was not prayerfully considered. It was not edifying to him. It did not build him up, encourage him and it was disresepctful. It was directly said to make him feel as bad as I did-- and it worked. And I felt like crud afterwards. I didn't want to hurt him-- but I listened to Satan whispering "an eye for an eye..." in my ear instead of Jesus saying "come to me and I will give you peace". Thankfully, I swallowed my pride and was forgiven. But if I were to just automatically think to go to the Lord in prayer in every situation first then I would have never been in that position.
Unfortunately I don't think I truly believe that praying will help. I mean I constantly communicate with the Lord but I think sometimes I half heartily do it and don't fully believe in His power. I love Him so much and I know that He has my best interest at heart--so why don't I run to Him with my trials? Why don't I sprint to His side, crawl up in His lap and pour out my feelings? Why don't I take my heart ache or confusion to the author of my love story instead of complaining to my friends? I desire to be a woman of prayer. I yearn to be a Proverbs 31 woman who RADIATES Him in all situations... one that shows gentleness, isn't anxious and cries out to the Lord!
It is a process and I am so blessed that the Lord hasn't given up on me yet....
Friday, June 10, 2011
"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" -Isaiah 6:8
The Lord has been so sweet to me lately and has allowed me to be pursued by Him in multiple ways. However, His ways and my ways don't always match up and His timing and my timing NEVER match up. So this has been a beautiful, yet humbling time in my life.
I leave for Uganda, Africa in 15 days...wow. It has been such a long journey to get here. I remember beginning to feel a stir in my heart for Africa. I remember the day I felt compelled to begin painting and the end product was a piece that sits catty cornered in my room that reads PRAY FOR AFRICA with a huge picture of that lovely continent in the middle! I remember the process of supporting a child through World Vision but realizing that the pull I had towards this people group went deeper. I remember looking at trips, organizations, opportunities....anything and everything to get me over there. Prices were high. Trips were not what I desired (as a teacher I felt drawn to work with and love on orphans). Dates were inconvenient. Nothing seemed to work... so I thought I had misread the Lord's will. I must have heard His calling for me incorrectly because everything fell through and nothing worked out. But just like the Lord...when I completely gave it over to Him and convinced myself it must just be later on in life that I would get that opportunity... He provided. My roommate worked with a lady whose sister had just returned from Africa on a short term mission trip working with orphans. She went through an organization called Visiting Orphans, whose main goal was to love on these babies and share Jesus with them. Sold.
From then on the process has been absolutely unreal. The Lord blessed me with a love for painting (which if you remember started this desire) and He allowed me to paint my way to Africa as well. I have painted and painted and PAINTED... I have sold my canvases to friends, family members, at auctions, to teachers and even to some of my student's parents. My paintings have allowed me to share my story, and where I am going, and the Lord has received glory in all of it! And as of yesterday that painting has paid off and my trip cost is completely covered! Gosh the Lord is just so magnificent and yet so intricate in the way He pays attention to every small detail.
During the process the Lord has also allowed alot of needed sifting to occur in my life! Things that were needing to get pulled out of my life for my ultimate refinement were taken from me-- no matter how much it hurt tearing them from my hands. My sweet Beloved has allowed insecurities to be destroyed, desires to be met and some situations to be dealt with. In this time of the Lord pushing GO there is also alot of NO...and even harder... WAIT! I know that my Daddy has my absolute best interest at hand. Sometimes--scratch that--the majority of the time I am so self absorbed that I miss that and play the victim of "woe is me. woe is me". But lately I have seen the fruit of passionately pursuing our ultimate pursuer and the goodness He can do with a messy sinner like myself!
We often hear... God is good, all the time. Followed by... All the time, God is good! For the first time in my life, I think I am truly begin to understand and whole heartily believe it. And THAT is exciting!