Divine Expirations

Listen to this podcast with Annie F. Downs and Tauren Wells at “That Sounds Fun.” FAVORITE for my Friday morning commute.

Maybe you need to hear this as much as I did.
Maybe the “That Sounds Fun” podcast this week where Annie and Tauren Wells talked about life left you scrambling for a pen and a receipt in your floorboard to jot down a quote or two as you made your morning commute. Maybe it was just me, but that conversation resonated with me throughout the day to the point where I had to sit down and write it out.

I mean come on, divine expirations.. can we just talk about this for a minute?

The thought that following God is so not about your own plan from the pieces he has allowed you to know, and so much more about walking step by step in a posture of listening and obeying, listening and obeying, moment by moment.

“With good intentions we are very committed to doing what God has called us to do without really realizing that in a moment God could speak to us and change what our obedience really looks like because the directive changes… You’re willing to go, are you willing to stop? We’re willing to run but are we willing to wait and pause and hear what God has to say to us?” -Tauren Wells

This is the thing. If you’re anything like me, I think the human reaction to God revealing part of His plan, especially to a planner personality (like me) is to take it and run with it. To say “ok, God, I see what you’re doing here, and build a castle in the sand around that one tiny piece of information. But, here’s the thing that’s so hard for me to remember: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts,” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

And we look at the story in Genesis 22 that Tauren referenced, the story of Abraham going to sacrifice Isaac, and we see this concept of a divine expiration.

Abraham and Isaac are trekking up the mountain, all the materials for a sacrifice, Abraham fully intent on sacrificing his son because that’s the obedience God instructed. Isaac confused that they would walk all this way without the sacrifice, but trusting his father to listen for God.

And then God speaking, just as Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, his future.
God provided a ram, and Abraham called the place “The Lord will provide; the Lord will see.”

Abraham did not hear God wrong about sacrificing Isaac.
Abraham did not vacillate when faced with binding Isaac and raising the knife… he was not looking to heaven saying “ok God, anytime now…”
All he knew was this heartbreaking command to sacrifice his promised son. And he was wiling to do it, in obedience to his Father.
God stopped Abraham just where he wanted him. He saw the willingness to obey, the heart in the human man, and issued a new instruction.
If Abraham had not been listening to God, he would have literally killed his future.
This was a divine expiration.
The previous instruction had an ending that only God knew, and then he directed Abraham elsewhere.

This is mind blowing to me- a girl who gets so locked into the “plan” that she forgets to listen.
“You can obey, thinking God is pointing you to a certain destination, and he is taking you along the right road without you seeing there is a turn along the way…Obedience is the thing, not the destination.” Annie F. Downs

How often in my life has God given me an instruction, only for me to run headlong, wholeheartedly toward the destination, but forgetting to listen at the same time?
God’s plan, as he reveals pieces to us, is not for us to grab those pieces with an iron grip and make the whole story around the little we know, and then pursue it without re-evaluating or praying. Yet so so often that is what I want to do. I see a glimpse of the bigger story and my human mind connects the dots, and I become a slave to that plan, rather than a humble servant listening for the voice of God.

And maybe now that is why we struggle so much with purpose. Because our plans have been very effectively shattered with a necessary ending. And suddenly it appears that we made our lives about this one plan, this one task, that God has declared ended to make way for the fullness of His plan.
When God calls FULL STOP, and takes that dream to an abrupt ending with no indication as to what the future might hold? It’s scary and life-rocking and sometimes a relief but also a time that begs us to press in and listen more… which is often the last thing we want to do—we just want to take some sort of action steps.

“Faith is obedience in reverse. It’s doing what God has asked me to do before I see why he has asked me to do it. If we follow in faith, we can’t really make a misstep. “ -Tauren Wells

So maybe it’s just time for us to listen in faith.
To see, in the absence of what I thought of as the plan, is God telling me what is next? Or am I sitting in the silence of his not yet, that space of time that may be a day or years because His timeline is nothing like my own? Regardless, I have to let the ashes fall from those burned and broken pieces I’ve been holding so tightly.
Divine expiration.
You did that thing in full obedience to God, but then he said leave, or stop, and you did. He didn’t tell you to resume that thing in a month or a year, as you had built into your plan.
So we must listen and wait, and have faith.
Because we can be assured that he has a very big plan and we hold a small role, that has very little to do with what our human brains can manufacture. It’s a divine purpose, for which we must wait and listen, and try very hard when a bit is revealed to us to not build a castle in the sand around what we think we know. Those sand castles always get knocked down by the waves, after all.

Try to hold onto that faith, dear heart.
So I will call this place, “The Lord will provide; the Lord will see”
(Genesis 22:14)

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Looking for light in a land of darkness

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.” Isaiah 9:2

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you. For look, darkness will cover the earth, and total darkness for the peoples, but the Lord will shine over you, and his glory will appear over you. ” Isaiah 60:1-2

“Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.'” John 8:12

I haven’t written in a while, and I’m struggling with what words I have to offer an opinion-saturated world. This morning, while reading the words above, I was confronted with how the Light of Jesus pushed back the darkness and the stark contrast between this Christmas season and the last, where I felt like I was wandering helplessly in darkness.

I feel like there is always a space to push back the darkness of fear and anxiety with the Light of truth, but it’s a vulnerable place to enter into. Especially because I don’t feel like I won the struggle, and that is humbling and humiliating for this prideful soul to admit. Jesus won, Jesus brought light into that dark night of the soul, but I shut him out for a long while in the process because fear whispered that if I let Him in, things would only get worse. But I tried to fight through on my own and I found depression to be my closest friend. Nights of insomnia and days where I fell asleep after 2 cups of coffee because I was so scared of the darkness that I could only sleep in the light. My “ministry” was nonexistent because I could barely pull myself out of bed and the joy in my heart dimmed to flicker that I couldn’t find on even the best days. Sadness wrapped me close and despair clung to my skirt hem, and I felt that there was a glass ceiling between me and God and I couldn’t break it no matter how hard I tried. But God gives sweet grace upon grace. In the midst of my mess He brought me to a place of safety and opened the door for healing and I found answers to the questions in my heart and saw a glimmer of hope where before there had been none. God gave me rest and wrapped me in the abundance of HIs loving embrace and I went to counseling and had wise people surrounding me, pointing me ever back to truth, even when I didn’t want to hear it. I stopped running from faith and tried to figure out what it means to me and how it learns to glow and be shaped when placed in the fire. Jesus met me there. He had been waiting for me to let him in and the glass ceiling shattered. I could sleep again, I could see glimmers of light in the dark situations, and fear finally shut up long enough for me to hear the voice of my Shepherd, leading me Home.

And I am in awe of my Savior. He could have come in might and power with a loud roaring voice, forcing me to shut up and recognize his holiness. But he led me gently, again and again putting truth before me, even when I ran away from Him. When I sought Him but refused to listen, he didn’t leave me. He stayed close so I would know I was so loved, if only I would seek his eyes in the chaos and read the mercy and steadfast love there. And when I refused to look because I was scared and I couldn’t take the oppressive darkness and I crumbled under the weight of expectations, he took me out of the fear-riddled land and put me in a place of abundance. He took me from the wilds of Karamoja where my team was falling apart, to the safe haven of Alongside where I learned how to trust again.

And this Christmas I see light all around me, such a contrast to the darkness of last year. All I can do is kneel in awe and wonder at the way our Jesus can redeem. Without him, I am nothing, I have nothing. But he has forgiven me time and again and given me every good gift. In him, I have found abundance. Abundant grace and love and joy and truth to fight back the lies that the darkness still tries to whisper. My faith has been tested in the fire and emerged stronger because of His hand of grace in me. This is a story I want to shout from the rooftops because truly Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. He has been with me every step of this journey and I would be lost and wandering alone in darkness apart from his grace upon grace. What a story. This babe that came to earth in the form of a human, so he might know our pain and carry our sorrows and cover our innumerable sins. This man who was fully God who lived and died and rose again so I might truly live. This God, who is coming back for us all who have faith in Him, a second coming that will reveal his holiness to the whole world. That’s what I’m watching with wide-eyed wonder this Christmas: the powerful works of a Holy Savior who loves us too much to let us stumble alone through the messes we make for ourselves.

uncomfortable grace

The road is harder than you expected it to be and you’re struggling more than you think you should. People say you’re growing but somehow that doesn’t seem very comforting. It’s hard to see and feel God in these seasons, and fear and doubt creep closer than you like, vicious dogs snapping at your heels and making you wonder what the point of it all is.

Uncomfortable grace.

I was introduced to this idea by Paul David Tripp in his devotional New Morning Mercies:

“Yes, your life is messy and hard, but that’s not a failure of the plan; it is the plan. It’s God working to complete what he’s begun in you. … We all need to teach and encourage each other with the theology of uncomfortable grace, because on this side of eternity, God’s grace often comes to us in uncomfortable forms. It may not be what you and I want, but it is precisely what we need. God is faithful; he will use the brokenness of the world that is your present address to complete the loving work of personal transformation that he has begun.”

We know that following Jesus requires sacrifice and suffering. That this is expected, not abnormal. Yet somehow— we all do it— when the trials come we look up in consternation and ask where is God?

How can we live in such a way that to suffer is expected? To change the entitled, comfort-driven mindset that we are bequeathed by our culture at birth to a mind that can see the hand of God in the adverse circumstances, transforming us ever more into the people He wants us to be?

Adverse circumstances are not all designed by God to bring about our transformation. Many are simply the result of a fallen world and the fact that, although God has the final victory, currently the king of the earth is a violent, sadistic, evil fallen being who loves nothing more than to wreak havoc and chaos to keep us all in confusion and distrustful of the God who made us. But the fact remains that God can use even the evil of this one for His glory. He can bring good from bad and beauty from ashes. The story isn’t over yet, and God will have the last word.

So this uncomfortable grace. Uncomfortable because it isn’t the warm and fluffy word we once thought it was, but a refining fire. It’s a grace that loves us too much to allow us to stay in shallow comfort and pulls us ever deeper. It’s a grace that whispers “I’m near; you are not alone” when the crap hits the fan again and again and you feel as if surely you can’t take much more. But so often we (I mean me) are more likely to doubt God’s goodness and character and faithfulness because it doesn’t make sense to our culturally-conditioned minds. Surely, if you love someone, don’t you protect them from harm? Not always. Not if it means growth and transformation and holiness. This is hard. So very very hard. God knows about letting his children suffer to bring about a greater glory and greater good than the one’s comfort. And oh don’t you see it dear heart? When you refuse to trust and stubbornly cry against the unfairness and injustice of it all instead of trusting the God who is holding it all… you’re letting the evil one have his way. You’re letting him separate you from the one who loves you endlessly.

I’m learning this, slowly by slowly. It’s hard. I’m not a quick learner. But oh the beauty of this grace that is not fluffy and comfy but messy and muddy and real… that meets us in the hurt and says— good will come out of this yet. Keep on trusting.

Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water;

yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Psalm 66:8-12

…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping in the time-tested and proven character of my loving and faithful Creator God, who knows the ins and outs of this story so much better than I do. The day to day waiting isn’t so pleasant, but it’s a process. And I’m learning to be okay with the messy in-between because He hasn’t failed me yet. So very thankful today for grace, in every form that He gives it.

To the ones who want to change the world

They handed me my diploma and said, “Go change the world.” So with a heart full of dreams and a head full of nursing theory I set out to do just that. I knew I didn’t know everything, but I did know quite a lot. And moving to Africa was sure to be the biggest adventure yet.

My feet found red dirt and quickly grew calloused, and my hair became steadily more wild. Here I was, long skirts and chacos, living the dream. I found myself in a tribe of people whose language was unlike anything I’ve ever heard, and did not resemble the catchy songs in Lion King so much as deep, drum-thudding rhythms of the earth itself. My tongue twisted and stumbled over strange syllables and I couldn’t walk anywhere without the color of my skin making me stand out like some neon beacon. I told Jesus stories and found myself helping to start a clinic in the middle of the bush, something that my BSN did not begin to prepare me for. So what if living the dream doesn’t look quite so dreamy in the hard real of the daily grind? When your clothes smell like bush, no matter how many times they’re washed and meals take hours to prepare, and sometimes surviving seems to take all the energy you have for the day. When the language still is a struggle and the people are entrenched in witchcraft and tribalism that is heartbreaking to see. It doesn’t look much like I’m changing the world. It doesn’t look like I’m doing much of anything. But the talk in town about the clinic run by the muzungu (white) girls is that you leave there feeling better, not just in your body but also your soul, because they genuinely care and pray with each patient. Mother Teresa said, “we can do no great things, only small things with great love.” That was my senior quote back in the class of 2011 at DHS. I thought I understood it then, but I’m learning everyday how true it is for missionary life. So the clinic keeps rocking on, and I feel overwhelmed by my role as doctor- diagnosing and prescribing treatment, praying desperately for Jesus to help them because I really wasn’t trained for this. But it is making some kind of difference. People are still hearing the name of Jesus. It’s not earth-shattering or world-changing, but it’s me being obedient and that’s all Jesus asks of each of us anyway.

image

I came to the ends of the earth to do my part in changing the world. But I’m learning that maybe God had a different kind of plan. Maybe He brought me all this way to change me. You read that story about God going out for the lost sheep, for the one who needs to know his love, the one who has strayed from the flock… and ambitious little Amanda-girl packs her bags and hops on a plane to partner with Jesus in finding that one lost sheep. Imagine my surprise, then, when I’m covered in this red dust of Africa and tears lurk at the corners of my eyes because I really thought that I would be better at this missionary thing… and God whispers to my heart that’s wrapped in the lies of not-good-enough, “Don’t you see, my daughter? You’re the one. You’re the wandering sheep I’m after. This life season I’m changing you.” But that feels incredibly selfish and self-absorbed doesn’t it? That God would bring me all the way to Africa to change me. What about these people wandering in darkness who need Your light? And again that peaceful voice, “I’m making my light shine through you brighter because of the work I’m doing in your heart. You are not the shepherd. You are one of the sheep. You are the one whose heart I am after because you need to know me more in order to shout my love from the mountaintops. I am teaching you.” There’s peace and freedom in that. I don’t have to work harder or do more to be a better missionary. I have to do what He calls each of us to do: abide in Him. Listen and obey. Give love to our fellow humans. Tell His story of grace come down- every follower of Jesus has a story like that.

There’s still a piece of my heart that dreams of changing the world. But I now know that it looks different than what I once thought. It looks like loving the people God puts in your path today. Loving each human- the one. Because that is what He has done for me. He has seen me and known me and come after me, the one silly stubborn wandering sheep. And that changes everything. These are the steps that change the world for someone. You, with Jesus-love in your heart and an ear tuned to His voice saying “This is the way, walk in it” can do small big things. But don’t miss how He might be working on your heart too.

Souls wrapped in fragile flesh

If only I could show you. If only I could take you by the hand and walk these red dirt roads… greeting friends and strangers as goats and cows wander through the bush. I would have you come sit in the clinic and just watch as the souls pass through in frail human bodies… wracked with malaria and respiratory infections and arthritis that grips their joints like a vise. Pain and fevers as they come explaining their sickness, looking with hope at the white girls with medicine. And as I kneel before them, taking their temperature and listening to the rise and fall of breath in lungs and the steady heartbeat of another survivor, my soul cries out against the darkness. Not this one. No more. This has been a place of darkness and hopelessness for too long. I offer them medicine but point to Jesus as the hope of true healing, soul-healing that every last one of us needs. I may never know the souls who seek and find the Savior, but that makes my job even more crucial- we all need a little love and we never know when loving will cause them to look at the Source- Jesus.

Then to leave the clinic and meet with the believers as they learn Jesus-stories to tell in their villages… and the discussion of the story feels like Jesus himself came to sit among us. The story from John 11 of Lazarus and Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life. And seeing the understanding dawn on their faces- that just because we face difficulty does not mean that Jesus doesn’t care, in fact, he cares deeply and he knows our fragile, fallen human tendencies, so He gives us opportunities to have faith and to show His glory. This is something they can carry with them. A story to put in their pocket and write upon their hearts- the compassion and love of our Lord is unending, but the difficult days grow our faith and point to His incomprehensible glory.

This. These people slowly by slowly finding hope and true life– truths my people have known for decades upon decades but these were dying without even knowing that there was a path to life eternal. This is why I will always choose the hard, uncomfortable, abnormal, and not exactly safe life that I am currently living. I can’t live safe and comfortable and not share this treasure- that would be the most selfish way to spend my days.

I recently had a friend tell me of a conversation he had with a guy in America who was looking at the possibility of spending a few months of his life in an uncomfortable, war-ravaged, poverty-stricken place to share the good news of Jesus. This guy’s pastor dissuaded him because it might be “needlessly dangerous.”
….. um….
To that I say– ask anyone living in a “dangerous” place… it’s worth it. The need is REAL. The easy places already know truth. What’s left? The places and people who need to see Jesus-love from souls who carry vast treasure in a jar of clay, people who love Jesus more than their own lives, and whose hearts break at the knowledge of the dying masses who simply don’t know hope because they haven’t been told. Maybe the brave faith that this life requires looks a bit too radical for you… but take it from a girl who fights the lies of fear every single day- we’re just choosing obedience and then walking in his strength. You can be that kind of brave too.

Every single one of us Jesus-followers are commanded to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20)… but only you know what that looks like for your life. Jesus will show you where and who if your ears are open to listen and obey. But don’t you dare step between God and someone else’s obedience. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God,” (Colossians 3:3). I guarantee you that we were not saved from death and an eternity in hell to only sit in a pew on Sundays and Wednesdays. And when did Jesus or Paul or anyone in Scripture not go somewhere simply because it might be dangerous? They walked straight into danger if that’s where God was leading because they knew that obedience would lead to his glory faster than any “safe” option that they could come up with. So, dear heart, hear me say this with love in my voice: You were not created to live small and scared. You received freedom with faith to follow Jesus to the literal ends of the earth. So hear every one of us living obedience cheering you on, as well as those whose names and stories teach us much about faith in Hebrews 11… you aren’t walking alone. And my Jesus is more than enough and worth it all.

The need is real, the workers are few, and the call for obedience applies to you too.
Are you listening?

Much love.

Baggage Control

Rushing through the airport, missing a flight, waiting and waiting on a solution and to find a way back to Africa. Two day layover, needing my luggage and then waiting again for them to find it in the huge airport. And as I was sitting on that hard plastic chair in a bright white room with other people who are also just waiting, I realized something. 1. Adventures aren’t always fun. Sometimes they’re time-consuming and stressful and hard. 2.God has been growing this heart of mine. I really have changed. I’m not the same person I used to be, and this is good because it means ever so slowly I am learning to look more like Jesus.
Those of you who know me know that I am not especially patient. I like to be busy and I don’t like waiting in lines or waiting for things to happen… any form of waiting I’m typically against. But God has been ever so gently erasing my stubbornness in this area and teaching me the fruit of patience. I also have a bit of me that likes to be in control and make sure things go smoothly and efficiently and according to plan. Well, when you miss your flight and are at the mercy of airport personnel, you are definitely not in control and there will definitely be much waiting involved. So there I was. Sipping on my water and watching the people outside the glass walls collect their baggage and go on their way to explore Dubai. I just wanted the ordeal to be over, but I realized, in spite of the stress of the situation so far, I was not tapping my foot impatiently and frantically reaching for my music or book or anything to occupy my mind so I wouldn’t feel the strain of the waiting. I was sitting calmly, watching National Treasure play on the TV across the room and smiling a bit at how it reminded me of America. I was calm. I had some strange peace that in spite of everything, it was going to work out and be ok. And my heart turned to lift praise heavenward because truly this was the work of God in my life… I was waiting patiently, calmly. And maybe it seems like such a small thing to you, but let me tell you dear heart- celebrate the small victories. They matter and the work God is doing in your heart to make you more like Him is something to be celebrated. And maybe it was no coincidence that I was sitting in Baggage Control when God revealed His nearness to me. When we’re so focused on our own crap and how we don’t measure up, it’s easy to miss the ways God wants to guide us into growth. When I’m anxious and stressed and trying to hold tightly to my plan, then I’m carrying a weight I was never meant to bear. God has everything perfectly within His control. So maybe we all have a little baggage we can drop at the door, to lighten our load as we run this race of following Jesus. Maybe mine is my need to make things happen and control all the things… because God is still on the throne, and He really doesn’t need my help. So I may not ever stop making a plan, but if I can wait patiently when the plan changes and calmly trust that God’s got it handled… I think I can say I’m making progress on this following Him thing. And I did eventually get my luggage and proceeded to enjoy an unexpected 2 day layover in Dubai. So that’s a bit of my crazy life and what God is teaching me. Maybe this story will meet you where you are and bring some encouragement. Regardless, this is for those with victory in their veins who see Jesus moving and look for ways to give Him praise… because regardless of how bad it gets we still have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for you, reading this. May you find more of Jesus today than you did yesterday. Much love.

Real talk

One year ago I started a journey. Now I am sitting in a friend’s apartment in Istanbul, a friendship that was formed in the weeks of training in Virginia, preparing us for this international life. I didn’t know life would look like this. But I wouldn’t choose any other life either. It’s so hard to explain, but I am going to try. Social media catches the highlights… because who wants to scroll through their newsfeed and see “Today was a struggle…again”? But maybe that’s the real our hearts are longing for? To know that we aren’t shuffling through the hard struggle days on our own. To know that someone else knows that hard days come more often than we like to admit but the word of the day is persevere… because it is worth it. Living in the middle of where the Father has called you to be is always worth it.
My life looks like some kind of grand adventure from the outside. Many days it is a bigger adventure than I ever dreamed I would live. But it’s hard. It’s hard and not glamorous and I wouldn’t be a friend if I hid that from you. And me? I’m not perfect. Sometimes I’m too selfish and not caring and choosing comfort is easier than choosing love.
Can I tell you something though? I’m learning to give myself grace. I’m learning to be ok with the small steps of everyday. I’m learning to persevere on days when I just really don’t feel like getting out of bed. I never thought I would struggle this much. I never thought that when I was right in the middle of the life I dreamed of that I would want to run away.
But my Father knew I would stumble and struggle and brave wouldn’t be some easy thing that I woke up with everyday. He knew I would need encouragement and grace and His word to sustain me.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 12:1-3

The cross was always before Jesus. He always knew the hard that was coming. But that didn’t keep him from pouring out love and offering healing and speaking grace to the people who would soon reject and crucify Him. And because He lives in me, I can love and give grace like this too. I can keep my eyes on His truth and persevere, because He truly is worth it all. AND SO CAN YOU. I don’t know what lies you have let creep in and take up residence in the dusty corners of your heart, but you, dear heart, don’t have to let them stay. Too long the enemy has stolen my joy and replaced hope with discouragement and fear. Can we all just stand up and say “no more”? We are children of light if we have a relationship with the Father… and His power is greater than any hard day or storm tossed sea. Maybe you think you could never do what I am doing, but hear me loud and clear: I am just like you. Fallen, broken, selfish, struggling to give myself grace and love others well. I simply chose to believe that God was bigger than my small dreams and said yes to the big adventure He was leading me into. Obedience. That’s the thing (combined with perseverance once you’re in the middle of it and it gets hard) that makes the difference. That’s the key to the door that unlocks God’s bigger things and life abundant that we all long for. So run your race. Throw love like confetti and let His grace be loud in your life. Let His glory shining through your smile be what you are known for… and believe Him for the big impossible things and the brave for today. Don’t let those lies weigh you down anymore. And by His grace, I’m going to believe this too. I’m going to walk in these truths and see life like the some kind of beautiful it is. It matters that you’re here on this earth. You have a purpose and I do not want fear to keep any of us from living abundantly.

Vacation is ending and I’m heading back to the bush. There’s a large part of me that wants to be anxious for the hard that I know is coming. But a larger part of me remembers that the God who put me here knows me intimately, and He is not leaving me to struggle through on my own. The people I live with are beautiful. The need is real but so is this brave spark He put in me… the spark that yearns for every person to intimately know the heartbeat of our Savior.

So let’s do this life thing. I believe in Jesus in you.