Sunday, October 30, 2016

I found... People

Earlier this year, I set out on a grand adventure leading a group of five rambunctious teen and twenty-somethings around the world, ready to embark on the seeming greatest journey of our lives. With the fire of passion and excitement for Jesus and the nations in our eyes, we were ready to change the world, advance the Kingdom of God, and see his glory made known all over the globe. Our bags were packed and we were ready; by the time we arrived at the airport, I was so full of excitement I was sure I was going to explode. I love travel, I love Jesus, I love outreach.

And then, somewhere in the midst of those long flights and new food and beautiful places and ministry, I found something I didn't realize I was missing... people.

Not just a new stamp on my passport.
Not just a beautiful ocean, jungle, river, mountain, city.
Not just a new culture.
Not just the homeless.
Not just refugees.
Not just tourists.
Not just a restaurant staff.

But people. A person. A face, a life, a name, a story. Scooter. Ashley. Ahmed. Lily. Cherie.

Living, breathing humans who are not different than us. Who've been through good things and bad, and have dreams for their life.

In the midst of desiring to see God move in a large scale, I stood face to face with individuals. I stared into their eyes and saw pain, joy, hopelessness, dreams, loneliness, hunger, peace, fear, love. I heard their stories. I loved them, and they me... and we became friends. From this place of friendship I was able to share of Jesus, or just speak truth into their life.

Missions is people. People are life.
Missions is life.

Love people today, wherever you are. Stand up for the Truth. Encourage someone. Remind them of hope. Let them know they're not forgotten or alone. Really be there for someone.

Look closely, and you'll realize that the eyes of people you'll meet today look strangely similar to the eyes of people you'll meet around the world. Pay attention to them.

Sunday, July 3, 2016


Tonight I'm missing those times of spending eight hours a day talking with refugees...

Asking them what kind of clothing they needed, what their sizes were... Packing these never-ending stacks of yellow bags with their "clothing order"... Searching to find their tent out of hundreds... And seeing the smile on their face when we finally got to bring them the clothing they desperately needed.
Even constantly having to tell people "No, I'm sorry, we don't have [fill in the blank]"... Even when we would get frustrated with the inefficiency of our system (how are you supposed to logically clothe 4,000 people?!)... Even when we couldn't find their tents or they would scream at us for not having what they needed... 
I would take ALL of it back, the good AND the hard, just to be back there with those sweet, hurting, lovely people again. I miss walking around camp, simply smiling at them, watching their faces light up. I miss hearing "my friend, my friend!" every ten feet. I miss sitting in tents and units with my refugee friends and translators, just hearing their stories, playing cards, loving them, sharing a meal together. I miss goofing around with my translator friends and trying to learn their languages. I miss constantly carrying around a mini notebook and pen in my pocket to attempt to record the needs of everyone who stopped us so that maybe, if we had an extra few minutes, I could get them that shirt or pair of shoes that they needed. I miss seeing the miracles of more clothing arriving only an hour or two after completely running out of that specific item, of hearing riots beginning outside of our tent - but then dissipate within minutes after praying for peace.

Maybe it's a weird thing to miss, but I miss that overcrowded refugee camp called Moria. I miss my dear friends there... You are never far from my heart.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Every Conversation...

... Brings the potential for God to speak.

It's not always easy being on staff with YWAM. People enter and then leave your life every 3-6 months, and somehow in those few short months between hearts mesh together. But then they leave, and it hurts, and you start it all over again. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE what I do. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Today was one of those days. My first YPDTS students graduated today! And it's this bizarre mix of feelings... I'm seriously SO overjoyed at all the Lord has done in their lives! He's grown them, encouraged them, changed them, loved them, challenged them, and this week has felt like one of sheer VICTORY. Seeing them again after they've been on outreach the last two months is overwhelmingly beautiful. There are so many areas in each of their lives that we'd been praying for, fighting for, desiring to grow in... and now two months later they're here, back, and it's happened! Jesus has DONE it! They are walking in so much more freedom and identity and love... the list could go on and on. I'm so proud of them, of their vulnerability with each other and the Lord, and the way they've allowed Jesus to push them out of their comfort zones to discover who they really are!

And yet, they're leaving. Some will be back in a few months, others I don't know when (if) I'll see again. And so despite the joy and victory, my heart is also so heavy. These dear sweet friends are gone, as quick as that.

Now I'm left here, pondering the last five months and all that has happened. Where did the time go? How did it fly by so quickly? And I'm reminded of the beauty of relationships. How sweet is it that the Lord can bring together complete strangers, and in a matter of weeks they've become close friends?!

God often moves and speaks in the context of relationships. Think about that for a moment. God often moves and speaks in the context of relationships. And how often do we just hop on our phones? Or "not feel like" saying hi or talking to someone?

I'm reminded of the importance of being intentional with every person in every moment. Life comes, and life goes. If we don't take the time for a smile, hello, or conversation, what are we missing? A new friend? A deep conversation? Encouragement? I don't want to miss out on any opportunities the Lord has for me because I'm too busy not wanting to be bothered! I want to love well. I want to be intentional. I want to pay attention to each and every moment, not missing an opportunity the Lord might have for meet someone new, love someone, or be encouraged by them!

Will you join me in being intentional? Don't let life pass by missing out on beautiful opportunities. Every interaction with someone - whether a stranger or close friend - has the potential for encouragement, beauty, hope, and love.

Join me! Let's learn to love well.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

An Open Letter to all #travelers with #wanderlust

Let me start by saying that I would identify myself as one of you. I too am a #traveler with #wanderlust. This past week I visited my sixth new country, which happened to be Mexico (and can I add that their tacos really ARE as good as everyone says?!), and today I just booked tickets to travel around the world from March through June, adding six more stamps to my passport! I love everything to do with travel, adventure, the adrenaline of exploring new places, and the mystery of the unknown. I live in Denver, Colorado, and if a few weeks pass that I don't have a chance to sneak away into the mountains for a hike, beautiful drive, exploring, or SOMETHING, I feel like I'm going to go crazy. I study maps for the fun of it, and google random cities just to see their pictures.

I know you, traveler, understand the feeling of wanderlust. There's nothing like the urge to just go - to anywhere - just to see, taste, touch, feeling, and experience everything this world has to offer. And I will agree wholeheartedly, there truly is nothing like the feeling of standing on top of a silhouetted mountain, or exploring a vividly green jungle, or watching the sun set in its vast array of color over the ocean waves. There really is something that touches our soul about nature; and not only nature, but cities. And places. And people.

But the more I travel, the more I see, the more places I go, the more I realize that there is actually something that tugs at my heart even deeper than this feeling we describe as wanderlust, and the joy, fulfillment, and beauty we experience upon reaching that desired place. I'm beginning to discover this passion deep inside of me that far surpasses any #wanderlust. 

I had a revelation this morning that if I keep trying to dream up my own life, I'm actually limiting myself. Because there is Someone who knows the world, and knows my heart, and is actually dreaming even bigger than I could have EVER imagined.

And that someone... He is someone special. That someone is KING JESUS!! How sweet that name is, how kind his heart! He reaches down from heaven - God and man in one - and comes to us, picks us up, covered in mud, out from the darkness we shamefully hid in; he brings us into the light, infuses us with never-ending life, and claims us as HIS own. He brings us into his house, treats us as his own children, and adopts us into his family forever! Because he's the King, we become royalty - surely not because we deserve it, but simply because he choose to lavish his loving kindness upon us! And as we live with him we begin to look more and more like our new family and less and less like the dirty beggar we used to be. The King even goes so far as to put his seal of authority and power in us (the former beggars!), and gives us the assignment of ambassadors - to represent his goodness to those still dying on the streets and release his goodness into the world. All he asks is that we walk around as "mini-Kings", looking like him, to show everyone who the Father is, and invite them to join this family - which, of course, is hardly a sacrifice! I surely don't want to go back to dying on the street. And so it is with this joyful, rescued, freed, redeemed life, I get to spend eternity praising this King and proclaiming his love and goodness to the hurting, broken, dying world.

And this, my fellow travelers, goes far deeper than #wanderlust ever could. There are only so many places you can go in the world... but the beauty of Jesus is never ending. Ironically, when we say yes to Jesus, the King, and lay down our own desires for our life, eager to live with him and look like him so people can know his goodness - we actually end up doing even greater things than we could have dreamed on our own!! Because it's really not even about us. It's about Him.

We used to be beggars dying in the street, remember? But no longer...

"You see, we don't go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, 'Let there be light in the darkness,' has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves." 2 Corinthians 4:5-7

"So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, 'Come back to God!'" 2 Corinthians 5:20

So come. Join me in this great adventure of magnifying King Jesus above all else. Follow him, listen to him, trust him. Say yes when he asks you to give everything. He gave everything for you.

My #wanderlust is for the King of all Kings, Jesus - and I will spend my life worshiping him and inviting every heart on earth to be a part of this family. This is what your soul was truly created for, dear traveler - don't let the world steal your true purpose. As you embark on your many adventures, may your #wanderlust be not only for places and people, but also for the King.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

When Ministry becomes an Outflow...

Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to tell people about Jesus. Growing up, we had friends who were missionaries in Indonesia. Every four years they came home on furlough, and every four years we would connect with them again, see their pictures, and hear their stories.

I remember one particular night, I must have been only 8 or 10 years old, crying myself to sleep after a night spent with these friends. My young heart, already so passionate, broke at the thought of all these Indonesian people living in remote villages who had never even heard the name of Jesus before. I remember laying in my bed, crying, pleading, "Jesus, I want to go. I want to tell them about you! Let me go tell them!"

In my teens I was fascinated by "witnessing" - explaining to others who Jesus is. I bought a book on witnessing and dove into it. Throughout the whole book, I was so convicted and stirred. I knew I needed to share the Gospel with people, but I had absolutely no clue what that meant or looked like - and I was terrified (especially being a naturally shy person). But still, somehow, this unspeakable urge continued to grow inside of me.

I remember one day, I was probably a junior or senior in high school, and my best friends and I were hanging out, chatting, in the pool. The subject somehow turned to evangelism (knowing me I probably brought it up, lol!!) and I shared with them how I felt like witnessing was something I - we - needed to do. Yes, I brought all them into this. :) At that point I still had absolutely no grid for what that actually meant - I just knew that it was something the Bible said to do, and if you were a "really good Christian" it's something you should do. For some reason, they decided to go along with it, and the next day, we went to a park. I have absolutely no recollection of the conversation/s we had with people there but I do remember that we tried to talk to people (at least one lady) and it was awkward and none of us had a clue what we were doing.

I laugh thinking about that experience now.

Praise God, I've learned and grown a lot in the area of evangelism in the last few years... mostly from following around people who are gifted in evangelism, just doing it, and having conversations with Jesus about it. :)

But in the last few weeks I've seen so much breakthrough in this area of my life, and I want to share it with you.

If evangelism, and ministry as a whole, are coming from a place of "I should/need to do this", I think we're missing the point entirely. Even if we're loving them, but we're striving to "get people saved", I think we're falling short of the beauty, the simplicity, the easiness and even the joy of evangelism! And yes, I did say easy. I'm finding, the more you learn, the more you practice, evangelism is EASY. It is the most natural thing in the world.

Evangelism becomes easy because it become an outflow of the crazy, unexplainable love and grace I've received. It's sounds too simple, but it really IS THIS EASY.  I have experienced the unconditional love of a Father who says I'm absolutely incredible. And I get to share that with people!! So when I'm in the grocery store, and I see someone with crutches, and God puts a little stirring in my heart to go pray for them, I get to walk over and share the beauty of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. I get to tell them that I believe in Jesus, and that he's real, and that he told me to come over and pray for them - that God sees them, and knows them,  and loves them. That they're not alone, but fully known and fully loved. And I get to pray for healing for their ankle, and even if I don't see anything happen, they are still touched that someone cared enough to talk with and pray for them - and ultimately that God is thinking about them and caring about them.

It means that when I'm out doing one of my most favorite things in the world, dancing, (salsa dancing in this instance), and the guy I'm dancing with asks me what I do, I get to tell him that I'm a missionary. That I love Jesus. And we end up dancing 3 dances in a row simply because he's curious to know why I would give my life so fully to a "religion". That's the thing, though - I've not given my life to a religion! I've given it to a person. My best friend. And He is so desperately in love with me and the rest of the world and he wants them to know it!! And so I get to share it. And so by the end of our 3-dance conversation, he asks if I can send him the info for my church because he's curious to know more about a relationship with Jesus.

Because GOD IS REAL!!! He's not a concept. He's not a religion. He's not a distant someone we are trying to please. He's a PERSON. That is madly in love with this hurting, broken world. That, because of Jesus, accepts us no matter what we've done. We don't have to please him. He's ALREADY pleased with us. And then, when we believe this is true, he chooses to use US to demonstrate this passionate love to the dying world!!! If that isn't crazy, radical, and beautiful, then I don't know what is.

It is a beauty, an honor, and a privilege to carry and release the radical love of a personal God to this world. And, aside from purely knowing, loving, and seeking Jesus myself, it is the most fun, exhilarating, LIFE-GIVING thing I ever do. Period. Nothing else comes closes. Because I love him. And he loves me. And I get to bring that to others so they can experience this same passionate, radical love and unconditional acceptance.

So I want to challenge you. What if you just told someone today that Jesus saw them and is thinking about them and loves them? What if you asked the Holy Spirit if there was someone that needed to hear about hope, or love, or grace? It's not about giving people information - it's sharing what you've received. And so I want to invite YOU - will you pour out what you have received? If you know his love deep in your heart, then overflow that. If you've had an encounter with his grace, share it. You can't overflow what you haven't received. And if you're simply trying to dispense information or "get someone saved", we've come back to trying to do stuff in our own efforts - which won't get us very far.

So I propose to you that evangelism is easy. That's it's just loving people, and showing them that it's the love of Jesus pursuing their hearts. It might be nerve-wracking at first, but just go for it. The more you practice, the easier it will be.

I don't want any of you to miss out on this joy. And I don't want Jesus to not receive what he paid for. Because he is worthy of everything. Let your love for others, and ministry, and evangelism be an OVERFLOW of what you've received - his perfect, beautiful love.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

When plans change...

I thought I had it figured out. I thought I knew what was next. My Worship, Intercession, Spiritual Warfare, Evangelism (WISE) School I'm in ends mid September. I thought I was going to Washington DC for a 3 week outreach, then home for 2 weeks, then going to Uganda for 10 months. It looked like it fit perfectly, His hand was on my plans and He was opening crazy doors for me.

And then, in a matter of a week and a half, things started to fall apart. And in the course of a few hours today, my plans for the next year of my life crumbled to the ground, and God's been stirring new things in my heart.

What do you do when God changes your plans? What do you when he changes them, after you were SURE you heard his voice?

This is the place I've been at for the last week and a half.

It's a constant battle; am I going to live in the flesh, full of fear, worry, anxiety, and uncertainty? Or am I going to live in the Spirit, walking in Jesus' peace and presence, confident that He's secure even when my circumstances are not?

Sometimes my flesh wins. But lately, my Spirit's been winning. In those moments, when I don't know what to do, when the only logical thing seems to curl up on my bed and cry or let fear and uncertainty swirl through my head, I've found there's only one thing I CAN do.

I have to CHOOSE to seek Him. To seek His Presence. To press into Him, even when I don't understand. Because HE does. And in those moments, He is NEAR. Oh, so near. I think often I hear his voice the clearest in times of hardship because I'm forced to press into Him all the more.

And the words He speaks... Oh, I would die without them! They are so sweet, so tender, so gentle. Full of love and compassion, He speaks to me more tenderly than I ever imagined a Father could.

"It's okay, my daughter. Press into me. I'm here."

"Don't worry about what's next. I'm with you. Whatever you choose, I'll be right by your side."

"Take my hand! I'll lead you step by step. When you need to know what's next, I'll show you, a little at a time."

"You don't need to be afraid or overwhelmed. I'm here, and I'm not going to leave you."

"Your destination is not a country or place, it's ME."

How sweet these words are, how life-giving to my soul! He is so good, full of unfailing mercy and compassion. He doesn't scorn us because we're afraid; he takes our hand and walks with us, step by step. How wonderful He is! How beautiful His Presence!

So when those moments come, what will you do? Push him away because you think he doesn't understand or because you're just too confused? I pray you will have the courage to press into Him even more so. Because He's LONGING for you to draw near. He wants to whisper in your ear, "I'm with you. I'm never going to leave you."

So in that moment, will you let him love on you? Will you let HIM be God?

Because He's good. All the time.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Change the World?

As I listened to a song about "changing the world” this morning, I realized how commonplace this phrase has become. We see it on billboards, hear politicians talk about it, and sing songs about it. But why? What’s so significant about ‘changing the world?’
I believe it's so much deeper than actually ‘changing the world’. It’s not simply about our actions, but about our heart. Those three simple words, ‘Change the World’, pull on our heartstrings and ignite a flame often hidden or repressed within us. We hear those words, and something inside us leaps 10 feet off the ground. “Yes!” we think. “I want that!”
Because whether we admit it or not, the truth is that we all long for something more. For something more than the brand on our clothes, more than the car we drive, more than the friends that make us popular, more than the city in which we live, more than our tedious job or neverending schoolwork, more than even a relationship. Sometimes these things can make us happy or seem fulfilled for a time, but then the excitement fades, and we’re back to where we started, left feeling (perhaps even subconsciously) more empty than before.
Because ultimately, we all long for something bigger than us. We long to be significant, to do something significant. We yearn for something deep – something that will last.
And you know what? That’s not wrong. That’s not wrong thinking, and it’s definitely not wrong to yearn for that. Did you know that it’s OKAY to long for something more? Beautiful and perfect, even? Now, just to get things straight, I’m not talking about discontentment. I’m not saying discontentment is okay. (Because it’s not.) I’m talking about something entirely different here: a longing, a yearning in the depths of our soul for something more, for something significant, for something that really, truly MATTERS.
Did you know Jesus wove that desire in you when he formed you with His own hands?! See, you were MADE for more! You were MADE to be significant, to do something that lasts. And with every beat of your heart that cries for something deeper, Jesus says, “Yes! You’re so right, you’re finally getting it! I made you for so much more than that! Don’t you see, I made you for ME. I made you to live in a body that wouldn’t die. I made you to long to be loved with a love that won’t fade away with time. I made you to do things that will last through eternity!”
The thing is, we get so mixed up that we try to find that depth, that meaning, that joy in this world. Newsflash: It’s not going to happen! There is nothing – literally NOTHING in this world that can fully satisfy our hearts in the way that we so deeply long for. We weren’t made for this world!
We were made for Jesus. And it’s only in Him that our hearts can be truly satisfied. So that’s why we long to change the world. Cause it’s what we were created to do.
What are you going do TODAY that will last for eternity? With every act of love, we bring the Kingdom come. So get up. Go do it! Love one another "so long as it is today"!!
Check out Hebrews 3:13, Jude 1:20-21, 1 John. :)
Hopefully I will write more on this topic soon.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Living by Worry?

Growing up, George Muller was one of my favorite missionary biographies to read. Why? Because He lived by faith. In other words, He trusted God. I mean REALLY trusted God. Like when he had NO food to feed the 300 kids at his orphanage for breakfast one morning. But he prays in faith, believing that God will provide for them. And out of nowhere the baker shows up and says he got up at 2 to make bread for them. And then the milkman's cart breaks down right in front of the orphanage and he gives all the milk to them!

This was not an irregular occurrence for George Muller. Hundreds of times, he would have no money or food. But he had faith. And God always provided whatever he needed.

Or take, for instance, when I went to Thailand. The orphanage we stayed at was started and run by a Christian man named Pasa Simon whose story was very similar to George Mullers' - he trusted God for everything. Like when God brought him to 3 kids in the middle of the jungle, and told him, "You will adopt them." He has no money. No land. No house. "God, if this you, please provide for us." 2 days later, 3 guys from Samaritan's Purse show up and give him $36,000 to buy the land and build a house there!

This was not an irregular occurrence for Pasa Simon, either. Hundreds of times, he would have no money or food. But he had faith. And God always provided whatever he needed, and more.

Every time I hear stories like this, it stirs my heart. I want to be like that. I want to live like that. I want to trust Him like that. I want to have faith that he will provide for me even when I have absolutely nothing. This has been a desire of my heart as long as I can remember.

I always thought I would start "living by faith" when I moved to some remote village in the middle of nowhere. But today God flipped my perspective upside down.

I came home from DTS. I thought I would get a job to earn money for more YWAM schools and/or other mission work. But it's been 4 weeks and I still don't have a job. Sure, I've had a few occasional things, but I've made less in the last 4 weeks than I normally do in 1 week.

And I'll be honest. Until this morning, I was worried. I thought I would come home and get a job. I'm doing everything I can to get a job. Why don't I have one?? What if I don't have enough money for whatever God calls me to do next? I'm home, I have time... why can't I get a job?!?!

But in the desperation, in the frantic, in the uncertainty and worry, He spoke to me in a gentle whisper. "If you want to live by faith, you can't have everything planned out or know where money or jobs are always going to come from. Living by faith doesn't start later. It starts now. Are you going to live by worry or by faith?"

My jaw dropped and I sat in silence for a few minutes, stunned. Wow. Yep, I'm sorry, God. I've been living by worry. But I'm done with that. Starting now, I'm going to live by faith. By believing that you are enough. That you satisfy. That you will provide for me. It's not really about the job or the money. It's about You.

And so I ask you, dear friends. Are you going to live by worry or live by faith?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Deep in my heart... {Our story}

New Year’s Day, 2014

I lay back on the couch and sigh, and realize how glad I am I have time just to rest. I’m still a little tired out from last night. As I lay back and relax, my mind goes back to it – New Year’s Eve, not 12 hours ago...
The crowds of people… the floating lanterns we let off… the awesome fellowship with friends… getting lost in the city together… the fireworks that nearly killed us…
It was a fun night. I do miss home a bit, though. I miss being home with my sisters and dear, dear friends that we have a sleepover with every New Years. I remember how every year we would always take time to write down memories… memories from the past year, good or bad; things we’re thankful Jesus brought about. I remember how we then always flip the paper over and write down what we hope or anticipate will happen in the coming year. It’s a way to reflect on and thank Jesus for the last year, and look forward with anticipation to what He’s going to do next.
I don’t want to let New Years pass without taking time to reflect, so even though (technically) it’s January 1st, I start reflecting on the past year. And of course the first thing I think of is YWAM – this crazy place He’s brought me to, where His Presence is so blatantly obvious, and the community is so dear, and wow – how do I even explain ywam?!?! And I reflect some more… and then it hits me.
I dreamed about doing this – almost 10 years ago.
The second year we were homeschooling, our curriculum was all about different countries of the world, their cultures, and religions. I read so many missionary biographies that year (which ironically were published by ywam), and heard so many stories of innumerable places and people who had never heard the Gospel before. Even to my 9-year-old brain, that seemed crazy. They’d NEVER heard about Jesus before?! Well, SOMEBODY’S got to tell them! How sad – how horrible – how heartbreaking – that they’re going through life, day in and day out, living and dying – without EVER hearing about Jesus! It blew my mind. And it’s not even that they chose to not follow Him – they’d never even HEARD about Him!!
And that year, Jesus began to stir something in my soul. A passion. A longing. A desire. Stronger than anything else I’d ever felt before, this seed – so small, yet so incredibly powerful and full of potential – this seed of a dream was planted by Jesus himself in the very depths of my soul.
Sometimes this seed saw the light, and my dream would grow bigger; like when our missionary friends from Indonesia would come home and tell us their stories – and my heart would explode with joy hearing about how another tribe had met The One. Or when I would read yet another missionary biography about an ordinary person who followed God to an extraordinary destiny – and I would think, “Wow. I want that to be me someday.” And in those moments, my dream grew and grew.
But I’m not perfect. And there have been times when I’ve wondered if He planted the wrong seed; like when I would talk with friends who knew exactly what they wanted to do, where they wanted to go to school, and what they wanted to major in, and they had a good, secure life in front of them – and I would just sit there, wondering what in THE WORLD I was doing choosing a life of not knowing, of uncertainty, away from the comfort of home. Or when I would think that this dream was too unattainable, too much of a cloud in the sky, something that I could never actually reach – and I tried to bury the now-small-plant of a dream growing inside my heart.
But praise God that His plans are greater than our doubts!! For though I didn’t realize it, and though I sometimes tried to bury the seed, or wonder if He had planted the wrong one – all the while, He was making it grow; even when I couldn’t see, He was watering it. And every time I tried to cover it up, it would only come bursting out even greater than before!
Like when I went to Ukraine. For two summers in a row, I traveled to Ukraine and helped run an evangelistic English Language Camp. I taught English, played games, formed relationships with the kids, directed skits, and ultimately shared the gospel - and witnessed over a hundred kids meet their Savior. I think that was when I looked down, deep into my heart, and was awed to realize that this seed had not only grown into a plant, but a precious bud was sitting on top, waiting for the right time to open. That this dream might actually become reality - because I have a God who so desperately wants to see it fulfilled. Who wants to see this seed He planted twist and turn and grow stronger and stronger and higher and higher until it becomes everything it was created to be.
And so I said yes. I said yes to moving to the top of a mountain with complete strangers; yes to giving up college and a “normal” life; yes to follow Him wherever He leads. And thus my YWAM journey began. And throughout the 3 months in Denver, He continued to grow me, and prune me, and water me, more and more.
And now I’m here. I’m living my dream. Yes, let me repeat that for you: I’M LIVING MY DREAM!!! I’m here, loving on people, being the hands and feet of Jesus to His precious children in Thailand. And you know what I’m also doing? Sharing the Gospel with those who haven’t heard.
I gaze down, into the deepest part of my soul, and I smile. A deep, joyous, contented, peaceful smile. The rose has blossomed. I’m living my dream. And it’s only just begun.
This is my story. This is Jesus' story. This is OUR story. <3 font="">

Friday, February 28, 2014

What do I say?

Sitting here, staring at a blank page, I don't know where to start. So much has happened in the last 5 months.

Do I start by explaining why an 18-year old girl would say no to college and a career and instead spend 5 months of her life on the top of a mountain in Colorado and then in 6 different cities throughout Thailand?

Do I start by sharing how much God has done in this girl's life - how He's grown her, shaped her, molded her, disciplined her, and taken her to places she never could have imagined?

Do I start by telling you about all the incredible, dear friends she's done life with 24/7 for the last 5 months, who have constantly encouraged her, supported her, and continually brought her closer to Jesus - and whom she's done the same for?

Do I start by explaining how she's witnessed the Holy Spirit work in such miraculous ways... even more than she ever dreamt about or thought possible?

Do I start by showing the precious faces of the beautiful children in the orphanage in Thailand whose passion for Jesus radiates from them like a sun in all it's brilliance?

Do I start by telling you how this girl is learning to love on anyone and everyone, whether it's socially acceptable or not, simply because her Jesus has loved her in that same radical way?

Do I start by explaining how God turned her world and her mindset upside down and revealed depths of her heart that she never knew existed, tenderly speaking love and truth over her all the while?

Do I start by attempting to describe the incredible beauty of God's Presence than she so clearly felt these last 5 months more strongly than she ever has in her entire life?

Do I start by explaining the gentle whisper of a Daddy's voice, so full of love and goodness and truth, speaking to her heart every moment of every day?

It's been 5 months of pure Jesus. I look back, and every single moment of those 5 months I see Him filling me, growing me, teaching me, shaping me. It was sheer beauty. Every day. It was also hard. And sometimes extremely painful. But in the end - it was all worth it. He was there, right by my side, every moment of every day.

I guess I'll just suffice it to say that these last 5 months of my life have been the best 5 months of my life. I've learned and grown more in these last 5 months alone than I have the rest of my life combined. And it was awesome. IS awesome. I wouldn't have traded this time for anything - ANYTHING in the world. I am blessed beyond measure. My Daddy is SO good.

*I'm hoping to find the time to write more about my time in YWAM. I really want to begin writing out some of the crazy stories of what He's done in and through me... and as I finish them, I will post them on here. No promises, but look for some crazy insane God-stories coming soon. :)

Basking in the Love of her Jesus,

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Taste and See that the Lord is good!

That title seems so fitting. Taste and see that the Lord is good. All my life I've known He's good. I've tasted and seen Him before. But now, how much more do I know and love him! How much more have I tasted and seen Him! It is absolutely impossible to even scratch the surface of all that has happened since I arrived at Eagle Rock only 1 week ago. Since I became a YWAMer - or, as someone joked, a WAMlet. :)

My faith is already growing in leaps and bounds in this short time! I feel like I have learned more in this last week than I have in the last YEAR, perhaps more. God is growing me and shaping me more and more every day into who He wants me to be. Into who He has CALLED me to be. I have experienced the Holy Spirit in ways I never thought possible, and have been moved to tears by Him several times already. I am learning to say yes to God, no matter WHAT He asks, as I have a bracelet that daily reminds me. I am learning to be humble before Him. I am learning to hear His voice and listen to Him speak to me. I am learning the importance of having Jesus time every day - 50 minutes alone with Jesus every morning has been crazy amazing. I am learning to not judge others, as is so easy to do. I am learning (absolutely LOVING) to live in close, oh SO close community with my brothers and sisters. Already we feel as if we have known each other for years and freely share how the Lord is working in our lives.

Every time I think about it, I am blown away by Jesus. By the fact that I'm actually here - HERE, on top of a stunningly gorgeous mountain. By the fact that I'm surrounded by brothers and sisters who are constantly loving on me, encouraging me, and praying for me, as I am for them. By the fact that I get to live every moment with my Prince. By the fact that the Lord would choose to reveal Himself to me, and speak to me! By the fact that incredible men and women of God can daily show me more of Him. By the fact that I'm actually in YWAM!! I've dreamed about it for so long, and now I'm actually here.

God is so good. Don't ever doubt that.

God has called each of us. He has chosen each of us. For what? To be world changers and kingdom shapers. He has given us everything, absolutely EVERYTHING we need. We only need believe.

So trust Him. Because He is good.

I am so blessed.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"I have hidden your word in my heart..."

There is something I've come to realize in the last year or so. There is an unexplainable power in the memorization of Scripture.

My whole life, I've grown up memorizing verses or passages of Scripture. But until recently, it was something I did, just because. Because I was a Christian and that's what you were supposed to do. So I would half-heartedly memorize verses and things for church, school, etc. My sisters, mom, and I even memorized the book of James together when I was in middle school. But I am ashamed to say, I don't really remember a whole lot of it.

But then something changed. It was the first show week of Jane Eyre (yes, HPA again ;). There were about 5 of us together, waiting to run a scene with the directors. And two friends got into a conversation about memorizing lines. About how, for a show, we can memorize crazy long amounts of dialogue or monologues. But when it comes to the Bible, we often don't. Long story short, one of them ended up challenging the other to memorize an entire chapter of the Bible before the show closed the next weekend. The challenge was accepted, and I decided to do it as well. I threw myself into it, if for no other reason than to prove that I could memorize a chapter of the Bible in a week. We both did. She had it memorized within 2 days; I had it memorized in a little over a week. But it was crazy how much time and energy I put into it. When I woke up, as I was getting ready for the day, waiting for my ride, during my breaks, as I was falling asleep at night, I would read it, say it from memory, over, and over, and over... I guess that's what God means when He says to meditate on His words. Think of them over and over and over again.

And so a little more than a week later, I had all of 1 Corinthians 13 totally memorized. In KJV, which I had never heard before. But that was the translation my friend was memorizing it in, so I did too. It was really neat to hear it another way, you know? Sometimes when we hear something over and over it can lose it's beauty. Memorizing it in another translation really re-awakened that beauty for me.

But you want to know the best part of it? Or hardest part, depending on how you look at it? God used it to convict me so, SO much over those two weeks. You can't be thinking selfish thoughts, looking out for only yourself, or be impatient when you are saying to yourself over and over,

"Love suffers long and is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek it's own; is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

Ouch. Like, a million times ouch. I was astonished at how often my thoughts center around ME and what I want. It really opened my eyes to my selfishness. So, with God's help, I tried to start loving people - with real love. 1 Corinthians 13 love.

About a month after show, I dove into John 15. Then Psalm 63. And although I'm ashamed to say that I neglected my Scripture memory over the summer, I'm back at it again, this time with Ephesians 1.

But even beyond how the Words you memorize speak to you, there's something else I've found with Scripture memory: it brings you closer to God. His words are powerful. Oh, so powerful. And when you spend time in them, all the time, and continually meditate on them, you are spending time with HIM. And you grow closer to Him, too. And that's what we all long for, right?

We talk about knowing things not only in our head but also in our heart, about really understanding. This is what God has been showing me: the incredible power of Scripture memory.

Will you join me in hiding His Word in your heart?

Thursday, September 5, 2013


I'm sorry it's been so long since I've posted on here, dear friends. This summer has been a whirlwind, and it flew by so quickly! I graduated high school, nannied full time, traveled to Ukraine on a mission trip again, vacationed in Grand Traverse Bay with my family, had a wonderful reunion with some dear long-time friends, camped with our small group, and visited Dad's side of the family in New Jersey (and swam in the ocean)!! Anyhow, maybe I'll post more about those things at a later time, especially about all that happened in Ukraine... but for now, there's more I need to share with you.

Namely, the exciting news of my plans this fall!! Actually, let me back up a bit. Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved missions. I think it started, or at least grew a lot, the year we studied different countries and cultures of the world when I was in 5th grade (thanks ECC and MFW!!). I loved hearing about missionaries, seeing their pictures, and reading, no, DEVOURING countless missionary biographies. I was fascinated. As I grew older, this desire only grew with me. In fact, desire is almost to shallow of a word to describe what I'm now feeling! It's more like a deep longing, a yearning... A yearning to share the name of Jesus with those who have never heard. A yearning to love on those who have never experienced real, unconditional love. A yearning to pour myself out to the utmost for Him who poured Himself out for me. A yearning to live a life totally dependent on Him; trusting Him for absolutely everything. And a yearning to live and serve in culture totally different from my own.

In the last few years I have come to realize that this deep longing in my heart is the Lord calling me into international missions. This was confirmed when I went to Ukraine for the first time last summer, and even more so when I returned this summer. The sheer joy and fulfillment I felt upon entirely pouring myself out for the Lord and for the kids was unfathomable. It was hard, but I loved every minute of it. It's so... oh, there's no words for this! It's so beautiful, incredible, and awesome to do what you know you were made to do. The fulfillment, the joy it brings is just beyond words.

I praise God that He has found me, saved me, chosen me, and called me to serve Him in this way! Thus, I have decided not to attend college at this time. I don't know if God has college planned for me in the future or not, but I do know that's not where He's leading me right now. Instead, He's led me to participate in a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). So basically, at the end of September, I'll travel to Denver, CO. I'll spend 3 months there, on top of a mountain, with about 50 other students and about that many staff. Primarily, I'll just spend time getting to know God more and learning about Him - in head knowledge, but also in heart knowledge. Then, for 2 months after that, I get to go on an outreach trip! Aka, a 2 month international mission trip. :) I have to decide between a trip to Thailand, Kenya/Uganda, or Mexico/Belize. At this point, I have NO IDEA where I'm going to go, but I'm confident that God will show me where He wants me.

I cannot tell you all how absolutely EXCITED I am for this!! Time and time again, God has confirmed that this is where He wants me right now. It has been such an incredible, faith-building journey already to see him speak to me, lead me, guide me, and provide for me - more than I ever could have imagined!

I can't stop thinking about this verse. It is the echo of my heart right now. "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty work within us, to do exceedingly more than we could ask or imagine." {Ephesians 3:20} Glory to God!

Rejoicing in Jesus,

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Faith, the Simple Act of Trust

You know what it's like. The big decision that needs to be made. The problem that needs to be solved. The question that demands an answer. We try to figure it out. We really do! We read all sorts of books and do all sorts of research. But once we're through, days, weeks, months, or maybe even years later, we realize we're not any farther along than when we started. And we wonder what's wrong. What's going on. Why is my plan not working? Why don't I know where to go, what to do? In that moment, it seems so hard, so complicated. If only this would work out, I could get on with my life! If only I knew WHAT to do next, I could do it! And that's where we stumble. We lack faith. We lack trust.

In the midst of planning out every detail of our lives, we forget that it's Jesus who plans lives. We forget that it's GOD we're talking about here! The same God who orchestrated the creation of the world out of nothing. The same God who put the stars in the sky, and the fish in the ocean. The same God who not only cares for the world, but cares for US! The same God who loves us more than anyone else EVER has, or ever will. The same God, who put the sun in the sky, cares about every tiny little detail of our lives. He cares about this decision. He cares about this problem. He cares about this question. And yet, in our human minds, we don't think He's worthy of our trust! How fallible, how mixed up we are! If only we would trust Him.

"But how?" I know you're asking. It seems difficult, but really, it's simpler than anything we could have ever imagined.

Have faith. Believe, with all of your heart, that He will lead you. He will guide you. He will speak to you. I know it's hard to let it all go. But really, we're letting it go... so Jesus can pick it up. And I'd rather have Him holding my problems any day, wouldn't you? And not only does He carry our burden... He just scoops us up right along with it! We only need to rest in His arms. Because He won't drop us. He will carry us to where we need to go. He will show us with path to take. He will never leave us, no matter WHAT we're going through.

Thing thing is, though, we have to first BELIEVE that He can, and will, if He so chooses, to do whatever we're asking of Him. If we don't believe He will speak to us, or answer us, He likely won't. But how can we come to so fully believe in Him like that? Well, WE can never on our own, know Him deep enough to trust Him. That's why Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit. We get to know Jesus more, and hear him better, through prayer, and staying in His Word. If you are waiting for the Lord's guidance, you must seek Him!! You cannot expect to hear from God if you do not spend any time with Him. He is pursuing us, but we can't grow closer to Him by just ignoring Him. So pray. Pray for His Guidance. He will show you the way. Spend time in His Word. There is nothing more precious, more beautiful, than listening to His Words of peace, and truth, and love reassuring us through the difficult road.

Now, this is a not a quick and easy formula, a "believe-and-it-will-happen". None of this means that if we believe, the Lord will speak to us today... or tomorrow... or even next week. It may be awhile. The Lord never promises that He will answer us when WE want Him to. He has his own timetable... but it is so much better than ours! Learn to trust in His timing, just as you are trusting in His Faithfulness to answer you and speak to you. I don't pretend to know the ways of God, but I think that often, when the Lord doesn't speak to us right away, it’s because there’s something He's trying to teach us first. Likely, he wants us to learn to have faith and trust Him! :) Because that's so hard for us humans to completely give up control. Yet when we do, he blesses us beyond measure, and gives us what we truly desire – a closer relationship with Him. And along the way, He often gives us the guidance we were looking for. We have to realize that our end goal is not to receive guidance - it's to know Jesus more. Only when we grasp this can we begin to see things in a new light.

So don't worry about your decision, or problem, or circumstance. Jesus is holding you. He will show which path to take. I don't say that in a careless way, shrugging off whatever it is you're struggling with. Rather, I say it to encourage you - JESUS is holding you! You don't need to worry, because the Creator of the universe cares for each and every little thing in your life.

Here are some verses that the Lord used to draw me nearer to Him while I was seeking His guidance. I pray they will be a blessing to you as well. 

“If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” {John 15}

“Search for the Lord and for His Strength; continually seek Him.” {Psalm 105:4}

“O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.” {Psalm 62:8}

“The Lord is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth.” {Psalm 145:18}

“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I run to you to hide me. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.” {Psalm  143}

Resting in His Arms,