Thursday, July 5, 2012


In life, it's ineveitable that you will encounter storms.
My life has faced many storms.
Storms that sneaked up.
Storms that raged on for years.
Storms that passed quickly.
Storms that were gradual, building up and up and up...
Storms that hurt a lot.
Storms that I fought.
Storms that I hated. 
They are a sure fact of life.
And my life has faced many.
More than most, probably.
The ONLY reason I am still standing is because of the foundation I've found. The foundation that I've rooted my life in. The foundation that, at times, I've clung to with every ounce of strength I had left.
I lived 22 years of my life without God.
22 dark, painful, dysfunctional, distorted, confusing years.
The second I met him, my life changed. Drastically. And from that moment on, I've been building on and anchoring myself to that solid foundation.
When storms come, they can't knock you over, blow you away, tear you down, destroy your hard work IF you are built on, connected to, rooted in a solid foundation.
And even though the foundation I started on was itty-bitty, I held on tight through the storms, while God was building a greater foundation for me, and while I was allowing my roots to go deep into him.
And even though the storms were rough and took a toll on me, I was able to hold on only because of that foundation. I even found that the more storms I weathered, the more beautiful and strong and powerful my foundation became.
I'm thankful for the foundations, but even more thankful for the storms.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Remember and Celebrate.

Remember and Celebrate. It's something we do with the Stirring Kids. It's infused in our curriculum. It's an intentional day we pause, to remember and celebrate who God is. What he has done. What we have learned from him. How he has changed us.
I LOVE this discipline that we're teaching our kids.
Some of you know how much the word "celebrate" has shaped me.
It started a few years back, when I was in a really dark, painful season of healing.
I felt like the pain and heart ache and wilderness would never end. I felt hopeless and defeated and discouraged. I couldn't see the end, the light, the thing I was fighting so desperately for. All I could see was the consuming darkness and suffering I was in the midst of.
That's when a friend, a mentor really, stepped spoke some of the most powerful words to me. He reminded me to celebrate every thing God had done. Every small victory, every HUGE victory, every step forward, every ounce of freedom and victory I have already gained. To stop and celebrate these things. I might not be where I wanted to be quite yet, but I was no longer where I was. Does that make sense? Yes, I still had work to do. Yes, the journey wasn't over yet. Yes, it was still hard and painful and agonizing at times. But I'm not who I was. I'm not where I once was. I've taken steps forward. Maybe baby steps, but steps none the less. And when I celebrate, I am filled with gratitude. With desperate thanks for how faithful God has been to me.
This has been SUCH a powerful word for my life. I occasionally find myself once again in a familiar place of pain and hopelessness, and I remember to celebrate. To find gratitude and thankfulness for ALL that God has done in my life. I'm a changed person. And I have an abundance of things to celebrate and give thanks for.
So it excites me that we're teaching our kids this.
That we take time to celebrate what God has done.
To remember all we have to be thankful for.

A good-bye letter

Dear Control,
I'm not so sorry to say, but we must part ways. I'm done with you. I'm done with the way you run my life. I'm done with the way you manipulate my thoughts. I'm done with the way you high-jack my joy. I'm tired of you. I'm tired of the constant games you play with my mind. I'm tired of the way you choke out the truth and leave me with worry and fear. I'm tired of buying into your tactics. You've cost me a lot, and I'm so ready for you to leave. So, today I say goodbye. I say goodbye to every ounce of you that is, has been or could be in my life. I wipe my hands completely clean of you, and open them up to the new, wonderful, beautiful, life-giving things that God has for me. I'm moving on, and leaving you behind. Because I want my freedom back. I want my joy back. I want my strength back. I want my life back.
Your time in my life has come to an end, and I couldn't be more ready.

Your old friend who won't miss you at all

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ready to know their names.

I leave for Africa in 25 days.
In 25 days, I will be boarding a plane headed to a completely foreign country.
People's first question for me is "are you excited?" quickly followed by "are you ready!?"
My answer to both is I have no idea.
I have no idea if what I'm feeling is excitement, fear, terror, anxiety, joy, happiness, stress, or just pure love.
I have no idea if I'm ready for a completely and totally brand new experience.
How do you prepare for something totally unknown?
Beats me.
All I know is I can not wait to hug and kiss and love and embrace the children that God has so prepared my heart for.
I haven't met these children, but I already have so much love for them. I feel like my heart used to be a brand new balloon. Never been used, still fresh and new. But from the time I said yes to God about going to Africa (actually, it was probably before that moment if I'm really honest) God has been filling that new balloon with love and passion and His heart for the children in Kenya and Uganda. He has been giving me this crazy amount of love for them. Something that words can NOT express. I sit here, trying to put into words how much my heart longs and breaks and beats for these kids. And words fail me. Nothing can conceptualize the feeling I have when I think of them, all of them. These children who's names I do not know, but who's hearts I long for. I want to embrace them, and shower them with the passion that fills my heart. I want to look into their eyes, and tell them how much I've been anticipating meeting them. I want them to know how desperately their Father loves them. How much he fights for them. How much his heart breaks for them.
I have NO idea if I'm excited to go to Africa, but I DO know I am so anxious to meet the children who's faces I dream about, and who's smiles keep me up at night. I feel like I already know them, and I'm so incredibly ready to kiss them, and tell them all about I've been waiting for our moment together.

My prayer this morning

As I climbed out of bed this morning, this was my desperate prayer to the Lord:
Father, I give you all of me. Yes, ALL of me. Even the messy parts. Even the ugly parts. Even the parts that I wish weren't there. Even the parts that I thank you for. Even the parts I so desperately want to change. Even the parts that are longing and searching for a husband. Even the parts that want to belong SO badly. Even the parts that don't make sense. Even the parts that you are changing. Even the parts that I WISH were changing. Even the parts that are full of joy and laughter and life. Even the parts that give me so much heart ache and pain. Even the parts that I want to control. Even the parts that I hide (ESPECIALLY the parts that I hide). Even the parts that don't make sense. (Did I say that already? A lot of parts don't make sense). Even the parts that aren't sure who I am, who YOU are, what you're doing or where we're going together. Even the parts you've so beautifully changed. Even the parts that I celebrate. Even the parts that reflect what a good Dad you are. Even the parts that are afraid. Even the parts that you've set free. Even the parts that are sad and lonely. Even the parts that are bitter and jealous and angry. Even the parts that are addicted. Even the parts that help me remember I'm not who I used to be. I give you EVERYTHING this morning. I want it to be true when I say "there's nothing I hold on to." I want to leave all of this, all of ME in a crumpled mess at your feet. Because I know there's no place I'd rather be, and there's no place all of these parts of me are safer. This is my greatest desire. My cry of hope to you. My song of letting go. My surrender. My prayer this morning.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

emotional tsunami

I have this bad habit.
I stuff my emotions.
I "reason" them away.
I force myself to NOT feel them.
I brush over them.
I shove them down.
And then, on nights like tonight, ALL of those shoved, stuffed, reasoned-away emotions come rushing out.
Along with tears.
A lot of tears.
More tears than humanly possible.
This is a cycle.
My "crazy" cycle.
And I know exactly why I do it.
To make a very complex explanation short, it's because of fear.
A lot of fear of many things.
Mainly fear of: rejection, abandonment, pain, loneliness, lack of control (to name a few).
Tonight was a night where the flood gates came down, and the emotion hit me like a title wave.
So here I sit, in the aftermath of the emotional tsunami, processing through the pain. Sorting through the emotion. Working on the areas that God is so clearly exposing.
It's not easy.
It's messy.
It's hard.
But, I know it's worth it.
And the truth that I cling to on nights like tonight is that it's because of God's great, huge, never-ending, never-failing love for me that he calls me to walk through all of this.
And I know that he will NEVER leave me. That he will NEVER forsake me.
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