On a Hard Day

I’m a big believer in making your day what you want it to be. I don’t like the concept of having to simply respond to whatever cards are dealt to me. I deal, and I get to pick through the deck and make my own hand. It’s cheating, but the deck is mine… so… that’s how I see life.

But dang it, fam. Some days are hard. It’s like they’ve been coming all along for years, like you’ve been standing in the ocean facing the shore and not realizing what’s building up behind you. All of a sudden, the whoosh is over you, and it’s simultaneously ruined your hair and makeup, stolen your sunglasses, and gone up your nose. Salty tears and coughing and flailing ensue. Today I feel like I got washed over.

The good part is that I’m not numb. I thought I was numb on my way home from work, when all I could listen to was one of Beyonce’s not-so-classy new songs, on loop. I’d best describe it as calloused music, invoking no feelings whatsoever while maintaining a beat and something along the lines of a melody, maybe. The lyrics meant nothing. I managed to find one song that I wanted to listen to, and this to me was a tiny victory. I didn’t sing along.

I had to ask the Lord why I felt so indignant. He gently reminded me, for the billionth time that He’s got unfailing love for me, and He’s the only Dealer of that love. Other people can love me well through Him, but not so perfectly. And I’m in the same boat, dealing the love I get from Love as well as I can, oftentimes fumbling it. Hey, we’re trying.

I felt frustrated that people say one thing and do another, and I’m in that boat. I felt frustrated that people don’t always choose what’s best for them, to press into the process. Instead they bump to the next thing, as if they’re any different. I can’t buy that. I have to ask God for a lot more grace than I thought I would need, and to take away a lot more of the cares I have, because I obviously care a lot. I care about people who have all these walls up. I care about people who keep running into walls. And I keep running and I run into their walls. I’m learning to back up, because their walls are messing with my freedom. I hate that and it hurts.

I want freedom for people, but I can’t put more effort into it than they’re willing to. I can’t be the leader that pushes and tugs, that dunks the horse and tries to make it drink. I can’t be the one that hurts and says “it’s for your good” and is impatient with people who are unwilling. God leads perfectly, but He isn’t forceful. I want to be as gracious as the Father. I want to have compassion and survive it. Is that even possible here? I wanna find out.

In the mean time, sometimes my heart gets a little bit broken, and I feel a little bit disappointed. There’s a cry in my heart that groans “it could be so much better” and “whyyy” and has to make peace with the fact that I can’t fix it all. I can’t go back in the past and undo. This kind of holy discontentment makes me wage war in prayer. I paint my face like a warrior (figuratively) and roar and lift my spear to the sky (I don’t actually have a spear, but come along with the concept). I want them to be happy. I want my loved ones to be so happy and I get tired of seeing them torture themselves. What can I do in that? I stand by. Sometimes it still affects me. And God knows I do the same thing back to my closest friends, when they see me making decisions that are way less than God’s best. It’s not easy to rain on a loved one’s parade, fam. So I find myself clapping along and marching in, and praying under my breath for a cloud to please show up, through a gritted-teeth smile.

I hate that there’s sickness and cancer here. I hate that I make a living partially because people are dying. I hate that I have to see their blood cells under a microscope, the ones that mean they have leukemia, the ones that confirm malignancies. It makes me sad when another patient’s name disappears from our regular board. We were never made to perish, but to partake of the tree of life and walk with the Lord in the cool of the evening. Living in the tension of the disconnect is challenging, especially when I know it’s part of my purpose on earth to bring heaven down. I have to constantly look at things with different eyes, and tell myself that what I am seeing isn’t the reality of the situation. My normal has to realign with God’s normal and His possibilities. It’s a daily realignment.

I wanted to share this because as you well know, my life isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. I carry joy with me, and probably by the time I wake up later today (I sleep during the day because I work night shift) this wave and the burning of salt in my eyes will have subsided. I wanted to share with you anyway, fresh from the whoosh. I know these kinds of hard days push me to a new level of intercession aka prayer. I get mad again. I get zealous. I declare crazy stuff over my people, about their healing, especially the healing of their hearts. Somebody came along and hurt them and taught them a lie that they’ve chosen to believe this whole time. With my aching heart, I cry out that Love is bigger than any lie. I pray that my heart fully accepts that truth, the Truth that overcame it all for the sake of His people. We are loved beyond measure. On days like this, I know that Love holds me together. Glory to Him, always.

Oh and I bought myself a gift, because I am loved and I’m really pumped about turning 28 and graduating my first year of ministry school… I’m going to San Francisco for the first time in April! God’s been giving me words and visions about this city, and I am gonna just see what happens. The bridge nerd in me is freaking out excited about seeing the Golden Gate bridge. I will see dear friends there as well, and on days like today, I see the treasure in front of me.

I choose joy. I choose fire. I choose more. It hurts, but love is worth it.

20131209_174020

Advertisements

California

It’s been over 2 years now since I cried on that rooftop in India.

Jesus had already pointed me to California and Bethel months prior. I’d already applied to seminary there, using the most unpredictable Tanzanian wifi. I thought I knew my role, myself, my passion. I thought I knew how to carry out the dream He gave me. It’s funny how stubborn I get when I think I’m right. Oops. I heard Bethel and California. I think it’s hilarious now that I go to a ministry school named Bethel, which is a plant from the one in California. *cue audience laughter*

Nevertheless, picture me in 2012, with long, tangled blonde hair, wearing giant pants from Thailand, likely wearing a shirt with a cat on it, and curled up in a blanket. I was holding my chunky smart phone, with a hot pink case that was peeling off from being carried around the world for 10.5 months at this point. I had my headphones on, likely just one side, because let’s be honest, by month 11 on the World Race, none of my headphones worked on both sides. #WRproblems

It was just before dawn. I climbed up 3 or 4 sets of stairs to make it all the way to the rooftop of our building, sneaking past sweet, sleeping children who laid on the concrete on levels 3 and 4. The plastic chair I sat on to watch the sunrise was always wet. I wiped it dry with my blanket. The air was chilly and thick with smog. The sun was probably up but I wouldn’t see it past the layer of pollution for a little while.

As I sat, singing and praying, I asked God why He chose California for me. Why send me from TEXAS to Cali, the most unlikely transition? Why choose a place that’s so expensive, and so outside of the Bible belt? What is there for me anyway?

That morning I found myself on my knees, crying, repenting of my lack of faith for His provision and of my judgments for that place. I caught a small glimpse of the Father’s heart for the Golden State, how much He loves it. How much beauty He has instilled in it and its people. How much He longs to restore it, to rebuild it. He has an outpour of love planned for it, and I get to be part of it. Whoa.

In the science world, when you have an analyzer acting funny, you put in the calibrators and you reset it to those standards. You’re basically resetting it with the known, so that it can compare the unknown to the known and get accurate results. I felt like God calibrated my heart to His that morning, that He was the known to my unknown, and all of a sudden I knew just enough to be so overwhelmed by His love for His people.

What won’t He do to reach them? There’s nothing He won’t do to reach His beloved, to find them in His arms! He came after me, and now He’s going after them through me. Revival is stirring. Can you feel it?

It’s been over 2 years and I am still waiting.  Believe me, I’ve tried to shortcut my journey. I tried to move to San Diego and Redding. Not only was I off in my timing, but I was off in the location. Lots of doors got slammed in my face. Not a pretty sight was me alone in my wailing, not getting my candy. Yay for spiritual immaturity! Yay for learning patience with a broken heart! Yay for sarcasm!

I declared I’d move there in 2015, and then took it back. I dared to say 2016, and even that is probably not right haha. But I am really praying that 2017 is the year I get to turn 30 and start ministry like Jesus did, and for there to be some kind of shift in the spiritual atmosphere of my life as He experienced in His. Who knows but Him?

famous Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco at night, USA

If I were to beat myself up for all the times I underestimated God’s calling on my life, I wouldn’t survive the beating. Yet here I am, alive and well, safe from the blows of confusion in His arms of grace. So what I don’t have the details? My calling is Jesus. My passion is Jesus. My only hope of glory is Christ in me.

If I must wait years in a place not yet THE place, let me take the examples of Joshua, Caleb, and Moses in the desert. Let me look at Joseph’s humility. Let me watch how Jacob willingly toiled for his bride. Let me not be discouraged by my circumstances, but encouraged that the winding roads qualify my journey as worthwhile. He’s building me to be the person who arrives.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

Places To Visit in 2014

In no particular order, here are some places I want to do my very best to visit, so help me God, in 2014. Yes. Within the next 9 months.

  • BRAZIL. It’s overdue time to visit my amazing family. I’m due to have a new baby cousin super soon, AND there’s talk of wedding bells in my immediate family aka I need to be there. Hoping that I won’t go alone, ay?? Let me take you to Rio, Rio…
  • UGANDA. My yearly visit to see my people I love so so much, visit my church families and friends and the beautiful ladies of Dorcas Widows. Hoping and praying that in July there will be 5 of us going. We have a meeting on the 11th to plan this thing. Prayers appreciated!
  • CALIFORNIA. I’ve been before, but this time I feel a divine appointment to meet a few sisters in Christ and set up Phylla House in a new location in the Fall. Oh and visit my teammate from the Race who just had the cutest baby boy ever aka hopefully I’ll have a daughter and they’ll marry.
  • THE GRAND CANYON. Come on. How have I not seen this before. Let it be this year.
  • NASHVILLE. Never been. My next getaway destination.
  • TEXAS & ALABAMA & MYSTERY LOCATIONS. Visiting the familia, floating the Guadalupe, hey Summertime road trip to see my besties and stuff. 😉

We will see…. this is a hopeful list, some is certain, some is still up in the air. I’m excited to see what God makes happen in the meantime, and how He puts it all together. He’s the best Dad ever. He’s still gonna take me all over Europe, to Haiti, to the UAE to see Dubai (world’s largest performing fountain, I will be weeping), to Mozambique (again, weeping), back to Asia, and wherever else He sees fit. I rule nothing out, I just know the journey will be incredible.

ImageWhere do you dream to go? Where will you go?