Monday, August 10, 2015

Rwanda, Beautiful Beautiful Rwanda.

I figured by now I would have written a post about Rwanda, but the truth is, I haven't even sat down to fully process what I experienced. I think largely because processing it meant it was over, that it was a memory, that contrary to what my heart desires, I won't be seeing a Rwandan sunrise this morning.

God changed my life in Rwanda. And He fulfilled one of my greatest desires in giving me the opportunity to go there. Rwanda has had my heart since a young teen, and there are no words to describe the draw I have had to the country or it's people.

I could describe to you all of the details of my trip, the schools we visited, the genocide memorials, the children we met, and the knowledge I gained of an incredible organization that is being used by God to transform the country of Rwanda (Read more here.) But what God did while I was in Rwanda was more than working with Africa New Life. He gave me the opportunity to see the faces and hug the precious souls I have loved for so long. He let me look them in their eyes and tell them God loved them in their own language, He let me dance with them in the streets, and put stickers on their faces, and take selfies for the first time, and pray for them. He let me see, first hand, people I have loved deeply and have missed without ever knowing their names.

I love Rwanda. And I miss it, daily. I miss the calmness at night, the sunrise in the morning, the beauty of rolling hill after rolling hill, but what I miss most is beyond that. I miss the sound of God's redemption and provision whispering in the wind and glowing in the warmth of the sun.

In 20 years, God has transformed a nation of souls. From a broken ravaged country coming out of a genocide, the Lord has brought healing, and peace, and brotherhood in His name. He is bringing souls to Him and wiping away the tears of sadness from the horrific event of 1994. His redemption promise can be visibly seen in Rwanda. It leaves you longing for the same to occur in your own life...

But as He is restoring, God is also providing. Not in a Western 2-car garage townhouse and Starbucks, but a real life-giving provision. While doing a team debriefing one night after being in the town of Bugesera, a town that had been brutally destroyed during the genocide, we were discussing all that we had seen that day- the church where 10,000 were killed, the poverty of the children, the hunger of one brother who was not able to go to school, but God's provision as his brother in school snuck his meal behind the fence to him. There were so many things we saw in just a few hours, we were all swimming to process it. It was that moment on the trip where the enormity of American wealth just consumes you. One of the women, who has lived in Rwanda for a few years, said when she first experienced that same feeling God spoke to her and said, "These are mine."

God's providing for them. He is raining water to fill their wells, dirt and mud to build their shelter, animals and plants coming from the earth to feed them. God is providing for them. And for every family that Africa New Life has not transformed through education, yet (you could be a part of helping every child dream and changing those families' lives. Sign up here.) God is caring for them and sustaining them.

It is that provision that has my heart all twisted. I saw His provision first hand in Rwanda, and I see it daily in my life. But yet I always fear His goodness will falter. I always try to make my plan and my way without trusting the waves of life He has created to carry me where He wants me.

My prayer since being home is that God keeps directing my path. Showing me where I am needed and where He wants my family to serve. I pray that He continues to open doors for me to serve in Rwanda, whether that be an annual trip or a long-term trip as a family. But I also pray that He gives me the peace to rest in the knowing that the manna will come tomorrow. That He will reveal His plan, in time, and until He does, I serve whole-heartedly where He has me. The Lord is wrestling my heart, and my dreams, and my plans. But He cares for me more than sparrows, and I know He will provide.

I lift my eyes up to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. 
Psalm 121:1-2

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Stuff: The Ugly Truth of Day 2

So after some revision, I decided to jump into Jen Hatmaker's chapter on giving away 7 things a day.

Day 1 and 2? Easy. Tupperware, random forks that don't match our set, an extra towel, sheet set, and a couple random toiletries.

But today I sat on my couch looked at our throw pillows thinking about the small purge I have to do again tomorrow. I have 8 throw pillows on my couch, 2 throw pillows on my floor, and one throw pillow on the floor of our room. I'm not talking tiny little wimpy throw pillows. We are talking soft, comfortable, perfect for sleeping pillows. I have so many of them they are literally piled on my floor.

But they match so perfectly. They are just the pop of color I need. What if I decide to change my living room up? What about when we get a recliner and I want a throw pillow for it? Well these 4 came with the couch. And my mom made me these. And I love the colors in this one.

Do you hear that? The consumerism in my life saying my want is greater and other's needs?

Note that this conversation came after I opened our coat closet and counted 17. SEVENTEEN jackets and coats for Lorran and I. We could wear all of them in Boston right now and still be sweating. I have students that don't have jackets. But you want me to part with my Saluki sweatshirt jacket? Surely these kids are WSU fans. You want me to give up my favorite warm white fuzzy jacket even though I spilled coffee on it and hate to wear it because of the stain? You want me to give away my Carhart? Whoa now. That only leaves me with TWO other incredibly warm winter coats.

Jesus has a long way to go on my heart.

And on my connection to my throw pillows.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My Husband

Marriage can be tough.

And lately, our marriage has been anything but sunshine and rainbows.

But man oh man am I thankful the Lord gave me the husband He did.

The past few weeks have held lots of anger, hurt, frustrations, tears, and pain. But interwoven in that ugliness there has been a thread of hope. And my husband clung onto that thread and has made that our focus.

Ladies and gents, I have a Godly man for a husband. I have a husband who loves and fears the Lord, who seeks Him for guidance and direction, a husband who is slow to anger and fast to forgive, a man who pours buckets truckloads of grace over me- a supply that could only come from Christ himself.

In this tough season we are going through, I am so thankful that I have the husband I do. Because even when his flaws come shining through, his repentance is not far behind. I have a husband that earnestly comes to me seeking forgiveness when he has hurt me. If only I was that quick to seek his forgiveness....

I am so thankful my husband believes in our marriage, that he believes in Christ's restoration, and that he desires to make our marriage the best it can be even if right now we are in the trenches.

I am truly blessed to be his wife.

I love you, baby. Thank you for being the man, husband, and father that you are. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Perfect in Weakness

My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness. 

Jesus, I am weak. So incredibly weak.

This past month has been a whirlwind of emotions. When the new year began, I believed 2015 was going to be the year. The best year yet. I was ready to tackle it head on. I set some achievable goals that were not only things I wanted for myself, but were aimed at serving and loving others. I prayed through my goals and remembered being so excited at what God was going to do this year.

But four weeks later I am sitting back looking at this month wondering what happened.

In four weeks, I have completely lost sight of what I wanted to achieve, have completely fell off the bandwagon of really positive faith habits like regular prayer and Bible reading, have been so broken that I couldn't tell you the last time I reached out to build up someone else, and have gone through a whirlwind in my marriage.

There were nights of spiritual attack this past month that were so strong I cried and trembled in fear through the night.

There were anxiety attacks so bad I was left helpless at caring for my son.

There were fights with my husband that trudged up hurts from the very beginning of our marriage.

I have stood, crying uncontrollably, feeling as though I have absolutely no grip on this life that has me drowning.

My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness. 

My stepmom spoke beautiful words to me on the night of a spiritual attack I had. She said that I was on track.

I find it ironic that right when my world began to crumble was when my Bible reading plan led me into Job. How fitting that Satan began to tear my life to shreds right when I would be reading the story of his work on another believer's life.

The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”

Job goes on to remain faithful to the Lord, and Satan continues his work. 

He endures soul crushing attacks and still remains faithful. 

Boldly, loudly, faithful. 

My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness. 

I would love to say that I spoke of God's goodness and faithfulness this past month. But instead I have been weak. The proof of my faith has amounted to that of whispered prayers as I lay my son in his crib, saying, "God, just be here."

My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.

Do you know what Christ calls me to do? "...boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 

His grace is sufficient for me. His power if made perfect in my weakness. And I will boast of my weakness so that His power may rest on me. 

So on the eve of February, I am ready to be in God's grace and I am ready to see His power overcome my weakness. 

My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.