I strongly dislike mornings. If I am awake early, it is purely strong black sludge in a mug that makes me appear human.

Which means I am a night owl. I love the quiet of night, and if you look at the time stamps of when I post you will notice a pattern of time of day when I get my inspiration to write.

There are times that I have the best intentions of going to bed early, then the next thing I know I am still awake past midnight.

I watch TV. I listen to music. I read. I pray. I write. I ponder…a lot.

My brain tries to process the day and who I was with, who did I not see that I need to check in with, what needs to be done tomorrow…the list goes on and on.

But one of the last things that play through my mind while I am still awake are the places that have made a mark on my soul, and changed me.

They take turns. China. Russia. Haiti. Liberia. College. Friendships. Arguments.

Tonight I find myself doing the math as to what time it is in Russia. Right now, the kids are probably studying and it’s almost lunch time. How was their morning? How much snow did they get last night? (This thought is normally followed by a quick check of the weather, which is a snowy 17 and feels like 7 during the day while it is 11 and feels like -3 in KC overnight.) Did they wear the hats and gloves they were so excited about last month? It’s banya (bath) day, who will try to skip and not get caught by caregivers? Sergei is the best bet or maybe Dima S. Is Valya still in the hospital with pneumonia? Has Danil decided to not be as psycho today? Did someone tease Lena and make her sad? Who made Gera smile today? What has Vika drawn? Was Larisa more of a kid or mama today? What new poem has Stas memorized and did the superhero cape get pulled out and worn? Have the boys seen the soccer world cup groupings that came out? Has Dima kept control of his anger issues? Which Americans wrote a letter that might get delivered today by Yulia, our discipler?

These are orphans I know by name. They struggle with most of the same things our kids struggle with, but with the added scars of not being accepted by their culture and living with abandonment issues.

I was being obedient in my calling to international mission when God woke up a huge part of my soul in a small village orphanage with 50 kids, and he’s kept my passion alive for justice ever since.

One of my favorite songs is ‘Wake Up’ by All Sons and Daughters, and it always reminds me of this verse in Ephesians:

‘Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”‘ [Ephesians 5:14]

The chorus of the song is ‘Wake up all you sleepers. Stand up all you dreamers. Hands up all believers. Take up your cross…’

When you lie awake at night, what are you thinking about? What has God made you awake for?

Or better yet…what is God trying to wake you up to…or have you been choosing to press snooze?

The truth is this world is waiting for a lot of believers to wake up. Whether you have believed in the truth of the universal reign of God for an hour, a day, a month or 50 years…too many believers are asleep to the mission impulse God put in each one of us.

It’s there. Dig deep. Maybe chisel down to lay some of your scars bare to find it.

Because this world desperately needs your compassion, discerned words, unconditional love and faith in the world beyond this one.

Choose to be awake.

This post is part of a blog series using the Rethink Church Advent photo-a-day word. If you use Instagram follow #rethinkchurch or #rethinkchristmas.



Mar 18 - riseCoffee…my missionary elixir of choice. Starbucks has been fueling American missionaries for decades, so apparently I am not alone.

And why would coffee be a missionary elixir for me? Because I have to rise at the crack of dawn, and I am not a morning person. Some teams that leave have to meet at 4 am to catch their flight. Last weekend with the family mission team, I got up by 6 am to get breakfast started.


I grunt.

I glare.

I growl.

I am not happy.

Probably shouldn’t talk to me. It’s not you…it’s me. Don’t take it personal.

If I appear to be happy or smiling, or awake…I’m faking it. And I can fake it well, it just takes a lot of energy and the missionary elixir from above.

I am not an early riser. I don’t know why. Some think it is because of how late I stay up, but while it probably does have an affect…even if I go to bed early, I’m still not happy to get up before 9 am. And spare me the ‘well when you have kids’ speech. I don’t, and none in the foreseeable future.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. [Psalm 139:1-3]

God knows me. He created me, and he used Psalm 139 to remind me of that many years ago. I’m pretty sure he’s ok with me being grumpy in the morning as long as my Kingdom work gets rolling at some point in the day. After all, it’s usually my joy that makes my Creator attractive to others…and that definitely does not come in the early morning hours.

The sun still rises with or without me…I just like the moonrise a bit more. There are others out there, don’t be scared to admit it. Admittance is the first step…