remember

Confession of the day: I was a choir nerd.

I know…it’s a surprise…no one was expecting this alarming confession.

Kidding aside, today I remembered a lyric from a song we sang our senior year from ‘Seasons of Love’ from Rent.

‘Remember the love.’

That particular song is forever etched in my memory. Little did we know as we stood on that stage at the end of our senior year belting these poignant lyrics ready to tackle the big, wonderful world that less than a year later we would be singing it at a funeral for one who had stood with us, our arms around each other in solidarity.

Events around that time wrecked me in some pretty substantial ways. As happens to most 19 year olds when they experience the death of a 19 year old friend. When the date rolls around every year I always find myself reflecting on who I was then verses who I am now. I’ve had a lot of pretty insanely awesome experiences.

Almost a year ago, I moved to Haiti on a date that caused me to evaluate my life and who I wanted to be in this world. In ways only orchestrated by God, this place has given my soul rest and a place to belong. God has used Haiti in insanely cool ways over the last year.

Haiti has healed me in ways I could never have imagined.

Haiti has stretched me in ways I never could have dreamed.

Haiti has made a lot of realities in the orphan window of this world very vivid.

Haiti has shown me how real this world is and how big of a bubble surrounds the States.

Haiti has brought a myriad of new people into my life that I couldn’t possibly imagine doing life without.

Haiti has shown me that it is okay to be confident and embrace the weird spiritual gifts and skills I have, and that they come not only within my calling, but with purpose.

Haiti has broadened my capacity to love in ways I didn’t think possible.

As I think back over the last year, I think that is one of the things I am most proud of that God grew on me. My capacity to love. Real. Genuine. I want to know what God does in your life…love.

I think of Johnny running down the side of the church when he sees me at the other end and the massive grin on his face.

I think about Lovely and how she waits for me at the end of the bus until I walk off the bus, then sticks to me like my shadow.

I think of crazy God connections with people I am only with for 5 days…and then they join my community in KC.

I think of how distance has strengthen friendships I have, when rational thought says they should weaken.

There are many opportunities to love during a day…and we are blessed with at least 365 opportunities in a year. What are we doing with them?

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” [Luke 6:32-33]

Remember to love.

Not just remember the ways you are loved and the people you have loved, but remember to love others. Even those the world says it is a disgrace to love. There are no limits or restrictions to God’s love, so why would we put limitations on the love we show others?

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35]

Remember to love.

 

 

‘Seasons of Love’ from Rent:
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Moments so dear
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure – Measure A Year?

In Daylights – In Sunsets
In Midnights – In Cups Of Coffee
In Inches – In Miles
In Laughter – In Strife
In – Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure
A Year In The Life?

How About Love?
How About Love?
How About Love?
Measure In Love

Seasons of Love.
Seasons of Love.

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Journeys To Plan

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure The Life
Of A Woman Or A Man

In Truth That She Learned
Or In Times That He Cried
In Bridges He Burned
Or The Way That She Died

It’s Time Now – To Sing Out
Though The Story Never Ends
Let’s Celebrate
Remember A Year In The Life Of Friends

Remember the Love
Remember the Love
Remember the Love
Measure In Love

Oh you got to you got to remember the love,
You know that love is a gift from up above
Share love, give love, spread love
Measure, measure your life in love.

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path

Twisty turny, topsy turvy…if you were someone who didn’t know me and took a birds eye view of my life this crazy pattern is kind of the life path you would see.

My life doesn’t make sense to anyone who chooses to live outside of God’s Kingdom, plus a few folks who are within it, I’m sure. It does seem random. It does seem like there is no direction. And it really doesn’t not live up to the societal standards of the States. By a considerably long distance, actually.

But here’s the thing…I don’t give a shit what others think my life looks like. It’s not their choices. It’s not their path.

This path is mine, it was given to me from the Lord, and I alone own it.

I know the voice of the Holy Spirit. I know the choices I make. I know that I am happiest and have the most purpose while living within my calling and walking with God. I know the feeling of being lost, the pain and frustration of being off that path, and truly, it’s not worth it.

I hate the time and patience it takes to hear next steps on that path. Honestly, I do not sit well or contently in that time. But I don’t give orders and demands to God. Quite the opposite really. I serve him, not visa versa.

I am sitting in that place of impatience now. Knowing that I am working for an organization that I desperately love and fit within better than any other employer I’ve had in my life. I’ve never worked for anyone where my distinct calling in life perfectly matches to who an organization is at its’ core. Spirit led, Bible based, Jesus loving, Kingdom crazy people who all speak the same language God has put within me. There are not many believers called to Kingdom work within the global orphan window that find themselves working for an organization solely focused on global orphan care and prevention. I mean, really?

But my sense is that there is a time frame I am supposed to be in Haiti, but at the same time a sense I will be back, and I find myself praying intensely for clarity. Clarity on time frame. Clarity on the voice of the Holy Spirit. Clarity on discernment. Clarity that the next step I take on this crazy life path is the one I am called to take.

And let these words that I’ve prayed in the presence of God be always right there before him, day and night, so that he’ll do what is right for me, to guarantee justice for his people Israel day after day after day. Then all the people on earth will know God is the true God; there is no other God. And you, your lives must be totally obedient to God, our personal God, following the life path he has cleared, alert and attentive to everything he has made plain this day.” [1 Kings 8:59-61 MSG]
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Several years ago, one of my very best friends from college and I were hiking in Utah. We’d carefully chosen this path, and we’re digging in to accomplish it no matter what. Her patience and friendship that day were second to none, as she journeyed with a friend with newly discovered altitude issues. We were coming up the end of the path, victory of summit within or grasp and the final gasps of air filling my lungs when we realized it was a false summit. We weren’t done yet, but it was only going to get better. It was going to take anther intense push to get to the summit, and I seriously considered calling it quits, but had I really stayed there I never would have experienced the best God had for us of his beautiful creation at the top.

I feel like my life has been a perpetual ascension of false summits. Points that I find myself sitting as a placed believer not sure how it could possible get better, but what comes after continually puts me in places where I never dreamed my life could be. I feel as though I’ve come to another false summit, and I’m just not sure where God is taking the path. I can only see so far ahead, and it really looks like this is as spectacular as it could possibly get. However, the God I follow is crazy creative and very intentional at where we are placed for him. IMG_3635

What I do know is that living exactly within your God given calling is the most secure place to be in this world.

My life path is sticking as close to his path for me as I, in all my human junk, can discern, and I cannot wait to see where the next summit will be

 

life

Life is precious. Life is beautiful. Life is also undeserved, and most of us throw away the gift of life that was given.

Today is a day you have a new opportunity to grab life by the horns. Refocus. Renew. Center around a new purpose.

I saw so many faces at church today that blessed me. Some admitted they had been absent for too long. Others just reflected the same joy in seeing familiar faces.

It was a community coming together under the roof of their house.

But also let me add that its not about just coming to the community ‘home’ on a certain time every week…its about using that community to support you as you live out what God is teaching you through your community.

image

My Chaco clad feet merged with a Haitian orphan.

I wish that I could better convey to people the joy, excitement, hope, grace, peace and adventure they could claim if they centered their life around Christ. But instead so many of us add him on to the busyness this world gives us, and hope that it all works out ok.

I can no more make that choice for them that God can. Because, Lord knows, he wants all to choose his life. We just let this world cloud our Kingdom vision.

What God has given each one of ua is our life story to share. Or struggles and pain. Our heart and what God has been teaching us. Similar circumstance that might draw someone’s heart closer to the Healer.

Are you sharing your life story? Are you living the life that your resurrected and eternal Savior has gifted you?

Today we are reminded that we are a resurrected people. The true question is…will you live your life with the hope and promise Christ has given you through his sacrifice?

thirst

I had never been drinking so much water in my entire life…yet constantly thirsty. We were sweating out liquid faster than we could take it into our bodies.

We were in Haiti…and it was HOT.

We were reliant on water from massive multi gallon jugs, and by the end of the week we were running precariously low. I was on an endless cycle of filling…drinking…filling…drinking…filling my Nalgene bottle. The thirst was unimaginable…the kind where your mouth gets all tacky and your saliva turns as thick as peanut butter. It’s not a pleasant experience, and even though you keep drinking, it keeps happening. The things we do for God. Happily…

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I don’t travel without a Nalgene bottle, anywhere. My favorite one has taken a beating for years…and died an ugly, horrible death this summer. It had run its course, but it was my Duke bottle. Not only could I quench my thirst, but I could also rep my favorite basketball team.

The reason I don’t travel without a water bottle is your body takes an awful turn when you get dehydrated. We need water so badly that when we dehydrate our bodies respond in ways that can end us up in the hospital. I am constantly telling people to drink more water on mission trips.

And that’s when we have it accessible…what about all of the people in the world who don’t have easy access to clean water? Sad, right? If that touches something in you, let’s talk, because there are a myriad of organizations out there that deal with getting clean, reliable water to places that don’t have a good water source.

We thirst for water because we cannot live without it.

Honestly, I think our bodies thirst for God in the same way…we just learn to deny those thirsts in different ways. What if our bodies thirsted for God like we thirst for water? What if there was a significant physical reaction that would land you in the hospital if you went without God? Imagine running a friend to the emergency room, ‘Quick! She didn’t take in enough God today…she’s dying!!!’

The sad part is our souls do wither up when we don’t quench its thirst for God. The horrifying part is a large majority of people don’t care. Do you find yourself in an apathetic camp of “Eh, I don’t’ need God today. I’ve got this.” Well, ya don’t.  You need God for grace, mercy, hope, compassion, love…ALL the fruits of the Spirit. You need His Spirit to fill you to overflowing so you see others as God sees them. You need Jesus. We all need Jesus.

But if we don’t make an effort to quench our thirst with God it’s not going to happen. He does give free fill-ups…but you need to actually care you are getting it. Then…you need to USE it. Kingdom work. Make it happen.

I hope you find yourself caring about how much ‘God’ you take in today to quench your thirst…not just because it’s Sunday, but as if your life depended on it.

vision

Everyone has dreams. Even those that are told they are not allowed to dream…secretly, they have dreams for themselves.

What I love about a dream is the amount of passion that is behind it. Whether you are driven by love, soul or God…the passion that can ignite a dream to fulfillment is beautiful and sometimes intoxicating…even magnetic.

For most, that dream turns into a vision for the future…a preferred future. For others, it is a calling by God to be something or someone for Him.

In that vision, what is your heart most longing for?

If you hang around me long enough you’ll hear a couple different things…at least I hope you do, because it feels like I have myself on an auto loop repeating everything over and over. *Yes, I know I get annoying.*

Maybe there should be a test for my conversations. The first question will be ‘Please circle the words that you heard the most in our conversation: God’s Kingdom, mission, Kingdom work, iced tea, Isaiah 58, Acts 1:8, coffee, Duke basketball…’ The list could go on, but the point is what are you talking about and what do others hear? How is your vision for you or your surroundings being articulated to those around you?

My calling is to live sent. Be the church. Be a missionary in a lot of different contexts. For me specifically that means discerning God’s will, going where he leads and pulling others along for the ride. This also means…all of my vision folds into living sent and guiding others through those steps.

That creates problems when you run across people who don’t speak your same language or understand how a calling looks and feels. For them…that vision is ugly, uncomfortable, scary and confusing.

Whereas, what you see is beautiful…enticing…fulfilling…adventurous…

Once you capture vision, you get the opportunity to make choices based on that end game. At times those choices will be hard, but because it feeds the vision, you have reasoning to point to while deciding. Could make life decisions easier…

Because when your life falls under a vision everything points back to that one dream with crystal clarity. But if you lack vision…what direction are you really going in? What are you drawing others to? Where is your passion? How do others see your heart?

Frosty Vision

And it’s not always the vision for your life…sometimes it is a vision for those around you. I truly hope that the things I am a part of, the people I meet and those who actually listen to what comes out of my mouth, understand that I believe that all of us are called to live a life of sentness. That they will see mission isn’t a scary thing…or something else to add on to everything else. That mission is about community and being in relationships with others. That mission is a shift in the way you see the world…your family…your church. That they have a mission impulse that was embedded in them from creation.


This morning when I got in my car to come to church…there was frost on the window. Normally, an annoying thing, but this morning I found it as a thing of beauty. There were several ways to look at it…of course, annoying. But there were four different layers. The frost on the window, the dirty window, the tree behind the frosty window and the sun shining through it all.

Vision is a lot like that window. You can focus on what is right in front of you…or you can focus on the dirty aspects of your life. You can focus on what comes next. Or you can ultimately focus on what is shining through it all.

Here’s to being able to point back to radically living for God and finding vision, even when the frost is annoying.

live

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe…

Breath is life for our bodies. Without it…we are nothing.

Life giving oxygen, but as much as our bodies might be living…the world is a dull grey with foggy outlines without the love of God filling our souls turning our world into vivid colors and sharpening our vision into fantastic shapes.

Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.  He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. [2 Corinthians 5:14-15]

IMG_0717Living before belief should be drastically different than living after belief in Jesus. Things change. Vision shifts. Love becomes recklessly breathless.

I was hanging out with some Junior High students last Wednesday, and the question came up…how do you really live your life? LIVE it…not just taking in breath.

When I asked them, ‘How do you really LIVE your life?’ I was met with silence.

That’s a hard question for adults, and paralyzing for most teenagers who cannot see beyond the weekend. Yet a justifiable question everyone should ask themselves.

Maybe the more forward way to ask it is, how are you wasting the time you’ve been given to live, not simply exist…but to live?

Paul lived with no regrets…constantly urging his readers to live the same. But his version of ‘living’ didn’t include a bucket list or making a lot of money, and it certainly didn’t include the comfort we claim as necessity.

Paul lived an adventure. Paul lived freely the life God transformed him to live. He lived by the Spirit. More to the point…compelled by the Spirit.

 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. [Acts 20:22-24]

I fully recognize Paul lived for something unique, and for something that most consider ‘of the Bible’ not of our ‘time.’ But does that mean we completely dismiss his way of living?

Ultimately dismissing his way of living for his Savior?

I choose to live for my Savior, and while that means a lot of things…it does mean living spontaneously, sometimes even completely by the seat of my pants Holy Spirit spontaneity. It means living by radically loving others. It means people looking in confusion at choices I make. It means living with laughter that is too loud. It means living in community with others living sent lives.

Breathe in God’s life giving peace, joy, love, compassion, kindness…hope…

Breathe out God’s Kingdom breath.

who am i?

In college, I struggled heavily with the question of ‘Who am I?’ I remember telling friends, ‘I just need to find myself.’ Thinking that I needed a trip to ‘get away’ from my college life to think and discover myself. I even went as far as figuring out how to do a road trip to Montana to be in the mountains and ‘find myself.’

What a complete load of crap.

What naive college student thinks that the solution was in running away. I did discover that time helps you see the solution is really in just being still and breathing. And ultimately for me…the solution lay in this crazy fella named Jesus.

As soon as I bought into the whole radical Jesus talk…who dies on a cross? It’s kinda extreme…my life was never the same.

I laughed more.

I loved my family more.

I wanted stronger community.

I believed in the promise of a future.

I put my trust in a life beyond this world.

I fought with purpose instead of selfishness.

I became the person God created me to be, and it changed me from the inside out.

As I began 2013, I decided that I needed make some statements that would continue to define not only who I am, but essentially how I make life choices. Something to point back to and say that doesn’t fit…it’s not what God wants of me and it takes me off course. I also needed some ways to define how others saw me, and how I saw myself through critiques from others. Here are some examples:

I believe God has built us to be in community with each other. [Genesis 2:18]

I choose to represent God’s laughter. [Romans 15:13]

I believe in an active and alive Holy Spirit. [John 14:16, 26]

I am ultimately held accountable by God alone. [Acts 5:38-39]

I believe in the passion God has given me for orphans, and to see His justice in this world. [Isaiah 58, James 1:27 & Micah 6:8]

I gracefully and obediently follow my God to our neighbors, our country, places that make me uncomfortable and outside of our borders. [Acts 1:8]

I believe God desires for each one of us to live SENT, and minister with compassion and truth. [Luke 10:1-11; Ephesians 4:32]

I believe in God’s power to transform. [Acts 9:1-9]

I believe we are all called to embody the universal reign of God through Christ. [Revelation 11:15]

I believe in God’s Kingdom renewed and restored. [Revelation 21:3-5]

There is not a single day I regret choosing Christ. There is not a single day that I wish I were different. If anything I wish I’d figured it out sooner. I am forever grateful for the undeserved grace from a radical self-proclaimed rabbi, and the life He has called me to live serving others.