Music and Podcasts and Believing in Others

I think part of what made me fall in love with music was the way it would lull me to sleep when I was little. Every night, my parents would sing “I love you, Lord” as I lay on my Beauty and the Beast sheets and drifted into dreamland. The simplicity of one song before bed transitioned into classical music on the radio, then Christian music, and then pop music well into my rebellious high school days.

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Once in college, I had become used to falling asleep to various kinds of music, so I did what any good Christian would do and started listening to church sermons on podcasts in order to fall asleep. That seemed to work well for a while until I actually started listening to the sermons. Even if I fell asleep in the beginning, sometimes I would wake up in the middle and hear lines about God being our Father or the definition of sanctification or what really happens when we pray.

My dear friend of almost nine years now used to teach at a women’s Bible study, where they would record their lessons and convert them into podcasts. She has such a sweet voice, and since I knew her personally, I loved listening to her teaching at night. I would play her episodes so much that I nearly had them memorized.

There was one episode, one line in fact, that she said that has forever stuck with me, eternally changing my life and direction. I couldn’t tell you what she was teaching on. I couldn’t tell you the context of the line. Not because I don’t want to, of course, but because everything else from this episode fades in contrast to the importance of this statement:

I am for you, and I believe in you.

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Wait, what? You mean to say that you are for me and you believe in me? No matter what junk I have in my life or what kind of a mess I am? You’re saying that I am worth more than I or the world thinks? That there is something in me that gives me purpose and significance and you believe in that?

Since hearing that line and allowing it to resonate in my soul, I truly have come to believe that God is for me, believes in me, and chooses to work through me to bring light to His people. Not only that (which is already awesome enough), but He has brought multiple people into my life who do the same. This month of being home has been overwhelming in the best possible way. Numerous people have expressed to me that they too are for me and believe in me. They see the direction God is leading me and want to get on board because they trust in His work through me. And isn’t it amazing what actually happens when people believe in what God is doing here on earth?

I know I’ve already said this in a post from March, but in case you’ve forgotten or don’t believe this today, I want to tell you that I am for you and I believe in you. Whatever it is you feel stirring in your heart, go after it. Whatever you think is true about yourself, it’s only true if that is how God sees you. Not only do I believe in you, but God does also. And that makes two of us cheering you on in the stands.

Jesus taught us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. So let us start believing in the way God has created us and cry out for His kingdom to come, living and breathing for His name to be known among the earth.

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Thank you to all who have joined me on this journey! I truly would not be where I am today without each of you saying that you are for me and believe in me. I carry the weight of your hearts with me when I live and love among the unreached. You are vital to God’s kingdom coming and His will being done on earth as it is in heaven, and for that I am grateful. 

Changing Direction and Following Him.

I will never forget getting in the over-stuffed jeep, holding back tears in my eyes as we pulled away from Asha Mission Children’s Home in Kolkata last year. I had just spent four amazing, hot, life-giving months with an incredible ministry that God is using to change the next generation for His glory. Yet, I wasn’t sad because I knew God would have me come back to see His children. Sure enough, after spending six weeks in Nepal, He gave me the opportunity to visit Asha again in August! I still can’t believe it happened as I sit in Texas writing this.

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Children of Asha in 2012

The children had grown taller and their hair had grown longer. English flowed regularly out of the boys’ mouths. The girls actually go to school now. There’s more staff, more love, more hope for this ministry than ever before. It was incredible to go back to a ministry, to see firsthand how God has moved and worked and stirred hearts in the past year. This place will always have a special niche in the depths of my heart and I am forever thankful for the gift to visit a second time.

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Children of Asha in 2013

However, in the midst of all this gratefulness to visit Nepal and India, God stirred something anew within me. As you may recall, my main purpose in visiting Nepal and India was to connect with the people and with God in seeing if and how He would have me serve there long term, specifically in regards to human trafficking. In true God-fashion, He changed things. As I like to say, I’ve turned left down a new road. I should have known!

Pause.

Over three years ago, I was first exposed to human trafficking and the realities of abuses towards women throughout the world. The images and stories of women and children being forced to do acts against their will while under intense abuse and ill-treatment were forever burned into my memory. Since then, the same conviction to restore dignity to women and children who have been abused, neglected, and stripped of self-worth still remains as the underlying desire of my heart.

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Earlier this year, I volunteered with an organization that serves the people in the Middle East. While helping in the office, I was still convinced I was supposed to be in South Asia, with no true burden for the women and people of the Middle East. However, once I landed in Nepal, I could not stop thinking about the Middle East. Dreams and visions flooded my mind day and night of the places and the peoples. Faces of women I’ve never met have been imprinted on my eyes. Voices crying out in desperation for help have been echoing in my ears. This happened for a solid three weeks. And as we all know, when something like this happens, God is usually up to something!

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The more I prayed and listened and read, the more I felt at peace about releasing South Asia and the issue of trafficking to pursue these visions and dreams in the Middle East. The abuses towards women and children in this area are overwhelming, and I can’t stop seeing the child bride marrying a man she’s never met, the women in hospitals who tried to kill themselves because life seemed so hopeless, the wives in prison because their families believed they dishonored their name.

In less than a month, I will be flying to Mijas, Spain to attend G42 Leadership Academy, where I will spend six months living and learning what it looks like to work internationally through community, classes, and discipleship. These six months are vital to my future, where God will mold me into a more confident voice of His gospel and hope, as well as confirm the gifts and talents He has given me to serve and love on these women who are crying out for help.

Two months ago, I would have never thought these words would have been written on the page for my life. I’ve learned that God is the one who will direct our paths; we simply have to be open. And sometimes, being open looks like nothing we could ever imagine. But when it comes down to it, whom else would I choose to lead me in the path of abundant life? Surely, not I.

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How has God been directing your life lately? What, if anything, is in your life keeping you from pursuing His calling for you? Are you willing and open to the shifts and changes He might have for you?

If you’d like to learn more about how you can join me in this journey, click here!