Present Anticipation

I’m living in anticipation these days.

When I landed in good ol’ America five months ago without a scheduled exit date, it was a struggle to stay present. I can’t remember the last time I was somewhere without knowing when I would next be hopping on a plane, train, or car, and walking into a new season of life in a new place with new people. Instead, I treated the start of this season differently, as less than any other season I had walked into. I started a new job with new people, but in the same town and under the same roof I grew up in. I was not ok.

I’ve traveled the world, seen color and beauty like no other, done things that make my heart leap, and breathed out the Spirit of God on the lands of Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. It’s incredible to think of the places I’ve walked in my short 25 years of life, and I’m deeply grateful for the doors that have been opened to me. Now, I’m back in Dallas and, no offense to my family who always, graciously welcomes me with open arms, but it’s the last place I want to be.

Transition has been rough. It’s never easy for me, and this time was no different. I fought being here for so long. I was like a child who was being picked up by her father from her favorite toys and put in the cry room. The room full of rockers and pillows and tissues and sound proof walls. I sat and banged my fists on the ground, asking, “Why? Why? Why am I here, and not there??” I didn’t understand the Father and I questioned everything on a daily basis.

Through the loving, but piercing questions from new friends, I have cried many tears that flooded and overflowed into the deeper, ugly parts of my soul. Until this season in my life, deep down, I had given up on the church in America. Washed my hands and walked away. Decided that revival in America was for somebody else to carry and definitely not my responsibility. I would think to myself, Surely I’m meant to be overseas. Surely I’m not supposed to be in America. I’m made for more than this place. Get me out of here.

I’ve realized that everything about that thinking is wrong.

When the nastiness of our hearts are exposed, we are left with two decisions. One, to allow it to remain and continue festering in our souls, feeding bitterness and cynicism. Or we kick it out, fists flying and hearts racing, and bring in truth and beauty to fill the spaces.

I talk a lot about how we carry the presence of God, putting on new glasses, looking to where God is at work and joining Him in that. For me, it’s easy to live in that way when in a country full of idols staring at you and buildings blaring the mantra of the day across the city. Of course, my God is the same there as He is here, but I think I have been afraid to admit that I didn’t actually believe that. And that is ugly.

Because here, it is the same situation. The idols look different and the mantra sounds unconventional, but it’s still a place of people walking through life empty, hurting, and broken. If the purpose of life is to join God in His work of bringing all peoples of the world to praise His name, then my ears need to be tuned in to listening for where I don’t hear the name of God being lifted. That could be across the world, or here in the city I grew up in. It’s my decision to choose if I want to actively listen.

Though it’s still a struggle, I’m becoming more and more present. I wake up and choose to live in present anticipation. Not anticipation of leaving Dallas (though I would get on a plane tomorrow if I could), but of hearing and seeing where God is moving in this place, in this city, in this nation.

I’m sitting on the edge of my seat, standing on the edge of a cliff, and I see Him swaying among the trees and pages that flip when He walks by. I’m excited to be here because I know, in the depths of my heart, that He is here. His presence is near and alive. With eyes alight, I’m listening for the ones crying out for more and I’m willing to say, “Here. Come. Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Because, my friend, He is good. In every place of the world, He is good. He reigns. He is worthy of praise, regardless of where we are. Live in present anticipation of His movement today, and I promise you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

On New Glasses and Feelings and Truth.

Last weekend, I got a new pair of glasses, but I can’t show them to you. Actually, nobody can see them. I won’t describe them to you and I won’t tell you how much they cost. I will, however, wear them around you, and maybe you’ll notice, maybe you won’t. It’s really up to you to keep a lookout for them.

Let me explain.

Last Saturday, early in the morning after the sun had just risen and it was a cool 80 degrees outside, I was spending some time in prayer. As I was praying for restoration and healing in hearts, I became overwhelmed. I started questioning the actuality of those things happening, wondering if there was something I could do, trying to configure a plan to make people and lives and hearts better. As if it’s my job.

The Lord intervened in my spirit and said, “You cannot worry about other people. Trust that I see them as much as I see you. I’m taking care of them. I’m loving them. When you take your eyes off Me and look around, you start to sink.”

The Holy Spirit then prompted me to read the well-known story of when Jesus walked on water over in Matthew 14. Since I had read and heard that story countless times, I sat there, refusing to read the story, staring at my open journal and closed Bible. Finally, I threw my hands up, flipped open my Bible, and started reading.

And this is when I got my new glasses.

A quick summary of the story goes like this:

The disciples are in a boat that is being tossed by wind and waves, probably wearing flip flops and tunics, while Jesus hikes up a mountain to pray and process the past few days of ministry. At about 3 am, Jesus decides to join the disciples and chooses the quickest route to them by walking on the water. Tired and weary, the disciples notice a figure coming towards them, think it’s a ghost, and become overwhelmed with fear and emotion. Jesus tells them who He is and not to worry. Quick-witted Peter yells, “Hey! If it’s really you, then tell me to walk on the water and come to You!” Of course, Jesus says, “Come on!” So, Peter puts his swimsuit on, climbs over the edge of the boat, and touches his toes to the water. Upon realizing that he’s not sinking, he starts to walk towards Jesus with joy and excitement. Unfortunately, the wind around Peter causes him to become frightened and he starts to sink, while at the same time crying out for Jesus to save him. He was almost there! In typical, loving, Jesus fashion, He reaches out His hand and saves Peter.

First off, please grant me some grace towards my modern-day rendition of this story, as no offense or harm is meant to be caused. This is the story that I saw when I read it the other day. I could suddenly feel the humidity rising from the water, smell the freshly caught fish, see the shadow of Jesus in the distance, hear the wind howling through the boat, and taste the water as it hit Peter’s lips when he started to sink.

I read this story from the Amplified Version of the Bible, which I highly recommend to anyone wanting deeper and richer meanings to these sacred words. This translation relays Peter’s experience of walking on water as one that all humans go through. It says that “when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me from death!’” (v 30). I had always thought the story went that Peter took his eyes off Jesus, saw the storm and waves, and became afraid. That would make sense, right? I think the Holy Spirit, through Matthew, wanted to convey the deeper, heart issue that hits each of us when we walk through life.

I don’t think the point of this story is that taking our eyes off Jesus and looking at a storm causes us to sink. Nor do I think that the lesson is to keep tunnel vision on Jesus so that we don’t see any storm around us. The verse says that Peter perceived and felt the wind, and he became frightened. He began to sink and realized that he was headed towards death when he cried out to Jesus. It was Peter’s perceptions and feelings that caused him to fear. His fear caused him to sink towards death. All while a few steps away from his Savior.

This story of Jesus and Peter on the water is what the Holy Spirit used to hand me a new pair of glasses. I was presented with a real, sensory story and saw myself in Peter. My fears and insecurities rise up when I try to step forward based on my perceptions and feelings. I quickly sink towards death when I stand on circumstances and emotions.

Peter’s story is about standing on and walking toward the I AM, regardless of perceptions and feelings. Oh, that we may be a people who quit living based on emotions and circumstances. Rather, may we be people who step out of the boat in confidence and bravery, trust and security in the One who calls us onto the waters, regardless of what we perceive or feel around us.

For feelings lead to doubt and death, while faith leads to obedience and life.

And I’m pretty certain I want to live.

Aslan Is On the Move

I’m one who likes to stay posted on world news and happenings. I think it’s smart to keep in touch with the realities of what is happening in other places outside of my own so that I don’t walk in the naivety that everything is flowers and roses. Lately, however, the news headlines, just from this past week, seem to be worse and worse each day:

The Ebola epidemic, stretching from Guinea to Nigeria, has killed over 1,000 people

ISIS attacks and unrest continue in Iraq

Suspected suicide of Robin Williams

Africa’s last polar bear died

Missiles being shot across Israel and Gaza

Boko Haram continues to kidnap young women in Nigeria

Teenager sets himself on fire while his mother helps

Protests in Missouri over alleged racist killing of an 18-year-old, resulting in release of the National Guard to protect citizens and police

Plane crash kills a Brazilian presidential candidate

Ukrainian government continues to fight pro-Russian separatists, resulting in over 2,000 deaths

I have opted in to receive automatic notifications from my CNN app to help me stay on top of things. Last week, I remember looking at my phone and seeing yet another blurb of bad news from CNN, and thinking to myself, “When will this stop?” I sighed a release of exhaustion from reading these things, paused for a brief thanks that I don’t have to dodge missiles or fear Ebola creeping in my organs, and continued about my day pulling espresso shots and making latte art.

I began to become bothered at how these notifications did not affect me like they really should. Sure, I was sad to see something else going on, but it didn’t hit me deep in my spirit like it should. It was like I had come to expect bad news, instead of expect good news. So, what do I do when bad news isn’t surprising anymore?

Since Eve first made headlines from eating the forbidden fruit, bad news has come to perpetrate our every day lives. It has instilled mistrust, fear, and instability in a world that was originally intended to walk in harmony with the Father. People lay their heads down at night hungry, sick, and hurting in places deeper and more complex than where bone and sinew meet. What’s the point of all this wrong? Why is it happening?

When Jesus was on the earth, He taught the disciples how to pray. The beginning of the prayer goes like this:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Jesus said that we should first recognize God as our Father and as holy. Then, He calls us to pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done–the same on earth as it is in heaven. No pain, no fear, no bad news. Rather, He wants us to pray that earth would look and smell and feel and taste more and more like heaven every day. If I may be so bold, I don’t think that means us as Christians are to sit and pray and wait for God to come and eradicate all that is evil in the world. I think, instead, it is a call to action. A call for us to start spending our time, talents, and resources to transform earth into a more heaven-like place.

I recently read a book that briefly speaks of this world that God longs to see. The author, Sarah Bessey, references a popular and powerful quote from a classic C.S. Lewis tale after describing a place without fear and evil:

The Table may be loud and dominant, but love and freedom are spreading like yeast. I see hope creeping in, destabilizing old power structures. I feel it in the ground under my feet. I hear it in the stories of the people of God living right now. We’re whispering to each other, eyes alight, “Aslan is on the move.” Can’t you feel that? The kingdom is breathing among us already. -Jesus Feminist, 4

I believe that Aslan is already on the move in this earth, and that if we look closely, we can see His hand pushing out the enemy’s strongholds and His breath consuming things in opposition to Him. I believe that I (and all followers of Christ, for that matter) carry the power to transform this world into that which God desires it to be. I believe that Jesus commanded we pray for kingdom to come to earth just like heaven because He believes in us to join alongside His already existing work in the world in restoration and love. Colossians 1:27 confirms this power by declaring that the mystery has been made known, “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

While there are thousands of people living in fear around the world, I think it’s time we rise up and declare the hope of Christ. We don’t have time to waste sitting in our safe homes, ignoring the cries of desperation, while God is asking us to be His mouthpiece to the hopeless. People are waiting for us to walk through the door and whisper into the depths of their souls that today is the day when fear dies and love prevails. It’s when we surrender our perception of safety and security that we can step beyond ourselves, look to where God is already in momentum within the world, and partner with His work in bringing His kingdom to earth, just as it is in heaven.

Do you believe it is actually possible for earth to be like heaven? Do you have your ears and eyes in tune to see the work of the Holy Spirit already moving? Are you ready to join hands with God and bring hope to this seemingly hopeless world?

Back to the Garden

I come from an extremely intelligent family. My father came close to graduating university with three different left-brained degrees, and my brother just received his Doctor of Philosophy in Physics. My mother was a nurse for forever, and her father was a well-renowned doctor in Ohio.


To say I fall far from the tree would be an understatement; I fell, and rolled and rolled and rolled, around the world and back. Even though I lean more towards the arts and adventurous, free-spirited side of life, I still like to claim the intelligent side of the family. I like to say my English degree was really a creative degree in Psychology and Sociology, simply for mere scientific justification. And while the rest of my family can dissect and understand science and math, I can do so with art and literature. This ability to analyze, analyze, and overanalyze has proved to be both a good and evil influence in my life.

In college, I took a few philosophy classes that challenged my beliefs and caused me to doubt that which I had been raised to think was true. I spent whatever free time I had reading and studying what it is I actually believe. I spent numerous hours and dollars on books, trying to figure out truth. My ability to overanalyze everything came to fruition during those times, and it was then that the pursuit of knowledge became my idol and goal in life.


I didn’t realize how stuck in my head I had become until I went to Spain this past October. My brain had gotten in the way of my heart. I had lost the true reality of what it means to be a follower of Jesus, to be loved by the Father, and to be filled with the Spirit.

Since the beginning of this year, I began walking in a newness of God’s love; but the truth of the gospel really knocked me in my face when I traveled to the Middle East in February. I was entering the land where the Garden of Eden is suggested to have been located, where Noah built the ark, where Abram lived before becoming Abraham, where the wise men supposedly travelled from, and where Peter preached at one point.


I remember the first day I was there and we had driven up a mountain just outside of town. There I stood, overlooking valleys and hills, with snow capped mountains in the far distance. This ill-conceived land and untouched beauty overwhelmed my vision as I tried to take mental pictures and notes of what was in front of me. I was staring at the land where it all began. I was looking at a piece of creation that not many people have the privilege to see. I was gazing into my future in the Middle East and, ironically, God’s symbolic desire for all of mankind.

I imagined Noah building an ark in this area and Abram checking in on his cattle and family. I pictured God looking at the land and shaping out each crack and crevice along the mountain, scooping out pieces of land to make valleys, and curving out mounds of dirt to form hills. I saw the Garden and the simplicity of life when Adam and Eve enjoyed the presence of God with nothing distracting or hindering them.


After some time, we had to leave to go on with our day, and I eventually had to fly back to Spain. I’ll never forget the days that followed. I began to create a garden outside our home and it was there that God first spoke the words that forever changed my perspective and my life.

Sarah, all of life is about living with Me. My original intention of man was to spend time with him and love him. It’s time for you to go back to the garden.

It doesn’t take rocket science to realize I had been making everything too complicated. My crazy brain had hindered my walk with God so much that He literally took me to the place where it all began and showed me the place He spent time with Adam and Eve. He then had me work on a garden of my own, which began with pulling weeds for about two weeks, tilling the ground, and finally planting flowers before flying back to the States.


However, once I landed in Texas, my mind went crazy with to-do lists and busyness that I quickly forgot to breathe in the peace of simplicity that comes from living in the garden. My brain would become exhausted trying to figure this and that out, and I would end up going nowhere. I had made things way too complicated and could hardly think straight. I realized that when I’m not walking in communion and in the presence of God, I try to take things into my own hands, rebuilding idols of knowledge and control. Anxiety, worry, and stress fill my heart instead of peace, love, and joy. I overanalyze things which I am unable to understand and try to answer questions which I don’t have answers to.

And then. I remember to breathe. I remember to think and live simply. I remember to go to the garden.

A dear friend of mine continually reminds me that life is all about the journey; and that’s definitely good news. Life doesn’t end when we lose sight of the garden. It continues, full of grace and an open door back to the Father’s relentless love. So that’s how I choose to live. I most likely don’t have all the answers to questions, and I probably can’t theologically explain why things are the way they are. But I’m ok with that. I hope that by the way I walk in the garden every day, that you too will go back to the garden and live in the simplicity of the Father’s love.


Consuming Fire

Over time, I have been unofficially designated as the fire maker in my house here in Spain. Which is actually humorous considering I grew up with a gas fireplace in Texas, where I was afraid to even turn it on from fear of blowing up the house. Before I came to Spain, I had only ever started maybe two real fires in my life, and now I make one here almost on a daily basis. I guess my inner Girl Scout (which I never was) is coming to fruition.

Recently, God has been speaking to me about the spiritual realm through the physical realm in very strong and obvious ways; most significantly, through fire.

There is power in fire. It brings light into darkness, cultivates heat in cold, sends people into deep thought and deep laughter. Fires can be a small flame that barely flickers, or a roaring lion in the corner of a living room. There is something beyond mesmerizing about fires. I think it is through the dynamic power of fire that God has chosen it to teach me.

The last few weeks of 2013 and first week of 2014 was a challenging time. I would wake up in the middle of the night, spinning in my bed, tangled in my comforter, as if I was fighting something. Turns out, my spirit was wrestling with the Spirit of God. I had stepped back into the forest of my past and was still clinging to others’ love as priority in my life. My spirit was wrestling Holy Spirit because I was not ready to completely give up my desire for love from man in order to receive God’s complete love in my life and to have it as number one.

For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. -Deuteronomy 4:24

God invaded my dreams one night and came to me in a beautiful way, where I watched the lies, the insecurities, the weaknesses of my past die. He then romanced me as my groom and His bride, opening my heart to start to receive His love for me. However, the next day, something happened. I was making a fire for the evening and bumped my hand on the inside of the fireplace. Sizzling and smoke radiated from my hand, and I ended up with a quarter-sized burn.

Are you done playing with fire? Are you tired of getting burned?

I couldn’t contain the tears that welled up in my eyes. Not from the pain of my burn, but from the pain and longing in my heart.

Yes, yes, yes! I’m done playing with fire. I’m exhausted from getting burned. From seeking unhealthy relationships. From seeking the love of others. From finding my identity in what people think and say. I’m done. I’m tired. I just want you, Jesus!

The healing process of a burn is painful. Anything that touched my hand would send throbbing pain up my arm, and it felt like a never-ending cycle of Neosporin, Aleve, and prayers for no scarring. Sometimes, my hand would throb from the heat and pressure of healing. I learned from my mother that whenever something is broken or sprained, it is best to keep it elevated above the heart so blood flow can decrease the swelling. I found that when my hand would start to hurt, the best thing to do was hold it against my heart. My burn would instantly stop throbbing and relief would come. Wounds and burns are healed only when we press them against the heart of the Father, as His pure love draws tenderly against us and redeeming blood flows in.

Last night, I had a close call again when starting the evening fire. The wood had been sparking when new flames ignited; however, I kept blowing and wanting the fire to grow. As soon as I stood up and started walking away, a flame shot out of the fireplace and bursted like fireworks on the 4th of July. My housemate was with me and saw what happened. We both froze, and as he let out a laugh of unbelief that I didn’t get burned, I sat on the couch and teared up with gratitude that I didn’t get burned. It was as if Holy Spirit drew me away from the flames and the love of God protected me from getting burned again.

And I think that’s what God does. He doesn’t put us in situations that will force us to get hurt; we do it to ourselves and to each other. When we listen to His voice and leading, His Spirit guides us, causing us to flee from sin and danger, death and destruction. But if we’re not careful and attentive, we will get burned. Thankfully, God’s love for us never ends, never runs out, always wants to permeate our dreams, our lives, our hearts. It’s when His love invades that our wounds are healed and the fullness of our hearts’ desires are fulfilled.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angles, nor principalities, not things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:37-39

Children and World Changers

If somebody were to ask me if I could change the world when I was younger, I would have said, without hesitation and with complete confidence, “Absolutely! Why not?” Of course, my dreams were to be a police woman so I could drive fast or a professional soccer player like Mia Hamm, but I still believed that, somehow, I could change the world. At some point, unfortunately, the world changed me. I no longer believed that I had anything to offer, anything worth saying, anything of talent or significance. I think we all hit this point in life. However, I think only a few ever fight against these lies, crawl out of selfish thinking and poverty mindsets, and actually believe that they can change the world, like when they were young.

But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” -Mark 10:14-15

If we can define the kingdom of God as reversing oppression on earth, then Jesus is implying that it is up to children to change the world. I don’t think Jesus meant those ages two to ten years old are the only ones who will manifest the kingdom, even though they surely can. I think Jesus meant something more.

A child is tiny and fragile, but resilient to bumps and bruises. He is ready to jump and run and fly and fall. He laughs from his belly at things that are funny, and he cries from his heart at things that touch him deeply. He is completely dependent upon his parents to provide everything he doesn’t even recognize he needs. A child trusts until he finds a reason not to trust. He sees a world full of rainbows and flowers and grass and dirt, and will do whatever it takes to live life fully.

That’s who Jesus says the kingdom of God belongs to.

In class, names are used as examples who have impacted cities, nations, and the world for something greater than themselves, Martin Luther and Mother Theresa as our primary go to people. Martin Luther. Mother Theresa. Martin Luther. Mother Theresa. Martin Luther. Mother Theresa. Not to disregard any work or impact they made on the lives of countless people, but a somewhat scandalous thought ran through my mind the last time these names were referred to. What about me? Will people, decades and centuries later, grandchildren and generations from now, speak my name as part of that list? Will I be remembered for the impact made, for the imprint left on this earth?

The world is waiting for God’s sons and daughters to come forth, manifest His truth and love, freedom and redemption, healing and restoration. To live with a faith that runs and laughs and falls and cries and believes and pursues the reality that we have the power of Christ in us to change the world. I’m ready to be a child of His and change the world. Are you?

Hope of Glory

This morning, I went on a run. Crazy, I know. It must be something in this Spanish water because I was really wanting to run. So, I woke up early, tightened my Nike’s, and hit the road. The sun had already risen and the air was a beautiful mix of cool and warm. I had a destination in mind, with pit stops on the way to walk for a little to catch my ever shortening breath. After turning corners, rounding curves, and slugging up and down hills, I finally arrived to my goal: the foot of the cross.

There’s this little church my friends showed me the other night that is not too far from my house, but far enough that I can escape and be still. Maybe it was the idea of being alone for a little time or the inner whisper to sit at Jesus’ feet early in the day, but I was desperate to make it to that cross. So much that I sprinted the last straight away to get there faster.

white church

Once I arrived, I couldn’t help but sit on the rock the cross was built into and rest my hands on my knees in order to slow down my breathing. I kept looking at the weeds and cacti around me without realizing my breath was quickening. I tried to make a conscious effort to slow down, but I couldn’t gain control, I couldn’t breathe deeply, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the weeds. It was as if a force was keeping me from looking anywhere else but down.

When suddenly, I heard God ask me to say His name. “Are you crazy? I can’t even breathe!” He asked me again. So I whispered it just faint enough to hear. Do you believe in My name? Say it louder. So I said it loud enough to hear over my exhausted lungs. As soon as the name Jesus was released from my body, breath entered and I was able to look up and see that which I had been sitting in front of. There I sat on the edge of a hill, overlooking the coast of Spain, the Mediterranean Sea, and Morocco in the distance. And without realizing it, my arms were no longer resting on my knees, but wrapped around this metal cross as if it were my lifeline. Because it is my lifeline.

cross on hill

I tried to let go of the cross and look back down at the weeds, but something inside me wouldn’t allow that to happen. Even though the view is undeniably awe-inspiring, I wanted to continue to inspect the details of the weeds right in front of me, threatening to creep up onto my legs. It’s not like they were beautiful; thorns and dirt crawled all over each plant. But it was as if the Spirit inside of me kept His hand under my chin, looking out over the land and wonder of this place.

With my arms wrapped around the cross, I was reminded of one of the key verses that has been taught here at G42 thus far:

…to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. -Colossians 1:27

Since Christ, the God of the universe and the Savior of the world, lives in me, why would I even want to try to breathe air into my own lungs and keep looking at the weeds around my feet? I have the King of kings living inside me. I have the power and authority of God Almighty to kick the weeds and breathe out His Spirit into the world, pushing back evil with every swing and reversing oppression with each breath. Oh, how often I forget this truth!

And you know what? If you are adopted into the Royal family, you have Christ living in you as well. You have the authority to erase the lies that say you’re unworthy, not significant, a waste of space on this earth. Surely God does not believe those lies about you, so why would you let them creep into your soul like weeds and cacti stripping you from your lifeline?

After clinging to the cross and looking out upon the land, God finally asked me to stand up. Don’t look back down. Keep your eyes on Me and go forth and walk with the confidence that comes from My authority. I give it to you so that the hope of glory may be manifested through you.

I wish I could say my run was easier after this, but it wasn’t. There’s something significant about training your lungs to carry bigger and bigger capacities of breath. Just the same, it takes training to continually walk and live with the authority and power of Christ in me. But I can tell you that it is in recognizing this reality that things start to change, with my head up and lungs filled and Jesus coming from my lips.

Will you live with the truth that Christ lives in you?

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

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!


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.


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!

Deuteronomy 1

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.


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!

On Darkness and Light, and Why It Matters to You.

I can’t exactly pinpoint where I was, what I was doing, or who I was with when the truth hit me, but at some point in college, the concept of light struck me in such a way that has forever changed me and the way I think, act, and believe.

What I do remember is learning the eternal certainty that no matter how dark darkness is, light can and will always overcome. With light, there is always victory. With light, there is always grace. With light, there is always life.

It makes sense, then, that when God was creating, the first thing He spoke into existence was light:

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. -Genesis 1:2-4

Pre-creation, everything was in darkness and empty. In this context, the original Hebrew translates “darkness” as disorder, confusion, uncertainty, death. Yet, as soon as the Spirit of God began to hover, things began to happen. God called light into being and saw that it was good. This “light” in Hebrew translates to victory, guidance, bearer of deliverance. Then, God separated the light from the darkness, distinguishing it as different, not the same, contradicting.


The church I attend gave away study guides during the season of Lent. As I scanned through it, one line caught my attention. Apart from light informing the eyes, there is no ability to behold beauty. No ability to behold beauty? If light didn’t exist, if my eyes aren’t open to see, I am unable to behold beauty. From the annual Texas bluebonnets every spring and my dog attempting to catch a lizard, to the kids playing cricket in the streets of India and the hot steam of fresh Colombian coffee. None of those glimpses of beauty can be seen without light informing the eyes. Even at night, there is still some light flickering in the stars and the bugs and the cars that pass by.

This implies that since darkness is the absence of light, that beauty is the presence of light and that which God has created. Therefore, all things in and of the light are God’s divine, beautifully crafted handiwork.

Oh, just breathe and let that rest in your soul for a moment.


As an English major post-graduation, I was desperate to be with people who read books, analyzed books, and talked about books. So, naturally, I joined a book group. It is filled with ladies from my parents’ church, ranging in ages, ethnicities, and life-stories, all unified by the blood of Christ. The book for June was called Goodbye is Not Forever, and we were blessed to have the author, Amy George, come and share her story with us. Growing up in the Ukraine pre-World War II, Amy’s life was one full of hardship and troubles. She shared how her father was forcefully arrested by the Soviet secret police and sent to Siberia. Without her father to provide, life proved difficult. Before Amy and the rest of her family was taken by the Third Reich and sent to a slave labor camp, she relayed to the group of a time when she went outside after a long, hard winter and soaked up the heat of the day, bringing life to her cold bones and joy to her tiny heart.

From the sunshine I knew there was love out there.”

When Amy said that, I felt like I had walked into a familiar, yet unchartered revelation from God Himself. From the sunshine, she knew love. From a fire-burning, light-emitting ball, she knew of love’s existence. The being of light proved that love is. In the midst of poverty, hardship, near-starvation, and soon-to-be slavery, Amy knew that, because of the light, darkness could not win.


In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He says to His followers:

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. -Matthew 5:14-16

He’s talking to us! He’s telling us, you and me and all other believers, that we are the light of the world. We are the grace-filled. We are the life-givers. We are the love-spreaders. We are the victors. We are the light! In comparison to Hebrew “light” (victory, guidance, bearer of deliverance), the Greek translation of “light” in this context means to shine, make manifest, make known, and the splendor and glory of God. It’s a dual action word. It is something that we do, as well as something we emit. The Spirit has hovered over our lives and granted us the opportunity to carry the light of the world to all who see us. Since we are the light, others will see us. (Remember…light always overcomes darkness.) They will see beauty and God’s craftsmanship, His splendor and glory. And they will want more.

Where is your light? Are you hiding it under a basket? Are you dulling your light to near darkness? Or are you shining forth and breathing life into cold bones, like the sunshine did into Amy? Are you radiating to others the light that speaks of the victory we have in Christ?


And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. –Revelation 21:23-25