Thursday, August 27, 2015

[ saying goodbye ]

Two weeks ago today, I said goodbye to fifteen of the most beautiful children I've ever met. Fifteen children who changed my life, showed me Jesus, and wrote their precious long names in sharpie, marker, crayon, pen all over their auntie's heart. As I held each little one for the last time, I told them how thankful I was for their lives, how grateful I was to Jesus that He brought them into mine, and how proud I was of them, and how excited I am for their future. And then I just held onto them as they cried, and let my own tears fall, but truth is, saying goodbye is hard.

And even through our tears, there were all kinds of smiles, laughter, even jokes. Because the bigger truth is, we all knew we had way more than our love for each other in our hearts. We have Jesus. And we don't say goodbye, we don't grieve like those without hope. We *know* where our confidence, our security, and a store of boundless love is. It's in the very heart, the very blood and Life of Jesus Christ. That same Life that flows in our veins. That's why we could be excited, and joyful, and smile and laugh, even though it felt like our hearts were being squeezed.

I don't know when I'll see those babies again, except for heaven. My time with them is finished - the Lord gave them to us for a season, that's all. I had the honor and privilege of loving them, caring for them, encouraging them, teaching them, training them, serving them, and working alongside them for the Kingdom. It was a short time, but what a time it was!

One week later, I said goodbye to one of my teammates, one of my best friends. The next day, I left, and had to say goodbye to the other three, as well as my home for roughly the past two years, and the community and the church I've grown to love and cherish. That was a whole nuther kind of hard. Because it's one thing to pour into a child and love them - it's an entirely different thing to serve alongside someone and work together as a team to pour out and love. We'll see each other again - most likely soon, although some sooner than others - but we'll never be a team like that again. It's also the end of a season.

Saying goodbye in the airport last week, having to let go when it seemed like I could stay forever...I learned something deeper about Jesus. Nothing that I didn't already know, but I learned it in stronger way. It's that He is our Peace. I had every reason to be a wreck, and in some very obvious ways, I was. But my soul was not. I was not in despair. I was hurting, but not because I was afraid or alone or anxious. I was hurting because love hurts. But I was joyful. And the deep peace that washed my soul as I was left by myself in that big familiar-yet-still-big airport was only supernatural.

It's been a hard week. Transitions like this are no joke. The enemy knows my weakness, and there have been times where I've just been staying ahead enough to *respond* to the attack. But strength is rising - hope is growing - truth always proves victorious. Walking forward on the offensive, beating the enemy before he attacks, making decisions based on truth instead of experience - Jesus wins. His Love (with a capital "L") wins.

Saying goodbye is hard - especially when your heart is full to overflowing, beating, pounding, throbbing with love. And the ache and joy afterwards are part of what it means to truly live. I've never felt more real, more myself, more alive than I have this week - as all the emotion welled up and swelled up and rocked me. Not because it was overpowering, but because it was beautiful.

I don't know if I'm making sense. My eyes are wet right now because new realities that are settling in are, and part of that new reality is the fact that my heart is spread out over multiple states and continents.

But every season is beautiful when Jesus is at the center.

And I'm so crazily thankful that He gave me something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Monday, July 27, 2015

[ perfect love really actually does cast out fear ]

I’ve been overthinking things. Every possible thing. 

And apparently our world is falling apart - from acts of terror and just plain evil going on on our own soil, to atrocities overseas and even just over the border, the enemy is having a heyday with the innocent and the vulnerable. Not to mention the undermining of the family and the trashing of human life being blatantly flaunted in our legislation and government.

These are things that, as a child, my paranoid self prayed to Jesus to save me from. That I wouldn’t see or hear these things while I was alive. I was afraid of pain, afraid of death, afraid of any kind of scary or uncomfortable or sad thing. I didn’t want that to be my generation…and yet somehow, even at age seven, eight, nine…I knew it would be.

I’m a little older now. And I’ve been freed from that old fearful self. But this week, I came to realize that even though Scripture states that in Jesus I have all I need for life and godliness, some of these areas of life hadn’t been tested yet.

And this week they were. Nightmares, thoughts I couldn’t shake, imaginings I never wanted to revisit came back in a flood. And my heart kept tightening up with fear. And yet, this time it was different. Instead of being a terrified-to-sleep eight year old who didn’t know the power of Jesus, I was a twenty year old who knew better. 

And yet still, the fear.

And the overthinking. 

Of everything. Future plans, heart’s desires, pulls and tugs every which way, relationships, just everything. Like I had some kind of control over them by thinking about them. Which I don’t.

I started a warring in my soul. A struggling. Assuming that victory in this was something to be struggled for, worked for, fought for. 

And then Jesus reminded me of two different conversations I’d had with two of the ladies I travel with about victory. And how the victory Jesus won has already been fought for, already done, ready to be claimed. Just claim it. Don’t draw it out, struggling for air and weighed down - just claim it. It’s mine.

So I did. I said, “Lord. There’s victory for this fear. It’s mine. I have it. I claim it in Your Name. Show me how to walk it.”

There was something else though. You see, Jesus has given us His Living Breathing Word. It’s sharper than two-edged sword. It divides truth from lie. It’s the essence of Christ in words and stories. It’s the manifestation of Himself in language. It’s a love letter from a Husband to His beloved bride. And, importantly in my case, it’s TRUE. 

Jesus reveals Himself and speaks to me in many ways. And I know He is not limited to His Word. But at the same time, it IS His Word.

So I went to it. Just began reading. Reading, reading, fully expectant, fully trusting, for Jesus to show me IN HIS WORD exactly what I needed to know to walk out victory over my overthinking and my fear.

It was seven o’clock in the morning on a rest day, so the girls were going to sleep till nine. I turned over on my tummy, pulled my Bible off the bed stand, curled up in my crazy comfortable quilt (I loooove it when there are quilts on the beds in a host home…pure joy) and picked up where I’d left off in the Psalms. 

Psalm 92. Solid. Encouraging. Praise Jesus.

Psalm 93. Love the floods and waters verses…blessed.

And then.

Psalm 94.

I mean, I think I’ve read this Psalm before. I must have, since I’ve read the Bible through several times. But I don’t think I’ve EVER read this Psalm. 

To be honest, it was so crazy perfect that I had to do a double take to make sure this was the BIBLE and not a paraphrase or an encouraging inspirational devotional or something.

No, it was really the Scripture. Straight from the heart of God.

Psalm 94
emphasis mine.

O LORD, God of vengeance,
O God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
repay to the proud what they deserve!
O LORD, how long shall the wicked
how long shall the wicked exult?
They pour out their arrogant words;
all the evildoers boast.
They crush Your people, O LORD,
and afflict Your heritage.
They kill the widow and the sojourner,
and murder the fatherless;
and they say, “the LORD does not see;
the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

Understand, O dullest of the people!
Fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?
He who teaches man knowledge — 
the LORD —knows the thoughts of man,
that they are but a breath.

Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD,
and whom you teach out of Your law,
to give him rest from days of trouble,
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
For the LORD will not forsake His people;
He will not abandon His heritage;
for justice will return to the righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.

Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?
If the LORD had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot slips,”
Your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.
Can wicked rulers be allied with You,
those who frame injustice by statue?
They band together against the life of righteous
and condemn the innocent to death.
But the LORD has become my stronghold,
and my God the Rock of my Refuge.
He will bring back on them their iniquity
and wipe them out for their wickedness;
the LORD our God will wipe them out.

How do you respond to that, except complete and total rest of soul? This is not a verse that promises easiness, or even a promise that everything will end happy. No, it’s a declaration of the power and omniscience of God. And it’s a call. Did you catch that? “Who will stand?” 

The promise is that the LORD is our stronghold, our refuge, our strength. Because He’s asking us to stand against the wicked. Because the ultimate victory IS ours. And we know it.

So needless to say, I just stared. Then I said, “Jesus, AMEN. I believe this. I believe YOU. And I’m done worrying about this. You’ve got it.”

Then, still a little in shock, I flipped to the other spot in my Bible where I’ve been reading. The Gospels.

I’d just finished Matthew a few days before - took me foreeeevvveeerrrr because I wasn’t even truly reading it, just, you know, reading it…and yeah. I had started Mark the morning before, and read for a while, so I was about halfway through.

I read through the end of Mark. The miracles and teaching, then the trial, execution, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And as I read, I noticed the fear and lack of focus in the disciples. The argument on who should sit at the right and left of Jesus, storms on the sea of Galilee, the lack of faith and trust in the power of the Man they were walking beside - even Peter’s vow to never deny Christ. Those disciples were always freaking out about something. But then, oh, the radical change after they received the Spirit! And I realized, wait, I have the Spirit - so my life should like the POST-resurrection disciples, not their fearful, timid selves. Hm. Interesting.

And as I read the story of Christ’s death, and His prayers in Gethsemene, I saw His “take this cup prayer” in a completely different light. He wasn’t *afraid* - His flesh was screaming NO NO NO, but He had ALREADY SAID YES. He was driven, compelled by love, and wasn’t about to give up. His body didn’t want to feel that pain, go through that agony, that torture….and yet…in a way, He *did* want to. He’d already decided yes. 

“He had the Spirit.” I thought. Then, “Wait a second. IT’S *HIS* SPIRIT. And that’s what I have LIVING IN ME. It’s not a different one. The exact SAME Spirit that IS the Son of God is the same one that I draw my strength from. So I have the power to already say YES to all that pain….even when my flesh screams no.”

I read that story, let the pain and the anguish of the cross wreck my soul. Allowed myself to feel sick to my stomach at the yuck of it all - but at the same time, drew strength from watching my Savior walk the road to Calvary in love, and endure everything I’ve been afraid of for my sake….and knowing that He will give me what I need when it’s my turn. Or the turn of someone I love - and I have to be the one left behind.

All this burning on my mind, I drew on lessons and truths the Lord has revealed to me in the past month or so as I’ve been really pressing to walk this higher road. There’s a beautiful song on KLOVE right now called “Even So Come” - and it's become my heart cry.

All of creation, all of the earth
Make straight a highway, a path for the Lord
Jesus is coming soon
Call back the sinner, wake up the saint
Let every nation shout of your praise
Jesus is coming soon

Like a bride, waiting for her groom
We’ll be a church ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
We sing, even so come, Lord Jesus, come
Even so come, Lord Jesus, come

There will be justice, all will be new
Your Name forever, faithful and true
Jesus is coming soon

Like a bride, waiting for her groom
We’ll be a church ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
We sing, even so come, Lord Jesus, come
Even so come, Lord Jesus, come

So we wait, we wait for You
God we wait, You're coming soon

This is our focus. This is our heart. This our drive. Y'all, Jesus is COMING BACK! What else matters?

I also read a powerful book called Redeeming Love [by Francine Rivers]. I’m honestly not going to really recommend it - it’s heavy, it’s hard, it’s intense and you need to Jesus to show you what He wants to show you. So if He brings it to you, read it - soak it up! But don’t just read it to read it. It’s not that kind of book - or at least it shouldn’t be. And it showed me walls I had up to love from hurts in my past - walls I needed to just knock down and step over and move on from, and it opened raw weak places in my flesh. But after I read it, and processed it for a few days, I finally got my mind around this: God created me with desires. He put them there. BUT. There’s not a single one of those that He cannot completely fulfill. He created us for each other, but not in such a way that He cannot satisfy us to the uttermost with Himself. And that, my friends, is crazy, and mind-blowing, and powerful.

There are beautiful things in the world. There are things I can do with my life - work to do, places to go and live, people to love and serve, and dreams to pursue. And my heart wants them. But I see now that even my plans for next week, next month, next year, and every good thing that I could want, are simply gifts from a loving Father. He may or may not choose to give them. They’re just rainbow sprinkles on an already incredible life I’ve been given.

I know this testimony is getting long, but hey, hang in there. Bear with me...

Then, this morning on the bus, we read through the children’s twenty-two memory verses…and EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. was relevant to what Jesus revealed to me in the days before. Even starting with Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” each verse was specific, encouraging and spoke right to my soul. Later in the afternoon, I read them all aloud to Courtney and hit her with the paper cause I was so excited. Just crazy blessed by Jesus.

Romans 8:28 - “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

1 Samuel 2:2 - “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God.”

Joshua 1:9 - “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Exodus 14:14 - “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”

And then Joshua 1:9 again, cause it was on the sheet twice on accident, but I didn’t care. *smile* “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Daniel 3:28 - “[Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego] trusted in [the Lord] and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”

John 16:33 - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 6:31-34 - “So do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”

2 Peter 3:9 - “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

John 15:13 - “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

John 10:11 - “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

John 4:13-14 -  “Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’

Mark 10:27 - “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man, this is impossible, but no with God; all things are possible with God.’”

Romans 8 - “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

Romans 12:1-2 - “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship.”

My thoughts? Jesus loves me so much to be pursuing me like He is.

Just so you know, I’m crazy excited about all this. Ditch whats left of me, burn up everything in my life that’s not Jesus. Shake out the shell that is myself and get all the dust out of all the cracks and crannies so there’s no place the Spirit can’t be. Because for real, what would life look like, be like, if you’re just so completely *gone* and chasing Jesus? Scarily crazily awesome. Off on adventures, doing things I never dreamed of (or wanted to), leaving every kind of fear behind and learning more and more every day just how totally completely *enough* He is. And accepting and loving every little and big perfect gift the Father brings my way as something to be treasured and held close….but still with an open hand. 

If I could pick one verse to be my testimony, it would be 1 John 4.

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him….So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.”

Y'all, I can hardly believe it. This smallish little young person who was so afraid is....get this, *not afraid anymore.* And I don't plan on being that way again. My flesh may say no, but this pre-decided yes, based on hope and faith and confidence based what I know is true of my Jesus, enables me to walk unafraid. Not because I'm strong, but because HE IS.



Ditch fear. 


Walk in the victory Jesus already purchased for you. Decide yes ahead of time to the life Jesus lived - He’s calling you to it, He will be faithful. 

It’s a promise.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

things you learn when you're called higher

I love Jesus.

Very much.

And daily, He proves Himself faithful to me. He keeps His promises, builds me stronger, and reminds me that I am loved.

He calls me higher - doesn't let me stay where I am, but presses me to grow.

And I asked Him to allow this season of my life to be hard. As hard as He saw fit.

And He has.

And it hurts, because in some ways, I wasn't ready. I mean, I have all I need for life and godliness...but sometimes it takes hard times to reveal to you an area of life that you need godliness, if you know what I mean. And that can feel a little ouchy and be a little overwhelming at times.

But here's what I've learned about life when Jesus calls me to higher levels of faith and obedience that I have ever been able to walk before:

1. He is there.
Even in the moments when I feel lost, I know without a doubt that He is there. His Spirit is still alive and well inside me, and He is leading me through the fog of my soul. I am afraid of my weakness, but at the same time, confident in His strength.

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." {matthew 28}

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." {joshua 1}

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." {matthew 6}

2. There is a purpose.
Jesus doesn't allow my life to be hard just for the heck of it. There is a purpose. And it's all about walking in His victory and becoming more like Him and being built stronger so I can be used and poured out for the kingdom more effectively. Not so that my life will be easier, but that Jesus will get more glory.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." {jeremiah 29}

"For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." {romans 8}

3. It's worth it.
It's always worth it. Because the harder the trial, the more I need Jesus, and the greater the victory and the more He is seen. And then, on the other side of the hardship, I am more prepared, more equipped for the next mountain, or the next adventure. Not for my sake, but His and those around me.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." {hebrews 12}

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,  for those who are called according to his purpose." {romans 8}

The adventure and journey to higher ground isn't always fun. It often requires asking forgiveness, and receiving grace, but it also means greater joy than I've ever experienced - greater strength, and a greater revelation of how much I need Jesus and how much He delights to pour His life into me.

My instagram description, and one of my favorite thoughts to ponder is, "faith thanks God in the middle of the story" - and that's what He asks of us. To be thankful. After all, that's the will of God for us in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4) To be thankful. To see Him in everything, to have faith in Who He Is, and rejoice in it.

The journey is worth it. Because Jesus Himself is waiting at the end.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

now it springs forth

"But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: 

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you...fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth,  everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise." - Isaiah 43

These verses were given to me within a twenty-four hour period by two people who are incredibly special to me and influential in my life - and then this chapter kept popping up in random places throughout the past ten days. I figured Jesus was trying to teach me something, so I stopped to listen. And I heard,

"I am doing a new thing. Do you see it?"

(turns out, that's actually exactly what the scripture says)

A new thing.

Being done, Liza?


Being done by....other people around me?


Being done by.....


God the Father.

And if He's doing it, if He's the one Who's Lord of my life, my story, my heart....then I should trust Him at work, and simply walk in it. Let go, walk in faith, walk in the Spirit, and trust Him to reveal my steps, give me wisdom, and show me how to live with honor, how to pour myself every day, how to love the people I love (and the ones I'm called to love), and stand in confidence.

Each season He's brought me through has been beautiful. Each transition has brought it's own difficulties, but I'm learning to see them as opportunities for Jesus to get more glory. Life with Jesus is all about opening doors, walking forward, climbing hills and mountains, jumping over ditches, new adventures, and never assuming we've reached the peak of knowing His power and His love. His mission on earth was and is restoring all things to Himself - and He is worth every closed door, every hard transition - because we don't consider the suffering of today to compare to the glory that is to come.

I've realized all over again in the past week that I'm called to live an impossible life. There's too many moving parts, seemingly conflicting pulls and tugs, and too much to think about to do anything well. But I have all I need for life and godliness, and I have the power, Spirit, LIFE of Jesus living inside of me...and if He's doing the work, then nothing is impossible. How crazy is that?! Nothing is impossible with God. And He is Emmanuel, "God. With. US." And I have no words. Overwhelmed by love ~ "I have called you by name, you are Mine" ~ and renewed with a vision for what He's about, what He's doing in my life, in the lives of those I love, in His Bride - the church - and the world.

There is beauty in knowing the depths of love of your Father for you, His precious one. There is power in knowing He lives, dwells, abides inside of you. And there is freedom in knowing that He is active, and at work, in control, always.


He is doing a new thing.

Friday, March 20, 2015

to be loved.

To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us. { tim keller }

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

life on tour // { installment of the traveling scrapbook }

For those of you who keep up with me on Instagram, you know my various hashtags, including #travelingscrapbook. So here's an installment on the *blog* of the traveling scrapbook - a photo snapshot of where we've been since last time I posted, letting the smiles and landscapes and images speak for themselves.

 {jumping on the actual real life *oregon trail* at our host home in heppner, oregon.}

{visiting mission aviation fellowship - MAF - in idaho. that's Nate Saint's actual airplane he flew in Operation Auca right there...such an incredible testimony}

{children praying before a concert}

{ brief stop-through in windsor, colorado - and of course we took a summer 2013 semester picture, cause we always do that, for some reason }

{ illinois }

{ KATE. I love that my bestest of friends drove nearly two hours to see me when we were staying south of chicago}

{ happy birthday uncle freddy! }

{ also illinois.}

{ happy birthday uncle josh! }

{ CHLOE AND CARMEL. Worlds colliding! All part of "prove to Liza's teammates that blogging friends are real, actually quite lovely, people." haha.}

{ our beautiful host home farm in hickory grove, south carolina }

{ yes, this is abbeville. yes, I was more than a little excited to be back. It was a short, but precious stay and Jesus is very, very good.}

{ abbeville, south carolina }

{ Courtney and I may or may not have stopped by Clemson on our way from Abbeville to Seneca}

{ seneca, south carolina }

We're currently in Arkansas, with another busy two weeks of tour ahead before heading back to Colorado for our Spring 5K and Resurrection Sunday. I have now been working with His Little Feet for seven months - it's pretty amazing how much has changed and how fast the time has gone!

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God....Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another....if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us...So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him...There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." - 1 john 4

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

the risk of vulnerability

Loving people and being vulnerable takes courage.

It also takes humility.

And great confidence.

COURAGE because you're risking being hurt. You're opening up your heart and life to someone who may wound or use you. There's no guarantee of being received and loved. You're entrusting part of yourself to them, with no promise of being trusted in return. Loving people in a godly way, well, the way Jesus loved, takes all that we are, and leaves no room for insincerity or selfishness. It's all, or nothing. That takes guts.

HUMILITY because truth isn't always pretty. Sharing testimonies of God's faithfulness often involves sharing some of my worst failings. My greatest victories have risen from moments of human defeat. I'm not proud of my past, but pretending I don't need Jesus is false and prideful. And being vulnerable often involves asking forgiveness - admitting you're wrong. And for someone like me, who likes to be "all together", that's hard to do.

And finally, CONFIDENCE because I know Whom I Have Believed. Being vulnerable is just a trap for being miserable if I'm not confident in the love of Jesus. Because no matter how a conversation turns out, or what I've done, or what someone has done to me, I know Jesus loves me, and if my heart is bent on loving and serving Him with everything I am, then the opinions or comments of others do not matter. He does discipline those He loves, but it's to grow them to be like Himself, not to condemn them.

I am not an expert in vulnerability.

But I am learning.

I used to pretend I had it all together. After all, I was the model child, from a model family, and someone like me *must* have it together and no one should ever be able to question that.

The road to unconditional love and vulnerability for me has been rocky, difficult, and painful.

Asking forgiveness. Admitting when I've had a hard day. Loving people regardless of what they've said or done. Telling the truth about a situation, even if it might make me look bad or weak. Being honest with myself and the Lord about my heart. Allowing others to speak into my life without justifying my behavior, or taking offense. Not covering up my sin, but being honest about it's consequences and using my story as a launchpad for a passion filled life with Jesus.

If there's one thing I've learned on this journey of what it means to love unconditionally and be vulnerable, it's this:

Loving well and being vulnerable is not weakness. It's strength. 
It leaves you without a cover, but it leaves you free.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

life on tour // {multnomah falls}

It was a Cat in the Hat day.

Cold outside. Too wet to play. And misty.

We were in the middle of an eight hour drive.

But it's a His Little Feet tradition.

And we don't mind getting wet.

So we did.

(stopped, and got wet. in a big way)

And while Christa was taking the children's pictures, we asked if we could run up to the bridge. And we ran. And there was a sign about ice, but we didn't see any.

It was totally worth it.

We looked super awesome from down below....and really wet up close. *grin*

"As the waters fill the sea, so let Your glory be! Shine, Jesus Shine!..."