Main Pic.

Main Pic.

Monday, July 28, 2014

This Life I Live...

I'm 20 years old. I've been in 6 nations in the last 4 years. I've worked alongside incredible men and women. I've laughed with four year olds who are fighting a deadly disease. I've prayed with the blind and seen the sick healed. I've met strangers on plane rides that became friends. I've cried because my heart aches for children not born of my own womb. I've stayed in four star hotels and on dirty floors. I've worshiped alongside thousands of thirsty college students and with hundreds of desperate mothers. I've watched as a barren woman met her new child for the first time and I've held those who will never know that moment. I've known great pain and indescribable joy. I've danced with kids whose families found themselves in a shelter in an urban American city and I've danced in front of primary schools in the middle of the bush.

I'm 20 years old and the life I live is...blessed.

It's not always glamorous though. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it stinks, sometimes it disappoints, sometimes it breaks. But mostly it's amazing.

As I look at the life I have the honor of living I don't see what this description depicts instead I see a divine plan set out but the Divine King and I see a stupid girl who somehow gets to tag along. I see this not only in my life but in the life of every believer. Whoever said that living a Christian life was boring must not have known the God I serve. Because since I said yes to Him I get to live this life that doesn't make sense and that scares me to death but I'm honored because it's a lot more fun than one without Him.

Jesus said that He came to bring Life abundantly, so what kind of disciple would I be if I didn't choose to take Him up on His offer. I want to experience that life abundantly. I want to dance and laugh and cry and scream. I want to go and see and feel and learn. I want to sit and wait and pray and dwell. I want what He offers and if that means going all around the world then let's go but if that means staying put for awhile then may my anchors drop down.

You see, it's not about seeing the world it's about love and life and it's about introducing anyone and everyone I come in contact with to that love and life.

As I sat looking over Mtendere Village the morning before I came home, I prayed for this place I love and I wrote these words...

"At this village I found myself four years ago.
At this village I birthed a vision that I believe You are breathing.
At this village I have made the closest of relationships and found the deepest of loves.
This village turned a "do good" mission trip into a journey to meet family. 
This village took a girl who wanted to see the world and made her a girl who wanted to love the world for all it has to offer.
This village has stretched me and challenged me. 
This village has become part of me.
This place is the earthly home my heart was made for. 
Thank you Abba for this place."

So I wrote these words and I truly mean them. But the thing wasn't that place. It wasn't Malawi that changed me. It wasn't my family at Mtendere. It was my Abba Daddy. It was Him who changed everything in me. It was Him who invited me while I sat on that hill overlooking Mtendere and said "come let me show you a new life".

Where I used to see Malawi as turning point now I see Him. God, Himself took me half way around the world to change my world. So now the life I live is not something that I created, it is not something I chose, it's the result of an encounter with my adventurous, Lover of the lost, Seeker of the broken, Creator of the universe, Daddy. 

This life I live...It's an honor but it's nothing compared to the joy I find in the fact that He allows me to live it. He allows me to be His daughter and to join in His work. He orchestrates the days of life so that at the end of them all I will be able to say "It was all worth it and I wouldn't change a thing because I know that You were there, every moment." 

It's not about the extravagant moments or the crazy stories, it's about the God who says daily "come and experience life with Me". 

So go. 


Go anywhere and everywhere. Experience life abundantly. Spend yourself on the things this world deems meaningless to gain all that has true meaning. Sit in the dirt with a fatherless kid and stand in the gap with a desperate mother. Chase after the impossibilities. See the movement of Heaven and don't stop until you are a part of it. Don't worry about being rational or practical because this life you live is the only one you got and the One who gave it to you is waiting for you to take Him up on His offer and live. But live spending your life on others because living out of selfish ambition is not really living, it's hoarding.  Talk to the Creator of Life and ask Him what it is He desires your life abundantly to look like. Who knows you might end up on the other side of the world sitting in a dark room of people you love and realize that this is life abundantly and you are living it! 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Afraid of the Dark?

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it” John 1:4-5

This summer we were working through the first ten chapters of John with our high school students. It seems that light is a reoccurring theme at Mtendere Village. We ‘walk in the light of God’ during devotions then sleep in the light at night. Ever since the village got electricity nearly every room keeps the lights on 24/7. The more I know of the nature of darkness the more I don’t blame them for wanting to sleep in the light.

My last morning in Malawi, I was reminded of the power of His light yet again. We are teaching team building and chose to do a blindfolded obstacle course where the partner has to instruct the blindfolded member where to go, jump, turn, go under, or go around the obstacles. I watched as one of our oldest boys struggled across the course. Two minutes didn’t pass before it was too much to handle and he ripped the scarf off his eyes and stumbles off the court.

I went to challenge him to not give up and get back on the court. He looked at me and hesitated to tell me the truth, but I quickly figured it out. The darkness was too much to handle he needed the light. The darkness was terrifying.

As I walked away I had to fight the temptation to think he was too old to be afraid of the dark because the truth is I have no idea what is in the dark. I have no idea what he saw when the light was taken away. I have no idea the horror that occurred in the darkness in his life that would leave him this afraid.

But I do know with confidence the light of men and the Light I know, shines into the darkness! After everyone else left we called him back and had him try again. This time we didn’t force him to blindfold his eyes we just asked him to trust us and close his eyes on his own. He made it through the entire course with no problems.

The enemy did not win today because even though the darkness contains all sorts of fear, the light exposes it and the darkness cannot understand this Light. I watched my sweet friend overcome his fears and I realize that this is our calling, to go where the darkness is crippling and shine the Light of men.

Darkness cannot exist in Light.  When we walk in the light of God we see darkness tremble and we watch as our Warrior of Light goes to battle against every principality of darkness. I’m not afraid of the dark, I’m afraid for the places were darkness is not being exposed. I’m afraid for the men who cower under the fear of something unseen. I’m afraid for those who I will never know that allow darkness to overtake them.

We can only accomplish the obstacle course of life when we have the Light dwelling in us.  We are able to run without fear because we know that at the end we will open our eyes and see that the things that we feared don’t stand a chance against the Light that carries us.

So here I am…

Another trip comes to an end. The place that feels more like home to me than anywhere else in the world disappears as I soar above the thick layer of cold clouds. A million things have changed over the past four years but some things never change.  It is never easy to get on the plane and it will always be the most difficult thing I do, to say “see you soon” to family and to the best of friends.

But I’m following the Light so that makes it easier. Darkness is being defeated and Light is winning. Light is winning in Mtendere and Light is winning in Lakeland Florida. So wherever I am I will dwell in the Light.

Until next time my sweet Mtendere Village. I love you and pray for you daily. Where Light abounds, Darkness disappears. So abound in Light my family.