Your story isn’t just for you

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I really want to be in Italy today. The place I feel called and awake and alive. The ‘in-between’ is hard. Having a heart split in pieces all over the world is hard. Knowing that’s where I’m called and going but not there yet…is hard. The waiting is hard. But I remember King David hearing about his call as a young shepherd and then having to wait to become King.

I know I am supposed to be here in America now. It becomes more evident with each person I meet and encounter in my daily life. There is a reason and this time is not wasted. I’m reminded that my story is not just meant for me. Its about something so much bigger than me and it’s for other people too. So, my desires can wait because they are worth it. This season and time spent and practicing living in the now and loving those currently around me with ALL that I have is so important! I don’t want to miss it and I don’t want someone else to miss what they need because I’m too focused on me and what I want.

Our obedience and daily decisions affect other people. That’s really powerful and a lot of responsibility. Maybe you’re feeling stuck or longing for the next chapter; please be encouraged and reminded today that your story isn’t just for you. What you’re experiencing now-the beauty and the pain is also to help someone else.

Let’s not just live for our own dreams and agendas, let’s shift our perspective and see those around us and be willing to not have to know the timing or whole story but to trust in the One writing it.

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Dark night of the soul

On this dark night of the soul this burden feels so heavy. My head dips low, the tears fall constant and despair tempts my thoughts. Why is rock bottom so low for some. Why must they choose all the things that will hurt them when hope has been offered so freely from the beginning again and again.

You knock on my door after all these years and you ramble on into the night.. dazed and confused. I try to make sense of all the things you say and form together pieces of the story from the last 8 years. I listen, searching for the man and friend I once knew but hearing a very different sound of a sort of monster you’ve grown into instead. One that I’ve met on the streets sad and tangled in all their tragedy and bad choices so deceived by the enemy and digging a deeper grave by the day. But how did you my friend turn into this? You had such potential. Charm and brains, skills on the court, so many different directions you could have run and become successful. But small, bad, daily choices turned into big ones and when tragedy hit it sent you in a tailspin destroying everything in your path. And so now here you find yourself Lost. Alone. Angry. Self righteous. Manic. Losing your mind.

And somehow, for some reason… you reached out to me.
My heart breaks. Bleeds. Burden fully transferred to my heart.

God, Why you choose me to keep awake late in the night to battle on my knees blows my mind. I’m not the best prayer warrior. I’m terrible without sleep. There’s nothing I can do to help or change the situation. Yet you give me this burden and show me a glimpse of what your heart feels for each of these hurting children of yours. I can’t help but ache and cry out to you and weep for the lost. I don’t know how to not feel so deeply and I accept and see that this is the cross you’ve given me to bear. To know how your heart beats and burdens for the lost. The depth of the ache and the relentless pursuit of your love.

I shift my gaze off the pain of the story and the destruction in the life I see before me. I shift it up to you and remember your transforming power, your redemptive work, I see the confidence in your determined eye that you won’t lose one of your own and that no matter how far they run you have open arms and a banner of love running after them.

Be my strength, be my song. Give me wisdom to know what to say and what to do. Where to draw boundary lines and where to have open arms. I give you this burdened and weary heart. Jesus these are all yours. You are the Savior not me.
I plead with you tonight to loose the chains the enemy has on my dear friend and set him free. Open his eyes to who you are and who he is in you. Give me hope overflowing to pour out to those in need around me. And when they see me Jesus let them only see you.

I need you Jesus, every moment I need you.

finding my voice

she raked and raked as I shaked.

I kept speaking–

truth.

She didn’t like it. Contorted it and twisted it, and as time went by sitting alone with her thoughts, truth changed as it entered her false reality. She demanded an apology and threw in my face all the good things she did for me as if I should feel guilty and bad for them.

(This is why I can’t receive gifts, compliments, or nice things done for me because some how deep within me I feel they come with strings attached. They come with a cost. I don’t deserve them and I am indebted.)

Manipulation at its finest.
(And yet I ask myself how I always fall for the emotional  manipulator…when I can now see it was the norm, the expected, the voice that influenced and shaped my thought patterns and reactions. No wonder I am a prime candidate to fall, to kneel, to bend and break to someone else’s feelings, needs, and wants. )

Realities shouldn’t change truth…truth should shift and change realities.

she raked and raked as I shaked.

But I kept speaking. I didn’t back down. For once in my life I spoke truth boldly and in love.

She raked and raked and I shaked; and there was fear but this time it didn’t silence me.

I don’t know if it will make a difference, make a change, or effect things but I know it made a difference for me. And Me is the only person I can choose to change, choose to embrace growth, choose to do hard things because they are right.

I am proud of Me today.

I used my voice today, even though it shaked.

 

 

 

 

 

pocket full of sunshine

I’m at a conference in Berlin and exhausted from the busyness of life and travel and fighting off some sickness. One of our breakouts were cancelled so I decided to slip away back to my hotel and take a nap. After the nap I threw my hair in a messy bun, wrapped up in a scarf and jacket, and grabbed a handful of pringles on my way out the door. I was walking back to the conference stuffing my face with pringles and I passed a man who stopped me and asked “excuse me do you speak English?” I said “mmm hmm” in the middle of a mouthful of chips and he says “I’m sorry but you are a beautiful lady.” My face immediately breaks into a smile and my eyes look down in shock and embarrassment. He says “and a great smile!” I say thank you as we continue walking past one another…and I can’t stop smiling.

This made my day. The tiniest interaction with a complete stranger in a foreign country; the most unexpected compliment in a moment where I most certainly did not feel beautiful. He caught me in a completely natural moment of life, unplanned, un-posed, and somehow he thought it was beautiful and enough so to let me know.

Kindness changes things. This is a moment of sunshine I will put in my pocket and carry with me for the grey rainy days, when I hear an insult or haven’t felt loved or noticed. I will pull this memory out and smile again.

 

stirring.

There is a stirring inside that I cannot deny or ignore….

I want more. I want to do more.

I am sitting in a cafe across the street from lines and huddles of humans seeking comfort and warmth and food. The pigeons surround them and scuttle about just like them…seeking the same things. He knows their names. Every person huddled on the street corners and under bridges. He knows their story and He cares. A white truck pulls up and the all gather around and wait their turn to see the Lord’s provisions for that day.

I sit in a fancy, cool, eclectic cafe surrounded by people on laptop devices, and spending tons of money on expensive coffee and gourmet delights. Heads in books, or raptured in conversation with a friend, business meetings taking place, work and pleasure all happening in this same beautiful space. But these windows they are big and if we could just look up and outside of ourselves we would see the need. The pain, the ache, the longing for someone to notice. I can’t pretend I didn’t see.

So I study you. I watch and think ‘what do you need? what simple items could improve your life?’ Even just a comfortable chair for you to read your book in.

 

-Houston, TX
Toute Suite Cafe

Maid of Honor Words

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When Hannah was a kid she was always a little bit in her own world. She loved to play, to run around barefoot, she had a huge imagination and was a little bit of a wild heart. That continued to grow in her and as she grew up with this love and passion for horses there was no need for finding a boyfriend or a husband because she was so focused on her passions and her purpose.  Then I remember the phone call I got when she called me to tell me about Daniel and that he had Asked her out to drive around the city and she didn’t really want to go because she was tired and in her pajamas and I told her just do it. Ride around, see the city, and enjoy his company and get to know him. I’m so glad she took my advice!

Hannah and Daniel have the kind of love that isn’t just selfish and inward focused toward each other, but it truly looks outward, it invites others in.

When I think about what someone should look for in a partner for life, I think it should be someone who makes you the best version of yourself. And although I have a hard time thinking  anything but the best of Hannah….Daniel truly completes Hannah in every way and brings out the absolute best in her.

Daniel you have become more of a brother to me than I could’ve ever hoped or imagined. Your kindness and generosity have been such a blessing to me. I’m so thankful for the time I’ve been able to spend with both of you together in Texas. I could not have dreamed up a better man for Hannah and you are the man of all our prayers for her!

Hannah you are a radiant bride and my heart is overjoyed to see you so in love and starting this new season of life with your best friend by your side. I love you so much and I am so proud of you.

Wishing you a lifetime of love and adventures together. Keep dreaming big and always point each other toward Jesus; may He bless you abundantly! Cheers! To Hannah and Daniel!

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Italian school yard observations

Friday school yard chaos ensues. Really to be honest it’s not that it’s such a different or greater chaos than any other day of the week, it just seems to last longer and maybe ring a few decimals louder because it’s finally the weekend. 

Groups of women in head scarves gather around plump babies in strollers. Basketball and soccer games collide, bullies steal balls, and little girls chase cute boys. Distracted moms try and talk 5 minutes sharing the weeks stories and events, babies cry and complain not getting their way, overprotective parents coddle and helicopter around. Scolding moms grab by the ears and scream loudly.

Bored babysitters read and scroll on their phones while changing viewing vantage points every 10 minutes to keep an eye on their kids who never stay in the same zone and break up fights which seems to be the main way kids communicate here. Nonna gives kisses and snacks and watches from afar while Nonno reads and occasionally joins in on the soccer game. Kids collapse on the ground begging to stay and play longer and throwing tantrums while Mamma pleads and makes deals. Papa chases the toddler around as he squeals with laughter. Delight, joy, and laughter mix in the air with aggression, tension, and competition.

  Cultures, colors, and languages group together and the yard is a diverse, beautiful place. There are Different parenting styles, kids with different needs, unique family situations and all types of caregivers. The yard provides an opportunity for play, a place to learn lessons for life, to grow courage and build friendships, to choose kindness and learn to resolve conflict. A place To gain skinned knees and soccer skills, to sometimes experience scars and situations that seem to last a lifetime. A place to grow thicker skin physically and emotionally. Its as simple as a part of the daily routine and as impactful as how it shapes and grows us. 

Italian school yard observations.