Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My True Identity

It's been almost a month and a half since I've last written.....I haven't felt brave lately.

I've been hiding. Not wanting to offer anything, because of the fear that what I offer isn't enough.

We're in a new enviorment, we're the new kid on the block, and it's made me measure myself and my abilities.

And I've decided that I don't measure up to this huge campus full of amazing missionaries.

That's the first time I've said that, admitted it to myself, but I know that's why I've been hiding.

It's crazy how we can feel something so deeply sometimes and not even know that we are carrying this huge weight around; a yoke that doesn't belong on our shoulders.

I've been carrying this yoke of wanting to be accepted in a new place and at the same time afraid that I have nothing to offer.

So then an inner fear or hiding comes telling me I'm not good enough, talented enough, smart enough, or spiritual enough to belong. It tells me I should bury what I have so no one can see, so no one can reject me.

I have been so blessed by this community and I know that this is exactly where we are supposed to be, but to be a part of this place and to thrive I need to shed some lies.

To lay down this heavy yoke and pick up the truth.

The truth being that I am enough! I am good enough, talented enough, smart enough, and more spiritual than I'll ever know this side of heaven.

I have to pick up the truth that my value is only based on my Daddy God's opinion.

We're moving again.....into a very nice place here on base and do you know what I'm feeling about moving into this very nice place.....I don't deserve it.......I haven't earned it......who am I to live in this beautiful apartment....

A word that God spoke over me when I went to the Brave conference in April and then again a couple weeks ago through a sister was the verses in Song of Songs 2:10-13 that says

"Arise my darling, my beautiful one and come with me. See! The winter has past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms it's early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me."

For me this is about my identity. This is about who I am.

God has been asking me to lay down this yoke of lies and to walk into this new place of my true identity.

My old identity is gone, the winter is past; the rains are over and gone. My new identity has come: Flowers appear on the earth.

So I don't just think that this is just for me, but for all of you that have struggled with your identity.

Your Daddy sees you. He wants to take off the heavy burden that you've put on yourself to be enough or maybe that others have put on you.

He is calling you to come with him and see as he see's. To walk into a new place armed with the truth of who he says you are, his darling; his beautiful one.

I know that this is a season of me walking in a new level of truth I haven't known before and I know that he's empowering me and he wants to empower you, his darling, his beautiful one.

Lets together say yes to that truth and lay down our yoke of lies.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas filled up with truth and your true identity.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Next Level

Well, we moved...again. Except this time it seems a bit on the permanent side.

We got back from China sometime the end of last November which means it's almost been a year! How is that even possible!!?

We came back and spend about 9 days with our very good friends in California. Then we were in Minnesota with Matt's family for about a month. Then we were with my family for 5 months and from there we moved into my brothers house for the summer.

We got here to Colorado Springs at the end of August. We then lived in guest housing for two weeks and then we moved into temporary housing for about 2 months and NOW we're in our own Hotel apartment! Which includes: a kitchen; that is not in a bathroom, two bathrooms and three large rooms and an amazing view of Pikes Peak.

Wheew! Makes me tired just writing all that. It has been such a hard and crazy year, but completely filled with Gods unending faithfulness.

When we moved in here though I cried and I cried (you're probably wondering why the heck I cry so much, well people, that is just me) and I couldn't figure out what my problem was until I had a little processing session with a close friend of mine. She started asking me how our new place was and guess what....I stared crying.....yea, what's new.

So I told her "I honestly don't know what's wrong with me" and she replied to me with all the grace and love a true friend can have " Well, saying yes to one thing is saying no to another."

It wasn't in that moment that the statement hit me, but it just kept rolling around in my head and then BAM, I got it.

Our life didn't really start here in the States till about two months ago. We were in limbo for almost a whole year, which we needed, but it kept culture shock and this huge move we've made at bay. But moving into this place felt like all the transition and limbo world came to an abrupt halt and we made a statement saying "We're staying!"

It just hit me, WE'RE STAYING. This is it, it's real, this is your home and you're gonna be here for a while. Maybe even a long while.

Saying yes to one thing is saying no to another.

We're saying yes to the States, we're saying yes to this base and we're saying no to going back to China.

The enormity of the commitment of staying isn't something we've faced for a while. Even through all of Lily's adoption we PRAYED we would be leaving. Everyone knew there was an end in sight. Here though I feel like God is asking us to put down roots. Roots to me translates-no end in sight.

I love it here. I love the people, the community and all that God is doing in unreached Nations through this base, but staying without an end in site scares the crap outta me.

I have always known I would go and our life has been such a whirlwind from the very beginning. There's always been moving in our future, I honestly don't know what the heck roots even looks like and quite frankly I'm scared of the word BOREDOM and monotony.

Our life has been kinda like a frantic rush from one thing or another. Very fast paced and that has made us who we are, but now things are changing and my heart knew that before my mind did.

God has a new plan of action for us, a new way of looking at life, a new way of living life.

God gave me a picture in church a couple weeks ago of the ground breaking open and one half of it shifting up. I saw myself climb up to the higher level of ground and I saw wide open space in every direction in front of me. God spoke to me about this being the next level that he's called us to.

We by God's mercy and grace have made it to the next level, but now it's a whole new ball game. Kinda like when you're playing a video game and you get to that next level and nothing is the same and you have to learn by repetition what this new level is about.

Monotony means, in part, repetition.

So this is a thing God is doing in us, but I also feel like this might really relate to some of you as well. The thing I feel God saying is that HE will equip us with the tools and resources to take on this new level. Whatever it is that you need from God in this next season why not ask him? He's doing a new thing and he wants you to know that he's got your back! You are not alone on this new plateau, but there is excitement and joy. Don't be afraid of what he's calling you to do, he will equip you.

So I'm stuck in bed with the flu, but it's kinda nice to have an excuse to stop, rest and process. So thanks for letting me do that. Let's go out like courageous warriors and conquer these new plateaus!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Outpour

God has been POURING out on me in the last two months.

It has been such an out-pour that I can honestly say I don't know if I've ever experienced anything like it in my life.

He's speaking so clearly and then just in case my human weakness gets in the way and I doubt, he's been confirming his words. It has been MIND BLOWING.

He's giving me pictures and verses and physical things that I need and things that I WANT. My kids have been blessed, Matt has been blessed. It feels like anything that we come in contact with is a blessing.

It's craziness.

It's made me so aware of his goodness, but not just in what he's doing now, but what he did in our last season.

We walked through the hardest season of our lives the last 4 years. It was so painful.

He was there though and now that I'm here basking in his absolute abundance I can see all the amazing work that he did in that season.

I'm walking in a measure of faith that I've never walked in before because of the strength that I gained in that desert season and to top that off, there's been JOY.

Joy overflowing in every area. It's unbelievable!

Our Pastor in Rapid City gave me a word about this a couple months back. He said " You guys haven't walked in joy for a long time, but joy is coming. "

I honestly thought "Yea, I doubt that."

I was filled with cynicism.

But then the joy showed up and it's been such powerful stuff. It's bringing new life to things that were dead.

To put it simply; he's been blessing our brains out.

Today he spoke to me out of Jeremiah 31:3
 " I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt..."

God is doing some serious rebuilding in my heart. He's reworking the interior and he's painting all the walls yellow.

I can see so clearly now that everything we walked through in our last season has been made into beauty. It has become a crown on our heads.

Thinking of that season may always contain some pain, I don't know, but what I do know is that it was all worth it. Every. single. day.

The thing that God has been showing me is that he's there and he sees. He sees you and he's there. He sees you when it's all going your way and your basking in his glorious light and when laughter is flowing and the sun is shining and he's there. He also sees you when it feels like your walls are collapsing in on you and you can't get out of bed to face your life and he's there. He is building strength into you even in that very painful and dark place. Either way, he's sees you and he's there.

Today I see that he is our always present Father and I am so thankful that whether in good times or bad that he never lets go.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dreaming a Heart Dream

I'm sitting here in my jammies and there are things I should be doing. Like going to the store to buy groceries or cleaning my very messy house.

I'm choosing not to do those things right now though because I have this thing on my heart and it's important.

Today my heart is overflowing with the goodness of God! That is part out of the kindness that he has lavished on me, but part of that is out of what I don't yet see, but claim in faith.

We had a night of women's ministry here last night.

 It was amazing.

One of the things that was talked about was how Satan comes after our hearts. The biggest way that he does that is laying a foundation of lies; little lies that go mostly unnoticed, but unchecked become giants.

Well one of my giant lies that I've listened to for years is "You're not capable".

This lie has come in many different forms sounding like "You could never do that!" "You're not smart." "You're not good enough." "So and so could do that so much better than you." And on and on it goes.

I can write all those things and see so clearly that they are lies, I know in my head what the truth is, but the enemy hasn't come against my mind; he's been coming for my heart.

Well for a couple years now I've been interested in midwifery and there a real word for that? Doula-ing is gonna have to work for now. Please just smile and nod when I use this word.

I've struggled though with feeling that even though I would love to do those things I'm just not the right person for the job. I don't have the certain personality type that makes a good midwife or doula.

One of the things that was talked about at our woman's time was the things that we feel disqualify us from pursuing our dreams.

I've convinced myself that I'm disqualified because I'm not capable, because of my personality and because "I just don't have what it takes." Those are the lies I've bought into.

The truth is that midwifery and being a doula are in my HEART to do. It's a dream and here's where God's goodness come into play; there is doula training here next month.


"God you're funny!"

I had no idea that they did anything of the sort here, but God's giving me an opportunity to step out and say "Satan you're a liar!" "I am capable!" "I can be the PERFECT person to help people in this way!" " I CAN do this!"

My Daddy SEES. He sees my heart and he satisfies my desires with GOOD things.

I would rather hide in a hole than do this doula training, but in his LOVE and CARE he is not content to leave my heart tangled in the lies. He calls me out. He's giving me an opportunity to step into the light and say "THIS IS WHO I AM!"

Honestly though, it's out of our reach financially. I don't say that in any way to get money from you, truthfully I don't, please don't feel any guilt to give. I only say that because I really believe that God wants me to do this training and I really believe by faith that he is going to completely cover the cost.

This is HIS goodness. If he asks me to do something that I can't afford it's his job to pay.

I am not a doula or a midwife, but what I am is CAPABLE IN HIM!

So some of the questions posed to us last night were: What fears do I need to face? What does it look like for me to come alive? What things are lying dormant in my heart? What are the lies that are holding you back?

I pose these questions to you because I know I'm not the only person who struggles with lies. I also know that God cares just as deeply about you coming fully alive as he does me. He is for us and he wants to see our deepest heart dreams come true. So I want to challenge you to take a minute and ask yourself these questions. You might be surprised what you find.

I'm believing for break through and freedom for me and for you to walk fully in who God has created us to be!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My Current Grace

If you haven't heard me say it before I am saying it now, I am not, by nature, a positive person. I am by nature a person who sees the glass half full.

What a pain, right?

Seeing life this way is not pleasant and even more, it's not Godly.

So because Jesus loves me so stinkin much he is not content to leave me in this unpleasant place. He is dead set on giving me another perspective.

I started following this blogger a couple years ago.  This woman had cancer, a husband and 4 beautiful children. She wrote about her journey with cancer; her journey through hell. Here's the thing though, she never once made it out to be hell, even though we all know that's what it was.

The two biggest things she talked about were grace and kindness.

Who talks about grace and kindness when you're going to die? She did and it was amazing, life changing even, to read her words.

Kara passed away a while back. A heart retching thing, even from afar, but she left her mark on anyone that had contact with her, even if it was only through a blog.

So in our current situation the highs are high and the lows are low and I often struggle with being taken over by it all. It feels silly saying that after talking about such a heroic woman, but that's just my reality, silly or not, so here's my goal: FIND THE GRACE.

It's there, every single day, no matter how wonderful or horrible the situation. The grace is there.

So I've been keeping my eyes open, seeking it out and purposefully looking for it.

Yesterday a piece of grace was my kids playing happily TOGETHER without fighting. Parents out there, you understand what a huge miracle this is, right? Then there were new friends that came to our door and hung out. Today the grace was sunshine and a new doughnut place. A few days ago the grace was seeing the sunrise and having people pray joy over me.

Every day the grace looks different. Every day we run the risk of missing it by focusing on the negatives in our lives. For example; my kitchen is a bathroom right now.....for reals. I could really make that into a huge thing and miss all the beauty that is in the situation. And when I say beauty what I mean is humor. Humor is beauty and we'll be getting a laugh out of this one for years to come.

The other day I was feeling so overwhelmed with life and I was thinking of all the things that are gonna happen in this next month. It felt like chaos and I was sobbing. Until God gave me this amazing revelation; there is no grace in the future.

It's so powerful I have to say it again; there is NO grace in the future. The grace we are given is CURRENT grace.

When I get sucked into all the overwhelming things of today or the overwhelming things of tomorrow, I am forfeiting grace because I'm not living in THE MOMENT!

And who can live without grace? No wonder I was overwhelmed and sobbing.

I need grace more than the very air I breath. I cannot come against any of the hard things in life without it, and neither can you.

So where is your grace today. Are you looking for it? I know I am. I am on the watch for where God is showing up in the little, but miraculous current grace. I refuse to be pulled into a place that is absent of God's grace. Let's live in the moment and watch for the grace and know that even in hard things God has always got our back.

Also if any of you are interested Kara has a blog called Mundane Faithfulness and a book called the Hardest Peace. The book and blog are both amazing! Check'em out. If you buy the book the money goes to her kids.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Our HOME!!

We've stepped into this new season of our adventure. God has called us to work with YWAM in Colorado Springs. So many people have asked us this week "So what are you guys gonna do here?"
Answer: I have no idea.
Really though, we don't know what God has in mind for us or why he has led us here. It's just a walk of faith. Which really I love in the in-between moments of not feeling scared to death.

So the YWAM base here is a hotel. How awesome is that! I've always really loved hotels. Who doesn't like the feeling of being on vacation!?

Well now we will be experiencing that feeling 24-7 because we now call this hotel home!
It makes me smile SO big just saying that: HOME!!

Yep, we will be living in a suite of sorts. Two rooms combined will make up our home for the next little while. ( we may move into 3 rooms after a few months)

I am so beyond excited about this living situation. God providing us a place to live is AMAZING! We are rejoicing over that BIG TIME!

Really though I just love the story we're living.

Who gets to put their family of 7 in two rooms and call it fun!?? Not a lot of people and I think it is so awesome that someday we'll have these conversations with our kids about the time we lived in a hotel and enjoyed a permanent vacation!

Also our hotel home has a swimming pool and built in friends and neighbors. Need a cup of sugar? Just walk next door! Yea, I know, you're jealous. It is pretty stinkin awesome.

Since we've been here God has been BLOWING us away! Provision has just poured out! From new friends giving us furniture and offering to borrow us a few things, to finding a fridge for 75 bucks! We have been finding GREAT deals and I don't doubt for a minute that God has our backs.

The kids will even be going to school in our hotel and I get to be the kindergarten teacher two mornings a week. Watch out 5 year old children I'm gonna rock your world!!

God's goodness is surrounding us and carrying us day by day.

So we don't know what we're doing here and we have no plan, we're just following our Daddy. The thing is though that our God KNOWS! He knows why we're here, he knows what he wants to do with us and that means I don't have to worry! YIPEEE!!

I'm so encouraged by his faithfulness. So encouraged. He is faithful!

Thank you to everyone that has prayed for us or listened to us whine in this process of transition our lives have been in.

The whining and transition aren't over or gone. There will still be a lot of bumps ahead, the thought of what I'll do with the kids in the winter has crossed my mind a few times..... but right now I'm resting and praising and enjoying this home that I've been given.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Broken, desperate, weak, pathetic, lame, anxious, and scared to DEATH.
These are the words that describe me this week.

Don't those words just stir happy feelings within you!?

If I could do exactly what I feel in this moment I would be in the fetal position rocking myself.


It is real.

This week we found out that our potential housing was on the fritz.

My brother and his family moved back to their home; which we are currently residing in. "Sorry family, we're still here...." There's 7 of us and we're not quiet. You love us right??

My sister is getting married so everyone and their mom is coming to town. I know most of you can understand how the word wedding equals the word crazy.


We have a family picture happening tomorrow in which we should all be wearing solid colors. I had a break down over this information and cried for an hour and I said to my sisters "Pictures are the devil; if you want a picture PAINT ONE!". I know. I am soooo nice!

Yes. It's been a looooowww place that I've been hanging out in.
And maybe that sounds funny or entertaining, but let me tell you it has been anything but.

I have been absolutely consumed with fear. Filled up and overflowing with FEAR. Not Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, but fear.

I texted a woman I consider a mentor and told her I was feeling heartbroken that we didn't have a place to live and that I was sick to death of transition and you know what she said to me???


She just cut straight through all my emotional garbage and NAMED IT. I didn't say a thing about being afraid and I honestly was completely unaware at that point that I even was afraid.

All my anxiety, all my stress and all the other million yucky feelings I've been feeling all come straight down to that.

I'm scared.

Scared of what you might wonder?

Well I'm scared that I'm gonna eat myself to death because of all the stupid stress; there's that. (Emotional eating is also the devil)

 I'm mostly scared that we are going to live in a perpetual state of transition and that I won't survive.

I get pretty consumed with the idea that "I cannot do this". Do you ever say that? It's a favorite of mine. In times of great difficulty I scream at the top of my lungs "I CANNOT DO THIS!" When that happens Matt knows that things are really going well. God bless my husband.

I saw a book this week and the title was something like "Sayings for the Hard Times". Something like that, anyway, I flipped through it and on the page I stopped on, it said " You need to care more about God's glory than you do about your own relief" I pondered that a bit, and then I put the book down.

It's funny though how sometimes you can see something like that and it gets burned in your brain.
And I do mean burned. It would not leave. It was suck in my head. I honestly hate that book. Why did I ever pick it up. I would really like to unread that because I seriously value my comfort.

 This week I have not cared at all about God getting any glory out of our situation, all I want is RELIEF! Pure and simple relief. I've had it all summer and it's been beautiful and the minute it's taken I'm screaming for it back.

I have NO idea what our future holds. It all feels very vague and terrifying and I hate that, but God is still good. Even though I SUCK!! Seriously, I do, I really, really do. I have an ugly heart sometimes......most times, but even then, God is GOOD!

I know that saying is so cliche and it probably holds a lot of pain for some people. I know it did for me. For years when we were in China, stuck there waiting on Lily's adoption, I was so angry at God and I felt that he was anything but good. I felt so abandoned by Him. He saw where I was and He sent some awesome people to me.
Matt and I met with them for three days. We cried and talked and poured out our pain. Then God brought healing and opened my eyes to see how he had been with us through it all. My angry heart that was full of pain got softer that day and I saw his goodness again.

Today I'm writing to myself to remind my heart that he is GOOD and that it doesn't depend on me or how good I am or if I earn it. We love to earn it, don't we? My Daddy doesn't give me his goodness because I earn it, but he pours it out because he loves me. So I am claiming in faith that I am in waiting for the out pouring of his goodness!

 And the truth is I really cannot do it. I CANNOT DO IT! I have no power in this situation to make housing magically appear. I truly wish I did, but I don't. I know that God has lead us to this point and he has provided and I know he will continue to provide. So I'm gonna just sit and wait for his glory to fall and I might go insane before that happens, but that won't stop him from coming.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Letting Go of the Old and Embracing the New

We've been back in America for 8 months now.

 Our whole family struggled through adjusting back, but I would say and I think Matt would agree; I took it the hardest.

This is pretty normal for me, I just don't adjust easily to new things.

On one hand I love new things and crave change, but when it comes to living it out, I tend to have a temper tantrum and cling to my old ideas of what is good.

So when we came back I struggled and I cried, A LOT.

Change means loss and loss is painful. Letting go is painful.

I was 9 years old when God told me I was going to China to be a missionary. For so many years I fought that and then after finally choosing to say yes to China I then had to wait for the right time. I was 24 when Matt and I moved our two small girls across the ocean; Sydney was 2 and a half and Aubrey 3 months.

I went expecting huge things, but was sorely disapointed with our less than spiritual lives. I learned how to speak Chinese, how to ride the bus and hail a cab. I took my daughter to school and picked her up. I learned how to cook and where to buy butter. Really though, my life wasn't anything special.

However, after time passed I began to see all the huge things God was doing; in me. I was growing, changing and maturing. I became more of who I was meant to be in China.

So when God started showing us that our time there was over, I felt heartbroken. It felt so unfinished. It felt like we hadn't completed our mission; whatever it may have been.

Sometimes we have to let things die if we want to see new life.

And so in these last 8 months I've struggled to let China go and make room for what is next. China left it's mark on me and whenever I think of it I'm sure it will bring sweet memories.

The thing I didn't realize back 22 years ago, when God first spoke to me, was that China was just one of the chapters, not the whole book.

And so now we are moving on to another chapter of our story. This chapter begins in Colorado Springs, where we'll continue to work with YWAM.

God has led us to this place and we go with peace and excitement knowing that our adventure continues. Only God knows what's in store, but I have come to the place where I can let go of what's behind and take hold of what's ahead.

We have three more weeks here in Rapid City and then we'll be moving. We're still not sure of where we'll be living so we would appreciate prayers for God's perfect provision.

Thanks for sharing in our adventure.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Anger; My Enemy

I have struggled with anger.

I don't think that that's a statement that a lot of people make openly.

And why not?

Because it's shameful. It's a reminder of how broken we are and most the time we don't like to be reminded of our brokenness or our failures.

We would rather keep those sides of us hidden in the dark, away from attention and what probably most of us believe will be oncoming judgment or rejection.

So we don't talk about our faults, instead we keep them hidden away from the light, when the light is the one thing that will bring us healing.

Anger started rearing it's ugly head in my teens, but any time I had an explosion I was drunk or on drugs. So I was convinced it wasn't me.

Then I got married at the young age of 20. Twenty years old; I was a baby. I knew nothing about real life or marriage or the pressures that Matt and I would face.

Lucky me.

Anger didn't take long to show up.

Marriage has a way of exposing those broken places in us, doesn't it?

I remember that first bad fight about one or two months in when I threw a spoon across the room and it got stuck in the wall.


Anger can be like being drunk. You cause so much destruction and then it's like you wake up out of a daze shocked at the scene around you.

I battled my anger alone for a long time. Always making excuses, always telling myself that it was normal, although I knew it wasn't.

It was like I had a little red button that said "don't push" and if it ever got pushed you had better get out of the way.

I grew up around rage and seeing it in myself was painful.

The pain I was capable of causing shocked me. I couldn't believe that this was me.

It was a very painful time.

But finally I started talking.

It was hard.

It was hard to talk about who I was behind closed doors. It was shameful, but I was sick of hiding this dark secret.

It didn't come out all at once or with one person for a long time, but I slowly started revealing my struggle with anger.

I began to dig into a deep place in myself: a place that was filled with a lot of pain and the more I dealt with the pain the more the anger lost it's control over me.

I've come to believe that anger is just a disguise for pain. That red button the one that said "don't push" was actually pain.

Bringing my struggle to the light was the best decision I have ever made because darkness loses it's grip in the light.

Conquering anger has been a 10 year battle for me, but I can SEE the freedom that I am finding. I can see the healing that has happened in my heart one day at a time.

I know that the journey isn't over, but I have found the tools to help me walk in freedom.

Some people might wonder why the heck I would share such personal things on such a public forum. Well I share because I was there and I know the darkness, I know the feeling of hopelessness that can be so all consuming. Feeling alone really is the worst feeling in the world.

I have found hope and freedom and I want to let others know that there is hope. Maybe your struggle isn't anger, maybe it's porn or fear or depression or self hatred or any other thing that steals your joy.

I want to encourage you; TALK TO SOMEONE. Find someone to share with. Even if all the voices in your head tell you that they will condemn you, judge you, or reject you. Fight against those voices and share your struggle with someone. Maybe a friend, a parent, a pastor, but share with someone.

We weren't meant to journey alone in our struggle. We are all struggling with something, so whatever your struggle is you need to know, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

In the end though I believe the only one who can offer complete healing and freedom is Jesus. I would have NEVER found freedom without him.

Isaiah 61
"He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners"

God is the one who longs for you and me to be free from our broken hearts and the darkness that tries to take control of our lives. So turn to someone, but ultimately we need him to intervene on our behalf; which he promises to do when we invite him.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Restoration of Rest

Psalm 91:1 "Whoever dwells in the in the shelter of the most High will rest in the shadow of the almighty."

Psalm 23:2 " The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul."

Being where we are in this season I have found 'rest' and 'not wanting' difficult things to comprehend. By nature I am not good at resting, I'm much better at working and getting things done by myself, or at least that's what I tell myself. Yea, good one Heather.

Yesterday we celebrated Fathers Day a day late by going out to Devils Tower and a near by reservoir to enjoy the country and make some fun memories. We had an amazing time together. It's been raining a ton here in South Dakota so everything is green and beautiful. I've never thought of South Dakota as beautiful, but everywhere I looked made me feel like I was seeing a little bit of Heaven.

In one place we drove past a field that was filled with sheep. There were sheep everywhere and there were a few that were laying down in green grass with a stream near by. It was truly beautiful and seeing it made these verses come to life for me.

The sheep looked so peaceful not at all worried or anxious or running around trying to figure out their lives. Nope, they were just resting, not wanting anything, but resting.

 Oh to be a sheep, right!? To be able to tune out all of our responsibilities and worries and fears and  just rest.

It's amazing how something so simple becomes so complicated. We fight against it like it's our job. Or if you're like me you feel completely guilty and useless if you stop for one minute.

God had to know how hard it would be for us, didn't he? He had to know that we would struggle with the concept of resting and that's why it says "He makes me lie down...". Or maybe it's more He invites me...?

God has been inviting me to rest. To stop trying to work it out, to stop trying to figure it out, to stop being fearful and filled with anxiety and to just rest!

Our culture has filled us with so many lies, a couple of my favorites are  'God meets you half way' or 'You do your part and he'll do his'. I'm sorry, but no! He comes the whole way and holds out his hand and says "Come and rest."

Today I really feel like he's not just speaking to me, but to you saying "Won't you come and rest. Won't you let me work it out? Stop trying to make it work in your own power, let me take care of it."

What is it that you're trying to work out in your own power?

It's never easy, but I know that God is so glorified when we say yes to trusting him and resting. So today I choose that.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Overcoming Insecurity

From a very young age I remember feeling a sense that I wasn't special. I think my first memories start in the second grade. There were these two girls that were best buddies and I so badly wanted to be friends with them, but I always felt like I was on the outside. I remember one of them allowed me to color with her crayons, but then got mad at me for 'coloring too hard'. I compared myself to them and felt like I never measured up. It's almost unbelievable to me that at the young age of 7 I was already very aware of what insecurity was. Of course I didn't know the name for it, but the feelings were already very developed. In every grade it was the same story, there were always 'those girls' that I compared myself to, that I wanted to be, but was never good enough for. It was something I battled silently, alone.

In high school my battle only increased; I would do ANYTHING to be liked, accepted, included. I had no self worth that was not given to me by people. I did a lot of things in those years that were soul killing, almost like I gave my soul away in exchange for love, or what I perceived to be love.

God did a lot of miracles to get me out of that deep, dark place. He brought change and healing that were supernatural. It's a journey though; often healing is a long, long road.

After high school I decided to go to YWAM (Youth With A Mission) as penance for my crimes. I thought "Ok God I'll give you this time, but then I want my life back". Well, we all know that's a joke. My life got changed and I knew that I wasn't going anywhere and then to top it all off I fell in love.

So I became a missionary and got married, I had it all together.....or not. Matt and I's first year of marriage was a train wreck. Now Matt is not perfect and he has his issues like anyone, but I can tell you that that first year was ALL me. I thought marriage would cure me and my pain. No more value problems, my husband said I had value. No more insecurity, I was wanted. Except it wasn't enough...still. Here I was a MISSIONARY and a wife and my heart was empty and hurting.

I remember the first time it came to a head we were in China, it was Dec. 2004 and I was having PROBLEMS. We were assistant leaders on this trip with maybe 10 students and I caused more problems than any of the students. I was a mess of insecurity. If anything marriage and missions only brought my insecurity out of hiding. I was constantly afraid that my husband was looking at other women. If he looked sideways I was there to point a finger in his face and cause a big scene. Embarrassing, I know.  Finally our leaders sat us down and confronted me and my problems. After some investigating our leader, the husband of the two, said "Heather you have pride"
WHAT?? I've just poured my heart out to you about my pain and insecurities and you want to say I have pride!?? I know the thoughts I was thinking in that moment weren't pleasant.

He then went on to explain his diagnosis. God says you are perfect, but you have lifted your opinion of yourself above his saying 'No, I'm not perfect, I'm garbage' and that is pride.

I continue to struggle with insecurity, but 10 years ago I learned that the tree is insecurity, but the root is pride. My struggle comes and goes and there are times when it's almost not even there, but lately I've been battling. Once again feeling like I'm not enough; not wanted or valued. So yesterday I was spending time with Jesus and asking him to speak to me about how he sees me and he said "Heather you are magnificent" The meaning for magnificent is 'impressively beautiful, elaborate, extravagant; striking. And guess what? That is who I am.

My way of overcoming insecurity is by saying "YES this is TRUE". Today take a minute to ask your Daddy God how he sees you and then do something amazing, BELIEVE what he says.

We can journey together in this battle and we can win when we choose to believe truth. I have not arrived in this. I'm still a mess of insecurity a lot of days, but I'm growing, changing and learning who I truly am more every day.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Waiting Room

I was in Target a few months back and I heard a man speaking Chinese. I followed the voice and was shocked to see a white man on the phone. I stood there starring at him for a minute and then very rudely interrupted by saying "You're speaking Chinese!" He looked at me, nodded his head and went on talking. So I awkwardly waited there for him to get off the phone because when you're in Rapid City, South Dakota and a white guy is speaking Chinese that's what you do. Anyway, he finally got off the phone and he kindly humored me as I pummeled him with questions. The thing that stood out to me about this conversation though was when this kind man said "Yea, we just got back 18 months ago". Wait, what? Just got back? 18 months ago? I'm confused.

When we moved to China I'd say it took 4 years before I really felt at home and the first 2 years were pure hell. I knew there would be transition moving back to America, but it couldn't be that bad, right? I knew it wouldn't be easy. Living overseas you hear a lot about reverse culture shock, (People moving home and struggling to readjust to their own culture) but it had to be better than my transition to China.

After being home for 6 months though I'm beginning to understand why my Target friend said he had just come back after being in the States for 18 months.

Transition is a SLOW process, it's a process of waiting and Waiting is hard stuff.

Since being back I've found myself feeling crabby all the time; depressed even. I just want my life to make sense and yet it feels kinda like treading water without anywhere to put your feet.

We all like sure footing, don't we? We like to have the answers to all life's difficult questions, but most of the time we find ourselves in the waiting room.

Psalm 27:14 "Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes wait patiently for the Lord.

During our adoption with Lily I read this verse and it felt like I saw it for the first time. Waiting requires bravery and courage. Who knew!? So if it requires bravery and courage it's must be pretty tough.

So today if you're in the waiting room with me I want to tell you that you are brave and courageous. Second I want to tell you that if it brings out the worst in you you're not alone and that that is it's very purpose. Third I want to tell you that there is grace. So much grace that is covering me and covering you in this very hard thing we are doing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Feast of Plenty

Our last couple years in China I longed for America. I missed my family and my culture. I missed grocery stores and Target. I missed blending in and having a car. Really the list could go on and it did, in my head, all the time. I felt like once Lily was adopted and we were in the States our life would be grand.
And now I'm here and I feel all the joy one person could feel in this world......or not.

Truth be told I've struggled to find joy since being home. All the pleasures of America at my fingertips and yet I'm not satisfied. I've questioned God's goodness which is ironic since he's given me everything I've wanted.

But most of the time it feels like it's just not enough, I need more. My needs as a person never end and that is just reality even if I'm the most grateful person on earth I will always be in need of something.

I read once that we're like leaky jars, we get filled up, but then we're empty by the morning. It's always the thing we don't have that we think will satisfy us, isn't it? For me it was America and now I have it, but it leaves me feeling empty.

This is life. It's part of our human condition. Choosing thankfulness always makes things better, but there is still struggle, even in that. Sometimes it takes everything in me to think just one thankful thought.

So where is God in all of this? He must be so disappointed in my failure to be thankful; to be satisfied. My head is full of thoughts like "Why can't I just be happy with all that he has given me, why do I always need more?" I try to convince myself to be better.

But last night I felt him speak something to me. He said "I invite you to my feast of plenty". In one moment my heart issue is revealed. Scarcity. It's kinda like the inner Heather has been called out as a hoarder. I'm looking at life with eyes of scarcity rather than ABUNDANCE!! Isn't that a beautiful word, abundance.

2 Corinthians 9:8 " And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

If I believed this, if I truly knew the feast of plenty that he has prepared for me, I wouldn't be looking for the next thing to bring me happiness. I would know that all of my needs are provided for right here and now.

I'm asking God to change my heart and to give me eyes to see the abundance he has set before me.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Reality of Radical Faith

So in my 'about me' section I happened to mention believing in living a life of radical faith. Someone please tell me why I felt so inclined to make such proclamation? Living a life of radical, I was just really going for it, wasn't I?
     Here's the truth, I do not, nor will I ever have what it takes to live a life of radical faith. Fact. I am the biggest chicken, control freak, want my ducks in a row girl you will ever meet and yet...I'm never satisfied with that. So I go around yelling things at God like "I surrender all", but then when God takes me at my word and starts asking me to do the things I said I wanted to do, I get SO FRUSTRATED. I start grumbling, "God don't you love me, don't you see the stress I'm under here??"
  Radical faith is this awesome idea, but is very inconvenient and extremely uncomfortable. This is the wonderful place that I find myself now. In an inconvenient and uncomfortable situation and the truth is I would really like to recant my words. "God you must have heard me wrong, when I said radical faith what I meant was a FUN 'faith' EXPERIENCE that works out quickly and efficiently".
   Working out our faith with fear and trembling is no joke. I want faith to be this feel good situation that makes me feel happy and makes me look good. Gosh, why can't it be like that? Because honestly I don't feel happy, I feel sick to my stomach wondering how the heck all these impossible situations are going to work out.
  What are we going to do, where are we going to live, what are we going to do with the kids schooling, just a few of the things that rack my brain daily. And God is showing up, He just sent me to California for an amazing, refreshing vacay. He's provided us a house to live in for the summer. He's provided for us financially, but all I can think is " but what about after the summer God, what then?". His GOODNESS has been flowing over us like a waterfall and yet my heart still fails to trust. My anxiety level is at heart attack level.
  So that's my radical faith for you and here's the truth; I can't get there on my own, I can't make my faith grow beyond this flimsy place; that's Gods job. My job is just to keep saying yes. Even when I don't feel it, even when the reality is that my 'radical faith' isn't anything to write home about. So that's what's on my heart today. If you're a praying person and you're reading this, please pray for me, pray for our family. We need our faith to increase. If you're in the same place as me, I'd love to pray for you. You can leave a comment or message me on fb. Love to all you beautiful people and thanks for hearing my heart.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Yes

So here I am writing a blog. It's taken me 5 years. 5 years to do something that is so simple, and yet so complex. I felt a stirring to write after we had been in China for a bit, but Matt had started a blog for our family so why should I start one? Seemed a bit repetitive, Excuse # 1. Then one of my best friends started a blog and she was amazing, what could I say that could compare to anything that she would write? Excuse # 2 and there's been hundreds since. I've compared myself, I've doubted myself, and I've belittled myself, I've done every thing BUT believe that I have something UNIQUE to say. So here I am. God has been calling me out. No more hiding in the shadow of who he's called me to be. The time to step out is now. And if this blog has any sort of voice I pray that it empowers YOU to step out into who YOU are called to be. A beautiful friend of mine said to me a few days ago "When God whispers something, you had better pay attention." This is something that God has been whispering to me for so long, but I was too afraid to listen. What is God whispering to you? I want this space to be a place where I can be real about me and my struggles, but also reflect on the hugeness of God. I want to remember that he uses us in the MIDDLE of the mess. He's not waiting for us to get it all together so he can use us or touch us in a new way. And I need to stamp that on my heart because I am a mess, really truly, a mess. He wants to be in the middle of the garbage with us and it's THERE that he want's to move in us and through us. This last week in Cali one of the coolest things that I heard said was "The most powerful thing you can give to God is your yes". So this is my yes and it's small, but it's powerful.