May 21, 2014

If Your Presence does not go with us

I'm going to Romania.

Or, rather, God's sending and taking me to Romania!

We leave late June. This June.

There will be an overnight flight. Lord, hear my heart's desire to want to conk out!

Thirteen women from my church...estrogen in tow.

We will be helping at children's summer camps and doing teas/ministry with gypsy women, in the Bucharest area.

Women who are broken, battered, shunned. Women who have been stripped of everything and left for a life of poverty.

Women who, I've been told, are very loving and polite. They will be in awe of how we look, of where we come from--a land of hope and freedom and liberties and prosperity. A land where we supposedly have no problems. We will share our hearts with them..share that we too have experienced heartache and have seen God come through. We will guard our belongings (I'm going to wear one of those clear slings that goes beneath the shirt) because they tend to steal. Thievery and lying and forgery are used for survival in some areas of the country.

I'm asking the Lord to prepare my heart. Rip out the parts that do not glorify Him.  I have experienced my own version of brokenness and loneliness that I plan on being very vulnerable with the gypsies about (with a translator's help). I ask that you pray with me too! We had an awesome time of prayer and sharing and unification as a team this week. We were vulnerable about our fears about the trip (many of us are young moms who are struggling with leaving babies behind, but know we are called to go) and bonded over similar concerns.

Re-entering the mission field, if even just for 9 days, is a way for me to thrive. I feel most whole when I am giving of myself, when I am pouring out and loving others with all my heart. I am so thankful our children will be well cared for and, dare I say, spoiled, while I'm gone!!
Our prayer support person was prompted to share this verse with the team. It is found in Exodus 33:15 during a conversation between God and Moses. It reads, "Then he said to Him, 'If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.'" Hearing that verse was confirmation for us as a team. It validated everything that has happened up to this point from the initial prompting to go, to fundraising, to team unification. The Lord has clearly set a path for everyone going! And I'm honored to be part of it. He is so good. And we wouldn't go if we didn't feel peace that His Holy Spirit goes before us.

I recorded a video with more about my heart for Romania. You can view it as well as fundraising details, here. The Lord has provided so much already (thank you to those of you who have already given)! He is worthy. He makes me strong when I am weak. And boy have I had some months of weakness. It's time to stand strong as His daughter and go make a difference. 

It's time to get over myself.



Arise, O God, judge the earth; for Thou shalt inherit all nations.
Psalm 82:8 KJV

Apr 28, 2014

What About The Heart Stuff?

print by LadyNoelDesigns

I've only had time to watch the first few segments of Christopher Wiegand's American Blogger, but I am already infatuated with the stories and the beauty of it. It made me really miss the blogging community which I was once so deeply entrenched. I recall the the sense of pride I felt in showing honesty and vulnerability here...

Because of some things within our family, however, I just can't bring myself to say the specifics of my current situation. The world wide web is a huge place, and people know my blog. They know I hop on here and pour out my heart. There are just certain people who do not "get to" see those deep recesses of my heart; I simply won't allow it. It is nothing personal toward any of my loyal and supportive followers, at all!!! Maybe I should become a private, invite-only blogger? I don't know!

But I do know I've missed you! And while life hasn't been 100% rainbows and unicorns the past six months, it HAS been laced with moments of joy and beauty and grace and gratitude. All I can say is that I am just sooooo thankful that my heart and my life have been washed by the cleansing blood of Jesus!! My my what DO people without Him DO when they are faced with trials??

I can't even imagine.

I'm glad I don't have to.

So what's been going on in your worlds?

I know there is still the world of Pinterest and paper straws and washi tape and hoop art and staged Instagram photos and WIWW garlands and mason jars this-n-that...but what about the heart stuff?

I wanna know!


Apr 8, 2014

Taking The Trash Out at 1am in My Robe

Coming in and out of blogging is so unlike me. Writing was an integral and regular part of my life for six years and it has all but dissipated...but, I'm feeling twinges, little nudges, in my heart and soul and mind to come back to writing again. To come talk to you and share snapshots of my life and where I'm at right now. Even if I don't have the money for moccasins for Truman or outfits for What I Wore Wednesday or time for crafts. I love seeing all of the beauty and inspiration and ideas. But for now, what I have to offer is words. Stories.

I've had a few commenters concerned about my health and exactly what I've been going through. Aside from having a ridiculous obsession with cookie dough, my health is just fine. Our sweet babies are thriving and wowing me every day. I have to pinch myself repeatedly to remind myself that yes I am their mother, and yes--they have been given to me, straight from heaven. Truman is almost one, Sissy almost four. Wilder is kicking butt at preschool; can't believe how tall he's getting.

The weather is finally warming here. At 1am I remembered to take the trash to the curb. Slugglishly, reluctantly, I rose from dozing on the couch to don my robe and find some shoes, any shoes, to start the simple task of taking the trash out. Upon entering the back yard, the wafts of cool air chilled my bare legs and I felt an instant wave of energy. Boy I could go for a run, I thought. Then, thank you Lord for bringing spring.
(hoop art by my sister Megan)

The walk to the curb isn't far, but it was long enough for me to hear the sounds of a slumbering block, of a sleeping city. And I pictured couples and children and singles and pets and grandmas and pop pops all snug in their beds, the covers tucked beneath their chins, perhaps an arm dangling over the side of the bed, and snorts and heavy breaths escaping sinuses. The sound of people at peace and homes all settled in, simply moved me. The cherry on top was the faint sound of wind chimes (one of my favorite things!) in the distance. I peered up at the moon, half crescented, the man in it keeping an eye out for little ole me, vulnerable in my pink robe. 

Having returned inside I sipped some water then decided it was time to let words out. I may have been the only person awake on the block and I wanted to stay awake and do something secret, like write a little.

I'm not ready to talk about my recent journey, and I may never be (which I trust you will respect), but please, know this, I trust God! 

I was recently inspired by a message I heard on the radio. It was something to the effect of: no wrongs that you have done have ruined God's plan for your life. No wrongs people have done against you have ruined God's plan for your life either!!!

None of us are a lost cause. Not ever. Not even the trash. I got it out in time!

Mar 5, 2014

Do you ever need to just hear that you are ENOUGH?

A very dear friend of mine sent this to me today. I felt compelled to share it with you--because it is perfection. Not sharing it would have been very selfish of me! Suffice it to say that this uplifted my spirits like nothing has in awhile. It reminded me I've wings on my back. They have been pushed down for too long. They are ready to spread wide and fly. They are still beautiful and full of color and life and power.

Beyond the challenges. Beyond the heartbreak. Beyond the past. Beyond the present. Beyond the future. I love you. Beyond reason. Beyond expectation. Beyond. I do and will.
I hope and wish and dream all the best and most amazing things for you. You are a rare person. So sensitive to the needs of others, so engaging and kind. I know that you will only continue to grow into the best version of yourself. Trust it and be the best of who you are. Don't believe the lies and doubt. Don't believe the hateful propagation of lacking. Those lies will only serve to destroy you and me...and the world at large.

You are valuable. You are special. You ARE enough. Life is hard and lonely and all too often alienating. Find kindness where you can.

My heart will always hope for your happiness. My heart will hope for you.

I always remember; friendship matters. Kindness matters. Be you always.
(this looks filtered and treated but it's not! promise!)

I miss writing, dear friends, and I miss you. But trust that I am well (ish) and I think of you!
Wilder is rocking preschool and loving assembling things from boxes and string and tape and pack-rat type things.
Story is the cutest little ballerina and loves her markers.
Truman is the sweetest little ham, has a little bit of his first tooth showing, and crawling all over.
Work at the tanning salon is busy but rewarding. I love building a rapport with our clients.

Now off to work on meeting notes!

Jan 30, 2014

We belong

Oh Lion of Judah,
Lamb Who was slain,
Father take my hand
And boldy claim
My life my all
You are my world
When my ground is sinking
You are more
You are big
You are home
And light
Life restored to me
May your blood
Erase semblance of sin
Turn me inside out
Extract the ugly
Flood me with your good
You are my living praise
The One I seek
The One I hold
My holy romance
Only you can calm the storm
Oh Root of David
You are my triumph
In You we everlast
We rise above
We become beautiful
We become whole
We belong

Jan 7, 2014

A New Year--My Fairest Lord Jesus

The year 2013 afforded me many wonderful treasures, like having a natural birth with Truman, proudly watching Wilder on his big kid bike, exposing Story to ballet, braving the heat of Phoenix for an Origami Owl event, and soaking in my beloved mountains with my beloved. 

My children are healthy, well fed and clothed, and this little brick house keeps us warm. I couldn't be more thankful for the Lord's faithfulness, keen watchfulness, and even His jealousy. How He is jealous for my heart, how He wants all of it, and how He relentlessly pursues me. Relentlessly! No one on earth will ever pursue me like that.

I want to be as hungry for Him as He is for me.
Sadly, last year was also deluged with the most gripping pain I have ever endured. I believe my heart had to physically grow to accommodate the pain. It was a universal shock to my system. I wish I could say I praised the Lord at every wave and every pang of disappointment and fear, but in my humanness and questioning, I did not. 

I am inspired by the apostle Paul, who even in chains, still found the joy, still sang, still worshipped, still witnessed. His faith was as tall as the oaks. But in my own chains, in my own all consuming fog of agony, my heart couldn't find a reason to sing. 

Yet even then, engulfed in the heavy fog of confusion and disbelief, I saw this beautiful nail-scarred hand reaching through to me. At times I could stretch out just far enough to touch the tip of his index finger with mine, and at other times I could fully grip His firm, healing hand. He never left me! Not once.

I've learned countless lessons about the fallibleness/sinfulness/selfishness of myself and humankind throughout my wilderness journey, throughout my storm. Though the storm still whirls and bangs around me, I continue to be comforted by Christ's gracious hands. Oftentimes I run to him, slump into His arms ( I'm so tired), and let Him envelope me with His strength, His forgiveness, His new song for me, His new name for me. I know that I'm not defined by circumstance and that He's still looking out for me.

Perhaps you look at 2013 with feelings of both gladness and sorrow, but more so, sorrow. You vow to make 2014 better. You vow to kick its butt. You exclaim to your cat or your mom or the internet that you will triumph and rise. But friends, you can't do any of that unless your heart is His. He will multiply your efforts to triumph, if you do them in His will. He will give you the resources and strength and encouragement and love and relationships and grace that you need for every moment. For every challenge and every decision.
(no make up--eek)

He can do that.

I guarantee if you let Him do that you will not regret it.
He WILL give you reason to sing.
He WILL do what He promises.
He WILL uplift you.

He is the Lord Jesus, Fairest of all.

And provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. 
// Isaiah 61:3

Happy New Year, friends.
and, Welcome, 2014.

Dec 16, 2013

The Most Important Thing You Will Read This Christmas

Blogs are exploding with gorgeous holiday displays, delectable dessert recipes, craft and gift tutorials. So inspiring, so beautiful, so fun. I get it on it, too, a little. 

But what you are about to read is the key component to your Christmas season. I'm posting the story of Jesus' birth just in case you a) happen to stop by my blog (which is a bit dusty from little writing these days and b) haven't read the precious story yet this month!!
 Luke 2:1-21
1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to their own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
I've read lots of novels (book hound here!) but no story line will ever top the one of my Savior's entry onto earth. Ever ever ever!