10 Things I Love About Summer

I absolutely refuse to realize the new school year is around the corner.  It’s lurking, stalking, hoovering, looming – but I purposefully turn a blind a eye and choose to enjoy the beautiful state of ignorant bliss of summertime.  Therefore, although we’ve shopped for new clothes, pencils and backpacks, all of which are intentionally hidden from our every day view, I remain in a honeymoon state of summer.  Ahh…

10 things I love about summer:

1. Nuzzling my nose into my children’s hair and breathing in the smell of pool chlorine.

2. Thunderstorms – any time of day, preferably at night (we are praying for rain for neighboring dry states!)

3. Flexible plans or no plans – it’s so refreshing to fall off the grid for awhile!

4. I have more of myself to give my husband.  His work cranks right through summer, and I so appreciate his efforts so I can be home with our kids.  During the summer, I have more of myself to give wthen he comes home by way of flexible dinner hours, evening walks and long talks.  I get way too rigid during the school year with schedules, so it’s really nice to toss it all in the wind and enjoy him.

5. Time with my kids.  I make intentional efforts to connect and reconnect with my kids whether we are doing something big or just hanging around the house.

6. Doing things we don’t always take time to do during spring, fall and winter.  Bowling, matinees, breakfast for dinner, long bike rides, and house cleaning projects that have waited the entire school year (or longer!) like gutting our garage and tackling the dreaded our “project room” a.k.a. office.  Okay, so maybe my husband and I are the only ones who enjoys this in our family, but we can live with that. 😉

7. Opportunities.  Summer brings opportunities for misison trips, escaping with the family to our favorite respite, exploring our state and sometimes a new part of the country, taking up a new hobby, rekindling a love for old hobbies, sef-introspection, ministry and personal growth.

8. Time with my girlfriends.  I LOVE it when I receive a text or phone call and it’s a dear friend asking me to go for a walk, have lunch or go for coffee.  The school year is so busy, and it’s great to steal some downtime with my friends to recharge our batteries and stay connected.

9. Dreaming.  Summer allows time and energy to dream.  Making lunches, signing permission slips, volunteering at school, etc. are a distant memory, if just for a season (all of which I love to do and am thankful to do it).  I can use that mental energy to dream and follow my dreams.  It’s like catch-up for the part of me that lays dormant in other seasons of life.

10. Nothingness.  I don’t know about you, but I need time alone.  Time to be and not do.  Time to absorb and not expend.  Time to listen and not speak.  Time to reflect and not project. Time to be still and not move. Time to Hear from God what He is saying and not me always the one doing the talking. Time to sleep.  Time to laugh.  Time to cry.  Time to breathe.  Time to do absolutely nothing.  No other season gives me that time.  So thankful for summer.

I Have to Tell You What Happened!

Okay, remember my post Really? written before taking our mission trip to Ukraine?  I read back through it today, and feel compelled to tell you the sequel to the saga.  If you haven’t read that post, I encourage you to or today’s post may not make much sense.

It’s been a month, and here we are teetering on the cliffhanger…what happened when I spoke to the ladies?  This is absolutely not about me, rather it’s about what God did.  This was a ladies-only event, but He bucked the system and showed up!   I am so glad He did.

It was time to face my Goliath in the privacy of just God, me and the issue at hand only hours before the event.  In an arm-wrestling battle with this giant that I’ve never won against, this time God grabbed my hand and slammed that monster’s knuckles to the table.  I was the winner, hands-down (pardon the pun).

What was different about this time, versus the thousands of other times I walked away from the table in defeat?  It’s so simple it’s complicated.  It’s so complicated it’s simple.  Ready?  I listened.

That’s it!  That’s all I did.

Listened to who?  God.

Who was I listening to before?  The world, the enemy and myself.

We are creatures of habit.  Habits produce patterns.  Patterns affect our way of thinking.  The way we think affects our beliefs – positively or negatively.  For 25 years, everything about me was negative in this area.  Reading back over the post Really?, I see a person so sick and tired of being defeated in an area of her life, that she would rather admit final defeat and taboo it from her life than allow herself to be vulnerable to what God had to say about it.

I had beat myself up so badly with negative thoughts and behavior, and allowed the enemy to do the same, that I became hypersensitive to the touch of my heart and couldn’t even fathom letting the hand of God heal me.   Self-hate set in.  A longtime battle that left me utterly exhausted.  This is not the same as self pity.  With self-hate comes a level of despising that is hard to describe into words.  However, the enemy found lots of words to speak in my ear to keep the hate spinning like a top in my head.

Because of God’s perfect will and timing, He chose this year to be the final, epic battle over me.  Why?  I don’t know.

He knows us best and knew it was time. I have been so humiliated for so long about this pattern of self-hate in my life, that my own embarrassment was easy harassment for the enemy.

It’s as though God stepped down from heaven, met me right where I was – in a dorm room in Ukraine – alone with only my Bible, and said to me, Just give me a chance.  You’ve been dooped for so long by so many people, including yourself, you’ve forgotten who you really are; who I made you to be; and most importantly, you’ve forgotten how I see you.  You see yourself as hopeless. I see you as helpless.  You see yourself as defeated.  I see you as wounded.  You see yourself as beyond the point of help.  I see you on the brink of a new beginning.  One thing we can both agree on is that you cannot do this alone.  But, can you trust Me that we can do this together?

That was the moment.  If a soundtrack had been running in tandem to the movie of my life, a simple heartbeat on the drum would have pounded.  It was a physical moment of spiritual decision.  I sat on the edge of the bed next to my closed Bible, and felt God literally wait on me for a  response.

I looked around the quiet room, fidgeted with my hands and shuffled my feet.  On the outside I was silent.  On the inside, I watched a flashback of all my years from the time my issue began.  I heard all of the hurtful words people have said to me about this over the years.  I saw their faces and felt the sting of pain as if it were the first time all over again.  I heard everything the enemy every told me about myself and I felt myself beginning to fold.

My chest was heavy and it was heard to breathe.  Palms sweating, the back of my neck prickly, and my heart beating fast, I was in a war over who to side with.  This was God’s work, but He required one thing from me.  An answer.

How did I get to that answer?  The ONLY thing that persuaded me to side with Him that day was this question God prompted within my heart…Who has God been to you, Kristi?  Over all of these years, who has He proven Himself to be to you?

When I began to recall His sovereignty, His power, His grace, His mercy, His love, His faithfulness, His tenderness, His discipline, His consistency, and His miraculous presence in every moment of my life, the tall, thick walls around my heart (which stay heavily guarded by the way), began to fracture.  A 25-year old wound is very sensitive.  It’s never stopped bleeding the pain of my issue.  I had built such heavy defenses around it that I didn’t even realize I had shut God out until that day I told my friend I didn’t want His redemption in this area of my life.  My plan was just to privately, secretly nurse this wound until I died.

I sat on the edge of the bed in a quandary.  Do I trust God, who has been completely faithful and loving my entire life, even through the darkest of times, or do I continue in a self-destructive pattern that I know is harming me inside and out?

Could I take that first step and say to God, Alright.  You can have a go at my heart.  I trust You.  Or, do I tell my mission teammates I cannot speak to the ladies and retreat further into myself than I ever had before – this time with the strong possibility of never following my bread crumb trail back to the surface.

Sometimes, when we are at our weakest, our darkest, and in our deepest pain, all God is asking of us is to trust Him.  We get tangled up thinking we have to do something courageous or smart or skillful.  We live in a world that tells us we are only what we can produce.  Well, when we cannot produce anything beneficial, then who are we?  Nothing.  And I had felt like that for 25 years.

God knows this.  In Psalm 103:13-14, David understood.  He said, As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

Even if our pit is one we dug ourselves, God will still search for us and reach down His hand to pull us out.  Will we take it?

Part of the difficulty I faced in that moment was realizing that a new pattern would be established.  Great, but I didn’t know how to do that.  I didn’t have the strength to push back this giant.  Again, trust.  Perhaps God will help me? I thought to myself.  After all, He promised to help Moses lead the exodus out of Egypt.  He promised to fight for the Israelites time and again from Joshua at Jericho to Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem to Mary & Joseph, Paul & Silas, Peter and so on.

Why would God help?  Isn’t He as frustrated about this as I am?  Hasn’t His patience run out?

2 Chronicles 16:9 – For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him… 

So God is actually searching for His children who lost their way be it in one area or many.  He searched for me and found me in a room alone in Ukraine.  He traversed the world and caught up to me.  I can almost see it.  Just as I am deciding whether or not to cancel the ladies event, a knock on the door.  I’m not expecting anyone.  Who could it be? I wonder to myself.  I stand up and slowly walk to the door.

Who is it? I ask.

It’s Me, comes a reply from the other side.  I gasp!  There is only One who sounds like that.  He is my Groom.  My Savior.  I turn the key and pull down on the handle.

What are you doing here? I ask in wonder.  Jesus’ face lights up when He sees me.  I just stand there, jaw agape in awe that He is actually here, on my doorstep in Ukraine.

May I come in? He asks with a broad smile, slightly out of breath from running up the 3 flights of stairs.

Oh, I’m sorry.  Yes!  Come in!  

Thanks, He replies.  I’m glad I caught up to you.

Why?

Because you are about to make a really big decision, and I want to be part of it if you’ll let Me.

But, why is this so important to You?

You are important to Me.

Why?

Because I love you.

But, I keep failing in this area.  How is that lovable?

You are lovable.  God the Father made you, and He made you lovely.

But, I’ve failed so many times before.  I have no confidence in myself with this anymore.

That’s okay.  Put your confidence in Me.

But, I am tired, Jesus.  I don’t want to, can’t, fight this anymore.

He takes my hands in His and sits down with me.  He looks at me with eyes that make time stop, heartbeats still, and breath shallow.  His love permeates the room.  I cannot hear anything else, see anything else, feel anything else, but his warm, tender, and gentle hands holding mine.

I love you with an everlasting love.  Don’t you see, it’s not about what you can or cannot do.  It’s not about who anyone, including yourself, has told you who you are.  Isn’t not about your track record.  It’s about who you are in Me.  I complete you.  When you asked me into your heart, I made you whole.  I make you strong.  I heal your hurts.  I am your breath.  I am life living in you.  You have, for so long, lived in defeat.  But, like every other time in your life when you leaned on Me, will you do it this time?  I’ve got your best interest at heart.  Our Father is always working for the good of those who love Him.  You are tired of listening to everyone else, including yourself, tell you who you are not.  Will you listen to Me tell you who you are?

A lump swells in my throat.  Tears stream down my face and my nose begins to run.  Eyes sting from salty tears, my bottom lip quivers at the thought of perhaps listening to my Savior, my best friend, my groom.

I furrow my brow in deep decision.  This is not easy.  Every ounce of self-hate has risen to the surface.  Every hurtful word is screaming at me.  The enemy is beside himself that Jesus has locked him out of the room.  I hear him furiously pounding on the door.

Christ leans and whispers so close I feel His breath.  His hands holding mine.  Will you listen to Me tell you who you are?

My head drops, and through stinging tears and a runny nose, I ever-so-slightly nod and utter beneath my sobbing, Yes.

He leans toward me even more, resting His forehead on mine, noses almost touching, and through tears of His own, He smiles and says, You are…My beloved.

I fall into His arms.  It is enough.  It is more than enough.  I breathed in those two words and they entered my body.  They shot straight to my heart, my spirit, and began their healing work.  Like a physician’s hands performing delicate surgery, those two words healed my heart from the inside out.

Did that encounter physically happen?  Yes and no.  No, Jesus did not come in tangible human form, but He did come by way of the Bible.  As I sat on the edge of the bed, I came to an answer.

Yes.  I would listen.  Yes.  I would open myself up, become vulnerable, and listen to what He had to say.  He led me to Scripture after Scripture telling me who I am to Him and in Him.  It was one of the most precious hours of my entire life.  With every verse, scars disappeared from my heart.  The voice of Truth eradicated the lies that have plagued me for over two decades.

No other god would, or could, do this.

I stood that night, before beautiful women and shared.  I shared from the depth of my soul words He had for them…and for me.  Their tears were my tears.  Their Truth was my Truth.

I returned from Ukraine a different person.  God asked me to leave all the hurt and pain with Him, and I did.  I left the self-hate, too.  I physically felt the weight of this lift from me.  Physically.  Crazy, huh?  I feel a peace from the inside out.  Peace that is not of this world.  My good moments before were only that – moments.  This is 24/7.  He healed me.  I am at peace with Him and with myself.  His words of who I am are the only sound I hear in this issue that no longer has a hold on me. I am free.

I am whole.  I am at rest.  I am victorious.  Because of Christ’s victory over death, we who follow Him are invited to have victory in our lives.  Our entire lives – every area.

I am eternally grateful He didn’t leave me in the pit in which I was trapped.  I am so humbled He sought me and deemed my problem worthy of His time and effort.  He did a mighty work in me and all He asked of me was to let Him do it.  I didn’t have to prove anything, be of eloquent speech or show my own strength.  I simply chose to trust Him.

God is on our side.  He is a good God.  He is faithful.  God is love.  Jesus, indeed You are the Prince of Peace.  Thank You.  I love You.

A Must See!

Last night, one of my best friends sent me an email with a link to a time sensitive premier of a movie coming out.  She told me I HAD to stop and watch it as it was going off-air within the night.  What began as a typical evening in our home was totally derailed and we were completely captivated by this movie!

It had us totally speechless the entire time – past midnight.  I went to bed thinking about it and woke up thinking about it.  It’s a documentary.  It’s real, raw and utterly astounding.  At one point, my entire family shouted out in shock.  I won’t give ANY spoilers, but trust me, you have to watch this.  It will change your life forever.

Okay, the the title is “Father of Lights” by Darren Wilson.  They held the premier in CA – which is what we watched.  It comes out October 16th.  We are absolutely going to buy this.

I still get chills when I think about several parts in it.  Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it.

I hope my teaser has peeked your interest.  We had so much trouble getting it to play last night (Bruce thinks their server was hammered by heavy traffic due to the free premier) as we tried it on our laptop , iPad, tv, you name it.  At one point, I was so frustrated I said, “Why did I ever look at my email?  This was going to be an early night!”  Oh am so glad her email came to me.  I am so glad we dropped everything and watched it in its entirety.

October seems like a long ways off.  When it comes out, watch it, then post here what your thoughts are.  I can’t WAIT to talk about this movie because life is indeed stranger than fiction.  Oh my.  Still thinking about it today…

Have I driven you crazy yet? 🙂  You just have to see it!

Click here for the link!

Kristi

Flash Mob Mission Theory

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. ~ Psalm 33:3

Since my family began taking mission trips last summer, many people have asked us all kinds of questions.  One question I have asked myself over and over is, “How do I describe what it feels like to go on a mission trip?”  There are simply so many feelings and thoughts, I don’t know where to begin or end.

Expressions used in every day genres such as: too beautiful for words, or words can’t describe, or I’m at a loss for words – come to mind to describe going on mission.  However, people patiently wait for an answer they can keep.  Something they can wrap their heads around to either be more informed, or perhaps, encouraged.

This morning, I had the delightful surprise of an email sent to me by my mother-in-law.  I often don’t have time to read forwarded emails, but this one caught my eye.  It is a YouTube link (the link is at the bottom of this post).  As I watched it, tears streamed down my face, and I didn’t know why.  Emotion swelled up in my heart and I didn’t understand.  I’ve seen many flash mobs and am always amazed at their creativity.  It would be so much fun to be a part of one some day.  I’ve seen many styles and themes and have enjoyed them all.

Oh, but this one was different.

This one caught my heart and I couldn’t figure it out.  Then, the Lord showed me the reason for my tears.  This particular flash mob describes how I feel about going on mission, though the flash mob itself has nothing to do with it.

Allow me to set the scene.  People, all over the world, are going about their daily lives. Without any hullabaloo, grand entrance or proud proclamation, a single person steps forward and does something out of the ordinary.  They begin to do what they do and people begin to watch.  One by one, people emerge from the crowd, from around the corner, from inconspicuous places, and join.  What appears to be completely spontaneous is far from it.

But, they look just like everyone else standing around!  They are.

Why do they do it?  They are called to and love what they do.

It is the same with missions.  Ordinary people come together, each with a different set of strengths and weaknesses, gifts and talents, and together they serve united with one voice to the world – Christ’s.  Individually, they cannot play all instruments in the symphony.  They have been given a specific set of tasks, and they do them with all their heart.  Unlike the flash mob below, short-term missionaries are not professional missionaries.  Rather, God equips them for the task for such a time as this.

Consider the sequence of events in this overture: they pray over the opportunity; begin all necessary paperwork, shots, etc.; meet regularly to discuss the overall plan as well as individual tasks each person will have; they continue to meet for months, all along gathering supplies and traveling sundries; they pack and hug family members and friends goodbye; they are off.  Oftentimes, traveling with people they have never known before this journey began.

They arrive in a land which may be foreign in landscape, language or culture.  They are the minority.  Settled into their temporary home, they continue to meet and go over details, supply lists, and prayer requests.

The time comes to serve.  As I watched our team in Ukraine recently, indeed, a flash mob began.  What looked like a motley crew of disjointed ages and seasons of life, we came together in perfect tune to make a joyful noise for the Lord.  We were a band of unlikely people, coming from various backgrounds and unknown futures, but when God, the Master Conductor, tapped His baton, all of our attention and eyes focused on Him.  We set aside our lives, schedules and agendas and took our place in His company to play for Him as best we can.

After a two-day flight and a long bus ride; after security and customs and baggage claim and a good night’s sleep; after attending Ukraine’s Sunday church service and meeting many new precious faces – in an instant, right after breakfast, on a sunny, warm Monday nestled comfortably on the calendar, we broke off into our musical suites – soccer, basketball, Bible, arts & crafts, volleyball and music.  We were not travelers.  We were on mission – with a purpose.  We weren’t there to put on a show.  We weren’t there for applause.  We weren’t there for recognition or reward.  Like a flash mob, versus the limelight of a well-publicized event, we were there simply because we were called to be, and wanted to be, to hopefully please God our Father and be a blessing to those around us.

We wanted to bring spontaneous joy.  We wanted to break out of the ordinary and let the extraordinary hand of God brings smiles, hope and strength to beautiful hearts.  I remained wide-eyed throughout the week, over what felt only to be somewhat organized beforehand, was really something God had a well-thought out plan for.  As the Master Conductor, He directed every moment, every step, every word – to stay in perfect pitch with His plan and for His purpose.  Whether in loud allegro moments of organized chaos, or in soft adagio moments of prayer and friendship, the tempo of our mission’s symphony stayed in unison for His glory.

We were imperfect people banding together for perfect purposes – to draw others into His symphony of love so that they might find their instrument, their God-given gift, and play it for Him in chorus with us.

A short-term mission trip is an amazing wonder of which to be a part.  Like watching a flash mob, and the faces of those participating shine with joy and enthusiasm, so we also felt the anticipation build from the inside out.  One major difference between a flash mob and missions is that we encourage others watching to jump in and join us.  Children, teens and adults played in harmony with us for a week of blessing.  We got dirty playing soccer, got sweaty playing basketball, got creative making earrings and crafts, and had way too much fun dancing.  Who was blessed more? Dare I say I went hoping to be a blessing, but was blessed beyond measure.  Our new friends’ voices filled the gaps in our choir.  We weren’t just a team united, we were one body united – no matter the language or cultural barriers.  We were one.  It is, in fact, how eternity will be for those in God’s cantata.

The flash mob below carries a tune for missions that I am unable to express with words.  Like music of the heart, going on mission touches the goer as much as the receiver.  One is never the same when it is over.  Memories roll around in my mind like a melody I can’t stop humming.  People there have changed my heart here, and God used them to write scores of new music for my life to dance to.  Missions has a secret that nothing else in the world can offer.  No amount of money, fame, or fortune can compare to a new reason to dance, a new song to sing, and new friends with which to enjoy it.  There is no greater feeling than to accept new brothers and sisters in Christ, from all over the world, into my life…forever.

There is nothing more satisfying than dancing in step to the rhythm of God’s heartbeat – which is His love for the world.  It is exactly why, for as long as He allows, we will continue to go.  To sing.  To dance.  To work. To play.  To laugh. To cry. To cheer. To love.  Christ is the reason, His salvation the melody, and the people we welcome in our family, both on the team and at our destination, motivate and inspire us as the harmony of their friendship hums in tandem with ours to the music God is playing around the world.  Stop and listen.  Do you hear it?

Click here to let this particular flash mob play the music my heart feels about missions.

Happy 4th of July!

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Happy 4th Everyone!
Writing to you today from D.C. where it’s hot, crowded and feeling very patriotic! We’ve conquered the sites and thought I’d share a few with you. I’ve been to DC twice before, but each time was in the fall and certainly with no hullabaloo surrounding it. Both experiences are great. Quiet and cool or hot and festive, either way it’s a wonderful place to visit.

One big surprise was the huge parade happening. Lots of bands, floats, music…it was a colorful time. Another surprise was eating fried fish on the National Mall. There are lots of special events set up, and one was Southern food. Their collard greens and sweet potato fries were really good – even eating these hot delicacies in triple digit heat.

It’s a short trip for us, but trust me we are packing in everything we wanted to do. Some of the places we visited are: Union Station, Nat’l Air & Space, Natural History, Botanical Gardens, the Castle, and American Indian museums. And, it’s not even dinner. 🙂

Enjoy the pix, and if you haven’t made it to DC yet, it’s a super place to visit.

Have a good one,
Kristi

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One Post Short

There we were.  A hot, June evening in Ukraine spending time with precious women and girls in a small room, while young men played a serious game of soccer outside.  We had gathered to enjoy female fellowship.  Jazz music, coffee, finger foods and candles help set the mood for a cozy night to laugh and share our hearts with beautiful Ukrainian women.

On one table, my daughter set out nail polish to paint anyone’s nails who felt like be pampered.  At another table, members from our team made a knotted blanket together while enjoying great conversation.  Little girls ran around the room giggling.  The occasional male peeked inside, only to quickly leave the estrogen-filled atmosphere once he realized he was a fish out of water.

At our table, another teammate and I helped women and girls make earrings.  My daughter loves to make them, and is very good at it, so we thought bringing tons of colored glass beads and all sorts of earring posts might be fun to do at our girly event.  The first night, she helped make countless pairs of earrings.  By the next day, the palm of her hand was quite bruised from repeatedly squeezing the little pliers for hours.  She could barely move her hand, so she asked if we could switch and I help with earrings and she paint nails.

Sure!, I thought, though I wasn’t nearly as good at helping with the earrings as she was.  So my teammate and I tried our best to help.  Supplies were running really low.  In fact, although there were plenty of beads, the earring posts were gone.  I began to pack up supplies since we were now out of business without more posts.

A woman approached the table and wanted to make a pair despite my cleaning efforts.  She held a post in her hand and was looking for its match.  We looked everywhere, and I mean everywhere.  It was the last post we brought out of 350 pairs including 4 different styles of posts.  Her sweet smile and tender heart made my teammate and I want to help her so badly.  In fact, a few moments prior, another woman approached us with a different, single post and asked for the match.  We couldn’t find one, so my teammate took the pair off that she had made for herself the night before, unassembled it and gave the match to her.  I was so touched!

But, this woman standing before us had no such success.  Her post was different.  We searched under mats and in plastic containers.  We sifted through beads and backs and extensions.  We looked under the table’s flower centerpiece and on the floor.  We scoured every inch of the table.  We searched our pockets, our laps, and lifted cups of coffee, napkins and food plates.  We searched everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.  There simply wasn’t a matching back.  The woman looked very disappointed but didn’t leave.

This was our gift to the women that night, and we felt terrible that we couldn’t deliver.  The language barrier made it difficult for us to explain why we were telling her she couldn’t make a pair.  She just stood there with her hand held out with the small post in it, waiting patiently to receive its match.  We searched at length again to no avail.

In the surprisingly wildly popular activity of making earrings, we came up one single post short out of the 700 cumulative posts we brought.  God, we need another post.  Please!  Just one more.  Tell us where it is, please, I prayed, Just one more, God.  I can’t tell her no.  You can do this, God.  Give us the matching post.

My teammate looked down at the place mat directly in front of her, and sitting in plain view was the matching post!  We froze as chills ran all over our bodies.  It was the exact match – and it wasn’t there one second earlier.  Seriously, it wasn’t there before.  It appeared out of nowhere, because we had looked everywhere.  We stood there for several seconds dazed in amazement.  We looked at each other with wide-eyes and jaws agape.

It was a miracle.  A real miracle.  There is no other explanation for it.

There was a reason why it was important for this woman to make a pair of earrings; and only God knows what it is.  It was so important that, while running the universe, He took the time to stop and produce an exact match to an earring post on a hot, June evening in Ukraine for a woman whose name only He knows.  She is that important to Him.  The details of her life mean that much to Him.

The Bible is full of Scripture about how much God loves us and cares for us.  I think sometimes we assume that only applies to the big stuff  like health and safety issues.  Marriage and life and death.  Yes, it is true for those times, but it is also true for the quiet moments when only He is able to read between the lines of what is happening.  Moments when we don’t, or can’t, express why something is important to us, but because He knows us the best, He understands us the most.

Perhaps we miss His miracles.  We are too busy, too tired, too self-consumed, that we don’t see the help He offers, the goodness He gives to us or the small miracles He performs in our daily lives.

I often pray, Give me eyes to see, God, because my body’s eyes miss so much.  I am guilty of tunnel-vision and hyper-focus and can miss the bigger picture if I am not looking for it.

Once, I was walking across a parking lot at sunset when the most brilliant fuchsia and orange colors flooded the sky.  I stopped in my tracks and simply stared at one of most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.  It was all shades of pink – something no hand could recreate with a paintbrush.  God whispered to me, This one is for you, Kristi.

His words sent chills down my spine.  He knows I am a beach girl who spent half her life watching the sun set over open water.  It is one thing I miss about where I live now.  This resplendent sunset made me feel like I was back on the sand with salty air blowing through my hair as rhythmic waves stumble lazily upon the shore.

I didn’t even know I needed that memory at the moment as I weaved my way through parked cars.  I was simply traversing the hot pavement in my running shoes making my way toward home.  God knew.  He knew I needed a moment to stop.  To gaze in wonder at a beautiful sight I have not seen in a long time, and hear that I was remembered by Him who made me.

This Ukrainian woman needed to be remembered, too.  God saw and acted on her behalf.  Just to comprehend that His presence was with us as the perfect earring post match was placed mere inches from us took my teammate’s and my breath away.

We joyfully gave her the earring, telling her it was a gift from God.  She sat down and thoroughly enjoyed making her pair of dazzling earrings.  John 6:1-13 tells of the time when Jesus fed more than 5 thousand people with only 5 small barley loaves and two small fish.

Yes, He can make something from nothing as well as increase short supply.  He can do anything.  Do we ask?  Do we have faith to ask?  If not, why not?  What is holding us back?  There is nothing too small to ask God.  His answers are simply yes, no or wait, and they are always for His glory and in our best interest.

If you could ask Him anything, without any fear or doubt, what would it be?

The Flying Diva

There are circumstances that happen in life which are only humorous after-the-fact.  Our return flight from Ukraine was one of those times.

On our last night in Ukraine, I felt a weird scratchiness in my throat.  Oh, great, I thought.  A cold is coming on.  I began Airborne and Cold Eeze and didn’t sleep very good that night.

We woke up to breakfast, packing and a lengthy drive to the airport.  I thought the bus felt especially warm, but then again we had endured sweat, heat, humidity and body odor often in that bus so I shrugged it off.

Arriving at the airport, there was a whirlwind of activity to get 30 something people’s baggage checked, then go through security and customs.  At long last, we were in the terminal waiting to board.  That’s when it hit me like a brick.  I was sick!  And hot!  Being a mother, I probably bring more than necessary to travel with for all of the just-in-cases that can pop up.  It really pays off!  We’ve been very stuck before in the mountains, at the beach, in Africa, and everywhere in between with strep throat, stomach bugs and even a serious head injury.  So as I sat slumped in a hard, plastic seat, I put down the awful sandwiches we bought (at exorbitant prices!!) – which I thought one more bite would come right back up – and quietly slipped out my handy dandy thermometer.  I thought no one I knew was looking.

As I sat motionless, dying to lie down across the row of merciless plastic chairs, thermometer sticking out of my mouth like a cigar, I glanced up to see two of our team’s college guys sitting across from me staring wide-eyed at me.  They looked at me like I had the plague.  I couldn’t blame them.  Who sits in the smack middle of the terminal, a full-grown adult, with a thermometer sticking out of their mouth!  I felt too bad to explain.  And, explain what?  I had no idea why my body was breaking down by the minute.

Yep.  Fever.  It was 100 and was rising by the hour.  After the rhythmic chirping of the thermometer alarm sounded, it was time to board.  I nearly had a panic attack as I visualized all sorts of scenarios of the 10hour flight that awaited me as if I were a piece of bait in shark territory.  Ten hours of getting sicker and sicker.  Trapped over open ocean on a plane where English is not the first language spoken and with no option to stay behind.  I imagined passing out in the aisles.  The attendants strapping me in the jump seats with them as my fever spiked to seizure proportion.  Being wheeled off on a stretcher not knowing my name from delusion.  After a week of long hours, little sleep, physical excursion and being emotionally drained, on top of a climbing fever and a head that felt as though it would explode, there was not a rational thought in my head about my state of affairs.

I said not a word to my team but only told my husband what was going on.  In a daze, I passed through our final security check and was in line to board the plane.  I was burning up inside.  All I knew is that I needed to remove as many layers as possible as I thought about the stale recirculated air I was about to inhale for the next 10 hours.  I had a cami under my t-shirt…yes!  I could take that off discreetly.  Then I realized I was wearing compression hose (very attractive – NOT!) that I must wear for medical reasons on long flights.  It was like wearing leg warmers under my yoga pants.  I could slip those off, too.

Lo and behold, of all of the people on the planet, take a guess who stood directly in front of me in line to board.  A monk!  A real, honest-to-goodness monk in full garb complete with a long, hooded robe and large wooden cross hanging from his rope belt.

You’ve got to be kidding, I thought.  I don’t want to do this in front of him!  I’m not polished on monk protocol, but watching a woman take off under layers is, I’m just guessing here, probably not in their manual.  However, I had no choice.  I knew all too well that it would be impossible to maneuver those horribly uncooperative hose off in the little airplane seat.  They make pantyhose feel like comfy, rainy-day pajamas.  And so there I was, hoping he wouldn’t turn around.

I slipped my arms out of the cami and fished it up through the neck hold of my shirt.  One down, two to go.  I pulled up my yoga pant legs, one at a time, and unrolled the compression hose ending with the wide, lacy band that I desperately tried to shield from the monk standing one foot from me.  I quickly stuffed them into my purse, hopefully with him none the wiser, but I must confess I didn’t look at him to find out (nor to all of those standing behind me).

Taking a deep breath, I stepped onto the plane.  The day thus far had exhausted my weakened strength.  I shoved my carry-on above my head and my purse under my feet, fell back into my seat, closed my eyes and breathed.  It was a 2-3-2 seater plane.  Our kids were in the middle 3 seats and Bruce and I were on opposite sides of the plane.  I was seated next to a woman who sat speechless and still.  I didn’t want to chit chat.  Oh my no!  And, in all likelihood, we probably didn’t speak the same language.

Still panicked over how I was feeling, I made the mistake of asking our resident medical person on the team, who sat near me, what the normal range for fever was for an adult.  Everyone around us heard me, and I’m telling you it was though they all took a proverbial step backward from me – though we were all trapped on the same plane.

If I were a betting woman, I’d bet the lady I sat next to heard us as well, because when I sat back down in my seat, she was hugging the wall like wallpaper!

Oh, it gets better.

I needed Motrin and calm and peace and quiet and some sort of hope that I could make this flight despite being sick.  I dug through my bag of tricks (my purse) and found all of the elements I possibly had to seclude myself from the reality of what I was about to endure.  My sinuses were stuffed, my throat hurt, my right ear felt full and I felt like 1,000 degrees inside.  However, when traveling in a group, what is one to do?  We had a second flight in NYC to make and you do what you have to do.

With eyes closed as the rumble of the engines flared up, I reassured myself, Just 10 hours.  That’s all it is.  Ten little hours. Then, I’ll be back in the States where I can go to urgent care, or at least have the ability to use my insurance card.  This pep talk sort of worked as long as I didn’t open my eyes.  Boy, I was praying hard!  Please Jesus, get me through this!  Please don’t let me get worse on the plane.  Please get me home!  No one else on the team was ill, nor anyone we had been with all week.  Just me.

Ever since I took a flight, many years ago, when upon descent my sinuses freaked out and they became so pressurized I thought they would burst, I guess I had a back-of-the-brain fear that will happen again.  The pain and pressure was so bad I couldn’t even call for an attendant.  I sat paralyzed feeling like a hamster being squeezed really tight – eyes bulging out and scared stiff.

Here I was.  In the exact predicament I had always dreaded.  Stuffy head.  Ringing ears.  Plugged nose.  And a 10 hour flight for the first leg, then an overnight layover and a second flight home beginning at 4am.

As the plane began to roll down the runway, I broke out all the stops.  If I were going to get through this, it would be with every possible aid.  Mind you, this poor woman sitting next to me is stuck against the window for a long time with me.

It began to dawn on me that my ailment was a sinus infection.  Not contagious, but tell that to someone who feels like the most unlucky person in the world to sit next to the likes of me, and the diva I was about to become.

First order of business…Afrin.  Shot that sucker up my nose.  Next, I took my temperature again as it had been a while.  Oh how embarrassed I was to do this in public!  I watched out the corner of my eye to try to catch the poor woman with her eyes closed.  Not so.  So how would you feel sitting next to someone who just broke out a thermometer?  I know I would want to be anywhere in the world except near me.  Ug.  Okay, next…Motrin.  Swigged it down.  Then I pulled out the economy-sized bottle of Airborne and package of Cold-Eeze.  Got a round of each in me.  Check.  Next, find the Mucinex to help with the fluid build-up in my head.  Done.  Next, sift through my cami and compression hose filled purse for my blow-up neck pillow.  Blew it up and hung it around my neck.  Done.  I can feel my airplane buddy staring at me out the corner of her eye.  However, I must continue to survive, or so I felt.

Pressure point wrist bands – just in case – because the airport sandwich was that gross (not even my teenage son, the human disposal, could finish his and described it as 95% salt).  Slipped those babies on.  Next, my beloved eye mask.  I put it around my head, but wasn’t quite ready for total blackout so I propped it on my forehead.  Gorgeous, I know.  Next, noise reduction ear phones.  I needed to find my happy place, and the loud static of the engines wasn’t getting me there.  I positioned those suckers on tight.  With a loud sigh, I pulled my eye mask down and crossed my hands in my lap under a blanket of total darkness.

What in the world must I have looked like?!?!  Yes, I do carry these things with me, but never to use all at the same time.  I’m not that high-maintenance!  They are also for my entire family to share.  But, I believe I would have growled at any hand that came near my airplane survival stash.

There I was.  Thermometer, Motrin, Airborne, Cold-Eeze, Mucinex, neck pillow, wrist bands, headphones, and a black, satin eye mask with my undergarments peeking out of my purse.  Sheesh.  The poor soul beside me looked horrified.  She all but sat sideways in her seat to get as far away as she could from me on this full flight.  I was, in fact, a flying diva.

This, from a girl who doesn’t even like to wear shoes much less a jacket if it’s chilly.  I don’t like fussing with myself and find accessories other than my wedding ring, a watch and lightweight earrings, maybe a simple necklace on a rare day, to be all I can stand weighing me down.  I looked like a hybrid of an aviophobic and a hypochondriac .

I soon passed out, well, okay I probably fell asleep, but I don’t remember the first several hours of the trip.  Then, without the compression hose that I should have been wearing, once I regained consciousness, I needed to walk – a lot.  Delirious with the day’s events, I began to stroll the aisles with the eye mask propped up on my forehead and headphones bulging over my ears like Princess Leia.  I didn’t even realize (or care) what I looked like until I found my husband’s seat and squatted down to say hello.  He took one glance at me and said, Nice look.  Yeah, whatever.

On descent, my right ear filled up so much I thought it would burst.  I couldn’t hear anything out of it for 2 solid days.  After day 8 it is almost better but still crackles and pops.  I survived the rough overnight in NYC as well as the second flight home.  A round of antibiotics knocked out the sinus infection, praise God.  Being home made me feel better and my own bed was simply heaven.  However, I haven’t found a remedy to regain my dignity for partially undressing in front of a monk nor horrifying the passenger next to me with the many apparatuses I had clinging to my body and the semi-conscious state I stayed in for those long 10 hours.

That, my friends, is the metamorphosis of how an average girl, who despises a scene, transformed into a diva for a day.  The only comforting thought that carried me through the flight was that I will never see the monk or the lady next to me again.  And, I’m quite sure they were thinking the same thing about me.

Psalm 139…Amish-Country Style

Psalm 139 has been my life Scripture.  While in Ukraine, I relied heavily on God’s message in this Psalm for courage and strength.  For instance, I don’t mind flying, but it’s not on my list of favorites by far.  When I fly, I always recite verses 9-10, and it helps me remember who is in control of the plane and the journey.  Or, when I walked 32 flights of stairs to visit with some precious Ukrainian people in their apartment because the building’s elevator was iffy, I heard verses 2-3 roll around in my mind.  God continues to speak to me through this collection of verses, so thought I would share this post again and hope it speaks to you, too! 🙂

This passage has shared mountain-top highs with me and pulled my soul out of the pit.  It is a joy to offer a visual perspective of David’s incredible, tender heart seen through the eyes of the Amish country.

Psalm 139: 1-18, 23-24

Oh LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

You know when I sit

and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out

and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue

you know it completely, O LORD.

You hem me in – behind and before;

you have laid your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.

When I awake, I am still with you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

Home (Bitter)Sweet Home

Wow, it seems like forever since blogging on this site!  I went offline for over a week as my family traveled on mission overseas.  I had great aspirations of blogging while there (sigh)…

I cannot wait to post some of the pictures from the beautiful city of Kiev, Ukraine.  As pretty as it was, the people are what truly make it special.  We went to Kenya last year on mission and had no idea what to expect this year in Eastern Europe.  A different team of people, a different part of the world, a different set of goals – just entirely different.

As much as I don’t want to admit it, my body doesn’t handle jet lag very well.  I am still getting up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep during the day.  It will be fine, but until my inner clock resets, I am tired.  However, I couldn’t wait one more day to get back online.  So today’s post are some travel pointers I’ve learned over the years in hopes they may benefit you as well.

All-time necessary travel item (besides a passport):  Water.  Airports, planes, buses, hotels, and constant lugging of luggage really dehydrates the body.  I keep water with me at all times.  I will guzzle a bottle down before having to ditch it at security, then buy another as soon as I am able.

Favorite travel accessory:  Eye mask. I can pull this handy dandy item out anywhere, anytime, and instantly seclude myself from the outside world.  It is very helpful to sleep with, but I must confess I wear it sometimes just to give the illusion I’m asleep so I can grab a minute of peace and quiet.  (Shh, this is a secret!)

Favorite luxury item:  Noise reducer headphones.  A teammate on this trip had a pair, and as soon as our first flight landed, I bought some (albeit overpriced) in the airport before making our connection.  I compromised on a pair that was less than $100.  They are noise reducing, but also have a jack to plug into an iPod and give great sound.  So to accomplish almost no noise, I also used a pair of foam earplugs.  I must admit, as long as the Lord continues to let us travel on mission, I may get a part-time job to earn the money for the Bose 100% noise eliminators.  Those, coupled with the eye mask, would be one awesome ride!

Something to schlep stuff in: Eddie Bauer “Daypack.”  It’s smaller than a backpack, but is made to handle the tough stuff and didn’t count as a carry-on (it was in the laptop, purse category so I could still have a carry-on).  It has all of the same cool compartments of a regular-sized backpack, but it’s much more easy to manage.  I’ve tried packs that look like purses and the straps broke from either too much weight or overuse.  I’ve tried traditional backpacks and they are too big and my small stuff sinks to the bottom.  I’ve always said the perfect job for me would be a quality control tester for purses, etc.  NONE have withstood my use.  This EB daypack is the only thing that hasn’t surrendered to my wear and tear.  It has nicely padded straps to wear when you need to be hands-free.  I bought mine at an outlet store on sale.  Okay, I’ll confess.  It was originally a gift for my husband, but now the whole family wants to use it. 🙂

Pack reasonably.  Really think about where you are going and what toiletries and cosmetics you will need.  Creature comforts are great to have on hand, but not at the expense of so many things it’s a scavenger hunt every morning just getting ready.  And, if on mission or active travel, probably half of what we usually use isn’t needed because it’s all going to sweat off anyway.

Use the bathroom!  If one is available – use it whether you think you need to or not.  There is a good chance there may not be another one for a while and that is a miserable situation to be in.

On that note, the Go Girl is a nifty product.  Guys, you may want to skip this part.  Girls, it’s a porta potty – basically a silicon funnel with biodegradable baggie.  My family laughs, but when it’s the only thing available for miles around, and not even ol’ fashioned nature is an option, this is worth gold.  Then who’s laughing?

Journal the journey.  Whether in the notes section of your smart phone, via photographs, or notebook and pen, capture not just the experience but your reaction to it.  Just a few words or sentences or photos.  Enough to be able to go back and fill in the blanks later.  But, assuming you’ll remember every moment is simply unrealistic and unnecessary pressure on oneself.  Personally, I journal through photos.  I’ll snap a picture of something that I connect with or want to expand on later be it a person, place, food, activity, brochure, anything.  It jogs my memory once I’m home.

Avoid ice.  Just a personal tip from someone who learned the hard way.  We made it all the way through Kenya without any digestive issues at all.  Then, on the ride home, both my husband and I had ice in our drinks on the plane.  BIG MISTAKE!  We thought we were going to die we were so sick by the time we got home.  Not worth it.  Unless you are in a familiar place that you know you can tolerate remember this – if you won’t drink the water, don’t eat the ice!

Pack snacks.  Whether traveling with kids, special dietary needs, or just yourself, packing snacks if a real lifesaver.  We pack things that can travel well (peanuts, dried fruit, freeze-fried fruit, protein bars, trail mix, etc.).  More than once these have wound up being a meal when caught in unforeseen circumstances such as harvesting corn in Kenya or tied up in a layover, flat tire, etc.  Most airports have food, but some make you pay dearly for it.  We were charged $5/person for a bottled water or soda on this last trip. Pfft! :O

Travel pharmacy.  It’s very important to take your usual meds as they may not be available where you are going.  However, we go a step further and bring a sampling of popular OTC meds – especially for digestive systems.  Foreign food, little sleep, and hard work can tear up a body and weaken the immune system.  We pack items such as Airborne tablets, Cold Eeze lozenges, Immodium, laxatives, Tums, cold meds, Afrin (for the plane if you have a stuffy nose), pain relievers, vitamins, and a first aid kit.  We filled 2 gallon-sized bags going to Ukraine, granted we are a party of five.  Always bring a thermometer, too, and if traveling really far or foreign, perhaps a round of antibiotics just in case.  We saw strep throat in our team in Ukraine.  It happens!  Keep reasonably necessary meds with you en route (plane, bus, etc. – anywhere you cannot get to your luggage).  Better to curb a migraine at the onset than have to wait hours before your luggage is in your hands again.

Shower shoes.  Buy a cheap pair of flip flops for the shower.  They can cost as little as dollar, and that is far less expensive than paying for treating foot fungus that is very easily contagious.  Every doctor I know travels with them – and so do we!  Like they say, an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.

Records.  Depending on where you are traveling, make copies of your health insurance card, immunization record, birth certificate, passport and driver’s licence and securely store them.  The last thing anyone wants is to be far from home and legal documents get stolen or go missing and there is no way to prove who you are.

Well, I will stop here.  I hope some of these are helpful to you.  Can’t wait to blog more of the heart of our journey.  So much to share!  Have a great day, Kristi

Really?

After taking two days to “fly away to the desert” as David wrote, my heart is heavy over something I want desperately to avoid.  Prayer, tears and good friends’ shoulders have gotten me this far, but time is ticking and I need to face things.

I’ve been speaking to groups for years.  However, recently I was asked to speak on a topic I am uncomfortable with.  Don’t ask me how, as it’s all a blur, but somehow I got through it.  Although, I feel I did a terrible job.  Every time I think about it, I want to run and lock myself in my room.  Well, I’ve almost gotten past that experience, mainly because I vowed I would never ever speak on it again.

Last week, a group of people, completely separate from the first, asked me to speak on the exact same subject!  Arg!  I tried to back-peddle my way out.  I tried to solicit others to step up to the plate to no avail.  I may have kept my composure on the outside, but inside I was throwing an absolute fit!

The subject matter is irrelevant to this post, because it’s more a problem with me.  The subject is fine.  I am not.  Why?  Because I wrestle with the issue at hand myself.  I am not a polished authority on this issue by any means!  In fact, my entire life I have been crippled by this issue.  Why, oh why, did God put me in this position?

I’ll be completely honest and share with you what I confided in my dear friends.  I feel like God has turned a blind eye to my issue with this issue.  I feel a little thrown under the bus.  Neglected.  Ignored.  It feels like life is playing a cruel joke on me by backing me in this corner.  I have been asked to speak to a group of women I have never met, in Europe, with a language barrier, on a topic that I just want to sit down and cry about.  This makes no sense to me.

Everyone has tender spots on their hearts.  Things they’d rather not discuss.  Parts of their lives they want to keep private.  This is mine.  Yet, I am being asked to stand up in front of people and go to the mat over this.  Ug.  My stomach turns and palms sweat.  It’s not the speaking…it’s the subject matter.

We all know what it is like to feel kicked when we are down.  Well, after a lifetime of wrestling this monster, then believing I totally failed in front of the first group of people, why in the world would God even consider me for this task again?  The exact same task!

When I lamented to my friends about this, some very raw feelings came out that I didn’t expect to say because I didn’t know they were in me until they spontaneously spilled out of my mouth.  I blurted out, You know, in every way in my life I want the redemption of Christ.  I want it for my spirit for eternal salvation, I want it for the forgiveness of my daily sins,  I desire re-dos in areas I have messed up.  BUT, this area?  I don’t want redemption.  I don’t want another second chance.  I know people sometimes feel like they’d give anything to rewind time and re-do, or be given another chance, but I don’t want it in this area.  I want the whole thing to just go away!  

Honestly, I’ve never said that before.  It made me so sad to hear myself reject God’s redemption.  Who am I to say any of that?  How dare I.  But, I did.  Does God still love me?  Yes.  Will He ever leave me?  No.  Can He handle such audacious words?  Yes.  Why?  Because He knows.

He knows that the reason I am running from His redemption in this area is because I feel both inadequate and sick of the whole thing.  I want it to go away and never be brought back up.  But, God also knows that in order to honor that wish, it would mean I am left broken in this area.  I amdit defeat.  I quit.  I have been overcome.

That’s not the way God rolls.  We, as believers, are overcomers.

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. ~ 1 John 5:3-4

Greater is He in us than the enemy.

You, dear children,are from God and have overcome them,because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. ~ 1 John 4:4

My mind believes all of the lies the world and the enemy tells me.  I believe my own lies, too.  But, my heart yearns to be able to believe what God says about this.  Why can’t I trust Him?

I know, deep down, God keeps bringing me this so I can finally, once and for all, get past this issue.  My head and heart war against each other.  So, with time running out, who am I going to listen to?  God, the world, the enemy or myself?  Ug.

To answer that question, all I can do is go to Scripture for solid Truth.  John 10: 2-4…

The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 

He calls us by name.  Did you catch that?  We are all unique individuals, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).  Yes, He knows all of our names and calls us to His heart.  He goes ahead of us that we may follow Him.  I will follow Him across the world and do as I have been asked.  But, Paul said it better than I ever could have dreamed of expressing my angst.  1 Corinthians 2:1-5

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. 

I choose to trust God that He is, in fact, in control of this situation and is working out His perfect will in my life and in the lives I will speak to.  I will try my hardest to not look backwards, rather listen to His voice and follow where He leads.

One thing is for sure.  The glory will be all His for what He will do.  He’s moving me forward and requires I bring no baggage. Easier said than done.  But, with God all things are possible.  Even this task.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”  Mark 10:27

Okay, God.  Lead on…