Monday, July 23, 2012

Here the road finds its glorious end

by: Lauren Elise

Here the road finds its
glorious end
where memories are
just around the bend
and the Gospel of Jesus
Christ begins,

Where the true fountain
of Life
takes away the
grieving pains of the knife

Satan lost the battle
in fear and strife
for our God is not dead,
but purely alive

When the enemy comes
to kill and destroy
our hearts shall cry out
in praise and joy

For we know the truth
which sets us free
From fear in the
face of the enemy,

Ella Grace rests high
on the mountain peak,
Her little heart,
Christ alone did seek,

In Glorious Light
her songs made new,
they fall softly to earth
as morning dew,

Forever we shall sing
to the King of Kings,
For death surely hurts
but indeed has no sting,

His blood is victorious
raining down on us
It makes our souls
cry out "glorious!"

In all my life
I will find joy
not without suffering, but I shall know
he can't destroy,

My soul, my heart
finds rest,
In God alone
peace and righteousness,

Heaven seems too too
far away,
for Christ my Lord says,
"Lauren you must stay,

You must share the
Good news with all the world
then you shall come
when the trumpets sound
and hear Ella Grace
singing praises loud

When you appear before
my glorious throne
you shall know you rested
in the Father alone"

"I am unable" my soul
cries clearly

"My beloved my strength
is always with you
you cannot without me,
but you have been made new
so now I am with you
through and through

The valleys will seem deep
long and dry,
but my mercies shall
make living water satisfy,

When you feel lost and weary
remember the cost,
which paid your ransom
so you shall not be lost,

Satan's hand reaches far
but only as far as I allow
because in the end
he will still bow!!!!

Grace alone moves mountains,
by that Grace you speak,
So wherever I take you,
my face shall you seek.

-Lauren Elise

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Your Days Here Changed Everything

"My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord."

Ella Grace, your days here changed everything. A Gospel Centered Desire: to be a Mother

To have everything changed.
Your entire mindset switched.
A new love, a new desire, a new longing enhanced by the Truth that she is His.

To hold a child, know she is yours, and just as much His.
She lays sweetly upon my chest, breathing perfectly the breath the Lord has given her. Breathing the Gospel upon the hearts she touched. The softness of her hands, the sweet bubbly cheeks that so perfectly portrayed the beauty of Christ. Her hands were so tiny, but so full of life, so full of joy, so full of a perfect portrayal of love. They were perfect in every way. They held my hand in a way that can not be redone. Her feet, so longing to walk, to crawl, to be able to do all her sweet heart desired to do.

To feel the love of a mother towards her child, o that perfect love, such a reflection of the love the Father has for His children. To repeat it would be impossible, to attempt to create it would also be impossible. The memory is to sweet to let go. Do I have to let go? no. So why is the memory of that dreadful day in the hospital the strongest memory of them all? Why is it so easy for me to go back to the moment she passed away, and I began to scream? Why is it so easy to go back to the moment I held her lifeless body? Why is this awful memory the memory that repeats in my mind all day long? What is He trying to teach me? Why can't I grasp the memory of her laying perfectly on my body as she was soundly sleeping? Why is that memory running away?

I can go immediately back to walking out of that evil place, attempting to catch my breath and falling to my knees in front of many Haitians wondering why this white girl was weeping, and on her knees. I can go back to carrying her lifeless body into the orphanage, knowing she was never going to come back. I can go back to sitting in the school room in that precious rocking chair I had made so that I could rock her to sleep. I can go back to rocking her lifeless body for hours, but I can't go back to her sweet life-giving smile. I can't remember unless I see pictures. I can go back to singing Amazing Grace while gathered around the place we would lay her shell, but I can't go back to sharing chicos with her in the kitchen. I can go back to handing her body to her careless earthly father so that he could put her in that disgusting box, but I can't go back to 3 am awaking to her beautiful cry and loving her with everything within me. I can go back to the dirt falling like knives upon the place where her body lay, but I can't for a moment remember feeding her ounces upon ounces of formula, praying she would become healthy.

I want a child to hold. I want a child to love and touch and be reminded of His love for me. I want to care for a child, to cherish and raise a child in the way of the Lord. I long to be a mother again and to know the Lord has entrusted to me a role I cannot complete without His strength and mercy within me. The truth is, I want Ella Grace. I want her tiny frame to be wrapped in my arms. I want to kiss her, to cuddle with her and to be with her. She was, and is, and will never be again. But she is more alive now then she has ever been, and she has made me want to be a mother more then I could have ever imagined I would want to be a mother.

There is absolutely no love like the love a mother has for her child. There is absolutely no way to make a mother feel better about her sick child, with everything in her she longs to help her child, to make the pain go away, and to love that child until she feels better. There is absolutely no way to explain what makes it okay that an 18 month old child has just passed away from something that was preventable. There is absolutely no way you can tell me death does not sting. There is absolutely no way that death can ever not be painful for those still left on this dreadful place we call earth.

Or is there a way? Is there a Hope? A Hope beyond all we can imagine, a place which consumes the souls of those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior? Is there a place we can truly call freedom? A place we can truly call Beautiful? A place where all the children are painless? Where no more tears are cried, where no more is death felt?

There is. There is a place we call Freedom, a place where Heaven is all that we could ever desire perfectly wrapped up in God, and His glorious mercy and grace raining down on us endlessly. A place where we are so near to our Father that all of the fears and pains of what is to come, or what has been are wiped away. We will finally see as He sees the good and perfect plan He had and has for our lives. We will see the unrelenting joy deep in the Light of our hearts.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

And He who was seated on the throne said, "Behold I am making all things new." Also He said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." And He said to me, "it is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God, and he will be my son." Revelation 21:3-7

"The fool says in his heart, "there is no God." Psalm 53:1

He has made my teeth grind on gravel, 
and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, "my endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the Lord."

Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!

My soul continually remembers it and is BOWED DOWN WITHIN ME.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord NEVER CEASES,
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in Him."

The Lord is good to those who wait for him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.

Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him;
let him put his mouth in the dust-
there may yet be hope;
let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
and let him be filled with insults.

For the Lord will not cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for He does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.
Lamentations 3:16-33

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thwarted Plans

A Post from Chase-

There was something off-ask my friend Surf.  As he picked me up to go to the airport I shared with him my feeling- "dude, something is going to go wrong."  Maybe it was fear- I was going to Colorado to see Lauren and her family who I hadn't seen in over a month.  Maybe God was trying to prepare my heart; but all I could imagine was that He didn't want me going on this trip-doomed! I was going in blind to His Will and little did I know what He had in store.

My flight was delayed 30 minutes from 4:30 to 5 p.m.  So as I sat in front of my gate waiting here comes this guy high-tailing it to the desk.  Amused, I watch him flail his arms wildly, stare intently at the United Employee, and then almost do a hop-step victory dance.  He wasn't American- maybe Indian or Middle Eastern I thought.  Well I waved at him-don't know why- just thought I'd share in his victory not knowing why he was so happy. Departure wasn't for another 20 minutes! Sure enough, the dude sits two seats down from me and immediately starts talking. He thought he had missed his flight! Someone forgot to give a brother an update.  My Spirit jumped inside of me as I found out he was Saudi Arabia.  And yes, his name was Mohammad.  For those who don't know me (prob. alot of you since this isn't my blog) God has been working over the last year instilling in me a heart that is burden for Muslims.

Mohammad (We'll call him Mo) has spent the last 9 months at U. of Alabama studying English.  His English was decent with a strong Arabic accent, good enough to carry a conversation.  Immediately, you could tell Mo was friendly.  I don't know why he chose to sit by me-but I was glad that he did.  As it was time to dock the plane-I asked him his seat #. He was two seats directly behind me.  This was the moment when I think my eyes were being opened, and I prayed God would allow us to talk on the plane.  We both sat down in our respected seats as the plane began to fill up.  As the plane was almost full- I looked back to notice Mohammad and I were the only two people in the plane without someone seated next to us! Okay God- really? The last person boarded and sat next to Mohammad.  Praying for boldness, I asked Mo if he wanted to sit next to me and he quickly followed suit.  For the next two hours-  he would share about his Islam beliefs, I would listen.  Then I would present the Gospel, and he would listen.

I'm unworthy.  "Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people" (Deut. 9:6).  I don't know why the Lord allowed me to be apart of the conversation I'm about to detail. I'm the worst of sinners.  But it quickly became evident that God had purposefully orchestrated Mo and I meeting. I'll highlight some of our conversation.

Mo could not see how a Just God can provide equal forgiveness to all people no matter how many good or bad things.  In Islam, he said, If God was a boss "he would pay most money to the hardest worker, some money to the somewhat hard worker, and no money to the worker who did nothing...but Christians..your God gives them the same, how so?" GLAD you asked Mo. Jesus actually talks about that in Matthew 20! I told him the parable of the workers in the Vineyard. He understood, but could not see how a loving God could kill his Son to provide the free grace.  Great Question- wait this time I don't have a good answer? Thankfully I was able to get enough out of the way for God to orchestrate this conversation.  His question led us down a path talking about the Glory of God. The glory of God led me to asking him which God would receive most love and affection from people(and ultimately most glory).  A God who has to extend mercy based on the Human and his performance? Or a God who is not bound to the performance of humans and can offer full eternal salvation to the sinner?  

Mo wanted to know more about heaven and as he would say "the fire."  He shared with half excitement how Allah will reward people based on how they handle trials during there time on earth.  For ex. if a man waits to have sex before marriage, Allah will grant him more virgins in heaven. But at the end of the day- Mo shared his fear that he DOES NOT know his Eternal destiny. I was shocked, not by the truth of his statement but how often he kept repeating it.  Was Mo searching?  I want talk about everything question I had for him on this- but it did lead us to the Idea of the presence of God, heaven, and the joy of  simply knowing and being known by God.  This.. this is what captured Mo's heart!!  Joy! Joy is what lead us to his grandfather.

I had heard/read that God was using Dreams to reach Muslims.  But I had never first hand heard it from a Muslim themselves. What I was about to hear, humbled me against the weight of God's glory.  Mo shared how Grandfather died last year, but the last 3,4 months of His life he had a recurring dream.  "A man who's face was beautiful, whole body bright, who stuck out His hand to grab for my grandfather."  Grabbing the hand, his grandfather would say he didn't care where they went.. he just wanted to be with this man! "He was free and happy."  From my inmost being I was shouting "Bro- don't you see you?? The man was Jesus!!"  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  I listen to Mo a little bit longer before I made my plea.  

He proceeded to tell me how His grandfather died with a smile on his face.  For his culture that was unheard of..most likely because they lack peace of their Eternity. BUT his Grandfather had a smile, the same smile Mo told me he had when he talked about the man in his dream. Mo himself lit up when talking about his Grandfather- as if he can taste the same joy his grandfather.  He repeated "Chase(in his accent), I just want to have what my grandfather had.  I believe he is with Allah now."  He then opened the door WIDE OPEN- "I don't care who it is that gets me there..whether its Mohammad, Jesus, whoever.. I want to know the joy my grandfather had."  Shocked, I made my plea to the Man Christ Jesus.  I couldn't think of scriptures at this point, I was nearly tearful.  My heart was pounding and I could only speak from the enabled Spirit inside of me.  He is Jesus! He is the one who extended his hand to your grandfather.  Who provides inexpressible joy to soul.  He is the one who extends His hand to you Mo, to me.  To give us life and peace, both here on earth and all eternity in Heaven. Can't you see Mohammad? He desires to give you what he gave your Grandfather!

I can't write and tell you that Mohammad is now a Christ follower.  That would be a selfish lie from the gates of hell.  But from the beginning of our conversation to the end-he had clearly opened a door in his heart for the Gospel to invade.  A door that I will be on my knees praying God walks through till my brother knows Christ Jesus the Lord.  Mo shared how a group of poor people came to his grandfather's funeral and would not leave.  When Mo's father confronted them- they shared how their Grandfather had given them a great amount of money a few months earlier.  His grandfather met Jesus a few months earlier.  Is this not what we believe? Like the parable of the Hidden treasure, Once we have tasted the treasure of heaven "in our joy [we]go and sell all that [we] have"(Matthew 13:44). Mohammad and I exchanged numbers and FB info, he will be coming back to Bham (where I go to school) occasionally in the fall.  Pray for His soul. 

My delayed flight out of Birmingham forced me to miss my connecting flight from Houston to Denver. Thankfully I went stand-by on a flight later that night and then flew from Denver to Steamboat the next morning. Being in God's beautiful Creation and spending it with someone you cherish has made this week unforgettable.  Sure, I would have loved getting here earlier like planned.  But after meeting Mohammad, I'm glad God didn't have my plans in mind. If our flight left at 4:30, Mohammad would not have made it.  
For thinking I was doomed from even making this trip; I think God's been gracious.  
Psalms 33:10-11.

Chase Inman

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Faithful Sovereignty of a Perfect Father

I sat on my dorm room bed. I was burdened, lost, for a brother I did not know, but knew I was supposed to be praying for. I felt the cry of his heart to know the Lord's will. I felt the burden of his soul to be placed again in the peace and comfort of the Lord's presence. I felt as if my body could not get low enough, as if the Lord's Spirit was so much upon me that I could not even bear to look upon His face. I was still human still frail still weak, but very much in a Spiritual realm. Very much a part of the only True World in which we live. The Spirit inside of me and the Lord surrounding me could not have possibly been closer together unless I had actually been in Heaven. And for a moment, for a quick second the rest of the world could fade. I could dwell in the presence of my Father. I could live in perfect harmony with my Creator. I could be completely content in my whimpering soul because I knew He was there. Despite my desperation for the emotional, spiritual, and eternal state of my brother's soul, my soul still rested in Him. And in that moment He whispered words to me that I shall never forget. Words that I never wanted to have to speak to anybody. A word that was meant for my brother that the Lord had faithfully called me to pray for in the last couple of months.

It was a word I knew he didn't want to hear. It was a word lost in the crowning glory of who God is and what He does when His servants ask Him for answers. It was a word given to the cry of a desperate soul. And He said, "my daughter, you have felt your brother's suffering, you have felt his anxiety, you have labored in prayer for his desperate soul for the past couple of months, and now I ask you to step out in faith. Now I ask you my love to speak the impossible. Now I simply urge you to listen to my command word for word. I urge you my beloved to tell you brother this when you see him tomorrow."

Everything within me longed to escape. I wanted to run back to my flesh, and escape from the obedience the Spirit within me was calling to my earthly body, mind, and heart. Not knowing that what seemed impossible, unacceptable, unreasonable, and idiotic, was truly remarkable, miraculous, and sovereign.

It seemed to be a normal day, that spring morning as I waited eagerly to meet with my brother and friend, William. We sat in the busiest area on campus talking about what was going on in each other's lives. And then I noticed him walk in. My brother, my faithful brother walked in front of me to stand with a bunch of friends, as the Lord had so sovereignly spoken, there he was waiting to hear the word the Lord had spoken to me. In my fearful flesh I dreaded walking up to him, and in my fearless soul I longed to walk up to him. My anxiousness soon became apparent as my brother William asked me what was wrong. I could only tell him I had something to tell our brother that was standing close to us, but that my flesh was literally hindering me. It seemed simple to William, "just do it, what's the worst that can happen?" But it was indeed much more complicated then that. It was a "just do it" to William, but to me it was a "what if he thinks you are an idiot? What if he doesn't believe you? what if he thinks you are insane? What if you actually have lost your mind? What if you made this all up? What if it wasn't actually what the Lord was telling you? What if you are wrong? What if he tells everybody about this? What if everybody on campus thinks you are insane?"

And then it was lunch time. My flesh walked boldly away from my faithful brother waiting to hear from the Lord, and the Spirit inside of me beat my flesh from the inside out. I sat at the cafeteria table wondering what was going on. I stared at my plate full of food, with my stomach completely void of an appetite. How could I begin to eat this food as if nothing is wrong with me right now/? THERE IS SOMETHING ENTIRELY WRONG WITH ME. I wanted to scream I wanted to cry. I wanted to go back to that moment and completely redo it. I wanted another chance, another opportunity for obedience. And yet the time was clear, I had one opportunity and I gave it away. I had to quickly get to class. But I kept asking myself, "where am I? what have i done? What am i doing? why did I do that?" My final class for that day was miserable. I couldn't pay attention. I knew I needed to go back to my dorm and get in the presence of God again before it was "too late." But I promised my friend Virginia I would go rock climbing with her that afternoon. While driving to the rock climbing place a song came on called "come away" by Jesus Culture. And then it hit me. The Lord had asked me to step out in faith into this unknown. ANd yes it was true, I didn't know what was coming. I didn't know if it meant rejection, failure, oddness, or persecution, but that did not stop Him from asking me. So what was I thinking? Immediately my heart cried out for the Lord, for the Sovereign Lord, the one in whom I gave my life to. The One to whom I said, "i will die for your Name."I wanted Him, I didn't want that selfish fleeting idolatry called, "likeableness, or popularity." i wanted Him no matter what the cost was. And so He took my heart, the place where my soul dwells. He picked it up in all its grossness, its wickedness, its vileness and He said, "my daughter, I have you in the palm of my hand, you have been made new, you have been washed have been made clean, and because I love you and my grace is sufficient for my power is made perfect in your weakness, I am going to give you another opportunity." Then I received a text from my brother telling me that William had told him I had something I needed to tell him. We arranged a time later that evening to meet so I could tell him.

It was around 8:15 that evening that my brother and i decided to meet on campus. As we sat down on a bench in Ben Brown I said, "I just have to straight up tell you what the Lord has told me to tell you instead of continuing to delay and not tell you." And after telling him exactly what teh Lord had told me to tell him i sat there wondering what he was thinking. After many "wows" on his part, I looked at him and told him i did not expect to hear what had been going on or what is going on, but that I knew that if I did not tell him that i would literally explode. But he felt the Lord quickening his heart for him to share with me what had been going on. After a while we realized how truly sovereign the Lord was in His timing, and how faithful he was in providing an answer to his prayers. It turned out that the night before when I was on my bed distraught with burden for his soul, he was also having the worst night he had had in praying about that specific thing. What a blessing to see how the Lord had connected our Spirits in such a miraculous way, that I would seemingly be able to carry a part of his burden for him, and fellowship with him in such a life-giving, life-altering way.

And I don't know what the Lord has planned for my life and for his life, but I know that the Lord works in very mysterious ways, and He is faithfully speaking to and through His people.

But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.b 16But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servantsc and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
22“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Acts 2:14-24

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What if

We sit, peering out into the great unknown wondering if that Great Unknown can be known to us.

He seems far off, maybe too far off to even begin to reach, yet we long for Him dearly, expectingly, hesitatingly.

What if He could live here with us like He had always planned? What if there were no more tears no more pain, no more suffering? What if it was as He always had pictured it to be? Would we be satisfied?

Can we desire the very thing by which we have been given life, and actually miss Him when He speaks to us?

What if this whole world were filled with people who thought and acted like we do? What if we did not have to choose daily who we would serve?

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

What if we lived in complete harmony with the one we desire more then life itself? Then we would be truly living.

He is the way, the truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. John 14:6

What if in every circumstance in our lives we would be constantly thinking of who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing?

Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God--truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:23-24

What if we woke up every morning longing to be taken to the cross to sacrifice once again our earthly bodies, our earthly minds, and our earthly hearts, that our soul may again be reminded of its eternal dwelling place?

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immortality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. Colossians 3:3-5

What if I had not obeyed the Lord's will to send me to Haiti, and I had in turn decided to remain in the comforts of my "American life"? I would have remained comfortable. I would have remained in disobedience. I would have continued living comfortably, not feeling pain and suffering for all they are worth. I would not have felt this distance from the Lord in a good sense, but would have felt as I did exactly one year ago when i decided to not act in obedience to a word the Lord had given me to tell to my brother.

And I never ever want to be there again. It was as if the Lord had flicked my weak, frail, human body off of the palm of His hand. As if I had fallen deep into the quick sand that keeps on chaining our souls. As if Satan himself had punched the Spirit in the face and said, "you see, you are not worthy to her." As if my selfish fleeting body had triumphantly decided to disobey the crying of the Spirit inside of me. As if my soul was banned from the presence of God.

And all those as if's were felt but not true. He still held me, He still holds me. I was in disobedience but the Lord had not flicked me off of the palm of His hand. For it says, "behold I have engraved you in the palms of my hands" (Isaiah 49:16). An engraving is permanent, unchanging. So no matter how far away from the Lord I felt last year, and no matter how far away from the Lord I feel now, His grace is still sufficient, for His power is made perfect in our weakness. And His power suffices, and replaces our weakness when we feel we cannot go on.

I can scream at Him all day long, "God doesn't exist, He is not alive, He is not here, He has died," but that does not change the fact that my soul still screams, "God you are Holy, you are Alive, You are here, You have not died, and you do not sit on a throne completely uninvolved in our lives." He is sovereign He is good, and His mercy and grace extends to all of the sinners, the least of the least. Praise be to Him for rescuing our unworthy souls from the pit of despair.


"If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for."                                                                                                                         Charles Spurgeon

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I wish I could tell you

I wish I could tell you that the past 2 and a half months since Ella Grace passed away have been incredibly encouraging.

I wish I could tell you that the past 2 and a half months since Ella Grace passed away, I have felt the Lord nearer then I ever have.

I wish I could tell you that while being in Colorado Kayla and I have seen an abundance of fruit.

I wish I could tell you that the past 2 and a half months since Ella Grace passed away have been the biggest growing period of my life.

I wish I could tell you everything I once thought about my time in Haiti came to pass and I can now rejoice being on the other side of it.

I wish I could tell you I don’t ever regret going to Haiti for 2 and a half months.

I wish I could tell you I know exactly what the Lord has been speaking to me in the past 2 and a half months.

I wish I could tell you I love my life right now.

Well, I wish I could tell you a lot but this is all I can tell you:

Although I do sometimes regret my time in Haiti, I know the Lord was faithful in calling me there and calling me to love Ella Grace. I sometimes long for death more then life because I know that as soon as I leave this earth I will be completely restored to love my Savior in perfect harmony, but I know that somehow the Lord has found something in me, or has desired to continue to bring glory to Himself by keeping me still on my knees glued to the ground that feels so sharp beneath me. Suffering is no joyful time, neither is it a time we long for. When I got on a plane in February knowing the Lord had specifically spoken to me to leave the comfort of Birmingham and move to Haiti, I had dreams, I had dreams I knew would come true by the Lord’s faithfulness. I knew He could not be calling me to something so incredibly “different” if He did not have a grand plan. I don’t know all that the Lord has been speaking to me in the past 2 and a half months, but I do know He has been tapping me on the shoulder.

I just finished the book a Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. The book is a collection of things written in his journal after his wife passed away.

“Knock and it shall be opened. But does that knocking mean hammering and kicking the door like a maniac? And there’s also “to him that hath shall be given.’ After all, you must have a capacity to receive, or even omnipotence can’t give. Perhaps your own passion temporarily destroys the capacity. For all sorts of mistakes are possible when you are dealing with Him. Long ago, before we were married, H. was haunted all one morning as she went about her work with the obscure sense of God (so to speak) ‘at her elbow,’ demanding her attention. And of course, not being a perfected saint, she had the feeling that it would be a questions, as it usually is, of some unrepented sin or tedious duty. At last she gave in-I know how one puts it off—and faced Him. But the message was, ‘I want to give you something’ and instantly she entered into joy.” A Grief Observed

And in a sense I feel the Lord tapping me on the shoulder in the same way. Perhaps I can learn from Lewis’ wife it is better to face directly towards Him and take what He has to say whether good or bad. In my current season I feel as if He will say to me, “what have you been doing? Why can’t you see properly? Why are you continuing to sin in doubt? Why are constantly fearful of what is to come?” And yet I know His eternal being is good, soft, and loving as much as it is wrathful, jealous, and just. So he gives me an incredible sister to come alongside of out here in this sinful place. He willingly allows me to feel and hear her heart’s desires, her heart’s longings and questions, to remind me of who He is inside her, and that I may see His goodness being lived out in her soul. And then He blesses me beyond belief with an incredible friend and brother who has willingly chosen, by the grace of God alone to love and comfort, encourage and speak truth to me despite my sinfulness. And the Lord in His sovereign timing knew my heart’s desires, and his heart’s desires, and spoke truth into our friendship, allowing all expectations to burn at the mercy and for the glory of Himself. I couldn’t have asked for better partners, co-laborers, and Christ-centered siblings to come alongside of this summer and prayerfully in the coming years. They are good to me beyond all earthly expectations, into an eternal love that can never be imitated only honestly given through faithful followers of Christ. What a joy to serve Kayla and Chase, and to pray by God’s mercy we may continue serving each other and Him in this earthly life.

So I can’t tell you it has been perfect, but I can tell you He has remained perfect and unchanging in His affection towards me. And I pray with my whole heart that my affection towards Chase and Kayla may also be unchanging as a reflection of Christ’s love towards me.

And we will continue fighting the good fight of the true faith, carrying each other’s burdens and remembering they sovereignly lay before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

Great indeed, we confess it he mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16

"God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down." A Grief Observed

And now He faithfully rebuilds the house, not made of perishable seed but of imperishable (1 Peter 1:23), that in all knowledge of Him who died upon the cross and rose again I may grow in His faith granted towards me. 

For by grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3