finding freedom

naked.

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that’s how I felt today en route to my first ever jigger removal clinic without my camera strapped on my body.  My passion for photography has always yielded itself to help me see through a certain lens, and today that lens was taken away from me.  [This both frightened and excited me]

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As we drove down the red dirt road to Wakisi and again as I sat on my foot washing bench next to 8 year old Quinn Collie, I prayed that God would give me HIS eyes instead.  that He would take away my own human understanding and perspective, and give me His.

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I came shaky with knots in my stomach.  insecure and out of my comfort zone.  exposed + naked.

but also somehow FREE. 

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that’s how freedom starts right?  We become aware of this “thing” that gets in the way between us and God.  Becoming aware of this “thing” is the first step to freedom, right?  we have to see what God wants us to be free from before we can be free from it.

sorta like jiggers.

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a tiny sand flee burrows itself into a child’s foot, and has babies and turns into a jigger.  after time, and after walking + running + playing barefoot, this child might start to become aware of this nasty jigger than has buried itself in his foot.  and ya know what?   Sometimes they didn’t even know it was there to begin with.

freedom comes from removing things that get in the way of walking out into the full life Jesus has for us.  In my own personal search for freedom, I’ve dug up some pretty nasty stuff that I didn’t know was there.

“sometimes you have to shave off the top layer to see what you are really dealing with”

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Never been wiser words by Dru Collie as I stood over his shoulder and watched him remove jigger after jigger that had been buried in this young boy’s foot.  shaving off that top layer, getting to the real stuff that this young boy needed freedom from.

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that top layer for me?  

pride.  control.  self image.  perfectionism.  desire to win others approval.  fear of judgement.

what’s underneath?  honestly, those are still questions I’m asking.  I’m still digging around in my inner layer, asking God to cleanse me and remove the dirt and the filth that gets in the way of walking out in true freedom.  I have to trust that the Holy Spirit will do the work, and that I would continue pray and fight for cleansing, healing and freedom.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts.  I’d love to walk this road of asking those hard questions to God.  What is it He needs to “shave off” to show us what exactly we are dealing with?  What does that freedom look like to you?

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Mo | Logan | Cara | Melissa | Erika | Carey

be sure to follow all the other amazing gals on our trip by clicking this link: #bloghope 

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Candace Evans - I just cried through this wynne. Praying for you and so thankful for your honest perspective.

Amanda Robert - So blessed to read about your experience…arriving at the clinic exposed, naked. Agree with Candace…I cried as I read it. Praying for your time there…that you would be blessed as those you serve are also blessed!

#blogHope: Our Day in Wakisi | Blog Hope - […] Wynne: Sometimes you have to shave off the top layer to see what you are really dealing with. […]

Laura Robinson - Amazing post. Wish I were there! Praying for y’all!

Susan Hinson Hood - You have all of us sobbing! Have mercy! That top layer that has to go….just what we discussed last night during our last STUCK Bible study from Jennie Allen. Powerful words that you have written here. Thank you! Keeping y’all covered in prayer. Love to all!

Brandi Compton Mendenhall - so very good my friend!! Praying that He continues to shave and clean – so His reflection is magnified through you because I know that is your desire. LOVE YOU! XOXOXOXO

The Fullest Joy - Such truth in these words Wynne. The scraping off of that first layer can be painful… Something I’m currently learning myself. But on the other side of that pain is joy & new life, just like what you all have given to those precious little ones.

Suzanne McGuire Wilson - wow – literally washing and cleansing feet…God bless you all as you serve in Jinja.

Melinda - Wynne, this is truly powerful, something the Lord I have been going around on in the last few days! I read in my devotion not to long ago, about Israel entering the Promise Land, but first God required that all the males be circumcised, as this was the sign of His covenant with Abraham. In all the years in Egypt they let the practice go, but God told them that by doing this they were rolling back the reproach of Egypt. They were now to identify themselves once again as God’s chosen people, set apart, different from everyone else. In the New Testament, Paul refers to the “circumcision of the heart” that sets us apart as Christ’s followers. So much of what you wrote about it creeps into lives everyday because of the world we live in, sometimes without our really knowing it. Like how Israel had stopped doing circumcisions in Egypt. The thing of it is that circumcision, is painful bloody, and leaves a mark, and takes time to heal once done. The Israelite men and boys weren’t going anywhere until they were healed and rested. Same is true with all of us as Christians, when the things of this world creep into our lives infecting us with it’s poison trying to choke out the things that identify us as belonging to God, then that is when God comes and says I got to roll back the “reproach of Egypt” Time for a fresh circumcision of the heart! It’s bloody, painful, and sometimes it requires going through things like old scar tissue, and deep hurts to get all of the yuck out, but we will be brand new, refreshed, rested, healed and prepared to take going into the places of Promise that God has waiting for each of us! Blessings to you, and I pray for you all as journey in Uganda!

paige - oh friend. good words. he’s giving you your words my friend!!

Kari Gibson - Wynne, loved reading your blog post and praying for your team and the others who are joining you with Sole Hope to remove jiggers and also spread the love of Jesus. We can’t wait to see what God has planned for you today! Keep loving big!

alison holcomb - love love love this friend. the rawness is beautiful and your words eloquent. and ps- i LOVE seeing your sweet face in these photos! i’m so happy you aren’t behind the lens this trip- even though it’s scary and that’s where your identity has been. praying for a new way to interact- it’s going to be beautiful! ready for lots more stories! xo.

jamie ivey - love following your journey!

Wynne - melinda! i love that! the “places of promise” yes and amen! it makes all the hard stuff worth it. peeling back the layers, digging up the hard stuff and letting it GO so we can walk fully alive and free in christ! thanks for sharing sister!

Wynne - thank you paige! seriously means so much that you have supported me so much during this journey!!!

Wynne - mama kiki! love you so much! thought of and talked about you so much in uganda. thankful for your example in my life and constant support and encouragement we can give each other. love you so!

Wynne - alison! i love that! YES actually in the photos, it’s a new thing huh? thanks for praying for me and encouraging me!

Wynne - thank you so much jamie!! one day we will be on a journey like this together!

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baggage

baggage.

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baggage//we all have it. We might try to hide behind it, or we might try to dress it up.  The hurt, the guilt, the shame, the anger…we all come with it.  we aren’t perfect people.

but what would happen if we waited until we were perfect to come to the table?

what if we decided instead, to simply come?  flaws and all, knowing the ONLY good thing in us is JESUS.

over the years, I’ve had a lot of people ask me why I go.  Why do I  raise thousands of dollars, get countless rounds of painful shots, say goodbye to our families for a week+ and fly to the other side of the world?  Why do I do that when I could simply send money and the supplies they need and stay home? am I really making a difference?

sure, we could have sent 8 tubs + countless other bags full of shoe uppers, donations and supplies for Sole Hope and simply stayed home.

but why would we do that?

why would we NOT want to be a part of the bigger story God is writing?  

I was looking through some of my old “Africa” posts a few nights before this trip, and I came across this post.

That through our love for GOD, we will love the nations. But our foundation has to be in our love for our creator. I’ve been convicted a few times as well. The work is not mine, it’s God’s. In fact God doesn’t even need me but he chooses to let us share in His work. My work for the kingdom should be rooted in my passionate love for God!

 

We go because we are in love with our creator.  We bring our whole selves so we can give ourselves away.  for the sake of the gospel!  We go because Jesus has done great things for us, and we must declare those things to those who don’t yet know Him.  we go to bring the good news + share in this hope we have in Christ.

Numbers 10:28 Moses says, “Hereby you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, and that is has not been of my own accord”

God sends us.  He equips up, He empowers us by His holy spirit and He uses us to be HIS hands and feet!  Sure, we can decide to simply  send the goods, but it’s in the sending of OURSELVES that we are truly pulled into the story.

I think that every Christ follower should at some point, pack up and GO.  Don’t wait until you are “perfect” or until you are ready, or have enough funds, or even until your kids are older and grown.  God says clearly in His word to VISIT orphans and widows in their distress and to keep ONESELF unstained from the world! [James 1:27]

“We can either see our mission as a series of need-meeting projects, energized by an awareness of the problems of the world. OR we can frame our understanding of mission as an invitation to join with God as He pursues His purpose in the world.” – Tim Dearborn

luggage2so here we are, baggage and all.

saying YES to the story God has invited us into.

Gods inviting YOU to join him too…will you say YES?! 

The Fullest Joy - Beautiful words Wynne! I have always wondered why some people go & others prefer to stay. It has been an increasing desire of mine to GO! I am still waiting on the Lord to provide the right opportunity & to work it into my husband’s heart too. I know that He will provide the way in His timing. Have fun in Africa! I’m enjoying seeing all the photos on IG!

Paige Leverette Knudsen - i love this. i love you. wept this morning as i looked through the flickr images. man. greater love my friend!!! you’re doing it!! praying over you DAILY!!!!!

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If you really knew me.

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If you really knew me, you would know that one of my favorite places to be is on or near the water.  It’s where I connect with God.  It’s where I sense his presence.  It’s my place and it always has been.  If you really knew me, you’d know why when God moved us to the desert, I came kicking and screaming.  The desert….as is NO water.  But God has shown me that His presence can be found whenever I am, in the desert or near streams of flowing water.

But I know when God places me near the water, a time of refreshment is at hand.  I know it’s a time he has given me to be still in his presence.  So if you really knew me, you’d know how incredibly thankful and loved and pursued I felt when found this perfect spot, on a rock, on the water.
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I truly believe that God orchestrated all my plans, travel schedules and such to get me to this place.  To be still.  To reflect.  To soak up his Word and be filled to overflowing.

Sun shining on my face, bare feet, sounds of crashing waves beneath me, springtime in the air…Yall, there couldn’t be anywhere else I’d rather be to have a few hours alone with my father to prepare my heart for #bloghope trip.  The butterflies in my stomach have stopped slipping long enough to enjoy being in Gods presence.

My faith is strengthened as I read his true and living Word and put all my trust and dependance in Him alone.  The journey is just beginning my friends.  As Created for Care ended, and my time with the Lord on the rock came to a close, my friend + fellow #bloghope team member Logan picked me up and we headed to Atlanta!

It’s been an amazing time with our team eating, laughing, and getting to know each other before we get on a jet plane and head across the globe together.  There’s a few ways you can join us in this journey!  Hope on over to bloghope.org an subscribe to our team blog.  Follow #bloghope hashtag on social media and interact with us!  We will all be blogging every day and we’d love to have you a part of the story!

Pray for us, share our stories with your friends and get really excited about learning more about what tangible thing YOU can do in response (hint: host a shoe cutting party!)

Off we go!

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didn’t expect this [c+a party]

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I felt a little emotional as I stood outside amongst good friends.  As if the room full of friends gathered around my table singing happy birthday as my two two year olds looked around in amazement wasn’t enough.  I was standing outside after the cake, in a circle next to the bounce house my husband called + ordered the hour before the party, and I literally cried.  Thinking about all the people who have poured into our lives, all the friends and community we’ve made way out here in west Texas.  I would have never expected this almost 6 years ago when we moved here without a single friend.  I loved that my play group was there with all of their littles, my parents + MIL along with my SIL and her two, I love that my dreamer dreamer girls were there – some that pulled their biggest out of school to come, and some who came without their littles, our business partners were there along with our neighbors, and some of our community group friends + “school” friends too.  It was a big melting pot of the most important people in our lives out here in Midland and it was beautiful.  The weather was stunning and God blessed us with amazing sunshine and the opportunity to finally get outside and be in his creation.  what a day!

happy birthday party camp + asher!

[seriously yall, it's been a birthday MARATHON month!]

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ok seriously, yall!  Tiny Prints contacted me and the sweetest soul helped me come up with fun favor ideas for my Micky + Minnie themed party!  I ordered these customer sickers and filled these lunch bags with all sorts of fun goodies: pencil, stickers, candy, and plato!  Tiny Prints has some really cute new stuff for all of your party needs!

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anyway, it was valentines day AND their birthday.  made fun a fun morning, especially since their Bunni + GP were there when they woke up!

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the weather was beautiful and Stephen ordered a Micky Mouse themed bounce house about an hour before the party.  We had cake, chick fila, coffee punch for the moms, fruit, cinnamon rolls and a pinata!  such a simple yet amazing day celebrating our two with those we live life with!  So happy our Nani, aunt E-Beth and cousins Rose + Lawson got to come for the fun too!

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paige - i love this!!!!!!
& i love you & watching your story unfold!!

Jane Bass - Congratulations on your wonderful family!

Wynne - love you so much paige!!!

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March Goals

I loved so much linking up with Tiny Twig last month to set some measurable goals, that I had to come report back to you!  Seriously who knew that simply saying ” I will do this this month” really helped.  I loved setting small, measurable goals too.  makes me feel accomplished.  so before I get into my march goals, let’s do a recap:

1. Make a Artifact Uprising book of my favorite instagram images of 2013 and get it printed  

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2. Finish my “anybody” series by writing MY anybody story

well, I did not finish this.  I have written a lot of it in my head, and hopefully March will be the month!

3. Find a place to write people’s names that I’m praying for each day somewhere in my home that I can see easily

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I love my new magnetic wall in my kitchen.  I printed off pictures of most of our sponsored children and missionaries we support.  I also printed their name + country on their pictures, and it serves as a daily reminder.  not pictured, is I got some new dry erase markers and made a new prayer list in the shower!  That has been really helpful too!

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so as yall have heard me say, March is CRAZY month!  I leave tomorrow for Created for Care then straight to Uganda on my #bloghope trip!  [if you aren't already, go over to http://bloghope.org/ and subscribe!] when I get back it will be almost time for Hope Spoken!  so my “goals” will look a little different this month.

1. tell the best stories possible every single day on my #bloghope trip.  really push myself out of my comfort zone and ask God to give me HIS eyes to see.

2. finish up “my story of the unexpected” for Hope Spoken later this month.  I’ve really been praying about how to end it – what challenge to throw out, and how to most effectively share the story God has [and is] writing for my life.

3. let’s just say I’ll try to actually write my “anybody” story this month too.  hey, with all the long flights I should get some good writing time in!

4. our GOAL as a #bloghope team is to get 400 people to STEP UP to host Sole Hope Shoe Cutting Parties!  We will be tracking this through this simple form HERE throughout our 10 day trip to Uganda.  So follow along, and see how YOU could be a part of the amazing work Sole Hope is doing in Jinja, Uganda!

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just as a reminder, these are things things I want to make priorities throughout the year:

  • make a time each week for disconnect + rest
  • learn to say no + not overcommit
  • read + study the Word as many mornings as possible
  • write a little every single day

yay for goals!

Jennifer King - I looked into a shoe cutting party…and thought, Why not do that for an afternoon during our mission trip? So, I’ll be ordering a kit sometime this month but the party won’t be until July, will that still help the goal? It’ll be 25-50 people kinda party :D

Molly - Hi Wynn! Found you through Tiny Twig…though I’m pretty sure I somehow already follow you on Instagram (don’t you love how that goes sometimes?!). So glad to find your blog today – good luck with your March goals!

Wynne - thanks molly for your comment! i love instgram :)

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