IF god is real…. then what?
Last weekend, I spent a few days in Austin for IF: Gathering with some of my close friends asking this question. and other questions like, “what am I afraid of?”, “what consumes my thoughts?”, “what comes between peace with me and God?”. We listened to some anointed speakers, worshiped God for hours, and walked away feeling ALIVE. AWAKE. These questions haven’t left my head as I’ve walked into my day to day life. I’ve been asking other friends these questions, and together I hope we can be honest in answering them. I desire FREEDOM, and I think I have to be aware of the things that are holding me back before I can truly walk out in real freedom.
me + some girls just started the study “Freeway” and this week’s assignment was “awareness”. Yall, these questions…they are HARD. What stresses you out? How do you handle stress? How fast is your life right now? Are you sleeping with your smartphone? how hard is it to be still? it’s for sure made me AWARE. Aware of the things that might be holding me back from walking in full freedom.
I missed church the Sunday of IF and I watched the sermon Sunday afternoon after many friends called + said I needed to. Our senior pastor, Patrick, talked about dreams. [go figure]. There is so much he talked about that if we were having coffee I’d love to share with you. But this one question stood out: “What do you HAVE to do even if you fail?” Ya know that question, what would you do if you knew you would never fail? well he pointed out [rightly so] we all will fail at some point. so what do you HAVE to do knowing that you might fail?
last night at church, Scott asked this question: “what does it mean to be a church on mission?” we are starting a series called SENT, and going through the book of Acts. that question is getting me to think about living life on mission right here in Midland, Texas. What does it mean to carry the ministry of reconciliation? What is Gods purpose in giving me this platform he’s given me? we all have a platform – we talked a lot about our platform being at the “marketplace” last night. at work. or at home. Last week Patrick said based on a study they’ve done, on average every person has a circle of influence of 150 people! What is his purpose in giving you that influence? How can you live your life on mission?
finally, I’m doing the #otlchallenge and I get emails everyday for 40 days with scripture, prayers and a challenge for the day. The day we left for IF, the challenge was to pray and ask God what song He was singing over me. I love that. I love asking God what He’s singing over me. I love asking Him questions like that, I don’t think I had thought to do that before taking this challenge.
questions. they are all around. they bring us closer to god, they make us more aware of what God is doing or wants to do in us, they help us think, or they help me think.
what questions are you asking lately?
happy day of love from my two love nuggets.
hope above all you feel loved by your heavenly father!
[I think they've got the "smile" thing down...my fave is when I said, "now laugh!" they can sure do that. ]
it really is birthday month in our house. first camp turns 2 on Jan 29, then our youngest golden retriever Eli turned 4 on Feb 1, then Asher turns 2 on Feb 24…then April it’s me + Milly’s turn! but it really is so much fun to celebrate birthdays and start new traditions with our family. waking up early to the kitchen decorated all festive, eating off the birthday plate, 1 candle in a donut hole while we sing happy birthday and the opening of birthday cards from grand + great grand parents. He squeals, and looks at us like “what the heck are yall doing” while we sing him happy birthday. he studies everything. he’s all about other peoples birthdays + so I love having a day JUST for him!
I thought I just post pictures from HIS birthday before we have their party Friday
I love that my sweet Asher made this day about Camp too. She didn’t whine that it was all about him, or try to take away any fun from her brother. She really is good at sharing and I am praying it stays that way can’t wait to celebrate her birthday next with a day just for her!
the birthday breakfast is the big deal in our family. we did have chickfila and play date with some of our besties for lunch, met daddy after work at the mall to ride on those fun little carousels and horses and airplanes, and finished the day with Camp’s favorite meal – pizza! Happy Birthday Camper Man
earlier this week a dozen of my friends came through my front door and planted themselves on my kitchen floor and around my farmhouse table to cut their old blue jeans up. yep, they sure did. crafting for a cause someone said it. welcome to the Sole Hope shoe cutting party! after watching a short video of Asher + Dru Collie telling their story of why Sole Hope started and what they do, we were all ready to get to work. the video is a little bit graphic for the weak of stomach and as many eyes wanted to look away, others had tears in them, and many mouths uttered unpleasant sounds while watching children about the age as some of our children, having the horrific activity of having jiggers removed from their feet. If you’ve never heard of a jigger, it’s a sand flea that burrows inside your foot and then has babies. it’s extremely painful to continue on about your everyday life with jiggers infesting your feet.
Ya know, I have been known to fling my social justice causes and Africa stories to my friends over the years, and sometimes I just don’t know what’s going to speak to them. I loved that this night it was like a new flame was lit. Through the tears, and talking about this issue and how Dru + Asher knew that they couldn’t just not do anything – I started to see God start to stir. I started to see people connect the dots that those kids are just like their kids [even with the same shoe size!] and watching kids suffer and standing by and not stepping up to make things right? well that’s harder once you see the faces, and you can relate them. so this shoe party…I know it was just the start. I know around that table hearts were re-stirred for the broken and the marginalized. I know that burdens were given, and in the process of cutting over 35 pair of “shoe uppers” hope was born for the kids in Uganda will soon enough wear them on their jigger free feet!
shoe cutting parties are SO. MUCH. FUN. seriously. it wasn’t that complicated. so here’s what you do::
- ordered the kit online
- downloaded this cute picture + sent it out via pingg and text message
- emailed the people who said YES and asked them to bring old denim, scissors and milk jugs
- made some queso + brownies. had some wine.
- set out the tracing, cutting, organizing stations
- watched the quick 3 min video together
- and let our hands get to work!
there is something about doing work with your hands. it felt productive, it felt beneficial, it felt beautiful.
as the shoe cutting party site says,
“Not everyone can do everything but everyone can do something! Hosting a Sole Hope Shoe Cutting Party is not only fun & easy, but it is a tangible way to give back and affect lives thousands of miles away!”
earlier that day I traced out a few more patterns out of cardboard [plastic would have been better] so more people could trace.
I printed out the images with the station instructions and set them up with the supplies in front of them.
if you feed them, they will come.
happiness!! friends using their time, energy and hands for GOOD!
so WHAT now?
check out Sole Hope to see how YOU can get involved: host a shoe party, follow our #blogHOPE trip on social media + on http://bloghope.org/, sponsor a pair of shoes for $10, go on a working trip to Uganda, become an advocate, or hold a collection for these simple supplies:
large safety pins
stickers for children
When I wrote last week about “how I find my people“, I got a lot of response for you. [and I love it, thank you]. My prayer is through this space that I can offer some encouragement to you. I want you to know you are not alone! I’ve been there, and I am there, and it’s a constant battle. I can’t tell you the insecurities that came after posting that last week. The enemy sure knows where to get me, and I started to think all sorts of crazy thoughts. ”what if I really am not that close to who I think I am?”, “she used to be my friend + now she’s disappeared, what happened?”, “everyone is hanging out without me”, “I feel so alone”. I don’t tell you these things to make you feel sorry for me, quite the opposite. I want you to know that we all struggle sometimes, with feelings of inadequacy, and doubt. and I’m learning that vulnerability opens up the doors to those feelings of insecurity. but I’m also learning it’s refining me, changing me, and it’s worth it.
I’m the kind of person that reads multiple books at once, and it seems like this past week every book I read talked about shame at some point. Shauna Niequist, in Bread and Wine, talked about shame as it relates to our bodies. She was talking about not wanting to be in a bathing suit in the summer, and she said this quote that I thought was so perfect: “no one is thinking about you as much as you are”. yep. she is great with analogies, and she said shame is like we think there is a video reel that’s playing all of our mistakes over and over again and those we trust and respect most have all seen it. shame.
then there’s Brene Brown and Daring Greatly. yall, this book is kicking my ass. It’s one of those read half a chapter then think about it for a week type books. In my bath time disconnect time, I read half a chapter on….you guessed it – SHAME. I could have stopped at the first sentence,
“shame derives its power from being unspeakable. That’s why it loves perfectionists – it’s so easy to keep us quiet. If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees. Shame hates having words wrapped around it. If we speak shame, it beings to wither. Just the way expose to light was deadly to the grimlins, language and story bring light to shame and destroy it”
she says that in all her 12 years of research on shame, that shame is “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging”. She goes on to talk about how we all struggle with feeling shame, not just people who have survived unspeakable trauma. In one of the responses they received for an example for shame was….infertility.
I tell you all this to say, I know I am called to speak language and story to my shame – infertility and beyond. but I’m also telling you it’s not going to be easy, but it will no doubt be freeing. it will bring LIGHT. and as a daughter of the most high god, I have been rescued from darkness to the kingdom of light. I’ve been freed to see others be set free. and I’m learning so much of who I am in Christ, and what he’s called me to. So as I begin to write more about infertility, and shame, and being vulnerable will you cover me in prayer? Can we rise up as a sisterhood together and call shame like we see it, expose it and bring it to light so it’s destroyed?! I know in my heart I am not the only one who wants this. we are in this together sweet sisters.