Unspoken Words: a response

Because most days in life I only get to nod and smile whilst dying inside // 

These are some of my many thoughts on the subject of missions abroad vs at home

I had a conversation last week and it got me to thinking (as most conversations do). I had just told this woman that I was preparing to start my missions training courses with the intent of serving overseas. She began to tell me how sad it was that “people” felt they had to go overseas (to preach the gospel and minister to others) when there were plenty of opportunities right here. She went on to say what a pity it was that every Sunday morning she saw so many children in the neighborhoods playing in the streets or riding their bikes (and not attending church). “People don’t need to go overseas–it’s a shame–there is plenty of work right here.” I nodded, smiled, looked sympathetic, and honestly felt misunderstood once again. But that’s not a new sensation to me, so I kept quiet and let her talk, as I always seem to find myself doing. Why don’t I ever speak up? I asked myself. Well, there’s a whole host of reasons, some of which are linked to insecurity, but mostly, I just don’t have the motivation to bother. If someone doesn’t seem like the receptive type, why split hairs? She had her mind made up. But then, so do I.

Missions. It can be a very ambiguous term, but I’m going to use it in it’s most general meaning today: spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world. However, I’m finding there is much emphasis in the Bible on spreading this message to those who have never heard. Now that I’m writing this out, I think that may be just it. I think this may be the difference. One is evangelism and the other, missions. So let’s try this again, shall we?

Evangelism- spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world

Missions- spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world, specifically and especially to those who have never heard  

Both of these should be followed up with discpleship and since going to the unreached also requires church planting to keep the faith growing and spreading, it requires more work, more time, and more effort. It is not mere street or neighborhood or grocery store evangelism. It is not passing out tracks or hosting backyard Bible clubs or serving in a local shelter or orphanage. All of these things may be on the to do list and in the life of an overseas missionary, but that is just it. Missions in itself is a lifestyle. And it is a lifestyle that I am straining to live here in the US, but my heart is so drawn across the seas to those who have no hope. They don’t even know Who Jesus is! They know only darkness and unbelief. They are surrounded by evil spirits every day and don’t even recognize it. They sense no danger. They know no other way. There are no churches on their street corners, there is no chance meeting of a follower of Christ. Unless someone chooses to obey. To give up there comfortable Western life, their minor struggles, their aches and pains and heartaches and let their heart ache for something else. For those who have never heard. For every tribe, every language, every nation, every unreached person bound in the chains of ignorance. “And then the end will come.”

Let your heart break. 

And then go.

Because feelings without action is not obedience. It’s only emotion.

The Human Race 

I want to live a life of beauty 

for all world to see

but only for their eyes to fix

on the Christ that lives in me

I want to share all that I have 

with those who have no home

To be a friend to those in need 

So they no longer roam 

I want to travel far away

but not for fear of man

not because I groan this life 

or hate this western land

I want to travel overseas

to those who’ve never heard

not because of excitement there

but to share the Gospel word

I’m sure much change will there await

my young and eager face 

but only ’cause my Lord does call

will I set upon this race

Pause.

Few of us would choose just the life we live in this world. There are no chances, no accidents. Our ways are those of the Lord’s choosing– ways sadder, perhaps, but safer; rougher, perhaps, but surer; narrower, perhaps, but better than those of our own dreaming.” J.R. Miller, Daily Readings in the Life of Christ

Quotes like these make me pause. And that’s good. We need to stop and think and truly meditate on the spiritual so much more than I think we often do. After all, we are spiritual beings dwelling in earthly bodies. We’re really only renting them–and our life here? It’s only a resting place in the journey, a layover in the airport. We haven’t even made it to our destination yet. 

This quote worried me at first, honestly. Well not really worried I guess, more like I was taken aback. No, that’s not really right either. sigh Here, let me explain. You see in this quote the author makes it seem like we will be just a little bit sad living the life we’re “supposed” to, the one God wills for us. That’s probably not his intention at all, more likely he’s just pointing out the realities that are bound to come in the Christian life. That we will have struggles, but know that it’s a-ok because that’s normal. And yeah, I get that. Life isn’t going to be rosy. It’s not going to be sunshine and fields of wildflowers. (Well, at least not all the time.) But the thing is, I do love my life. Stuggles and all. I wouldn’t change it for the world (and I’m not even just being cliche) I really and truly wouldn’t. I wouldn’t give up the tears or the sleepless nights, the anxieties, the heartbreaks, none of it. Not one single experience. I truly love my life and trust the Author of my story. More and more I can see how He is weaving all my circumstances together and I know that He’s delighting to do so. Can you believe that? He delights in my life. What? I can hardly believe it either. But the thing is, the more I seek after Him and wish to see His face, He continues to feed that hunger. Again and again. And the more I know Him, the less I know Him. The more I find Him, the less I see. The more He delights me, the more He gives me what I delight in and desire. So yes, I love my life because it is the life my Father has given me. And in this life I can know Him and make Him known. Anywhere. Everywhere.  

“A life is complete whether long or short, that fulfils the purpose of its creation; and the longest life is incomplete and a failure if it does not work for which it was made…” -J.R. Miller, Daily Readings in the Life of Christ  


Praying + Practicing My Way To Perfection

I am really bad at consistency. And commitment. And courage. (And a whole host of other things that do not necessarily begin with the letter ‘c’…)

But I’m trying my best to be a pleasing aroma to my Lord and am learning what it means to conquer in His strength, so today, I thought I would make a little list.

I am quite a paradox when it comes to life– I’m not a particularly tidy person, but I love to have my schedule in order. My time. My future. My life. Actually, I’ve been coming to realize how little following the aforementioned schedule really is to me, it’s just the comfort of knowing what you’re expected to do day-to-day. It’s a security blanket and a false sense of control. It’s also often a surefire tactic of the Enemy to accuse me of my shortcomings, to call me a failure to my face, to lie to me, and for me to more often than I should, consider his confidences and agree with his soft taunting whispers. But lists and goals and aspirations can also be a guidepost and a roadmap from the Lord if you are delighting in Him and discovering His will for you. Like everything else in this life, it’s a balance. And that is certainly something I’ve been learning of late.

B A L A N C E //

i’ve been focusing on controlling myself: my actions, my appetite, my words, my emotions, my “control”. everything. 

B O L D N E S S //

i’ve posted on this already some here, but i’m desperately trying to come out of my shell and give a warmer first impression to the world. actually, no, i’m not mad or sad or tired. that’s just my face. but i’m trying to mend it a little. just for you 🙂  

C O N S I S T E N C Y //

do i even know what this is? procrastination has wormed its way into my life where it didn’t once belong. the need for “rest” has become too strong. i have an eternity of blissful rest awaiting me. now is not the time. i am not going to go on living a life of weekends. now is the time, now is the hour and the hour wanes.

C L A R I T Y //

i want to continue to strive to live more focused each day on the ultimate goal + prize in this life and the one beyond. i have been learning so much about rewards in heaven…God knew I needed a little motivation and He is the best kick in the pants there is. and i mean that in the most reverent way possible. but it’s true. i have come to long for His correction because that means He’s busy pulling weeds and growing something beautiful and new in the soil of my soul. and i do love flowers so dearly.

C O M P A N I O N S H I P //

(i really didn’t try to make these titles coincide, i promise) 

i have fallen on both sides of the coin of relational necessity. as in, “with Christ, do we really need any friends? after all, He is my Best Friend.” and while this is entirely true, and Jesus is still my closest confidante and ever will be, He Himself has been showing me my need for companionship, especially now. i need a solid church family to dwell in and friends to sharpen me. i have yet to find that out here in the boonies, but i’m still looking. 

So, now that I have some issues that I have perceived in my own life, what should I do about it? Well my friends, this is a battle, and I need a game plan. Err…battleplan. I have decided to purpose to take each of these shortcomings to the Lord in prayer daily. I am scheduling my morning routines once more to include time for spiritual and physical nourishment and strengthening. I am taking some time each week to fast and pray more deeply about the cares of my heart. I am trying to live more intentionally and will soon begin each of my days memorizing and meditating on a promise that the Lord has made to me. Am I telling you these things for a pat on the back? No, that would never be my desire. I don’t relish talking about myself and my failures. But I do long to grow. And to grow you must water yourself with accountability and intentions and lots and lots of prayer.

Let’s talk! What are some things you struggle with? I’m here for you, dear one. 

 

* photo credit

Mountaintop

She stood, the altitude high, the air crisp and thin making it harder to breathe, her body aching from overuse, but still it was well beyond worth it. She had waited her entire life for this single moment. She had finally made it. She had prayed and climbed and climbed and prayed and fasted and prayed and now here she was. Her life was behind her and it was one well-lived in abundance. Not material abundance, but full of peace and joy, gentleness and kindness, mercy and praise. She had done all she had known to do and it was enough. She had finally made it. Soon she was sitting at the feet of her Father, listening to the murmur she had been waiting for. The words she had so long dreamt of hearing. She soaked in the peace of the place and the comfort of His words… “Good, good. Well done my dear child. You have been faithful. You have finished well. Come. Come in. Come home.” 

“Enter into the joy of your Lord.” -Matthew 25:23

An Open Book 

That I am not. But today, I’m cracking the window to my heart and letting the cool breeze of reflection in. 

To my younger self– oh there’s so many things I would say. I would dry your tears and tell you that you’re missing the happiest days of your life longing for something else. Oh that I could hold you and tell you that it didn’t matter. Nothing really mattered except your love for your Savior and His love for you. Oh that I could tell your broken heart how much He loves you.

And to my future self– I can only ask you questions and hope that you are living out your calling so vigorously. Do you have a family? A child? Lots of children? Do you fall asleep with two babies in your arms, babes longing for another’s affection, soaking it up from you? Are you spreading that everlasting love and joy and peace you’ve found? Oh how I hope you are! Are you tired? I bet you are. I know you. Are the people getting to you? Are there just too. many. people. Take a break my lovely one, if ever there is time. Rest in the peaceful arms of the Father, He’s waiting for you. It’s time to be still.

And now at last we come to today– are you living a purposeful existence? Are you taking steps daily towards your dream? Are you listening to the Father when He speaks to you? You better get on it. Light that fire today. Spread the vision as only you can. Our God is a storyteller. Go live your life to the fullest. Go tell your story. Today it’s unfinished, soon another page, another chapter… GO. Your Master, the Ultimate Creative is longing for you to come home. But you must keep writing, no time to go back, no time to edit. Write. Write. Write. One sentence, one page, one chapter, one story, one life at a time. 

day 2/30

Be Still BUT Be Bold

I’m digging out a dusty draft for today’s post. (I’m cheating, I know, but 30 days of blogging is a long time!) Day 1/30 for my month of posting extravaganza! Ha. Ha. Enjoy these little musings, won’t you? //

Be still. Be bold. Sounds like an oxymoron to me, how ’bout you? But that’s just what the Lord’s been talking to me about all this week and I’m learning that it’s not so unnattainable after all. But it’s not going to be a breeze either, that’s for sure. Neither one of these traits come easily to me…I’m just not naturally calm… Well I would have people begging to differ on either side of that coin, but we’ll just leave it at that! I’m not always at peace, I tend to worry (I’m a master of freaking out about things that I’ve only imagined could happen) and I’m certainly not bold (as is the norm for introverts around the world. I would compare us to a fluffy little kitten, I think. Soft and sweet and timid, but when you push our buttons… whew watch out! 😉 ) Anywayyys, yeah, I’m not really your gal, God. But I’m willing to be. And I think that’s what makes all the difference.

Our God is a God who takes our brokenness and makes it into a beautiful masterpiece, a work of art that no one could have even imagined. He molds us and makes us, He nourishes and sustains us and before you know it, He has grown a lovely garden of wildflowers for the world to look on and admire. (Because honestly, who in their right mind doesn’t appreciate the glorious flowers of the field?) So today, dear ones, think of this and be bold. Be fierce. Be lions and lionesses. But don’t forget to tame your roar. Quiet it with gentleness and cloak it with love. Be bold for Christ and His testimony in you. You are blooming under His very hand, unfurling radiant petals for all to see. Be glorious. Be wild and free. But don’t forget to be calm in your passion, steady and soberminded. Be still, dear ones. Rest, dear ones. For in the stillness you will find the strength to fly.

#simplyplants

I’ve been struggling with this for a long time. Well, maybe struggling isn’t the word…debating? It was always just a little twinge in my heart that I didn’t want to open up and discover. I wanted to continue on in my ignorance. And if I know anything, I know that’s not right. That’s not God’s way. We are to search thing out to see if they are true. () We are to pay attention to our convictions, no matter how “little and insignificant” they seem. It’s the little things that plant the seeds that root the much bigger issues. So this past week, I finally started looking at the facts again and coming to my own conclusion. (Which I pray and hope is Spirit-led. I believe that’s why I’m here today…)

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Luke 16:10

Veganism.

No, I’m not crazy. I’m not a wacko or a hippie, tree hugging, eco-sensitive flower child. Yet. (I jest! But do I? Yes, I do.)

I will admit to being a little bit of a free spirit. And I’m drawn to a lot of things that were popularized by hippies in the 60s, but I also see their flaws. I see the gaps in their worldview. Because they, like everyone else, needed– needs Jesus.

On an earth that has traveled to the moon
I still see so much wrong
And I don’t need to look far
Times are coming when you won’t have any food
And I know for sure that your money won’t get you very far

Oh, oh the world needs Jesus
~Malcolm & Alwyn, The World Needs Jesus

But, to get back on topic:

Plants vs Meat

Actually, it’s not even really that…And that’s exactly what I’ve been coming to terms with. It’s not “plants vs meat”, it’s a matter of ethics. Humanity vs Cruelty. I have no problems with eating eggs that came from properly cared for chickens or eating meat that was slaughtered in a caring and humane way. It’s the factories that I’m against. The mass-produced, the hormone bloated, disease-ridden factory farmed animal products. The callousness that is prevalent. The abuse that is recorded. It is not godly. It is not God-glorifying. And I cannot consciously be a part of supporting that any longer.

I don’t feel like getting all scientific and technical today, but there is plenty of information out there for you to do your own research to test and see if what I’m saying is true. Studies have proven that our bodies can run even more efficiently on a vegan diet and we all know how many health problems the United States is overwhelmed with right now simply because of diet. So not only will this be beneficial for my mind and my conscience’s sake, it will be good for my body too.

Now let’s tackle some questions:

We’re not under the law anymore. We’re free to eat whatever we choose. Isn’t that what Peter’s vision was all about? So why make such a fuss?

-If you know anything about me or have even read the name my blog, you should know I am all about freedom in Christ! However, not only is that not what the passage (Acts 10:9-16) is about, the Word never contradicts itself. And in Proverbs 12:10 it explicitly states, “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” There’s also the story of Balaam and the donkey in Numbers 22 and verses in Ecclesiastes 3:9+Exodus23:5+Deuteronomy 25:4 and more. We know our Heavenly Father cares for the wellbeing of His creation, man and beast, and we should too. We should be good stewards of the creation He has left in our care. Again, it is not sinful to eat meat. It is sinful (unrighteous) to flippantly disregard life, whether animal or human.

What about protein?!?!?!

-This is the first thing anyone ever asks me. Why is everyone so concerned? Again, statistics have proven that not only do we reach our protein “goal” on a daily basis as American Meat-eaters, we exceed it. That being said, there are plenty of protein-rich plant-based foods out there just waiting to be enjoyed. And I’m fairly certain everyone would agree that most of us don’t eat enough vegetables. We should be more concerned about the vitamin deficiencies we’re prone to, not protein deficiency.

*On a side note, there are so many generally vegetarian/vegan cultures out there that don’t have a choice economically to indulge in meats or culturally desire to. And most of those people groups are much healthier and live much longer than we do, with our high cholesterol+sedentary lifestyles.

If you have any other questions popping up in your mind, feel free to leave them down below! I’d love to talk this out with anyone willing to care and share. ♥

 

 

Live like it.

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Is it too much to want a group of believers surrounding you?

People you can call on for prayer.

Advice.

Leadership.

Comfort.

People you can worship with, laugh with, share your heart with–

People who will listen when you speak and truly care…

But will care about Jesus and your relationship status with Him even more.

Is it wrong to expect more out of the ones closest to you than the time of day?

Or the weather.

Or their latest day-to-day routine.

Work. School. Whatever. Does it really matter?

There’s a place and a time for chit-chat, I know, but shouldn’t it weigh in at 10% to 90 of Christ and Him crucified instead of the other way around? Shouldn’t His affect on our life be the next big thing? Shouldn’t “our” lives be only tinged with stories of ourselves and painted over with tales of His work in us instead?

After all, we are no longer our own. We were bought with a price.

So shouldn’t we live like it?

Inspired.

sonlight

I see this as a picture of my future. Radiant. Glowing. Full of clouds, yes, but still the radiance of Christ, the glory of His Light and Love shining ever through. It fills me with hope. It fills me with awe. And I am feeling inspired and motivated by God and His plans for my life today. It’s days like today where my chin is up and the Son is beaming through the clouds that I need to document and remember. And so I am.

The verse I’ve been meditating on has been the prayer of my heart this week:

Turn my eyes from vanity

All those worldly, meaningless things that distract–

Let Your priorities be mine,

And restore me with renewed energy in Your ways. (Psalm 119:37)

Today I have envisioned what I desire my future to look like…what I want to be doing with all the time I’ve been blessed with on this earth. I’ve had a general goal and idea for a while now, but today I specified. Today I planned out details. Now, I don’t want to get too detailed and I’m praying God is the one behind these dreams. If He’s not, I want Him to stop me. But there’s nothing wrong with planning. It’s good stewardship of your time. But I’m also trying to learn to balance my so-called “control” over situations with trust in the Lord. Whatever that looks like. I’m praying I’ll find out.

“If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that…” (James 4:15)

So yes, I completely understand my dependence on God and His will and His plans. I’m just praying that the desires I have are what He’s planted in me to blossom and flourish and grow.

And what are these aspirations?

Not much has been changed, but merely modified and adapted into something attainable.

-I still feel a call on my life to international, intercultural, overseas missions. I want to specifically reach out to and serve the orphaned and abandoned children in third world countries. And I want to provide Biblical council and encouragement to those I come into contact with, especially women and children.

-I still love to write and want to use this gift to glorify God. Interviews. Newsletters. Blog posts. I want to get other people’s stories out there.

-I am having a growing interest in photography and editing (to a minimal extent) and want to begin exploring furthering my outreach through video content and pictures and books. Podcasts? Vlogs? Documentaries? The possibilities are endless. I want to create.

So today I take a deep breath and I ask, what’s the first step? And I take that step. And then I ask “What next, Lord?”

“Your future is painted by the brushstrokes of your feet.”