Monday, May 1, 2017

stop, watch, and listen.

I haven't written in quite some time. I haven't written for various reasons but I really miss this space where I can lay everything out on the table. So I am back. {for today}

So much has happened since my last post. I saw His faithfulness. I relocated. I dived into the unknown trusting Him completely. And I have seen His hand like never before.

I was living with this fear that I was missing out. Missing out on adventure, missing out on what "normal" life should look like, missing out on what the world sees as successful. I came to a point where I learned that once I gave up all my wants and trust His timing...I was able to really understand that God's way was so much better.

I didn't need a husband to follow His leading.
I didn't need a job with a big paycheck. I didn't even need a big job title.
What I did need is to trust Him even when it was hard.
So I jumped. And I am so glad I did.

Recently, more than ever, I have seen some of His promises come to life. Isaiah 58 is my life scripture and it has come to life these past few months.

This past week I was able to go to NYC and see Jesus work like crazy. I was so blessed to be a little glimpse {and see a little glimpse} of Jesus in NYC.

I like to get things done correctly and efficiently----I can also be a little competitive and fast when getting things done. The Lord gave me the word "intentional" for 2017---and honestly, I had no idea all the ways He was going to teach me to be intentional. He has taught me to slow down. He has taught me to be patient. He has taught me to be okay with interruptions. The Lord has really shown me that sometimes it doesn't matter how quickly or even how perfect something is done---but more than those things is the heart of Jesus---and giving that to other people you encounter.

And He let me experience that this past week.
We were on a mission in a park in the middle of the city. I was simply supervising, not expecting such a God moment.

And then there she came. Her name was Miss Mary. She reminded me of my Prissy. She was confused and lost. As she started to talk, my heart literally felt like it was going to burst.

We got someone to go find where she needed to go. And while we waited, she shared her story. It was broken up into little pieces because she was so confused. But she was hurt, broken, and lost. She thought all hope was lost and she was beyond repair. She said Jesus couldn't help her after all these years---she said as a grandma that she shouldn't be in the position that she was in.

Y'all, the Truth breaks all those barriers and chains. As we began to speak His word above ours and shared HIS heart---she was able to receive little bits and pieces.

It may have been the most God ordained interruption thus far in this year. And I am so grateful.

Jesus was interrupted often. Remember Jesus visiting Zacchaeus' house, there was also the widow at Nain whose son needed healing, and the man who was let down through the ceiling to receive healing. Jesus was never annoyed. He was never aggravated that He was not getting the job done fast. He never thought about what He could be doing instead. Jesus looked at every situation with love and gave the people grace.

That's how I want my life to be. I want to allow the Lord to fill it with situations that need love and grace---and to be joyful facing them.

Keep pursuing Jesus and let Him interrupt things. It's so worth it.

I love that Ephesians 2:10 promises that He already has good things prepared for us to do...we just have to walk in them.
So stop, watch, and listen and you will see Him move. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

love on Valentine's Day.

walking into a sea of red and pink used to generate feelings of self-doubt & loneliness and I am quite sure I am not alone.

you see---I actually love this holiday. for a twenty-something that has been perpetually single for twenty-something years I fill social media with "I love love" and tell people all the time about how much I love this thing called L-O-V-E.

it's beautiful, y'all.
I am single and I will still shout it from the rooftops---love is good. it is beautiful.

but--our world has sorta kinda really made it an ugly thing for a lot of people.

love isn't teddy bears and roses. it isn't chocolate and a paid ticket to the movies. love isn't going to Olive Garden and waiting 2 hours for pasta that is only semi-okay and a dessert that you really didn't even want. love just isn't that.

love is waiting on God.

waiting on God to bring that person---yes. but not just sitting around.


you can write letters to your future spouse but do not let that become the focus of your life.
God has a PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE. and until that person comes into your life fulfill that. do what God has called you to do.

whoever God has for you will desire for you to desire God more than them.
pray that for future spouse right now. that they will be focused on Christ right now and desire to do His will.

you will begin to see love differently.

love comes in many forms.
don't allow yourself to put love in a box this season.

love is a pastor praying for you when you are sick.
love is your friend buying you lunch.
love is a random text from a friend from college you haven't heard from in a while.
love is listening to music you don't like because your cousin likes it.
love is your Dad helping you clean.
love is a handwritten note.
love is an email from an African orphanage.
love is praying for someone that you may not know.
love is giving your last few dollars of cash to someone you met on the street.
love is a smile to a stranger.
love is encouraging someone.
love is knowing you are known by God.

I hope you feel loved. every single day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

a letter to you.

I feel like I should start out by saying sorry. I have ignored you at so many instances. I have passed you by like you were not there. But so many times  I have felt your presence, seen your handiwork, and even heard you whisper your sweet promises in my ear- even while I was ignoring you. You would gracefully offer your hand- wanting me to take it with confidence- but so many times I would turn my back on you and find myself trying to save myself.

I remember the day we met like it was yesterday, but it was so long ago. I was in second grade and it was the beginning of December. We had been out to recess- I remember the cold wind and playing on the monkey bars with my very best friends. It was Bible time after we came in and it was about the birth of your son. That day my teacher asked if anyone wanted Jesus to be their personal Savior. As my head was on my desk, my eyes squintily closed, and my heart beating fast- my hand went up. My feet were heavy as I walked towards the desk- but I was so excited. I had made a decision, one for myself, one that would literally change my entire life. I held my breath and you filled me with new life. You filled me with dreams and passions and visions that I was far too young to understand. But I remember you confidently telling me that you would be there all my life, that you would help me understand these things as I grew older and grew more into you. And you didn't lie. You never do.

Each year I grew in you. Each year you taught me more. Each year the dreams and passions became bigger and deeper.

I remember you standing with me as I watched Jamie have seizures. I was so young and didn't understand it all- but somehow you whispered to me that it was about glory. I really do remember you saying glory over and over one night as I layed in my bed waiting for her crying and seizures to stop. And now- I fully understand that phrase glory. It was and IS for your glory. To make you famous- to show others that you are good no matter what. But as I got older- I turned in defiance. I was mad that my sister could not walk or talk. I wanted her to be able to shop with me. I wanted my sister to talk about school with me. But YOU made her this way. Why is the question that was happening in my years as a teenager. It wasn't fair is what my heart screamed but you were right there beside me even then.

I remember you holding my head and wiping my tears as I felt like a failure. Kneeling beside my bed alone in my house- crying out to you. Wanting you to make yourself clear. And you did. You spoke tenderly to a heart that was confused. I had to tell my parents that I would not be a nurse. The dream I thought I had since I was little wasn't really a deep rooted dream in you, but instead one that seemed to make sense. I had learned that nursing was not what my heart desired. And as I kneeled down praying out to you, you reminded me that my heart desired you and only you. I remember you being my strength as I sat on our couch and with tear stained cheeks told my parents that I really had no idea what you wanted me to do but that it was not to be a nurse. They held me as you hold me. They assured me that they were proud and would stand beside me.

Years passed by so fast. And the next step was that application. The one that you told me to fill out. One that would wreck my life. Because I had noticed you changing my heart in Peru many years before in 2005. You had showed me things I never saw. You were opening my heart, opening my eyes, and screaming things to my heart but ever so tenderly. As I filled in every blank- I could feel your assurance. "Yes, Ivy, this is what I am telling you to do." And I did it. I finished it. Because over these years I had learned to trust you. You deserved my trust. I had seen you provide time after time. I had watched you help the pastor in Lima find Zaida in the slums with only a small photo of her. I had watched you wreck my life and rearrange things. And my favorite thing you did? You birthed a homeless ministry out of that 1997 Mitsubishi Galant. You showed me how to love people so well. And even though I am still learning- I want to take this opportunity to say thank you.

I got an email about some obscure place that I would be serving for six months. And that day I got the confirmation that I was denied entry, I felt you more than ever before. You literally held me. Sang me to sleep in your way only Daddys know how to do. It was such a hard day. I questioned if I had really heard from you. But you reminded me that I was not crazy.

And then you sent me to an even smaller, obscure place that I learned to love. And you did so many things there with me. You loved the people through me. You showed me how to serve when I was really sick. And you healed me from a fever that should have killed me. That is something I will never stop talking about.

For years I ignored your love letters. The ones you wrote to me hundreds of years ago knowing exactly what I would need to hear. But it was hard to see that you meant them for ME. I didn't really believe that those words on the pages of that book were to me personally. I acted as if I was not worth it. Not worth those words. Not worth your sacrifice. And to be honest- I am not. But through your grace, mercy, and redemption I have become one of your own.

I learned to turn to you when my friends have abandoned me. I have watched you provide things that seemed impossible. I watched you hold my heart as boys trampled over it. I have witnessed your grace as friends walked away after time overseas- because well, they cannot deal with the emotional difference. I have seen you confidently walk before me, preparing the way that I cannot see yet. You have been a friend that never left. You have been a Daddy who babies me when I need it but shows me where I mess up.

Thank you for helping me sail my ship, even when like a stubborn sailor I wanted to do it myself. I am so sure of your trustworthiness. And proud to call you a very dear friend of mine. More than that I am proud to call you Savior and will live every day of my life proclaiming that to the world. Wherever you may send me, I know you are there. Thank you.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I had been in DJ for a few days. Had adjusted and my jet lag had finally subsided. I learned my schedule for teaching and realized I would have my mornings free. 

so with a little research online and directions for the "bus"- that term is used loosely because a small van full of sweating people and goats on top of people isn't what I picture when I hear bus. I went on my way. 

I put on a veil, threw a water bottle in my bag, and grabbed some baby wipes before I left my apartment. I walked around our building. And started through the market. One of my first times alone there. People grabbed my arms- wanting me to buy their stuff. But I was focused. A goal in sight. 

I got to the bus. Said hospital with a French accent and they sent me to a van a few feet ahead of me. I sat by a sweet lady and her baby. Making eyes with the baby- I prayed for English speakers to be there when I arrived. 

The bus stopped and the driver motioned for me to get off. I did and made my way to the little alley way. And I walked through a big iron gate. 

It was beautiful. And I immediately heard crying babies. I walked up the steps, hopped a gate, and was greeted with babies grabbing my legs. 

An orphanage run by nuns and filled with babies that parents literally threw away. I picked a baby girl up and found a place on the floor. And my eyes found him. 

His name was Abdurmon. He was swinging in an infant swing. Legs hanging down. A huge smile. And I immediately knew. He had cerebral palsy. I knew the signs- and I saw seizures come and go. His sweet mouth gaping open with flies surrounding it. And I cried as I lifted him up. His seven year old body being the weight of an infant. I fed him his bottle. Prayed over him before I left. And cried all the way home. 

I spent many hours in prayer over that boy. Many google searches over how to do things for him. And many dances showing the nuns what I meant- because my French was non existent. 

My heart aches not seeing him. Not knowing if he's okay. Not being able to bring him home.

And y'all, He's there. He's present. He sees, He cares, and He created him perfectly. As my anxious thoughts come over me about Abdurmon and the other babies I loved so much- I have to trust Him. 

They traced the lines of my face, played with my hair, and stared into my eyes as I fed them. They didn't have a mommy ever love them- but I did. And I'm confident if my future children are alive in orphanages - God is placing some girl who doesn't know anything but to rock, pray, and love them right in their path til I can get to them. 

Y'all, pray for the orphans. Consider adoption. Sponsor a child. He demands it and it's a perfect picture of grace.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Noah had an ark.

we all know the story about Noah.
God told him to build a boat, animals went on two by two, his family didn't drown, there was a rainbow.

the thing we forget is this- God told him that is was going to rain. from the sky.

that had never happened before. it was something new.

God also told him all of this- and didn't tell everyone else. so when Noah told them ----they all thought he had lost his ever loving mind. and rightly so.

we don't know how long it took Noah to build the ark. but I am just gonna go out on a limb and say it wasn't a day. and it probably wasn't a week. but he knew God's promises. and he had this covenant with God. he trusted Him. and obeyed.

before when reading this story- nothing really stood out. I have heard it since I was three years old. we see it in baby's nurseries. we see it on storybooks of near pagans. it's just the norm to us.

but recently--in this season of life---the Lord has really brought me back to this story often.

I know the promises He has made me. the specific ones and the not so specific ones. I know that they are coming but I am in the midst of building the "ark" so to speak.

and things get even weirder.

I enjoyed some sweet time with Jesus in Lakeland, FL a few weeks ago. I prayed SPECIFIC things. it is listed day after day in my journal. and it doesn't mean anything to anyone else BUT my God answered that prayer the next week. it was an encouragement to my faith and while I am still trying to figure some things out that go along with that answered prayer- He's faithful, y'all.

the next week I got a devastating email. the job I longed for. the job I really thought I had in the bag. the job that I was over qualified for and had more than enough experience for. the one I had found apartments close to the location. well, yeah THAT job. I didn't get it.

I was crushed. hurt. confused. at the same spot I was after that harsh no to Sudan. the no that literally changed my life and was the best no I have ever received.

and then I read in my journal- I saw His answered prayers right before my eyes. it was happening. and He had answered that specific prayer because He knew hurt was coming.

and so here I am. no job. at the beautiful age of 25. and it's hard, guys. harder than I ever imagined.

and Jesus has told me not to go looking fora job. to wait for Him to MAKE A DOOR.

do you know how hard that is? I cannot tell you how many times a day I want to search or (ahem) actually do search for job openings. but I trust Him.

and I feel crazy. and people think I am weird for not looking. and being this lame jobless girl just hanging out with kids in the park and serving my homeless/jobless friends.

but I am pretty sure Noah would get me. he was there. people called him crazy but he kept building.

so alas, I will build me an ark and pray the rainbow comes a whole lot faster than expected.

His word is true. and He is trustworthy. for that I am thankful.

cannot wait to tell all of you when the promises and prayers are answered and come to fruition. stay tuned.

it's coming soon, guys. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

dear Jamie.

Dear Jamie,

Five minutes ago it officially turned into your birthday. You are 22 years old. And I cannot believe it.

I was three when you were born. I don't remember a lot about it. But there is an entire home video dedicated to that day. From the waiting room full of people, to me wearing my big sister shirt proudly, and it ends with me explaining that indeed they were my mommy and daddy but yours too.

I know I was excited. I had prayed many nights as a toddler before going to bed that Jesus would give me a baby sister. And you, my sweet sissy, were the answer to not only my prayer but to mama and daddy's prayer too.

You were perfect. Born early and small- but perfect. You looked like a little baby doll and I treated you just like that. I am holding you or kissing you or talking to you in every picture and video that we have. I was in love with you- and that has not changed one bit.

Months passed and then the news came. You were not just a spoiled baby who cried like doctors said but instead you had  disorder- one that we would learn much about in the coming years. Cerebral Palsy.

Even to this day- I get a little choked up when I say it. Because- it does not define you. Doctors wanted to put your abilities in a box. To tell us what you could and could not do. And as a small child myself- it was heart breaking. I wanted my sister to play barbies with me. I wanted you to run around with me. I wanted you to be able to tell me about your day at school. And you couldn't. I didn't understand completely. But I can assure you this. On that day in December of second grade- when Jesus took a hold of my life and the Holy Spirit inhabited my body- I was able to understand. The Holy Spirit was able to give me peace and understanding and a boldness even as a child when praying.

I prayed with urgency. Every single Bible class- I talked about you. I asked my friends to pray for you. My teachers to pray for you. And the days when I would walk into the halls of SCA with teary eyes because you had seizures all night the night before- my teachers touched Heaven for you, sissy. You have always been covered. And through those prayers and our gracious Heavenly Daddy- we have seen miracle after miracle.

You are so smart. You are so good at sorting colors and shapes. And you love to "doctor" us. You love to color. And I love it when you use that sweet right hand when trying to play. You push the boundaries- and I adore that.

You walk so good with our help and your braces. And you never really fuss about it. I am so proud of you. I cannot imagine the kind of heartache you have some days and you cannot express it. You have taken TONS of medicines your whole life like a pro. Endure endless physical therapies. And rely on us to do a lot of stuff for you. I am thankful the Lord is your comforter and gives you understanding.

You were so brave when I was in Africa. Cried only a few times and I think enjoyed being the boss around here.

Jamie, I am so thankful for the way you love others. Even though you get aggrivated with us and sometimes- yell- that's normal. I do that. But most importantly- you talk to everyone. And smile. And sometimes even say a little "AWW" so you can kiss their hand or hug them. That is like Jesus. People think you don't get it but you do. And you understand a lot more than we even realize.

Sometimes when I am praying out loud for you and reading verses to you- you just laugh- like the Holy Spirit is just telling you something. And I have no doubt that he is. because he loves you that much, Jamie.

We won't know just how many lives the Lord has changed through you until we get to heaven. But MAN, I cannot even comprehend how the Lord has used you. Because having you as MY sister changed my life. I cannot imagine it any other way. You may not talk. or walk. but you are mine. And Jesus used you to mold my heart. to mold my faith. to teach me of trust.

He used you to make my heart for those who cannot help themselves. He used you to teach me how to care for Abdurmon at the orphanage in DJ. He used you to give me patience. He used you to teach me to be joyful in every situation. He used you to teach me how to be a lover of people years ago. He knew what He was doing when He let you be mine.

He does miracles daily. and you are one of them. I cannot wait for the day you walk, sissy. We are getting you some goodlooking shoes.

You are my number one. You are it. I love the most in the whole world. And the man I marry- he will too- or I won't marry him. And my future kids will adore their Aunt J.

Keep being the best sister in the world. And I cannot wait to see how Jesus continues to heal you this year. Maybe you will even walk across the stage at church like we have had dreams about? Either way- your testimony is one that Jesus is using all over the world- and that excites me!

I don't know about everyone else, but YOU are feeling 22!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

a year.

it's been a year.

a year since I hopped on the plane in Ethiopia heading back to the place that I once called home.

a year since I talked to a Muslim leader in an airport that day and had him ask me to pray for him.

a year since I did nothing but cry all the way home. 16 hours of tears. my nerves were crazy. I had butterflies thinking about seeing my friends and family. it was the weirdest feeling ever.

a year since I realized that God removed my love of things greatly as I had lost a piece of luggage and did not care one bit.

a year since I had what my cousin calls a love black out. that moment I walked through the doors in the new terminal in Atlanta. I saw my parents and Jamie standing there. and  my precious friend Susan. I could do nothing but push my luggage as fast as I could. and everything faded. my heart was at home. those hugs- I had missed for six long months.

a year since things hit home like really. as I climbed into my bed after 2 whole days of travel- everything sunk in. the Lord protected me from the thoughts while I was in Africa. but I was reminded of His faithfulness. I didn't die- like He protected me over and over and over again. the disease of dengue fever did not hold a chance against Him. and the people who threw rocks- they did not know I was a daughter of the greatest King in the world. not once was I harmed to death. harmed? yes. dead? no. and that feeling of laying in my bed. praying and thanking Him in the same spot where I had prayed and asked Him to protect me six months earlier was one moment that I will not forget. a sweet moment with my Heavenly Daddy.

I cannot lie and say this has been an easy year. actually it has been one of the hardest. one of pain. and heartache. one that makes no sense. and one of waiting.

{we all know waiting is the hardest.}

it has been a year of tears. and joy. but a year of His promises.

He has promised me much. and much He has given. and I am expecting so much more.

as I look back on a year of flashbacks to the hard stuff. talking with pastors. speaking at churches. hearing stories of how God used a little Southern girl who was not anything special to touch people. understanding how your heart can hurt yet be at peace at the same time. He has taught me so much. He has loved me so well. and He continues to remind me that He has me in the very palm of His hand.

I miss Africa DEEPLY. everyday is a struggle not to hop on a plane.
and everyday I give Satan a black eye when he tells me that it has been a year wasted.

because I haven't found a job. doors have been slammed in my face. doors that I was well qualified for. and I cannot say it isn't hard- because it is exhausting. but we know, and I have to remind Satan that He wins. He already won. and that He has this amazing, God ordained job for me. and its coming. I just feel it.

so as I miss that place I call home. as I wait for Him to move. as I pray for the people He wrecked my heart for. I am reminded- He is a good Daddy. He is comforter. and peace. and goodness.

and I am just plain excited to see what is next.

God will open new doors. Revelation 3:8.