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.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

dear 15 year old Ivy.

Dear 15-year-old me,

I wish I could remind you how awesome Jesus thinks you are. I wish I could walk beside you and cheer you.  I would help you learn how to be brave, bold, and courageous. Be yourself. Speak your mind. Don't be so quiet. 

Don't worry about what other people think. I promise- they will always love you. And you will keep in touch with some of them, some of them you won't. So don't worry so much. You are different. And you feel that so deeply. God has called you for a very specific reason- don't run from it. Let Him mold you in these years. Be open to what He is telling you. 

You are about to see God working in your heart and life like never before. How I wish I could show you where you will be ten years from now. You will pray and beg and pray and beg about going to Peru next year. Stay calm- mama and daddy say yes after you show them Psalm 91 every night. You will fall in love with the country and the people. And don't worry- the pastor finally finds Zaida and her home after six long months- and you will sponsor her. Actually, you will be going to see her graduate high school!!!! Don't think so much and try to figure out what God is doing. He is for you and He will show you your next step. Love people hard. 

In a few years you are going to start a homeless ministry out of your car. The parents will be worried- but keep trusting you have heard from Him. And after witnessing to college professors for years- you will start to understand why He had you there. The Lord is going to send you somewhere hard and crazy after college. Don't get disappointed when you get the NO for Sudan but instead see that He is at work. Trust Him, trust Him completely. You will be called to unreached people. Be ready for that. It will be hard. And the waiting once you get back home is even harder. You will face persecution. You will be scared. But remember- fear not. FEAR NOT.

I know you want to be a neo-natal nurse. I know you want to help people. But its not about money or status. You will soon learn that. You will learn to give up the dream of the rich husband, four white kids, and white picket fence. You are going to learn His heart and He will put His desires inside of you. Be ready for that. And just so you know, when you change your major in college- mama and daddy are not disappointed. Don't fret, God has something up His sleeve. 

And boys...just don't worry about them. Some boys will be jerks. Some boys will be sweet. But keep your mind and heart guarded. Be romanced by your Heavenly Father. Let Him protect your heart and keep it for the right boy. In ten years, He still might be holding onto it---and believe it or not---you are not dead. It's not the end of the world that everyone you know is married with kids. Because you will learn His timing is perfect. 

And Jamie? Keeping covering her in prayer. I know you adore her. And she will always be your baby. Even when she is 21. She is going to have brain surgery- and she will make it out like a miracle. They won't shave her head so don't cry over that. She will look bad for a few weeks- she won't respond to you- she will have black swollen eyes. But do NOT let Satan tell you that His promises have failed. She will soon be a miracle. She will start walking with her braces and our help. She will learn to say so many things. And she will be the light for so many people. You will continue to pray for her complete healing for years and He will still continue to work. His timing, His timing. 

And that cool cell phone you think you have? Just wait- your phone will talk to you in ten years. It is crazy. 

And as far as mama and daddy. Let them embarrass you. Let them hold you. Let mama sing in Target. Tell daddy he is number one in your book. Remind them how thankful you are. And don't forget how things are. Take in the sounds and smells. How it feels to be doing your homework on the kitchen table as daddy walks in from work. Cherish the moments. 

Walk to Prissy and Papa's house more. They grow old fast- and health decreases. Take every moment you can with them. Love them. Tell them you love them. Every single day. 

Get over yourself. You will grow to be loud and outgoing. Don't be so shy- God will teach you how to be bold. 

Love hard. Live loud. And put Jesus before everything. 

Oh, and in chapel at school? when you don't want to sing out loud- just do it. Jesus loves hearing your worship.

See ya in ten years.