Thursday, May 10, 2018

Heart to Heart: Mission Africa '18

It's been two weeks since I’ve been back from Africa and I have been trying to put my experience into words. My experience this year was much different than last year. Last year, I went to Africa in the most broken state I think I’ve ever been in. Everything was falling a part at home and I just needed to get away. 

My soul needed rest. 

My heart needed a break. 

My mind needed to be renewed. 


Throughout the entire trip God placed people in my path to speak life and healing over me. I left Africa with hope. I felt the healing process begin. 

Fast Forward to this year’s trip. It wasn’t my original intent to go. I figured I needed to save money and I wanted to try one of the other mission trips. However, when the application became available, I felt this tug at my heart. I knew I needed to go back. I wasn’t sure why but I know God was telling me to go back. I applied by faith and I told God if its your will for me to go you will make a way. As I waited for the approval of my application, I prayed and asked God to show me my purpose for going back.  I am at a point in my life that I don’t want to make a move unless its a God ordained move. Well anyway, one day during my devotion, God brought me to a specific verse. 

Luke 4:18 says “The spirit of the Lord is upon me. For he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. To set at liberty those who are oppressed and to proclaim the year of the favor of the Lord.”  

I have read this scripture before but this time around it stood out to me, specifically one part of the verse. “Heal the Brokenhearted”. In that moment I felt like God was revealing my purpose for going back. He was giving me my answer. I needed to go back and heal the broken hearted. Now don’t get me wrong. I am no where near capable of healing someone’s heart. Only God can do that. However, I knew I could be used as an instrument of healing. I am a living testimony that healing is possible even in the midst of brokenness. Just like multiple team members poured out their love on me, covered me in their prayers and gave me a warm embrace, I knew I now needed to be that same person for someone else on this trip. I needed to tell/show someone that its ok to be broken and that God could heal their pain. 

Upon my arrival to Africa, I was still a bit unsure of what my purpose was for being there. I think I was unsure of what God had already spoken to me. Well God sure has a way of  showing up and casting doubt to the side. Throughout the trip, God presented me with various opportunities to be an instrument of healing. Whether it was through song, hugging someone and just allowing them release what they were feeling through tears or sharing my testimony. Through each of these moments, God was reaffirming my purpose for being there and I thanked him for that. Im still thanking Him. I thanked Him that I am no longer mentally or emotionally in the same place I was in last year. I am on the road to healing and I wanted others to have the same hope that keeps me going. 


Africa, you will forever have my heart. Every year you make me fall more in love with humanity and you show me that the love of God is so tangible. The people. The culture. The passion in which the people serve God. The whole experience is forever engrained in my heart. Thank you Mission Africa for once again changing my perception of what it means to be a missionary. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

LIVE


Psalm 118:17:” I will not die but live and will proclaim what the Lord has done.”

At the beginning of 2017, I made a bold declaration. I decided that I was going to live. Live fearlessly. Live a life surrendered. You see coming into 2017, I was facing one of the biggest storms I’ve ever faced in my life. It shook me up and changed my entire world. But I decided that 2017 was going to be the year that I placed all my trust in God and I was going to LIVE while believing in his promises. I wasn’t going to be afraid nor was I going to worry about what’s next. I was just going to live. I was choosing to live knowing that all things, including this storm, would work together for my good.

Was it always easy living out this declaration? Nope. If anything, it challenged me more than ever. Every time worry would try to settle in, every time fear tried to become my constant companion and bitterness tried to set up camp in my heart, I would remember my simple declaration, “I will not die but live…

My decision to LIVE in 2017 made way for some unforgettable experiences and life long lessons. One of the biggest lessons it taught me was that my brokenness was not a permanent destination  but rather a temporary location. The pain that I felt day in and day out was only the effects of God stretching me and molding me into who He needed me to be for the next season of my life. I will admit, there were many times that my declaration became overshadowed by my pain.

I thought to myself on countless occasions what could I possibly offer others when I’m all messed up on the inside? But what I came to realize is that some of my most powerful moments of ministry this year were birthed from my place of brokenness. I gave more. I loved more.  I felt the pain of others. I trusted more.  Although I was silently falling apart on the inside, I still felt like I was living my best life. Every time I obeyed the voice of the Lord despite how I felt, I was consciously choosing to live and not die.

This year, God gave me the strength to live even when I felt like dying. He lifted me when I felt like giving up. He saw pass all of the anger and the “I don’t care” mask and saw deep down that there was just a girl who wanted to be loved even with all her scars. A girl who did not want to feel abandoned or rejected anymore. A  girl who just wanted reassurance that everything would be fine and that her story would be different. A girl who needed his healing touch once more.

2017 truly showed me that my pain has purpose. That I have a purpose. Because I made a conscious effort to believe in the promises God had spoken to me, I was able to experience His unfailing love and power in ways I never did before. I literally saw prayers answered right before my eyes.  I visited 5 different countries and 6 different states in one year. God made ways out of no way. Financially. Spiritually. Physically. He performed miracles right before my eyes.  I lost things (literally... LOL) and God restored them unto me.

So 2017, Thank you for showing me who I am and what I am really made of. You challenged me, my mindset, and my way of doing things. You set me on the path to healing. I’ll never forget all that you’ve taught me.

To God: Thank you for holding my hand through the process. Thank you for never letting me go and for giving me the strength to LIVE so that  I can declare what you have done in my life. Your unfailing love towards me and your relentless pursuit of my heart brings me so much joy. I know You have so much in store for 2018 and where you lead, I will follow <3

To my friends and family (new and old): Thank you for every kind word you have spoken into my life this year. Your presence, words of encouragement and affirmation have been a healing balm for my soul. You made life a little easier to bear and a whole lot of fun. For that I am forever grateful.

Cheers to a new year! 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Walk and Be Silent

"1 Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. 2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” 

6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the LORD and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” Joshua 6:1-6

The Lord gave Joshua specific instructions about taking over the city of Jericho. He told them to march around the wall for seven days. For six days they marched around the city once. But on the seventh day, they were to walk around 7 times, the trumpet was to be blown, and they were to give a loud shout. This would cause the wall to fall down.

In our lives we sometimes have a wall. The wall could signify anything.  It could signify sickness. It could signify unhealthy relationships, a broken heart, lack of finances. Whatever it is, this wall stands between us and our victory. Sometimes we walk around this wall trying to decipher how we are going to get over, under or through it. We walk around this wall in silence because we don’t know what to say or do to make it come down. We pray and ask God for direction.  We expect him to give us a direct answer. However, sometimes he responds just like he did in this chapter. He gives two directions. Walk and Be silent. He tells us to be silent and trust in His plan. He tells us to continue walking understanding that our victory is definitely on the other side because if we don’t walk we will never get there.

Silence can either be a good or a bad thing. Depends on how we look at it. It can be good in the sense of allowing us to focus on God. It enables us to somehow see things a lot more clearer than we would if we were talking and constantly moving. On the other hand, it can be a bad thing because being silent means being left alone with our doubtful thoughts.  It means acknowledging that we don’t have all the answers to our problems.  It means we are not in control. 

In this case, silence was just a precursor to the expected win.  

God already told Joshua that Jericho was theirs for the taking, however he was requiring them to walk and be silent. People may have looked at them funny but they had to keep on walking and be silent.  People may have been confused as to the purpose of their march but they had to keep on walking and be silent. People may look at your situation and wonder to themselves, how can she not be angry with God? How can he not be more vocal about what he is going through? But through it all you must continue to walk and be silent. Why?? Because in verse 16, it says that on the seventh day, they walked around seven times, the trumpet let out a resounding blast, and then the people SHOUTED!! When they shouted, the walls immediately came down. Immediately. And they ran in to claim what the Lord had promised them.

You might have a wall that you are trying to figure out how to break it down. However, maybe you are in a moment where God is just requiring you to walk and be silent.  You have to believe that what’s waiting for you on the other side is much better than what you’re currently going through. Your opportunity to shout might not come the next day or the day after but believe that it is coming.  When that opportunity comes, shout with all that’s within you. Cry unto the Lord with a voice of triumph and gratefulness. Thank him in advance for the promise that you are about to receive. When that opportunity comes, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city.”  

Thursday, July 28, 2016

What the World Needs Now...LOVE

I have been wanting to write a new blog post for the longest while but I just could not seem to figure out what to write. The topics were endless but the words just would not seem to flow. However, last night during my personal alone time with God, the revelation came! The thought of vulnerability kept coming into my mind and for a while, my prayer became centered on it.  No one (including myself) likes to be vulnerable! Why? Well, it is because people usually see vulnerability as a sign of weakness. To be vulnerable is to be uncertain and who likes to be uncertain?? Uncertainty means we do not have any control over our emotions or what is happening around us.  I don't know about you but I like to feel in control of my emotions (even though i suck terribly at it lol).

Last night i realized something though. Vulnerability does not equal weakness but instead it equals access. Access to the heart of our King and to His unlimited grace! Many of us do not know how to be vulnerable with others because we have not allowed ourselves to be vulnerable with God.  We feel that if He sees us for who we really are, that it will somehow lessen his view of us. We believe that He might love us a little less.  However, it is totally the opposite. We can be ourselves with Him because He knows us completely. The more we open up to Him, the easier it will become to be vulnerable with others.   


Our world is in desperate need of love right now. DESPERATE NEED!! People are angry and hurting. Our world seems to be in complete chaos. But instead of showing love, hate is being placed on a pedastool. I think that people fail to show love because they don't know HOW to love.  Broken people connect with other broken people and create..you guessed it right...more BROKENESS.  Being broken sometimes seems easier than attempting to open our hearts to loving others and being loved. To love = being vulnerable and being vulnerable = being uncertain. And like I said before, NO ONE likes to feel uncertain of their feelings. 

Think about it. When two people are dating and things become pretty serious, there is always that lingering question of who will say the "L" word first. No one wants to be the first to say it because they are uncertain of whether or not the feelings will be reciprocated. The words are left unsaid, leaving each person feeling uneasy as each day passes and the feelings grow. See, as humans we tend to only give love if we know it will be reciprocated. But what if we purposed in our hearts to love others even if they didn't love us back? What if we decided to share our hearts with others in hopes that they could see the genuine love that only comes from God?

I believe that we all have it in us to love. Its a part of who we are. It is the very essence of our being. The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8) and if God dwells within us, then that means we have love. We have the capacity to love but it all starts with being vulnerable. It all starts with learning how to be vulnerable with the one who knows us best. If we allow God who IS love to teach us HOW to love, then sharing our hearts with others will become a whole lot easier. Each time you share a piece of your heart with others, you are sharing a piece of God with them. So let's commit to being vulnerable. First with our Creator and then with others.  I am personally challenging myself to be more vulnerable.  Will you take the challenge with me?

Here's to spreading the love of Christ.