This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not
that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cup of Joy: 8/29

Love the smile a morning Cup of Joy with Operation Christmas Child brings to my face :)

(I've said it before, but I'll say it again- It is such an honor to work with an organization that is not ashamed of the gospel and longs for people around the world to know the hope, love and joy of Jesus Christ!)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Peace of Mind and Heart

Months ago, I wrote a blog post about the comfort I find when I remember that Jesus has already overcome the world.

This morning I was reminded that there is abounding peace to be found Christ. It's amazing how much time and energy I expend just trying to make sense of and control the situations around me.

When will I understand that peace isn't found by being in control? Peace is found in trusting Him. It's found in trustfully letting go of the oppresive burdens I let consume me.

God's word says that the righteous will live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17). That's my challenge for myself today: to live by faith and not by control. Each day I have to remind myself to release the death grip I find myself maintaining as I attempt to control my life.

It's beautiful to experience the peace that comes through knowing Jesus Christ and knowing that He is in control. There is peace in realizing that He does not make mistakes and that He does not fail- both things I've proven capable of doing quite well. I'm beginnnig to learn that the more I trust Him and rest in His presence, the more full my life becomes. Thank you, Lord, for granting me the divine gift of peace.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. The peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
John 14:27

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sharing today, sharing tomorrow?

I'm still not convinced that people actually like reading my thoughts, but I've gotten enough questioning about my lack of blogging that I've decided to improve- or at least attempt to improve.

It might not be much, it might be something sort and simple and written by someone else, but in the end I think it's worth sharing. So here's to my improved blogging efforts:

The Power of a Whisper

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake, came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” 
1 Kings 19:11-13

This passage reminds me to listen and look for God in every situation. He is a part of every moment and he seeks to speak to me, if only I would be aware of his presence. It's easy for me to seek and find God's communication with me during big events in my life. I look for billboards and moments that make me say, "Duh, that's got to be God"; instead, I need to be listening and looking for God's presence everyday and in everything- even the gentle whispers. I pray that I can recognize God's voice when it's both obvious and suttle.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I am all around you...

I AM ALL AROUND YOU, hovering over you even as you seek My Face.  I am nearer than you dare believe, closer than the air you breathe.  If My children could only recognize My Presence, they would never feel lonely again.

I know every thought before you think it, every word before you speak it.

My Presence impinges on your innermost being.  Can you SEE the absurdity of trying to hide anything from Me?  You can easily deceive other people, and even yourself; but I read you like an open, large-print book.

Deep within themselves, most people have some awareness of My Imminent Presence.  Many people run from Me and vehemently deny My existence, because My closeness terrifies them.  But My own children have nothing to fear, for I have cleansed them by My blood and clothed them in My righteousness.

Be blessed by My intimate nearness.  Since I live in you, let Me also live through you, shining My Light into the darkness.

(an excert from Sarah Young's Jesus Calling devotional book)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Safari of Six: Poverty

Amy, thanks opening your heart and using your words to share this with us. It's just what I needed to hear. Now I'm passing this along with the hopes that someone else will hear God speaking to them...

(For those of you who don't know: Amy is my Kitale mom, a wife, a mother of four and a servant sent by God to help the people of Kenya and kids like me who somehow find their way to Kitale.)

Safari of Six: Poverty:

Well, this has been a lonely few days. Less than a week after our college team left to go home to the U.S., Howie and our remaining "team" (6 of them, along with 2 other Kenyans) left for Lodwar. Just me and the kids and Manu, and our house helpers in the daytime. A big change from 35 people on the compound!

Lodwar is in the Turkana region of Northeast Kenya, and has been heavily effected by the drought and the severe famine that is happening in the Horn of Africa. They spent the last 2 days distributing food in 4 different villages. They had an armed guard with them the entire time, to keep the peace. When you have children at home who are dying because they are starving, you'll do just about anything for food. Howie said that these people were very aggressive today and it got pretty intense. But they aren't savages--they're starving. I can't even wrap my mind around the thousands of people who have died. So thankful that Howie and our team had the privilege of distributing 11 tons of food to help fight this famine.

I know that the starvation over here is hard to comprehend. You've probably heard the numbers, and it just goes in one ear and out the other, because who can actually make sense out of thousands and thousands of people dying in only a few short months? I'm actually IN the same country and it's hard for me to comprehend. Maybe we can't wrap our brains around it because if we did, we'd never stop crying; don't know.

I get stressed out about what to make for lunch but I can't imagine not having anything to make.  I try to get my kids to drink water instead of always wanting juice but I can't imagine not even having water to give them. Even though I live here, I'm still an American. I'm still privileged. I'm still ignorant to what life is like for someone living in poverty, for the sole reason that I've never experienced it. I can get close to it, but I'll never really know.

Today I went to visit my friend Gladys down in the slum near our house. Gladys is a widow living with HIV, and taking care of 2 small children. They live in a mud hut that is small and stinky, and most days they only eat once, if they're lucky.  I go and see Gladys and pray with her, and have met some of her needs, but when we say goodbye, I always come home. To food. And water. And soap. And medicine. And a shower. And Skype with friends and family back home telling me that they love me and miss me and they're praying for me. Gladys just stays in her mud hut.

As you can tell, I'm processing the concept of poverty right now. It seems hopeless. I'm in the process of helping another family who I will write about later, who are also living in extreme poverty. Sometimes it's too much. I wrestle with feelings of guilt, anger and hopelessness when I'm with them. Those things aren't of the Lord, I know, so I pray a LOT. God is slowly showing me that Mother Teresa's words are worth repeating: "If you can't feed a hundred, feed one."

God is not calling me to change the world. I can't even change the circumstances for my friend Gladys. But I can take them a bar of soap. I can hug her and pray with her. I can listen to her needs and her concerns, and be a friend. To an American, these things don't seem like a lot. They seem unimportant in the grand scheme of things. But God works in the little things. They matter.

If you're reading this feeling like I am, like it's too much, like the numbers are too high; there's too much need; too much poverty; too many people: be encouraged. God never asked us to do everything, He just asks us to do something. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress . . ." James 1:27

Cup of Joy: 8/22

Sipping on an Operation Christmas Child Cup of Joy this morning!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I thought being at home might entail having more time to sit and write down my thoughts, but it's turned out that's not the case.

I'm actually not too surprised. Life seems to somehow pick up right where it left off. So consumed by everything here and almost all things that center around myself.

In just the course of this week, I've spent most of my time putting together my life here in Denver. An activity that centers itself on me, giving me a somewhat sick feeling in my stomach as I pursue so many things out my own interests.

The activities I've participated in create a long list of inward focused things: concerts, movies, trips to the park, target runs, dinner dates and so on. Even blogging now seems self-centered. Is this not getting a bit absurd?

I can't tell you how frustrated I've been over the past few weeks. I want to enjoy things like hiking and I fully believe God also wants me to enjoy these things. Now if I could just enjoy them! Easier said than done, but it's something I am desperately working on.

I think God has in many ways made my heart sensitive to how I utilize my time, but I also think he longs for me to embrace the beautiful blessings he's put in my life- and now this is me working to find a middle ground. Any advice is welcome!

It's just a strange transition. I've gone from being in a place that allows me, in very obvious ways, to serve others all the time. As I've come back to a world were people often hide their needs, I suppose out of fear that they will appear inadequate, makes it a lot harder to pinpoint ways to help those around me.

It has become an active prayer of mine that God will open my eyes to the needs and hurts in my community- small or big. I want to be aware of where I can pour out God's love, and I think that's something I need to constantly ask God to reveal to me. Open my eyes to world around me that I might share your love to all by meeting even the simplest of needs.

All of this to say, my aim today is: to ask God to open my eyes, to look for opportunities that God allows and to step forward in action enabling God to demonstrate his love through me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How He Loves

Take a minute and listen to this song. Don't just let it play in the background. Listen, really listen and capture each word. No matter what you're going through or how you're feeling, spend a moment relishing in God's all-consuming love.

He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.
Oh, how He loves us so
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves us so.

Yeah, He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves.

So we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking
So heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way

That he loves us,
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves

He loves us,
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves

Well, I thought about You the day Stephen died and You met me between my breaking
I know that I still love You, God, despite the agony
...they want to tell me You're cruel
But if Stephen could sing, he'd say it's not true, cause...

Cause He loves us,
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves

Yeah, He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sip on Cup of Joy!

Start your morning with a CUP OF JOY! Sit back, relax and enjoy the infectious laughter of a child opening an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Enjoy a morning Cup of Joy

You might be enjoying your morning cup of coffee right now, but have you had your morning Cup of Joy? Take a sip of irresistably contagious joy this morning as you experience Operation Christmas Child's morning Cup of Joy!