a new direction

June 23, 2009 at 7:08 am (Uncategorized)

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.
Psalm 37:23

i will be honest and say this is an awkward blog to write. i want to do my best to express my heart.

i have purposed in my heart to follow the Lord. i made a commitment several years ago to be an “at all cost” Christian. meaning: no matter where, no matter when, no matter the cost. i will honestly admit that i haven’t always been so quick to be obedient…but i put my ‘yes’ on the table a long time ago. and i left it there for good.

the Lord made it clear that He wanted me to follow Him to cairo. so many of you have been on this journey with me since the beginning. on may 27, i boarded a plane and headed to the middle east. on june 17, i boarded a plane headed for tulsa.

it was an easy ‘yes’ to go…but not so easy to follow Him home. for health reasons, i simply could not stay in cairo. there was no guarantee that things would get better, and He brought me home to heal and recover. as i boarded the plane in cairo, i cried…truly feeling as though i had failed. as i poured over scripture and truly sought the Lord, He reminded me that He was directing my steps. i may have failed in terms of my own plans…but i followed Him, and that is not failure.

i have been home for 5 days, and have appreciated my family. i have wonderful people who love me and support me and only want the best. my health continues to be an issue, but i have a great doctor and incredible prayer support. please continue to pray for me as i remember that HE is the Great Physician and rely on His strength in each moment.

i may have landed in tulsa, but i assure you, the journey is not over. i have found myself on one of the most exciting, stretching, crazy, unexpected adventures. the Lord is working in my heart and in my life, and i am so excited at what He is doing! He is moving in the nations…and that includes THIS nation! i have sought to know His heart for His people…and He so quietly reminded me that my neighbors are included.

i cannot hold in all He is doing. i will continue to journal through His teachings and to shout from the rooftops what He is whispering so sweetly to my heart. your support has meant so much up to this point…feel free to follow along as the journey continues. i’m so excited for what He has.

(PS there is a video…a really really humorous video…that should be posted this week. be prepared. i danced.)


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quite a day in cairo

June 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm (Uncategorized)

in the span of two days, april, carrie, and i conquered cairo with our truly awesome dance skills. the video is still being edited, but should be up sometime tomorrow. its ok to cry…we all did at some point.

we had a blast!

we started our day off with a bit of narration…no worries, it gets cut off..

we went to city starts, the khan, the hyatt (to the very top where you can see all of cairo), and hard rock cafe. we stopped a few other places…it was a lot of fun!

April, Carrie and I in our awesome taxi…

…with our awesome taxi driver

hard rock cafe was awesome, as was the top of the hyatt. you could see the whole city from there. i babysat a few nights before and sang “J-sus loves Me” to cairo before he went to bed. i teared up when i started singing, “yes, J-sus loves cairo, yes, J-sus loves cairo. yes, J-sus loves cairo, the B-ble tells me so”. as i looked out over the city, those words echoed in my mind and the L-rd reminded me again of His heart for the nations.

and the end of our day came too quickly…and again, the video cuts off. but we have a blast around cairo!

enjoy! this is a small taste of our day. the final video project should be posted soon!

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heading west

June 16, 2009 at 10:08 am (Uncategorized)

well…this isn’t what i expected. i’ll reveal all in the next day or so. but in a few hours, i’ll be headed slightly west of where i’m sitting right now.

the L-rd has been so faithful. it must seem so cliche to hear, but i am truly in awe of Him. i truly have strength in ways i didn’t know because of Him. He sees each of us, knows where we are at, and meets us right there. not only that, but He knows where we are headed and is there waiting for us to arrive.

i’m so thankful. for so many things. He is good, all the time.

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mesh hena

June 14, 2009 at 7:53 pm (Uncategorized)

My child, hear My voice, and give no heed to the voice of the stranger. My paths are straight, and they are narrow, but you shall have no difficulty in finding them if you watch Me. I am guiding you. You need not look to people for direction. you may learn much by fellowship with teh saints, but never allow any to take teh role that is rightfully Mine – to direct your steps. as it is written, “the steps fo a good man are ordered by the L-rd” – not by the preacher, not by some Chr-stian worker, but by the L-rd. trust Me to do it, and give Me the time and opportunity to do it. be not hasty, and lean not upon your own intelligence. rest in Me. I shall bring to pass My perfect will in your life as you believe and live in faith.

nothing has been more applicable in the last 36 hours than the passage i read yesterday in my devotion. i have been seeking the L-rd as to how He wants me to proceed. where He wants me. what He wants from me. i have heard so many opinions and had such good advice from others. but when it came down to it, i could only seek the path of my Father. i can say that the road He is leading me down looks nothing like the road i thought i was taking. i cannot say i am surprised…i have a hard time saying i am disappointed. i simply want to be in the middle of G-d’s will for my life. wherever that is, whatever that means. i ache to follow Him wholeheartedly. sometimes the steps don’t look quite like i think they do…or the direction seems opposite than i would have imagined. but the good news is, He knows. He never changes. His direction never changes. He simply leads.

follow Him. seek after Him. i don’t have to seek the counsel of others when i’m seeking the counsel of the Great Counselor. as a friend recently reminded me, “you don’t have to see the way if you know the One who is the way.” i will follow. every step. i may have questions, and sometimes i’ll voice them. but today, i will confidently follow His direction and trust that He loves me more than i will ever understand.

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pig what?

June 12, 2009 at 1:15 am (Uncategorized)

i am about to take you on an excursion the likes of which you’ve never even dreamed of.

you will have follow this post EXACTLY as i tell you, otherwise you will miss very important, funny parts.

first, let me give some background. i am white. i am a foreigner. there are other white, foreigners currently being quarantined for swine flu (that is the last time i will use that phrase…here on out, it is the thing of which we do not speak…sort of.). so, in the country that slaughtered all the pigs to avoid a situation like this…we find that W.H.O. was right…it doesn’t come from pigs. it comes from people. from other countries. aka: white foreigners.

so. yesterday, courtesy of my U.S. dr, i headed to the lab for a few blood tests. i got a special call from a special person at the hadonna i am working at, letting me know that my absence (from my illness) had created a bit of panic among the parents. (remember, i am a white foreigner). it was requested (demanded) that i be tested for that of which we do not speak. so we went to the lab, and requested the other blood tests and the “special” test. i wish i could show you a picture of shock that was on the man’s face when we said those words…unfortunately i do not have it. so, i went to the sampling room (literally) and got stuck more than once as they collected a few vials of the red stuff.

then, we proceeded to find out more information about my “special” test. due to the slight panic in the area regarding this issue…we were told that we’d have to check me into a government hospital and i’d be stuck there until they decided to let me go…which could literally have been days. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
so, thru friends, phone calls, text messages, and the internet…we found a special place that would possibly test me themselves and not worry about it. i have the antibiotic with me, and i would at least have the paper to say i’m negative.

so today, we set out on an adventure to find this place. here is the first part of our day:

we ended up going to the american embassy (which, by the way, is not run by americans, come to find out. however, it was a bit like being home…what with the american flag in the corner. they said, no they won’t test anyone but embassy employees. great. so we hopped into another taxi. after a LOT of explaining, we found where we were supposed to go. its like a secret, black op, health organization working here with the ministry of health. they’re response to my request? we’ll get kicked out of egypt if we do that. them and us.
so, we were given advice…if i walked into the hospital and asked for the test, i’d be kept. by requesting it, i’m submitting myself to their authority, with no rights as a citizen of any country. my response was….NO THANKS. so we left.

needless to say, the test was never performed (it would have been negative…but just for the heck of it, i attempted to act our the words of that of which we do not speak. i’m supposed to be a sick pig)

end result? no test. self administered drugs. and a kindly requested 7 day absence from the hadonna. awesome.

(tomorrow, i’ll share something Godly…but laughter is good for the heart and that’s Biblical!)

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i love my mommy!

June 9, 2009 at 6:31 am (Uncategorized)

here’s a good one. i’m terribly upset that i don’t have a picture…but i really don’t think you’ll need one after i’ve described the scene.
april and i left our place about 10 to go to liz’s for a bit of a girl’s night. (we ordered in mcdonalds…helllo, i love delivery) we went to the street to catch a cab. i got a bit agitated that every cab that passed had someone in it already…and one that was empty simply gave a wave and drove past. i wanted to throw a rock. however, seconds later a taxi pulled up beside us. as it approached, i was thoroughly appreciating the decorations. there were all kinds of neon lights on the outside and inside of the taxi. that is typical. the atypical part of the taxi? the driver. guess who he looked like? kris kringle. literally. short, very white, balding man with a white beard. with disco lights. and fur on the dashboard. i’m telling you, i laughed hysterically for the majority of the ride. and then felt awkward saying thank you in arabic. because he’s white.

i didn’t get to go to the hadonna today because i woke up sick…like with a fever and sore throat and no voice. that hasn’t happened since i got my tonsils out, so it was quite a surprise. and yes…swine flu has made an appearance in Cairo (8 confirmed cases) and no…i don’t have it. however, i’m going to a doctor at some point in the next few days, and i have a feeling they’ll test me for it. since i’m a foreigner. which, i supposed, will simply be one more good thing to write about!

i wish i could put into words all the L-rd is teaching me. it has been such a journey. in so many ways, it feels as though i’ve been here for so much longer than 2 weeks. i am consistently surprised by J-sus. yesterday, i sat in the P’s living room as Liz so kindly spent time encouraging me. she read me parts of psalm 18, and these few verses stuck out:
He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. He bought me into a spacious place (pasture), because He delighted in me.
Psalm 18:16-17,19

later, as i sat around her table again, joined by april and stacey, the L-rd reminded me again of david (thanks A). david was called to be a king…from the moment he arrived into the world, that was his ultimate calling. but the L-rd kept him in the pastures until he was ready to fulfill what G-d has called him to.
THEN, this morning i read this as my devotion:
(Readย Hebrews 11:6) My ordinances are good and holy, but they are to be entered into with deep sincerity and with awareness of their true significance. To sacrifice in carelessness and ignorance is to damage your own soul. Let your spirit never become callous. Without holiness, no one shall see G-d. In other words, “Without a tender heart and sensitive, attentive spirit, no one shall see G-d,: for without these, no true holiness will ever be attained.” The fool shall not discern the value and shall cast aside great treasure. The practiced eye knows the true worth of a gem and shall not let it escape him. Thus shall you be in spiritual matters. Train your eye to discern that which is of true worth, and let it not escape you.
I was like HELLO J-SUS. i am IN the pasture! i am in this “spacious place” called Cairo (spacious isn’t quite a correct description, there are 8 million people here). He literally pulled me out of the churning waters and set me here, among people who love the L-rd and who continue to patiently encourage me. it is so obvious what He is doing…He is breaking me! He is teaching me to have a tender heart and sensitive spirit. without those things, i couldn’t do this. He is teaching me to have a practiced eye and to discern that which is of TRUE WORTH.
as i stood at the market, watching so many people pass by, i finally understood what He is doing inside of me. it doesn’t make it easier. it doesn’t mean i would have wished myself the pain of learning His lessons…but it does mean that i can appreciate what He is doing. i am in the Refiner’s fire. dang it burns (it is the desert, which is ironic)…but MAN HE IS GOOD.

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run for your life

June 7, 2009 at 1:36 am (Uncategorized)

i must tell a humorous story to begin with. i told my mom just now on skype and she said it was blogworthy. ๐Ÿ™‚

as you know, stomach issues are not fun issues. i’ve lost about ten pounds since i left tulsa, so it is actually becoming a problem. i try not to eat because that triggers the issue. so, tonight i went out to eat with liz and adam and the crazy kids (which was super fun, i loved every minute). we went to “on the border” and i got their tortilla soup. i’ve had it before, it always tastes good, i had some confidence in how it would settle. so we went in a few stores, and walked around, then grabbed a taxi. as we exited the mall, i thought to myself, “i should find a bathroom….naaaah, i’ll make it.” however, i did not factor in the traffic. we had to drive MAYBE a mile and a half? and 20 minutes later (literally) we are a block from their house….but it would take 30 minutes to navigate the traffic. i looked at liz and told her she had to give me her keys because i was going to have to run for it. so i did. i darted in and out of traffic with my backpack, the keys, and HUGE packs of diapers in each hand. its obvious when you’re being laughed at. it was obvious that i had created all kinds of humor. i wanted to cry when the elevator was at the top and i had to wait. poor adam and liz came into a dark house, the door wide open, and their diapers thrown on the floor. ๐Ÿ™‚ but, i made it.

on another, lighter, less bathroom-y note :), i’ve been reading Isaiah. i love this book. i always feel as though it gets me ready to fight. or reminds me why i’m fighting. or comforts me when the battle seems too much.

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the L-RD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the L-RD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The L-RD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. Isaiah 58:8-12

i have found such comfort in this passage of scripture over the last several days. there are such incredible promises! when i cry for help, He WILL answer. when i spend myself on behalf of the hungry or satisfy the needs of the people around me, my light (which comes from HIS light) WILL rise in the darkness. the L-rd WILL guide, WILL satisfy, WILL strengthen. in light of the last few days, as satan has attempted every avenue of hindrance, this brings such a sense of triumph! yes, my stomach hurts. yes, i miss my family. yes, my heart aches. yes, i feel out of place. but look around! see the needs, hear the people, give of yourself. i am most certainly in a sun-scorched land and my frame NEEDS His strengthening. He brings triumph for me. He is my victory. i love it!

there are about 3 songs on repeat right now: desert song from hillsong, a song from ashlee, and close to your heart from the glorious unseen:

You look down from heaven
and melt me with Your gaze
then You come down from heaven
and wrap me in Your wings
and it makes me feel loved again
so close in Your arms
and it makes me feel home again
so close to Your heart
oh L-rd,so close to Your heart G-d
so close to Your heart G-d
so close to Your heart
i’m so close to Your heart G-d
come draw me into You
i’m so close to Your heart G-d
here I am G-d
draw me into You

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pr-yers and praise

June 5, 2009 at 10:29 am (Uncategorized)

i’m learning to find balance. cairo doesn’t have balance. the streets look like a mess ofย rubberbands. you can’t get anywhere in traffic, unless you’re a mcdonald’s scooter delivering food. it takes 4 hours to eat at a restaraunt, but you can have it on your doorstep, hot and ready, in about 15 minutes.

so…i’m learning balance. somedays sit in a hundred degree taxi with a man blowing smoke in my face and wonder if my feet are going to fall thru the bottom of the car and hold back tears. other times, i laugh with a driver because i said nozha instead of nozha. (yes they’re spelled the same. and pronounced the same. but in ways i will never understand, i confused him.)

so, i ask for your pr-yers and share praises about what G-d has done.

pr-yer requests:

– i’ve gotten a great opportunity to be a part of the teaching at the youth camps this summer. pr-y that as i study, the L-rd would reveal what He wants taught.

– pr-y that my relationship with my teammates would continue to grow. i’m so excited to be a part of this team and i want to partner with them as we minister to these kids and family.

– pr-y specifically for my health. satan is certainly doing all he can to hinder this process. pr-y for divine intervention and strength that only comes from Him. i am fighting fatigue and stomach issues. specifically, i need nourishment and, should the need arrive, a good tailor for my clothes. ๐Ÿ™‚

– pr-y for this next week at the hadonna. ask that the L-rd would bless these 4 days as we invest time and energy and love into the lives of such sweet children.

– pr-y for my camera (silly, i know). i lost all the pictures from the past 10 days and i need to figure out why my camera hates me. i have such fun things i want to share!

praise the L-rd!

– i am so thankful for the people on my team. such good friends are here and i’m developing deeper relationships with friends i already knew and creating relationships with new friends. the L-rd knew.

– my hair has somehow become un-curly! it is wavy at best, with no frizz. such a small thing, i realize, but my hair is manageable! i’m a girl, and i’m so thankful!

– i am so thankful for the relationships with my family and the technology that connects us. i have struggled with homesickness and being able to talk to them so easily is a huge blessing.

– i’m loving every minute with these sweet children!

– i’m finding my way around these mess of streets…only gotten lost a few times, but i was able to direct the driver home. ๐Ÿ™‚

love to you all!

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thirst like no other

June 3, 2009 at 1:34 am (Uncategorized)

i struggle a bit with deciding how transparent to be. however…it hasn’t killed anyone yet, so i’m going to go for it.

i had a serious preconceived idea about what would happen when i arrived in cairo. i truly believed that all the pieces would fall into place, as they have thus far, and that i would hit the ground running.
as it turned out, that didn’t happened. jet lag was unbelievable, my stomach acted up immediately, and the L-rd decided He wanted to fix my heart. i came here with such pride, believing i was ready to do whatever He said. perhaps i was willing…but certainly not ready.
G-d provided an amazing couple with an amazing history and amazing wisdom (amazing!) to help prayerfully guide me thru the things the L-rd wanted to say. the L-rd spoke truth into my life in a powerful way. my perspective is different and my confidence truly is found in Him. what an amazing G-d we serve…He so brilliantly orchestrated the people and the time and the series of events HE wanted.

i’m reading a book right now called “the relentless tenderness of J-sus” by brennan manning. here is a clip from the forward by dr. larry crabb:
my journey has taken me recently into the desert. it’s hot and i’m thirsty. but all i’ve been able to see is burning sand stretching out all the way to the horizon. with no water in sight, thirst had nearly given way to resignation. i’ve been trying to call it trust.
i’ve been here before. there’s a pattern. when i put down my shovel, when i quit trying to figure out what i must to do find the water, a well seems to bubble up.
radical Chr-stianity. the real thing. an upending encounter with J-sus that changes everything. experiencing His love. letting the Lion tear away every false hope. riding the Lamb all the way home.

is that not incredible?

He is here. He is real. He is moving. He is speaking. He is powerful. He is awe-inspiring. He is consuming. He is good. He is holy. He is faithful. He is just. He is everywhere. He is in control. He is the victory.

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just wait

June 1, 2009 at 1:20 am (Uncategorized)

the Father used a good friend to remind me why faith is faith…and why knowing the future would negate it.

i’m not into forwards, or really even rhyming poems (unless it is dr. seuss)…but G-d spoke so clearly thru the following words. the part that struck me the most is what would happen if i didn’t learn to wait on Him.

Just Wait

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.
Quietly, patiently, lovingly G-d replied.
I pled and wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, “Child, you must wait!”

“Wait?”, you say, “wait!” my indignant reply.
“L-rd, I need answers, I need to know why!”
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By FAITH I have asked, and am claiming your WORD.

“My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to WAIT?
I’m needing a ‘yes,’ a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.

“And L-rd, you promised that if we believe
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And L-rd, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
And grumbled to G-d, “So, I’m waiting…for what?”

He seemed then to kneel and His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want – but you wouldn’t know ME

“You’d not know the depth of my love for each saint;
You’d not know the power that I give to the faint;
You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there;
You’d now know the joy of resting in me
When darkness and silence were all you could see.

“You’d never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of my Sp-r-t descends like a dove;
You’d know that I give and I save…(for a start),
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of my heart.

“The glow of my comfort late into the night.
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite G-d, who makes what you have last.

“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’
Yes, your dreams for your loved ones overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss! if I lost what I’m doing in you!

“So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
And though oft may my answers seem terribly late,
My wisest of answers is still but to WAIT.”

-Author Unknown

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