Monthly Archives

September 2017

Growth Life Women

Pretty purple flowers.

September 27, 2017


I’ve wanted to write for some time. But honestly there’s so much swirling around in my mind, I don’t know where to start.

Do I share how returning to Honduras was unexpectedly harder than I was thinking it would be after my extended trip to the US?

Or do I tell you about this book I’m reading that’s making me realize how desperately I need to put down the never ending to-do lists?

Or do I recount how one of the teenagers in our youth group startled me by hugging me like a mama?

Or do I try to explain how I’ve been stressing (okay, worrying) about the direction of SoloHope?

But yesterday, I took some time to FaceTime with my friend, Ashley Stephen, who is so often so full of wisdom and insight. For so long I felt like Ashley and I did a season of life together. I remember sitting down with Ashley in the Atlanta Bread Company in January of 2014 and sharing my heart and vision with her about SoloHope. I knew what I saw in my mind but I struggled to communicate it but this girl caught the vision immediately and truly helped me grow SoloHope visually but in so many other ways as well. But it was more than that, it was a time of offering each other friendship in a really hard season of transition where neither one of us were sure of “home.”

As we’ve both transitioned to different seasons, we have begun to realize life never gets easier.

Well how’s that for an uplifting thought?!

But it’s true. I have friends who are single longing for a husband but it seems that pray has gone unanswered. Friends who are married longing for children but instead facing infertility. Friends who never in a million years thought they would be divorced but now that’s where they find themselves. Friends who have facing chronic illnesses, job losses, broken families, adoption challenges, strained marriages, lost homes, aging parents, unfulfilled dreams, and so much more.

And it’s hard.

Some seasons are definitely harder than others but ultimately every single season of our lives offer challenges.

Challenges that can force us to grow. Challenges that can cause us to be more intentional with life. Because life is a gift even in the “hard.”

A few months ago, I was standing by the road waiting for a bus. My mind was so full and stressed and burdened. It just felt heavy.  As I glanced behind me, I saw this mass of vines, tangled and just a mess and that’s exactly how my mind felt. But then it was as if the Lord beckoned me to look closer and what I saw was these pretty purple flowers peaking through. And I knew God was showing me something special. He was showing me the beauty.


Beauty exists even in the “hard,” friends.

Beauty exists in the midst of the trials and pain. Sometimes the beauty is harder to see. Sometimes you have to consciously look for it but it’s there. Those pretty purple flowers are there. You just have to look for them.

There’ll be those seasons where it’s so hard to find them and it will take much more intention but they’re there. The pretty purple flowers are there. The beauty is there because life is there.

So often I let my mind become so oppressed by the vines that’s all I can see. But that’s not all I want to see.

On the days I get in a fight with my husband, I want to see the pretty purple flowers.

On the days when I get my feelings hurt by another person in ministry, I want to see the pretty purple flowers.

On the days my heart feels like it has broken into a million pieces due to disappointment, I want to see the pretty purple flowers.

On the days I am stressed and things are not going like I planned, I want to see the pretty purple flowers.

I want to see the beauty that God put here for us.

I want to pay attention to that beauty like God did when He created a simple but so detailed blade of grass. I want to see that beauty in a passing smile or even a curious look as I walk down the street.

I want to see your beauty, Lord, in all your creation.

I want to see it as I watch the ladies’ hands craft intricate baskets and jewelry. As they laugh together. And even as they cry together. I want to see it when Brenan is jumping on bed with pure childlike exuberance and even when she’s knocking on the bathroom door when I just hoped for a moment’s quiet. I want to see it in muddy roads and rainy skies. I want to remember to see the beauty when my husband worries about me riding the bus alone. I want to embrace it when he gives me an extra long hug.

The pretty purple flowers are there. Beauty is there.

Lord, help us–help me to remember to look for it and embrace it each and every day. On the good days and on the hard days. Let me see your beauty.

 

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  Matthew 6:26-27

 

Growth Journey Life Marriage

Loving broken.

September 1, 2017

A couple weeks ago, I was chopping veggies to cook supper while I was chatting with Ever. As we talked, one thing led to another then to another until we finally ended up in a conversation I didn’t at all expect. As Ever opened up and shared something from his past, I was shocked at what I was hearing. I was hurt he had not told me before. And I was broken. I started crying and it wasn’t from the onions. He had no idea by revealing this part of his story that it would affect me so and break me deep down.

I was crying.

I was upset.

I was without words.

And Ever had no idea what to say. He walked to the bedroom. I pulled out my phone and found Tamela Mann’s song “Take Me to the King” and just blasted it while tears poured down my face. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Ever pull the front door closed. In the moments I had with just me and God, I prayed. I asked God “why?” And I prayed. And I cried some more.

The words from the song seemed to express exactly how my broken heart felt.

Take me to the king
I don’t have much to bring
My heart is torn in pieces
It’s my offering
Take me to the king

As I prayed and listened and cried, I sat down at the table and found a letter from my husband…

“I’m sorry, truly. I never meant to hurt you. I hope you can forgive me…”

My decision to forgive had already been made but I was still broken. But as I read his words, I saw his brokenness as well. It was in that moment the Lord began to speak to my broken heart.

Will you love broken? You know the good, the bad, the ugly. Will you love broken? Because loving broken is the truest love. It’s saying even though you’ve failed, even though you have screwed up BIG, even though this hurts like hell, I will love you. Will you love broken?

I did.

My heart was shattered to pieces as I hung on that cross. I knew, truly KNEW every sin. The weight of it. The hell of it. The betrayal of it. My heart was crushed, broken as I watched my friends turn away, as I saw all those who would reject my gift, but I chose love. I chose to love broken.

And when you shouted in my face you hated me. I was broken at your words. Every time you turn away from me and think you know best, I am broken. But daughter, I love you broken.

Will you?

My husband and I come from as different pasts as night and day. I grew up in a Christian family and came to Jesus at a very young age. He did not and for years walked in the world. Our sins may look different in human eyes but let me tell you, they all nailed Jesus to the cross. They all broke Him. And He still chose to love broken.

Will you?

It’s no accident that as I prepared to write this blog, I received a message from a family member and again I was broken. I cried (still no onions involved.) I asked God “why?” And again the Lord asked “Will you love broken?” My temptation is to say NO!! But I want to grow in His love. And to do that it calls for loving broken. Because that is true love. Unconditional love. That’s loving like Jesus and y’all, I want to love like Jesus even if that means being broken over and over again so I can learn to chose a love bigger than myself. His love.

Will you love broken?

Will you chose to love broken when your husband leaves you shaken to the core? Or when your wife betrays you? When your children hurl the “I hate you’s” in your face? When your friends in ministry fall miserably into sin? When your dad never said he was proud of you? Will you choose to love broken when you feel your heart can’t be broken into any tinier pieces?

It’s not easy. But you know loving broken does something incredibly unexpected.

Loving broken restores.

Since Ever and I had that really hard conversation, I have seen the Lord to take us to another level of love and trust. Isn’t that just like God? To use the very thing that has broken us to restore us. Y’all, none of us are perfect. None of us have it all together. None are righteous on our own.

We need to experience the love of the Father God to restore us. He loved us broken until the point of death. Oh how broken He was, but still He chose to love. And by Him loving broken, He has restored us.

Now we have a choice. Will we love like Jesus did? A love that cost everything.

Will we love broken?