I’M OVER THE HILL! What 25 Taught Me & Starting 26 Off Right…

A quarter of a century. Done. Wow.

If I sat and told you the stories that consume the last 25 years we would be here all day, talking and listening. And well, who has all day to be here. Unless you’re getter paid the big bucks to sit and listen, and in that case, I don’t have those big bucks so don’t waste your time, but I’m sure I could use your assistance sorting it all out. It’s pretty messy in there.

In short: I could never say enough as to what god has taught me. A lesson isn’t really a lesson unless it’s learned, right? More like a statement. Unless you take it into your heart and process all its messiness and change your life accordingly. And always, always, always be mindful of the strategic hand of our Lord in your life – even when you don’t see him. When you can’t hear him. When you are certain he has walked away.

25 has wrapped up a quarter of a century more beautifully that I could have ever imagined. No, I didn’t do anything super glamorous. I didn’t get the corner office. I didn’t claim great success or novel romance. Even better. I learned more about this life, and what is important, than I ever knew I could in a year, much less in a lifetime (so far.) I loved selflessly, I lost painfully. A lot. And I saw how God sits so close to the broken hearted. How he is present in the simplest of moments. How he works it all out on our behalf.

Most of that was learned through this family.

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Elydia was 26 when she passed away. I was honored to spend the majority of 25 with her each week, and especially in those last two weeks, watching 26 years of shame and heartache be replaced with an undescribable joy of the Holy Spirit. Her life taught me more during 25 than I could have ever learned in a classroom.

All in all, I experienced the lesson that God is simple. It’s not that deep. And in the greatest pain, in the greatest joy, in the hardest of trials, He is present. In that, there is rest. Outside of control, of choices of others, there is rest.

I don't always turn 26... but when I do I wear hot pink tights and cowboy boots! Let's go.

Today I end the first quarter of my life. And feel as if I am so much older in my soul. The journey is truly the destination and 26 is just the beginning! His promises are true and I’m gratefully staying in the process. Great things are yet to come!

 
I don’t always turn 26… but when I do I wear hot pink tights and cowboy boots! Let’s go.

Things That Make You Go “Hmmm”: God’s Plan

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

God’s word said he knew me before I was born. He had a plan for me.

Which just makes me wonder what that looked like. Was I a sketch in his heart? Did he think, “I need her to be this way, act this way, look this way, be kind of stubborn, but ultimately really awesome – and she will be called Hope – and the plan that I have for her is going to be great!” Then sometime between Noah and March of 1988, He saw a need that only I could fulfill and released me into my mothers womb, a certain combination of two distinctly different people, to get the result of – me.

Or was my spirit active in heaven and God knew that it was me and I knew Him. And we like talked and joked around and stuff. And then He looking into a certain place within time and decided that is where I would go, for such a time as this?

Just one of those things, ya know?

These are things that keep me up at night people. It’s a scary place in my head.

The Love Of Christ Will Jack You Up.

I sat in on a Bible Study recently and what was reflected upon was a great reminder as to why I do what I do, why I am in Haiti right now and an explanation to all those moments that I just couldn’t quite explain why I was drawn to certain actions.

When the love of Christ begins to dwell inside of us, at some point it will overflow. It is in that overflow of relationship that people see what is pouring from you.The following are the results of the love of Christ acting in our lives.

The Love of Christ…

  1. …compels us. There are moments when were asked to do audacious things that don’t quite make sense. But it is because of the love of Christ that our hearts are compelled  to take particular actions.
  2. …give us power to change the world. The world being whatever that means to you. Each of us have our own “world” and circle of influence which we have the power to effect, good or bad.
  3. …gives us the ministry of reconciliation. Of being the bigger person. Of making things right because that’s the right way, not because you found justice.
  4. …gives us the power to lay our lives down. Against all the pleasures of this world. Not because the pleasures are bad or wrong, but because God compels us each in different ways. What is a pleasure/sacrifice to you may not be to the next person. But God’s compelling love causes us to push aside our own wants, literally and metaphorically, for the purpose of His plan and purpose.
  5. … cuases extra-ordinary obedience. Sometimes it seems crazy. Sometimes it’s a gamble. But the point is that on the other side of it is more than you could have ever wanted in the first place.
  6. …endures. When it’s lonely, when it’s hard, when you feel unappreciated.
  7. …cause you to remember to keep your promises.
  8. …waits. Psalms says that God’s promises are birthed through faith & patience. Wait on God and His plan is always better than our own anyways.
  9. …gives. In the abundance of God’s gifts, so rich and so fulfilling, things are just things.
  10. …forgive.
  11. …serve. Not because it’s a cool job or has great benefits. But because we are so undeserving of God’s grace and mercy, much less the things of this world that we are so consistently blessed with. It is the smallest sign of gratitude that we could possible attempt at paying such a debt.
  12. …covers. A multitude of sins. Who are we to expose another when we are saved by the grace of the same God.
  13. …defends. Defends the weak. The poor. The needy.
  14. …takes a risk. Even when some say it’s a crazy idea, It’s not “normal”, It’s a gamble, the results won’t be as good as the alternative, or it’s not the safe route. Most great decisions were made in a very risky setting.
  15. …is a decision. Anyone could love God and not follow through with these things. It is when the love of God overwhelms our hearts, when our relationship with Him is consistent, that as we are molded into His image as we were intended to be that these come to pass.

I feel humbled to reflect on these things, grateful to walked some of them out and very challenged to take on the rest.

When I say these things, it’s not as a “missionary’, it’s as a Christian. I don’t feel like my walking out a Christ lifestyle changed because I relocated to the mission field full-time. All of these things are still applicable and neccesary and relevant to our lives in the states. Each day we are taking risks and keeping promises and laying our lives down for the plan of God and being compelled to serve and endure challenges. This is the call of Christ.

It is that love of God that compels me to be here. Even with so much to lose and even when I’m tired and lonely and dirty, I am reminded of these things. Why I came in the first place. Because the love of God compelled my heart and through His plan I go to sleep at night excited to wake up early in the morning to spend my day with 500 kids who are hyper and typical and always humble toward their blessings, and a village of people who have no other option but to rely on God to meet every single one of their needs.

Only the love of God could compel that within me, because some moments I think I’m going crazy!