Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Transformational Community

India is a place unlike any other.  Regardless of the fact that I have been to very few other countries this fact doesn’t change.  Where else can you see opulence and extreme poverty on the same street corner.  Where else would a society think it is ok for the builders of a million dollar resort town to live in tents in an area with no running water or public services of any kind.  And where else is there a culture that every aspect removes me from my comfort zone! Smile

Yesterday I had an opportunity to visit one of these ‘villages/slums’.  If I ever wonder what drives me to do what I do, all I need to do is look at faces like these.


This 5 or 6 year old girl’s future is to be either a child bride at the age of 12 or 13, or sold into the sex industry.  She would know this from a young age and never have any dreams of her own.  She would be told from the time she was born that she was worthless and could do nothing about her situation.

However, through transformational community, she now has a chance to go to school.  Her mother can learn a trade so that she does not need to borrow money from a loan shark; thereby forgoing the need to sell herself or her children to pay it back.  She and her parents have access to health care and her mother is learning what her rights are and how to stand up for herself and her children.  She has a chance to dream and be a child.  But most importantly she will learn who God is and how much He loves her.

I wish I could give details in this blog about what is going on, but it just isn’t safe.  However, in broad strokes, transformational community is being lived out in India.  Not only are lives being changed, but people are seeing Christ in their lives, and choosing to follow Him in droves!  These choices are not because of what He can give them but for who He is!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Strong Enough

It’s 4:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep, haven’t been able to since about 3.  I dislike times like this when I have decisions to weigh and I get a lot of time alone.  I get stuck in my head and weighed down by my thoughts.  I know I am still suffering from jet lag, but I have had this overwhelming since of loneliness for the last 24 hours. 

I miss my friends and family, the comfort of a place to call home in Oregon.  A place where I belong.  None of that changes the fact that I hear the still soft voice of God calling me to India.  I find myself bargaining with Him…”I’ll come  when you give me someone to come with.”  “Wouldn’t I be more useful as a strong voice in Oregon, than a silent support in India?”  “Why me?” and the list goes on and on.

I have always been the strong type to see the road God wants me to go down and charging down like a bull in a china shop.  But this time, I am paralyzed by fear.  Not the fear of the unknown, but the fear that I am not strong enough to do this.

Truth is, I am not.  The girl inside of me wishes to curl up in a ball and run back to the safety of my home.  But there is something inside of me that won’t let me.  An urging in my spirit that I was made for this, designed with a purpose that has nothing to do with me. Yet I sit here in the dark and I still ask, why me?

Dubai…March something…

In my community group we have been going slowly through the book of Mark.  Due to the amazingly gifted leader that we have, I am learning to look at this book in a new way.  We are only into chapter 3 or 4 but what I have learned overwhelms me.  Our leader has us looking at Jesus words as if we had never heard his name before, what was he trying to say.  Over and over He speaks of the Kingdom of God, and what that really is.

This past Wednesday we reached the parable of the sower.  and for the first time I looked at the full context of this parable amongst the other words that Christ was saying and instead of focusing on the different soils, focused instead on the sower.  What is the seed?  The very word of God, the Gospel, the secret of the Kingdom of God.  Then the next parable he speaks of a light and what would you do with it?  Let it shine of course.  Then the one after that speaks of the growing seed and the farmer sows it, then unbeknownst to him the seed flourishes and produces a harvest. 

So we as Christians have been given the secret of the Kingdom of God…wanna know what it is?  Jesus, pure and simple, He is the Gospel.  No more no less.  What are we to do with this gospel, put it under our bed, hide it from the world?  No we are to let it shine for the world to see.  We are to sow the seeds and leave the spirit work up to the Spirit.

So often I get caught up in the reality that I chase after Christ and I see few people come to Christ.  I do see lives being transformed by what I do and the words He gives me to say.  But lets face it, we all want to see the desperately lost around us see the freedom that is in Christ.  But that goal changes how I act and what I am willing to do.

At Dulles Airport today I had a perfect example of this shown to me.  As waited to board my plane to take me to Dubai I overheard a woman arguing on the phone with someone.  I won’t give you details but I heard the heartache and saw the tears on her face.  I wanted to swoop in and rescue her, but in my thoughts that meant I had to give her my ticket because it sounded like she couldn’t get on our flight.  I felt the spirit urge me to approach her and I flat out refused.  Nope wasn’t gonna do that.  So I quit listening.  Finally the Spirit softened my heart and I agreed to approach her.  I did, asked her if I could help and she said no.  I boarded the plane and felt like a failure. 

After 11 hours of the 12 hour flight I had honestly forgotten about her.  When suddenly she appeared in front of me, held my hand and thanked me for offering to help.  And she did so again as we left the plane.  I was and still am flabbergasted.  Is that all God wanted, I don’t know her story, may never see her again but who knows what her story will be because of that small gesture I made. 

Okay, back to the parable, if we focus on sowing seeds (the small things) and let the spirit till the soil we are portraying and living out the kingdom of God.  But if we only focus on the circumstances where we get to speak His name, instead of be His hands and feet as well, we miss the point and we miss letting our light shine.  For one brief moment I was a conduit between that woman and God.  For a moment it was His hands who touched her, His voice that whispered I see you, I know your pain.  It is His tears I cry now for her pain and her story, as only He knows what that is.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Take my hand.

In early 2005 as I faced the reality of what following Christ meant, I was blessed to write a story that showed me the heart God had for me.  I have clung to that story through many different trials that I have been through. 

As the story ends, I wake from an amazing and restful sleep…

As I sat up I realized I was no longer that frightened little girl. I was a grown woman. I had the strength of a nation and I knew through God I could do anything. I felt whole and brave, confident and secure. I had no worries and I knew all would be taken care of. As I began to step off I whispered “I’m scared”. He said “I know, its okay, take my hand and I will show you the way”.

I have clung to this ending time and time again, when I didn’t feel that I was strong and confident, but I knew if I took His hand He would show me the way. 

Today I feel this journey begins.  I step on the plane tomorrow, physically alone, but covered in prayer from many different nations.  I am confident and secure in who I am as a daughter of God and I can trust in Him to give me the courage I need to be brave.  So as I step on that plane tomorrow, I am sure I will whisper “I am scared”, and I Know that He will be there smiling with His hand offered for support. 

I am so blessed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Over the course of my relationship with God, a reoccurring lesson that I have had to learn is how much perspective can change something. As I have prepared to go to India my perspective has shifted between fear and excitement. I just had a thought though, I get to go on a 12 day date with God and God alone!
Not many people get that chance, a chance to not just spend time with God but walk in His presence every day, my life fully in His hands. In reality though shouldn't we face each day this way? Just something to ponder as I bask in His love...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Faith of a mustard seed

Yesterday I was reading a friends blog and she stated the following:

“I feel like I’ve been bombarded with the message that victory is ours for the taking, if we just reach out in faith and grab it. God will provide whatever you need, if you can just “faith” your way to receiving it.”

She went on to relay what she felt victory as a Christian really means.  We have all struggled with this thought at some point in our lives.  A problem jumps up and you hear that little whisper “well if you just had enough faith it would all go away”.  But what if faith is more than that? 

There are many theologians out there who can argue for the faith movement and against it, and I am not one of them.  However, time and time again I have seen the truth of it in my life.  Bad things have happened to me, around me and even to those I do not know.  Yet, I have seen little evidence that willing yourself to faith has very little impact on the outcome.

Now let me explain before you get all riled up!  When my parents first divorced I still had faith in God and believed He could bring them back together.  But I watched as their choices took them away from each other, causing my trust in God to disappear, but my faith was still intact .  “Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1.  As I walked the next 15 years, I had faith that God was real.  However, I choose to not trust Him and ended up doing things that harmed myself and others around me.  Even people who had faith in a big God and trusted His goodness were harmed by my actions.  I have many examples of this, but they really don’t matter.  The point I am trying to make is how does faith in God and His promises get reconciled in a fallen world?  For me, my definition of God and faith both need to change. 

In the bible there are multiple examples of bad things happening to good people and God never explains why.  Job was credited as a man of great faith, yet God let him be destroyed.  Abraham as well, but God let him impregnate his servant.  Why?  Maybe because our faith isn’t about us or what God can give us, but more about His glory and who He is.

I am writing this as I face getting on a plane to India by myself.  I am terrified, want to bury my head in the sand, cry for hours, not get on that plane, run away and end up in the belly of a whale.  But none of this changes my “faith” in who God is.

He is a big God and I believe and trust that He IS GOOD, regardless of the outcome.  There are many scary things that could happen (Daniel had to walk into a den of lions, 3 men had to walk into a fiery furnace, Esther had to walk into the court of the king), but I choose to trust God’s path for my life.  Regardless of where it may take me.

Over and over people tell me that I am brave for doing this and I cringe.  I am not brave, my journey is no different than yours, and my faith is no greater than yours.  It is all about choices, we all make them every day.  Some that matter in the big scheme of things and some that really don’t.  But it is always a choice…trust that God is good, regardless of what is on the other side of that scary black fog He is telling you to walk into, and trust that His goodness does not change.  EVER.

I choose to TRUST.