Honest, hope is a verb, Spain g42, To dream

an attempt at an elevator speech

It’s been over a week.

Over a week since I walked the streets of Mijas, over a week since I sat at Maria’s one last time with Kaitlyn.

Over a week since Patty and I got in a car with Kellen and Whitney and held back tears on our way to the airport.

So what does that mean?

It means it’s been a week of letting words, truths and practices seep into my being in a way that I never thought possible.

The day after I landed in the states I was sitting across from my friend Leah and we were talking about a smattering of topics over breakfast and I got slightly weirded out.

 I think my exact words were “It’s so weird to talk about this not in Spain”.

I’ve at this point had two really, really good conversations about who I am post Spain. I’ve sat cuddled up with a family I treasure and told them so many lessons and what’s in the next. I’ve sat drinking a margarita telling my friend Casey about what God’s point and how it affected me.

And it is still REALLY weird to not be having these conversations in Spain. But with each conversation I’ve realized that it is in me. It’s not just in Spain. It’s something I carry.

So, I’ve been trying to find some sort of a way to sum in up. Some way to bring the point across of where I have come from and where I’ve been. Is there a lesson or a statement? Is there a person who rocked me? A week of teaching that stands out over all of them?

There is a lot.

There’s my class. My family. Who sat around tables with me and cried and laughed and prayed in loud voices on rooftops.

There is the staff who were in my life daily, who spoke truths to me, who saw me, who met me where I was and pushed me into where I ACTUALLY was.

There is Ferg who brought out this realization that I hear God’s voice in ways I didn’t think I could and that I need to speak those things out.

There’s Herman, this crazy, wine loving, JESUS loving Dutch rockstar who left creativity in his wake for us to pick up.

There’s Ethan and Kristen who taught me about God’s love and showed me I knew it was there.

There’s Ted and Michael who both rocked my theological foundations in the best way.

There’s David who had us climb mountains to realize that we in fact, could climb AND claim mountains.

And then there was Andrew who never stopped reminded me, from the moment he patted me on my cheek and said ‘welcome home’, that I had Christ inside me

And of course, Freddie, who as simply as I can put it; renewed my trust.

There are even more people to name who, a week at a time (or sometimes with one DAY), brought truth and revelation into my hands that I had never seen before.

 That’s a lot.

 It’s filled in pages of my journals and scribbled in the margins of my torn, well worn bible.

AND It’s written on my heart. 

So what do I say?

What do I say when someone comes to me and asks me what I did in Spain? What do I say in a span of 30 seconds to describe pages of journal entries, hours of teaching, buckets of laughter and tears (and wine and bocadillos and mr. chicken)?

 I say this:

I lived in Spain for 6 months. I learned that we are here to BE loved and out of that beautiful love we are meant to love others in return. I learned who I am, what I was created for. That I have something to say. So, I made a plan. I found a seat at a table.

I lived in Spain for 6 months.

And it changed everything.

Soon, oh so very soon, I’ll give you the “what’s next”, the plan, the beautiful dream that unrolled itself while I was in Spain.

It’s going to be awesome.

But for now, if you have questions, comments, or a limerick or Haiku shoot me a message or an email. I’d love to hear from you!

(And for those who haven’t had a listen: another way I can explain my heart and my time in Spain is through this song my friend Allan and I wrote//recorded. You can have a listen here)

Honest, Spain g42

it just comes to us

My journal is a scary place right now.

And I’m starting a new one tomorrow.

It’s mainly notes from 8 weeks or so of class here in Spain with bits and pieces of thoughts and revelation intertwined in the pages.

I’ve sorted a lot of it out through asking questions and conversations over coffee, tea and wine. But the pages of my journal are a mess of words, phrases and scribbles.

And if there is one theme that weaves it’s way through all of it, it’s the theme of identity.

We talk about identity so much in this world. And as someone who has spent most of her Christian life in bible studies with groups of women it’s a topic that causes me to roll my eyes.

I don’t think we need to SEARCH so hard for our identity.

I think it just comes to us.

That’s why my journal is peppered with talk of identity.

Because as I learn more and more about this new face of Jesus I’m seeing who I am.

We live this life where we strive to find identity in everything that we do. In everywhere we go.

But what if we didn’t need to strive? What if we didn’t need to search for things that give us clues to who we are but what if instead we searched to learn about who Jesus was and is presently.

I’ve been learning something beautiful the last 2 months: I’ve been learning about who God IS. And he definitely isn’t a lot of what I’ve heard all my life.

He’s joyous. He delights in us. He gives us keys to the plans he has and tells us to run with them. He does not want to check our every decision.

He just wants us to be who he created us to be. Because those creations are vibrant and lovely already.

So while I’ve been searching for this identity it’s honestly been right in my front of my face.

I am who God created me to be.

I don’t need bible studies or books or anything to figure that out.

I just need to walk arm and arm with God and hear what he tells me, through so many varities of ways and I need to pick up what’s meant for me.

Nothing more, nothing less

hope is a verb, Spain g42, To dream

Cake with Jam

Before coming to Spain I had the vague idea of what I wanted to do. But mainly I just had this large pile of things that I wanted to be involved in. Passions, gifts, talents, words. Just in this bag of tricks that I lugged with me over an ocean.

I had no idea what to do with it.

A few weeks into my time in Spain we held the inaugural g42 reunion. Alumni from the first five years came from all over the globe to remember and celebrate what God had done and was doing, to lift one another up, to visit this place so many people still call home and of course to establish more vision in the next years of life.

The house I live in is the bigger of the two so we hosted ten alumni and in that group was the Harder family. Steve and Jo Harder and their beautiful boys who are missionaries to Ukraine.

Jo is a kindred spirit.

She is a powerful, strong, vibrant woman who hears wonderful, beautiful truths from God.

At the reunion kickoff we had a time of prayer and prophecy and Jo shared a word she had. She wasn’t sure who it was for but she knew she had to share it.

She shared a picture of this person who was holding all of this JAM. It was dripping out of their hands and the person wasn’t sure what to do with it all. Jo reiterated that she didn’t know who it was for, but if it was for you then to come see her.

I didn’t give it a second thought. Mainly because I was in an incredibly emotionally, overwhelmed place and also because I didn’t WANT to hear it.

(you see where this is going don’t you)

So that evening after worship was over I had two people come up and say they thought of me when the “jam hands” picture was given. Why? The week prior I had made a wedding cake and the filling? Raspberry jam.

But, like I said I wasn’t in the place or the mindset. And also like I said in this last blog; I feel as if God has been “saving thoughts” for me and this thought; this picture was one he saved for me.

A couple weeks later during class we were doing the process of identity mapping and while Zach was getting his done I suddenly had this thought:

What if I opened a secondhand bookstore?

There it was. A random thought in the middle of class on a Thursday morning.

What if I opened a secondhand bookstore and taught creative writing classes?

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I wrote a little more and then stopped.

What if I taught story? Through everything in this little bookstore.

Through creative writing, through baking, through book clubs, through sharing and laughing over good food.

 Wow.

Since going on the world race I’ve known that for the rest of my life I want to sit across tables from people. I want to hear story and see what is going on the lives of those around me.

I am honored that I get the privilege of hearing what God is doing and being able to speak into what God is doing and where he is going in someone’s life.

I’ve also known that I want to tell my story and let other’s use it in their lives.

I want to teach things that are good for the heart. I want to use the things I have been given to speak into other’s lives.

I want to create a space out of which people can MOVE.

But my thought prior to this random moment of revelation was where in the WORLD can I do this? Is this just a lifestyle that I am going to live? Is this a ministry I will step into?

But there wasn’t enough for me in that.

And then sitting in the class in the middle of the morning I just knew.

I knew I had found something that was more.

I knew I had found something that terrified me.

I knew that I was standing there with jam on my hands

Later that same afternoon I did my identity mapping up front. And one the questions that was asked of me was this: Where do you see yourself in 30 years.

My answer: Standing on my porch.

So what does that mean?

That I own a house.

WHAT?

And suddenly everything that I had ever thought was gone and I was choosing to believe in myself more. Choosing to believe that I could do more then just sit across from someone at a coffee shop.

So that’s where I am going to leave this.

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That’s where I am going to leave you.

With the fact that there is more for me then I ever actually thought possible.

I’m dreaming big, creating a plan to get there. It’s not a next year plan, or even two years, but a long term plan.

Dreaming, thinking and invisoning the future.

I’m here in Spain for 3 more months and would be honored if you would consider partnering with me in further what I’ve learned and done here.

To see ways that you can journey with me check this out.

I’ll leave you with a verse from class today; the prayer of Jabez. It encourages me to dream, hope, and long for more.

1 Chronicles 4:10

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

It gives me the courage to know that I CAN do more with all this jam on my hands.

 

Honest, Spain g42

hear that your soul may live

Hear that your soul may live.

This has been a phrase that has been in my heart for a few months now.

I first read it when the passage Isaiah 55 showed up in my “guide to prayer”.

The words strung together are beautiful. And I held onto that beauty because I needed it. It was like a life raft for me. A bit of lovely to hold onto. I think in those moments in the coffee shop in Kingsburg it wasn’t about me hearing from God. It was the knowledge that God was there.

When my preschoolers would get super excited and have something they wanted to say; when they were jumping up and down out of their seats to say something but it wasn’t the time I would tell them to “save their thoughts”.

When God showed me the phrase “hear that your soul may live” I believe he then started saving His thoughts for me. He was really excited to let me in on what was going on in his head but it wasn’t the time for me. He was storing them for a time when I would be capable of REALLY listening.

And then I came to Spain.

 A couple of weeks ago we had a week dedicated to learning about hearing God’s voice. We learned through story and through seeing how God moved and spoke and what he was like.

Most every week here, every day, every conversation speaks about hearing from God and what we have HEARD from God.

Because when we hear from God we move.

When we hear from God we live.

And where do we hear from God?

Everywhere and everything.

It’s about opening the senses to touch, taste, hear, see and smell God.

There is no wrong way or right way to hear Him.

And now as I sit in another coffee shop halfway around the world I realize my spirit is so incredibly OPEN to hear from God.

That the thought of hearing from him inspires me.

There is a flipside as God wants to hear from me.

He doesn’t just want to speak. He wants to listen.

What does that look like?

For me it’s been stopping the act of putting headphones in my ears while I walk alone and freeing my mind of noise.

it’s writing my thoughts and words down so that other people can see what I’m pondering through.

it’s being open to speak so that I may hear.

“hear that your soul may live” has become a breathe in breathe out prayer for me.

 

There were days that in order for me to take a STEP forward I had to ask God to walk with me.

And he listened and walked with me.

And I think that without knowing it “hear that your soul may live” became a prayer.

Because I HEARD God.

I heard God one Sunday morning in June of 2009 staring at myself in the mirror.

And I spoke to God.

“Could I just meet you in heaven today? This is too much for me”

And He listened.

And then spoke. He showed me a dark, windowless, doorless room. There was no way out and no way for light to get in.

Then a nightlight came on.

A really small dim light.

HOPE anyway.

HOPE in spite of.

What if I had not heard God that day?

HEAR that your soul may LIVE.

HEAR that I may LIVE.

 Those days are far from me now.

They don’t lay claim on me.

All that is left of them are tear stained journal pages and the memory of a night spent crying on my phone in a parking lot.

I heard so that I would survive.

Now I hear so I may LIVE.

Hearing from God is met now with life. Met with hope.

Not met with grasping at a shred of light.

 HEAR that your SOUL may live.

My soul is living a lot these days.

Living and listening to the joy, the color, the vibrancy, the light of life.

I’m realizing the God can speak in and through everything.

From the winds that sweep through Mijas, to conversations my roommate Katarina and I have before we go to bed each night, He speaks through His word, and through prayer and conversation.

I’ve met with a new beautiful Jesus here in Mijas. One who is life bringing and who longs for me to dream and have vision. One who wants to speak so that I can hear.

One who trusts me with the plans he has created.

I can’t wait to continually learn about this lovely, light filled Jesus, to speak and listen to what he may have for me and others. To change the way I see things.

I can’t wait to continually, daily live.

Hear that your soul may LIVE.

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Honest, To dream

It always comes back to my thesis statement

I have a BA in English, and while it is a mostly useless degree it did give me a chance to come to terms with this fact:

I love thesis statements. And I hate tangents.

Yes, there are some great reasons for tangents. I remember in my AP Lit and Language classes in High School I would get SO annoyed when tangents would happen. (So much so that Becky, Stephanie and I made “Hi Topic!” signs)

Going off subject, off-topic, on a tangent makes everything BLURRY.

You forget why you started the conversation, what you’re doing. Why you might even be there.

My life feels blurry right now.

Not necessarily like I’m on a tangent, or am on a part of the path I’m not meant to be: but I keep feeling like I’m forgetting my thesis statement.

I’m discouraged

It’s been a running theme of my life when I’m in a preparation season. Now, this isn’t saying prep seasons are bad for me. In fact, they are probably some of my favorite seasons (in retrospect of course). Preparation happens before launch.

The summer before my freshman year in college. The summer before I was W.C. President. The season before I worked at the preschool. The months leading up to the race. These months leading up to Spain.

Everything is a battle. People telling you to do something different. To not go the way you are. People literally becoming hurtles in your life to stop you from the next move.

In all of that though, you know when the prep ends and the launch begins.

But I’m discouraged because the line of prep and launch has gotten blurry. Emails aren’t getting replied too, phone calls aren’t getting replied too, my excitement wanes.

It makes it blurry.

But then, there is a moment, a conversation where the line between prep/launch is less blurry. Where I am able to say this is why I am doing this thing that makes no sense.

And someone understands.

They get it.

piclab-2

And I’m filled with joy, because that peace that filled me sitting on a couch back in Georgia with Tiffany while tears flowed down my face returns.

I’ve had 3 of those conversations. One with a friend over Skype, one with a dad of an old high school friend in the middle of a grocery story and one with a good friend over the phone.

The tears are coming now just thinking of those moments where someone was able to comprehend this dream I have for myself and for others.

The tears came when I woke up one morning and my dad had sent me THIS on Facebook:

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goodness.

I’m still taking it one day at a time. And every day as it gets closer to April and I realize that I might not be getting on a plane as soon as I want I get discouraged.

It’s rough when the line between prep and launch gets blurry.

It makes you forget the why. It makes you forget your thesis statement

It makes you forget the peace that you felt the moment you knew that this is what you were meant to do for the next step in your life.

The blurry causes you to want to move farther off track so you forget the pain you feel each moment your dream has to get differed a little more. The blurry causes you to squint your eyes so much to see the end that your head starts to hurt.

I need to REMEMBER to go back to my thesis statement daily.

Back to that moment where I KNEW.

I’m bringing myself back to Georgia. To crying on a couch with a friend, to writing a mission statement that would impact my thought process and to the knowledge that I have a God that has this plan for me and He will walk with me through it, the good, the bad and the blurry.

So, amidst the tears falling on my keyboard, amidst my heart hurting in the blurry, I want to leave you with my words. The words that empowered me and reminded me where I was meant to go in this life. The words that I am excited to take to Spain to define something, to create something. The words that will help heal me, and one day, with Jesus help me show others the way to life.

piclab

My friend, wherever you may be, whatever you may be working on, hoping for, planning to do, whatever has been stirred in your heart to move towards- if you are feeling discouraged, if you are feeling in the blurry–look back to your thesis statement. Be reminded why you are moving.

Be encouraged that life happens in seasons and whatever is going on now is bringing you to the next- and it’s important. Even if it feels blurry, or away from the topic.

Be blessed.

(to read more on how you can partner with me in going to Spain check out journey with me)

To dream

Clean slate to dream

Whenever we came back for the second semester in college my friend Hosanna and I loved to go Target to get new school supplies. There was something gratifying in setting the scene for a new year. And it was better then the first semester because the target aisles weren’t filled with kids whining about going BACK to school. January was a bit more quiet and normally a Starbucks holiday drink could still be purchased for the shopping excursion.

And yes, we were kind of dorky. (we were also English Majors)

But I, without fail, always got the planner that our school bookstore sold because it had September to May (and in my head that made so much more sense). So when the new year came I didn’t need a new planner. Though, I must say, I love new planners. I really can’t get behind the whole technology planner thing. I need to actually pencil things in, cross them out, feel accomplished as I moved to a new week.

My planners in college were straight up crazy.

So even though I didn’t have a new planner when that semester started I had fresh notebooks, new books, new classes.

I had a clean slate.

And each year AFTER college seemed to be filled with more darkness then the one before and all I wanted was new. All I wanted was a fresh start. And when the year 2013 came around I got it.

I went on an adventure around the world. I held babies on 4 continents, heard stories of widows living in shacks in Mozambique, talked with women selling themselves on behalf of their family in the red light districts of Bangkok. I went on an adventure and found so much more of the joy in my life amidst the pain and hurt.

So now, once again, it’s a new year. And on new years day over a cup of coffee my friend Jolene’s roommate Sarah told me about “a clean slate to dream”. That the new year is a time to wipe the muck and grime off of the white board and start new. Start with a new dream. Believe in a new dream.

What a wonderful whimsical beginning to a year.

This year I have a new start in so many ways. I’m a new person with a new heart. New passion, new relationship with Christ. I have seen so many things, heard stories, felt stories and realized what actually is the heart of my story.

I’m writing the next part of my story. And I am going to write it here. A new page. A blank screen.

I have a clean slate to dream and a new desire to show up to my life.

Let’s see what happens.

To check out my adventures from 2013 click here

To find out more about me (or send me a message) click here

And to read more about a wind like this check this out