Sifting Through Words

30 Mar

It’s been over 2 years since I’ve written here. A lot has happened in those 2 years. A lot of tears shed, a lot of rejoicing & celebrating. A lot of emotions and uncertainties tied with learning how to navigate new terrains. A lot of bumps on the road and learning what it looks like to be an adult. A lot of standing back up after feeling like I fell down and a lot of letting others in so they could help pull me back up. A lot of sweet moments have filled these 2 years as well – walking down the aisle to my groom probably being the sweetest.

Marriage is sweet and where it feels like I’ve been sifting through words, trying to find the ones that best fit what’s going on in my heart and mind, he is the one who gets the babbles. Who looks past the words that I try to fit and goes to the deeper meaning behind them in my heart. Who sees me at my worst, yet loves me in those moments the same way he does at my best. He is my reminder of God who has been near.

Even when words have not been near, He has been near. I forget that in my sifting, in my grasping for understanding.

I let fear write my story, my emotions when I forget.

I’ve been thinking about blogging a lot lately. How good it is for me to sit and stop and try to put words to the thoughts in my head. It becomes an “ah ha” moment for my soul. The formulating of what’s been going on. A written stone to remember the places in my heart that God came. That He was near.

I love that “Trust Furiously” became my anthem years ago. It reminds me again today, even now as worry and fear try to sneak in, that furious is not passive. I can trust God. Even when my emotions don’t line up and I’m sifting through words, He is always trustworthy. Here’s to the journey of trusting, dear friends. During the times you feel like you understand and especially during the times when you feel as if you’re sifting through words.

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18 Mar

Living the nomad life this month and finding my heart is scattered.

Sweet, fresh memories of warm days, cheesy jokes & a full narrow life in the beautiful island of Haiti.

Dear friends and an even dearer boyfriend in the familiar, comfortable Waco.

Immediate family in Houston and DC – finding and creating home with people rather than a familiar place.

A new home awaiting me in Boston, where this leap of faith is somehow harder than the last one across the ocean.

And even though my heart is scattered, I’m not physically in any of those places yet.  I’m on the road, living out of the same suitcase I had on the 90 degree island driving into snow storm in the middle of March (did I mention it was 90 degrees for the last 8 months of my life?).  On the road seeing states and cities I’ve never seen before, staying with old friends who have made their own leaps to new lands, making this journey that much sweeter to see old friends show off their new lives.

The topic of transition, moving, new places and home isn’t new.  It’s talked about often as those who experience it try to get what their feeling into words.  That’s what I’ve been trying to do.  Trying to wrap my head around home and how I can have so many yet none at the same time.  How can my heart be in so many places yet my body in none of the above?

Questions of home, comfort, life, people and choices fill my mind as I drive through the gorgeous east coast and I can’t say I’ve landed on much.  The only thing I’ve come to find is how tangible the comfort of Jesus actually is.  That even though my emotions aren’t quite aligning with truth yet, I know that I know that somewhere along the way I’m going to land and I’m not taking this journey to landing alone.  He is with me.  And God suddenly feels like home when it seems I don’t have one.

One of my dear friends in Haiti gave me Skyler and Kim Walker Smith’s new album home before I left and it has been an answer to prayer I didn’t even know I was praying.  Something in me kind of cringes typing about finding my home in Jesus as it seems so over used and cheesy, but the reality of it is becoming my reality.  Home doesn’t have a physical address for me right now, but I’m safe, known, loved by many including God.  And that comfort is starting to be just the clarification I need when my soul craves security in location.

One foot here, One foot there

25 Feb

I realize I’ve been in Haiti now for 8 months and haven’t really blogged about this experience yet.  Just the truths being strengthened in me, but not actually what life looks like here.  I think that’s for a couple reasons.  Sometimes when you try so hard to find a rhythm in a new place, it becomes your rhythm, your normal, your mundane and although my rhythm has been in a location that is way different from past locations, I forget just how abnormal it is some days.  I’ve gotten use to the generator sounds, the roosters crowing at all hours of the day, the daily need to have water pumped from our well in order to have water in our house.   Finding a fan to sit by, moving around the house to find the best internet connection, cooking with what food is available at the market has become life.  A life I’ve never lived before but somehow in the every day, I forget that some people might actually be interested in what that looks like.

Although at the same time, it’s hard to explain something so outside of everyone else’s context.  No one back home knows just how funny it is when Amos pulls out his newly learned English phrases or why a three year old has breathed life into my time here.  The people, the places, the sights, the smells, the experiences are so outside of what people at home know that although I so desperately want to connect with others on life here and explain the ins and outs, I unconsciously give up knowing that because life is so extremely different here, all the explaining still won’t be able to paint a full picture.  You really can’t know this picture of Haiti until you’ve step foot inside of it.

We laugh at how different it is here – in rich, good sometimes difficult ways.  Trips away seem like a weird vortex – unable to compare you just live two separate lives.  One foot immersed in Haiti life and one foot trying to stay with American life.  I have lived here in Haiti but I still stayed some what in American life.  I iMessaged my best friends, I skyped my boyfriend, I kept up with lives in America through the handy connector called Facebook.  In two different worlds at the same time, trying to bring the two together in a messy, God honoring way.

It got me thinking about the Kingdom of Heaven and life on Earth.  Those are two totally different worlds.  The Kingdom of Heaven is one of endless life, love, peace, joy.  Life on Earth is full of pain, suffering, war, and injustice.  As followers of Jesus, it’s almost as if we have one foot on each world, trying hard to bring them together in a messy, God honoring way.  We live surrounded by horrific news updates and what seems like endless stories of injustice.  We’re faced to see those things, wrestle with where we stand in our hearts and stand up for those who can not defend themselves.  Yet because we’ve been qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of light (Colossians 1:12), we stand also in the Kingdom of Heaven with full and free access to life, love, joy, peace, justice.

It’s hard to stand in two different worlds at the same time, let alone try to bring them together.  There’s a time to be fully immersed with where you are at, but it seems as if God has gave me 2 different worlds in this season of life with Haiti and America.  And it seems more and more that He’s given me 2 different worlds until I get to Heaven.  To be fully immersed in this world looses sight of an important truth and promise God gives His people.  He has overcome the world, so we can take heart.  It’s hard to be fully immersed in the Kingdom of Heaven since we don’t live there yet, but we have full access to it.  If we stay in a bubble and try to ignore life on Earth we miss the precious opportunity of bringing Heaven to Earth – of releasing joy and peace in the midst of pain and tears.

So with one foot here and one foot there, we stand.  Trying hard to grasp how to bring two different contexts together in a messy, God honoring way.  It’s not an easy task but a righteous one to attempt.  And thankfully Jesus was pretty successful at mending the two so the more we look at Him, the easier it becomes.

Bel Ayiti, You’ve Changed Me

22 Feb

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Chè Bel Ayiti,

I’ve read in a few different places that many people come to Haiti to change you only to find out that it was in fact Haiti that changed them.  I’m here to bear witness to that statement.  It is Haiti that made me face things I had figured out how to ignore and Haiti that made me wrestle with God about things I had figured out how to stay busy enough to move around.

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It is your people who taught me the deep stand of worship and faith, the joy of simple jokes and the value of people.  It is your natural beauty that continually reminded me how big God is, how true He is and how creative He loves to be.  You were created beautifully, Haiti and although not many people see it right away, I’m thankful to have been one to have witnessed.  Your frequent multicolored sunsets, your majestic mountains, your ocean waves and your viewpoint of the stars had me memorized many days.

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Your land has seen many hardships though and your people are strong from all they’ve weathered.  Life here wasn’t always the easiest and I found myself stretched many days.  Stretched to love even in frustration, stretched to seek understanding and not stop at miscommunication, stretched to find comfort in places other than material comforts.  Most days I wished I wasn’t being stretched, but I’m thankful for who you’ve helped me become these last 8 months.  More free from fear, a deeper level of vulnerable and calmer, more thankful for a slower, peaceful, simpler life.

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You and your people will always have a place in my heart.  A deep thankfulness for how God used you to mark and shape me.  It was in your land and through your people that God spoke in real, deep ways and revealed himself to me.  I pray I leave half the blessing you have given me.

M’ap sonje ou anpil,

Kelc La

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Going Big

4 Feb

I hope everyone has someone in their life that has some crazy grace to speak directly to the raw places in your heart that you can hardly nail down yourself.  I discovered the person God strategically placed in my life earlier this year.  Within little time actually being around me, she speaks truth and hits the places in my heart that I knew were there but didn’t know how to even communicate.

So of course one of the things she has told me has been stirring in my heart.  She charged me to, “go big and live like you’re not leaving.”

It seems simple but has made me realize just how valuable of advice that is for now and for seasons to come.  What happens when you’re in a constant state of transition (one year long program, summer jobs, eight months overseas, ect) is you kind of brace yourself for goodbyes.  The tendency is to back off relationally after realizing another goodbye is on it’s way.  I did this with the end of Elevate, with my whole summer job in DC, with the end of college… trying to lighten the hit of saying another goodbye and facing another transition.

I’ve come to ask myself though, which is worse –  hard goodbyes or regret for not living in the days given?  I think I would much rather face the hard goodbye because I loved fully and gave my whole self to what was in front of me than give up days in a sacred space God has given me.

But Today He Says Yes

27 Jan

Some days, I am a forward thinker and a self-protector.

I lean towards the comfortable, the known.

When I look into the future, anxiety happens when I think about the endless possibilities of what could come.

I don’t want to move forward if I don’t know if it will turn out.  If it will be a success.

That’s risky. Scary. Unknown.

But as I follow Jesus more, the story changes.  His truth becomes real.  Experiences of success when I follow Him become real stories and not just dreams.  Not just other people’s stories.  They become my stories of seeing truth, choosing truth and walking in the goodness that always flows from choosing Him.

I create a history with God every time I choose Him, and that history gives me the courage to say the next yes.

Lately, the anthem of my heart is today God is saying yes.

I don’t know what will happen.  I don’t know if it will turn out.  I don’t know if it will hurt.

But I do know God said yes at the beginning and He’s saying yes today.  And really, that’s the best way to move forward.  Not protecting myself against the what if’s but fully embracing all His yes entails.

settling on what matters

8 Dec

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I stumbled across a quote one day on Pinterest.  It started as an innocent search for recipes to use my canned pumpkin glory find in Port au Prince and then as Pinterest normally does, it sucked me into the general gazing for much longer than intended.

Back to the quote – May my heart be kind, my mind fierce and my spirit brave.  It resonated instantly and has crept it’s way into my thoughts quite frequently lately.  Living here has forced me to prioritize and start to recognize what matters to me and what doesn’t and if those things line up with the character and kingdom of God.  Although I just lengthened my stay in Haiti, it is still short and the end is coming quickly.  In this season am I recalibrating and landing on healthy rhythms that draw me closer to the heart of God or am I letting days pass by?  My prayer is in the former but I’m finding myself more convinced it’s less about the outcomes and circumstances and more about the attitude of the heart.

No matter where I land I pray my heart stays kind.  That self protection doesn’t build a wall that keeps myself at a distance or hardens my heart from the hardship.  I feel things strongly and sometimes it’s overwhelming.  May I not back away from kindness.  May that be my natural response.

May my mind be fierce.  Always growing, learning, expanding, listening, questioning, active in what’s in front of me.  May it not grow dull or complacent.

May my spirit be brave.  May I face scary things because God says so.  May I try new things and experiences.  Would fear not steal away the full life offered to me.

These pieces, these thoughts, they resonate with me.  No matter where I land or what my surroundings I pray that God in me is transforming my heart, mind and spirit to stay kind, fierce and brave.