Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Announcement

I don't really make a lot of these. In general, my life doesn't undergo that many exciting changes or events. But every now and again something extraordinary happens. That's why I'm writing today.

A lot of you who will read this have probably already been told the news in person or over the phone, but clearly I couldn't do that with all of you so this is my means of delivering my news to the masses. I've been mulling over how to tell you all this for a while, and I've decided to just come out and say it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am moving to the UK in the fall.


I went on my first mission trip to Cambodia the summer before my junior year of high school and absolutely fell in love with missions. By the time I got home, I knew that was what I would be doing with my life. I graduated high school last year and wanted to immediately dive into the field but God told me no, not yet. So I waited for months, watching all of my friends go on fantastic trips and adventures. Being patient was the hardest thing in the world. It took everything in me not to just pack up and go.

But then, earlier this year, I found Greater Europe Mission and all of the waiting made sense. I applied for an internship and the next thing I knew I was accepted and prepping to leave for an 11-month mission.

I'll be partnering with an organization called Streetspace Ministries, building relationships with people and being Papa's servant. I am incredibly stoked.

I ask you now to pray for me. Pray for this short season of preparation as I am about to step into unknown territory. Pray for my own heart and the hearts of those I will encounter while I am gone, that Papa will prepare us for each other. Pray that I will learn and grow in miraculous ways over this time, and that the growth will not cease when I come back. Pray for the necessary funds to come in and that I won't stress about them. But most of all, pray that I will be Papa's hands and feet, touching people and corners of the world and filling them with Spiritfire.

Thank you, all of you, for supporting me all of these years and now as I move forward. It's good to know you all have my back in prayer and in love and in life in general.

To this next step I raise my glass.

Here we go.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Life is too short to dance with ugly men.

This is one of many wonderful pieces of advice that I have gathered from my Abuela over my almost-nineteen years of life. I've received dozens of little tidbits of wisdom from her (most of which sound absolutely ridiculous out of context) but this one is undoubtedly my favorite.

Let me tell you why.

Both Abuela and I are firm believers in the idea that the world would be much happier if people spent more time dancing. Dancing alone in the kitchen, dancing in the rain, dancing with each other, just dancing. But never, ever with ugly men.

Now when I say "ugly men," I don't mean men who are physically unattractive (though I am certain that that is at least in part what Abuela meant). I mean people who are ugly on the inside, those who are manipulative and dishonest and cruel. I truly believe that every human being at their core is good. We were made in the image of God, after all. An "ugly man" is any person who does not live up to the goodness that he has within him and walks in a life of disrespect to others.

Women, so often, settle. On less that what they deserve, on people who use them, both in romantic relationships and in friendships. We desire so greatly to be loved by someone that anyone who shows us any sort of affection automatically wins our hearts. We fling ourselves at men freely and without withholding, and all this does is wreck us.

Men do this too though. They desire approval and respect, only to be constantly talked down to by those that they only want to make happy.

Human beings are wonderful, beautiful, brilliant creatures, so precious to our Father. But we don't get that. And that is why we so often find ourselves dancing with ugly men.

I am unable to count the number of people with whom I have interacted who have been hurt in one way or another by an "ugly man." Too many have been led on, strung along, used, abused, beaten down, rejected, broken, tossed aside, and treated like they're not the precious gold I know they're made of. The actions of parents, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, have ruined them and led them to believe that they are undesirable and unworthy of love.

Ladies and gentlemen, listen to me. The only Man that matters is the one who paid infinity for you. He thinks that you are worth the most priceless thing in the universe and He freely gave it so that you may see:

You are brilliant.

You are powerful.

You are talented.

You are breathtaking in every sense of the word, and He is the ultimate authority on that subject.

This goes for everyone. Men, women, boys girls, whoever you are, wherever you are from, I need you to hear me on this. You are worth so much more than the one who treated you like you were nothing led you to believe. Please understand how wonderful you are.

I ask you now - all of you - to stop dancing with "ugly men." Stop pouring into relationships that are draining you, stop feeding into lies and self loathing, stop doing life with people who put you down, talk negatively about and to you, and treat you like less than infinity. You deserve respect if only because you are a human being.

But don't you dare stop dancing. Dance with the dreamers and the edifiers, the ones who see your beauty and love to describe it to you. Build a support system of dance partners who rejoice in your successes and stroke your hair when you weep. By all means, do not settle. You shouldn't have to.

Life is too short to spend it with those who do not see how amazing you are.

But life is too beautiful not to dance through with people who do.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let's Talk About Fear

Okay. I've written a ton here about courage and what it is to be brave and the word fearless and blah blah blah. But never have I directly addressed the topic of fear. This is one of those things that I am really ridiculously passionate about, so forgive me if I rant a bit.

Fear is the opposite of love. Hate is not, hate is just the deepest absence of love that there is. In fear one becomes closed, in love one expands. In fear one hides, in love one is exposed. In fear one becomes lonely, in love one is lost, hence there is no question of loneliness at all. Love is perfect though, and therefore stronger than fear. Love wins every time. Unless. Unless we choose to let fear take over.

See, fear is one of those things that only can shove its way into our lives if we let it. At all times we have the option to be brave, to be strong, to not let fear win. So why do we? Honestly, I think it's because we were taught to. Since we were children we were told that it is normal and even good to be afraid of heights and the dark and strangers with candy and windowless white vans. But there is a very big difference between being afraid and being aware.

To be aware is to be smart, to be on your toes, and to keep your eyes open.

To be afraid is to not trust God to take care of you.

This will probably annoy some people. But I can't be any more clear than this. Fear says, "I am in danger and I need to protect myself." It completely throws away the idea of a divine Creator whose every word echoes with the phrase, "I love you." How dare we be so concerned with ourselves and our own well-being that we forget how much more He is.

I think fear is all in our heads. It's made-up. It is looking into the future and seeing a negative outcome which may never even happen to us at all. It's pessimistic and it is not something that I will not allow access to my life.

This is another one of those things that requires that I retrain my brain to think a certain way. For eighteen years I was told that fear is "normal". And maybe it is. But it's not good. And I cannot, will not allow it a place in my heart or my mind.

I am not afraid to sit with strangers in a park downtown after dark.

I am not afraid to walk down a dark alley wearing short-shorts.

I am not afraid that I will contract cancer or be unable to have children or die in a plane crash.

Look at the One to whom I belong and give me one good reason why I should be.

I've seen a man's leg grow, hundreds of dollars show up in people's bank accounts out of the blue, forest fires stop in their tracks and flame out for no "logical" reason. Well, I abide by a different set of logic, and fear is not a part of it.

Joshua 1:9, Beloved.

Be free of the cage of fear.

It has no right to you.

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