Where Would You Like To Go?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why Not

Eyes full of disbelief and wonder look up at me, "Really momma? I can eat it with my fingers?"  The delight in her giggle makes me smile, "Of course...why not?"  We laugh together as we both pick up a green bean and enjoy it - all without the use of a fork...sometimes it's the little things - right?

I wonder how many times I could have said "why not" but instead I chose "no" even when it wasn't necessary.

There's grace to be found in the "why nots"
There's messiness to be found in the "why nots"
There's delight to be found in the "why nots"
There's ordinary extraordinary in the "why nots"

I tend to be reflective and while it's not a bad thing - I can't change the past but I can learn from it.

My desire is to slow down, notice the "why not" moments, breathe deeply, and enjoy this day that He has given us.  You know I love Ann Voscamp's book and in it she reminds us that "life is not an emergency", what a wonderful gift it is to be able to remember and live life in the truth of that phrase.

So, if we're enjoying a meal together when we come stateside this Fall, I'm asking for grace and maybe even a giggle when our greenbeans are eaten in a less than proper way.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Songs of Deliverance

Worship is a mysteriously beautiful thing - isn't it?  Worship transports me to His throne room like little else.  Songs - new and old, the Psalms, reading Scripture, and prayer...are all ways that I enjoy worshipping my Savior.

I got to a point in my depression that worship created a sense of panic inside of me.  I seriously struggled with how I was able to worship and sing songs to the Lord when I was fighting this overwhelming sadness and seemingly loss of joy...I felt like I didn't have a right to worship.

I don't know if you've ever been there but the Lord just poured Himself out on me.  He sang and rejoiced over me - just as He promises in Zephaniah 3.  He reminded me that He is light in the darkness...and that I can stand in Him & His righteousness.

"...dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne...when the darkness seems to hide His face, I rest in His unchanging grace, my anchor holds within the veil...on Christ the solid rock I stand...all other ground is sinking sand...all other ground is sinking sand."

A new friend recently shared "breakthroughs seldom happen without breakdowns" and friends, that's where I am.

I am broken-down, in ways I never have been before...and I'm continually reminded that "broken" is exactly how I need to be.  Brokeness creates desperation.  And desperation for the One True God is indeed the perfect state to be in.  He asks for that to be our sacrifice to Him...a broken spirit; a broken & contrite heart...

"For you do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." Psalms 57:16-17

I truly feel that in the midst of this breakdown I am having a breakthrough - that He is delivering me.  The main breakthrough is realizing just that.  He is ALL that I need.  His intentions are never shaken.  He sings song of deliverance over me - even in the middle of the breakdowns.  His mercy does not end.  Worship is a must.  What else can I do?  It's quite telling of the cry of my heart to know that when I can't put two words together without weeping that my heart can still sing...it can still worship.  It's what I was created for.


Monday, April 21, 2014

The Wilderness

The Lord introduced me to a new friend this month and she shared some Scripture with me that is definitely one I am holding on to...

Hosea 2:14-15
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
    and bring her into the wilderness,
    and speak tenderly to her.
15 And there I will give her her vineyards
    and make the Valley of Achor[a] a door of hope."

What's interesting to me is that the vineyards are going to grow...in the wilderness!  And the Valley of Achor (meaning trouble) is going to become a door of hope!  What a gift!  What grace!!

I'm learning the wilderness can indeed be a beautiful place.
A hard place - but definitely beautiful.
I'm learning more than I ever have that I am a sinner.
I'm learning more than I ever have before about dependency upon Him.
I'm learning more than I ever have about how desperately I need His grace.

He's showing me that vulnerability/transparency/honesty equals more glory for Him to recieve.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Valley

This song...with this season in my life...such a grace gift.

So thankful that Chesney pointed me towards Ellie Holcomb - what a ministry has her music been to my soul as of late.  If you've never heard her, do yourself a favor and check her out!

"Come and find me in the darkest night of my soul, in the shadow of the valley, I'm dying for you to make me whole"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Whispered Word

I've stared at the blinking cursor on my screen for as long as I can.  Having some words on this page seems to help me over the initial fear of sharing this...of being transparent...of being vulnerable.

I've gone over in my head & my heart the reasons for this post and the fact is I'm not typing it for you as much as I'm typing it for Him...for me.  I've been convicted over and over again about always proclaiming His name and doing whatever I can for His glory - and I do believe He can & will be glorified through this...no matter how painful it may be for me to share it or admit to.

Some of you have hinted around & others have asked about why we are still in Joburg and not back in Madagascar...

We're here because I'm struggling with depression.

I still hold my breath when typing that word.
I am literally fighting the urge to use my backspace button.

Those 10 letters - depression - carry so much weight.  It has always been a word that I've whispered, that I've only associated with bad and horrible things, and that I've heard could never be said of any Christian.  I've only known two people who have ever vocalized to me that they were dealing with depression - and honestly I had no idea what to say to them.  I didn't understand what was involved.

I knew something was "off" when we were getting settled back into Tulear in Feburary.  There were moments that turned into days that I felt I had to literally fight for joy.  At times it seemed that I was outside of myself looking in on the world in which I lived.  I knew all the right Bible answers and I knew that He was indeed my Joy/Hope/Peace, but yet, I couldn't seem to cross over this ocean of sadness in my mind & heart.

One afternoon, in the middle of a panic attack, I had verses swirling in my head about "do not be anxious"...and yet there I was literally drowning in anxiety.

None of it made sense to me.  I was finally back "home" after being in South Africa for maternity leave.  I had an amazingly supportive & loving husband PLUS two beautiful girls whom I am able to be "mommy" to.  Where was this sadness coming from?  Why couldn't I just "fix" it?  Why wasn't He just "fixing" it?  I felt as if I were grieving when I knew I should be celebrating...which only piled on more guilt & shame for feeling the way that I was.

Thankfully, we work for an organization who takes these types of things seriously.  We were already coming to South Africa for a meeting and they said we'd need to stay until we could get things worked out.  I don't know what my plan was for what I would tell people as to why we were staying here so long...definitely not the truth.

The truth was big, scary, looming, and I was ashamed.

But a few weeks later, here I am - in the middle of a post - announcing to anyone who reads - exactly what I am dealing with, what my family is dealing with...the experts here say it's "reactional depression" and that it was triggered by the birth of Lyllian - that somewhere in my subconscious her birth triggered a grieving time for the miscarriage we had in 2012.  That grieving time coupled with the complicated hardness of life in Tulear resulted in a chemical imbalance that was changing my day to day pretty drastically.

That's a lot of words for saying that I didn't choose depression.  I ignored it the best that I could and fought against it with everything I had...but He still is walking me down this path to healing.  He's doing it differently than I prayed for - but His ways are perfect...are they not?

So, why share?  Because I am a Christian.  Because I was ashamed.  Because I had literally never heard someone talk about going through depression openly.

Because I thought I was the only one.

Here's the thing - I'm not.

But if I was, it doesn't change the fact that I am struggling with it.
I am getting better.
I do still have hard days.
It doesn't change the fact that I serve the God who is healing me.

Some will say this means I'm not a Christian.  They're wrong but it's not up to me to prove that to them.

Some will say it means that I'm not a strong Christian or that I don't have a "good walk" with the Lord.
You know what? They're right.

I'm learning how weak I am.  I'm seeing that I desperately need Him in every area of my life - every single moment.  I pray that I will never again be pulled into the desire to be a "good Christian".  There's nothing good about me apart from Him.  I want to hopelessly & passionately pursue a relationship with the Forgiver of my sins.  I want to publically acknowledge that I fall short and the only thing I am deserving of is hell.  I also want for everyone to know that my Savior...my good, perfect, holy, just, and loving Savior desired a love relationship with me - just as I am.  He desires to transform me so that I do not stay the same...not just a one time transformation but a daily, hourly, minute by minute transformation to look more like His Son Jesus Christ.

I am earnestly praying that He is ever so glorified through it and that there might be even one person which one day we will cross paths, and I can hold their hand, and look them in the eye and tell them "I've been there and here's what the Lord did in my life".






Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Broken Beautiful

what does it mean to be a 
"good wife"?
"good mother"?
 "good Christian"?

is there even such a person?

days are often filled not with feelings of success but of 
failure, 
of lacking, 
of not being good enough...

these are lies from the enemy - desperately trying to attack & destroy

i wonder about His faithfulness sometimes
not whether it will be
but why does it continue

i am... 
broken
spent
humbled
insufficient

i am a treasure in the eyes of Christ.
He makes me beautiful.
He makes my lacking attempts perfection through His strength
He has taken my fear & my shame and completely drenched them in His grace

i will never be good enough but
HE IS.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gethsemane

"Hebrews tells us that Jesus endured the cross for the "joy that was set before him".  
The. Joy.
What was the joy?  
What one thing did He gain through the cross that He didn't have before?  
YOU."

"He was forsaken so we would never be."

"You've got to preach the gospel to yourself.  When you feel abandoned, know that you are NOT."

"We do not honor God with small requests...we honor Him when we come before Him with great expectations."

"Do the size of our prayers mirror the size of His sacrifice?"


such a powerful word from the Word - take a listen