Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Now, I Stand.

The days go past.
The sun rises and lowers.
The weather changes.
And still, I wait.

The run gets tiring.
The pace quickens.
The energy wanes.
And so, I sit.

The tears flow.
The smiles fade.
The questions start.
And then, I kneel.

The hands clasp.
The prayers rise.
The listening deafens.
And here, I stay.

The end is without sight.
The understanding still unknown.
The peace washes over me.
And now, I stand.

I wrote this poem as I was spending time praying the other day. It's a little raw, a little real, and an overflow of the prayers and struggles I've been daily giving back to the Lord.

So, I was meant to be returning to Scotland this past week. The intention was always to go back to Scotland after the missions conference but, with the sponsorship/visa process being delayed, I am still here and have yet to purchase a return plane ticket.

I won't lie and say that my attitude has been great regarding all of this. I've run the gamut of emotions from frustration to confusion and questioning whether the Lord really wanted to send me back to Scotland in the first place. After a restful Christmas, and some of the conversations and messages at the mission conference, I can still confidently say that I am still called to Scotland, even if His timing is different from the timing we established.

These are few verses that have held me in peace over this season and given me hope:

Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! Psalm 27:14 NKJV

Even in these times of unknown, I know who I need to be focused on and waiting on. It is the Lord alone who will open the right doors for me, at His right time.

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4:1 NKJV 

This verse was the beginning of a message at the missions conference. One thing the speaker said stuck with me: (paraphrased): Serving God is an undeserved privilege, given only by His mercy. You don't choose whether you will go or stay. The One (God) who called you into ministry is the only One who can call you out." In all of this, because of His mercy, we do NOT lose heart.

So, in light of all of this, I would covet your prayers: that the process would continue along at the Lord's pace and, in the meantime, He would sustain me in His peace and patience.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2014, Hello 2015

As many of you already know, the Christmas and wintry season is my favorite time of year. There's something in the scent of cinnamon, cranberry, and pine that brings about nostalgia. Much of that nostalgia turns into an chance for me to look back and see the great milestones, peaks, and valleys that have made up the year in review.

After Christmas, New Years comes and as I think over the year, I am reminded of all the Lord has done in my life and in the lives of those around me. I can look back and praise the Lord for all that He has done.

If you have a moment, this Rend Collective song's lyrics seems like the perfect way to wrap up my year (and hopefully yours as well) in praise to the One who guided and directed us along the way. (Here is a link to the lyrics as well).

So really, I just want to extend my gratitude to each of you. Since I can't be around all of you as often as I'd like, I want to thank you for the extra bits of communication I get from you through out the year: I love getting emails and letters from you guys giving me updates on your lives.

When I see you pop up on Facebook or in iMessage (even with just a quick "thinking of you" or "praying for you"), it reminds me that this ministry the Lord has called me to isn't just mine. You are all an integral part of it. You hold me up in prayer to the Lord as I raise my hands and let Him guide and use me along the way.

For this, and so much more, I am so grateful to the family and fellowship the Lord has brought into my life in 2014...and for what He has in store for 2015. So with that, I say

Hello, 2015. It's nice to see you.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Prayer of Thanks

I sat here a few nights ago, thinking about what I am thankful for as we come upon another Thanksgiving. I have to admit, this is one of my least favourite holidays...but it's one worth celebrating. Not because it is the last remaining holiday that keeps us from going into full-blown Christmas mode. Also not because of the food, the football, or the shopping afterwards. 

But because it is a day that should be celebrated as it's spelled out in the day's name itself: giving thanks.

I have so much to give thanks for. The greatest of these things is God's love and sacrifice that I might live my life fully in His hands. Giving thanks should always start with His sacrifice. From there, the list just begins to fill itself out...

So I wrote down a small prayer of thanks that I want to share with you.

As we gather once again, on a day that we have set aside to give thanks, I want to thank You...
For the sound of laughter, the chatter around the table, the unnecessary words and the words unspoken, thank You. Without the times of tears, we wouldn’t know how to laugh together. Without the words, we wouldn’t know when to be silent. and without regret, we wouldn’t know when to speak up next time. 
For every hug, eye roll, sarcastic joke, smiling face, and story told, thank You. It reminds me that around us there is joy and grief to be had, surrounded by those who keep us on our toes. There are people I share this day with who will continue to challenge me into a new person, tell me truth, and not be afraid to share the good and the bad as it comes. 
For the smells coming from the kitchen, the burnt bread, the leftovers we will have tomorrow and those who brought the feast to the table, thank You. It leaves me knowing I will have a full stomach and a full heart. It reminds me that we aren't the only ones celebrating today and that tomorrow as we gather at a different table, You will provide for us again. 
For the memories I've already made and the ones being made today. For the memories we wish we didn't have and the ones we never will, thank You. It is no mistake that each person is here today and it wasn't a mistake where we were ten years ago. Tomorrow is in Your hands and for that we are thankful. We trust that the memories You keep us from making and the ones we have yet to make are all crafted by Your hand.
Thank you, Lord. For your love. For your sacrifice. For all that you have done for me and for those I love. Thank you. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

I am here.

I am here. 

Sitting in an oversized chair, facing the window. 
The fog rolls along the horizon, narrowly kissing the ocean as the warm rays of the sun fights to overtake it.
The sea breeze billows through the open window as the salty air assails my senses. 

I am where home once was. 

I am sitting among friends - fellowshipping among family.
Those I will see are those who know me, whom I have known for many years. 
They have seen me grow up - from childhood to adulthood, from a baby in Christ to a missionary. 

This is familiar. 

I am home once again, navigating a new familiar, an old unknown. 
Faces I love and longed to see from a distance are now a part of my every day. 
And the sun still rises and I watch it lower itself daily, adding to a passage of time that I want to slow down and gain speed simultaneously. 

This is my now.

Until January, when everything becomes the new normal. 
When I return to where I left my heart and my new family, and once again restore new. 
To my new normal, with confident refreshment. When I will look at the sun fighting behind the clouds, the wind and the rain cascading down the hills and can finally say, 

I am here. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Ministry Update

Hello from Morro Bay, CA! 

I'm sitting here overlooking the Pacific Ocean, back on the central coast, and excited for this coming {albeit short} season. I arrived back on August 26th and have been enjoying spending time with my family in Orange County and Bakersfield...but now I am here in Morro Bay and looking forward to all that the Lord has for me during my time here! =)

So, here's some questions regarding my furlough I thought you all might like answered.

How long are you here? 
I plan on flying back to Scotland around January 15 (along with a two year missionary visa!!). My furlough is a bit longer than a regular furlough due to a few reasons. Mainly, obtaining a new visa, renewing my passport (that is about to expire), fundraising, and spending the holidays with my family. 

What will you be doing while you're in the states? 
I will be spending most of my time serving at Shoreline Calvary Chapel (my sending church), fundraising, and sharing/speaking engagements (either sharing about my ministry, what the Lord has been teaching me, or my testimony). In addition to that, i will be focusing on getting everything squared away for my new visa, and getting to spend the holidays with my family before I fly back to Scotland in January. 

Where will you be? 
I will be mostly staying in Morro Bay, CA but plan on travelling for various reasons while I'm here. If you're in CA, and especially on the central coast, I would love to see you! 

How can we help? 
There are a few ways to help: firstly, prayer! Please pray that my time here would be fruitful and used by the Lord. Whether you're getting this update and are in another country yourself, or are busy and want to cheer me on from a distance, prayer is the best way to do that! 

Secondly, I would love to get a few speaking/sharing nights on the calendar (especially for those of you who live outside of the central coast). If you are involved in a church that would like to hear a missionary update, in a bible study that might want a guest speaker, or a ministry that could find encouragement in hearing the Lord's story in my life, please let me know! I would love to set up a date/time with you/your church! 

Lastly, if you're here on the central coast and would like to be involved in a few fundraisers on the horizon, please let me know. I've got some fun Christmas-themed fundraiser ideas that will hopefully be in the works soon. =) 

When can we see you? 
I know that right now, 4 months seems like ages and that I will have plenty of time to see everyone before I head back...but then Im going to blink and be like "what happened to the last four months?!" So, I am currently in the planning stages of an update time at Shoreline and a few sharing nights in the next few months. I will send out an email when I have those dates and hope to see many of you during those times! 

Again, if you have any more questions about anything please feel free to email me! Thank you so much for continuing to join me on this journey and praying for me. =) 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wind & Waves

A few weeks ago, a section of verses kept coming up through various avenues: reference verses at church, in personal devotions, in conversations with friends. After about round 4 of this, I decided the coincidence wasn't to be taken lightly and I would memorise them.

I am terrible at memorising anything that isn't a song--not because I can't, but because of the disciplined action I am required to do. I can memorise a song without a second though, no problem, but straight line memorisation has always been a bit of a struggle for me. 

So, I wrote the verses down, and started repeating them back to myself...one at a time. Finally, I got to this verse:

I stopped memorising. I couldn't continue because I felt like I didn't quite understand it. Why would the Lord choose to command and raise the wind which, in turn, lifted up the waves of the sea? I asked God why He didn't just command the waves to be lifted; why didn't He just leave the wind out of it?

I was reminded that His ways are higher and greater than mine and that He chose to use the wind to affect the waves. He could have done it differently, but He didn't.

A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

I finished that day having memorised one small verse, but having been filled with His peace. I walked away knowing that He was in charge of both the wind and the waves and if He would choose to affect the waves by the wind, who am I to argue?

Then, he caused some wind to rise, the waves were lifted...and, as a sheep gone astray, I forgot all that He taught me.

I had been growing increasingly exciting about a specific ministry opportunity and, seemingly out of nowhere, plans fell through and I was no longer needed to serve there. The wind came up and completely tossed me about like a wave at sea. It wasn't me that changed. It wasn't my plans that were moved, it was something else that happened, but inadvertently affected me...and I didn't like it.

 I thought one way, God thought differently. I thought I knew what was best, God knew better. And not two days after memorising and meditating on Psalm 107:25, I was experiencing it first hand.

It took me a bit of time to be reminded of that peace I had when I first understood this scripture. It took repentance from my frustration and hurt. It took relinquishing my own plans. It took His merciful and gentle voice to calm me and give me a refreshed trust in His direction.

In the end, with the reminder of His Word, I was able to dwell on the times I have been affected like the waves...and the times the Lord has used me as the wind. I felt a peace knowing that regardless of His plans, it was for a greater purpose and I am blessed to be used for and by Him in whatever capacity He chose.

And it has renewed my joy in meditating on scripture and raised my trust in His "cause and affect"actions in my life.