Monday, December 31, 2012

The proof.

This morning I woke up to a message saying we need to book our April flights for Africa very soon and do I have the funds? I began panicking. I knew we'd need to book in January, but it crept up so fast. As far as I knew, I had zero dollars in my Agape account. To calm myself down I began reciting the 5 point pledge:
1. God is who He says He is.
2. God can do what He says He can do.
3. I am who God says I am.
4. I can do all things through Christ.
5. God's word is alive & active in me.

30 minutes later Lisa calls me to inform me that she's checked my account and I have $900. BOOM. Almost half of what I'll probably need and I didn't even know it!
What more proof would anyone need?!
When you know you've been called to something, jump in. DO IT. Stop making excuses. He's got your back!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The voices.

A few days ago, I began really worrying over the financial aspect of Africa. God has worked out a very confident and strong spirit of peace within me over the moving halfway around the world, being thrown into a new culture, working with difficult kids, etc...
But when it comes to finances to do all the above, I began to freak out.
There's a voice that likes to play in my head when it comes to money. It's subtle. It's quiet. It even has a wise and sophisticated sound to it. Like it knows what it's talking about and I am the fool who's being utterly ridiculous by believing anything other than what it says is truth. This voice is constantly telling me that nobody will support me. Look around me. Do I really think I'm just going to have the money I need to do all this handed to me? Why in the WORLD would anybody just hand me money, anyway?! No. Nobody cares. I won't get the finances I need. I won't be able to go. So just give up.

You've heard this voice, haven't you? It's familiar, isn't it? Shouts at anybody who has even the smallest inkling of defying American Christianity in the name of something bigger. In the name standing up to our selfish, lazy culture and of changing the world. It's the voice of the enemy. Being as sensical and wise as it can. Trying with everything to have us believe we can't do whatever huge thing Jesus has given us a vision to do. It's too hard. Too expensive. Too inconvenient. He knows if he can only succeed in this one thing-just get us the listen-it'll stop us from being effective and we'll settle for normalcy and comfort.

The scariest part of listening, of succumbing, is the fact that in order to agree and settle back into normalcy we have to make a decision that this voice is correct. In doing this, we must also decide that God isn't bigger. That he can't possibly provide whatever it is we're needing. That He can't do something beautiful with us. And if only we understood who it is we were dealing with, I think we'd fall flat on our faces in shame when realizing we'd even entertained the possibility that He can't. Can't is not in His vocabulary. And we need to remove it from ours.
Be brave. Listen to the right voice today.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Midnight thoughts.

I'm struggling with Christmas this year. I miss my grandparents like crazy, especially my grandpa. I'm feeling stress over the year to come. I'm really aching over some relational crud that I know I need to let go of or be controlled by. This time of year always seems to make me extra lonely and aware of my singleness and desire for family of my own. I have an outrageous urge to lock myself away somewhere with an overload of Cajun food, a box of tissues, and several seasons of Little House on the Prairie until Pa conquers all and the world is right again. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll maybe never feel quite comfortable. Or if perhaps I will actually be more in "my" element once I'm living in Kenya. Either way, this world is not my home. I'm just passing through. And God is who He says He is. God can do what He says He can do. I am who God says I am. I can do all things through Christ. God's word is alive and active in me. Today, I'm believing God.

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Kenya.

Okay. Here's the news. The beginning of the mightiest and grandest adventure.

Conversations with Jesus. (Part 1)

One of the things that infuriates me most about American society and culture is the extreme fast-paced and busy lifestyles we live. I've been hit hard lately with the reality that a hectic and busy life not only drowns out the voice of the Holy Spirit within us, but blinds us from seeing what it is Jesus has been doing and the thread of what He's weaving through you and your life. Too often, I am found attempting to carve out time to fit Him into, rather than carving my life around Him and what He's doing as the centerpiece. Busy must be one of satan's favorite tactics. It works on all of us.I was asking Jesus this week what it is I need to be doing right now. This has been one incredible year, full of Jesus doing crazy and huge things-one after another. Things that would take too long to tell today but that would shock you and send a holy chill running up your spine. And I'm still processing a lot of it. One of the bigger things He's doing is moving me towards a long-term time in Africa. I have been trying to figure out details for a while, and it's been driving me bonkers not to have all the answers and all the dates and any of the money. I've been striving and wrestling over-time in my spirit over what I feel is a need to have it figured out. Yesterday as I was driving I was again asking God about it in a very similar way to a 3 year old questioning her mother about things."But when? Where? Why? How are we? Now?.....Now?.......uh, now?" (Sometimes I remind myself of the seagulls on Finding Nemo. "Mine?")Out of the blue, He shushed me quite quickly. As a light turned green I was switching into first gear and my hand kind of hit the power button to the radio. And a song came on. A song I know. And love. But in that moment, it took on a whole new meaning. You see, I know the backstory of the song. I know the moment that Mike Weaver was totally and utterly shocked by Jesus saying these words to Him. And as I was thinking about it, Jesus told me, "This is you, too. The backstory is you. You strive to do, do, do. You want to have it all together and all figured out because you're 30, single, and don't even have your own place. You're a loser in our society's eyes and you want to have it all together so that you'll look better. But I want you to STOP. I want you to truly sit in and fully realize THIS. THIS is what I care about. Work on getting this into your heart. I'll handle the rest. It's my job anyway. Quit trying to do it for me. It's not like you can do it better!"

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Recently, I've managed to find myself in a place of struggling with old and familiar problems. Those things you fight with every ounce of your being to deal with and believe that once they're defeated you will never have to see again. Oh, sometimes that happens. Sometimes the Father will walk you through something and then shut the door for good on it. But sometimes, old struggles DO pop back up. Usually when you least expect it. And usually in a way that hits hard and fast. We'd be fools to miss the importance of that right there. Just those two things alone should tell us something. Something I missed until today.

Up until today, I was really down on myself. I was frustrated at having to deal with the same old things again. I was ashamed that they haven't stayed away. And that apparently it was my fault because if I dealt with them in the "right" manner, (whatever that means), I wouldn't have them suddenly and largely in my face again right now.
But then, I began a quick overview of the book of Daniel. And I found a precious nugget there. After studying several translations, I believe I can safely say that the rather strange and intriguing conversation that took place between the angel and Daniel involved more than just words. It involved Daniel-several times-falling to his face or knees and saying "I am weak with anguish over what you're saying." And the angel picking him up and "giving him a new strength." And Daniel saying "I am so overcome I can barely breath." And the angel picking him back up and "touching his lips" and "giving him new strength." The angel even goes as far as to share with Daniel that he was detained because he was in a battle with the prince of Persia, Michael had to come help him, and he was heading BACK to duke it out some more with the "prince".
Same battle. A new round. I ask myself, what was the purpose of the angel sharing this with Daniel? To let him in on a deeper truth? Perhaps because God-being out of space and time and all- knew how much WE could learn from that conversation?

"These verses flash a sobering warning. Overcoming demonic forces is not a once for all matter."
Chuck Swindoll

Do you get it? When satan and his legion can't succeed in destructing one area of your life, they move on and try another. But eventually, when the new doesn't work, they'll come back around to the old. And, like pitching a fastball, trying to come at you as quickly and at as many unexpected angles as possible. Struggling with an old issue doesn't mean anyone's failed at overcoming it. Or dealing with it correctly. It simply means the enemy is attacking in that area again. And before we're so quick to think "Oh, no. I can't fight this old battle again. I haven't got the strength", we need to remember something. Old battle. NEW strength. His renewing and mercies and wisdom are new each morning. He has touched our lips and given us a completely new strength each day. We may be fighting a familiar battle anew, but this time we have a new wisdom and renewed mind to go into it with. And guess what? We win. It's already been decided.

"We have to simultaneously be aware of the enemy's tactics while knowing at the same time he's absolutely nothing to fear. Go kick you some demonic behind. Because you can." Beth Moore

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shaking things up.

“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do. John 14:11-14 (MSG)

Seriously?!?! Jesus made this statement after a season of performing miracles every day, teaching the Pharisees, healing disease, and casting out demons. And then He turns around and throws THIS out there. What?!?!
Do we realize that Jesus was saying this to US?! Not to some amazing religious leader or saint. Not to some incredibly famous pastor or speaker. But to His disciples. Stinky, poor fishermen who were following Him on His journey and trying to figure Him out. Just everyday workers. To YOU. To ME. We have been given all the power and authority of the God of the Universe. To do even greater things than Jesus because the Holy Spirit is at residing and at work within us. (Let THAT sink in for a minute.) He even goes as far as to say that whatever we ask for that lines up with His character, He promises to give. Boom! just like that! And we continue to strive for normalcy? For the nice house with the white picket fence? For the new car or new gadget? We go as far as to complain sometimes that we're BORED?! I truly believe that if we are bored or boring, we are flat living out of the will of God. Something within me screams out today that if we actually grasped the truth of what Jesus says here, we would be shaking up this world. And our lives would be looking nothing like the "normal" American. You have the hope of the Universe within you. Go bring it to this decaying and hurting culture. Go be a world changer. Start being anything but normal.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The lullaby.

This is for those who wait.

Another day another waiting game
A little different but it's still the same
I am here but where's the one I'm longing for?

I'm having troubles feeling all alone
Will my heart ever find a home?
I want to hope but sometimes
I just don't know
I know I'm not the only one

So you sing a lullaby
To the lonely hearts tonight
Let it set your heart on fire
Let it set you free

When you're fighting to believe
In a love that you can't see
Just know there is a purpose
For those who wait

I want to open up my eyes
I know that all I need is time
I'm growing stronger every single day

God, I'm gonna leave them to You now
Letting go all of my fear and doubt
I can't do this on my own,
so I'll give You control
I know I'm not the only one

So you sing a lullaby
To the lonely hearts tonight
Let it set your heart on fire
Let it set you free

When you're fighting to believe
In a love that you can't see
Just know there is a purpose
For those who wait

The pressure makes us stronger
The struggle makes us hunger
The hard lessons make the difference

The pressure makes us stronger
The struggle makes us hunger
The hard lessons make the difference
And the difference makes it worth it

So we sing a lullaby
To the lonely hearts tonight
Let it set your heart on fire
Let it set you free

When you're fighting to believe
In a love that you can't see
Just know there is a purpose
For those who wait

Let it set your heart on fire
This is for those who wait

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I don't know that I've ever seriously thought long and hard about the people and events described to us in God's Word. I just know they're there. Sure.....I went to Bible school. We studied them. Some of them a lot more or harder than others. And sure, there are always the people I feel I resonate a bit stronger with. The favorite people or stories. Maybe because they have similar personalities or issues or hearts or giftings. Or maybe because they're so different. Whatever the reason, I just always assume they're.....there.

Recently God's been showing me something significant. There are so many people that have lived that could've been spoken about in scripture. So many events to pick from. Even when Jesus walked the earth, He did so much and had so many conversations. We barely know about a fraction of them.

God has been teaching me lately that I need to be aware of the stories laid before me. The importance of each person talked about. Each conversation that is recorded. Sometimes I think we forget how Holy the scriptures are. How intricately God put each an every chapter of each book together. There is reason. Purpose. Knowledge and wisdom to be gained. Truths to be learned. Healing to be had. And direction to be heeded in the Word of God. What question do you want God to answer? What are you wondering about? The answer is there. Scripture is sufficient. (If you go to HSM you have been learning this from Joel!)

Along the same line, I am learning how beautiful and unique and important people's stories are today. Each person is so intimately and intricately created. Each life-each story-so different and colorful. And there is so much to be gleaned from each other in the body of Christ. So many lessons learned. Redemption to witness. Jesus at work in ways that can not ever be denied or explained away. And in the busy-ness and self-centeredness of our culture, one of the things that is decaying in our time is the sharing of stories and experiences. The close knowledge of others in the Body. The understanding of what our friends have experienced and gone through. The way Jesus uses EVERYTHING for our good and our ministry later if we only embrace Him and allow it.

I have a friend who got married young and had a very difficult road of it at first. There was a lot of heartache in the beginning of the marriage. But God reached down and pulled her and her husband out of many pits and now they have 3 beautiful daughters and minister to others, like me.

I know a beautiful woman who had her husband cheat on her while having a young daughter at home. She had a very difficult road of self-protection and providing for herself and her daughter while continuing her education. She's now walking deeply with Jesus and is a teacher. She blesses others and touches their lives every day. So does her daughter-who's now beginning another year of college. My friend and her daughter will both tell you they wouldn't know Jesus like this if things didn't happen the way they did.

One of my best friends has been living and ministering in South Africa. When she moved, she had a hard time adjusting to the differences. It was hard to be a wife and mom and minster to others all while not being comfortable. But she is so in love now she doesn't want to leave. They struggle. They aren't getting the full support they need. They currently don't have a vehicle. Yet she'll tell you the same thing-her experiences help her minister to others and bring her to a new place with Jesus.

What's YOUR story? What have you been through? What has He taught you? How is He now using something you went through in the past? In what ways has your journey made you who you are today and brought you to where you are with Jesus now? I'm seriously asking. I wanna know!!! And
share it with others. There's always something someone can glean from it.
Don't be fooled into believing otherwise.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


You are scared.
Not many have gone before you.
This is a unique path. Not one forged many times before and definitely not one that is considered normal.
You know you shouldn't be surprised, but you are all the same.
You saw it coming. For a while, your life has been becoming increasingly crazier and more unconventional. You've been experiencing things in extremes and radicals. Things you don't even fully share with but one or two people because they'd freak many out or not even be understood at all. But things lead up to this. Special. Tender. Crazy and wild things. Those kinds of experiences that you hold dear in your heart and then smile hugely to yourself over when something reminds you.

The time is approaching. You have been preparing. Training. Waiting for this day. The day every ounce of you has been preparing for. You breathe deep. Concentrate. Focus. It's just you. No one else is there now. You and God. You take in the silence. An odd and eery peace floods you. And before you even have time to think too hard about it, you dive. Straight in. Head first. Completely in. And you move among the coolness. You may not know exactly where you are and where you're going. But you've been taught what to do. And with that knowledge, you move. You know the movements will bring you to where you need to be. And you enjoy every bit of that journey.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Yesterday pastor Rick said some things that really struck me. He talked about the Pharaohs of old. These rulers of Egypt were the most known, rich, and powerful people in the entire WORLD. In fact, they were thought to be gods. They were worshiped. And with the exception of Ramses and Tut, unless you're a history major, I can bet money you don't know the names of any of them. Am I right?

But when I say Moses or Mother Theresa, you know very well who I speak of, right? Moses had to make a choice. All the power and riches in the world as the Pharaoh's grandson, or poor and enslaved Jew? Do you think if he'd chosen the one we'd know him today? Or would his name be as fades as his grandfathers? And Mother Theresa? She didn't have a penny. She CHOSE that life. She wasn't born into it. Yet she did more for more people than we'll ever know of. And there's hardly a person alive who doesn't know who she was.

We do often think of these people as distant. We look at them and the people up front as so much different from us. We don't ever think we could be used as much as the Moseses or Billy Grahams or Pauls or Rick Warrens or Beth Moores or Kay Arthurs. But I'm realizing more each and every day that this is one of the biggest lies that emerges from the pit of hell every day. It's also one of the most common mindsets that are spread and taught today. And we couldn't be more wrong. Not only CAN God use us as much as anyone you have come to your mind right now, but He actually wants to use us MORE. Yes, more. More than we want, really. Let THAT one sink in for a bit.

I really do wonder what would happen if we actually understood our full spiritual potential and walked into it. I imagine something similar to a bomb exploding. And never-ending after effects.

Until we stop surviving and begin really living..........

Friday, August 10, 2012

What it's like.

For years, I've been terrified by the thought of being in long-term missions. I've had many fears consistently swirling around me that have stopped me from doing what I KNOW God has called me to do.

Yesterday, I was telling someone about the stuff God's doing in my life. And In the middle of the conversation, I heard Him whispering "Aye! Do you see it? Do you feel it? Do you realize it?" and my spirit immediately replied "Oh. So THIS is what it's like. Woah." and I was frozen with awe. You see, as I was explaining where God's headed with me yesterday, the fear I've experienced my whole life was absent, the biggest sense of peace I've ever known was in it's place. The uncertainty of God providing any and everything I need was missing, and confident faith that He can do what he says He can do was pouring out of my mouth. And the unsettled and uncomfortable feeling of having a life that is weird and different and isolated and not understood or able to be related to was completely dissolved. In its place was an unquenchable desire to have that very life and a knowledge that I will only be happier and more in love every day from here on out.

This is what it's like to follow Him. Ridiculously happy. Unbelievably wild. Exceedingly hilarious. And in the depth of it all, peaceful beyond understanding.

I don't care who or where you are. Don't settle for less that that.
You have no reason to.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I'm feeling particularly blunt this evening. The truth is, I struggle deeply with self image and comparison. Oh, I hate that I have to admit that. But it's true. Maybe it's upbringing. Maybe it's having gone through cosmetology school. Or T.V. Or magazines. Or jumping into the fitness world. I think it's all the above. Whatever causes it, at times it tries to eat me alive. And I admit that a large amount of the time I just about let it.

I could go into all the detail of what I've been painfully fighting with in this area. But I think I can make my point without doing, I experienced something that was a wonderful reality check for me. I saw an example of how a group of people I am usually envious of and desire approval from spend their every waking moment and ounce of energy on living for the next big event. Some of them were online talking about next year a day after arriving home from THIS year's
Shindig. As I noticed this, a very real truth stuck out to me. I could allow myself to jump back into that 100%. In fact, part of me desperately wants to be more a part again of this group of friends and all they do. However, I know my calling. My purpose. And it's not the same thing. It's not of that world. Rather than be upset over not being as "wanted" by this circle as I'd like, there's a goal to delight in. An eternal one. I don't totally have peace yet with myself as I am. Apart from the title I once had. But seeing the focus and obsession of others over something that will eventually fade tells me to stay on this path. Even-and maybe ESPECIALLY- when it's uncomfortable and uncertain and makes me give up something I think I want so badly. The truth is, in the long run, wanting to be where HE is is all that will matter and last.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Look back.

When you begin to feel frustration over your shortcomings, remember to look back and see what He's done. The work that's already been accomplished within you. His timing is not our own.

"You cannot amputate your history from your destiny. Because that is redemption." -Beth Moore

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Changing the world.

It's that feeling that sparks a light within you. That childlike spirit of wander and adventure and big-ness. The spirit we too often learn to quench because, well, adults just don't act like that. They're supposed to be proper and poised and organized and in control and in the know. They're always having the answers.

But every once-in-a-while, something happens. Without us really even noticing it. Some truth or beauty or movement within our spirit takes place and we light up. We come alive. We radiate and in that brief moment our mind and faith soar. Suddenly, God is the coolest and hugest thing in the universe and we are unhindered in our passion for Him and what He is able to accomplish. We have forgotten about work, the stack of bills, the emails awaiting return, the messy house, grocery list, and people needing a piece of our time. We are simply here. With Jesus. In His presence. And everything else fades.

That moment is soon forgotten. The tiniest little box stored in the cobwebbed corner of the attack of our mind. Tucked away with the other moments that are nice and give us goosebumps. We return to the bills and lists and emails and work projects. After all, that's just how it is. I mean, just look around you! Everyone else you know is in the exact same position. Feeling the exact same things. So what's the point here? What's the big deal?

Your world gets shaken. You realize in a fraction of a second that it IS a big deal. That despite everyone you know being just like you, maybe you SHOULD be questioning it. Perhaps you could look at things differently. What if.....just maybe.....that box needs to be dusted off and opened? What if that is supposed to be the majority of your experience rather than a rare feel-good moment? What if you weren't MEANT for that long list of focused to-dos? What if there is SO. VERY. MUCH. MORE.

Hi. I'm Elisabeth. I'm a bit nuts. I'm going to move to Africa. And minister to people. And have big faith in a God who is who He says He is. I'm going to believe He can do what He says He can do. I'm going to live against the grain and trust with full, wide-eyed and childlike faith that He will provide for me. I'm going to be weird and misunderstood and anything but normal. But it's going to be the coolest and wildest adventure in the world.

Won't you think about joining me? In what ways are you feeling a tug to follow in a way that is different? Break the mold. I mean, look who's on your side. It's not like you can lose or anything!

*Until we all stop surviving this world and begin to CHANGE it.....*

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In Due Season

"'Due season' is God's season, not ours. We are in a hurry, God isn't. He takes time to do things right - He lays a solid foundation before He attempts to build a building. We are God's building under construction. He is the Master Builder, and He knows what He is doing. We may not know what He is doing, but He does, and that will have to be good enough. We may not always know, but we can be satisfied to know the One who knows.

God's timing seems to be His own little secret. The Bible promises us that He will never be late, but I have also discovered that He is usually not early. It seems that He takes every available opportunity to develop the fruit of patience in us. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that grows under trial.

Developed potential without character does not glorify God. If we were to become a huge success and yet be harsh with people - that would not be pleasing to the Lord. Therefore, if we get ahead of ourselves in one area, He gently but firmly blocks our progress in that area until the other ones catch up.

Remember: God is never late."

-Joyce Meyer

Monday, July 23, 2012

Who I am

Today, something happened that really hurt. I left one of my "happy, safe" places feeling unwanted, betrayed, un-skilled, out of the loop, and like a failure at one of my favorite things. I had a hard time dealing with it. This song ended up in my head as I attempted to express my frustration to Jesus. I think we all need an occasional reminder of who we are. I know I really do right now.....

When I lose my way,
And I forget my name
Remind me who I am
In the mirror all I see
Is who I don't wanna be
Remind me who I am

In the loneliest places
When I cant remember what grace is

Tell me, once again
Who I am to You,
who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to You,
that I belong to You

When my heart is like a stone,
And I'm running far from home
Remind me who I am
When I cant receive Your love
Afraid I'll never be enough
Remind me who I am

If I'm Your beloved
can You help me believe it

Tell me, once again
Who I am to you,
who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to you,
that I belong to You
To You

I'm the one You love,
I'm the one You love
That will be enough,
I'm the one You love
[Who I am by Jason Gray]

Friday, July 20, 2012


Truths that're being contemplated lately......

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


"This may sound presumptuous, but I think I know why God gave me a bold
vision for my life at such a young age. He had to get to me before I was old enough to know any better. See, audacious faith starts with sanctified naïveté. There's an unquestioning optimism that comes as standard equipment when you're young. Honestly, I think it's a gift from God. Time can talk you out of your dreams. Routine can weaken your propensity toward audacity."
-Steven Furtick.

I'm not going to survive this world.
I'm going to CHANGE it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


"Discovering God's vision for your life is one of the primary ways in which God tells you about His character. Seizing His big purpose for our life is not just about figuring out what god wants from you and getting down to business. It's also about becoming intimately aquatinted with who Jesus is. It's about mining the depths of who you are in Him. And out of that revelation, you will fulfill the purpose that He put you on the earth to fulfill"
-Steven Furtick, Sun Stand Still

That paragraph is an example of what I call "God-stops". It's that sudden moment in which you're reading a book or someone says the simplest thing; and totally unexpectedly, you are hit so hard with a concept you hadn't thought about that you can't even hear anyone around you. It's like a scene from a movie. You start laughing at the shear perfection of the timing (because it's always perfect timing), and the way what you just heard is going to totally and completely alter your life and even make you seem crazy to other people. You realize that while God is indeed in the middle of an incredible work in your life, it's also hilarious. He is the grand comedian after all. If you haven't experienced these moments, I'm sorry. Ask Him for them.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sun Stand Still

"If you're not daring to believe God for the impossible, you're sleeping through some of the best parts of your Christian life. And further still, if the size of your vision for your life isn't intimidating to you, there's a good chance it's insulting to God."
Steven Furtick, Sun Stand Still

Thursday, July 12, 2012

4:00am Scramble. (hold the ketchup)

It's almost 4:00am. My eyes and mind are more awake than a cat coming alive for his nightly prowl because my body doesn't seem to remember that I'm not still in Africa. There is much that swirls and floats and comes alive in my head tonight.

I'm thinking about my baby sister getting married in two weeks.

I'm trying to picture what it would be like to finally study dance, one of my soul's deepest longings. Will i ever be able to enjoy the love & freedom that moving in that way allows? My mind calculates and guesses & buzzes as it contemplates if I will ever be able to afford lessons.

I'm choreographing a new Zumba routine in my mind. Thank you, Ladysmith Black Mambazo for the inspiration. Africa, I love your music more than any in the world.

I'm shedding some tears & wishing with a sore heart that my dear friend who's so special to me wasn't half a world away & that I could hear her voice more often. I'm beyond thankful to be someone's Squirt.

I'm thinking about being single. About being one of the only single people in any of the circles I hang out in. I'm considering the age I'm about to be and how I never talk about how painful the singleness is when surrounded by couples. And how it often leaves you isolated by accident and default. The sting is deep. However, I have to say that there's one thing my Siesta Mama Beth has taught me in the last years. One thing to rule everything. I can state in hope and wonder and trust and faith that The King must have an incredible ministry planned for anyone in order to allow them to walk in painful or difficult seasons. He never wastes anything. NEVER. That's a promise. If you don't know it, I'm telling you now. You'd better learn it. If you don't believe it, start. It's always about Believing God. Always.

I laugh at the fact that I don't know what the heck I'm doing with my life. I don't even know what I'm really good at. I have such talented friends that I always feel I stink at everything I try. I have things I'm struggling with. And I do need help sometimes. But I'm horrible at asking for help when I feel like nobody needs mine. Hmmmm. Anyone else out there? I know I'm not the only one. Yep. I'm kinda a mess sometimes. Okay. A lot of the time. Surprise! (Although you shouldn't be.)

The last thing going through my jet-lagged mind is that part of The Magicians Nephew where Jill is thirsty and needs water, but Aslan is standing by the pool. She asks Him to leave and He refuses, reminding her that if she doesn't drink, she'll die. She asks Him if He promises not to harm or eat her, and he says He can't promise. Jill learns that He's not safe, but He's good. And BAM. There's my Jesus.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

💛Falling in love💛

I am sitting on an airplane somewhere in between South Africa and Germany. With the time changes happening my body only knows it's the middle of the night outside, but I'm wide awake. This is only the first 10 hour flight today. Well, actually tomorrow. Because we're backtracking. My legs are very RLS-y and my mind is reeling.

The last few weeks have been some of the best moments of my life. Moments of God speaking to me in the midst of a lot of busyness and of working and playing with children. Sometimes the most significant ways in which He speaks are in whispers that penetrate deep into your heart and sprit. Whispers that only you hear and that you can't explain to someone with words. In fact, that's one of the largest things Jesus has been saying to me recently. That I need to know and prepare for people not to understand the journey and the choices I am embarking on. And I need to be okay with that. There are a few amazing people in my life who get it, and they are going to be the special blessing along the way. (That's an important thing for all of us to remember. Your journey is you and Jesus. Be bold and stand straight with your head high. Do what you're called to.)

I've always loved Africa. And I've wondered for years if that love could possibly mean I am meant to live there long term. Being able to actually go has been one of my biggest dreams. And I wasn't sure what was going to transpire on this trip.

I've been saying this a bit repeatedly lately, so I apologize if you're reading this for the second or third time:

Being in Africa has been a lot of confirmation. I do believe this place contains the most beautiful people, spirit, culture, and music of all the world. And spending time there is like meeting someone you have grown to love from a distance and realizing they're even better in person. And before you know what hits you, you are falling madly and head over heals in love. I honestly do not have any desire whatsoever to be traveling back to the states. And I want to be back as soon as possible. Don't get me wrong, I know at times the honeymoon wears off and it's not all flowers and sunshine. And I would miss things about home. And there's so much I don't know or understand yet about this nation. But I do believe I would love to commit to long term living here regardless.

My heart has been lost to Africa. And now comes the scary, hard, crazy, abnormal, but exhilarating journey. I have to figure out what the heck I'm gifted at and wired for, who the heck out there needs those gifts on their team, and how to find enough supporters to go do it. I'm terrified. And ecstatic. And curious. And I need to learn how to stop trying to figure it out and have the answers.

I think this is one of those times in life where I need to throw myself at the feet of the King and say "Show me what you're up to. Let me jump in. Take care of me. Provide for me." I am horrible at that. I always try to figure it out and earn it myself. Please, people. Keep me accountable here. If I'm going to do this thing, I want to do it well.

Cheers. Here's to crazy new unknown territory and the adventures that await.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday, July 3rd

Day #2 of work. We continued work on the playground, and did another day of VBS with the children. Katie and I began tracing out letters on the brick wall to paint the name of the center and a picture. Progress has been very good, so we spent a good amount of time simply playing with and giggling with the children.

Monday, July 2nd

Today we began our week at Ithembe La Botwana, the orphan care center Big Valley Grace built some 5 years ago. We began the construction of a playground for the children. And then we began the first day of VBS. We explained how God created the world and all that was in it-and that He created us in His image, and it was good. The children seemed pretty responsive. We played with them
For a while afterwards and went home loving the time we'd had. After dinner, Zumba broke lose in the kitchen for a good while and we watched all the video we've taken so far.

Sunday, July 1st

This morning we attended a church in one of the townships. It was by far one of the most amazing experiences we've had. The church took place in a tin shack. The people had more joy, love for Jesus, and complete in-abandoned faith than anyone I've seen. As I sat there watching the singing, dancing, shouting, and crying out to The King, I my heart was lost. In that moment, I thought that there really can't be a nation, people, or music more beautiful than this. This is it. My heart has fallen in love and been stolen. I never want to leave. I videotaped and audio recorded the singing and dancing. I will share this when we get home. Be prepared to fall on love.

Saturday, June 30

Today was extremely enjoyable. We went to one of the centers and did VBS with the kids. It was so much fun after having gone to the amusement park with them yesterday.

When we returned home, we found that after several days of "you'll get it tomorrow", we FINALLY received our luggage. What a happy day!!!! The evening is filled with laughter and good food and music in the house.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Friday, June 29

We are up and on the road by 7:15. We pick the kids up from both orphanages, (Thanks to the donation of several ministries at BVG and several of our supporters) about 105 in all. On the way to the amusement park, they sing songs and chant these amazing African chants that all kids know (kinda like the hand games us girls play as kids). The bus is roaring with excitement and signing and an incredible amount o energy.

The entire day is filled with the amusement park and rides and bonding with the children and laughter and pictures and fun. It is the absolute best way to bond with these kids before the up-coming week of VBS. Most of them have never done anything like this before. It is a day never to be forgotten.

Thursday, June 28

We land in Johannesburg at 8:00something am to find that only one of us had luggage. They offer no explanation other than that they have no idea why over 85 bags didn't make it. We figure it's because of the Frankfurt curfew-the were trying to take off in time. We stand in a line for an hour and report the luggage. They tell of we'll get it tomorrow.

Lisa and Cristo pick us up from the airport. They take us to a Wild Animal Lion Park. It is AWESOME. We got to do a mini drive-thru where you see different animals like Springbok (The South African National Animal) and Lions and Wild Dogs and Giraffes. The Lions walk up to your car and everything!

After the drive-thru we got to go into an area that contains cubs 6 months old and younger. We petted and played with them. I wanted to take one home. They are one of the most beautiful creatures I've ever seen.

My favorite part came next. We got to feed and play with giraffes. Not from a distance. But actually WITH them. It was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. Their long tongues are totally gross but it's fascinating at the same time!

We all stopped at the mall on the way to the compound because we needed clothes. Thank goodness when you convert American dollars to rand things like clothes can be so cheap! And thank goodness the compound has a washing machine!

We enjoy a wonderful dinner that Lisa cooked for us and get settled in for the night.

Wednesday, June 27th

We land in London at 7:00something am London time. Tired and sleepless but excited, we are told our luggage will be transferred and we prepare to leave the airport. As we walk to the exit, Jasmine speaks up, "Uh, guys, is that our luggage on the ground next to that carousel?" As she says this we hear an announcement overhead in a thick British accent, "Ladies and gentlemen, any luggage that is un-accounted for will be confiscated and destroyed. That is all." We saw our luggage. Right at the perfect time. Apparently is does NOT automatically transfer to a different airline. The downside to this was that we had to end up paying a lot to store it for the day while we went into London.

The next adventure was taking the train to Paddington Station. Once there, we had to wait in line for taxis that would bring us to the spot where our double-decker bus tour would begin. The tour was incredible. There was so much to be pointed out that it was almost impossible to keep up with the guide. We saw everything from Buckingham Palace (where they were changing guards) to Westminster Abbey to Big Ben, the London Bridge (completely adorned with the olympic arches), the Eye, and Saint Paul's cathedral. I loved seeing famous literary sights like Sherlock Holme's apartment and the streets used for Diagonal Alley and the Ministry of Magic. We even saw the building that the Beatles used for their recording studio, the hotel room that Lady Gaga stays in, and the building that Amy Winehouse lived in. London has SO much history. The icing on the cake was absolutely being able to hear and videotape Big Ben chiming at noon. What a sound!

After eating in a pub and taking some fun pictures in phone booths, we had to take a taxi back to the airport. While checking in, we were told there is no record of our flight. After a few minutes of research, the airline discovered that our flight was booked for a different airport in London-over 2 hours away! We wouldn't be able to make it even if we wanted to. There were a few moments of trying not to panic while thinking about how in the world we would afford a hotel room and a whole extra flight. But the Lord looked out for us once again. They ended up having the same exact flight out of our airport at the same time. And they put us seated near each other too. It worked out well, except for being charged yet again for some luggage. The evening began with that short flight turning into quite a long one. We took off late and landed late. When we landed, we realized rather than having a layover as we thought, our ten hour flight into Johannesburg was already boarding. At the exact opposite end of the Frankfurt airport. As we realized this, our pilot informed us that the plane had to stop in the middle of the taxi area and we had to board a bus to be driven up to the airport. This took a while, and many other people on that plane and bus were also supposed to board the next long flight with us. They were all quite grumpy.

We found out that Frankfurt has an 11:00 curfew, and the plane was not going to wait for anyone in order to take off in time. So we ran. And we ran. And we ran some more. And then realized we were only half way through the danged airport. So we ran even more. By the time we reached security we were dripping in sweat. The employees of the German airport are not very friendly. The one flight we are afraid of actually missing, and security decides that almost all of us need the third degree or a total and complete pat-down. Once we finally get through security and to the plane, we are stinky and sweaty and having to plop into our seats right away for a ten hour flight. The pilot announces that there's a line of planes trying to leave before curfew, and we worry that we won't taxi in time for takeoff. But we make it with just a few minutes to spare. Since we didn't really sleep the last night, most of us conked out for a large portion of the flight. felt incredibly long.

Tuesday, June 26th

Barely made it to the airport in time. It seemed nobody at the airport knew where we were supposed to be. At first they told us the airline didn't even open until later in the day. We finally figured it out. Then when we checked in they charged us for some bags despite the fact that Katie had confirmed via website AND phone that there would be no charge. When we boarded the plane, we discovered that our booking things months ago to be seated all together was changed without our knowledge. We were all split up for the 10 hour flight.

I didn't sleep. My body wouldn't sleep. There were a lot of movie choices, though. It was a nice way to pass such a long flight. And I watched the sun set and then rise half an hour later as we passed through time zones. That was a crazy experience!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My stupid pride & honest truth.

I've been wrestling a lot with Jesus. Sometimes I really struggle with the "why". In a lot of things. You know what I mean? I think we all do.

Lately, I have such a difficult time with why I have to constantly be up and down with health issues. It's like the moment I began eating right and exercising almost 2 years ago,it's been one thing after another.Go figure. There are probably several reasons for this. Attack against my commitment to the Lord is definitely a biggie. I believe that once I got healthy mentally, the enemy went to the physical because he knew he couldn't touch my head anymore. Lately I've found myself really wrestling with why my prayers aren't being answered. I even caught myself in the middle of a conversation with Jesus the other day in which I was saying, "I know I'm praying the right things. I'm praying your promises that you've already given! Why isn't this working? I know it's an attack and you WANT me to get healthy. To be in missions. So why not heal me? What am I missing here!?" It took a few days. And then suddenly, it hit me.

Pride. Plain and simple. Pride. I HATE being weak. I HATE asking for help. I HATE being the one needing. I delight in being Miss strong. Miss hardcore. Miss encourager and cheerleader. Powerhouse. That's the one term I have always secretly desired to be known as. When people think of me I want that image to come to mind. Like an elite gymnast or dancer. Focused. Beautiful. Strong. Yeah. Right......

I am discovering fully for maybe the first time through scripture and reminders from great teachers just how important it is to be humbly, honestly, and vulnerably weak. It may not be really fun to be honest. It makes me feel like I'm too much and not enough all at once. But I keep seeing lately reminders everywhere that when you are weak, that's when you're strong. I think it may be very possible that the Lord is calling me to be so open so that I can fully experience the Body of Christ working in the way it should. Maybe He wants my health and movement into full-time missions to be something that the CHURCH experiences and does, rather than just something I go do. Maybe this is a project and way for all of us to see Him at work and experience miracles like
never before. I'm not sure I completely understand this yet. But I can at least try to live it and hope the understanding comes.......

So, the truth. I am EXHASUTED. I feel physically weak all the time. I am scared. I am covered in hives and not sure the steroids are working. My entire body including the inside of my mouth itches BAD. I have an ear infection.I just I don't have energy to go to the gym at all. I'm freaking out about that because I usually go 6 days a week. I feel incredibly fat and freaked out about my weight. I'm sort of a mess. Strangely, I've been feeling very isolated and alone. And now I'm feeling naked for bluntly sharing all of this online. I could use some serious prayer warriors. I feel like God's calling me to ask for this big time for at least these next two weeks. This is very humbling for me. But here I am. Who wants to be praying and seeking with me for major things here? Who wants to join me in believe and asking for miracles and healing and wisdom with where to live and what to do? I need to body. The Church is my family. You're it.

I have hope. I know who God is. I know who I am. I know it ends beautifully. It's just the valleys that get hard while you're getting there.

"God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God's hands as a means. Trials, obstacles, difficulties and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith." George Meuller

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Prayer warriors, please?

Last year was the beginning of a
100%, unhindered, un-conditional commitment to long-term missions. Last year was also an important chunk of time spent working hard on a commitment to lose a significant amount of weight. Oddly enough, last year also presented a rather frightening and difficult health challenge for 10 months. And after several specialists and no help, Jesus healed me himself.

This year has not started off as a picnic. I committed to Africa this June. My heart has always had a love for Africa that is not ordinary. So this will be a starting place to see and experience a piece of it for the first time. Only a few weeks after I committed to the trip, I had a whole new batch of weird health issues begin to present themselves. What was supposed to be a normal abscess in a tooth in the beginning of April ended up being an expensive ordeal that was never healed. Over 3 weeks ago I woke up with a swollen face and painful mouth. The misery has only increased and I finally found out last week that an infection from my abscess has been circulating my bloodstream for two months and the doctor is worried about it getting into my heart. (What a buzzkill from the excitement of suddenly having these huge Angelina Jolie lips.)

It gets better. The penicillin doesn't seem to be working and I've developed an allergic reaction to it. I have hives and a swollen face and tongue this week.

It seems to me that since the moment I ended my "career" to commit myself fully to missions and becoming physically healthy, I've experienced one health blow after another. I attempt to be tough. I attempt to push hard and keep living normally despite whatever my body is doing. (I even spent this weekend in Disneyland.)
However, it has been wearing on me and I'm not sure I can be strong for a ton longer. I'm exhausted. I just want to feel healthy and vibrant and energetic again. I'm worried about Africa which will be here in a few short weeks. About my body and this trip.
I feel that this whole thing is absolutely an attack on the decisions I've made to be all I can be in Jesus. I'm aware that if we tap into it, we all have the ability to be incredible powerhouses when we learn to walk in the Spirit. And I believe there's an attempt to shut me down going on. The enemy failed with me mentally. Lost that game big time. So he's moved on to physical.

I write this today because I do believe in the necessity of the Body. I believe it takes the church. I believe there are those of you out there who have a heart and gift for prayer and intercession. And I believe that Biblically I'm supposed to ask for it in times like this. My stubborn pride doesn't like it. But here I am. Telling whoever finds this that I am pretty weak right now and would covet the prayers of those who know they're called to it. And I'll leave it at that.
I love you. All.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

World altering truth.

This just blows me away. We get to know the heart and passion of the King of the Universe Himself. This right here should change how we view EVERYTHING:
"But rather what we are setting forth is a wisdom of God once hidden [from the human understanding] and now revealed to us by God--[that wisdom] which God devised and decreed before the ages for our glorification [to lift us into the glory of His presence]. None of the rulers of this age or world perceived and recognized and
understood this, for if they had, they would never have crucified the Lord of
glory. But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not
seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefit He has bestowed]. Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny]. For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit within him? Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God. And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and
interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit]. But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated. But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him]. For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the
thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart." (1 Corinthians 2:7-16 AMP)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Miracle. [Introduction]

Miracle. What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you read that word? Dramatic healing from cancer? Lazarus being raised from the dead? Prison doors being swung open in the middle of the night by the very army of the King of Kings? Time itself stopping and the sun staying put in the sky?

These are indeed incredible things. It's difficult to really think about them without having a large sense of awe overtake you. But how often are these types of miracles something we sub-consciously view as detached and foreign? Admit it. Most of us don't hear the word today and think of what our week has been like. But maybe we should.

God is unchanging, right? Most of us find this comforting. He Word tells us that He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In it's simplest form, this means that His character doesn't change. That's what is great. By studying His Word, we can see what He's like. We don't have to guess. We can KNOW Him. Do we realize how incredible this truth is?! I don't know about you, but most of the time, I don't.

My point is this: If God is unchanging, and if we look at His heart and character all throughout scripture, we see that one of the biggest themes starting in Genesis and actually escalating throughout the new testament is a heart to do HUGE things for His people. Straight up miracles. He actually DELIGHTS in being asked to do the impossible. He THRIVES on it. And so often I think we look at that as a mindset he had. Rather than one He HAS. This is one of those issues I believe Satan himself is working overtime to keep his hand in. If he can keep Christ's Bride from getting this, he keeps her from being 1/4 as effective and powerful and dangerous as she could be.

The truth is that God still very much delights in being asked to do the utter impossible. He loves to and does perform miracles every single day. And I'm learning that we haven't been told or taught enough to ask for, seek, and expect this as a normal part of our lives. In fact, there's only one solid teacher I've ever in my life heard speak on it. Who's ever told me to ask for, expect, and delight in my God doing the impossible on a consistent basis before my eyes. Dare I suggest the lack of addressing this be an issue of unbelief within the church today?

I'm so glad I listened to my Dear teacher. I believe this person has serious wisdom & insight straight form the Holy Spirit. Over 5 years ago, I heard for the first time through them someone tell me I could desire, ask for, expect, and delight in miracles as a way of life. I was hesitant. It went against the way I was raised to "do" Christianity. I had always believed God did miracles in the Bible. But that He doesn't work that way anymore. But I tried it. And it began a wilder string of events and miracles than I would ever have imagined. This is the beginning of one incredible testimony to how amazing He is. Stay tuned for chapter 1......

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I was teaching a Zumba class yesterday. The girls were nervous about getting the steps right. I could see a few of them tense up. I realized it was because they were concentrating much too hard on each movement of each beat of each song.
So I told them. "You're makin it too complicated. Don't dissect it so much. Listen to the music. Move and flow with the music. It really is that easy. I know you think it's way more fancy or intricate. But it's not. If you listen, you can hear when the music changes. Your cue to move differently. That's all of it. Right there."

Jesus reminded me of that moment today. I was thinking about some of my friendships. Trying to sort out what feels like complicated and painful situations. I was disecting a re-accuring health issue and trying to find solutions & feeling hopeless. I was thinkin about the things I want to be doing this year with life: Moving into missions, theater, dance, blah blah blah. I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and beat up by everything. And then.....

"You're makin it too complicated. Don't dissect it so much. Listen to the music. Move and flow with the music. It really is that easy. I know you think it's way more fancy or intricate. But it's not. If you listen, you can hear when the music changes. Your cue to move differently. That's all of it. Right there."

It's simple. Believe God.
CHOOSE to love and forgive others. Always. And listen to the spirit. You don't need to over-complicate those things. Just do them. And breathe.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What matters.

2012 has most assuredly been one of the wildest years of my life.  A little over a year ago, I was on track for climbing the Starbucks and Zumba ladders. I was teaching 5 nights a week. I was losing weight. I was getting a name. And then I crashed. Physically. Sometimes God has to be a bit more extreme when we aren't listening.  I felt like my whole world was ripped from under my feet. I was angry and frustrated. But I see now why things had to happen the way they did. If I didn't crash, I wouldn't have had to slow down. If I didn't slow down, I wouldn't have realized one of the biggest truths I've ever seen.  The things I'm passionate about are GOOD. That may seem obvious to many, but it's news to me. My whole life, I've had a love of musical theater, of the arts, and of traveling and cultures. I've set these things aside for a very long time because I was taught that they are nice things, but that they are to be put aside so I can grow up and act like an adult. Find a carreer. Find stability. Save money. Grab at whatever will provide health insurance and retirement. And maybe someday, when I retire, I can enjoy some of those things I'm actually passionate about. Anyone else know this story?..... It's crap. That's what Jesus is teaching me. I'm realizing that the things I'm absolutely passionate about are there for a reason. He hard-wired them into me when He knitted me together in my mother's womb. And He did the same with you. What you love, that is not random. That's not by chance. It's with intricate intention. He wants each of use to flourish and function to our fullest. He wants HUGE things with us. And we can't do that unless we fully step into doing what we're passionate about. That's when we come alive. Call this common knowledge, but to me it's a revelation.  Hi. My name is Elisabeth. I LOVE musical theatre. I love painting. I desperately love and want to be a dancer. And I don't need to be ashamed of these things or shove them aside.  I'm turning 30 this year. It makes me really think HARD about my life, where it's going. What I'm doing. What I want. I'm getting serious about it. I've had this list hanging around for years. I think it's time to pull it back out. How about you? Are you working at living out your passions?  1.Become a heathy size 8 2.Write poetry/songs 3.Paint a mural 4.Study technical dance (Contemporary Ballet, Jazz) 5.Hang out with Beth Moore 6.Work in Musical Theatre 7.Sing with Wynonna Judd 8.Become an archer 9.Ride a horse 10.Begin my own ministry 11.Live in Africa. 12. Spend time in:      1.The Bayou       2.The South      3.Dubai      4.South America      5.India 13. Go to Disneyworld, DisneyParis, or EuroDisney

Friday, April 27, 2012

Here's a big one....'s massive.
Let's talk about measuring up.
The truth is, everybody has at least one person they're trying to measure up for. Oh, we may not really know it. We may not recognize that's what's going on. But it's happening.
Most likely, we either adore them or despise them. It may be a co-worker, classmate, fellow worker in ministry, family member. We may be nice to them every day. But we secretly get heated within ourselves whenever we think about their lives. When we look at us put alongside of them. When they are on stage leading worship every week while our talent goes un-noticed in the pew. When they get promoted & we want so badly to be appreciated & recognized instead of her just once. Who is that for you? Get that person or persons in your mind. Picture their faces. We think we hide our jealousy so well from them. We probably don't. And we spend countless moments caught in daydreaming over the ways in which we'd like to look good in front of them. Anybody with me here? Am I lying? Be honest with yourself here. Who's your person?

I have several. It's such a struggle sometimes to see what I think are such amazing lives that I want. I see these girls & want to BE them.

If I continue to dwell on these women and the way I wish I was them, or the jealousy I have over their talents and opportunities, I am going to be eaten alive. I have spent YEARS being envious of people like this. I'm learning something BIG here recently. Jealousy is fatal. It destroys. It kills me being who I'm meant to be. It chokes the person I am from arising. It creates misery, unhappiness, and throws me into a pit that will keep me prisoner from being dynamic, effective, and glorifying to God. I'm coming to realize The root of my jealousy is Insecurity. Insecurity is almost always the root of the worst decisions I've made. It's turned me into a complete idiot at times. I invite you. Test it out and see if it's true. If we stopped measuring ourselves against others, how dynamically would that change our lives?

Let's DO something about this, women. Let's get freed up of insecurity. Sure, it takes work. Nobody who's incredibly healthy, free, & effective gets there by accident. They've worked very hard to get there. If I've learned anything on my journey, it's that radical freedom takes radical measures. RADICAL freedom takes RADICAL measures. What measures do each of us need to take to flourish? Think about it.

Let's learn to look to Jesus and Jesus alone for our worth. For our status. For our identity. Let's quit using these people as our mirror. Look up.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Here's something that I've been chewing on. A thought that seems small but is actually ginormous.......

When God puts one of our issues right in our face, when we begin to see weaknesses and ugly within ourselves, there's a very specific purpose. We don't usually see it this way, but it's true.

God delights in GOOD. In working everything out to the very best for His kids. If we believe that, and I mean REALLY believe it, seeing weakness in ourselves will suddenly take on an entire new light. No longer will we be ashamed of it. No longer will we feel as if we must not allow others to see it. No longer will we have to dread the inevitable coming of these painful moments of clarity.
Suddenly, we can realize that God allowing us to see within ourselves something that needs healing, work, redeeming, improvement, is only for one reason and one alone. To be done with it. There really is no other explanation Scripturally speaking for this kind of revelation. The Character of God would only place our "ugly" in front of our face to work with us through it until we're over and done with it. He does not intend for us to stare a bad habit in the face or realize we're in a pit of some sort without taking us out. The knowledge would be no good at all if we were intended to simply sit in it. But how often so we?.....How many times have we made a statement like "I know I continue to do that. But I can't change it. It's just who I am." That's so often how we function. Trying to keep the unhealthy parts under control, constantly pushing it down under lock and key. The problem with that is, well, it doesn't work. Eventually, life is gonna get stressful. Busy. Tiring. Chaotic. And in our efforts to hold onto everything at once, we let go of the monster and it rears it's hundred-foot high head. Come on-you know exactly what i'm talking about!

Instead, the King of the Universe desires for us to be strong, dynamic powerhouses that have walked through and OVERCOME our junk so that we can 1.)minister to and affect others who may be going through the same thing some day &
2.) know Him with an intimacy that only comes from needing Him with a desperation because we can't do it on our own. And quite frankly, I'm excited. I'm excited when one of my ugly sides begins to surface a lot, because as humiliating as it can be to have others see or hear it in me, it means I have to deal with it, walk it through with Jesus and hard work and humbling myself before the Body. To be loved and valued enough by God himself that He wants to take time and work making me a more healthy and effective person? That's an honor. That's a very precious and high thing. It's beautiful beyond comprehension. Doesn't the thought just take your breath away?!

What is it for you? For me, it's comparison and jealousy. I struggle deeply with these things and it stops me from being fully the woman I'm meant to be. I'm working on it. And I'm determined to defeat it. What is it for you? How about we stand together, pucker up, and kiss it good-bye?


A lot of people are asking me what exactly we do in Mexico. Instead of giving you my view of what Mexico is all about, I thought I'd share this list of stats. I believe it says a lot more than I could.....

Day 1 – Travel to Escondido, Ca
Day 2 – Travel to Col Vicente Guerrero, set up base camp
Day 3 – Sunrise Easter Service, ministry sites for prayer, "Listen2Him" theme chapel
Day 4 – Ministry sites for service projects, vbs, outreach, pastor's conference, women's conference
Day 5 – Ministry sites for service projects, vbs, outreach, pastor's conference
Day 6 – Ministry sites for service projects, vbs, outreach, pastor's conference, student outreach concert
Day 7 – Tear down base camp, travel to Glendora, Ca
Day 8 – Travel to Modesto, Ca

Interesting Assortment of Stats:

· 117 Total students and staff
· 8 Total days donated of Spring Break
· 3 month total commitment by all students and staff
· $30,000 Raised by students and staff
· 4 days of student ministry efforts at 7 local churches including: prayer, service projects, vbs, and outreach
· 4 days of Pastoral ministry training by Spanish Team focused on learning and teaching biblical doctrines
· 1 Women's Conference by Spanish Team
· 1 Student Outreach Concert with Quimi, the students and staff, and the 9 local churches
· 1,750 Miles traveled with 7 - 15 Passenger Vans and 3 - Trucks and Trailers
· 1560 Gallons of fuel consumed valuing $6,630.00
· 767,000,000 Total tire rotations on vehicles and trailers
·42,120,000 Total engine rotations on vehicles
·1,952 Total meals served over 8 days by the cook team
· 2,160 pounds of food consumed by campers (18.47 Total pounds of food eaten per person over 8 days)
• $1.63 cost per meal per person (pretty good!)
· 200+ pounds of food donated to local pastors by the cook team
· 65,520 Total bible verses read this week
· 10,000 pictures taken by the media team
· 2 hours of video taken by the media team
· Army style base camp erected in 2 hours
· Army style base camp taken down in 40 minutes
· NO FEE PAID TO ENTER MEXICO!!! (First time ever according to Sass)

Glory to God.

Work that was done:

Team # 1:
·6 dual pane vinyl windows for pastor's home
· 2 custom solid wood exterior doors for pastor's home
·34 sticks of lumber for interior wall for pastor's home
·1 interior door for pastor's home
·7 sacks of cement for flooring in pastor's home
·3 mattresses and 2 box springs for pastor's family
·Donations of blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags to pastor's family
·Complete exterior of church painted the color of pastor's choice
·Interior pews of church painted the color of pastor's choice

Team # 2:
Complete exterior of church painted the color of pastor's choice
·Complete exterior of apartment building painted the color of pastor's choice
·Complete exterior of 2 property buildings painted the color of pastor's choice

Team # 3:
2 Interior rooms of church painted for conversion into pastor's home painted the color of pastor's choice
·Donation for kitchen sink and cabinets in the room of the church for conversion into pastor's home

Team # 4:
4 custom solid wood exterior doors for church expansion project
· 3 dual pane vinyl windows for church expansion project
·3 sticks of lumber for church expansion project

Team # 5:
·Interior of church repainted the color of pastor's choice
· Donation for family vehicle for pastor (walking 15+ miles one way into town for pastor's conferences)

Team # 6:
Complete exterior of church painted the color of pastor's choice
· 40 sticks of lumber for interior wall for church expansion project
· Baby crib provided to physically/mentally incapacitated 4 year old who had no bed to sleep in

Team # 7:
·Complete exterior of pastor's house painted the color of pastor's choice
· Custom student designed mural on the side of pastor's house with bible verse
·Brand new guitar (very nice!!) given to bless the worship team of the church

Monday, April 16, 2012


Abraham Lincoln pronounced all slaves free is 1863. But so many people either wouldn't believe it and accept it as true or wouldn't work for change that slaves didn't begin fully walking away from their prisons until three years later. THREE years later. By the time the roads from Tennessee to the Louisianas and winding through Georgia were flooded with former slaves- walking together away from the plantations they were doomed to die working at- and bellowing out a deep and powerful song of freedom- a very significant time had passed since they were actually set free. 

Let me ask a question. I want to ask that you stick with me here. Really think about what I'm about to ask.....

How often is that us? How often are we living with a knowledge of all we've been freed from, of all Jesus Christ has done and is doing, but not having it drastically change and affect everything about us? We don't fully believe its true. And so we live in whatever the bondage may be, believing the lie of the enemy that we just have to put up with our issue. Jesus died for our sins, sure. Freed us from hell. But we stop at that. We don't live as if the very power that hand-created the every detail of this universe is the same that wants a personal relationship with us. Adopted us into His Kindgom and handed over a full inheritance. No. Instead we continue in addiction. Chains. Shame. Guilt. Self-Destuctive lack of confidence and security. Unhealthy habits, patterns, friendships and marriages. How many years is it gonna take each of US to finally stand up, unlock the shackles from our hands and feet, and walk straight up out of the pit we're remaining in?! Seriously. What IS our problem? You and I have the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE, THE SAVIOR OF THE ENTIRE PLANET, AND THE UNSTOPPABLE AND IMMOVABLE HOLY SPIRIT WITHIN US. And we're settling for "well, dealing with a little fear issue isn't so bad." Or "Someday it'll get better. I'll just be content until then." I want to say something boldly and in total love. STOP!!! Just STOP!!! Let's arise. Grab the signant ring our Father is holding out to us. Use it. In the name of the ultimate King and authority-remove the evil. The spirits that've co-habited with us. Kick them out in the name of the King. But we don't do this. Maybe we're not believing. Maybe we're not used to seeing others work so intensely at walking away from bondage and so the thought of it scares us. Whatever the reason, something's gotta change. That something is us. Our actions. The way in which we live. Approach our days; our lives. Do something different. Stand up. Look at your chains head-on. Realize you can walk away. And GO! Do it. Do the hard work. Walk away. work hard at Health and change. Be free. Because you're all that's stopping you. Not the enemy. YOU. He may seem to be. That's what he wants you to believe. But he has no jurisdiction in the King's court. No authority. And you're the King's kid. So walk away. Kick him out. And thrive. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fear. I'm barely beginning to understand it. I know it has been much too present and prevalent in my life and the lives of many I know. I know it controls, dictates, ruins, devastates, and enslaves.  I know that I was in severe bondage to it most of my life and am only beginning to experience the journey of freedom from the rule it had in my mind. At times, it still tries to rule me. I'm in a season of fighting that right now as a matter of fact. But here's a truth we can all hang on to: 
If we face our fears- if we actually DO that which terrifies us & deal with the fears that like to try to control our minds- if we speak that which we are devastated of people knowing about us-we find freedom. Fear can no longer enslave us. The enemy loses one of his largest holds on us (fear is one of his favorites), and we become incredibly dangerous and dynamic. Becoming this person does NOT just "happen", though. Anyone who's secure, dangerous, and dynamic has done some SERIOUS work. Only when we act can Jesus begin to heal and redeem situations that caused the fear. Sometimes I wish I could just keep all hidden and have Him just fix it all quietly. I've tried that for years. However, it seldom seems to work that way. He tends to like to use The Body along the way. Something we don't embrace often enough. (because we're SCARED!) But something that is so beautiful if we do. Embrace it. Be honest. Speak that which you are scared of-no matter how foolish it may be. I'm working on it. I have this strong conviction it's THE key to something absolutely huge. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Not about Safe.

“But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh, Adam's son, how cleverly you defend yourself against all that might do you good!” 
-The Magicians Nephew

Amazing how He speaks in so many things. Even a children's book. This is everything we should fear right here-following in the footsteps of American Christianity. I don't just wanna hear noise when the King of the Universe is speaking to me. I want to know that voice with intimacy. Anybody else? What do you KNOW deep within your spirit you need to do that goes against others understanding? Believe God. Believe Him. He is wild. He goes against the world we're in. But admit it. You've always secretly longed for a wild adventure, haven't you? Stop looking. It's right in front of you. It's Jesus Himself. I promise. 

"Is Aslan.....Safe?" Lucy asked. 
“Safe?" said Mr. Beaver.
"Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.” 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lessons from Alex.

There's a boy named Alex who's been around church for years. He's only 5 years younger than me, but I've sorta watched him grow up. You see, Alex has several severe disabilities that cause him to struggle with functioning on his own sometimes. But over the years he's gotten better and better and matured more and more. 

Today, he found me and we had a wonderful talk. Alex loves to talk. Most of the time, I admit that I try to avoid it because I'm always running from one thing to the next and just don't give him the time he deserves. Today, I was deeply blessed by what he had to say. He basically preached an incredible sermon that I wish we could have him get up in front of church and speak someday. It was complete truth spoken with passion.

Alex explained simply to me that he left church early today because he sees all these people who he knows every week and as he sees them goes through their life in his mind. (He has an absolutely perfect memory. He knows more about my life than I even remember.) He says that as he looks at people's lives he sees a lot of people who don't appear to have anything different about their lives than a self-proclaimed atheist would except for attending church on Sunday morning. And in his unique mind, that doesn't make sense. In his words "It doesn't add up when you calculate it. It's a lot more black and white than the grey everyone tries to make it. You know Jesus? He saved you? Okay. Why aren't your priorities about making Him known? Why don't you look any different than the rest of this world?.......I was born with a lot of problems. But God doesn't make mistakes. He loves me. He died or me. Period. I have a mission to tell everyone I see about His passion for them. So do you. Why aren't you obeying that command? Jesus said when the Spirit fills you you will go throughout the world and tell all about Him. Do it, Liz. You're turning 30 on August 2 this year-I know your birthday- Go."

Wow. Thank you Alex. Thank you for reminding me that it really IS black and white. I can't argue with Jesus. I must go. Maybe more of us should be like Alex rather than trying to make HIM fit into how WE are.