23 February 2015

to the ends of the earth, and of myself

I used to shy away from suffering. My tight grip on control kept me bound in my comfort zone
and pride had me blinded from the beauty of being poor in spirit. But then, our prayers led us here, a place on the map we didn't know existed until we arrived. 

We've been living alongside the poorest of the poor, further into the unknown and farther from our comforts than we’ve ever been. Through unspeakable pain and breathtaking joy, it’s in this place that we’ve been living the undoing each day, where everything that needs to break is broken and everything that needs to be shook is shaken. Brought to the ends of the earth and coming to the complete end of ourselves. 

There is blessing in losing everything. 

There is power in being surrendered for love's sake. 

The more I live, the more I'm encountering the Person of love as I deny myself daily and pick up my cross. All of my expectations and failures, all of my fears and absolutes, even all of my efforts and need to be in control are nailed to the finished work of Calvary. Our prayer has always been to live broken and poured out because of what's already been done for us.

Love led us to this part of the world where few people come and even fewer feel called. From where we live to everywhere we go, we're surrounded by Jesus in disguise- in the fatherless and the orphan, the widow and the prisoner, the contrite and the sick. I’m learning that it’s one thing to sing songs of surrender comfortably within the four walls of an air conditioned building, with impressive lights and pretty voices- but it’s another thing completely to live the song in the hospitals, prisons and villages. Everyday I'm praying that the distance between the words I sing and the way I live gets smaller and smaller. As we sit with the dying and the destitute with everything stripped away, the more beautiful Jesus becomes to me. It makes me realise that I have absolutely nothing to present of myself and absolutely everything to receive of Him.

Every day is a journey deeper into the heart of God.
Our agendas are taken away, our providence is dependent in the miraculous, and ministry is not something we do but a life we live together in Him. Finding gardens in unexpected places and in the least of these because of the One beholding gardens in me. 

We're farther away than we've ever been, but united all the more with Jesus in His joy and suffering. Living daily in the beauty of this hope- "we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh." From the ends of the earth to the end of myself, the story is being brought together in a mosaic of redemption. From everywhere we've been to everywhere else we may be taken, we pray to live beholding the resurrection in every surrounding and every soul.

12 June 2014

Loved back to life

It feels like we've already lived a few lifetimes. 
From sitting on the shores of the Pacific, to the slums of the Sub-Saharan, through the cities of North America, Jobin and I marvel at how Love brought us together from opposite ends of the earth and continues to carry us to the corners of the earth. Our hearts often feel stretched thin, spread across every continent with all the souls we hold dear. Through every trial and triumph, times of great despair to even greater rejoicing, we are held together by grace that is closer than our skin. Sometimes we find ourselves between two worlds- between where we are and where we long to be, lovesick for our Saviour and homesick for a place we've never been. But in that tension we are filled with wonder and hope for the season we're in and the seasons to come- as Love calls us to rise and come alive.

After many tears, prayers and years in waiting, we have our one-way tickets to Uganda booked from our knees. And every time I see an airplane fly across the skies, every time I look up at the stars, every time I feel the sun on my skin, every time it rains- I can almost feel the red dirt between my toes and the kids on my hips. As we vowed at our wedding altar, we pray that our lives forever be spent broken like bread, poured out like wine and laid down for Love's sake. And in our covenant and our calling, to take a hold of that which Love has taken a hold of us - from slums, villages and orphanages, living on earth as it is in heaven. Tethered together by the grace of a higher hand, our lives are a living testimony of a Love that raises us back to life.

I'm coming to understand the scripture 'so Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going' a little more. As each day comes, Jobin and I are walking each step out in faith as we prepare to move across the ocean- leaving jobs that we love, packing up our little apartment, and above all saying goodbye to our beloved community here. We are building little altars as we go, laying down everything in our hands and our hearts- trusting in the One who can do abundantly more than all we can ask or imagine into the unknown.

In a world that thrives on the possession of power and being in control, I'm learning to trust the still small voice inside of me- the same voice that whispers "just be my daughter; just, be". I'm reminded of these words over and again, from the midst of laundry piles to never ending to-do lists- from the mundane to the madness of everyday ways. That life becomes less about compartmentalizing and controlling but more about experiencing wild grace in our chaos. That our purpose does not come from what we do, it comes from who He is- Love. 
Even as Love Himself hung on that Cross, there were ones who mocked, protested and tested saying "if you are the son of God, come down". Because our world always demands the evidence of power, proof of identity, and answers to questions. But even the life of Jesus was always lived from a place of beloved-ness, from a place of being - coming as a servant to the least of these rather than living as a tyrant king. Never needing to prove anything, never placating to easy answers, and never parading any power- Jesus laid his life down for love.
Through it all, faith gives us eyes to see that heaven is always being released in and through our existence. Even through the tension of the miraculous and the mundane, there is life bursting through the struggle. Living from a place of being has never been about trying to have it all together but about dancing undignified in the undoingThere's a richness that can only be found at the end of our rope. Healing, restoration, forgiveness- all of life woven in threads of grace, redemption and purpose- accepting that some things can happen in an instant, while others take a process. Freedom is found in the letting go without the need to comprehend. Because the peace that passes all understanding only comes when we let go of our want to understand. Like the dead of winter, after each leaf has abandoned every tree, we are left to wait in the wilderness year after year. Yet nothing is wasted- each season a constant reminder that our Creator makes everything is beautiful in its time. And just as in creation, there is always a magnificence moving in the unseen, loving us back to life. 

It's the whole story that makes life sacred. Life each day, in all of its beauty and all of its mess, is an invitation to find gardens in unexpected places. Blind eyes opened, ruins rebuilt, rivers in the wastelands, broken lives restored. All that I am is a testament to that truth, being loved back to life. So we pray to live the rest of our days beholding the gardens in the souls of the orphan, the widow, and everyone whom Love leads us to.

18 September 2013

the Smile that destroyed my religion

There's a new song rising, burning new mercies like the sun that arises every morning-
it's name is Victory, and it's washing over every bit of defeat in me. 
My feet glide weightlessly as I dance across the room, and in every bend of every joint, I am praising Him.

I create because He first created. I dance because He first danced. I sing because He's always been singing over me. 

The way the sunlight shimmers on the water of the lake and the way its current never stops moving. The way the grass tosses to the left and right as a gentle wind carries itself through my hair and the trees. It's a still, small Voice- a quiet Yes. The way I can dig my toes into the earth beneath me. It's this incomprehensible grace that wakes me up and teaches me how to rest.

There's an awakening happening. Victory's song is light that overcomes the deepest and darkest of places, where no person or circumstance is beyond the reach of it's song. It sings that freedom is so much simpler than we make it out to be- that we can choose Life and joy in the face of death and defeat each day knowing that there's always a better Way.

Every scar whispers the song of the One who has overcome. The sting of what was is nothing compared to the glory that is- and is to come.

18 February 2013


"And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 
Jesus in Luke 22:19

"This is my body, given for you. BROKEN for YOU."

As these precious words reach my ears, they quickly sink deep into my heart, rush through my veins, and down into my bones. I take the bread and cup in one hand and my dearest in the other, and the tears start to come. It has always been all for Love.
I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine.

"You are restricted in your own affections. Open wide your hearts..."

I've been mourning and working over something that's already been paid for. All of the scorekeeping of wrongdoings, all of the self-righteous law-abiding, trapped by fear, bound by insecurity, and distracted by complacency.... Hungry and thirsty, I've been longing for something that's already been freely given.

When Jesus said, "It is finished", the new covenant was released and the old covenant became obsolete. Jesus defeated death with death and rose again, and now He says "All of the things you're carrying are no longer yours. I paid for it all. Get up and walk."

His body was broken for a broken people. Broken for the liar and the thief. Broken for the cheater and the addict. Broken for the rich and the poor. Broken for the ones who think they already have everything, and those who have nothing at all.

He stoops down low,
broken for you and me
and all of the messes we find ourselves in.

I am in awe of the world's greatest Giver, and His unrelenting pursuit of my heart. 

This Jesus, the One who was rejected by men, scorned and persecuted, became the Cornerstone of all creation- all for God's glory and our good. We clench our fists, clinging tightly to our safety nets and we forget our Saviour never clenched His- He lived in Love, even to the point of hanging on a tree with arms outstretched. He could've said no, but He chose to say Yes. He paid the highest price.  He is always enough and He sees us as enough. His heart is not moved by labor, but by Love.

And no one will ever be able to exhaust it. Love endures all things and hopes all things - it calls forth Truth in the inward being. It creates streams in the desert and makes a way through the wastelands of our lives. Love gives itself away in abundance with no agenda and yet it never runs dry. 

The more I live, the more I realise that my life is not my own. There is freedom in surrender- in the pouring out. There is life in the breaking of bread- in the laying down. The more I live, the more I want to leave this place of resistance and enter into His rest; wrapped up in the mystery of His unforced rhythms of grace. 

"Believe. Adhere. Trust." He says. "Yield to the still, small voice inside of you - the One that says you were made for Love and life in the Light."

I want to be so consumed by Love that 'Yes' is my only response to His call. 'Yes' when I'm overwhelmed and want to break down and 'Yes' even -especially - when I don't understand. A 'yes' that surpasses the spoken; living, moving, walking forth in truth- pouring out one's self in reckless abandon; following in the footsteps of a humble King who gave it all.

The Creator of the heavens and the earth calls forth the identity of His beloved with gentle persistence and fire in His eyes. He says "You are not a failure. You are not irredeemable. You are not bound by the lies spoken to you or the mistakes you've made or the dreams that leave you shaken. You are free. I am calling you by name. Rise. You are mine." 

Rain falls and nourishes the earth and the wind swirls through the streets and the Lord always has a way of bringing us to our knees and I am reminded that it is in and through the water and the fire that we become more aware of His presence, and that He never leaves. 

I look over and see my dearest looking back at me- I see Jesus in his gentle gaze and in the smile on his face. Our cry is that our hearts would be more like His, and that our lives would be spent broken like bread, poured out like wine, and laid down for Love's sake.

From glory to glory - every breath is His mercy, every moment is a melody being woven together in a bigger Story.

31 December 2012

stillness, surrender, and Life in all its fullness

A new day rises on a dark sky and a layer of gold covers everything in sight. As I look at the bare, leafless trees, glowing and radiating light, I see myself - stripped of all my masks and defenses; disarmed by a Love that is so much more powerful than the sun. There's something so honest about those branches that hang bare in the balance.

To know You and be known by You; to love You and be loved by You is the greatest treasure of all.

Sometimes it all feels like a dream within a dream. Time passes quickly by, and suddenly, it's like you wake up from a lifelong sleep to discover that things are not as they seem. Reality starts to spin and the tension increases. Every wall is brought to the ground and every paradigm shattered to pieces. The most real things in this life are in the unseen, and all of our souls are crying out to be caught up in this redemptive whirlwind.

Every moment is an invitation from the Father to enter into life in all its fullness. And it's here that I realise that it's only after disaster, after death, that can we be resurrected; there is always grace in the wilderness and life in places we never expected.

The beauty of the gospel is the power of exchange- God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Slaves become sons and beggars become daughters. Beauty instead of ashes. The oil of gladness instead of mourning. A garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. This is the Father's heart for us. This is what He does.

Everything is upside down in the Kingdom of the King of kings. Indeed, we have a beautiful inheritance! The Son of God became Son of Man, that we may have life in it's all fullness; to be a part of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. A Kingdom where the face of Jesus is in the poor, the leper, and the tax collector. A Kingdom that is already here, whether you are in the slums of Ethiopia or the suburbs of America. A Kingdom where you lose your life to find it again. A Kingdom where the weak are made strong, the tears are joy, the last are first, and the humble are exalted.

We live in an age of grace- Love in place of the law, and life in place of the grave. And Love cannot be defeated; Love always wins. Love forgives. Love liberates.
And I'm reminded that through every ray of light, every lifeless tree, every flake of snow - that nothing returns void. With each passing of time, God keeps working and redemption is always ours.

to the ends of the earth, and of myself

I used to shy away from suffering. My tight grip on control kept me bound in my comfort zone and pride had me blinded from the beauty ...