Saturday, September 15, 2012

So Scared I Will Settle

Hello there, friends! So sorry it has been months since I last blogged. While in Africa, my entire blog switched over to another language so I was just slightly unable to read it and figure out how to create a new blog so that left me with months of not being able to blog and leaves me here with months to catch up on! Okay, so right now, I'm not going to catch you up on all the things that went on in Rwanda this summer, I'll leave that for another day. But what I am going to do is write about what has been on my heart here lately.

So, leaving my home in Rwanda and coming back to my home in America was the biggest and most difficult adjustment I have ever had to go through. On past mission trips, yes, it's been difficult coming back home. But this year, it was 100 times worse. I was in absolutely no way ready to come home and if it wasn't for my shop here, I would have easily and very quickly cancelled my return flight and just stayed in Rwanda for sometime longer. Leaving my babes in Rwanda was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Walking to the plane in Rwanda, taking in my last few breaths of African air, I felt like I weighed 10,000 pounds and it was all I could do to keep placing one foot in front of the other while just praying, "God help me!" And choking back so many tears. It was so painful. My heart was broken. It hurt to leave my babes that I had grown so close to over the past few months. Leaving the ones that would run full force and tackle me in a huge bear hug with lots and lots of kisses. To leave the ones that I would just hold as they were so pitifully sick. The ones that would dose off and on during school cause they were so hungry and weak and had no more strength and energy to keep listening. To leave the ones I held that were so wet from walking to school in the pouring rain and having to sit in a cold, dirt floor, church as they shivered in my lap. It hurt leaving the ones that I had held hands with as we ran through the fields laughing and singing and just being oh so silly. Oh how painful it was to come back to America. It meant nothing to me to come back and know that I was going to have a meal that night, plus, an American meal at that. It was so weird. I was honestly like, "Hmm...Where's my beans and rice? I just want my beans and rice." It meant nothing to me to know that I was going to have water to take a shower with that night. And hot, constant running water. It meant nothing to me to know that I would have electricity constantly. It meant absolutely nothing to me to sleep in my own bed. It meant nothing to me to know that I would not be swatting at mosquitoes all night only to wake up with little bites all over my face. You see, a simple meal of beans and rice, a lot of the time no water, no electricity, constant mosquitoes, etc had become all part of life and home. I can't go somewhere here for a week without getting homesick and ready for my own shower and my own bed. But over there, I was just so thankful to have a bed and to have a bit of water that it gave me a total different perspective on things. I was so focused on the Lord and what He was doing, on dying to myself more and more each day, that I wasn't focused on things that would make me comfortable. And coming back, I was so sensitive to things. For example, the day after I got back, daddy asked me about me going ahead and getting a new car. Cause mine is having some problems. I pretty much went up to my room and had a complete meltdown. A new car?! Are you kidding me! I just left my starving babes in Rwanda...A new car is the last thing I want to think about. My mama and I had been planning on going and getting a pedicure together when I get back so of course, she asked me that a few days after I get back... I was honestly like, " I can't do it." I can't do it. Of course, now, I have gotten better about those things. I mean, really, want girl doesn't want a pedicure!? At the time, that was the last thing I wanted to think about. It was just things like that, that had become so unimportant to me. And I was so sensitive to certain things. Things that a part of me says, "Seriously Emily. Get over it!" But another part of me says, "Emily, don't settle. Don't allow yourself to be "comfortable!"

And this, my friends, is the point of this particular blog tonight. I am so scared that I am going to slip back into my normal, comfortable way of the American life. I had a friend that came in my shop last week and I was telling him how hard of a time I had been having adjusting back and he said, "Well I hope you adjust back soon...Actually, I hope you don't adjust back to the normal way of life here." And that hit me so hard. I thought, You know what? I don't ever want to adjust back to the "normal, american, comfortable lifestyle." If the Lord calls me to Rwanda for a longer period of time, I do not want to settle so much for this simple life here that I ignore His calling for me to go there. That, my friends, is what scares me so bad. I don't ever want to settle for a comforable, "Perfect, American dream, life." But I am also willing to stay here if that is His will and allow Him to place me even outside of my comfort zone here. I am praying, praying, praying and allowing His will to be done in my life. I am praying that He will show me so clearly exactly what it is He wants me to do. But no matter where I'm at, I will serve Him.

Wherever He leads, I'll go

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Cup Overflows with Joy

Yesterday, after I had gotten to work, I got out the Word to read and prepare some for Africa.  As 'How Great is our God' played softly beside me I could feel the Presence of the Lord all around.  No customers came in during this time so it was just a quiet, peaceful few minutes I had, just me and my Father.  Peace and Joy began to fill my heart.  Tears filled my eyes as I sat their and talked to our God.  I became overwhelmed with thankfulness of the many blessings He has been pouring out to me here recently.  It was such a beautiful time I got to talk to the King of Kings.  To our Creator.  To the Great I Am.  To Immanuel.  To Prince of Peace.  To Jesus Christ.  To the One who wants more than anything else a love relationship with me and every single other person.  Jesus Christ is actually willing to let me take His oh so precious Name to the Nations.  He wants me to take His love and His Name to the Nations so much that He commands me to do so.  What a priviledge it is!  I am so unworthy of it all, yet He thinks something totally different.  After How Great is our God went off I began to sing one of my favorite songs, How Great Thou Art.  As I was sitting their praising and worshiping my Father, guess what song came on? How Great Thou Art! His Name, His love, His presence, His joy filled me up yesterday.  My cup overflows.  I pray that my cup would overflow onto others that they may see the joy I have in serving our Maker and want it also.  I became even more excited about heading to Africa.  I had a peace fill me.  I get to share the love of Jesus to many who have no idea what love even is.  I pray that my cup would overflow into each and every person I come in contact with this summer and that their cup would overflow onto others and so forth and so on.  I pray that the Word of God would spread rapidly (Isaiah 55:11) through the mud huts of Rwanda, down the dirt roads, from every village it would ring out, into every city and on.  I pray that the people would catch onto my joy and that they would want it.  Pure joy that can only come from the Lord.  I encourage you to read the lyrics from How Great Thou Art.  It. Is. Beautiful.

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art

When through the woods, and forest glades I wonder
I hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees
When I look down, from lofty moutain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art

And when I think, of God is son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the cross, my burden gladly baring
He bled and died, to take away my sin

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration
And then proclaim, "My God how great Thou art!"

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art

Yesterday afternoon, Chandler came in the shop for us to see each other for a few more minutes and to say our goodbyes : ( We went to the back of the shop right before she left and spent some time in prayer together for both of summers of her here and me there.  I was honestly pretty much speechless but I know that the Holy Spirit interceded on my behalf.  By the time we were done, we were both in tears.  We are so excited to see what the Lord is going to do here and there.  I am so beyond thankful for our friendship.  My cup overflows. How great Thou art!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Simple, "I Love You" to us, is Life Changing to them

       Eight days until I board the plane that takes me to my second home. I am so ready to place my feet on that beautfiul African soil.  To breathe in deeply African air.  I can't wait to be greeted by oh so many hugs and kisses from my sweet kiddos.  I'm ready to be far away from America.  Away from the everyday demands of life.  Far away from the temporary wants that are thrown at me continually.  It is when I am away in other countries when I find myself closest to Jesus Christ.  I am not distracted by the things of this world but instead, completely focused on Jesus.  It is in other countries that I see my Father in everyday life.  I see Him as I walk down those dusty dirt roads.  I see Him in the eyes of an orphan that I hold.  I hear Him in the stories that these precious widows share with me.  There is nothing that brings me more joy than holding sweet babes that most people think are worthless.  They see them as dirty disease-ridden children who have no hope.  But when I see these children, I see the most beautiful children who have been wonderfully created by my Father's hands.  I see children who have a hope and a future that lies in the hands of our Maker. 

I get to tell them that they are loved.
I get to tell them that they are beautiful.
I get to tell them that they have hope.
Most importantly, I get to tell them there is somebody so much bigger and greater than I am that loves them and He is the King of Kings.  The Lord of Lords.  The Great I Am. The Maker of the Heavens and the Earth.  The Creator of ALL things.

Oh the smile that lights their faces when they hear they are loved.  The three words they long to hear. Three words that can easily become so repetitive to us, yet to these children, and so many others, it is the three words that can change their life.  For nobody has ever told them.  They feel like they don't belong.  They've been left on the streets to fend for themselves.  They've been thrown in prison only to be fed porridge and maggots and told how worthless they are.  And yet here, it's so easy for someone to cry over a pet dying yet never think twice about the thousands of children who have died today alone.  How can we not be broken over that?

These are children.  They are real people.  They want to be loved just like you.  They want to live life just like you.  But instead, they are dying by the thousands and getting thrown into yet another category of how they died while we're over here living life everyday as if nothing is going on.  Their lives are defined by a number.  A statistic.  They want to know they are worth something.  That somebody out there loves them.  Most importantly, they need to hear that Jesus Christ loves them.

What more do you have to hear before you are moved? 

Romans 10:14-15 "But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ordinary and Willing

I have been reading back through the book of Acts over the past few days. Today I want to focus on a a specific verse...Acts 4:13 "The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures."

Ordinary? No special training? The boldness they had is what caught the people's attention. First off: Boldness-The trait of being willing to undertake things that involve risk or danger, The quality of standing out strongly and distictly. Peter and John weren't going to let anything stop them from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even to the point of getting thrown in jail. Nope, didn't even make them hesitate. Yet, we hesitate and usually throw aside every single day the opportunities we have to share the Gospel... Just because we don't feel like it. Because we will do it tomorrow. Because we're scared... of what?? We don't even have to come close to worrying about getting thrown in jail here. In other countries there's that possibility but not here. And, we still fail to Boldly share the Gospel, let alone, share the Gospel period. Standing out strongly and distictly... That's the last thing we want to do here. We do everything we can to fit in. Looks like we have this a little backwards. We are to stick out. Be noticeably different. Be bold.

Secondly: Ordinary- With no special or distinctive features; Normal. Peter and John were ordinary guys! They were normal! They were just like everybody else! Yet, they were willing to be used by the Lord. They had no special training in the Scriptures. They didn't go to school for 10 years. They weren't the "high-class" guys who had everything in order and perfect. They were just ordinary people like you and I. But they were obediant to the Lord and proclaiming His Name with Boldness. Maybe it can be difficult to share the Gospel with people because they don't see our excitement in living for the Lord. Maybe it's difficult because we fail to preach His Name with Boldness. The people were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they saw that they were ordinary men.

Who did Jesus use in this scripture? Ordinary men. So what does that mean? That means He can use me! He can use you! The Lord wants to use us!! He wants to use ordinary people. You don't have to have a lot of money to be used by Him. You don't have to wear the most in style, expensive clothes and drive the newest car to be used by Him. You don't have to be able to speak well to be used by Him. You don't have to be a certain age before you can be used by Him. No. Just ordinary people. He doesn't need us... He doesn't have to have us.. But He chooses to use us! He chooses to look past our dirty sinful selves and He finds beauty in us! What a privilege it is to be used by God. The Creator of the universe wants to use us. The Creator of the stars, planets, galaxies wants to use us. The Man who created us out of dust wants to use us. The One who holds this entire world in the palm of His hand wants to use us.

May we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ with boldness, letting nothing get in our way. He wants to use you. Ordinary and Willing. Will you let him?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

11 Weeks: Leaving Family to be With Family

11 Weeks (Approximately). 11 Weeks till I board a plane. 11 Weeks till I plant my feet on that beautiful African soil. 11 Weeks till I am greeted with hugs and kisses from my babes. 11 Weeks till I walk into my little girls "house" and hold her for hours in my arms till I have no choice but to lay her back down. 11 Weeks till I hear the beautiful voices of street children yell, "Mzungus Mzungus!" (White person!) as they just laugh and laugh. 11 Weeks till I sit in those beautiful, simple, mud huts and listen to a sweet widow share her story. 11 Weeks till I am walking down those dusty dirt roads of my 2nd home.

11 Weeks till I leave my family here and join my family there.

This has been where I'm at on my journey of preparing to leave. The Lord has been preparing my heart to leave my family here, but to join my family in Rwanda. Yes, I have many brothers and sisters waiting for me. Including two sisters who are getting married : ) I have many babes who are waiting oh so anxiously for my arrival. This might be the hardest part of my journey.

There's nothing easy about leaving my family here. I am so close to my family. They are some of my favorite people and they are oh so special to me. I am so very thankful for them. I have grown so close to my younger sister in the past few months. We are always laughing and acting SO silly together. There's nothing easy about leaving her. She tells me all the time she's going to miss me sooo much and she's going to cry so much but she understands why I'm going and she's excited for me. SHE understands why I am going and though it's painful having to be seperated for three months she is excited for me. How Beautiful. She has an iPod which she can text me from and she's alwayssss texting me saying, "Emily, when are you going to be home? Hurry up and come home. I miss you. Please come home soon." We want to spend as much time together as we can. There's nothing easy about leaving Mama and Daddy. Ohhh how I love them. There's nothing easy about leaving Zack and Lacy. Lacy will be in another part of Africa so Addie will have both of her sisters gone this summer... And she's like, "Whyyyy are yall leaving me with ZACK!? Thanks a lot!!" Hahaha She's a trip. There's nothing easy about leaving my family here, but what makes it easier is knowing that I will be joining my family in Rwanda to work together for the Lord. Ohhh how I am excited. The Lord is making so real the verse in the Bible that talkes about your love for Him should be SO much greater than your love for your family that it should really actually look like hate. (Not really, but your love for Christ should not even compare to your love for your family). Luke 14:25-27 While this verse is not the easiest to make real, do we really have a choice?

The Lord is doing an awesome work in Rwanda, and He is calling for me to join Him there. Where is He at work in your life? He's always at work all around us. Will you join Him no matter what the cost?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

not about me, ALL about HIM

Well, here's to my first blog! I am SO confused!! Hopefully it will only take me a couple days to figure all this out... I don't know where you all find your cute backgrounds but whatever I'm on, doesn't have cute backgrounds...And is there any way I can put a picture at the top? Help...?

Anyways, I wanted to start a blog up for while I'm in Africa especially.  I will be taking off in a little over two months and I am SO excited!! The Lord has surely blessed me in an opportunity to spend about 3 months at my 2nd home. I can't wait to place my feet on that beautiful African soil! This blog is a way for you to stay connected with me, and for me to stay connected with you, while I'm pretty much on the other side of the world...Yes, technology is nice at times such as these. And so I can share with you all the awesome things the Lord is doing over there.

I love to write... share my ideas... my heart... I believe I will keep this blog going on after Africa.  I named this blog 'all about Him.'  The Lord has been teaching me so much lately that it truly is ALL about HIM. It is NOT about me, about my wants, about my dreams, about getting farther and farther up on the 'success ladder', about getting rich and living this perfect American Dream life, etc. No... Instead, it's the complete opposite of that... It is about the Lord's will being done in my life. It is about Him taking the pen and writing my life story however He chooses. It is about living to worship Him. It is about giving Him all the glory for everything He so deserves. It is about making His Name known, not mine. I just got done reading I Am Not but I Know I AM by Louie Giglio. Excellent book...Highly recommend it! The title says it all... I Am Not but I Know I Am... I am nothing. It is not about me. But I know I AM. The GREAT I AM. And it is ALL about Him. What if we went about our everyday life knowing and saying it is not about me, it is ALL about Him? I am not, but I know I AM.

This blog is about me learning every single day that it is not about me. A journey of dying to myself daily to live for Christ. The opposite of what the world says...While the world says it's all about you and what you want and what makes you happy and you you you...Actually, it's about God, what He wants and has for your life, making His Name known, giving Him the glory for everything. He died for us, and we have done nothing even close to that for Him, so why should we get any glory for anything?

It. Is. All. About. Him.