Sunday, September 30, 2012

Power in the Name of Jesus {For Your Weekend}

Nahum 1:13 - "Now I will break the yoke of bondage from your neck and tear off the chains...."

John 20:31 - "....and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name."

Ooo...and if you have not slipped over HERE to enter the Matthew West Giveaway, TODAY is the last day!!! So go on over there NOW and enter to win. SIX people will win! Those are some great odds, baby! { do not need to be a blogger to win!!}


There is an exciting announcement over at (in)courage on Tuesday. You know the kind of stuff that is all about super powers and community and well....YOU! There is a place for you RIGHT SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS, I promise! So, please do not miss this announcement!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Grasp

Ah, but a man's reach 
should exceed his grasp 
or what's a heaven for?
~Robert Browning

gate to heaven
photo credit - @the billyllama

I used to count myself among the dreamers.
When I was a little girl.
Although I did not think about it much.
Cause I was too busy dreaming.

And somehow I grew up.
Out of that little girl skin.
And threw off the dreamer's gaze
And looked instead through eyes
of practicality
and purpose.

That isn't all bad.
If done for the right reasons.
The right motives.
The right timing.

But I thought I had to grow up.
Grow wiser.
Appear calmer.
Seem a little more centered.

In doing that,
I hurt my soul
I robbed the world
I stole His heartbeat
for me
for my destiny
for those He has called me to.

"Dream a dream so big that unless God intervenes it will fail."
Words by a great missionary man
by the name of Hudson Taylor more than one hundred years ago
as he forged the path for inland missions in China.

I used to quote him.
In the quiet,
I still do.

But now I am raising my voice
A little higher.
A little louder.
A little sillier.
A little more abandon.
A little less sense.

To reach
higher than I can
So He can.

Let the little girl dream again.
Let the little girl dream.

Pssstt....just a little side note. Sparrow Records is helping me give away 5 of Matthew West's NEW album Into The Light with a journal. PLUS ONE extra person will receive a bundle of ALL of Matthew West's albums and said journal. What a steal!

Giveaway ends Midnight, Sunday, September 30th. Don't miss it!!

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 27, 2012

When Peace Looks Like Leaning In

The house we bought 5 months ago was built in 1980.
Two out of three of the bedrooms carry the trends of a decade later on their floors.
Magenta and hunter green.
{trust me...the green is MUCH "greener" than it seems as this photo was taken at night}

I remember a youth group banquet proudly wearing those same decor colors.
That was 1994.

Now in 2012, not so much.
But the budget does not allow for changes so we deal with the-blast-from-the-past in whatever ways we can.

Right now that is white paint, polka dot bedspread, stripes, and a chalkboard wall {I have ALWAYS wanted to have a room with a chalkboard wall} being painted by our friend who is a professional painter. He's 72 by the way and has the strength and endurance of a man half his age, maybe even two put together. And amazingly, an artistic eye. We're planning a painted tree with leaves and who knows what else. But it is gonna be so much fun!

This is the room for our foster kids.
No. We do not have any yet.
And I do not know their names.
But I am preparing and planning and painting with love like an expectant woman filled to the brim with hope and anticipation of the life that Jesus is entrusting to her.

It has been a hard road -- this foster care journey -- and yet, here I am nesting and planning like I can only imagine a first time mother does as she welcomes her first child.

It is different, of course.
But maybe not so different.

Different circumstances, same emotions, same heart...that is what my friend, James, always said.

And I believe him.

It is not the story I planned.
Not the way I thought I would be "preparing the room"
but convention has never been a part of my dynamic
so why start now?

So I am stepping out, a little afraid, but with amazing peace, which almost rattles me right there.
But I lean into it anyway.
That peace.
I have learned nothing else will do.

God never asked me if I could, 
He used me 
because He knew I trusted 
that HE would
- J.D., writer at Compassion Can 
{Beyond Measure}


Also linking up with these great communities....

Life In Bloom

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Into The Light {Review and GIVEAWAY!}

When Sparrow Records first approached me to review Into the Light by Matthew West, I hopped over to iTunes to check him out and listen to his top three songs. Much to my delight, I found that I not only had heard the top three multiple times, but also that I truly liked them! So, of course, I quickly accepted.

What has truly endeared me to Matthew West's music is the fact that he is telling stories, real-life, knock-your-socks-off, gut-wrenching, grace-quenching stories from every day people just like me and you and all of us. As a girl who aspires daily to be a better story-teller through both words and photographs, I love the heart behind an artist who shares the stories of redemption in a way with which we can all identify.

One of those top three songs of Matthew's that is arguably MY favorite song of his is Forgiveness.

And then I heard the story.


Undone, even.

In fact, you need to hear it.
Please listen to this.
I RARELY cry watching videos on people's blogs or YouTube clips.
But this...
Well, just see for yourself...

Did you catch that?

It makes me want to sing, from the depths of my soul, the words Matthew penned,
Show me how to love the unlovable Show me how to reach the unreachable Help me now to do the impossible Forgiveness, Forgiveness
With stories like that set to song, this is an album not to be missed.

‘…there is power in a story…and we all have a story to tell…the songs on Into The Light are inspired by these amazing, real-life stories…[these stories] will challenge all who hear to discover the hope, healing and freedom that can only be found when we step out of the darkness and Into The Light…’
~Matthew West, JesusFreakHideout.Com

So with that....five readers will get to share in these stories FOR FREE, winning THIS album and a journal from Matthew West. In addition to that, ONE lucky reader will win a collection of Matthew's albums {including this one} and a special journal. Sweet deal, right?

Purchase Into the Light on iTunes TODAY!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 21, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Wide

My mind wanders to the words of an old Point of Grace song {I think}...

"His love is deep....His love is WIIIIDEE..."

I picture the fields of Africa, the praire fields of Kansas, the expanse of the sky from the highest point around.

About ten years ago, a lady prayed for me.
She gave me a verse that the Lord had laid upon her heart.
About the Lord placing me in a WIDE place.

She went on to say, "Even though you are a little girl..."

I was in my early twenties at the time, but I was not offended at all because while she prayed and prophesied and spoke the word over my life, all I could think was, "Lord, I am just a little girl."

I think that is why this blog is aptly titled,
       "The Little Missionary Girl All Grown Up."

I know it is a mouthful for a blog name and should be shorter
But it defines me.
This little girl.
This little missionary kid
Stumbling her way through in this great big WIDE grown up world.

And somehow there I find His grace.
I find His mercy.

It is new for me in ways I never expected.
Filling me up to fill the places He has prepared for me.

Psalm 18:19 - He brought me out to a wide-open place.He rescued me because he was pleased with me.GOD'S WORD® Translation 

Psalm 118:5 - From my distress I called upon the LORD; The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.
New American Standard Bible

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Journey of Finding Courage

I did not know two and half years ago when God was placing that little seed of possibility in my heart sitting in my home in South Africa, the full spectrum of emotions my heart would have to overcome.

It went a little something like this:

What about foster care?
What about making a personal, life-changing difference in the life of a child?

Yeah! Let's do it!

Okay. But first things first. Step down from full time ministry for an indefinite sabbatical. Pack up and move back to the Northern Hemisphere. Process. Take a much-needed mental and emotional time out. Spend time with a counselor friend. Process. Process some more.

Make small lifestyle changes to attempt to get healthier. Rest ALOT. Process. Search houses to purchase for a year. Find out where to begin with the foster care journey. Attend an informational meeting. Process. Sign up for training classes. Put in an offer on a house. Wait for closing. Process.

Attend training classes for EIGHT LONG WEEKS. Think about adoption for the first time in my life. Take a lot of deep breaths. Wait longer for closing. Process. Graduate from training classes. Consider an ADOPTION case presented on graduation night!!! Wait EVEN longer for closing. Pack in faith. Process.

Finally close on house. Paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint. Move in. Process. Begin foster care home study. Fill out LOTS of paperwork. Open up home to more and more inspection. Bare soul to social worker. Process. Attend a family informational meeting about said adoption case. Feel a little overwhelmed to adopt teen mom. Back away from case.

Go to Haiti for ten days. Process A LOT. Come back to a broken water pump. Get a call for an emergency placement of grade school child. Say "no"... for now. Process. Spend summer with family.  Continue to prep home for foster care certification.  Attend another family informational meeting about grade school child. Process. Plan with current foster mom to meet child.  Meet little girl and foster mom's bio children. Have doubts about bringing child who is happy where she is into a childless home. Process MORE.

Co-plan 40th anniversary of marriage and ministry for parents. Spend time with out of town guests. Get last minute call to take same little girl short term. Have melt down. Realize I am still not quite ready. Guilt, guilt, guilt, guilt trip myself. Process. Process. Process. Hear God remind me that not all faith-steps look the same. Go with my first instincts. Prepare to begin with respite. Finalize last minute certification details. Rest in the baby steps. Trust in God's timing.

We should be certified within the next couple of weeks for foster care and be accepting cases at that point. Next week, I am planning to freshly paint and fun deco the designated room, with some help from great friends. {Pictures when finished} It has been a hard, LONG journey to get to this point but I have more peace amid the thousand butterflies still fluttering inside of my stomach, head, heart... Eternally posessed with a mind that questions and analyzes, I constantly snatch at peace when it passes my way.

And then quotes like that Maya Angelou one up there just stop me in my tracks

My journey has prepared me to be brave {or at least try} .... for them.
To say NO when I knew I was not ready even when I felt others judge me.
Even when I have judged myself.
Even when I still struggle to understand my hesitations along the way.

But I do know this.
I am stronger.
A little more courageous too maybe.
And I see how He is expanding my heart, my mind, my voice to stand in the gap for those whose voice is small or have no outlet to speak out for themselves.

Also, today I am honored to be featured over at Must Love God for their 4x4 September Reset, sharing on the mental struggle to just hold on to Jesus for all you are worth. Please come over and show their space some love. It is an amazing home/ministry to reach women physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally right where they are at, with the writers sharing from their own daily journey through grace.

Also linking up with these great communities....

Life In Bloom
Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, September 17, 2012

Moving Back Towards Community

This past weekend, we took a road trip.
To see one of our spiritual sons.
To have some down time with an old youth group friend and his wife that we truly call "couple friends," which is no small feat when you are married to an opposite.
And finally to fellowship at the church of my old campus pastor at my college alma mater.

I haven't seen Pastors Bill and Lisa Shuler in more than seven years, so as he took the stage, I let out a little squeal and happy clap as I reached for my journal prepared to capture every morsel of wisdom that he ALWAYS, without fail, oozes.

And as he opens his mouth and begins to share the words God has place on His heart, the theme become quickly clear :: community.

My heart did a little flip flop as I thought,

"Oh man! That word, this challenge, the gentle nudge is coming from every direction -- personal tug from the Holy Spirit, the blogosphere, and now an out-of-town church visit."

The last few years have been spent in a mode of aftershock due to trauma after trauma personally, physically, mentally, emotionally. Living in a culture not my own, experiencing multiple incidences of theft within a one-to-two year period, chronic pain increasingly debilitating my body, infertility holding the dream of multiplying our family at bay, and finally an earthquake in my childhood home of Haiti, cutting off life-and-death news of my parents for over seventeen hours -- all had me walking dazed and confused in my own skin.

In that shell-shocked season, I felt so very isolated from community by life circumstances, personal seclusion, and harsh judgments.

Two years ago, stepping away on an indefinite sabbatical from full time pastoral ministry found me in need of a hiding place for awhile. My emotions have run the gamut, from guilt to anger, from hurt to relief, from rejection to jealousy, from pride to disdain, and on and on and on.

With my heart functioning as one, BIG, raw, exposed nerve, connecting was off the table. For awhile. And as an extrovert, who thrives on relationships, this was HARD. But, drowning in pain from misunderstandings and lack of grace, I felt gun-shy to move forward, to open back up again.

Until now.

So with the past, ever in my consciousness, I felt the Lord gently lifting and urging me in the direction of community again as Pastor Shuler's words rang through the auditorium...

"When meaningful relationships are not present and active in our lives, we lose affirmation....and correction...because we need that too."

What am I missing by hiding behind the curtain?
How can I move forward from the hurts of the past?

Pastor Shuler shares three basic steps from the life of Jesus as told by counselor and relationship expert, Henry Nouwen:
1) Jesus began with solitude -- He connected with God
2) Jesus THEN enters community -- He formed a small group of disciples
3) Jesus finally steps forward to minister -- He reached out to the world around Him.

The more I connect with the Father, the more I can let go of the hurts of the past and risk opening up now and in the future and maybe even to be understood. I thought this was just a Lindsey-obsession, this desire to be understood, but come to find out it is THE #1 characteristic longed for in relationship -- to be understood and accepted.

And the more we open up ourselves and accept others, the more that same understanding and openness is returned back to us.

Yeah. I know. It is really simple.
But really it is not.
Not without Jesus.
Not without the cross.

This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. ~I John 4:10-12
So I am over here, taking tentative steps BACK into community and learning how to lean on Jesus in that endeavor more and more each day.

How do you move towards 
RE-connectiong and forgiveness 
in relationships in your life?

Linking up with:

On In Around button


Saturday, September 15, 2012

For Love of You {For Your Weekend}

I have had Audrey Assad crooning in my van's CD player this week.
{I forgot how much fun it was to open a new CD 
and get to know the songs while riding in the car -- #GoodTimes}

For Love of You has been in my head the most...
so I wanted to share it with YOU to marinate in and be loved on over your weekend.

This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. 
~1 John 4:9-10~

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