a powerful voice (in spite of)

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A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog about having my life changed. It came with many epiphanies and realization and honestly a lot of good solid truth I hadn’t chosen to believe for a long time. Which of course hinders so much of what I was doing and who I was.

But here’s the thing: I still need to repent: to change the way I see things.

I’m living my life with the following sentence.

I have a powerful voice IN SPITE OF the fact that it can be hard to understand me.

Notice I carefully worded that to not say BUT because I am an advocate that BUT negates what comes before it.

But so does in spite of.

When I was 5ish I had my tonsils taken out. And for a medical reason I’m not even going to try to explain this lead to me having to essentially relearn how to speak because of a gap that was left in my airway.

I was in speech therapy at school; went to an ear nose and throat doctor; had this surgery where all I can remember is having plugs put up my nose.

I had to learn how to place my tounge and how to concentrate when I speak. If I spoke to fast the air got caught in my nose and mouth and it sounded mumbling. I also (still) perpetually sound like I have a cold. A fact that really just kids tend to point out to me.

And in all of this I got made fun of. A lot. The sound that the teacher on Charlie brown makes is what kids, and sometimes my brothers would respond to me with whenever I spoke.

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So I just stopped talking.

For a very long time I didn’t speak out in class or make myself known because I was just afraid I wouldn’t be understood. Because when I spoke people didn’t listen. They laughed.

The funny part is speaking in front of people doesn’t make me nervous. I know I have something to say; it’s just the act of saying it. The act of being understood at a basic level that causes me to get nervous.

When I was in fifth grade I chose choir when it came time to choose a path of music for a few reasons; one being the band teacher scared me; two I remember my speech therapist Mrs. Martin said it might be good and three I can’t blow up a balloon why should I be able to blow into an instrument.

So I jumped into choir and stayed there for years. I went through high school and college in a choir and on worship teams.

I found comfort in my singing voice because it WASN’T my speaking voice. I don’t get nervous singing anymore because I know that it sounds different.

And I basically detest the sound of my speaking voice.

Why is this coming out now?

I believe in the power of my voice. I also believe it doesn’t need to come in a beautiful package and I think I had come to terms with that fact. That I just need to use my voice IN SPITE OF how it actually sounds. And if people don’t understand me, or think I have a cold, or make fun of how I sound that’s ok.

I don’t need to have a beautiful speaking voice.

(I forget that I have a God that likes to surprise me.)

Sitting in the English tea room this week I had a lady from England lean over her table to talk to me. She proceeded to tell me that I have the loveliest accent she had ever heard and she could listen to me SPEAK all day.

Not SING but SPEAK.

In my whole life I’ve never had someone tell me that.

I’ve confidently spoken out for so long IN SPITE OF being insecure about how it sounds.

That lovely woman in the tea room doesn’t know what she did for me that day.

She gave me beauty I didn’t even know I was capable of having.

What a difference to believe that the voice that I have is worth listening to not just for what it holds but how it sounds.

I don’t know what to do completely with the gift she gave me but I do know it was a surprising lovely gift that bashed a lot of hurt and pain from my life away.

 So my repentance: my “change the way I see things” is this.

I have a powerful LOVELY speaking voice IN SPITE OF the fact it might be hard for people to understand me.

hear that your soul may live

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Hear that your soul may live.

This has been a phrase that has been in my heart for a few months now.

I first read it when the passage Isaiah 55 showed up in my “guide to prayer”.

The words strung together are beautiful. And I held onto that beauty because I needed it. It was like a life raft for me. A bit of lovely to hold onto. I think in those moments in the coffee shop in Kingsburg it wasn’t about me hearing from God. It was the knowledge that God was there.

When my preschoolers would get super excited and have something they wanted to say; when they were jumping up and down out of their seats to say something but it wasn’t the time I would tell them to “save their thoughts”.

When God showed me the phrase “hear that your soul may live” I believe he then started saving His thoughts for me. He was really excited to let me in on what was going on in his head but it wasn’t the time for me. He was storing them for a time when I would be capable of REALLY listening.

And then I came to Spain.

 A couple of weeks ago we had a week dedicated to learning about hearing God’s voice. We learned through story and through seeing how God moved and spoke and what he was like.

Most every week here, every day, every conversation speaks about hearing from God and what we have HEARD from God.

Because when we hear from God we move.

When we hear from God we live.

And where do we hear from God?

Everywhere and everything.

It’s about opening the senses to touch, taste, hear, see and smell God.

There is no wrong way or right way to hear Him.

And now as I sit in another coffee shop halfway around the world I realize my spirit is so incredibly OPEN to hear from God.

That the thought of hearing from him inspires me.

There is a flipside as God wants to hear from me.

He doesn’t just want to speak. He wants to listen.

What does that look like?

For me it’s been stopping the act of putting headphones in my ears while I walk alone and freeing my mind of noise.

it’s writing my thoughts and words down so that other people can see what I’m pondering through.

it’s being open to speak so that I may hear.

“hear that your soul may live” has become a breathe in breathe out prayer for me.

 

There were days that in order for me to take a STEP forward I had to ask God to walk with me.

And he listened and walked with me.

And I think that without knowing it “hear that your soul may live” became a prayer.

Because I HEARD God.

I heard God one Sunday morning in June of 2009 staring at myself in the mirror.

And I spoke to God.

“Could I just meet you in heaven today? This is too much for me”

And He listened.

And then spoke. He showed me a dark, windowless, doorless room. There was no way out and no way for light to get in.

Then a nightlight came on.

A really small dim light.

HOPE anyway.

HOPE in spite of.

What if I had not heard God that day?

HEAR that your soul may LIVE.

HEAR that I may LIVE.

 Those days are far from me now.

They don’t lay claim on me.

All that is left of them are tear stained journal pages and the memory of a night spent crying on my phone in a parking lot.

I heard so that I would survive.

Now I hear so I may LIVE.

Hearing from God is met now with life. Met with hope.

Not met with grasping at a shred of light.

 HEAR that your SOUL may live.

My soul is living a lot these days.

Living and listening to the joy, the color, the vibrancy, the light of life.

I’m realizing the God can speak in and through everything.

From the winds that sweep through Mijas, to conversations my roommate Katarina and I have before we go to bed each night, He speaks through His word, and through prayer and conversation.

I’ve met with a new beautiful Jesus here in Mijas. One who is life bringing and who longs for me to dream and have vision. One who wants to speak so that I can hear.

One who trusts me with the plans he has created.

I can’t wait to continually learn about this lovely, light filled Jesus, to speak and listen to what he may have for me and others. To change the way I see things.

I can’t wait to continually, daily live.

Hear that your soul may LIVE.

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Processing: a four letter word.

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This week I asked this question on my Facebook:

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I asked it because I am sick and tired of the word “process”

So I thought I needed to replace the word. Because I need to process things and without a word how do I define and describe it?

But do I need to process things?

Or do I THINK I need to because that has been forced into my mind for so long?

As I’m not at scared to mention I am a woman who lived a season of 4 years in therapy. So for about an hour a week or every other week I sat in a room and talked about myself and my stuff.

Then I went on this trip called the world race where “processing” is on a list of buzzwords that every racer needs to know.

 And then it became an excuse.

“I really need to process that so I’m going stay back today”

“I don’t know how I feel- I haven’t processed it”

 People stopped living their lives and they lived in “process”. 

When I was first in counseling we spent time talking about my childhood- my past- but only if it collided with the present.

He’d always reference a picture. It was a picture of a blimp(or a hot air balloon…let’s go with blimp) that had all of these ropes hanging off of it. Sometimes in life you have to pull a rope off and look at it. Sometimes you need to cut it without even looking. Most of the time? Just let them trail behind you.

It’s ok to let things drag.

The blimp keeps moving forward.

It never stops.

When I asked the question on Facebook I got these 14 or so responses. Here a handful:

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A good grouping of words and phrases and ideas.

Three of the responses I got are from people who I would deem teachers (or people who smack me in the face with wisdom).

In each their own ways and languages they said the same thing:

Be and Live.

Just like my counselor would say so many times: pull up what needs to get pulled up but keep moving

Have words along the way but keep living.

And that reminded me why I hate the word process so much.

Because I have seen too many people halt their lives.

I halted my life for a while.

I was in a place of hell.

All I could do was think.

Think about the bad things in life, my failures, where I’d gone wrong, what I’d done wrong.

I was in my head all the time.

 And I tried to get out. I tried to climb out of this hole.

But I’d forgotten how to live.

When you live in process for so long; when you dig yourself in a hole away from the light you forget how to tend to your spirit in a healthy, lovely way.

Because sitting with your journal and pen or a canvas and a paintbrush for an hour each day is good for your soul.

But then you close the notebook, drape the canvas and you move.

 We need that time. It’s healthy, beautiful and bears fruit.

So here’s my challenge:

Let’s stop processing.

Let’s strike the word from our vocabulary.

Let’s start being.

Let’s make a habit to prune and tend to our lives  just like a vineyard owner would do to his vines daily.

He doesn’t spend ever minute of every day cutting tiny pieces away. He has a concentrated amount of time that he tends to & prunes his vineyard.

And then he lives.

So my friends?

Let’s live.

 

My expectations weren’t big enough

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I didn’t expect my life to change this week. I’m not the kind of person whose life changes instantaneously-not with a word or a moment.

I’ve struggled with things that don’t change over night.
I remember walking out of my therapist’s office the last time I saw him in December.
And I realized I had changed. I was new. It had taken a long time- over 4 years of counseling in a windowless room.
I grew up in a household where it was normal life to watch people struggle with sobriety. That too is a process that is not an overnight healing.

So this week when my life was changed I didn’t notice.

This week was meaty. From just four days of class and life I have accumulated over 30 pages in my journal of rambles and notes. I’ve sent many “oh girl” texts to friends in my life-lacking the words to articulate what was happening.

And on Thursday when all was said and done I realized I believe.

All of it.

What does that mean?

I have operated most of my life out of this weird version of humbleness and confidence. I do know who I am.

I’d just rather you not tell me.
Don’t put me up in front of a room and speak truth to me.

Please PLEASE put your attention on someone who NEEDS the strength.

I have plenty that I will freely give.
I don’t do or speak to get affirmation.
I just do.
I actually get physically uncomfortable and anxious when people speak truth about myself to me or when people compliment something I have done.
Clearly I don’t mind being the center of attention- I’d just rather be in control of the attention.

I’m really good at telling people that I’m learning to believe the words that are spoken to me.

But the thing is I don’t need to learn.
I need to choose.

I couldn’t run from affirmation this week. It shocked me and actually came from somewhere I didn’t expect.

After an intense afternoon in my head during class I went to talk to our teacher for the week (a coffee shop owning Irishman) and after a statement I didn’t think I needed to hear or had the capacity to recieve I uttered my normal “trying to believe” statement.

Then I thought- what if I chose to believe?
What if I actually believed those incredible, powerful though seemingly undeserving words he had spoken to me?
What would it change if I believed I speak truth, that I am wise, that I hear God’s voice?
What if I believe that I am indeed amazing?
Not in a cocky prideful way but being grounded in the fact that while yes, I do have the power to speak for others and spur them on that I am allowed to create something big as well?
That I no longer question my genuineness because no one else does. What if I walked in my own truth and power?

How much more could I do?
What would that change?

Everything.
It changes EVERYTHING.
I’m not saying I have it all figured out-not saying I’m no longer going to struggle with things or have moments of insecurity.

But it is saying that I can utilize all of those words, those truths that people have spoken over me for myself.

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(my identity map that I did with the class// #mindblown)

I’m amazingly good at speaking truth and creating hope for others

I recognize that I hear from God in many different ways

But I always thought none of that was for me. I thought I had to give it all away.

But that’s not true.
It’s for me to dream.

So when I made the decision to choose to believe in what others say I’m choosing to pick up what’s for me and run with it.

Choosing to love myself as I love others.
Choosing to believe I have something to give.
Choosing to believe means that I can change things.

I honestly believed before this week that I am not seen- not in a bad negative way- but in the way that my presence does not cause ripples on a group, just in individuals.
I believed that I didn’t need to be noticed.

I just didn’t realize that I am supposed to be noticed.
That my voice is recognized and heard.
Even in little things.

I know why I am here now.
I truly am here for more.
More than I ever actually knew existed.
The more I was searching for.
I’ll be updating my “journey with me” page because now I know why I need support.

I’m still flabbergasted.
I didn’t expect anwsers this week.
I didn’t expect to feel home amidst discomfort.
I didn’t expect that I would have even more to say then what I have already said.
I didn’t expect victory or surprise or love.
I didn’t expect much.
I didn’t expect my life to change this week.

and this is why I bake

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Growing up with a mom who was in the business of helping others I picked up a smattering of advice.

  • you have to suffer for beauty
  • if you don’t wear clean underwear something bad will happen
  • always make your makeup look natural
  • never return a dish without something in it even if it is just some store-bought cookies.

The one lesson though that I heard my mom preaching day after day was when you were stuck in yourself, stuck in your addiction, stuck in whatever you are in: you need to do something for someone else. Bake something, clean something, DO something outside of yourself.

And that is something I have grabbed onto and ran with.

When I am too inside of myself, when I can’t figure why I am down or depressed or when there is LITERALLY nothing I can do to make myself feel better; I do.

I bake, I clean, I buy someone a present, write someone a card. Keep my hands busy. Not allow myself to go into a black hole of murky unknown without a way out.

And that has lead to many different trails of life.

It’s led me to loving better because I’ve learned to try to make peoples days a little happier. I’ve learned that I treasure loving others and helping them.

But it’s also led me to spiraling into a depression and anxiety and collapsing on the floor because I’ve chosen not to think but just to do.

It’s why I detest the phrase “fake it til you make it” because while it does hold value to sometimes it also leads us to walking away from feelings and emotions that are good to have and get through.

I’ve had a couple of sleepless nights in a row; waking up with my heart pounding and my chest heaving with anxiety. I’ve been unable to get into a restful regular sleep and I know it’s because things are being pulled up and I’m longing to run to places I’m comfortable that in all reality don’t exist here.

I’m having to force myself to sit in anxiety and I’m striving to find words to fit the feelings and emotions of sentences that lack explanation.

But I’m also baking. Cleaning. Doing. Creating. Walking.

Because as my mind spins around and around with no place to land my hands will continue to move. And I will continually learn to write and speak and be. I was told this week by our rocker, renaissance man of an instructor Herman Haan to continuing writing because people need my story. They need to hear what I have to say.

So I will continuing saying them and writing them and figuring them out.

But I will continue baking and doing.

So this is why I bake. This is why I show up places with muffins and cookies. Partly because I enjoy it, I love baking, writing, cooking, serving but also I do out of place of healing.

So maybe I need to do less and talk more, I’ll strive for a balance but I want to encourage you; if you are stuck in a circle, if you don’t what to do or where to go, make something, bake something, help someone and you will have a moment of clarity in the midst of the chaos. You will create something and not destroy a piece of yourself.

You will stand.

 

Live (in) Lovely

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I remember certain months on the World Race last year where I had so much to tell and yet no words to share the chaotic amount of thoughts in my head.

Welcome to my first month in Mijas, Spain. And learning to “live lovely”.

It’s been a busy, crazy July here. We’ve had birthdays, a wedding, 4 weeks of classes, 5 different festivals in the square, the World Cup finals, no fewer than 80 people tromping through Mijouse, we are just wrapping up the inaugural 5 year g42 reunion where 30+ people came from all corners of the globe to remember and celebrate the beautiful things that happened here.

And we’ve danced a lot.

I’ve had multiple glasses of wine with lovely people. I’ve had 3 blue chair sandwiches so far (I promise I’ll do better Mer), I made the prettiest cake for a wedding that I’ve ever had the privilege of baking, I’ve gotten up early mornings to walk with Tiffany and have beautiful conversation, I helped make 600+ tapas for the alumni cocktail party, I’ve begun to dabble in water color, I’ve continued to write a novel and I’ve laughed a bunch.

And I’ve continued to learn what it means to be loved unconditionally.

During worship last week to kick off the reunion I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed. I won’t begin to even touch on all the lessons and revelations piling up in my head today, but know that there is a lot in there.
So between all the thoughts jumbled inside and the fact that there were 30 extra people in my home I was freaking out a bit.

OK.
I was freaking out a lot.
So I went to the back of the church in an opened space to just breath and look at all these new and old friends in my life.

And I realized something that knocked me off my axis a bit.

They love.
And right as I was twirling into this train of self-doubt, insecurity and unworthiness one of the staff came up to me to tell me that I was appreciated.

(Cue tears.)

I said thank you and promptly turned into the wall away from everyone to stop the tears.

I’ve “stopped” the tears a lot this month.

Because for as much as I’ve been overwhelmed with the reminders of worthiness, acceptance and love I’ve had a voice shouting in my head to retreat, to pull back, that I’m just needed not wanted. It’s a space and place I’ve wrestled with all my life and it is rearing it’s ugly head and I’m having to fight with it as I go through the list of topic sentences that God placed before me.

So there’s that.
It’s not necessarily pretty.
But it is lovely.
And it will be lovely with every step I take down these cobblestone streets. It’s choosing to be present amidst the chaos in my brain, to stand firm in what I DO know, and be ok in questions and not knowing.

That’s all for now. In the next week I’ll be sending out a newsletter with more details of what I am doing and where I am going. But for now scroll through these few pictures of my life here in Mijas and I’ll be back with more soon.
And just as I will, I pray you will continue to be present over perfect and choose to live lovely.

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(Patty, Whitney and I produced 600+ tapas for the alumni cocktail party)

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(The wedding cake I made for the wedding that was held at Mijouse the 2nd weekend I was here. 5 layers and raspberry filling!)

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(my beautiful roommate and friend painted this for me. Many a time have I been given words that say “I’ma bird”)

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(And last but not least; one of the strongest forces to get me to Spain. Still can’t believe how blessed I am to do more life with her.)

light always crashes in

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I’ve felt a lot of righteous anger in my soul over the last few days. Anger peppered in tears. Anger that is toppling out of me and longing to come out in some physical form. Anger that was thankfully lessened with laughter but dissolved in heartache.

In a shorter amount of words: I’m mad at the world and I’m mad at darkness.

I’ve seen a lot of darkness and bad things thus far in my life. I’ve seen addiction, death, abuse. I’ve wrestled with suicide. I’ve LIVED in darkness.

Darkness angers me.

The last two days I’ve heard story of tragedies that desperately hurt my heart.

Three years ago I met South Africa for the first time. I met the townships, the people, the families. I met the students of Bridges of Hope Academy.

South Africa changed my view of darkness. It changed my view of a lot of things.

Two days ago I found out one of the boys that was a senior when I was there was shot and killed in a township.

I got mad.

Incredibly mad and sad with the overwhelming desire to cry and hit something at the same time.

Life just isn’t fair.

I don’t know what happened; I don’t know where he exactly was in life. I just know he’s gone and I’m mad at the darkness.

I stood railing at the darkness for a while the other night. I couldn’t understand why this 22 year old kid, who’d already gone through so much, who had gotten out, found Jesus, was taken in such a way as he was.

And after I had railed at the darkness of the senseless tragedies that I had heard about in the past couple of days I remembered the light.

It’s there; fighting against the dark forces. Crashing into the evil. Forcing what is bad into the light to crumble.

And I was reminded of an intense picture during some incredibly dark times in my life. Days where I prayed with each step I took, days where I didn’t sleep for fear of another day starting.

Days where I just wanted to end it all.

And Jesus gave me this picture of the darkest room I had ever seen in my life.

No windows, no doors, no way for light to creep in.

And then a dim night light turned on.

And I realized in that moment that He was always there; no matter how dark, how lonely I felt.

No matter how angry at the world I became;

The light is still there. The darkness may make it seem small; but it’s there.

I’m ok with the fact that I rail against the darkness. That I get mad when senseless death happens or when wife lose their husbands and babies lose their dads. I’m ok that I get mad when things break my heart.

It’s ok to yell at the darkness the clammers unwanted into our lives.

But what I remembered Monday night is that I must NEVER forget the promise that the light will always break through.

The light always invades, always plunders and always crush the dark.

So keep your nightlight on. And rally against the dark.

<3

I’m horrible PR for myself

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I’ve apologized a lot this week. I’m in a new place where only a few people know me. These new folks have been told I’m a good baker, a great cook etc.

That makes me nervous.

And it makes me apologize.

I’ve broken a wineglass, had way too many blonde moments, I’ve accidentally used corn starch instead of cornmeal. I used the wrong type of sugar in baking cookies. I’m walking this line of insecurity that is laughable.

IMG_9363(test layer of cake I made//gone in five minutes)

And I just keep apologizing.

Tonight during worship I realized that I keep apologizing and belittling the gifts and talents that God has given me. And in that way; I’m belittling God. I’m belittling the fact that He Himself gave me all these gifts.

And here I am just apologizing away all of these things when I am unsure, or insecure or make a mistake.

I’m calling myself out on apologizing. I’m calling myself out on not having confidence in the gifts and talents He gives me. And it’s so funny because just this week I allowed myself to be taken up on stage and I danced with this Spanish rapper during the half of the World Cup final in the square in Mijas in front of at least a couple hundred people.

But ask me to write something for you, bake something, cook something and this week I have been full of excuses that it might not be up to par or that I’m full of nerves. Compliment me on something I made and I haven’t responded with “thank you” but “oh it’s actually really easy”.

IMG_9364(my refrain on the novel I am writing “I suck at writing dialogue”)

Why? Why do I completely brush away the things that I know God has given me to use? Why do I not allow myself to walk in gifts, talents and knowledge.

Why have I been walking these week like I will never be enough?

I was told tonight that God delights when I wake up every morning. That He gets so excited to see me live out my life.

And here I am squandering it away with “I’m sorry” or “It’s not my best” or “Please, don’t think to highly of this or that thing that people say I’m good at.”

It’s stupid, lame and I need to stop.

So if you’re reading this and you are currently doing life with me in Mijas: this week (and beyond) I give you permission to call me out when I don’t respond with “thank you” to a compliment or when I belittle the work I have done by undercutting the task.

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And mind you this next week I am doing the following: making a wedding cake, cooking for my house and helping with some writing projects.

Three things I hold close to my heart. Three things I know I am good at. Three things that I have undercut and apologized for lacking in in the last two weeks.

I don’t want to live a life of apology.

I don’t want to live a life peppered with insecurities or feeling like I’m not a enough.

I want to live a life walking in confidence of the good gifts He has given me.

So here I go: choosing to live a life free from apologizing and undercutting myself away.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

(Why I am in Spain? Check out journey with me)

all I have is a topic sentence

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I’ve started at least 3 blogs in the last five minutes trying to figure out what to write about.

There are multiple things I could write about right now. I have a myriad of thoughts flying through my brain.

But most of them are all topic sentences:

(Re)Learning to use my voice.

(Re)Learning to step out in faith.

Learning to burst beyond that which makes me uncomfortable.

Learning to leave insecurity at the door.

Learning not to second guess myself or my purpose.

It’s all a beginning. Or more so a continuation.

7 months ago I got off of a plane into a familiar place that had turned unknown.

A week ago I go on a plane to an unknown place that is full of familiar.

photo 3((some of my NSquad girls who I have the joy & privilege of doing life with here in Spain))

And the lessons aren’t the same. But the lessons here have built upon the lessons from there.

So now I sit here with all of these topic sentences at the beginning of a new season. 5 for now; probably more to come. And here’s the thing:

That’s ok.

It’s like God is handing me this notebook with a topic at the top of each page and saying

“it’s ok. You don’t have to figure all this out tonight. Or even tomorrow. I’m just saying it’s time.”

And it is time.

photo 2((july interns on a scavenger hunt through Mijas))

There are a couple things that I’ve let lurk in my closet far too long that I am ready to let out and then beat them down with a broom. They have been taunting me and poking their heads out for too long.

And God is reminding me daily that it’s fine. And it’s time.

I tore so many chains aside last year; and I’ve come to realize that I have some more. They’re rusted over because they’ve been there for so long that I’ve forgotten about them.

It took the demolishing of the chains on top of them to realize that they were there.

So that’s where I am. I’m sitting here in lovely Spain, having just finished my first week of class with a post it note of topic sentences; of things God is going to walk with me through.

And it’s going to be good. And hard. And beautiful.

I’m here. I’m ready to live through these lessons that I may come back someday and be able to tell you about another chain that has fallen off.

I am here.

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And here I go.

 (click here if you would like to see ways in which you can journey with me

an afro, some sequins (& 92 kids)

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(before I begin this: a shoutout to the incredibly amazing, lovely, dance party-riffic staff & counselors of Newport Mesa Church’s Royal Family Kids Camp. Your kindness, encouragement and love spurred me on last week and I was completely and utterly humbled by your words!)

Last year in February I did ministry for the day along with 5 others from my squad at a maximum security prison in Trujillo, Peru. If I’m being honest I wasn’t THAT nervous. Sure, I was a little nervous. But I’d prayed and ask for God to shield my eyes from things I shouldn’t see and to protect my ears from things I shouldn’t hear. I felt protected.

I stood up in front of men in that prison and helped lead worship, spoke words from God.

I was at peace.

Last week I stood in front of 92 kids between the ages of 7-11 and was scared to death.

image_3            (the carpool crew before we headed up the mountain)

Hilarious much?

Last week I was the Bible story teacher at Royal Family Kids Camp. RFKC is a week of fun and happiness for kids who are in the foster care system. Some of them are from pretty rough backgrounds; living in foster families, group homes, separated from siblings. For the most part life for them hasn’t been easy. So RFKC happen around the nation and they are filled with volunteers who come together to make a week of fun, love and joy for this kids.

This is my fourth year volunteering and my first year as the bible story teacher. So each chapel I would teach the kids the memory verse (Psalm 23:4), do some sheep trivia questions and after singing  and dancing I would get up and tell them stories about David and the Good shepherd.The first morning I was TERRIFIED.

Would I be able to hold the attention of (most) of the kids? Would the counselors hate me for taking too much time or even worse not enough? Would the staff totally regret their decision to have me take the job?

image_2(my trenta)

So many doubts as I went to step up and took the mike for the first time. I got up that first chapel and talked about shepherds and the awesome teen staff helped me with a skit. And as I finished my first day of stories my nervousness began to go away because I realized I was doing something I love more then anything.

Getting the privilege of telling kids that they are not only special and loved but that God has a plan for them.

And these kids need to hear that desperately.

In that I realized where my fear came from. In all the times last year I stood in front of a mike and talked or sang, I never was really nervous because I didn’t really care what other people thought (and of course for the most part no one spoke english).

image_1(Lauren// fellow WR Alum// fellow Californian// fellow adventurer)

Put me in front of a mike in front of a group of kids with short attention spans, friends I respect and people I don’t really know and I forget why I ‘m really there.

The next day I showed up to chapel in a sparkly sweater and an afro and a lot more confidence and love.

Because all that mattered was that the kids listened long enough to know we love them, Jesus loves them and He has a plan for them.

THAT’S what I want my life to look like no matter has scary it seems. I want people to know they are loved by Jesus, that He has a plan for them no matter where they are in life.

I admitted a few things to the kiddos last week between shouting psalm 23:4 and apparently looking like a a crossover between MJ and Bob Marley; I admitted I’m blind as a sheep, I need google, that I was afraid of the dark and that I’m 29 and still unsure completely what I want to be when I grow up.

But what last week taught me is that standing in front of someone (or many someones) and encouraging them to go and do and be is a big part of who I am and what I want to be.

So yes, I was scared this week before I put on the sparkly sweater.

Because kids? are scary.

Adults? they are scary too.

People who understand english?

Yep, scary.

The bottom line, the thing that helped me get over the fear is the reminder that God has a plan.

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I’m leaving Thursday for another adventure.

And just like those kids, God has a plan. And that information grounds me a little. I’m getting on a plane Thursday by myself and I’m antsy and nervous. I’m so thankful I have friends meeting me on the other side.

That’s all for now. Last week was a beautiful blessing and I can’t wait to see my Royal Family again next year.

I may or may not have more blog stateside (or on my enormous 4th of July layover in Turkey) But I treasure your prayers and encouragement in this next part of life. And if you are able and willing I still need some help and support for this journey. All donations are tax deductible: Click HERE to donate and make sure you type “Meg Reeve” in the notes. (And if you’d like a postagram from Espana shoot me your mailing address!!)