Six Impossible Things

Photo by: Tina Francis

Photo by: Tina Francis

Have you ever met someone with extraordinary faith? I recently worked with a pastor who would make our heads spin with his vision and dreams. Most of the time we whispered things under our breath like, “No way, he’s crazy.” Or, “This is impossible.”

But he believed they would happen, and they often did.

Continue reading the rest of the story over at SheLoves Magazine

 

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See (Five Minute Friday)

Photo by Tina Francis

Photo by Tina Francis

A five minute free write, unedited, done in conjunction with Lisa-Jo Baker. The prompt: SEE. (So I know it’s Saturday, but who has time to do this on a Friday, right?) 

For the past few years I couldn’t see who I was. I couldn’t see my potential. I couldn’t see how God sees me, or how my friends and family see me. I couldn’t see what I could be a part of.

I was blinded. Blinded by insecurity, blinded by negativity, blinded by a daily beating my self-esteem took with my continuous inner monologue.

Having the wrong people around me who didn’t see my potential blinded me. I let their lack of seeing tell me untruths about my potential.

But now I see.

And now others see.

And now those baby girls in India, who might not have lived, will now live, and they will also see.

I will make sure they see their potential. I will make sure they see how God sees them. I will make sure their friends and family see them, that their community sees them. I will make sure they see what they can be a part of.

I’ll make sure they aren’t blinded by insecurity or negativity. I will make sure they see their potential and help them put it into action.

And then they will see.

And others will see.

That seeing is good.

Big Love

Thank-You
I’ve been pretty speechless the last few weeks. I have felt such an overwhelming amount of support and trust by so many people. Seven months ago I leapt off the ledge into something big. I honestly had no idea what or if it would happen, I just trusted that if God wanted me to go down this path then I would, no matter what the result was.  I stepped out in courage even though I was scared to death.

Walking in blind faith is a scary, scary process. I’m scared almost every moment of every day, but I choose to actively trust in each of those moments. I have a vision God gave me for Rescue Pink, but I wasn’t sure over the past few years if it was my vision or His.  He’s making it very clear to me it’s His. So many times over the past few months I’d step out in faith, almost sure that ‘this’ or ‘that’ wouldn’t happen, and then God would make it hilariously easy. I mean guys, my head is constantly spinning. Constantly. This journey is a wild ride. It’s scary. It’s a huge responsibility. My prayer life has grown like a boss. And I spend at least an hour a day in tears or hilarious laughter and in thankful prayer. {Most days all three}.

The next thing I want to say is thanks! Thanks to two very special couples who gave at the very beginning that truly made this thing get off the ground. Their faith in me still makes me burst out into tears when I think about it, especially because it came at a time where my faith in myself was negative. These couples want to remain anonymous, but you know who you are. You are dearly loved.

The next thanks goes out to almost 200 of you who purchased Rescue Pink tshirts. (I mean, I thought we’d sell 50 of them.)  The purchase of these tees helped us finish paying our attorneys and pay the astronomical fee to register as a non-profit. Again, this thing wouldn’t have happened without you. Not to mention the fact that you wear them like crazy…I catch them on instagram and facebook all the time.  Thanks for repping for us, we love you!

Then I want to thank my boss.  He’s a ton of fun, and we work hard, but this guy has the biggest heart for building the kingdom. And he believes in me, and he’s put huge action behind showing me how he believes in me and the work we are doing. He’s given financially, and also with leadership and advice, he’s given time off to travel and so much more. Love you D!

Then I want to thank so many of you, my family and friends who gave financially to us to send us to India in a few weeks. Every time I get a paypal notification or a check in the mail I literally cry. Your gifts to us mean so much more than just financial help, it means you believe in us, and words can’t describe how that fuels us forward in this journey. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! (if anyone wants, you can still donate – click HERE).

Next I’m thankful for small businesses.  Seriously, these friends who own small businesses have rocked our faces off!  Thank you to (in no certain order): Christie Lacy PhotographyLittle Eclectic HouseGoodLife Outdoor LivingCache ChicBBTCustom Tees, and LSI Corporation. Our board is specifically praying for each of your businesses that God would return to you in multiplication as you continue to be the funnel that He uses to accomplish his Kingdom work. Thank for allowing Him to use you.

There are a few more exciting things in the works….a website & other things, but we’ll talk about them really soon!

I wanna spend a minute to say that resources are not just financial. I have been given a wealth of support from my church family.  Community of Faith has been such an integral part of this journey for me. They are part of the reason we exist. The connections, the knowledge, the place that grew me for years and taught me so much. The love from my pastors who stand behind me, pray for me and encourage me…I’m just so thankful.

I’m thankful to our partner in India, without James and his team, Rescue Pink wouldn’t be happening. I’m thankful that God brought both of us together at just the right time to push this forward.  I’m thankful that just chatting with him over the internet calms my nerves, and I’m thankful for the knowledge and wisdom that God gives him as he serves others so faithfully in India.

And I’m so eternally grateful for the love, support and prayers from each of you who are remembering to pray for us. You are the most important part! I can’t say thank you enough! Keep on please :)

Gosh, I’m sure I’m forgetting something and I so don’t want to. Please know that each and every one of you have touched our hearts. Thanks for helping us rescue baby girls!

7 months down….who’s ready for what’s next?

I Am From…

I am from the photographs that hang on my walls that tell stories of a lifetime of adventures that have changed me,

From journals that record my inmost thoughts to storybooks that take me places I’ve not traveled yet.

I am from a family of sarcastic truth-tellers and pranksters, but filled with fierce love for one another,

I am from the most fragrant form of Jasmine braided into my hair purchased from street vendors in India,

I’m from secrets kept of amazing adventures unless you know me well and ask me.

I am from the giant mimosa tree I grew up climbing in my grandparents yard whose long gone limbs I remember as if they were my own.

I’m from large family Christmases and holidays, from homemade strawberry jam, and chicken and dressing made by grandmothers that no one could out-cook {nor get an exact recipe from}.

I’m from a family of tall-tale-ers that always made life an adventure, so I’m from a childhood spent in the yard with salt shakers chasing blackbirds with the belief that if I could shake salt on their tail that I could catch it and keep it. I’m from trying my darndest to not put my tongue in the hole left from a lost tooth with the belief that if I could accomplish it, then a gold tooth would emerge.  {I could go on forever}.

I’m from outspokenness and strength, and from brokenness and redemption.

I’m from intentionally missed turns and tall-tales of Indian mounds.

I’m from family filled with servicemen, so we are brave, had spit-shined shoes, and we respect our elders by saying no sir and yes ma’am.

I’m from forts built in the woods, 3-wheelers, front yard kickball, bottle-rocket wars, and ice bricks chipped out of driveways to make igloos.

I’m from mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

I am from family.

** This Post is Part of a Synchroblog from SheLovesMagazine

She’s Got the Brokedowns

“I made up my mind that day to trust, even though I didn’t have all the answers. I changed my Facebook job to say: Rescuer of Baby Girls in India.

Image

It’s January 2007, and I am in a bare concrete building in India, holding a 3-week-old baby girl. Her name is Vickey. She’s swaddled in a green towel, looking up at me with big brown eyes.

She has no idea how special her story is yet.

My friend, Anival, and I spend the day falling in love with her and 11 other little girls. When the day is over we hop into the Jeep with our Indian friend, Amal, for the trek back across the mountain to our hotel. Anival and Amal are in the front seat chatting away and I’m in the back seat, quietly sobbing. Finally, Amal looks back at me, sees me falling apart, and looks over at Anival to say,

“She’s got the brokedowns.”

I have no idea what word he is trying to say in English, and I decide not to ask. Because yes, in this moment, I feel very broken down.

I finally eek out, “Amal, if it weren’t for you and your brother, they’d all be dead . . .”

He replies, “Yeah.”

We ride the rest of the way back in silence.

On that ride home, in the cold Indian night air, a vision was birthed in my heart. I knew, without a doubt, I was meant to be a part of this work.

Please check out the rest of the story over at SheLoves Magazine

What I’m Into While I’m Waiting (July 2013 Edition)

At the not-so-gentle Nudge from my friend Kelley Nikondeha, and because I’m waiting on my attorney’s to finish the paperwork for my non-profit, Rescue Pink, I’ve decided to take part in Leigh’s “What I’m Into” linkup. {Leigh, you don’t know me yet, but we have tons of mutual friends, so hello! :)}

This month was my birthday month, so July tends to be my very favorite month and I celebrate the entire month. This July I took a little trip back home to Mississippi to spend time with my family, I had a tea party with my niece,  sushi with my friends, finally got to see Wicked the musical, the Vera Bradley outlet opened up just down the road from me in our outlet mall so I treated myself to some birthday treats. Because most of the non-profit planning is done, then I’ve been doing a lot of graphic designing for my family – weddings galore! That’s just a tip of the iceberg, but follow me on twitter, instagram or facebook and you’ll get the whole story, I love social media!


My Favorite Summer TV

So You Think You Can Dance’s, Jenna & Tucker’s contemporary dance a few weeks ago choreographed by Travis Wall was breathtaking.

The girl has no strength left in her, but her partner helps her until she has her own strength back again…It’s about how you can help bring hope and life back into people’s lives when they are at the bottom.  Start at 1:21. Simply beautiful. I love how dance can communicate such beauty when done well. SYTYCD is one of my all-time favorite programs.


Big Brother
is my other favorite Summer TV show. I am fascinated by people, how they act and react, I watch people all the time. Not in a creepy way, but the way they relate, etc., So Big Brother is like people watching on steroids. I want to someday go on this show! LOL!

My Favorite Iphone App Love

Qwiki – It’s one tap storytelling on your iphone!  It lets you select a grouping of photos in your phone, select a song from your itunes library, create a template and it makes a video slideshow that can be posted on social media.  As someone who captures most everything on my iphone I’m loving this!

Waze – Welcome to social driving!  As a social media junkie, and someone who lives in a town that’s notorious for traffic, Waze is amazing!  In Houston, the radio reports are typically a little too late before they announce a traffic problem.  With Waze, other Wazers are driving the route you are going and the map is real-time updated. I love knowing what I’m headed for before I get to it and can accommodate. Not to mention the police reports. I’ve been saved from quite a few speeding tickets with this gem I’m sure.

My Weekly Budget – If you’re like me, then you don’t balance the checkbook very often.  I mean I get an email every morning from my bank telling me what cleared the day before, so there’s no surprises…but I do like to stay somewhat on a budget for certain things. This app lets you put in a budget, set labels and you can keep up with it pretty easily. Pay the $0.99 for the paid one, it lets you do monthly instead of weekly.

Voxer – I’ve had Voxer for a long time, but I was a heytell user for the most part.  But recently my BFF, while she was in Africa for the summer reminded me about Voxer. So we’ve been using it a lot the last few weeks. I like that unlike heytell it doesn’t cut you off and you can have conversations with multiples of people.  Plus within the same conversation you can send photos or even type in your answer (when maybe you don’t want to talk back in a big room full of people).

Here are some pretty cool new photo apps I’m using:
A Beautiful Mess
Mystic
Word Swag
Rhonna Designs

One app I downloaded but won’t probably try it until I go on my next adventure is the Day One App . It’s like a journal on your iphone, you can record the day with text, audio, photos, gps a map, etc….

If you’re like me and you like cute wallpapers for your iphone I’d suggest Cuptakes. It’s a small fee to download it, but the app is updated with new wallpapers every single month.

Reading

I’m currently reading: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda – Two compelling stories woven together: In India in 1984, destitute Kavita secretly carries her newborn daughter to an orphanage, knowing her husband, Jasu, would do away with the baby just as he had with their firstborn daughter. In their social stratum, girls are considered worthless because they can’t perform physical labor, and their dowries are exorbitant. That same year in San Francisco, two doctors, Somer and Krishnan, she from San Diego, he from Bombay, suffer their second miscarriage and consider adoption. They adopt Asha, a 10-month-old Indian girl from a Bombay orphanage. Yes, it’s Kavita’s daughter. In alternating chapters, Gowda traces Asha’s life in America—her struggle being a minority, despite living a charmed life, and Kavita and Jasu’s hardships, including several years spent in Dharavi, Bombay’s (now Mumbai’s) infamous slum, and the realization that their son has turned to drugs. Gowda writes with compassion and uncanny perception from the points of view of Kavita, Somer, and Asha, while portraying the vibrant traditions, sights, and sounds of modern India. (Taken by Amazon)

My mom got me the Jewish Annotated New Testament for my birthday and it’s been a new and very useful tool in reading the NT.  I like reading the history and traditions within the Jewish context, things have new meaning to me now.

Up Next: Jonathan Martin’s Prototype – I’m reading this with Kelley’s Book club including a Q&A with the author sometime this month.

After that I’ll read, Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo – I’ve had too many recommendations on this book that it was in my “to read” pile already, but it’s moved up on the list. I’ve always been intrigued by immersion journalism and have wanted to try my hand at it for many years, so to read this award winning author write about one of my most favorite places in the world is something I’m very much looking forward to.

Random Info {Books into Movies Sort of Stuff}

This isn’t until November, but I’m already into it, wishing it didn’t take too long to develop a movie – Catching Fire:


If you haven’t read the Hunger Games Trilogy, you must do so NOW! I don’t even like science fiction but I devoured these books.  Then you can watch the first movie before the second one comes out in November.  You’re welcome!

Products

I love The Giving Keys. I have one that says Rescued. I’ve had it about a year and a half and wear it with the intention of giving it to the first baby rescued by Rescue Pink. This is a company based out in California that employs homeless people to create the keys. When you get a key, you must give it away at some point to a person you fell needs the message. Then you can go to the site and write your story.

Somebody, (somebody very smart I guess), one day decided to tell us that tap water isn’t good for us. I mean, I grew up drinking tap water and I only have one head.  But anyway, someone is making massive amounts of money and causing a mess in the ocean with plastic bottles killing our sea life. I watched a documentary several years ago about it and I swore off drinking out of plastic bottles forever.  Well, this month I found Faucet Face.

faucet Face

How cute are they!  And part of the proceeds go to providing biosand filters for India. Everyone should have access to clean water! In your face executives putting water into bottles and charging us $2 for it!

Video Love

I want to be friends with these people, seriously…anyone that can go to a gas pump and be surprised by a live person on tv and just “go with it” doing Karaoke…yeah, these are my kind of people…


I love, love, love this TED talk by Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong. Dan challenges us to change the way we think about changing the world. It’s one of the most compelling talks I’ve ever heard. If you are a non-profit, work for a non-profit, or associated with a non-profit, or give to a non-profit…THEN WATCH THIS.  I promise you won’t be sorry.


And I’ll leave you with this. This makes me so happy. I want to stand up on a chair and scream thank you to Coca-Cola for this creativity!  What unites us is so much stronger than what divides us. What would the world be like if we got to know one another before judging without relationship?


Enjoy!  Tell me what you’re into!

Faith, Fear & the Skycoaster at Six Flags

Many years ago, on a Friday night, a few of my girlfriends & I decided the next day that’d we’d get up at the crack of dawn, drive ourselves 4 ½ hours to Atlanta, Georgia, from Tupelo, Mississippi, spend the day at Six flags, then drive ourselves 4 ½ hours back that night in order to go to church on Sunday morning. If you don’t know me well, I’m pretty impulsive when it comes to travel…I always love an adventure.

While at Six Flags, we saw something called the Skycoaster.

#picturestolenfromtheinternet

As my gal pal’s went racing towards it, I looked up and was terrified. Next thing I know, my two friends and I stood on a little platform wrapped up in a harness and hooked in with a tiny, small hook at the center of our backs to a line that was thin like a clothes line. (I mean, maybe it was bigger than that, but it sure didn’t feel like it).  Then we trusted two young girls, probably younger than us, (probably middle schoolers), who most likely made $5 an hour to be the “responsible party” to strap us in. Then, all of a sudden, the platform just dropped from below our feet, and we fell horizontal. Strapped together, and held together by a tiny cord. What in the world! How have I found myself here!

Then the crane started hoisting us up to the top of the arch (I remember this well). I screamed the entire way.

Once we finally got to the top, one of my girlfriends pulled the cord to let us loose (good thing that wasn’t my job or we might’ve been hanging there all night), and we flew. There were a few seconds of amazing, then the worst part happened. The worst part was when we swung all the way forward and those 2 seconds just before we began to swing backwards. The cord loosened and we felt suspended with nothing attached. That’s the moment your stomach is in your throat, but it’s exhilarating all at the same time.  I’m screaming and laughing all at the same time. Terrified but excited.

Then we swung a few more times and the fear went away, probably because we got used to it. By then it was just fun.

————————————————————-

On the way home from work today I was thinking about faith. Even this past Saturday as I worked on Rescue Pink (my non-profit), I was coming to the realization of how quickly things are happening and how terrified I am. I even had thoughts running through my brain, “Do you really want to do this, you are just about to the point of no return. You are starting a legal entity that you will be responsible for. This is government business now. You’ll be/are using people’s money and making decisions about it. Do you want to work a second job? Do you have the time for this? Maybe you should just stop now, this is too big for you.”  I knew in my heart I wasn’t going to stop now, but that was running around in my brain. I could’ve let it defeat me like I have in the past, but I just let those thoughts sit there and didn’t really make a decision to think about it one way or another.

Sunday morning I woke up and one of my favorite pastors, Marco Monroy was preaching at my church.  His passage? Hebrews 11.  If you’ve been following my story you know this passage was a key turning point for me in stepping out to do this non-profit to begin with.  And Marco could’ve taken this passage anywhere, but here is a quote from his message:

“God is not going to give you a dream in which you don’t need His help to accomplish the dream.” — Marco Monroy

 

I love how God uses people as gentle reminders that He’s got you in His hands. He knows every, single thing.  And he knows exactly what you need to hear, and when you need hear it.

So back to the ride home from work today.  I was thinking about faith.  And my thoughts turned toward courage. I’ve often heard the phrase, “Courage isn’t the absence of fear. It’s feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” Then I began to wonder if we all feel fear the same way?  At times I’ve thought that some people just have more courage than others, or they are more apt to just jump into things headfirst.  Then I think about how I used to be that way, but as I got older I became more scared of things, I got out of the practice of jumping in headfirst, pushing past the fear, and instead learned to become terrified and immobilized.  Life became dull.

I tell my niece all the time, who seems predisposed to be very, very afraid (she’s a scaredy-cat), to push past the fear – I tell her that on the other side of it are some of the most exciting things in life. Most of my life I lived that way and I have the most amazing stories to tell.  She listens to me (with a lot of “convincing”), and I’ve seen her push past her extreme fear to pet a stingray, hold a parrot, and rush down major waterslides by herself, and more, all at 5 years old. These seem small, but to her, they are HUGE. She’s learning courage. She doesn’t just have it, she has to practice it. Courage is a choice, it’s a learned behavior.

Then I think about faith. And how faith is the same way.  At times I’ve thought that to some people faith must just be easier for them.  But now I think it’s just like courage, we all have the same amount of anxiety about things. But we can choose faith enough so that it can become a learned behavior, and then with lots of practice it will become easier. But it’s not that God put more faith in others, and a little here and a lot there, a teeny tiny bit over there. We all have the same struggle with it.  It’s just what we choose to do with it that matters.

So today, I feel like I’m standing on the platform, and I’m strapped in, the floor is about to drop.

I’m trusting that cord.  I’m trusting that cable is gonna hold me.  Heck, I’m even trusting the middle schoolers who strapped me in.  And I’m gonna fly.  And it’s going to be scary and fun all at the same time, that first swing will probably be the scariest, but the second one should get better. I’m exercising courage. I’m exercising faith. I’m gonna fly.

“If you think God called you to something you can accomplish on your own, then that was just bad pizza.” – – Marco Monroy

 

Check out this video (also stolen from the internet). Start it at about 1:15.

Here I Go Completely Changing My Life Again…

Little did I know that in January when I posted “Risk” as my word of the year, just how much I would be tested in this. Would I really risk? Or would I waste another year not jumping off the ledge?

In my younger years, “Risk” was never an issue for me. I was a ledge-jumper – I’m telling you, I made it a habit of jumping off some record-breaking sized cliffs.  I have amazing stories of ways that my faith was big and how God was always catching me – trusting Him fully.  But somehow, and I’m not really sure exactly how or when it happened, things changed for me.  Somehow my self-esteem found itself at the bottom of the pit, and I was stuck.

For years I’ve known God wanted me to do something very specific. And for years God has given me this huge vision of the way He wanted to use me. And for years I questioned it all, “God, not really…I know You want this to happen, but the vision I see is too big. I’m not capable. I’m not good enough, or smart enough, or strong enough, or worthy to be used THAT way.”  And because I couldn’t trust that God knew what He was doing, I found myself stuck there. I knew I needed to take that large leap off the cliff and trust Him, but I stayed glued there on the ledge, incapacitated.  For years.

Back in November of 2012 someone mentioned a job offer to me and I sort of laughed in his face. No way. I’m just going to stay right here and do what I do.  But all the while thinking of the vision God had given me every single day.

Fast forward to January 2013, I was watching Louie Giglio by webstream at the Passion Conference in Atlanta. He was speaking to a dome of over 60,000 students. He spoke of many years ago when he was younger as he sat in the very same dome and God had given him a vision for his future. He saw a dome filled with thousands of young people being mobilized for Christ – and that he would lead them. And as Louie is looking upon 60,000 students on that particular day, he said, “I’m looking right now at immeasurably more.” He talked about Ephesians 3:20 – “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”  He spoke about how some of us do not believe that God can really give us immeasurably more. {Voice in my head: YUP, that’s me}.

Next, he spoke of the passage in Mark 9 when a father brings his young son to Jesus to heal him of seizures. The boy’s father brought him, so he had some belief that Jesus could heal, but he must have not believed that Jesus would choose to heal his son specifically because he says to Jesus, “…but if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

Jesus replies, If you can?” “Everything is possible for one who believes.”  Then immediately the boy’s father says, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Then Louie talked about how a lot of us believe God can do amazing things, but we have unbelief that He would choose to use us in that way, that he would give us immeasurably more. He said some of us believe about 90%, but that 10% is blocking us from action {voice in my head: dang, God gave Louie a message just specifically for me – sorry about that 60,000 college kids}

I mean really. That hit me in the face. Hard. So on January 1st, 2013, I began praying every day…”God, I know without a shadow of doubt that you want to use me for a great work in India. I do believe, but please help my unbelief!” Then on January 5th, I started a daily topical bible study in youversion on faith. Every day I was reading and meditating on the great biblical people of faith.

The final day the passage was Hebrews 11.  It’s known as the Hall of Fame of Faith. It goes through many great people of faith.  By act of faith Noah built a ship because he was warned of something he could not see, and as a result his family was saved. By faith a barren Sarah was able to become pregnant as an old woman. By act of faith Abraham was willing to sacrifice his very son Isaac because he trusted that God had a plan, even when it made no sense. By act of faith Israel walked through a split sea trusting the water would not overcome them. By an act of faith the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho and watched the walls fall. It goes on and on…Moses, Rahab, Abraham, etc.

But the last 2 verses in that passage was what changed everything… ”Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised.  God had a better plan for us: that their faith, and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete from ours.” Hebrews 11:39-40

{Voice in my head: Hold up…did that just say what I think it really said? That the Saint’s faith is dependent upon my faith? That their acts of faith aren’t complete without mine? Man, I bet they are up in heaven saying, come on already, Sherry}

My world kind of flipped on its axis. It’s too important for me to sit here idly by. This doesn’t just affect me. In all honesty, this isn’t really about me at all; this is about God and what He wants to do. He just wants to use me as a tool. I need to get the focus off me, and my beaten down self-esteem, and trust, just like Abraham & Noah and all the great saints of faith, that even if it doesn’t make a lick of sense, God has His reasons.

So, I’m jumping. I’m leaving staff at Community of Faith, which very much is my comfort zone. I love this church so much, there’s no place like it. I love Mark and Laura, they have taught me so much about life and ministry and serving.  But working on staff at COF is an all or nothing thing – as it should be. The staff sacrifice a lot; they pour their hearts and soul, their everything, into the work there – as it should be. Please, if you are a COFer, I ask you to not read into that statement. I am in NO WAY saying this is wrong. I am saying, “As it should be.” God calls very specific people to serve there and God is using them in amazing ways to build His kingdom. It has been an honor to work there the past 5 ½ years and I will use every, single bit of knowledge I gained by working there for what He is calling me to now.

So, to catch you up on what’s up with me: I am stepping into the business world. I am taking a Monday-Friday job, and in the time I will gain, I will begin to build the non-profit that God has been asking me to do for years. It will be a non-profit that will help fund and create a rescue mission for baby girls in India affected by female infanticide.

Without going into huge detail (that’s for a later post), girls in India are being killed at birth every single day by their families. There are many Hindu’s that believe that women are the lowest form, and by killing the girls they are doing the baby a favor, in order for it to be reincarnated as a boy next.  To further complicate this, the dowry system is still in play, although technically it’s illegal, very poor families can not afford a daughter, nor her dowry. In reading this, please don’t judge…when this is all you know, then it’s all you know. I’ve spent a lot of time in India, I have a profound love for it’s people – they are absolutely beautiful. But there is this stronghold the enemy has and it’s killing, literally, its baby girls.

I cannot stand for this. I have to do something…and God has given me a plan and a giant vision. So I’m working on it. I’m praying you’ll stand with me.

I’ll leave you with a quote by Bill Hybels out of one of the most powerful talks I believe I’ve ever heard from him called “Holy Discontent.”

“…there’s a reason why you grew up just like you did, and why you’ve experienced what you’ve experienced, and why you’ve traveled where you’ve traveled, and why you’ve done what you’ve done. And along your life’s path you’ve seen something, you’ve felt something, and it’s gripped you, it’s stirred you. And you need to know that what it is that creates that firestorm in you, what’s wrecking you, is also wrecking the heart of our holy God. And He’s looking for someone just like you, to label your holy discontent, and then He’ll birth a vision in you that will release energy in you and you’ll start setting things that are wrong, right. You’ll start taking a situation of total defeat and you’ll start racking up a victory.”

I’m ready to start racking up the victories! Are you with me?

Wrecked

My friends and I have been reading the book Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life, by Jeff Goins.

And so because Idelette McVicker’s post inspired me, I’ve decided to share how this broken world has slammed into my comfortable life.

I was first wrecked with the death of my father at a very young age and subsequently the death of a best friend, diagnosed with cancer in his 30’s and dead seven days later, just one week before I was to leave for a long trip to India. But that kind of wrecked isn’t what the book is referring to, so I’ll just give those a mention; however those incidents were surely part of this broken world that slammed right into my comfortable life. And even though God also gave me a wonderful stepfather and many more best friends, both of those incidences shaped who I am today.

So in the context in which the book is written, here are some ways in which God has wrecked me:

I was first wrecked when I was a camp counselor for our student team at youth camp one Summer. This particular camp had a strong mission emphasis. I remember on the final night at camp I had stashed a $10 bill in my pocket to pick up a T-shirt I had been wanting all week. At the service that night the speaker told of a great need in Russia. I don’t even remember what the ministry was about but I remember distinctly God wrenched my heart open about “surrender”, (God and I were having a totally different conversation there in between hundreds of students worshipping). They were about to take up an offering for the ministry need in Russia and I only had $10 in my pocket that was intended for a T-shirt.

It seems insignificant now, but there was a big battle between me and God about that $10. After a big fight I surrendered the $10 and then the talk God and I were having changed from “surrender,” to “brokenness.” I was broken and ashamed that this was even an issue with me. And in five minutes I became broken for the entire world. I still don’t know how God did that, but He did, I’ve not been the same since.

The next morning as we were loading the bus to leave, a stranger walked up to me, I AM NOT LYING, this person handed me a T-shirt…it was the exact one I wanted. I remember standing there broken to pieces with a verse running through my head… “Do what the Lord wants, and He will give you your heart’s desire.” Psalm 37:4. I am constantly reminded that if I’ll follow after what’s on God’s heart, then He’ll take care of me. I’m even now, still in awe that He would orchestrate this whole thing to remind me that I can trust Him.

First Time in India

The next time I was wrecked was on my first trip to India & Nepal for a summer. As a matter of fact I was wrecked about 10 times on this trip. The circumstances around the trip included heat exhaustion to our team, sickness for almost the entire team (separate from the heat exhaustion), a young man working with our team tragically killed while there, a serious airplane explosion…there’s so much more, but I’ll stop there. This trip wrecked me for mobilization of the church. I thought about the long term workers in many countries that we never think about. Their sacrifice and sometimes suffering and we aren’t praying for them enough, we aren’t supporting them with words of encouragement or acts of kindness enough or with enough financial support. I knew I had to do my part personally, but to also become a voice for them to the church. After this trip I went on staff with my home church to work in mission emphasis.

At Missionaries of Charity
in Calcutta

The next time I was wrecked was the second time to India. I worked in Mother Teresa’s Orphanage in Calcutta and Mother Teresa wrecked me. Everything about that woman wrecks me. I also got the chance to befriend a village priest and the most incredible story happened with the NEXT team that came in after our visit. And God wrecked me on how each piece of the puzzle is important, even when it feels like there’s no fruit from your work, you just might be the seed planter for an incredible harvest to come. On this trip I was also wrecked by an amazing Indian church planter who taught me how to be wrecked for my own country, and for my own people.

I apologize for the image quality. This photo has been
carried in my wallet for 10 years now (before digital
cameras) and its pretty weathered.

The next time I was wrecked by a woman known as J.M.M from Bangalore, India (I’m witholding full names for security and on-going work).  She is god to a religion with over 9 million followers.  I was doing a research project for her about the women’s rights movement within this religion in India; subsequently I was composing a research report about the religion for a mission organization so they could formulate a long term strategy within this unreached people group. So I spent much time with her talking. I watched her bless water that people took to their homes to cleanse it of evil spirits, and I saw her do many, many other things. I observed thousands and thousands of people who know her only as god. But I knew her as my friend. I remember distinctly one afternoon leaving in my cab and literally falling apart in the back seat on the way home. My cabbie must have thought I was insane with all the sobbing, but I was so wrecked over her that I was in physical pain. I wanted her to meet my friend Jesus and then because she did, maybe 9 million people would follow.

Haiti’s poverty wrecked me.

Haitian Orphans (scanned image)
I apologize for showing this photo,
my intention is to not exploit but
to depict how I was wrecked by this

The next time I was wrecked was in South Sudan in 2002. Sudan was still in the middle of a civil war and at that time it wasn’t yet on the celebrity radar as it is now. I was there a month and was utterly wrecked that no one noticed Sudan, they were being ignored. I was wrecked by a USAID Worker that I rode a bus with and amid conversation found out that these particular USAID workers didn’t understand a poverty mentality, which therefore rendered his work useless. As we taught villagers to boil their drinking water on the fire from the streams, I was wrecked by the most extreme poverty I’ve ever known. It’s indescribable. I was wrecked by stories of war crimes, displaced family members and how tribes of Africans have lost significant cultural traditions because of an extremely long war and displacement – a lost identity. Totally, absolutely, wrecked.


Also in South Sudan I was wrecked 

by these girls

 

These girls have a special piece of my heart

My world got bigger, and smaller that year as we worked in Sudan together. An American, Czech, Ugandan, Dutch & German, working side by side. We were scared for our lives, especially at night, but held each others hands through it. We are bonded for life.

then…

Go mama!! :)

I was wrecked in Trinidad by my mom pushing past her comfort zone to serve others in another country. (I still can’t believe I convinced my mom to go with me – She’s a girly-girl and those were pretty tough living conditions – well, by girly-girl standards).

Drilling
Beautiful people – Cooking for us
In 2005, a water well wrecked me in the mountains of Guatemala with the Mayan people. I worked with Living Water International to dig a clean water well. We worked for days and days with an entire community surrounding us, excited to finally have a clean, healthy water source. After days of drilling we hit volcanic rock, and without a diamond bit that Living Water did not own, there would be no water for this community. I was wrecked with disappointment – everyone should have access to clean water.


In 2006, another water well wrecked me on the coast of Guatemala, 
near a school for young children 

 

This one was successful :)

 

The next time I was wrecked was in Belize working with boys who should have had no chance at education or a skilled trade, but given one by a bunch of big hearted friends from Mississippi.

God be with her

 

I was wrecked by Prisca, a little Zambian girl, orphaned by parents with AIDS. She changed how I deal with my helplessness of in-your-face poverty, starvation and mistreatment of someone I have grown to love dearly. She taught me that I can never be OK with that, but when there is nothing I can do to change the situation, that I have to trust that somehow God is enough.

My friend Kaye
Checking on the eggs

I was wrecked in Oaxaca, Mexico, by the idea of animal husbandry and how something simple and thinking outside the box can change an entire community’s well being. I also was wrecked by Kerry Johnson, a beautiful example of how keeping a broken heart is THE motivation needed to make a long-term difference.

My beautiful friends!

I am wrecked by my Batwa friends in Burundi, Africa.

I was wrecked by their marginalization

Then the idea of sustainable community development wrecked me (thanks Claude & Kelley).

The idea of long term friendship wrecked me.

The idea of dignity and justice and mercy wrecked me.

Now the Batwa wreck me almost daily when I hear stories of entire communities changing by the work of their own hands fueled by friendship and partnership. I’m wrecked that God let’s me be a small part of it. (series of posts about that starting here)

BUT….

The place that I am continually wrecked is the issue of female infanticide in India. For the last several years I’ve been utterly devastated by it. I can not go one single day without thinking about it. I know God has a work for me in it. I’m seeking His plan. I once had a friend doing this work in India. I got to spend some time there and the experience of holding a little girl that would be dead if you hadn’t intervened is a feeling that I will never be able to describe. My friend has passed away from an illness and there’s a giant, empty space now.

What am I to do? God, show me. Show me how. Show me when. Show me what. I am wrecked. {tears}

Isaiah the Prophet, tells us, “If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a  full life  in the emptiest of places — firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything…YES! God says so!” Isaiah 58:10-14

 

You Memorize Me

You know when I rise and when I fall
When I come or go, You see it all
You hung the stars and you move the sea, 
And STILL, You know me. 
 
And nothing is hidden from Your sight
Wherever I go, You find me
And You know EVERY detail of my life
And You are God and You don’t miss a thing. 
 
You memorize me…
 
 

I am overwhelmed that wherever I go, He is there. I am astounded that He knows EVERY detail of my life.  The One who hung the stars and moves the sea, memorizes me.

Thank You God that You know every intimate detail of my life and that Your plan for me is great, even when I don’t understand, and others don’t understand how You are working in my life…You know every detail. My trust is in You!