Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Ministry in the Mundane

This past week I have probably spent an average of 2-3 hours on laundry. Yes you read that right, 2-3 hours. That’s 6 TV shows. That’s a full movie, credits included. That’s A LOT OF TIME. Now if I was to multiply that by 52 weeks that equals 104 hours and that means I spend on average almost a week out of each year doing laundry. That’s a lot of laundry and it almost has me convinced that there are other people living under my roof that I have not tyet discovered.  There is a good chance they are under the kids beds because there is no telling what is hiding under there, or growing under there. At this point ignorance is bliss for me.
Ive washed dishes, cleaned bathrooms, swept floors and vacuumed just to have to redo it all a couple days later. My timetable during this stage of life is either: “ Get there so early that you can help set up or get there so late you are helping eat the left over food and helping them clean up.”  Its enough to drive a girl insane.

With all that time being spent doing the mundane and mind-numbing chores I can either choose to pout and dream of the days when I would come home from teaching and feel like I had accomplished something that day or I can choose to focus on how I can be present and find ministry in the mundane moments that make up my days during this season of life.
Working allowed me to feel like I was making a difference because often you saw the fruit of your labor and you often saw the results of your hard work and effort. 
That’s not always the case now.
I must discipline my mind to come to the Lord with Thanksgiving. To talk to him and ask him how I can serve him through the monotony of my day. How can I glorify him in the mudane?

Like many of you reading this we have desires and dreams that may not be able to fulfilled during this season of life. Or forget being fulfilled, we are in a waiting period where we aren’t even able to pursue those dreams and desires. We may have these visions of ministry, of being world changers, of making a difference, of being out in the “world” working yet right now we have them tucked away behind the piles of laundry, or dirty diapers or under the projects that we are just “helping” our kids with. ( Lets get honest folks most of the time its 90% your work and 10% their work if they are lucky) We’ve tucked them away and started to plead with the Lord for our purpose and direction. I truly believe God wants to share in our dreams and passions, yet, we are missing something if this is our mindset. Our Lord is a gentle and loving father who has ordained this time and place for us to be. ( Acts 17:26)  We can trust not only his time table but his process to bring about his purpose. We can come to him and still give him glory and minister to others throughout our mundane periods of life.  We must realize that in this time period THIS is our purpose and the direction of our lives. We must choose to be present and proactive in the here and now. Put yourself in the shoes of the Israelites as they marches around Jericho. How monotonous would that have been? Day in and Day out they marched around the city, going in circles. If they had chosen to complain they wouldn't have experienced Gods victory. And maybe just maybe the lessons he was teaching them in the mundane times of marching prepared them for what was to come. Maybe it was during those times of the same 'ole same 'ole God was whispering to their souls. I mean if i was them, honestly there would be days that I would want to quit. When I would have thought, " is this really worth it? Why are we doing this?" Yet our God had a plan and just as the Israelites would learn and be a part of then we must see and recognize that in the times of the mundane, in the circling of our "Jerichos" he is forming our character and forging our trust in Him. We have a paradise promised to us but we must be faithful in trusting in Him and his timing to receive it and choose to be a part of the miracles along the way. We must remember that in times or waiting, in periods of monotony our character is being built and prepared for what lies ahead. We must realize that our ministry is here and now, being entrusted with what we have been given. How will we choose to respond? 

Maybe you are a working mom. Maybe youre saying, “Lauren, I am in the world, I am pursuing my passions, I am a working mom”. Then I encourage you to still come to the Lord and ask him what ministry he wants you to have during this time. Ive been there, Ive been a working mom and I know there are still tasks that have to be done day in and day out no matter if you are at home all day or just part of the day. There are still opportunities to look outside of ourselves and pour into those in our household and those in our circles of influence at work. 

So as cheesy as it may sound lets seek for a way to serve while doing laundry and doing expense reports. We have a ministry in the monotony of our days both at work and at home. Lets minister to our children, to our husbands, to the women around us who are a stage or two behind us. There is ministry in the mundane, lets come to the Lord and ask him to open our eyes and hearts to how he is working around us and how we can join in.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Mama said there'd be days like this

We've all been there haven't we? We start the day strong, with the best of intentions and the best laid plans and then BAM!! by 730 we are woefully reminded that we are NOT always in control and that we are in desperate need of some extra grace for us and those around us ( I mean lets be honest, its really for their protection)

5 am came really early this morning and I was able to have some pretty awesome time in the Word and really connect with the Lord. I popped out of bed walking pretty tall, remembering that amazing meal I cooked... who am I kidding... crock potted last night that made me feel like SUPERMOM!
I had laid out the kids costumes for their Storybook parade, I had "planned" out a fun breakfast which consisted of  Confetti Pancakes and was so excited about the day.
The first "wake up" call came when my attempt at pancakes turned into this and my 5 year old wouldn't eat one unless I "drowned" it in Syrup. Lest you think I recovered from the burnt pancake meal, I didn't. I made my kids eat them because, "mommy made them and I'm really proud of them" and "if you add enough syrup you won't be able to taste the burn". Yep, mom of the year right here. My husband even asked if I burned bread because that was the first thing he smelled when he walked into the house 4 hours LATER.



Next we had not 1 but 2 bedtime potty incidents which included a full strip down of the bed and kids and quick "rinse off" baths.

Our outfits that were just perfect last night now became something of an embarrassment to one of my sweet kiddos and after a mild meltdown in the closet we changed from the ever-loving Olaf to a cute Ladybug. MOM WIN! I even hot glued things to make it work! DOUBLE MOM WIN. At this point I'm slowly making up for the overly syruped burnt pancake meal.

I was about to walk out the door when the Hubs Facetimed as he got off his shift and it wasnt until that point that I realized I still had on my cleansing mask.

So as I helped get Ms. Ladybug, Mr. Lion and my soon-to-be Mr. Dinosaur out the door, sprayed them with "smell good" so you couldn't smell the burnt pancakes on them and rewashed the dishes in the dishwasher so I didn't have to deal with them  I thanked the Lord for his new graces and mercies each morning just as it tells us in Lamentations 3:22-23 and started over. This time a little wiser and humbled :) Its moments like this, days like this that it can get overwhelming and you feel defeated but take heart, we have a mighty Savior who sees and hears and takes joy in the mundane AND messy times of life.

Happy Friday!!! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Meeting Up Monday: A Hope in Christ in a Broken World

Today is our second post on Meeting Up Mondays. I am super excited about this installment because of the topics it covers and who's story it is.  This post is one that you will want to reserve the time to read because Ohmygoodness, the depth and wisdom that this amazing woman shares is rare in the world we live in today. Jenna Wallace is a friend that I have gotten to reconnect with over the past couple years and what a blessing has she and her family been. She is a woman is excellence, and an amazing friend with a story that will be on your mind and heart forever. She shares from a very raw and vulnerable place and one that many of us can relate to even if our stories look a little different. She speaks with such grace and passion and she is a true representative of the Lord and His unending love and faithfulness. So without taking up more of your time here is her story.

Tell us a little about yourself, and your journey:

My name is Jenna and I’m 32 years old, married for 5 years this November to my wonderful husband Mike, and I am a blessed mother to a 3 year old little boy named Jackson. I went to Texas Tech University and studied Exercise Sports Sciences and Education. After college, I became a PE teacher in GCISD and did that job for 6 1/2 years. During my 7th year of teaching, when my son was 6 months old, he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Krabbe Leukodystrophy. This is a neurological disease that has a terminal prognosis.  We were told there were no life-saving treatment options available for Jackson, so our treatment plan would strictly be supportive care for his quality of life. When given the news of our son's condition, we were told that he had, at most, 18 months left to live since the disease is considered life ending by two years of age. Given the devastating news, we decided as a family that I would stay home and care for our precious boy through the entire journey as his full time caregiver. Jackson lived to be 3 years 2 months old and went to heaven this summer, on July 4, 2016. It has been three months since he left this world and his broken body only to be made new and whole in the sight of his Lord and Savior. My heart yearns to be near him every second of every day. 

What are your favorite books/movies that you’re reading/watching right now?

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

What is something unique about you?

Is it sad that I cannot come up with something unique about myself? I feel I am utterly normal by all worldly standards, but I'm ok with that.  I guess what makes me unique are all my life experiences that come together to make me who I am.  Because of my life journey, I know there is not another person in the world exactly like me.

Have these last 4-5 years changed you and your relationship with the Lord? If so, how?

The last 3-4 years have been the most formative years of my life. I accepted Christ in my heart as a freshman in college, and I have undoubtedly struggled and wrestled within my walk since. God, in His mercy and grace, has grown me during those years, but the last 3-4 years have really been a season of sanctification. Within this most recent season of my life, I have experienced a different level of brokenness. While before, so many of my struggles and suffering could find their root in my own selfishness and sinful desires, the journey we have taken the last 3-4 years with our son, Jackson, has been predominately rooted in love and a sacrifice. I don't pretend to act like there haven't been idols we have dealt with during this journey. There have been fights for control and covetousness. There has been insurmountable pain and fear to be reconciled. Doubts have filled our hearts and minds. There have been lots of questions we’ve wrestled with about why this has to be Jackson's story. Our story. But thanks be to God that when I came to Him with those fears and questions, He answered! When I sought to control parts of this journey, and I coveted the lives of others around us, God graciously broke me and reminded me that my true strength lies in Him, not in myself.  He continuously and patiently reminded me that His grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12: 9). The anticipatory grief was overwhelming right after diagnosis. We truly had to mourn the loss of so many things we had imagined for Jackson's future and for our family's future. There are simple things we all take for granted: the first time your child sits up, crawls, walks, talks, calls you mommy, says I love you. Then your mind can go farther than that: The first day of school, first ball game, first dance, first love, choosing a college, a career, getting married, etc. You get the idea. As a parent you begin to imagine your child's future and your role in that future. You take so many of these things for granted until you're told you'll never have them. You'll never watch your child grow up. And then you wonder how it's possible that even more can be taken away: his ability for volitional movement, his ability to see, his ability to suck and swallow, to eat, to even breathe on his own, to regulate his own body temperature and HR. These life-sustaining things...all taken away. Slowly, painfully, taken. And you’re helpless to stop it. Naturally you question. Why? Why God? As we mourned what was to come and the loss of all our hopes for J's future, God answered. He reminded me that these are good and right things to want for my son and his future, but they are ordinary things. What God had in store for Jackson was going to be EXTRAordinary. What God was going to do through my son and his physical weakness was far greater and far more impactful than anything I had imagined in my own head when I originally thought Jackson was a typically developing child. It was not the way I had thought it was going to turn out, and yet in the messy darkness of our journey, God's light shined all the more bright through Jackson. Jackson’s physical body betrayed him, but God redeemed.  And isn’t that how God has chosen to exercise his might throughout history?  He has always used the weak and humble to show His power and might.  For in our weakness, He is strong (2 Cor. 12:10).  I'm blessed because God allowed me to see Himself more clearly through my son. Jackson by all accounts (especially by worldly standards) was "the least of these" (Matt. 25: 40). He was special needs, had a broken body and required constant monitoring and care to sustain his life. As his disease progressed, he required various medical equipment and machinery to sustain him. Outsiders looking in saw a sad story, and in the center of it, a boy who was a slave to his limitations. But Jackson was more than those things; he was strong in spirit...a real fighter, and he truly lived! We did all the things you can think to do with your child! We took him on adventures to various states and even out of the country. We did crafts and other fun activities. We listened to music, we read all kinds of stories and went to ball games. He saw magical and enchanting things and even played dress up. He was a prince, a high king, and the boy who lived. He also enjoyed the simple things in life and taught us to appreciate them too. He was such a sweet soul. The people who took the time to look past all his physical limitations and actually engaged him, were blessed by what they found: a little boy with a gentle heart and piercing eyes that gave you access to his soul. There was a humble strength in him that could only come from Christ.  What a joy!  There is no doubt; Jackson was of great value to our God.  He was carefully and thoughtfully pieced together in my womb by his Creator (Psalm 139: 13-16) and his life had and still has great purpose.  Jackson was able to positively impact God’s kingdom and bring God glory in ways that I can safely say I’ve never personally accomplished as a Christ follower of 14 years.  Jackson was a vessel for God’s extraordinary plans.  His story drew people into communion with God, forcing them to ask those hard and messy questions.  His life forced people to wrestle and engage our Creator.  God used J to woo and bring people to Himself.  Mind blown.  What I’m certain of is God’s plan may not be our own, but we can be assured that it will provide the most glory for Him and the most joy in us. Jackson’s life also taught those around him how to serve with an unconditional love; how to be selfless, patient, and kind (Col 3:12-14).  Compassion and joy erupted from our hearts as we got to engage this little boy.  Jackson was and is truly a blessing from the Lord; a fount flowing abundantly with life lessons in grace and mercy.  He was the epitome of beauty in brokenness…humble and good.  Jackson’s life and impact on my walk with Christ has brought me a wealth of joy.  This is a joy that is untouched by my grief and sorrow.  What a gift this little boy is to my heart and soul.  His life spoke volumes even though he never spoke a word.

What wisdom was shared with you that you’ll forever hold onto? 

This life isn’t about me.  It’s about God and His glory.  It sounds so simple, but applying that truth and living our lives as such is so much more challenging. Not one of us individual humans is the point of this grand story.  We are creation.  It is true that we are God’s most prized creation (made in His image), but creation was intended to direct us back to the Creator worthy of our praise.  It’s good to remember when this world we live in constantly tells us otherwise. When we hold on too tightly to the things of this world and make them supreme, bad things tend to happen.  We may be given over to those things and the result tends to be hardened hearts uninterested in God and His plans, or God may be gracious, and lovingly break you so you remember to be desperate for Him.  Being in a place of brokenness is a good place to be.  It reminds us that we need Him. Which honestly is something we lose sight of far too easily when things are going our way.  We begin to tell ourselves that we are the authors of this success, or that we are deserving of this good thing.  The reality is that it all can be taken away in a heartbeat.  It can be taken away in a hospital room with one conversation with a doctor.  God wants you to live with open hands.

What wisdom would you share with others that are going through difficult times?

It's ok to not be ok. You are not perfect. You're going to mess things up. The people you do life with are going to mess up too. They are going to hurt you. There are going to be situations that take place that are out of your control. Why? Because we are all human, and we live in a Genesis 3 world. If you can, try to give yourself and others grace when things “go wrong”. Embrace the messiness and your imperfections because He is made great in your weaknesses. The pressure is off to try to portray a perfect life and a perfect you. The perfect you is merely a facade. It's not reality, and if you allow yourself to become a slave to trying to accomplish that perfect life, you'll be miserable. Here's the wonderful news: The God of the universe IS perfect! Your God loves you, and has made a way through Jesus. That is the hope of gospel! He knows you intimately, and he wants you to seek Him with all your troubles and suffering, all your questions and your doubts. He already knows how you're going to mess up tomorrow, a year from now, and even 5 years from now. The beauty is that He doesn't change, He is incapable of change. He is who He is, always and forever. He will not change His mind about you even in your failures. This is GREAT NEWS!! His grace is absolutely sufficient.  Lean in and drink deeply of the overflowing well of grace only He can provide.

What legacy do you wish to create and/or see has been created through this journey?

Jackson’s legacy is something of great importance to me. My wish is for that to never die.  My hope is that Jackson’s story and his life will continue to touch people from here on out.  My husband and I established a non-profit organization in Jackson’s honor called The Jackson Project.  The foundation has many goals: dedication to raising awareness about Krabbe, advocating for expanded newborn screening, contributing to research aimed at improving treatment options and improved outcomes for those affected by Krabbe, and supporting families affected by Leukodystrophy.  This foundation is just one way in which we plan to keep Jackson’s legacy alive.  We will continue to see his story change lives in the Leukodystrophy community. Our hope is that God will continue to use Jackson impact this world for good and to bring glory to His name in the process.

What verses do you cling to ? How have they helped? 

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12

“What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31

“But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Isreal: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.’” – Isaiah 43:1-2

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” – 1Peter 5:10

These are all reminders that this life will have hardships and challenges, but that God will redeem these things and keep His promises.  He will not allow these things to consume us, but He will continue to strengthen and establish us.

How can we partner in prayer with you?

My heart aches for the families who are affected by these diseases.  I’m pained by the physical sufferings of the children affected, and my heart hurts for the parents and siblings of the affected children.  Praying for these families, for healing in hearts and physical bodies is something I desire deeply.  Anyone willing to come along side me in those efforts would be amazing.  My own needs for prayer have more to do with how to navigate my grief.  The hope is that God will not waste my sorrow, but use it to impact His kingdom for good.  I’m a work in progress.  We are only 3 months out from losing Jackson, and my grief is still raw and unrelenting at times. It’s a delicate process that I’m learning to cope with.

Is there anything you would like us to know or anything else you would like us to share?

If you have a friend who is suffering and grieving a loss so deep, I pray you feel led and encouraged to lean into their grief. I pray you feel emboldened and inspired by what God is capable of in those messy spaces. Your friend doesn't expect you to have the "right things to say". I will be completely honest with won't say the right things. You will screw it up, but that’s ok! The truth is that there isn't anything you can say to take the ache away or tamp down the grief. It is a process that we all go through at various stages in our lives. God never said we wouldn't have heartache, pain, suffering, and grief. We live in a fallen world wrought with those very things, and they will find their way into your story at some point. There will be seasons of both mourning and dancing (Ecc. 3: 4). Just remember that God does promise that His grace is sufficient enough for you in those sufferings. Grief is a funny thing. It hits us all differently, and we all react differently to its intrusion into our lives. You're in an incredibly uncomfortable spot as a friend of someone grieving. You will feel that discomfort as you try to engage your friend. That's completely normal. Lean into that discomfort and try to acknowledge in your own heart that this isn't about YOU, but in this season of their life, it's about your brother or sister in mourning. Mourn with them. Don't ask them if you can bring them something, just bring it! If they don't want company, leave it on the porch. Ask them pointed questions about their day and how you can pray for them. Please do not say things like, "let me know if there is anything I can do."  More than likely, your friend will never feel inclined to come to you later when they are in need. Instead, dig deeper and ask them questions that require a response that isn't surface level. They may or may not engage you. If they don't, please don't give up on being there for them. They may not feel up to sharing that day. I promise you, there will be much growth for you in The Lord if you actively pursue your friend's heart and serve them through their grief.

As a personal note, if your friend is a bereaved parent, please don't be afraid to speak their child's name to them. Don't fear that you will upset them. You won't. They may cry, but those will be tears of joy. I promise. A Christ follower who also finds themselves as a bereaved parent, lives with joy and sorrow in tandem constantly. There is hope in Christ, but their arms are still empty. Their child is never far from their thoughts, and it warms their heart to know that their child was a part of your thoughts that day too. It keeps their child's memory alive. It lets them know that their child is not forgotten which is truthfully one of a bereaved parent's biggest fears. What a wonderful gift to give a friend who wants nothing more than to hold their child one more time! Even if we can't hold them in our arms, we know that you are also holding them in your heart.

You can visit for more information on how to get connected and support in a more tangible way! 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Favorite Things Friday

This is coming out a little later than normal so I apologize but I really think you'll love the list this week! It spans from hair products all the way to Africa! Check them out!

1. Can I hear a shout out for the girls with curly hair and those who rock some tangles?! First on the list this week is the amazing Wet Brush. This little piece of heaven has helped us cut down on major meltdowns in the morning and post bath  freak outs as I try to brush out the rats nest that over take Evie's hair. I will say though, that for longer hair and hair that is super stubborn we have had to use detangler ( Its a 10 or the Suave Kids Detangler) and it has made the process even easier. I wish we had found this brush sooner because it costs a lot cheaper than the therapy we almost had to go into due to the tension and frustrations that mounted each time we brushed our hair. :)

2. Cowtown Couture FW: Stylish and cute outfits are not my forte and not something I necessarily enjoy being a part of putting together. My go-to outfit is usually a tank top, Lululemon shorts and tennis shoes with my hair in a ponytail. So I leave the styling and the shopping to my friends who have amazing taste! A couple of months ago my friend Angela Williams started a Facebook/online boutique called Cowtown Couture FW. It has the most adorable outfits, accessories and styles and is very reasonably priced! Mama doesnt like trying to shop with the 3 kids and I would rather drink rotten milk than to try clothes on when I'm feeling frumpy so this is the perfect solution to both of those situations.  If you are looking for a great option that is near you and a way to shop without leaving the comfort of your house then you have got to look for them on Facebook. :)

3. AshrafConrad:  Last but not least this one is close to my heart because of the connection we have to it. Throughout our adoption process the Lord led us to and help create bonds and friendships with people that will last a lifetime. The memories and events that spanned the 3 years of trying to adopt and the 3 months of actively pursuing Moses will forever be etched on the hearts of me and my family. One of the couples that played a HUGE role in us being in Uganda were the Claytons. Julie and Matt allowed us, practically strangers, to come and live in their house while we were over there waiting to bring Moses home. They welcomed us in and helped us fell comfortable and offered us a place of refuge during a difficult and uncertain time. Julie and Matt are over there working and living as they pursue the adoption of their  beautiful daughter Norah. They have the opportunity to spread the gospel, restore hope and dignity to the Ugandan people and tangible be the hands and feet of Christ. They also have an Etsy shop named, AshrafConrad that helps raise funds for their adoption. Check it out! She has beautiful African pieces that are handmade there in the city of Kampala!
They were such a blessing and I would love for you also to learn more about them and the work the Lord is doing through them!

Hope you enjoy this week's Friday Favorites!!! Have a blessed weekend and get excited for our next Meeting Up Monday interview!!!!


Monday, September 19, 2016

Meeting Up Monday

 Over the years the Lord has given me the opportunity to be around some pretty extraordinary people! These are both men and women that have encouraged me, pushed me to become more, opened my mind to more of who the Lord is and challenged me in my walk with Him. As I was praying about different aspects of this  blog the other day he laid this entry on my heart.
Why not connect women of all ages and stages to other women and men who can encourage, connect and draw one another closer to the Lord? Why not have a way to learn, laugh, love and grow together from other believers who have been where you are or are dealing with the same things you are or even as a way to offer encouragement and wisdom for seasons that are coming up?

In these series of interviews my desire is for you to see that though we may be different in many ways are still connected as sisters and brothers in Christ! My desire is that the Lord may speak to your heart through these honest words poured out by those interviewed. I pray you leave this blog encouraged, loved on, and with a sense of hope and renewal in your spirit.  I hope this encourages you today.

For our first entry I went to a dear friend who through her openness, honesty and wholehearted devotion to the Lord has taught me so much. She is a friend who truly exemplifies the love of Christ.  This is a friend who is real, raw and wonderfully brave in who she is in Christ. I pray her words speak to you as much as they did to me. This friend is a true Titus 2 woman.

Because of the nature of what she does she will not be named and the place where she lives will not be written but I know you will still get so much out of what she has to say!


Tell us a  little about yourself.
I am a 32-year-old mother of 5 children, ages 6, 8, 9, 12 and 14. I have been married for over 13 years. I have a story a bit like the Woman at the Well. Two years into being married, the Lord convicted my heart of my own sin and rescued me. About a year a half after that, both my heart as well as my husband's heart became burdened by the knowledge that there were people in the world that didn't have access to knowledge of saving grace. It took 7 years of waiting, being sanctified and preparing before we were sent out (2 and a half years ago). We now live in a remote city in Asia, living among and trying to love an Unreached Muslim people group and being even more sanctified in the process.

I was raised as an only child and I have ADHD. Add to this, I am now raising 5 children, living overseas and homeschooling and it's possible you might be able to imagine that my home never looks Instagram artsy, my kids often look a bit disheveled and I will likely forget your birthday no matter how long we've been friends (but not because I don't care). Honestly, I am a bit of a mess!! But, He's so good to use my messes for his glory. He continues to rid me of myself and make me more like his Son. 
 What is something silly/unique about you?

Well, I couldn't think of how to describe my silliness, so I asked my oldest kiddo, my sister-in-love and one of my best friends. My daughter says what makes me silly are my many accents, especially my ghetto one and my "silly faces are the bomb." Ha!
My Sister-in-love recalled silly things I did (like break out "The Running Man" dance moves at my nephews party) and said it's just my spontaneity that is the silliest.
My best friend agreed that I'm just silly in general.( Oh this exercise made me laugh!!! I really want to type LOL! )
 When did you get the call/vision to go?

Around ten years ago, when I was about 22 years old. It was a process that extended over a couple of months with many circumstantial confirmations and things that the Lord used to draw both my husband and I at the same time, while working in our hearts through our own joy of knowing him and while reading the Word.
What would you say is the biggest misconception people may have of what you’re doing?
Oh my, there are MANY!
1. That I am somehow super-human or anything other than ordinary. NOT TRUE!

2. That people will come to Christ in droves and fast because we are here for that (as though most people in their own culture and first language personally are apart of tons of conversions?)
3. That it always looks like living in huts with barely any running water.
... I could go on...

 What are some awesome ways the Lord is working in and around you?

In me... Stripping away, to a depth I didn't even know existed, any and everything that I lean on to comfort me that is not him, every idol. In my kids, seeing them tell their siblings about the comfort Jesus provides when their hearts are aching over their cousins forgetting their names. I wish I could say I see him working in a local persons life and he is so obviously woo-ing and drawing someone, but, to be honest, we battle discouragement that we can't see that at this moment. My husband did have hours to share with one man and we are excited that he expressed willingness to read through the Bible with him.
 What are you reading right now?

I have ADHD, so, I rarely read just one thing at a time and these days I do a lot of "redeeming time" by listening to books on Audible while I do housekeeping tasks.
I am listening to Lois Tverberg's book, 'Sitting at the feet of Rabbi Jesus' and dabbling in and out of a few books: The Cross-Cultural Survival Handbook by Miller, This Momentary Marriage by Piper, Age of Opportunity by Tripp, The Things of Earth by Rigney
 What encouragement would you give to other women reading this?

RISK!!! Relationships feel risky and they can be - they risk your ego, your pride.... Rejection and acceptance. But, who will be the first one to tell the big ugly truth about their faults, failures, struggles? Don't expect everyone else to be first. YOU BE FIRST. I have had a women never come back to my home and loose utter respect for me when they came to my house for a play date and I let them see the daily reality of my home and didn't frantically act like a mad woman to make my house look how I thought they would expect it to look (food on the floor from breakfast, laundry on my sofa (for days) ... It was real and the LORD challenge me to look to him for acceptance and let them in to the REAL. There was only woman who lost utter respect for me for a time, and she came around later as she watched me grow (although slowly) in the LORD and eventually she broke down crying about how hard it was for her to maintain the level of expectations she believed she had to live up to. Countless others let their walls down and started telling the truth about their real lives too (rather than the Instagram version).
 But, risk even further...RISK loosing friends by being willing to say TRUTH IN LOVE to them when you see they are in need of exhortation. Not every meeting needs to be a hard truth, but it should be happening. We are so frequently scared to loose a friend that selfishly we just say, "oh, yeah, girl...Me too..." (Which is needed) and/but never move from there to the part where we say, "but, maybe we can help each other look at what Jesus has to say" or "I know it's hard, I know you are weary, I am too...but it's not okay to talk to your kiddo like that. I know you know it. And you are safe to share it with me. But, I love you enough to let you know that while I am not going any where, I am holding you to working to not let it happen again...lets pray!"
.... I am desperately craving that community. It's a loss that I grieve regularly. DONT MISS OUT ON IT!!! If you are in the states, YOU CAN HAVE THAT! Don't say, "but they..." YOU BE THE ONE TO CREATE THAT CULTURE.
 What scripture or truth has meant the most to you and why?

There are many at differing seasons. Psalm 51 is what the LORD used many years ago to help me know that HE not only accomplishes but KEEPS my salvation. But, in the past year, I began to really dwell on 1 Peter and the whole book but especially Chapters 1 and 2 are where I frequently cling. Keeping my eyes on Christ... Remembering his suffering, his faithfulness, his purposefulness in my sufferings, it strengthens me. 
Hebrews 12:2 is tattooed on my arm to remind me of similar truths as above. Keeping in mind that for the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross and the shame and overcame! He is the joy set before me. He is the one who can relate to anything I go through and that it is temporary, but HE IS NOT.
 How can we partner/pray for you?

You can pray that we will keep our eyes on Christ, the author and perfector of our faith. You can pray that we would be given the opportunities and ability to communicate the gospel clearly to our neighbors and employees. You can pray that those we interact with and many in this place would have hearts with soil ready to receive the gospel and for deep roots to grow and bare much fruit in this place. You can pray that our children would love and trust in Jesus and that he would be their greatest treasure for ever.
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