Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Promise in Trials

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

This "trial" I'm about to share with you is meant to be light-hearted. Yes, I'm giving you permission to laugh at my pain if you must...just have a tad bit of compassion please.  ;) 

I'll just shoot it straight:
I went to jail. 

Yes, I am now a convict. Cold-hearted criminal. I have a record, ya know. Of what, I'm not exactly sure. But I do know it costs a lot of money. 

It all began 3 years ago. May 19 at 5:27am. I was moving back to Louisiana from Colorado and had already been on the road for 4 hours. I came upon a snowstorm and all of a sudden there was a car on the side of the road. I switched lanes quickly, but without using my blinker. Then came the blue lights...the whole works. The worst part is that my insurance had just renewed, so I didn't have my new card with that, my friends, is what I call, "BUSTED". Luckily, the officer told me if I sent in my proof of insurance with a plead, that they would drop my charges. 

So I did. 

I never recieved a confirmation letter, and I called and called trying to confirm that they had gotten my plead, with no answer or return call. So I just assumed/hoped/thought it was all taken care of. 

 And then I went to Africa and forgot about the whole thing. I moved on with my life, ya know. I just figured if something had gone wrong that they would let me know or send me a bill...or something...

Fast forward to March 16, 2015. I was running some errands for my boss, heading to wal-mart for laundry detergent. I saw an officer so I followed my p's and q's, but low and behold here came those blue lights a flashin'. 

"Here in Colorado we use our blinkers 100 ft before our turn."

He said I did a good job using my blinker in the round-about, but when I was switching lanes to go to wal-mart, it was not on for 100ft. But, he's going to cut me some slack and just give me a seatbelt ticket. Whew! 

Yet when he comes back, he tells me to step to the back of my car...okay...then to turn around and put my hands behind my back...I am confused, but I do it...and when I felt that metal on my wrist I speedy quick turned around and asked him what the heck he was doing! He then informs me that there's a warrant out for my arrest in Aurora...and it all comes back to me. Welp, my charge had not been dropped after all. 

I tried to tell that officer that he could not take me to jail but I don't guess he believed me. I also asked if we could talk about it, but he just said after he put the cuffs on me. He also kept asking me if there was anything sharp on me that could poke or stab him. I probably would have laughed at that if I had not been crying so hard. 

He cuffed me and put me in the back of his cop car and off we go to Garfield county jail. At least I had drank a good cup of mountain mama coffee earlier that morning. 

To make a long story short, I remained in jail about 4 hours, and I cried the entire time. I tried to stop but I just couldn't. I tried to sing like Paul and Silas...but I couldn't. I tried to think positively, like maybe I'm in here for a make a difference in someone's life! But nope. I just cried. 

I used my one phone call and got in touch with a bondsman who got in touch with my boss who bailed me out. 

So there you have it folks, my latest trial. It was actually pretty traumatic for me. Not only that, but that same week I got an infection and had to go to the doctor, my phone quit working, my boss was giving me less and less hours...everything was falling apart. I went to court and the judge ordered that all my fines be paid within 10 days. Between bail, tickets, court fees and gas money it completely broke the bank for me. I literally do not even have one dollar. This is a whole new level of trusting in the Lord for me. I know He is faithful and will provide...but it's hard when you look at your bills and then at your money (or lack thereof) and it doesn't quite add up. I get one bill paid and another comes in. I'm sure some of you have been there before. 

I heard a song on the radio that really hit home with me. It says, "All we have is a promise like a thread. Holding us, keeping us from fraying at the edge..". I realized that the ONLY that had been holding me together is the one who created me. In the midst of this trial, God has been right here with me...speaking to me and encouraging me to keep going, keep trusting, keep holding onto Him, and to remain steadfast. 

Since then, I've gone to the Aurora courthouse and gotten everything straightened out and now working at an elementary school as a paraprofessional. I am so thankful for each person who has loved and supported me through this crazy time! And esp. for those who have given me free food. ;) 

For those of you reading this who are going through trials that are not so funny, I encourage you to remain steadfast to the Lord. He is on your side! Or if you've never let the Lord help you with the trials of your life, maybe this is a good time to give Him a chance. He doesn't promise to take away them away, but he does promise to those who love Him the crown of life for those who stand the test.

Love your little jail bird, 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I am so tired. 



It's been a month of long bus rides for visa renewal, different visitors, surviving malaria, spending lots of time with our team, celebrating passover, hard goodbyes, packing, loading and then finally the 10 hour drive to Jinja, when I'll be until I fly out in May. 

And this is the moment that I'm supposed to be passed out in this comfy bed, but instead I lay wide awake. 

My brain has finally decided to slow down and process all the changes that have been happening and there's nothing I can do about it. 

First of all, I think about what I'm going to tell you all when I get home and you ask me how my time in Africa was. 

I don't really know what to tell you because I didn't start a school or any cool organization that fights world hunger. I didn't do much of anything spectacular. So I don't really have those answers yet. 

Then I lay here and think about my sweet friend Nacuk. I love her as if she were my own niece. 

We had a wonderful "last visit" yesterday with my friend Florence translating. I told her I was leaving but I would miss her so much and would check on her through my hutmate Elise. 

We hugged and took pictures. We also gave many things like coloring books, old towels, shirts, lotion and  containers to Nacuk and her family so they were very happy! 

I thought it would be so hard and sad telling her goodbye. Surprisingly it wasn't. She was smiling as she walked away with Florence and a load of goodies that she was carrying on her head. 

Yet I lay here and think of her, sleeping on the dirt floor of her hut, probably without a blanket, wearing the same clothes she has had on for days and days and most likely her family have gone to bed hungry once again. 

I grieve for her.

Then immediately this verse comes to mind:

"...that you may not grieve as others who have no hope..."
1 Thessalonians 4:13

I realize Paul is talking about the 2nd coming and getting caught up in the sky stuff, but the Lord used these words to remind me of 1 thing. 


We have hope. 

I think of that day that I brought Nacuk home and Florence was sitting outside with her family and they were singing Christian songs and talking about the bible. 


In the midst of hunger, sickness, poverty and hardship...there is hope.

I do not grieve as others who do not have hope. 

I have hope. 

I knew walking into this that I could not save Africa. 

But I have hope. 

Because I know the One who can. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

American Honey: Life in Lyrics

I love country music. It makes me think of home, small town Louisiana. 

I was laying in the hammock a few months ago listening to Lady A. There's a line in the song 'American Honey' that I relate to. It says: 

"Couldn't wait to get going 
But wasn't quite ready to leave.."

Now, this was just a few days before what I like to call, "The Great Reveal" happened. 

It was late that night when Wari came to speak to Kenneth. He explained how he was being greatly persecuted because of his association with us (the white people), and also how he would never know who the true believers in the churches were as long as we were there. Basically, our presence was no longer needed or beneficial in our small area. 

Our team happened to all be together that night, and after some discussion we all felt strongly that after 4 years in Karamoja, it was time for the Williams to move on. 

The Lord spoke to me that night to "keep my agenda open" but I knew it meant that I also would not be returning to Uganda after the summer, as planned. 

So back to the music. 

Those lyrics continue to replay over in mind. 

I feel somewhat anxious. 

Part of me is ready to get going. Ready to be done with goodbyes, be done with packing and move on to whatever is next. 

The other part of me is not quite ready to leave. I want to hold onto this moment, this place, these people and this season just a little bit longer. It has been such a challenging, yet truly wonderful season. 

What these lyrics have made me realize though, is that I always want to be living my life in this way.

My teammate Andrew says it a little better:

"Willing to go. 
Content to stay."

I don't want to live my life in such a way that I'm so comfortable with where I'm at that I'm not willing to move on.

Nor do I want to live in such a way that in so caught up in the moving forward that I'm not content with where I'm standing. 

I've struggled with both of these scenarios at different times in my life. 

But I hope to live in such a way that I remember I am just a sojourner in this life. That this world is not my home. 

"I miss those days as the years go by. Oh, nothing's sweeter than summertime, 
and American honey..."

Friday, February 7, 2014

step by step

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

This scripture was ingrained into my heart and mind by my youth leader and friend, Mrs. Teresa Sauce. I'm pretty sure she wrote it on every card and note that she ever signed. I think that it's finally beginning to sink in a little...maybe. 

You see, I've spent the last month or so trying to "figure out" what the next step for me is. 

I just got impatient and kept making up all these ideas and all these plans.

I could move to that place and minister to those people...
I could live in this place and work at that job...
I could date this guy and live this life...
I could work this job and pay off these loans...
I could live with this person and do this thing...

My goodness! How many plans does a girl have to make and break before she finally gives up, and gives in, to the Lord. 

"Lean not on your own understanding..."

Our society and culture tell us to figure it all out and have a 5 year plan and go to school, get married, start your career, have babies, get a dog, nice cars, big house, TV in every room, fill your schedule with this and that and don't relax or breath unless you're sleeping or on vacation or dead. 

They tell us to live for the here and the now, to store your treasures here on earth, where theives break in and moths destroy. 

"Lean not on your own understanding..."

Something I love about God is the way He deals so spontaneously with me. He must know I get bored or fall asleep if I sit still for too long. He's always keeping me on my toes, always keeping me guessing expectantly. 

Honestly, the biggest decisions I've made in life, I haven't had to spend much time praying about. So far, he has just spoken to me or opened the door and I just know what to do next. He gives me more peace about the right option than the other option. And He always provides. Always. 

He guides my feet, one step at a time. 

For example:
Go to LaTech (flipped a coin)
Spend the summer in Indonesia (took the open door)
Go to Ghana (said yes)
Move to Utah (working a wilderness therapy job that I found through google!)
Quit that job and work at a homeless shelter in Colorado (unexpected change of plans in a day)
Nanny Miles (so fun!)
Go back to Ghana (totally a God thing)
Then go to Uganda 
Work in Ruston, live in Georgetown (what!?) 
Move to Uganda 

All of this, the last seven years of my life, God has made each and every step of the way so abundantly clear at just the right moment. 

"Lean not on your own understanding..."

And hasn't he been so faithful to me!? Each step of the way, I've always had money, food, clothes, a car, and housing. Even friends! I have never been in need. 
When I went to Tech, I didn't know I would end up living in Uganda. I didn't need to know! 

I don't know 2 steps ahead of me now, and I don't need to know!  

All of this to say, and maybe I'm just talking to myself here, quit trying to "figure out" the next five steps of your life and just focus on the path you're on right now. God knows what we need. He's got this under control. He will let us know what's next at just the right moment. It's always our faith that is lacking, never his provision. 

"Lean not on your own understanding..."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Beautiful Paradox

I went on vacation.
I didn't even realize I needed a vacation,
but I suppose I did.

And I fell in love. 
(Using the term very lightly, of coarse.)

I fell in love with white water rafting.
(And our rafting guide, Davey Baby.)
I fell deeply in love with 2 new dear friends and soul sisters, Bri and Kate.
I fell in love with Philly cheese steak
and expresso
and chocolate and peanut butter shakes.
I fell in love with grilled cheese
and apples
and peppermint mocha coffee creamer.
(at the hospitality of Kate and Lily.)
I fell in love with hot showers 
and sleeping with a fan.
I fell in love with the Nile River 
and rope swinging, boat cruising and searching for caves and waterfalls.
I fell in love with the sunset from the deck.
I fell in love with bean nachos, double cheeseburgers, Heinz ketchup, french fries and cold drinks.
I fell in love with each person we met, from Keiron who had visited his son in Capetown and we adopted as Papa K, to Kate, my lovely Aussie, the Denmark boys and Kristen from Florida, the bus load of Swedes, that guy from Mississippi with a heavier southern accent than even mine and Marky Mark from Scotland.

But you know what they say about vacation. 
It's good to be gone, but it's always good to get back home again.

When you're away from certain things, you realize how much they truly mean to you.

Or in my case,
how much they truly don't.


I laugh because as I went to the beautiful land of Jinja and lived a life of adventure that most people only dream of...I realized something.

I was already living the dream.
Living the adventure. 

I'm already living the life God has called me to, and  love it.

It may not include rope swings or showers, burgers or even salad for that matter. 

It may just include my hutmate and I with our cats and trying to figure out what it means to seek God with all of our hearts. 
And living with the Williams, these crazy/awesome people and their 7, soon to be 8 or 9, children that all love God so much it's just ridiculous.
And learning from Andrew and Kerri, our other teammates, who follow hard after God wherever He leads them. 

I realized all those things I "fell in love" with in Jinja, they were all gifts from God, and I thoroughly enjoyed them, but they did not bring satisfaction or fulfillment to my soul. 

Not the way Jesus does.
Nor the way living for Him does.
And the way sitting at His feet, soaking up his presence, gives me life, and life to the full. 

And here, my friends, is the beautiful paradox. The scandal of grace.

The way to loving our lives, is to hate it. 
The way to living life to the fullest, is by giving it away. 
The way to find your life, is to lose it. 

It's one of those God things that doesn't make any sense at all but actually makes perfect sense, ya know? 

So today, I didn't white water raft or soak up sun rays on the Nile, but I did meet with my friends under a tree in Marru to sing and dance and pray. And now I'm headed down the hill to meet with Florence and Elise and read scriptures together. And I'm going to hug as many snotty nosed kiddos as I can. 

My life is full. 
And I love it. :) 

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord...
-Philippians 3:8

Saturday, December 14, 2013


A few weeks ago our team gathered together for a week of prayer and worship. We set up a prayer closet and took 2 hour shifts throughout the day. 

We are in a transition period and we wanted to seek out The Lord in what He is leading us to do next. I think we all expected audible answers of "the game plan".

Tuesday November 26, 2013 
Today I was praying for God to give me a vision, a dream, a passion...just something, anything to motivate me. Something to make me feel alive and want to get out of bed in the morning...then I felt it in my spirit..I had it all wrong. I was asking the source of life itself to give me an idol.

That moment in the prayer room has been life changing for me. 

It broke me. 

What a slap in the face it must have been to God. Me asking him to give me a reason to enjoy life, when daily he beckons us, "enjoy me". 

Last year during my 3 months in Karamoja, I had plenty on my agenda to keep me busy and give me fulfillment and purpose. 

In the morning, I would bring my dear akimat friend, whom I called TaTaa (grandmother), some porridge and milk as her neighbors and even own family neglected her due to her sickness. 

During the day I would treat wounds of all sorts that came into our gate. 

In the afternoon I would set out with my friend and translator Wari. We would find the shade of a tree and share stories from the bible with anyone who was willing to listen. 

This time around, it's as if God has stripped me of all I found my "purpose" in. 

TaTaa died.

The health center is now treating wounds.  

And Wari is now starting churches ad making disciples of his own.

I'm not saying anything negative about those things I was doing before, or even about the motives of my heart while doing them. I'm just saying God has brought me to a different place in life, a new season...

A season of sitting at his feet, enjoying Him.

Because if the reason you wake up and get out of bed and make your morning cup of coffee and go brush your teeth and sometimes your hair, and put on your suit and tie or make-up, and go to school or work or stay home and teach your children...if the motivation for any of that is out of anything other than your desire to know and love Jesus...then you, like me, have it all wrong. 

Psalm 27:8 
My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, Lord, I will seek. 

What is your motivation to get out of bed in the morning? 
Do you live to know Him? 
To sit at His feet? 
To enjoy Him? 

Let us press on to know Him. It's all that matters in this life, to know and enjoy our maker. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Out in the Open

Hallelujah grace like rain falls down on me
Hallelujah all my stains are washed away

The Williams family ( and I sang together as Kenneth led us in worship. 

He stopped in the middle of the song and said, "Imagine yourself standing in a field with the rain of Karamoja falling on your face. You're not hiding under the shade of the tree, you're out in the middle, out in the open. The hard rain of Karamoja beating down on you, like the grace of God, washing your stains away". 

He's right. The rains of Karamoja come hard and strong, beating down everything in it's path.

But what caught my attention the most was the idea of being out in the open, fully exposed to the grace of God.

In Celebration of Discipline, Foster states, concerning living in the spirit, "There is no longer the tiring need to hide our inner selves from others." 

Isn't that the truth? Sometimes it's just exhausting trying to hide the sinful thoughts and motives of our hearts. 

But this is truly the way I wish to live, not having anything within my inner life to hide away. 

Not under the tree, missing out on the weight of the rain. 
Not under the tree, hiding in my shame. 

But out in the open. 
Dancing in the forgiveness and grace of Christ. 

Yes, it leaves us vulnerable. Maybe the hard rains of grace are sometimes even uncomfortable, stripping away things in us that are painful, like our selfishness and pride. 

But isn't this the grand plan? Didn't Christ die for our sins to be washed away so we could be made right with God, and walk freely out in the open with him?

There, my friends, is where we are called to be. 

There, out in the open, is where we will truly find life, and find it even more abundantly.