In the Car with Jesus

[Originally written August 13, 2013]

I am sitting in the car with Jesus.

Car is an understatement. It’s a black Lamborghini.

When He picked me up this evening, I didn’t know it was Him at first. I expected Him to pull up in a dinky little beater…but tonight He is pulling out all of the stops for me and I don’t know what to do with myself.

The plush leather seats are delightfully comfortable and because He is driving, I feel like I don’t have a care in the world. Jesus looks very handsome in His tux and I am dressed up in a sparkling blue, green and gold sari that He gave me last night.

I don’t know where we are headed but it’s definitely someplace fancy.

He smirks a little at me when I ask Him and just shakes His head…not giving up the secret and keeping me in suspense.

I sigh and lean my head back against the soft headrest.

He reaches across the seat for my hands and envelopes my clammy appendages in His warm and gentle grasp. “It’s okay, Beloved,” He says in a soft voice. “Tonight is going to be beautiful.”

I give Him a wry smile. He knows me. He knows the worries and anxieties in my thoughts.

He knows how I struggle to trust Him even when He is right next to me.

Why do I have to be this way? Why can’t I just enjoy this ride and believe Him? I can feel in my being that tonight will be out of my comfort zone. Something in me just knows.

Jesus knows, too, but He’s my biggest supporter and He has set everything up, so I know He’s not going to let me stumble through whatever what is to come brings. He has set me up to flourish because that’s who He is and that’s what He does best.

But the unknown has always killed me…and I’m trying my hardest to rest, but I can’t do that well, either. It works for a second and then fades into frustration, questions, and tears. I don’t want to cry. Jesus doesn’t deserve that. He deserves my joy and a vast excitement for whatever He has for me.

I am overwhelmed and trying to act beyond myself and focus on Him…He is so handsome, so capable, such a sweet friend in every way.

He is my best friend. He is like my brother and He takes care of me like my Father. He knows my thoughts before I know them myself.

But it’s as if something, or someone, keeps tapping me on the shoulder and whispering doubts into my ear.

Thoughts of “What if?” and “He’ll leave you eventually” and “What if you turn around and He’s not there? What if you can’t see Him? What then?” cause me to problem solve in my head before I even know if it’s a legit problem. This is a good quality but it is being used in a bad way. It’s like I’m planning for that moment when Jesus will let me down, because He’s too engrossed in someone else.

Which I don’t realize can never be the case, because Jesus loves me way too much. I never feel so cherished as when I’m with Him.

But in that instant I let those doubts creep in just a little too much. The Lamborghini rumbles to a halt at a stoplight and I quickly grab my cell phone, open the door and step out, ignoring Jesus as He says, “Beloved, what are you doing?”

I stand on the sidewalk, looking into a park, and hear the car pull over to the side of the road, the tires crunching softly on the gravel road.

By this time I’m already on the phone, but I hear the driver’s door shut and know Jesus is behind me, as always, patiently waiting for me to turn around. I can’t do it yet. I have to get some clarification.

My friend answers and before she can say more than hello, I blurt out, “I don’t know what He’s doing. He won’t tell me. I don’t know what to do or what I’m supposed to do. I’m getting frustrated.”

I can feel I have pained Jesus behind me, but I keep my face toward the park, refusing to look at Him. My friend sighs on the phone, and quietly asks, “You know He loves you, right?”

I sigh in response as well. “Yeah, I know.”

“He wouldn’t do this on purpose unless this was something He is really excited about. He wants to surprise you. And you love surprises. Why are you having such a hard time with this?”

“I don’t know,” I respond, my stomach sinking. “I just have all these doubts. I don’t know why I have them, because they don’t make sense. I know Jesus’ character, I know He loves me, I know He has an amazing surprise in store, and I want to love the suspense, but it’s stressing me out. I think…I think it’s because somehow I know that this surprise is really important…that it’s going to affect my life and the course of it, and while that’s exciting, it also makes me really scared. I don’t know if I’m ready. But I’m so impatient and I want to know now so I can be prepared. But I also know that’s not how it works. I want to trust. I’m just scared.”

My friend simply says, “I think you answered your own questions. I’m going to let you and Jesus talk about it,” and hangs up the phone, leaving me, head bowed, feeling shameful and embarrassed.

That’s when I feel Jesus’ strong arms wrap me in an embrace from behind.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper. “I just got scared. I know I don’t have any reason to be scared, but I did, and I’m sorry.”

He lays His head on top of mine because He is so tall, and He doesn’t say anything for a minute. Then He pulls my around to face Him and touches His finger to my nose in a loving, understanding and yet playful manner.

“I know, Beloved,” He says. “I’m right here and I always will be. I will always have an answer for you, and I always have the very best for you, but I won’t always tell you things beforehand, because I want to surprise you. You can’t know everything and you can’t ruin every surprise. Let me be a gentleman. Let me take you on this ride. Please trust me and let go and enjoy it. For me, okay?”

My eyes water because this guy loves me way too much – so much more than I feel I deserve, and yet He’s told me over and over and over again that I deserve every bit of His affection.

He’s crazy. I can’t accept that quite yet – but I know we need to move on – so I allow Him to hold my hand and usher me back to the car.

He opens the door for me and I climb back in.


You know those times you have a certain song stuck in your brain for days and then weeks on weeks? That’s this song for me right now. “Seasons” by Hillsong. Wow.

The lyrics are powerful. And they resonate so powerfully within me because that’s exactly where I am right now! When I hear this song I get really emotional. It’s like I can sense Jesus speaking to me and I can feel His promises…His promises are coming and He is on the move!

This song paints a beautiful picture. To me it tells a story, and I have to tell you that story.

“Like the frost on a rose, winter comes for us all.”

Can you picture it? Frost on a rose? The delight of summer and glory of fall…carried into winter…a place many of us often don’t want to go. A place so many of us dread.

We know the cold. We’ve tasted that frost. That killing frost.

In the beginning it’s stunningly beautiful, covering everything in a delicate sprinkling of white, with all of the colors of fall shining brightly against the snow.

But we know what’s coming, so we dread it. As every leaf falls and everything beautiful seems to die around us, the darkness grows stronger and seems to settle in for the long haul, soon taking up more time than the light. And suddenly hope and joy seem to fade.

“Oh how nature acquaints us with the nature of patience. Like a seed in the snow, I’ve been buried to grow. For Your promise is loyal, from seed to sequoia.”

Wow. Have you been there? Can you see it? Nature is amazing, when we get to see how intricately God has created everything. Creation takes some time. It requires patience.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a seed? If you imagine it, it doesn’t seem very nice.

Imagine with me. You’re deep in the dirt. It’s isolating. Dark. Cold. Confusing. Muffled. Frustrating. You can’t see anything down there. You can’t hear anything. Every once in a while you get doused with something wet, which surprises you but seems to come at exactly the moment you’re beginning to get very thirsty. It sustains you, so you know you need it and you know you’re being taken care of. But still! Why does it have to wait until the last minute? And why does it have to be so…well…wet?

“Though the winter is long, even richer the harvest it brings. Though my waiting prolongs, even greater your promise for me like a seed, I believe that my season will come.”

The seed can’t see. It doesn’t feel like it’s growing. It doesn’t know what its purpose is while it waits in the dark. It’s growing roots, but it doesn’t feel like it.

I’ve felt like this for several years now. Waiting. Not feeling like I’m getting anywhere. Just waiting for something…but not knowing what that something is. Dreaming. Hoping. Praying for breakthrough. Trying desperately to trust God’s timing and provision on so many different levels with so many different things in my life.

It’s a real and tough place. Have you been there? Are you there now?

I’m learning this can also be a really good place, though.

In the midst of the waiting and not knowing what God is doing in this season…I’ve been growing in bold trust that what He has promised me will come to pass. That He truly knows best.

“Lord I think of Your love, like the low winter sun. As I gaze I am blinded in the light of Your brightness. Like a fire to the snow, I’m renewed in Your warmth. Melt the ice of this wild soul till the barren is beautiful.”

Then He comes! He gives you a glimpse of what He’s doing. Just a little glimpse: a small answered prayer, an overflow of peace to your day, a moment of the sweetest joy, just to say “Hey there, dear one, I see you, I know you, and I can’t wait to show you all I have in store. Wait a little while longer. Do you trust Me? It’s going to be amazing. Just wait a little while longer.”

You feel warm again. He’s melted some of the snow around you with His love. He reassures you haven’t been forgotten – because truthfully, you’ve never been forgotten – but the feeling just felt so real.

“I can see the promise. I can see the future. You’re the God of seasons. I’m just in the winter. If all I know of harvest is that it’s worth my patience, then if You’re not done working, God I’m not done waiting!”

If I’m waiting, it must mean something. There’s a purpose for everything, God made our bodies so intricately, designed each of us so wonderfully and specifically, that it makes sense your story wouldn’t be the same as mine. It makes sense we each have different waiting and growth seasons in our lives. He knows our stories. He wrote them.

There’s something about a story. We all want a good one. We all want to go on adventures. But sometimes adventures don’t feel that great. There’s hardship and adversity. We all want that end-of-the-book mountaintop experience. And it’s COMING! But we need to grow, and we grow stronger as we walk through the elements and grow tough skin and faith that will weather every type of storm.

The seed, during its waiting, begins to sense a change. It doesn’t know what’s exactly changing yet. But it senses it. The ground is still frozen. The seed is still locked in place. But it feels something has begun to happen. It knows something is coming. Faith rises.

“You can see my promise even in the winter, cause You’re the God of greatness, even in a manger.”

Picture yourself as that seed again. If you emerged from the soil too soon, you wouldn’t be strong enough. You wouldn’t be nourished enough. You wouldn’t grow as tall as you were made to.

Then it happens! You feel yourself pushing through! The promise begins to be fulfilled before your very eyes, often suddenly and without warning after all of that waiting. You see glimmers of light through the dark, damp dirt around you…and finally, just barely, you emerge from the soil, into the sunlight! Oh, what glorious sunlight and warmth! The air is still cold, but you don’t care because you have a fresh perspective and you feel like you’ve made it!

You cheer loudly! Finally!

Until your eyes take in your surroundings and you gaze up at the trees around you. Wow, they are so tall. Your stomach sinks a little and you find yourself realizing you have a lot farther to go than you thought. When it will be your turn to be so strong and so tall? You feel so small, so breakable, so vulnerable.

The promise is coming and growing within you, but when you compare yourself with others around you, it feels hopeless again. They have their promise. Why can’t you have yours yet?  Why does everything have to take so long? Why can’t it just happen now?

You’ve just emerged from the soil. You now have a fresh, renewed perspective. It’s a joyful moment. You see you grew and you didn’t even know it! Yet you see you still have more growing to do.

Take heart, dear one. God knows us. He knows how He made us. He knows what we need to grow strong and tall. He’s going to get us there.

“If all I know of harvest is that it’s worth my patience, then if You’re not done working, God, I’m not done waiting!”

This. Wow. God, if you’re not done working, then I’m not done waiting.

Even though it’s hard to sing, this is what I want with every fiber of my being. I don’t want to go anywhere without Jesus. I don’t want to get ahead of what He’s doing inside of me, the things I don’t know yet or don’t know how to put into words yet.

“For all I know of seasons is that You take Your time. You could have saved us in a second, instead You sent a child. And when I finally see my tree, still I believe there’s a season to come.“

Even Jesus waited. He waited 30 years to begin the calling He knew was on His life. The calling He came to earth for. To save us. He, though Creator of the world, chose to come as a baby. He took the form of one He created and came to grow up as a human and experience what it is like to grow up as we do.

“Like a seed You were sown for the sake of us all, from Bethlehem’s soil grew Calvary’s sequoia.”

Jesus grew up in Bethlehem. There He learned to grow. He learned patience. He weathered the storms of the human life, growing stronger in stature and in faith and trust in His Heavenly Father. He learned how to persevere. He learned what His Father’s voice sounds like. He learned how to listen to His voice and do what He says no matter what. So He would be ready for Calvary – for the cross – for the moment He saved all of His Creation.

He showed us how to grow roots and patiently allow to the Lord to work in the perfect timing as only He chooses and knows.

If He can do it, I know I can, too. If He had to wait, that means I DEFINITELY need to wait. I know myself and I know my tendencies. Jesus is God. He didn’t need to wait, but still He chose to come as a baby and grow up and experience life with us – patiently growing and waiting until it was His time to shine.

“And when I finally see my tree, still I believe there’s a season to come.”

He keeps telling me, “It’s all going to make sense!” I trust that it will. What joy that will be!

There’s so much more – truly the best is yet to come! More seasons, yes. More waiting, probably.

Continue walking forward. Step by step. Moment by moment. Seed to sequoia, His faithfulness will prove itself evident. His promises are sure because He has promised. So He will fulfill them. Every single one. In the right, perfect timing.

Until one day we look down and see we’ve not only grown strong roots, but have grown to be the strongest and sturdiest of trees, with lively, dancing branches lifted high to the heavens, praising our Maker for how far He’s taken us, and knowing He will continue to take us higher, because that’s just how good He is.

Lyrics are ©Hillsong Music Publishing. Photos are from the internet and are not my own.

How The World Race Changed My Life

It started with the quietest of whispers, “Go.”

Slowly… over days, weeks and months… it grew into a shout.


My curious fingers clicked on the tweet that changed my life.

I saw the World Race website for the first time…and I haven’t been the same since.

The World Race was the catalyst…IS STILL the catalyst. Well, actually, Jesus is the real catalyst. He drew me toward this for years, and still keeps drawing me back toward the community, the intentional, sweet time with Him, that I experienced on my Race.

Even now, a short yet very long 3 years and 4 months after I returned home from my Race, I’m still figuring out all of the different ways that I’ve changed.

I still remember hundreds moments like they happened yesterday.

Like being mobbed by dozens of kids in Tanzania

Like eating the spiciest food I’ve ever tasted in Thailand and laughing and giggling until I couldn’t breathe with the sweetest boys

Like getting to know 5 of the best women on the planet and experiencing a miracle as the Lord turned 6 strangers into family…

Like doing this crazy photoshoot in the middle of the streets of Malaysia and wearing more makeup than I ever have in my lifetime, and YES it happened on the World Race…

Like praying over the sweetest lady named Dora in the Dominican Republic…


Like teaching English in several countries to crazy kids who became our instant best friends…



Like finding out my grandpa died during my month in Romania, and having several close friends on my squad crawl onto my bed and hold me tight and grieve with me.

Like holding Slapping Grandma’s hand as we walked down the dusty dirt road at sunset in Cambodia…and later finding out she had passed away, and grieved as my heart broke for this sweet woman who I desperately wanted to know Jesus’ love.


Like termites eating my pants in Thailand


Like digging up bricks and heaving giant rocks on my birthday in Transnistria


Like hearing the words spoken over me at our first debrief in Haiti (where a LOT of crazy intense things happened that broke everything I thought I knew and created space for the Holy Spirit to move mightily…), words that resonated deep within my soul and have embedded themselves permanently there, “You are NOT a timid spirit.”

Like chopping down the jungle with machetes and axes in Thailand



There are so many moments where time stands still in my mind and I’m transported instantly back to this life-changing, pressure-cooker, sand-paper trip of a lifetime.

I’m not the old me anymore.

I see things differently. I see people through a different lens. I see myself differently.

Before I went on the World Race, I knew it would change me. I knew it would be a stepping-stone for me into full-time missions. I just knew it. It was the craziest, hardest, most difficult, challenging, horrible, hilarious, incredible, spectacular, delightful, joyful, radiant, moving, frightening, eye-opening, chain-breaking, sandpaper year of my life.

When I faced coming home afterwards, I knew I couldn’t “go back to normal.” What IS normal anyway?

God had placed within me this desire for MORE. A desire to use the gift of writing He’s given me for MORE. A desire to follow Him into MORE and seek His face MORE. And while I fail at all of these things daily in one way or another, He still keeps calling me into MORE. He’s so amazing.

Coming home was way different than I anticipated. I struggled with things I just couldn’t put my finger on. I hated being home but the next day I loved it. I was depressed one day and the world was full of vivid color the next. I had so much passion one day and absolutely no motivation the next. I certainly felt out of control, but didn’t know how to put it into words. My brain was a puddle. I was fully in the midst of transition and culture shock. It’s normal, but it didn’t feel normal.

I didn’t expect to be home for long.

I expected to join a wonderful missionary friend and serve with her in a ministry that pulled on my heart.

Everything seemed to point to “yes,” until suddenly all of the doors slammed shut and told me, “No.” I was confused and heartbroken. I desperately didn’t want to stay. And I didn’t know why God did that. He knew my heart. So why stop me from doing what I felt like He had called me to do?

I had amazing family and friends here, but America didn’t feel like home anymore. I didn’t feel like I fit here anymore.

I cringed at America’s affluent way of life. The thought of working in a cubicle in corporate America made me sick to my stomach—it literally made me want to throw a temper tantrum, curl up in a corner somewhere and scream.

With a very dramatic turn of events, drastically shorted for the sake of time (ask me about it!), God placed in my lap an amazing job I never saw coming.

He answered one of my prayers, to write for a purpose, for MORE. I now work as a writer for an incredible food relief non-profit to share stories of how lives are being saved and transformed all around the world with nutritious food and the love of Jesus.

I didn’t know God would close the doors on “going” and call me to stay here in Minnesota for now. And this hilariously means I am working in an office…and I’m actually surviving ;). God’s grace. He provides. With a little sense of humor, of course 🙂

I’m learning to be faithful where I’m at. To be planted and rooted. To make a commitment and be reliable. To serve when it feels good and when it doesn’t. To say yes to things and stick with them, and say no to things I can’t do, even if I want to.

The transition hasn’t stopped. There aren’t enough words to tell you the whole story…because so much has happened between the time I found out about the World Race and now. God keeps calling each of us into more, if we’re willing to listen and let Him catch us when we fall again and again.

But getting out of your comfort zone, experiencing other cultures and ways of life, living life for Jesus and seeing Him work miracles and answer prayers and making Him your focus every day…there’s nothing like it.

If you’re reading this and you’ve made it this far…and you’re still paying attention…and if you haven’t gone on the World Race yet…please, go. It’s one of the most amazing and one of the most challenging things you will ever do. But it’s also one of the most life-changing decisions you could make. Choose in. Choose yes. Ask yourself if you would regret it if you didn’t go, and when you decide that answer is yes, then go.

The World Race changed me in innumerable ways.

The journey is still continuing.

I know I will process the Race for the rest of my life.

I will remember how I lived with intention, and it will motivate me to be intentional here, wherever I am.

I will remember how incredible and incredibly difficult living in community is, and it will remind me to carry this into my friendships and life here, wherever “here” is.

I will remember how “no day is normal,” and it will remind me gently that God is in control and not to walk blindly throughout my day, but instead focus on Him every day and see where He takes me.

I will remember how God answered prayers for healing, and it will increase my faith as I walk the streets where I am.

I will remember how I learned to hear God’s voice, and it will remind me of my identity in Christ – that His promises are good and true. He is faithful.

I will remember how I learned to pray, and it brings clearly to mind the authority I have as a daughter of the Most High, to live with Christ’s authority in me, and not back away.

I will remember I have a voice and it is valuable and deserves to be heard.

I will remember His words, “I am not a timid spirit.”

I am HIS.

And whatever comes next…He will be with me.

This is the longest blog of my life…because how do you answer the question, “How did the World Race change your life?” and it not be the longest blog ever? 🙂

To those of you who are still subscribed to this blog, thank you for following my World Race journey. You are an amazing blessing to me.


[You can read the original post here on my World Race blog.]



Transition and Insecurity

Transition: the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

This word defines my life right now. I’ve been in transition for the past several years, ever since I decided to go on the World Race, and it just hasn’t stopped.


With so much transition so fresh in my mind, so many experiences to process and things to think about and hopes and dreams I wish I knew how to explain or share…it has taken me a while to know what to say.

In fact, I haven’t blogged, journaled, or done anything like that in a while. I am a writer by profession, and that comes fairly easily, praise the Lord. That’s a gift straight from Him. But when it comes to writing about myself, to help myself process and think things through, I’ve been at a complete loss.

I have a torrent of thoughts flowing through my brain endlessly, but I haven’t been able to write down. I simply couldn’t write.

I think transition does this to us.

It seems that change and new things are so often looked forward to, hoped for, wished for—
yet when the change and transition becomes reality, it’s much more difficult than anticipated.

With transition comes a bit of chaos. The unknown creeps in.

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 6.11.37 PM

Before I knew it, my old friend Insecurity said hello again.

Insecurity: uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.

When I’m insecure, I definitely pull myself back into my shell. I put up all of the old walls and think if I just “stay strong on the outside because no one else wants me to bother them anyway” (my true thoughts!), pretend even to myself that I’m okay, that it’ll make everything better.  That somehow bearing everything on my own will make me stronger.

It doesn’t. Hiding what you’re going through makes you start dying on the inside.

I hate insecurity. There is nothing true about it. God didn’t create us to be insecure. In Him we have the authority to fight insecurity in Jesus’ name. Insecurity does not define us, it’s not for us.

I could feel myself fighting the truth I know about myself. I know who I am in Christ. I am His dearly loved daughter. I know He made me a valiant warrior, not a timid sit-on-the-sidelines person. I need to ask people for prayer. I need people to stand with me.

amanda's iphoto1450

But pride often gets in the way of us asking for help, doesn’t it? I also don’t want to be a burden to anyone. That sounds absolutely foolish when I actually say that out loud, but it’s true. My desire to not be a burden to anyone actually gets in the way of me receiving help when I need it. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

I’m learning. I’m re-learning to hear the Lord’s voice, to lift my head out of the chaos and the transition and the heartache that life often is, and to listen to my Lord and Savior speak truth and lead me into confidence and more of Him.

I’m realizing that transition isn’t a time to “get through.” It’s a time to listen to the Lord, sit still with Him, and ask Him how He wants to lead me, what new things He wants to do in and through me. Transition can be a very rocky time. A time when the foundations are shaken, not to crumble, but to be made stronger.

Waiting…transition…doesn’t mean forgotten. It means set apart for something greater.


“Walk confidently with Me,” He says. “I’m right here by your side. I haven’t gone anywhere – you know that. You already know how to hear My voice. Be still, and know that I am God. Walk forward in faith knowing that I go before you. I know the way. Though you can’t see it yet, you will soon see, and it is beautiful. Don’t give up. Feelings are fleeting, don’t focus on them, focus on Me. Speak truth, pray truth, keep seeking Me. I’m all around you and will never leave you. I never have and I never will.”

 Psalm 16:5-8
“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”


Psalm 23: Shadow of Death

The words of Psalm 23 have run through my mind this past week.

As a child, I memorized this Psalm.

{It’s actually pretty funny, because the Bible translations of today don’t have a version that says it exactly the way I memorized it.}

Here it is, “my version.” [ The ESV is pretty close, though 🙂 ]

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He RESTORES my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for HIS name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear NO evil, for You are with me.

Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil,
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me ALL the days of my life
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

It’s an amazing Psalm.
There is such truth in it, and such amazing promises to hold onto!

There’s a phrase in there, “shadow of death.” I always picture a deep, dark valley with a menacing cloud over it. It’s always scary.

I actually see something similar to this photo, except void of color, black, depressing…the type of terrain you would have to suck in a deep breath and summon much courage to descend into and hike across.


What does the word, “shadow,” actually mean?

  1. A dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface.

  2. Used in reference to proximity, ominous oppressiveness, or sadness and gloom.

I’ve been realizing that:

  • A shadow is not reality.
    A shadow pretends. It mimics. It copies. It hides.
    A shadow can’t actually hurt anything.
    (But it’s easy to be afraid of it, because it looks so real.)
  • A shadow attempts to hide the truth.
    It tries to smother beauty.

The image above is gorgeous. It is living and breathing, full of life and vivid color.
The shadow of death attempts to steal, kill and destroy all that is beautiful, loving, full of life, joyful.

Yes, there are times of real struggle and death and pain and heartache.

But…amid all of it, God still remains. Steadfast. Unwavering.
“I will fear NO evil, for you are with me.”

He goes with us. Before us. Beside us. He is for us. Always.
We needn’t fear even in the midst of what “seems” to be the worst.
It is but a shadow.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 (NLT)


I love that. I love HIM. My God is GOOD.
His promises give me strength to walk forward into tomorrow.
The unknown doesn’t seem as scary.
The shadows are still dark, but it doesn’t matter. They’ll flee.
I have a Mighty Warrior who is called Jesus, the Son of the Living God.
He walks beside me.
He holds my hand.
He delights in me.
He fights for me.
He LOVES me.
He loves YOU.

He is fighting for you.

The Chase Is On!

“Don’t let the worries of tomorrow chase you through today.
Just do what I’ve told you to do TODAY.”


You know those things the Lord whispers into your heart...that sink deep into your soul? Yeah, those were His words to me this morning.

Oh how my mind can run in so many different directions!
It leaps and bounds this way, then that way.
It stops for a second, as if to catch its breath…than rebounds with increased frequency.

No wonder I am so tired by the end of the day. My thoughts twirl endlessly inside my skull, bouncing and spinning and running over each other until I don’t know which way is up anymore.

Talk about a big headache.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…do not fret—it leads only to evil.” -excerpts from Psalm 37:7-8

DSC02856 - Version 2I have a love/hate relationship with being still. I yearn for it when I’m in the middle of crazy. Yet when I finally get there, I find myself wanting to find a distraction because I know I have deal with myself and come before God to apologize for not trusting him, again.

Stillness brings focus. Suddenly the stuff I’m worrying about
(aka “not trusting Jesus about”) I am more able to lay at His feet.

My brain is on overdrive and it cries for rest. It needs to peace of its Creator. We weren’t meant to deal with stress. Our bodies protest. Things like pain and sickness and exhaustion all are a result of stress.

Stress doesn’t trust the Lord. Stress strives.

The perfectionist in me comes out this time of year. I want to be intentional. I want to get the right gifts. I miss my friends because I’ve been so busy these past 6 months with travel and settling into work, and at the same time I want to spend all the time with family that I can, because in the coming years, being together will look much different.


I’ll be honest. It’s just a very weird season.
God never stops changing us, and I love that about Him.

I think I didn’t expect this to be so hard. It’s starting to sink in, the fact that my parents are leaving.
I’ll blog more about that later, so stay tuned.

God has been whispering to my soul.

Grace. Rest. Peace.

I need to accept the fact that rest is okay. This season is okay. I need to have grace for myself, too. I’m not going to let my worries chase me. Instead, let’s chase the worries back with grace.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

As I am constantly reminded of this Christmas season, “Let it GO!”

These are Transitional Years


noun: the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

The beginning of a yearning…
…a yearning that burns, leaps at the thought of the World Race.
Oh to be there again.

Memories of ages past. No, not ages, just years…but it feels like ages.
Ages gone; ages home.
Time flies, yet inches along.

When I returned from the World Race, I thought I’d never want to go again.

I was tired. No, exhausted. Longing for the embrace of family and all familiar things.

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Family is beautiful, and I’m so grateful.
Memory tricks us, lures us back to comfort.

But little did I know I would jump right back home into the familiar, but soon into transition. Changes came quickly, and I was swept along in the current. A beautiful, fast-moving, white-water rapids current, splashing me rudely in the face one minute and rushing over me and calming my fears in another.

I was left with little time to process. Or maybe I am a terrible processor. It takes me forever to figure out what I learned from something. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe this is normal.

I’m still processing the World Race and feel like I will continue to do so for a very long time. I think, that this is ok.

Change comes for all of us. Transition is inevitable.

>>Fast forward to a year after I returned home, and I’m longing for it all over again. The World Race.

TNZ_TTCP1100093 - Version 2DSC_0098
This must be what mothers experience after giving birth to their child…they say they will never do it again, then time forgets the pain and you remember only the joy and long for it again.

Pain is what grows us, challenges us, changes us.

P1100017 - Version 3(the day my Thai pants were eaten by termites…)

Pressure cooker, that was the World Race. We hate it and we love it.
Oh…to be that close to the Lord again. Oh to feel His presence with every breath, every step.

He is still here. Oh so close. Right here.
Just, He feels different.
Grown closer, yet feels farther.
As if that is possible.

I have thought and thought about how these past 2 years have gone since I left for the World Race.

I began a life of transition that has never stopped. Oh how my life has sped through many twists and turns since September 2012.

I should be used to transition by now, but the thing about transition is that each new one brings new challenges. You can get used to moving but constant change brings uncertainty. It requires great trust in the Lord.

 These are transitional years, but these are defining years.
I am learning who I am–who He has made me to be. This is EXCITING, AMAZING, THRILLING, TERRIFYING, WONDERFUL.

Life as I know it now, is not how I thought it would be.
This is okay.
I trust the Lord. He is faithful.
He provided an amazing job and a place to live.
He is making a way for my family.
He will lead us and guide us.
He hears the longing of my heart. He knows it better than I even do.

cropped-cropped-copy-Cambodia2.jpgAnd so I trust Him with my future and the future transitions.

All of the growth and challenge and pain, that will bring more growth and challenges and delights and failures and laughter and hugs and tears and struggles and LIFE, which causes me to go back onto my knees in prayer, giving thanks to my Father for His GOOD gifts, He has given me life and breath and these struggles are momentary.

Our lives are meant to be lived for our King.

I will keep lifting my eyes to Him. Transition means stepping closer to Him.
Focusing my eyes on the Giver of Life.

I trust in the most Trustworthy One. He is my Faithful Guide.

I see these transitions continuing, and though I know it won’t be easy, I’m not worried or afraid.
Instead I am confident in what my Savior will do, in the plans He has for my life.
Transitions require us to move, to take a step, to ACT, to obey.

Transitions move us closer to Him, because they shake us from comfort.

He didn’t say it would be easy, but He said He’d be right here with us. That’s a promise I’m holding onto.

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So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
-Isaiah 41:10


The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,

    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
I was young and now I am old,

    yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
    or their children begging bread.
They are always generous and lend freely;
    their children will be a blessing.
Turn from evil and do good;

    then you will dwell in the land forever.
For the Lord loves the just
    and will not forsake his faithful ones.
-Psalm 37:22-28

A Waiting Hope

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

-Psalm 27:14

There are certain things that settle me down. Like an oversized mug of piping-hot coffee in hand as I sink into my maroon leather couch and gaze out the window at the fluffy, lazily falling snow. Or as I allow myself a nap, cozying yet again onto my couch under a fleece blanket, nestling in-between two gigantic, soft pillows, and let my eyelids close in blissful slumber.







[a resting place]




It’s in these places, away from the busy-ness and stress of this American dream life, that I am met by my heavenly Father.

As I sit with Him, He doesn’t require me to do a thing. He loves me.
It’s here that I discover a quiet in the waiting.
A calm amidst the storm.
A joy regardless of the stress of the unknown.
A place where striving stops and a gentle assurance of purpose and a perfect plan remains.

There is a deep work happening in my heart. It’s a slow process.
A relinquishing.
Letting go.

A painful yet necessary season where the Lord is tinkering around with my thoughts, my dreams, my desires, my expectations—He’s doing so much that I can’t tell if there’s been real progress made yet, but I know He’ll accomplish the task.

There is a passage in Isaiah written as a song composed to the Lord, created as a proclamation throughout the land of Judah. It’s beautiful.

“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].”
Isaiah 26:3-4 (AMP)

All of this I am mulling over, pondering, wondering about.
My heart is assessing the deep places.
Searching for the things I am still holding onto, the things I need to let go of in order to allow the Lord to move.


My frustration with where I’m at shouldn’t doesn’t matter.

My hope comes from the Lord.
He is my Rock, my Strength, my Redeemer. He will make the path straight for me.
Not all is obvious right now and it doesn’t need to be.
There is a balance between striving way too much and waiting for just the right word from the Lord.

I am moving forward regardless, knocking on the doors and opportunities presented to me, and as I keep stepping forward, He will make my paths straight.


That is a promise.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

-Proverbs 3:5-6

I am so tired, but God isn’t. He never grows weary. He knows exactly where I am. I am not here by accident. This season of waiting will not last forever, and in fact as I write this I realize this is absolutely necessary (thought I don’t yet know why) to walk through, so I learn what I need to learn for where He’s taking me to and what He’s calling me into.


So then I will choose to hope when I can’t see, and trust when I don’t know the way. He will strengthen me.

“…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
-Isaiah 40:31


The staircase of faith

The countdown to home begins.
It doesn’t seem real.
In 84 days (12 weeks) I will be landing in the United States.
My feet will touch U.S. soil again.
I honestly can’t wait…
…but then again, I can.

My heart is so torn.
I can’t believe I’m on month 9 already.
Since the beginning of the Race, I’ve been looking forward to coming home.
Homesickness hit me extremely hard at Launch.
Which is crazy, because at that point, I hadn’t even left America yet.
I think it was the fact that I knew I was leaving home for so long, knowing I wouldn’t have the chance to return for 11 months.

Ever since I’ve left, I’ve had to fight to be present.
The feelings of homesickness have come and gone, and come and gone again.
It’s normal.
I knew from the beginning that the Lord had called me to this.
I knew I was supposed to go.
But the knowing doesn’t always help the feelings to go away :).

As my pastor said in his sermon that I was able to live-stream on Sunday,

Faith is taking that first step onto the staircase,
without knowing where the staircase goes.”

Faith honestly sucks sometimes.
It requires you to step out when you desperately don’t want to.
It means speaking up when you just want to be quiet.
It means going when you have no idea where you’re going to end up and you have no idea what’s going to happen.
It’s relying on that still, small voice inside of you that says, “Go.”
It’s trusting that even when it hurts—because God says it’s going to be okay and that He’ll be with us—that it really will turn out alright.

There are many reasons God calls us to go.
He wants to show us new things.
He wants to teach us.
He doesn’t want us to stay immature in our faith.


I’ve realized something lately—the devil wants to stop us from ever stepping out.
He wants to keep our faith immature.

The Bible says in 1 Peter 2,
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation…”

And it hit me the other day.
So many people from home have been commenting on how mature we all look.
And it’s not because I’m getting older…even though that’s true, haha.
You can look at the pictures of us before the Race and compare them with the ones just recently taken…and maybe you’ll see it.

Month 1 – Dominican Republic

Month 3 – Thailand


Month 5 – Cambodia


Month 6 – Tanzania


Maybe we only look more tired.
But we’ve started noticing it in each other, and it’s not to float our own boats or toot our own horns.
It’s just taking note of something that has slowly become obvious.

There is a literal, physical change in every single one of our faces.
There’s a new maturity there that was absent before the Race.

Month 7 – Malawi

Month 8 – Swaziland

And do you know what I just realized?
It’s because we’ve stepped out in faith. We went. We’ve been constantly stepping out in faith for 9 months now, and it’s changed us.
We’re not the same.
The reason is simpler than Oh, they’ve just traveled the world.
It’s because God called, and we went.
We stepped out in faith.
We left all we knew.
We got really uncomfortable.
And it was awesome and horrible and exciting and terrifying and amazing and challenging and perfect.

I’m still growing every day. I still have so much to learn.

But I feel the need to urge you:
Please, please step out in faith.
Don’t stay immature.
Don’t let satan keep you where you are.
Don’t ever stop seeking after more and more and more of the Lord and asking Him what He has for you.

I wasn’t looking to change. I’m honestly a bit scared to find out how much I’ve changed when I’m home, out of the community I’ve been immersed in for almost a year…I wonder what it will look like.

But there’s something about stepping out. There’s something about faith that slowly changes you. It’s not a bad thing. It’s the wildest ride you’ll ever find yourself on. But you must be willing to take that first step.

I promise that though it’s sure to be hard, it’s the most worth it thing you’ll ever do.

I’m with the King

So this afternoon I sat down with my Bible and a cup of coffee…it’s been a long few weeks and I just needed some time to myself. It’s raining outside, and sometimes these are the perfect days for rest. I felt like this time was just for me and God, and I really wanted it to be. I haven’t been doing a super great job at spending time with Him lately…so I just knew I needed some time to sit with Him, read His Word, and relax and soak Him in. Sometimes things that you’ve read over and over pop out at you differently all of the sudden, and today was one of those times.

I decided to read Romans 8. I won’t go into a ton of detail, but it was cool. 🙂

One thing that really stood out to me was where it says that through the Holy Spirit we are sons of God, “And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'” That’s like little kids running up to their fathers and saying, “Daddy! Daddy!” God wants that kind of relationship with us (I’ve been hearing this over and over lately, so that really resonated with me). But then it goes on to talk about us being co-heirs with Christ Jesus. Jesus is God’s son, and through Jesus’ death on the cross, when He defeated sin and rose from the dead in victory (can I get an Amen!), that in that moment, when we accept that gift, we become sons and daughters of God, beloved brothers and sisters to Christ, and become God’s heirs. WHOA baby. Hold up a sec…say whaaaa…? That’s incredible.

So then I was just sitting there and soaking that in. The idea ran around my head for a bit…Jesus as my big brother, the big brother I never had. The one to tell me that I am beautiful and cherished and that He loves me and will protect me like any good big brother would his little sister.

I like that idea…it makes me smile. 🙂

Then something popped into my head. A vision, a thought, a whisper from my Savior – a story, a dream, a poem of sorts. I wrote it into my journal and felt like I also needed to share it with you.

Here goes.

Every part of you is mine.
You are perfect – made in My image.
You are the daughter of the King,
beloved sister and co-heir with Christ.
You enrapture me with your beauty.
You can walk confidently into any room,
knowing I am beside you, walking with you.
Always with you.
I’ll never leave you.

Then this came.

I walk into a room full of people dressed in finery, and I instantly feel unworthy to be there.
I don’t fit in.
“I’m with the King,” I tell those who ask, which should boost my confidence,
but the more people ask, the more I question whether I should be there at all.
I’m not worthy. I don’t fit in. My dress isn’t pretty enough.
Then it happens.
The dancing begins.
But they won’t let me into the ballroom, because no one believes me and the King is nowhere to be seen.
I’m blocked from going inside, and I begin to doubt everything about myself.
Who am I to think I’m worthy of love and forgiveness?
I stand in front of the doors to the ballroom, confused, ashamed, and alone.
The guards ask me to move aside, and that’s when I feel His hand slip into mine
and the other fit tenderly around my waist.
“No, let her through,” he says tenderly, His eyes locked onto mine,
His beautiful face smiling in delight that I am here. His presence and command over the room is so immediate that everything and everyone stops and stares in amazement
as He takes my hand and says, “She’s with me.”
His gaze captivates me, my feet float on air as I follow Him onto the dance floor.
Nothing else matters but Him now.
“I’m so glad you came,” He says. “You are stunning. You are perfect.”
As He holds me close on the dance floor, His eyes sparkle and He flashes a grin.
“And best of all, you’re mine!” His smile grows bigger as he says,
“You’re beautiful, beloved. I am the King and I love you. I have redeemed you.
Be bold and confident in that, beloved. I am always with you.”
I can’t speak, so I nod and put my head to His chest, no words needed, and together, we dance.



The song below fits this perfectly. “I Love the King” by Beth Croft.

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