Manifest.

I was so hungry for Him. It is Easter weekend and I hadn’t even stopped. I laid down to take a nap, I was missing home and the familiar. I woke up and just turned on some worship music. I wasn’t expecting Him to show up, but He came. It is not often that I wear the weight of the cross, personally, for me. That I wear my sin and realize that I don’t have to wear it. When was the last time I cried tears over what my selfishness, my pursuit of my own happiness, the neglect of my Father, had done to Him? When was the last time my heart was truly moved by what He did?

Today as I sat in my room. The tears came and I sat in the weight. And this song came to me…

I could hold on to who I am and not let you change me from the inside. I could safe be here in Your arms, and never leave home and never let these walls down. But You have called me higher, and you have called me deeper and I go where you lead me, Lord. I will be yours for my life, so let your mercy write the path before me. –

This song keeps finding my lips as I face each day here. Asking God to show me how to live out the Gospel. Today, the Saturday where the world was dark and was wondering who this man was…I embrace today and know there will be many days where I wonder…But then there is tomorrow. Where He awakes my soul to all He has done for me. And there I want to be. Because there is freedom and there is the life my heart longs for.

I accepted Him into my life as a 6-year-old girl, and although I was young I have never questioned my salvation. I knew that it was real the night I accepted Him in my living room with my mom and dad. But I don’t really know life without Christ. Oh, his mercy. How many times I have longed for a radical testimony? How many times have I looked at those who really walked in darkness and when they were made to see, they always have the feeling of being found. Their gratefulness runs deep. I sometimes have to search. It wasn’t until I realize that He didn’t have to choose me. My eyes didn’t have to be opened. The Holy Spirit didn’t have to speak to a six year old’s heart, waking my spirit to my depravity. How did the Lord restore to me the joy of my salvation? He reminded me through scripture that He chose me! He chose me! That changes everything for me. I could still be searching. I could still be living in darkness.

Tonight, as I write this my background music is a Ugandan thunderstorm. The thunder and darkness that I see outside me reminds me that all of this really is real. It’s not just a story I have heard all my life. He has opened my eyes to life. Let me sit in the darkness. Let me sit with the weight of the rain falling on me. How can I be blown away with everything that is in my being, if I don’t know from where I have fallen?

THank you for giving me a thunderstorm to remind me that you are more than a passing fantasy. Thank you for allowing me to fall asleep with a heart that knows. A heart that sees every day…you are still God. God in the death. Oh death…where is your sting? Thank you for Hope. A hope that when I look death in the eyes, I celebrate. For death is my reward because of this darkness I sit in now and the light that will awaken my eyes tomorrow.

Thank you that I am with those who know and walk in your suffering. May I learn to drink of the cup. May I beg for the cup.

Tomorrow I will celebrate with those who have been abandoned, those who have been left, who have every reason to not have hope. But tomorrow, on Sunday, we will celebrate because we may live because you died. May every throne before you fall. Usher us in, Lord. Usher us…orphans. We come as one. Orphans but no longer because you have died for us. May they grasp the story tomorrow. We are no longer orphans because you Reign.

Praise God who reigns, Forevermore. DSC_0587

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Easter Dresses

IMG_0772We had a tradition in my home growing up-Easter Dresses. It was a big deal and fun for us because we didn’t go shopping a lot but we knew that when Easter came we got to pick out our favorite dress to wear to church.

I saw Jesus at a very early age, about the age of my girls in the home in the form of an Easter Dress. My dad had lost his job and money was very tight. Actually, tight is not the word…money was not there. I remember my mom telling us that we would not be able to get Easter dresses that year and although it seems so silly now, my sister and I were so disappointed. I remember my parents telling us to pray. The weekend of Easter, a box was delivered to our house with mine and my sister’s name on it. My parents were as equally curious as to what the box held inside.

As a 7 year old little girl I saw inside of that box- Jesus. In a way that He could teach a young little girl that He provides through sending her an Easter dress. I learned faith. I have reflected back to that story so times, years later.

Today as I was handing out dresses and bows to my girls and giving the boys new shirts…I want them to see His heart. The heart of their Provider. I want their young hearts to capture His heart now so that they can look back and know that it was so much more than a cute dress and a nice shirt to wear to church. It was His heart for them.

One day they will tell their children of what Jesus did for them when they were 7 through women who sewed them dresses and a little girl that asked Santa for shoes for all of them. I want them to hear “I love you” through these who have given. I want them to in return give so that another can hear “I love you”.

Just as I heard it as a 7 year old girl.

 

 

My favorite things

My favorite things

One thing that was very important to me when I made the move to Uganda was that I was still going to be “me”. I knew He would change me from the inside out but there are just certain qualities that He gives you that make you, you. Mine is I love fashion. I believe it is one of the perks of being a girl. It’s a way to have fun and be unique.

So I have continued to find little things here that make me happy.

Many times when girls are coming over they ask, “what do I pack?” It is a completely different culture here so it is fun for me to find pieces that I love that I can wear here and back in the States. I believe it’s ok to dress up and feel like yourself no matter where you are serving, as long as you are respectful of the cultures and audiences around you. That our outer reflects our inner 🙂

What people don’t know is that I don’t wear scarves in Africa solely to be trendy. When I have to go into a place that does not have a pleasant smell the scarf shields my sensitive nose. At night when it gets chilly, the scarf becomes a shaw.

This PeaceLoveWorld scarf is one of my favorites. It is light weight and unique. This brand has many great items that I love. Check them out. http://peaceloveworld.com/index.php/peace-and-love-knotty-navy-scarf-PDPA.html

Agnes.

photo 430420_10100684376620728_1492846797_n DSCF4199

      Agnes.

You never know what you are going to get with Agnes and that is why I love her so much. She has attitude, she can give it right back, yet she will jump up in your lap and snuggle. Her laugh is contagious. She has a way of saying “auntie dacia” in a very gruff voice that make me laugh every time I hear it.

Agnes was diagnosed with epilepsy several years back. She has been on very good medicine and has received great treatment from our doctor here in Jinja. The seizures have not been as frequent. Yesterday though we had quite the scare. Agnes was in school when her seizure came on and she fell and hit her head on the desk. The teacher took her immediately to the nurse and usually Agnes will come through it shortly after the seizure but yesterday her little body was not responding as usual. They brought her to the hospital late yesterday afternoon. She was not responding and I believe she had more than one seizure. She was not responsive and all of hearts were so worried.

The doctor assured us he would watch her carefully over night. I though, was so restless all night. I hate it when one of ours is so sick. I hate knowing that we cannot run a MRI to see what exactly is going on in her little brain and to know what the effects of the seizure would be. Instead we have an IV of glucose and penicillin to get through the night. This is where faith comes in. The type of faith that I don’t have to tap into very often at home. The faith that all I have really is Him. The faith that ultimately she doesn’t need a prestigious doctor or MRI’s but ultimately she just needs His hands. Hands to hold her in the night. Hands to welcome her to sit in His lap and know that His heart beats for those such as her, an orphan. When we can’t, He can.

I woke very early to make my way to the hospital and I was fearful of what I was going to find. I walked in and there she was sitting up. She didn’t respond to me but her eyes were open and she was sitting up. Grace. I went to get her food and after she ate she began to be more responsive. I was so relieved to see her use both of her arms, although the right is not moving as fast as it once was. I asked her for a “bongo” which is a fist bump and she gave me one. I breathed deeply of His presence that we begged to fill the room. He was there. He did heal.

I went back later to find her awake again. This time the doctor was there and he was explaining to me what the side effects are of her case. One is depression and sadness. As I looked into her eyes, her very young eyes and thought she is too young to have to deal with this. To deal with all of it. Not only epilepsy but to not have her momma there. I looked at the sweet Auntie that has stayed by her side faithfully and has held her hand even while she sleeps and I quietly say, “thank you”.

I reach for Aggi and bring her into my lap. She fights me. The doctor warns me that she might fight me due to the symptoms he just explained to me. Fighting or not- I am going to hold this child in my lap. That is what my momma would do. That is what my daddy would do. They have done so many times…when I don’t want to be held, they held me. Tightly. So i fought her and we sat there for awhile until she finally laid her head back up against my chest and I do not add this for dramatic effect, she smiled.

For the Lord, He is good to the weary. For the Lord, He is good. The Creator is living in her. She will do more than conquer…she will go and tell. Tell of His endless, furious, and boundless love for her.

Please continue to keep Agnes in your prayers.

Desperate.

Desperation it is the emotional state of despair in which a person feels a situation to be hopeless and without satisfactory options.

In a mud hut, mud floors with no empty crevice in the circle because 10 people call this home. Desperation.

A little girl named Sanyu, whose mom and dad both passed HIV down to her innocent body and decided not to treat her for six years. Desperation.

A lost man finds Jesus and starts a new life but what does he do with the three women he has made his wives with too many children to count. How does he provide for all? How does he spiritually lead when his past will forever have consequences of his sin? Desperation.

A little girl who has parents that do not want to worry about providing food for anymore so they send her away to lie. Tell a babies home that her parents have died and she has been abandoned. Does she believe anyone loves her? Desperation.

Women who are enslaved to sexual bondage. Only to be used for sex and producing children while their husbands depend on them to feed their mouths and the mouths of all those children. Could they be free? Could they see themselves as treasured beautiful gifts of God? That their bodies are not for the pleasures of others but as a beautiful temple where He dwells? Desperation.

A pastor who slept in the church for six days and six nights while he fasted and cried out to his God because He believed he would come through and provide food for his dying children. Desperation.

The manifest of His Holy Spirit seems to find only those in desperation. God is present in two different ways. He is omnipresence…everywhere in His fullness. God is here, just like He is in the farthest reaches of His universe. But there is Manifest Presence that is when God reveals His presence in such a way that His glory is made visible and is felt in our hearts and upon His arrival what is truly important is visible but what is not important is no longer important. He moves hearts, we feel small, He seems big…and this brings about joy. This is what King David is speaking of in Psalm 27:4 “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon His beauty and to seek him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling. He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me upon a High Rock.”

It is not if trouble comes, it is when trouble comes. His shelter is there. I have found His shelter here in Uganda. The people here get desperation and they know there are few solutions. This they know- Jesus in the midst of desperation. That is why they can attend church all day, for hours, knowing that when they leave their situation may not be changed, but they found joy in the manifest of His presence that keeps their hearts in the position to press on.

So for the first time in my life, I am treading into the prayers of asking for desperation. I fear to pray those prayers. I fear to ask for it because truly He will give. But I know that in my desperation there can be a joy that overshadows my circumstance. A peace that I see in the eyes I serve. Behind my smile is the confidence in my Savior. And in the midst of my pain a refreshing breeze of His presence.

I love the Valley of Vision of the Puritans prayers…The Puritan Movement was a religious phenomenon of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, yet its influence continued at least to Spurgeon (one of my favorites).

This prayer is my prayer this year…the cry of my heart. Join me in praying- for the sake of our lives, for the sake of Uganda, for the sake of the countries that are still waiting for the Name Jesus, for America.

O FOUNTAIN OF ALL GOOD,

Destroy in me every lofty though, Break pride to pieces and scatter it to the winds, Annihilate each clinging shred of self-righteousness. Implant in me true lowliness of spirit, Abase me to self-loathing and self-abhorrence. Open in me a found of penitential tears, Break me and then bind me up;

Thus will my heart be prepared dwelling for my God; Then can the Father take up his abode in me, then can the blessed Jesus come with healing in his touch, Then can the Holy Spirit descend in sanctifying grace.

O Holy Trinity, three Persons and one God, inhabit me, a temple consecrated to thy Glory. When Thou art present, evil cannot abide; In thy fellowship is fullness of JOY, Beneath thy smile is peace of conscience, by thy side no fears disturb, no apprehensions banish rest of mind, With Thee my heart shall bloom with fragrance.

Make me meet, through repentance, for thine indwelling.  Nothing exceeds thy power, nothing is too great for thee to do, nothing too good for thee to give.

Infinite is thy might, boundless thy love, limitless thy grace, glorious thy saving name.

Let angels sing for

Sinners repenting,

Prodigals restored,

Backsliders reclaimed,

Satan’s captives released,

Blind eyes opened,

Broken hearts bound up,

The despondent cheered,

The self-righteous stripped,

The formalist driven from a refuge of lies,

the ignorant enlightened,

and saint built up in their holy faith.

I ASK GREAT THINGS FROM A GREAT GOD.

In this prayer, I hear desperation. In this prayer I see all my friends spoken of above rescued in the song of the angels. In this prayer I see revival..that only comes from sacrifice and one of a lowliness of spirit. In this prayer I see the heavens rejoicing for His people have been stripped and they have been enlightened to the beautiful story of why He came, in His desperation, in His suffering..so that we might know Him.

Specific Prayer Request and Need

Many of you last year helped me raise money for a car for my sweet friend Susan by buying crafts that I brought home to sell. Her car has been such a blessing not only to her but to the ministry and myself. When we have cars here they are not our own, we share them 🙂 Depending on what mission we are going for…to the deep village, to the Babies Home, into town, picking up guest…we decide which cars we will use. I now am in the position where I will be needing my own car. My new job in Arise will have me going from here to there often and it will keep me from having to borrow Susan’s car all the time. Pastor Godfrey has found me a safe and reliable car that will take care of my needs but it will also help meet the needs of the ministry.

I have over half the money today and we are short $4,000.00. I am asking for prayer that He will provide the remaining balance so I can buy a car! 🙂 He has provided thus far and I know He will provide the rest. If you feel led to give you can give through the “Donation” button or you can contact me on where to send a check.

Thank you for standing with me and Arise as we are trusting God for a car!

IMG_3244                                                                                   Susan’s Ride…:)