Stones

2ccfa2e9912bda3f7deee370f900e6e9

Joshua 4.

The Israelites had been in the desert for 40 years and now the time had come time to leave the desert and go to the promise. A land that had been promised to them, promised to their parents or grandparents whose lack of belief caused them to die in the desert but these, they were about to cross over.

The Jordan River separated them from their new home. Where they could finally reach the place they had dreamed about and what seemed to be the finish line. As I try to place myself this morning, I imagine my husband being Joshua…(wink) and he is telling me to prepare our family to cross the river, but also knowing that the land promised to us was currently being inhabited by others, I would be so tired and weary. I would have been a little frustrated with God…”really, after all this time here we can’t just cross over and settle my family? My husband has to go to war over the land that is ours? Haven’t we endured enough? Why must we fight for what you said was ours?”

But what choice would I have but to trust this God who had kept us and follow the leading of my husband, who I know has heard from Him.

As I read this with my Joshua this morning this particular part of the story spoke to both of us very differently but so beautifully together.

Forty thousand! Forty thousand people (families) were to cross over. So I can imagine the chaos of what was going on in the moment. They had heard the stories of their ancestors crossing dry land on the Red Sea but I would be hiding my fear, because that does seem a little crazy. Packing up my belongings and my children to cross with another 40,000 people…I mean crazy. So when the Lord commanded of Joshua to pick up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan, I would have thought…Lord that is so trivial. My husband needs to help me carry our children across, or carry my loads, but then he has to stop and pick up a large stone?

I am always focusing on the battle and what we need to do to conquer the battle. As in I see our adoption as a battle, I see our time here in Uganda working in ministry, there are battles in fighting for your marriage, there are battles within our immediate family. Battles doesn’t necessarily mean that things are going wrong but it means that because Jesus is trying to move Satan is attacking and you have to go in and face it as a battle. I don’t take the time to stop in my day and pick up a stone to mark the faithfulness of God even in the midst of the battle or the preparing.

What is your battle you are fighting or see in the near future and you are busy preparing for it? In the midst of it all are you picking up stones of remembrance for every act of faithfulness of Him? Are you sharing it with your children and can they see that we are looking each day for His faithfulness and we make it a priority to look for stones rather than fighting the battle.

The Lord also gave instructions after the obedience of the people. He didn’t give all the instructions at once. He didn’t say you are going to cross the river, pick 12 stones, place them on the altar where you sleep, go to the city of Jericho and then march around it. No. He gave the instructions one at a time. One step in front of the other.

Once He saw the obedience, He gave the next instruction. In the middle of it I want scream because I want to get all the instructions at once and then I can go fast and try to hurry to the result. But Jesus knew. He knew that His people including myself needed one instruction at a time. In this moment, I want all of my instructions but as my husband was so faithful to point out this morning, He has given us one right now. After that He will give another, until the walls of Jericho fall down and we live in the place He has called us to.

What battles are you facing today that you are wanting to know how to strategically fight? Is it addiction, your marriage, your business, an adoption? We want to get to the end but as we see in Joshua, His people took one instruction at a time and He instructed them to pick up stones to declare His faithfulness. I need to stop and look around to see if there is someone in my path that He wants me to minister to, give myself to, or serve to move to the next instruction? And lay a stone.

Then when the battle is won we have a stone for each way He provided for the victory and what brought the white flag. We sit and tell our children of each stone and we raise a generation that knows going into battle to look for stones.

“So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan according to the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to the camp, where they put them down. And they are there even to this day.”      

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset

 

Advertisements

Girlfranssss

I just recently read a blog about “10 things missionaries won’t tell you” and I found myself saying, “yep” on each one because the man spoke truth.  One that really resonated with me was the point: We will never tell you our worst days. I never tell people my worst days here for so many reasons. Mostly because no one realizes how complicated things are here and usually has so many layers to it that just to tell you about my day there would be at least an hour conversation just trying to explain, or it’s hard to really grasp the weight of it all and how even the smallest task during a day can drain all the energy out of you. Or you would question my salvation or sanity. Or as he said in the blog, tell me to throw in the towel and come home.  Many times I just don’t want to be a Debbie Downer so I just give the “well we are just walking through a difficult season” and leave it at that because I don’t want to pour out what I see and feel on a daily basis to everyone that ask.

Thursday was one of those worst days. If someone would have handed me a ticket to leave I wouldn’t have even stopped by my house to get a bag. I will spare all the details. I came home before lunch and sat down at my computer just wanting to shut my brain down for a minute. I remembered that my husband sent me a link called “why women need their girlfriends” and I opened it and tears began to pour. It spoke about how a group of girls now in their late 40’s had been taking a beach trip together every year for over 20 years. The reason why they did it was because those girls had walked from the carefree, simple young life to the season of life where cancer began, difficulties in marriage, losing jobs, moving, where they needed those who had walked every season to still get together and laugh. As I read the words that my heart knew to be so true, I just wanted more than anything for my girls to be sitting at the table with me. Some of my girls would have been crying alongside of me, others would have been trying to fix all that went wrong by taking immediate action and some would have been making us laugh because they don’t do well with the emotional type. I wanted all of them there in that moment.

So, all I could do was email them. I let it all out. Told them about how we were struggling financially in our ministry at the moment and I was in the midst of a day where I just needed God to remind me, “Hey Dacia, you are not alone.” I wanted Him to break through and help us with some great needs we had at the babies home. I felt so much better after emailing the girls and getting a good cry in.

So, I went back out to face the world.

By the afternoon I had received 3 emails in response from my girlfriends telling me that they were going to cover the cost of one the main things I needed at the time. I laughed.

You see, Jesus knew that I needed more than just a “hey, I got this…”. Anyone could have donated for that need but Jesus was so sweet to me in that it was my closet girlfriends, once again, walking through a season with me from a thousand miles away. It was more than my heart needed that day to have a financial need met but through the ones who have been helping me face big and small mountains for over 10 years now.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

He has outed me.

You can only lead as far as you have been led with Him.  This has been weighing on me. Such a great responsibility to lead. I desire to go deeper with Him, I desire for Him to speak, but yet I find myself getting busy with the ministry to-do list and the schedule that we have even here, and I fail to stop and listen. So today, I am stopping. I am listening. I am going to write.

He has done so much these last few weeks that I have failed to share. Here is a sweet recap of what has been going on in my job and also in my heart.

I have new responsibilities! Here is what I do on a day-to-day basis.

1. Donations Office //  I am still helping in this department, which means that I help coordinate the sponsorships and updates for those who sponsor and give to the ministry.

2. School Coordinator // Responsible for the spiritual and physical well-being of the babies at our home, our nursery, primary, and secondary school.

3. Assistant Guesthouse Manager // I assist Sarah, our amazing manager, in the evenings and on the weekends at our guesthouses.

4. Developing a micro-loan finance department where we can help our 200 pastors develop projects that will sustain their income and help their community as well.

When I type all of this out I can literally feel myself start to panic. I can feel myself start to feel so inadequate and overwhelmed. I know myself well enough to know that when these feelings come, I tend to shut down and become paralyzed. I have been wrestling with fighting these fears for the last few weeks. I will sit down at my computer to write updates and nothing comes. I will begin to try to get into the Word and ask God for wisdom on how to lead and what our babies and students need to walk through first, and there is silence. I can’t seem to move forward. I lay in bed and think, “Did you really think I could do this? Why? I feel like there are so many more out there that have experience in all of these areas, and I am not one of them.” It keeps me up at night. I look ahead and see a mountain that I have no experience climbing.

AriseAfrica1435

It wasn’t until a few days ago that He spoke. He spoke into every fear of my inadequacy. An image. An image that took me back to a blog post that I wrote last year that was inspired by my sweet friend, Katie. Learning to bend low

For when I am bent low, serving, with my face to the dirt, that is where I find Him in all of His fullness. But today, I know that with me bending my knee, placing myself in a position of surrender, I can only take this position because He first bent towards me.

I feel as though I have to measure up. I still feel as though I need to perform accordingly. But I have to, once again, know the Biblical love of Jesus. And so I have to go back to this image: He came for me. I have quoted John 3:16 so many times but today it is different. “For God SO loved the world that He GAVE his only son”…the love of God is initiated towards me. He moved towards me. He bent towards me. Me at my best is never going to be adequate. Ever. That is why in His great love, He leaned in.

God has publicly outed me and because of that I am set free. So, that means I need a Savior. I don’t have to be more than I am. Sometimes I still think that He will love me when I get it all right and thousands of students and babies are living for Him. I don’t have to pretend through what I post on Facebook, Instagram and even my blog, that I know what I am doing. I don’t have to wrestle with putting an image forward that I can do this and because I am living in Uganda that I am doing something unique that deserves attention or praise, but just the opposite. I do not deserve a Savior that would call me, find me worthy, and set me in a place where He constantly reminds me that I cannot do this. Reminds me that He bends towards me so that I can also bend with a heart that tries to reflect the heart of my Father. Oh how I fail. I often do not serve well. I often expect others to serve me. I often miss opportunities to love well and to sit with someone because I need to accomplish a list. It is a daily battle to remember that I don’t have to sit in the guilt and run away from Him, but run towards Him because He already told me I would need a Savior. And He came.

It is my desire that each student at our Secondary School, all 188 of them, would come to know a Savior that bent towards them, so they can understand the spectacular love of their Father. That as orphans, as those who have been sexually abused, abandoned, scared, starved, the Creator came and got down on His knees before them, cupped their faces, held their hearts, kissed their wounds, and embraced them. My heart feels the weight of doing everything in my power to point them to His heart. Not just a religion that we spoon feed them in a Christian school and home, but that we would guide them in a relationship, that would give them Hope and show them the way to Life.  Would you pray for me? Would you pray that in my weakness, He is shown strong? That I would not play the comparison game. I would not be paralyzed by fear but would run set free.

That together we will run with our heads held high in the confidence of our Father’s love for us. Together, we will bend low and serve one another. Together, we would place ourselves in a surrendered position. Together, we would allow the picture of our Savior bending towards us, make our hearts bend towards Him. And with a posture like pictured below, I am capable of doing the things He has called me to do.

IMG_0610

Name Suggestions?

photo-1You know, today was one of those days that I felt literally overwhelmed by His love for me! Where I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face and I literally felt like I needed to pinch myself.

He has shown His faithfulness to me time and time again but sometimes I just stand in awe. I stand in awe of those who gave in order to bless me with an amazing new car that not only blesses me but blesses my family here at Arise Africa.

I have to say the most joy I have felt was not when I received the notice that the target goal had been raised so we could go and look at a car but it was yesterday as we drove 2 hours to the Capital City to pick up the car. I was excited, don’t get me wrong, so excited but it did not compare to the excitement of my father here, Pastor Godfrey, who is takes wonderful care of me and made sure that we picked the very best. He was like a little kid on Christmas morning. Here at Arise God has provided for every single car that we have. Every single one. But yesterday was a little different, no one had ever gotten a big “New” nice car like this one. The joy that I received from seeing him so excited about driving the new car was worth it all. Thank you so much to those who gave, I wish I could have captured it on video as we drove off the lot and he beamed with pride. It was literally a proud father who had made a great choice for his daughter and was excited. A daughter being 28 years old and experiencing for the first time in a long time what it felt like to not make “big girl decisions” but to let a father do it for me, it brought me more joy than I remembered.

As I was driving along the dirt roads today, I didn’t feel the potholes like normal because I was seated behind a wheel of a great car! I didn’t breathe in the fumes and exhaust and eat the dirt because I am blessed to have air conditioning. I had my music blaring and I was surrounding by a scenery of a developing country, and I literally wanted to scream with pure joy! How is this my life? I say this so much but I really mean it…I have only given up a few luxuries. I don’t deserve to be here. He has just lavished His grace upon me to be able to call this my life. I am truly humbled. And it was moments like today, overwhelmed with what He has done for me through faithful servants that donated, it is so beautiful and fulfilling to follow Him. Even without a car, even if it meant that I didn’t get to drive a car…He is still good and He is still faithful. But how sweet is it when He surprises us?

We are all so thankful for the blessing of a new car!! It was so needed. I can now drive back and forth to Bukelaba daily and have a reliable car to get me there and back each day! Even tomorrow, Pastor Godfrey is taking it far out as he goes to encourage one of our churches. He gets ALL the glory!

Now, we just need a name for her….open to suggestions 🙂

photo

Valley of Vision

Valley of vision

Thou has brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by the mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox

That the way down is the way up,

that to be low is to be high

that the broken heart is the healed heart,

that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,

that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, 

that to have nothing is to possess all,

that to bear the cross is to wear the crown

that to give is to receive

that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from the deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy starts shine; Let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley. 

-The Valley of Vision

To Be Continued….What I have learned from living among those who live here, in this place. How my heart desires for America to find ourselves here. The valley, where we gain our vision. But first, we must take and drink of the cup.

Day 3: Thankful for Happiness

Thankful for small things that bring happiness to my soul!!

Lubbock, Texas. It definitely isn’t the scenery or the smell (smells a little like Africa at times) but it is my home. A place my heart always wants to find it’s way to. It holds so much of my memories, my experiences, my laughter, tears and it is the culture in which I was raised. Cowboy boots, late summer nights with friends doing nothing, dirt roads, taco villa, perfect grid layout, market street, bahama bucks, jones stadium, monterey high school, texas tech, holidays, family…all in this one place. I am proud to be from a place where I can return to and still walk into the grocery store and know I will see someone I know. Lubbock, it holds so much of my happiness all lumped up in West Texas greatness.

Happiness is cookie dough. Licking the beaters when I was a child after my mom would make a batch to my roommate always saving me a bowl full that I would enjoy after a day of work. It is a simple pleasure that comforts. So much better than the cookie.

Cowboy hats and Cowboy boots. Hard working gentlemen from home. Rough hands. Ranch. Dance halls. Texas country. Football games. PLAIN TEXAS. You can take Texas anywhere when you put on a good pair of boots.

H

Happiness is when I can throw on leggings and boots. Or this outfit. It’s my favorite. Comfortable and Fall.

Happiness is my girls, Lubbock nights, Game weekends, Guns Up and Texas’ Girls. Thankful.

A morning at the Salon. Hair, cup of coffee, and a good magazine, girls chatter, blow dryers, new looks, refreshing. Small things that I look forward to.

                                                                                     Happiness is a good pair of high heels.

 

Happiness is kisses from my dog, Sophie.

 

Small things…I am thankful because they make this girl’s heart happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eucharisteo-thanksgiving-always precedes the miracle…

I have stayed awake late into the night this week just reflecting on my ten months here. Afraid to really begin to reflect because there is too much. In one day I can experience every emotion. In one day. So it becomes life here and it becomes normal. I am thankful. I thought I would be able to write a blog post capturing my time here but it is impossible. He has done a work in me that cannot be put into words. I can’t capture it, but I am praying that as I return home to my family, friends, fast pace, small blessings and all that is America, I can embrace it all with overflowing gratitude. I know I am not the same but I pray that as I encounter every conversation, every speaking engagement, every situation that I can display that I have done nothing special…I am not super woman…I am not radical…I just have tasted from His cup. A cup that is available for everyone to drink. A drink that is offered to His children everywhere…from a remote village to Texas, to New York…

The question that I have been asking for months and so many others ask this same question that come spend any amount of time here…”How do you experience Jesus in America like you experience Him in Uganda?” Is it possible? If God called me to move back to America, could I find the same fulfillment in my day-to-day there? Life there has a whole different set of problems…but it just seem different. Not as desperate. I have been seeking out to find this answer. What do I have here that I do not have at home? The truth is He is the same Jesus in Uganda as He is in America.

I think I have tapped into it. I am not the first. I am just beginning to see that this truly is the answer to fulfillment.

Eucharisteo-thanksgiving. Ann Voskamp has written a book “1,000 Gifts”. We are reading it in my community here and last night as we poured over her words, it hit me. Here we are so thankful. Thankful for life, thankful for food, thankful for rain…in fact before every church service you will hear the congregation rise up a loud passionate “thank you” for at least ten minutes, they lift up thanks. This is what we are missing.

A grateful heart. Not only for the big things but for the very day small graces. Breathing.

So today let’s begin…

“And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.”- Ann Voskamp

Simple Grace: Food-I just lost a 15 month old baby this week because of malnutrition. I do not take the grace upon me to have not only food, but delicious food. That is His grace upon me.

                                                                                                    Simple Grace: Smiles

Marvin- A two-year old boy who never showed emotion. He was suffering from neglect and malnutrition. His smile reminds me He is a God of miracles and only He can comfort the heart of a child.

Elijah- He stopped breathing, his body was too weak and frail to fight. But the Lord fought for him. Elijah-He is God. Thankful for His smile that reminds me, He alone is God.

Damien- A ten-year old who I met shortly after he had experienced more trauma and tragedy than anyone I know or heard about. I was not sure that a smile would be possible for this child. I am thankful that He has lifted us up out of our pit and set our feet on a high rock. He alone is our portion.

My Granddad and Dad- Their smiles remind me that I am thankful to have Godly earthly men who have raised a child in the way she should go. Two men who have given me the confidence to fly and walk in His acceptance of me. Because of how these two men have loved me, I know my Father’s love more intimately. Their smiles say, I am proud of you, I love you and I am thankful that their smiles are a reflection of His.

Today, what food and smile are you thankful for?

“….Life change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change.” Ann Voskamp