please, remember to breathe

I am going to lay my heart bare on this page in a bit of daring honesty.  It has been somewhat of a battle these last few months wondering what I have of value to add to the conversation now that I’m officially living in the USA. {I’ll fill you in more on the transition later this week.}   My voice and story have been so tied to my spiritual geography in Africa, I sometimes struggle to find them here.

Today’s amazing interview reminded me: it isn’t so much what we DO that is the gift.  It is who we are in Him, Who we allow Him to be in us… the story of Him reaching down to kindle this clay and set it on fire.  It is my journey with Him that is the message, not what I “do” in ministry.  Thank You Papa for the reminding.

It has been a season with many health battles and some still ongoing.  For right now, I am having to find a new rhythm and a new pace.  And for the first time, maybe ever, I am making a priority to get healthy for the long haul.  I know God heals.  I know He gives amazing grace. But I do have a part to play in the equation.

In Africa, I could look around for inspiration and it was everywhere, as if the very ground itself teemed with unclaimed metaphors.  But here I have to look within to His inside out upside down Kingdom that is found within us. In a sense the unpaved road is the inward journey.

I have been almost afraid to write because in writing the moments, for me they become the most real, black and white snapshots of time and change and grace inked out in lines on a page.  And there is part of me that wants to keep thinking I am getting on a plane and heading back to S Sudan to live.  But this season in the USA is not about passing through to somewhere else.  For the first time in my adult life, it is about planting, here.  Putting long term roots down deep, that the orchard God is cultivating will one day feed nations.  It is about multiplication and seeing a whole company of consumed lovers of Jesus fly higher and soar farther than I can even dream.

{I will go to visit my family in S Sudan as often as God lets me and they will always be a part of my heart and life.  Always. Family is family. Period.  There are some really exciting things happening there I can’t wait to share with you in a little while. It is SO good what He is doing!}

I’m getting ahead of myself.  Back to right here: for me, to write means to fully be present and embrace the moments I share.  Hold time and place close and turn them around and upside down, describe the story they contain.  Embracing the place I’m in, in order to understand and scribble down lessons for my heart to learn.  Words, as an offering, storied days laid on His altar in worship.   It is frightening when it feels like the most valuable part of my heart and message was birthed in the red dirt of Africa so far away from this Florida sandy soil.  Where I came most fully alive in the place where red earth meets cerulean sky, kissed with green towering blades of grass, where prayers rise with dust as incense before His throne under a million star canopy of night.

It feels like the most valuable part of me is still in transit somewhere, slightly misplaced and yes I do sit grappling with grace.  It is only staying in the grip of His grace that sees me through the course.

But today I was reminded. Thank you, Canada for welcoming me. Thank you beautiful Moira and 100 Huntley Street for opening your doors and hearts. For inviting me, not to come as some great successful missionary who is out doing exploits, but as the girl with her mascara on an unpaved journey; the girl who is still learning to love and whose story itself is still being written.  And the story of Him standing tall in one who stands small still ministers life even when she has a new address.  That humbles me.  For someone to value your story is a true gift. And thank you, you who are reading, who have journeyed through pages and nations with me here.

My story really hasn’t changed and neither has this space. It is about the journey deeper into God’s heart.

I think I was holding my breath to see if I would still be me, without the red dirt and mud huts that have so eloquently framed my world the last seven years. Would the voice I found there still resonate here and survive the transition?

Quite honestly, I’m still finding out.  But what a journey of grace and beauty. Hard, painful and wonderful; this season is the kind that leaves stretch marks on your soul as it births the new into being.  Selah: pause… think on that… and whatever comes, please, don’t forget to breathe. 😉