We all have a story.
We all have a past that is full of joy, hurt, sin, triumph, and brokenness. Our stories define who we are today, they shape our personalities and our characters, and they guide us down different paths. I’ve had the privilege of listening to a lot of stories this year. (It’s one of the perks of the job.) Some bold and glorious, and some destructive and heartbreaking. I’ve also had the privilege of sharing my own story – filled with it’s own up’s and down’s.
This year I met a girl in South Africa who watched her mom commit suicide when she was a toddler, who has scars all over of her arms from the deep cuts of razor blades, and even more scars on her heart from years of selling her body in prostitution. Continue reading “Desperate”
I have always loved the classic hymn, It Is Well With My Soul. It’s a beautiful [and famous] song that’s sung in most Christian churches around the globe. It’s filled with lyrics that speak of surrender, peace, and complete trust in a God Who is good and sovereign. One verse says, “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.”
What I didn’t know is that the author of this song – Horatio Spafford – wrote this hymn nearly a week or so after his wife and four daughters set sail on a luxury steam liner to Paris for holiday in 1873. While he stayed behind to finish up some last minute work, the rest of his family boarded the ship. After a short time at sea, their steam liner was rammed by a British iron sailing ship and had sunk in the middle of the ocean. Horatio’s wife was rescued after being found unconscious – but his four daughters drowned and were killed. Once Horatio got word from his wife about the tragedy via telegram, he boarded a boat to reunite with her. As he sailed across the exact spot where the steam liner sank (and where his daughters were killed) – he penned the words to It Is Well With My Soul.
Hectic. The tragedy that Horatio faced while writing the lyrics to this song gives it an entirely new and significant meaning. Every time I listen to the lyrics play over my iPhone speakers – I am greatly challenged by this man’s faith, and I am greatly confronted with the lack of my own.
Continue reading “Is It Well With My Soul?”
This may come as a surprise to most of you, but… I love grocery shopping.
Well, actually wait. Let me rephrase that. I love food.
In all seriousness though, I love getting to stroll through the aisles of Publix while basking in the vastness of flavored ice creams, dinosaur chicken nuggets, and super unhealthy breakfast cereals. I love the smells of freshly baked breads and birthday cakes in the bakery section, and I love the beautiful sights of the rainbow colored fruits in the produce area.
But most of all, I love trying to carry all of my grocery bags from my car to my flat in one trip – even if it means sacrificing a groin muscle or a pinky finger in the process. I know it’s silly – but I do it every single time, and every single time I am left with bruises on my thighs and painful red indent marks across my forearms. Some would say, carrying all of those grocery bags in one trip is more than I can handle… but I say… try me.
Continue reading “When God Gives You More Than You Can Handle”
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain”
I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready for April to be over.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, April showers bring May flowers? Well, forget April showers, because this month came fully-loaded with torrential downpours! It’s been a month full of lost keys, acne breakouts, sinus infections, dangerously low bank account balances, and broken break lights. The struggle has been so deliciously real. (Deliciously, because I have never had to eat this many packages of super cheap 2-minute ramen noodles in my entire life.) Continue reading “Dance in the Rain”
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis
The word “love”—along with it’s many definitions—is splattered all over the pages of the bible. You won’t have to look very hard to discover that love is patient and kind or sacrificial and selfless. But this week, the Lord has been teaching me about another way to define love that isn’t spelled out as clearly in the scriptures.
Love is… dirty.
And just to be clear, I’m not talking about the bow-chicka-wow-wow kind of love…but nice try.
This kind of love is messy and uncomfortable. It inconveniences you and it requires you to take risks. It’s a love that suffers, that gives, and that exhausts you day after day. It’s hard and time consuming—and it will most definitely cost you something. It’s also important to note that this kind of love isn’t about you—it’s about them. And to be honest, when I see opportunities to give and receive this kind of love—I prefer to yell “fire” and run as fast as I can in the opposite direction. Continue reading “Let’s Get Dirty”
Several years ago, my lovely sister Melissa (aka: Angel Princess) got a tattoo in Arabic that says, “the only way out is through.” Most of our family’s ethnicity is rooted in the Syrian and Lebanese cultures, so I thought the tattoo was really awesome. But I’ll be honest, I never gave much thought to it’s meaning… until now.
I’m an American, and after traveling to multiple countries across the world, I’ve realized that Americans have a stigma for being task-oriented, fast-paced, and overly-confident individuals. We like to get things done, and we like to get those things done quickly (even if that means sacrificing quality for quantity and/or our health for immediate results). The South Africans i’ve met in the Western Cape have more of a people-oriented, chilled out, “it will get done when it gets done” kind of vibe to them. People will always tend to think and act differently from one another, so I’ve had to learn to embrace those differences (just like people have learned to embrace mine). Continue reading “The Only Way out Is Through”