Embrace “Otro Oportunidad”

Embrace “Otro Oportunidad”

“Otro opotunidad! Otro oportunidad! Otro oportunidad!” the children chanted as their classmates got one more chance at the game they were playing. I had never heard the phrase chanted, though I knew what it meant. Another opportunity, one more chance, one more try. As I chanted it for the next round of children to try again, I couldn’t help but think how that is often the chant of my heart. Give me another opportunity, one more chance, let me try again.

I recently returned from a missions trip to Mexico. It was not the typical go to a different country and build something kind of missions trip. It was more relational in a way that I completely loved and embraced. We got the opportunity to learn from, meet, and encourage the believers in Mexico. We also had the chance to share some of what we are learning and doing back in the US. It was all around Better Together and I LOVED it.

It pushed me to get out of my comfort zone, test out my Spanish skills, try new things, and live differently than I had before.

As our leader for the trip would always say, “Not better, but DIFFERENT.”

His goal for years has been to help the church get out of their seats and into the streets. To live out what it means to tangibly love your neighbor in real life. This normally means getting out of your comfort zone.

It’s something I’ve been learning my entire life, and now, as a lighthouse leader, it is something I pray often. Give me another chance, God. Let me be a light this time.

So many times I have missed the opportunity only to pray for another, or offer an encouraging word. One more time. One more opportunity.

In the counseling office, I’ve started to learn not to hold back. Working with transient populations can do that to you. With you one week and gone the next. Some sessions end up being their last, and I miss an opportunity to encourage or speak life into their situation. I’ve learned to build them up throughout the process, not just when I see progress. I don’t know if I will see them next week, so I share the words today.

My mother raised us to live each day as your last and to never miss an opportunity to say I love you, always trying to end on a positive note. My sister and I joke that we do it almost obsessively sometimes.

If only I lived that way with everyone that I encountered, instead of just my loved ones. To speak that word that God lays on your heart. Give the hug, share the smile.

What can you do today? What does someone need from you?

God is giving you another opportunity each time you wake, each time you step out of that door, or go to the store.

1 Peter 3:15 NLT

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.

The beautiful thing about God is that you cannot mess up his plan. When you fail, he gives you another opportunity. Your mistakes or missed opportunities are NOT bigger than God. BUT he is inviting you to be a part of his work.

Longings Fulfilled

Longings Fulfilled

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

It’s amazing to me how true this verse is. I feel like lately, God has been fulfilling several of my longings (or maybe I’ve just been more aware).  I longed to have a husband who loved and cared for me radically, and have enjoyed being married to God’s gift of a husband to me for the past 9 months. Not all of the longings are as big as marriage though. I longed to do yoga in a Christian environment, and just recently got to experience the beautiful fulfillment, that keeps going! Also, I longed to provide a space for women to be: be themselves, write truth, experience peace, and so much more. This past Saturday was a small start at doing just that, in light of a larger longing that God has placed within me.

As I was filled with joy and life at each of these fulfilled longings, I realized something more. Not only did God fulfill these hopes, these longings of mine, but he was also the one who GAVE me the longings in the first place.

It is said that God will give you the desires of your heart when you delight in him (Psalm 37:4), but he is also the one who places many of those desires in there to begin with!

It’s like God gives us double gifts when he gifts us with deep desires or soul longings, and then he gifts us again when he satisfies and fulfills those longings.

It gives me hope for my longings yet to be fulfilled. The ones that have been deferred for a while, but my heart has not grown sick, because I’ve experienced so much life from other longings fulfilled.

What are some longings that you have? In what ways has God fulfilled some of your longings already? Have you delighted in God, and has he given you desires that have yet to be fulfilled?

Pray with me:

Father, thank you for being the giver of good gifts. Thank you for the many longings you have fulfilled in my life. Thank you for the desires, the dreams, and callings you have placed within me. I pray I can rejoice at these gifts, and steward them well. I pray I can be patient with the process you have me in to reach the fulfillment. May you get all the glory as you fulfill the deepest longings of our soul.

Amen.

Simple Things in the Neighborhood

Simple Things in the Neighborhood

This past weekend, we went into the neighborhoods to pick up trash, pass out flyers and candy, and pray with neighbors. Some would say these things are simple and ineffective, but as the day progressed, we noticed the difference we were starting to make.

Not only did the area start to look a little cleaner, neighbors were out, they were actually opening their doors for us, and they actually had prayer requests that we prayed for.

One woman who had driven by us a couple times, decided to purchase some waters for us because she so appreciated what we were doing. She purchased enough flavored water for all 15 of us to have a water bottle.

The group that was with me was not from Omaha, and not even from Nebraska. IT was a group of middle school students from a youth group in Iowa. They were able to knock on doors and pray with neighbors.

One such moment was unforgettable and will forever stay with me. A group of three or four students walked up to a house, knocked on the door and offered their flyer and bag of candy. The elderly woman gladly accepted and when they kids asked if they could pray, she requested prayer for her family to grow closer together. One kid prayed for her and then it seemed like they were coming to a close when a girl asked if she could jump in. She prayed passionately for this woman and her family and spoke of how important and special family are. By the time she was finished, both the woman and I had tears in our eyes.

One small prayer can be effective. One small act can be effective. A knock on a door or a little bag of candy can be effective.

We need to stop searching for so many big things to transform, and discover how small you can get.

The simple things this past weekend didn’t just affect the neighborhood and the people we encountered. They affected me, and each one of the people who were with me. We saw and experienced the power of a simple prayer, a simple kind act of picking up trash.

You will be surprised at who will say yes when you ask if you can pray. Try it!

Praying for the courage to step out in small ways and see how God will move.

One Call Away


I had my first plunger experience recently. It was a little bit scary and a lot a bit embarrassing. No one wants to say they clogged the toilet, yet we all have at some point.  
The thought of someone else taking care of my mess made me sick. So I turned to the only one who I knew could help, wouldn’t judge me and would lovingly understand my mess. My father. He is a plumber, among many other things. And knew exactly what I needed to do. He text-walked me though the steps to plunge the toilet. I asked a million questions before I actually got down and dirty, and finally, with surprisingly little effort, the clog was gone. 

I couldn’t help but think of how I try to hide my other embarrassing messes. When the water pressure gets low and my heart gets clogged, I don’t want people to know and try to just let it sit and maybe eventually it will go away. 

I don’t want any other person to know, for fear of judgement and disgust. 

Sometimes time does heal, but other times, we need to grab our plunger and get to work. 

Thankfully, we have a loving father we can run to, who will never condemn us or ridicule us for his mess. He will always answer our call. He happens to be an expert plumber, a jack of all trades, and he knows exactly what we need to do. He lovingly takes us through the steps, often without us knowing what the next one is. We plunge and plunge until the clog is gone. And at the end, we can breathe a sigh of relief and thank our Father who was with us every step of the way. He has an answer to every one of our questions-though sometimes we don’t like the answer. 

We just have to humble ourselves and ask. 

“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:21‬ ‭NLT‬

“The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭69:32‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What clogs do you have in your heart today? 

Take some time to seek his face, give him a call and maybe even do some heart plumbing work. 

Fear in His Hands

Fear in His Hands
Oh Lord please forgive me for deep down in my heart
I’ve realized what I’ve harboured almost from the very start. 
See I’ve always had plenty, yes, more than enough,
but somehow I still worry that one day I’ll have none. 
So I fret and I fear of the future trials to come.
And work and save up to pay for the potentially large sums. 
I work day to day, honorable enough I am sure, 
but, see, my motives are not always very pure. 
For somewhere along the way I have wrongly presumed,

Continue reading “Fear in His Hands”

Trust Without Borders

Trust Without Borders

FullSizeRender

Last year, around this time, I was in my last semester of undergrad and thus still had to attend weekly chapels. I remember going to a worship chapel where we sang the song Oceans. As one of the top Christian songs in the past few years, this song was a favorite in chapel, on the radio and on everyone’s playlists. After a while though, the words lost their meaning. On that particular day, however, I realized afresh what the words meant.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior”

I knew what I was singing, but thought for a second at the weight of my words. Did I really just sing that I wanted God to take me to deeper waters? What would that look like? And was that even something I really wanted to be asking God?

This past year, God has brought me to and through some of those deeper waters. My 22nd year has been one of the hardest yet. The trials of a broken relationship and a wounded friendship took me deeper than my feet could ever wander. At times I didn’t know if I could emotionally, spiritually, and mentally survive. However, because I ran to His presence, the deeper communion I have experienced with God and this sense of unity with His Spirit makes it more than worth it. Through it all, the joy that I have is unexplainable. Even though I may still sometimes hurt, that hurt reminds me of how deep God has taken me. How he has allowed me to walk on the water, making me stronger, and let me experience the fullness of his presence.

While my heart may have been unsure when I uttered the prayer of that song, God heard the words of my lips and knew what it would take to make my faith stronger.

This summer, when I thought I had experienced the deepest of the depths, I had no idea that more was in store. While I am writing this now, I don’t know if I have seen the last of the depths. In fact, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that there are still deeper waters ahead.

In John 16:33, Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble…”

I can be confident that there are deeper waters to come. BUT Jesus is not finished when he says that. He ends the statement with:

“…But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Our faith can be made stronger in those deeper waters. We know that we can endure because we already know Jesus has overcome!

The trust and experience of deepened faith developed through trials is both painful and beautiful.

May we continue to be led by the Spirit, and our faith be made stronger.

Victory Dance

Victory Dance

Today was deep cleaning day for my bathroom. It had been quite a while because, hey, I’m busy and who else every uses my bathroom besides me, right? Yeah, we’ll just say it was long overdue. Apparently our apartment has hard water because you can see it all over the drains and there is a ring around the toilet where the water sits. Disgusting, I know.

toilet(looked a little something like this)

So I did the whole bleach thing and scrubbed my heart out. Although I got a good amount of it with the first try, there were still those deeper stains that had been there the longest. I let the bleach sit for 10 minutes to really sink into those stains.

I probably scrubbed that toilet for a good 15 minutes and there are still some little spots of hard water stains. So frustrating to leave the toilet knowing that I did not get it all, though those spots may be virtually invisible to the person who just happens to glance in there. AND it did look a whole lot better than what it looked like before. For some reason I could not be fully satisfied. Even now, I go back and think to myself, if only I scrubbed harder or longer, or just didn’t let it sit that long in the first place, it would be all clean!

This process reminds me of Jesus and how he cleanses and purifies us. While we may be considered 100% righteous, because we are justified by his blood, we still have to undergo this process called sanctification. Sometimes the stains are easily removed with a little bleach and the swipe of the brush, and others are tougher and require more attention and time to really scour away. Nonetheless, I know I look a whole lot better than I did before.

BUT… what about that little thing that I can’t seem to get rid of? That little imperfection that always seems to come out at the worst time possible? That daily battle that reminds me just how human I am? Why can’t I seem to get rid of those things and be wholly perfect?

I forget about how far I come and instead of saying “WOW! Look at how far God has brought me!” I think, wow, there’s that little grimy stain, still staring at me, and I can’t seem to scrub hard enough to remove it.

Tonight, we had family night at our church. We celebrated the victory we have in Christ and made the decision to not live with the victim mentality, but to live in the reality of victory because 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Instead of saying “why?” we can say “wow!” and live in awe of all that God has done and is doing in us and around us and through us. We can live with an expectation of victory because we serve a victorious God.

Thank you Jesus for the victory that I have in YOU! May I never forget what you say is true. Recently I’ve felt a little displaced, so please remind me of you unending grace. When all I am says why me? Why now? Please give me the strength to instead say WOW! When I think all is lost-at first glance, now I know to do the victory dance!

victory dance