Home

Over the past few weeks“home” has felt like a word whose definition has been
muddied by showers that trickle down through seasons of life.
Some of them raging storms, others of them beautiful crisp rains of blessings.
Each of them yielding life in the end.
However, now I find myself dancing in one and hiding under the shelter of another.
I catch myself basking in the fragrance of fresh blooms while also
longing for the new day marked by another sunrise.
So many questions about the one thing that has felt so secure for 25 years.
Home.
But now…

Now I find myself in a pool of tears about one day leaving a place
that has become such an intricate part of God’s story for my life.
I savor the African lifestyle of slow and the time to smell those roses.
I relish the relationships that run deep because they began with sacrifice
yet exist as faithful gifts from the ultimate Giver.
I envision beautiful sights that make me feel so alive and awake to our Creator.
And I cherish it.

But now I also remember the well-known people and places far away
and my heart yearns for their company-
to share the birth of our daughter with them,
to call them up for a quick lunch date,
to soak in a walk through colored leaves.
Arriving back to the familiar, deep comforts of where we all grew up together
and the life that gives to my soul.
And I cherish this too.

The waters of what “home” is are muddied, indeed.
And while murky waters make it nearly impossible to see in front of you,
they also create an opportunity to jump in blindly and live in the moment.
Hop on a four-wheeler and throw up some mud.
Put on your galoshes and splash around.
To emerge dirty and soaked, but smiling
at the new memories etched into your mind.
That's what I'm learning to do.

I find myself sitting with it a full spectrum of emotions,
most recently a fear of what is ahead.
Fear of leaving this place we have worked so hard to make feel like home.
Fear of moving back to the familiar only to find it so
foreign to how we’ve learned to live.
Fear of purpose rearranged.
Fear of friendships left behind.
Fear of empty busyness.
Fear of feeling unsettled.
Fear of isolation.
Fear of the transition into being parents
at the same time we transition into married American life,
when our marriage found its roots entirely on African soil.

It’s odd how God works.
The transition in my heart has been one towards satisfying me in
the very things that were once hard.
Even satisfying me in the things that are still hard.
I take such delight in this journey through which He has carried us.
Living cross-culturally has been an experience that is
more difficult than I ever dreamed it could be.
Down every road we have travelled, however,
I have learned to love this place we currently call home.
I hold it so close to my heart.
The past month has been one to reflect on exactly how
God has transitioned this season of life from a
hurricane of changes into a shower of blessings.
And I want to write them down. Drink them deep.
I want to make a list, declare God’s faithfulness, remember the gifts He gives.
He alone satisfies, and what pleasure we get
upon looking at the light He sheds into our lives when we trust in Him completely.

I consider it a privilege to do life and ministry here.
It’s humbling to pray into dark situations-
pain and heartache and searching, violence and hurt and pleading-
and then get to be in relationship with God’s children.
It’s exciting to celebrate victories together.
To mourn together, to eat together, to press on together.
It’s not distant stories of Africa,
but beautiful hands I get to hold.
Roads I get to walk.
Friendships that carry both laughter and tears,
that say see you soon,
that are true and sincere. I
am so honored to know the people here.
I am touched by their lives.
I am blessed by their culture, however different from mine it may be.
I love to hear stories from the lives of men and women
that I could never predict.
I love that we don’t look the same or think the same or
expect things to happen in the same way.
I love to drive through the community and exchange waves and greetings.
To do the day-to-day alongside of these people is a gift
whose worth I never truly realized.
I will miss this.

Yesterday morning I woke up and looked out our bedroom window.
In front of me and wrapping toward the right are mountains that boast gloriously.
Green and strong and regal.
To the left is an ocean that at times produces a roar which
rumbles through our home and at other times
rests peacefully and clear as crystal.
Through yesterday' s lenses Taylor and I watched as
a whale broke through the surface and exploded into the air,
crashing down with a splash.
What the heck? Do we really live here??
Extraordinary moments like this never get old. Ever.
I will miss that too.

A few friends threw us a baby shower several weeks ago.
We snacked. We opened gifts. We mingled.
But most memorably, we were prayed over.
Our little girl, our marriage, our hearts, our wisdom, our fears, our deepest needs-
laid before the throne of God by people He placed in our lives.
Talk about a blessing!
I couldn’t stop the steady flow of tears, basking in thankfulness.
These relationships are so special.
There are people from all over.
People with these backgrounds or those giftings.
People with this life story or that one.
People we’ve known for a while or people we just met.
But they are our people.
And everyone is invited in.
Because we are sharing this journey. This journey that began with
saying "yes" to God.
“Yes” we will move far and trust in Him to provide and protect and prepare a way.
And while each of us may be different to the other,
there is a depth to relationships which are rooted in this “yes”
that cannot be reproduced anywhere else.
We share an understanding of loneliness, of adapting, of growing.
We are together in all the moments that are typically shared with family-
Christmas, birthdays, baby showers.
We mourn the loss of loved ones together.
We celebrate the birth of nieces and nephews together,
and now even our own sons and daughters.
We are there to give knowing hugs and needed smiles.
We carry on. Together.
I will miss this deeply.

I am satisfied in the quiet days and the lonely moments.
God meets me there.
I take delight in yet another night spent at home with my husband with nothing to do.
It pushes us into each other.
I find great pleasure in an after school club that is not glamorous.
It allows us to be real.
Some days are just hard.
Some situations just make you want your family.
Some tastes will never equate with mama’s kitchen.
Sometimes you still feel like an outsider.
But I have fallen in love with our South African home.

God has filled gaps until they are overflowing with
His goodness, grace, and mercies.
And it is those overflowing blessings that satisfy like no other.

We don’t know exactly when God will call us somewhere else or
what that something else will look like.
We don’t know exactly what it will feel like to try and redefine home yet again.
Home is a place where we all have a history.
Where we know and are known.
Where we have great memories and deep struggles.
Where we have favorite spots and dreaded chores.
Home is a place that becomes a part of us.
Please pray with us as we navigate the waters of home in 2 places.

We do know, without a doubt, that God goes before each of us.
We know that He is good, and that He is the same yesterday and tomorrow.
The peace of “home” is found in His arms. We can trust that.

Isaiah 26:3
“He will keep at perfect peace those
whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in Him.”

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Image

This pregnancy has been a tool to teach me so much.
As my belly grows bigger literally every morning,
so do the number of hands rubbing it and the
conversations about the baby girl residing within it.
Many of those interactions are with children-
little fingers and dirty nails reaching to wave hello to tiny Lettie,
messy hair hanging in front of ears pressed against my torso,
innocent voices speaking gently to my daughter.
The beauty in these exchanges is hard to surpass.
It melts my soul and leads me to worship.
You see, many of the children that show their love to my sweet daughter
have been hardened by life over their few short years on earth.
They have learned to bark ugly words at one another,
to be unshaken by what is thrown at them,
that feeling pain is something they must deal with and deal with alone.
Many have been abused, hurt, disappointed, and stripped of worth.

Yet something miraculous happens when
they approach the little girl growing in my tummy.
Tenderness. Care. Love.
These tiny souls who have been told how insignificant they are
speak to my daughter with the significance of a queen.
Little boys who dominate life with toughness
stroke this tiny babe with a gentleness that is unmatched.
Eyes light up at the experience of feeling her kick,
recognizing it fully as the miracle that it is.
These children, the ones who have yet to understand
warmth and affection on this earth,
so beautifully display it without a thought when they reach up to touch my stomach.
These children who are battered and bruised,
who lack the ability to express care when I care for them and rather lash out in violence.
These are the same children who were created IN THE IMAGE OF GOD.
In those moments of caring regard for my tiny daughter growing inside of me,
the breathtaking image of our Creator shines through them like no other.
Our Heavenly Father’s hands are reaching out in earthly expressions of His love
through fatherless children who have not known love.

Many would argue that we are inherently evil people in this world.
I would agree that all are destined for sin and fall short of God’s glory.
In so many ways we are ordained for this brokenness of heartache and pain and hurt as a result of our own selfish actions. How overwhelmed we can become by the darkness residing around us!
Especially when we see it rule in the lives of mere children.
But we must never fail to remember that in the secret places
when God was dreaming over our unformed bodies,
He was also creating us in His image.
I’ve seen those glorious manifestations of Who He is
expressing themselves through children who
approach this tiny life inside of me with a love that was not learned but inherently given.
Because we are His. Because He holds us.
Because in Him we live and move and have our being.
No matter how broken we are.

Hold on to that promise today.
He created us that we may share in the goodness of our identity in Him.
I’m praising Him for the precious ways He shows Himself and
asking Him to continue to restore the ways
we have attempted to suppress His image in us.
I'm asking that my darling daughter and these precious children
will fully know the wholeness of His love in the brokenness of our lives.
I'm praying that they will walk in the identity they were given
to bear the image of Christ.

God is good, all the time.

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Unspeakable Joy

This little girl of ours is a promise fulfilled.Not a promise that is finished and checked off the list, but a promise with great expectation to provide in the days and weeks and even years ahead. I can be confident of this. One more trimester to go until we get to meet our promised child!

Last fall, Taylor and I wanted to start a family. Our desire was for a child to come into our home and become a part of who we are. This is no small decision. We began to pray. Lord, suppress this longing to be parents if it is not the right time. Our future was truly in God’s hands. At this stage in the game, we did not even know where we would be living or what we would be doing in 6 months time. Africa? America? On gracious financial support? Making our own salary? Lord, you hold our future. We have no idea what it looks like. It is you that directs our steps, no matter what plans our own hearts may make. Point our hearts in the direction you want to lead them. From October to December, we will seek You first. Come and answer us. We decided to pray in those three months specifically for God to decrease our desire for a family as a clear sign of what to do. Our God did just the opposite. Each day held a new anticipation to be parents. Each week left us longing for a little one to come alongside us on this journey. Each month brought a peace wrapped in trusting God to grow our family. Come December, our decision was clear. We want a child and our family is in God’s hands, so we made the appropriate adjustments.

Letting go of birth control was one of the most freeing and wonderful decisions we have ever made. There was an element of choice for us to make at the beginning, but the rest was entirely and completely up to God. There was nothing we could do to make it happen. We will either get pregnant or we won’t, and it will all be in God’s timing. He touches the womb. He knits the child together. He chooses the child you are called to love, biologically or heart- grown through adoption. We are free from the burden of deciding. Have your way, Lord.

Time passed, days moved on, the sun was up and it was down. All the while, God was orchestrating a beautiful plan, dreaming over our family and weaving it together in the secret place as told in Psalm 139. Meanwhile, I was folding laundry. It was a nice summer day to tidy up around the house and hang clothes on the line. As I stood at the desk in front of our window and smoothed out a few shirts, my heart and God’s were exchanging words. I don’t recall that we were talking about anything very specific. Just casual conversation to fill the air. “Lettie.” The name hit me fast and hard. That’s cute, I thought. I’ve never really heard it before. And it can be short for Loretta, my dear grandmother whom I’ve always wanted to honor with a namesake. And then I felt a holy stirring inside. A stirring of hopeful promise. God was speaking. “The child I give you will bring you unspeakable joy.” There was a calming grace and confidence in those moments with my hands in the laundry and my heart in God’s presence and I knew this was a promise to be fulfilled. Unspeakable joy. The future is uncertain. Timing and jobs and the geography of where we will call home continues to be a mystery. But this child...I knew was God’s to share with us. “I know her and I am writing her days in my book, even now. And she will be such a beacon of light in your life no matter what the answers to those other questions turn out to be. Unspeakable joy. My word does not return empty. Trust me in this. My promises will be fulfilled.” There was no bright light or booming voice or shaking ground. There were no tears or shouts or dramatic scenes playing out among me and the laundry. Just whispers into this heart of mine.

I knew to do a little searching about this “Lettie” name. It was not from me. It seemed to pop out of nowhere into my mind. Right then and there I opened the laptop and turned to our trusty google companion. I searched “Name meaning: Lettie.” Right there in the first hit, and the second and third and fourth, I saw the promise continue to take shape.

The name Lettie is of Greek and Latin origin and the meaning of the name Lettie is “footloose; joy.”

Whoa. I continued searching to make sure this was not just an outlier of baby name explanations. I proceeded to find “joy, joyful, gladness” time and time again describing this Lettie child. Could this be the gift God might give us? Is this promise of unspeakable joy ours? I tucked these things away in my heart and quietly pondered them for months ahead.

One March afternoon, after a few days of some telling signs, Taylor and I celebrated a positive pregnancy test with a stroll on the beach and some ribs for dinner. I quietly remembered this promise from weeks before. Fast forward to an ultrasound room in America, shirt up, belly out, cold gel smeared across my skin, surrounded by my husband, a rather curious 3 year old nephew, another oblivious 1 year old nephew, a sister, mom, dad, and 2 brothers on a face time call. We whispered to our sweet little nephew, Gray, who was about to burst from secret keeping and let him make the big announcement that our little GIRL was on the way! His voice shrieked with excitement and there were cheers all around. Meanwhile, this mama’s heart was exploding with a promise that continued to prove faithful. Tears filled my eyes at the significance of the moment. Quiet whispers from God in a room filled with joyful expressions of excitement. Those 3 words, “It’s a girl!” a precious confirmation that our sweet Lettie was not just a child to be celebrated but a faithful promise to hold close. Unspeakable joy.

My heart leaps with the joy that she has brought thus far, and the joy she will continue to bring when she rests quietly on my chest. In the hospital when home is far away. For the times when days seem long. In the moments that we find ourselves alone yet again. What a privilege it will be to go before God together and praise Him for promises fulfilled. To find rest in that assured joy. I will whisper into her ear about a God that keeps His promises and she will be living proof. God is good. All the time.

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“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” James 4:8

“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

 

Manna

God’s Word tells such magnificent stories of His faithfulness.Lately the story has been the tale of a God that delivered His people from Egypt, spent decades journeying with them over the river and through the woods, loving them in discipline and drawing them near to Him. The same God that guided all these Israelites through the wilderness is the same God that is guiding our little family of 3 through South Africa today. I have been so blessed by the manna God is still providing for His beloved.

In the days of monotonous rhythms, manna provides basic survival. In the days of empty desert wandering, manna provides the impossible. In the days of my own disobedience, manna provides care I don’t deserve. In the days of questions and confusion, manna shows up at my doorstep reminding me that God not only sees me and knows where I am, but that He is present with me.

As the people of Israel were quick to point out, “This manna is not what we want!” They longed for the pleasure of juicy, tender meat and refreshing pomegranates on their lips. As do I, Israelites. I am all too familiar with the part of the heart that is unsatisfied with only the manna. But as Taylor and I keep walking on this journey through what sometimes feels like wilderness, the Lord is teaching us great things about the manna. First of all, the manna shows up. Time and time again it is there to fill empty stomachs. I can rest assured of its presence when I need it most. Second of all, the manna satisfies needs that go deeper than I can fathom. Many days my stomach convinces me that meat would be better. Healthier. Tastier. More logical. I mean really! I could prepare it so nicely and then even have a few leftovers to freeze for a rainy day. But the manna keeps showing up on my plate and filling me just enough to help me take the next step.

God’s character is so beautifully evident in this heaven-sent manna. It boasts of His faithfulness. It proclaims that He is in control. It declares He knows precisely what we need, when we need it, and how much of it we need. Best of all, it is perfect evidence that God sees His people and does not lead them into the wilderness to leave them alone. He goes before us. He makes a way. With each step I take, I am learning that acknowledging the manna is exactly the purpose God had for it. Thank you, Father, for this bread that gives life. Lord, you provided exactly what I needed in that moment. My God, I could not see what options we had left to survive, and I looked to my left to see manna by my side and a rock flowing with water.

My prayer used to be for God to give me just enough “meaty” days to help balance out the measly old manna. Then I began to realize it was the manna that left me more satisfied than any other feast in which I could take part. Funny how God works. These days, I catch myself being nourished more and more on a simple meal of manna and water eaten with dirty hands and on tired feet than I do with glamorous parties of the finest things. God is faithful.

Let me tell you about my Monday.

I woke up to the now familiar pregnant aches of the “what was happening all night long to make me feel like a Mack truck paid my body a visit?” feeling. As I lay in bed knowing the alarm had already done its job and it was time to face the day, my heart took a minute to rejoice in prayer for the little girl I felt wriggling around in my tummy, every stiffness in my body and each of my struggles for a deep breath a beautiful reminder of her growing strength. I thanked God that He is holding her before I am able to myself.

About twenty minutes prior I heard Taylor grinding the coffee. Now things had quieted a bit, which meant he had settled on the couch with his daily mug and his Bible. It also meant he had time to turn on the little space heater which was beginning to push back the cold that had settled overnight. With that warm motivation, I stood up to get the day started and met Taylor on the couch with a good morning kiss, my yogurt, and my Bible. The time came for us to part ways, him bundled up on his motorcycle toward the farm and me toward the school with a bag of sight word flash cards slung over my shoulder. The moments before we each walk out the door are a treasured time between the two of us. We meet with quiet hearts and hands grasped to go before God in prayer. This particular morning, Taylor’s words seemed to summon the Holy Spirit into our home in the most calming of ways. God is with us. He is with our day to day, our futures, our baby girl, our families. He is going before us and loving within us and throughout us. May we ever recognize both the joy and the responsibility in that. “The peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:7 Indeed, today I felt so guarded.

Fast forward a few hours to a wintry classroom full of small voices blending letters together to make words for the very first time. Imagine these little hearts receiving affirmation that they matter to the world. It’s music. Not 6th grade band recital racket, but more like Mozart’s finest performance. As if everything is in its right place and the harmony it produces flows freely and smoothly into your ears. As my soul was already soaring from the smiles of children who once shrunk back in timidity, I stepped out of the classroom to pick up another batch of students. My heart sang even louder as tiny hands and sweet kisses bombarded my growing bump from every direction. My little baby girl, showered in love from God’s children. My heart may burst.

Because of a few glitches in our normal scheduled venue for afternoon clubs, my good friend and coworker, Tanja, and I were able to walk through the Mountain View community and check in with some of our teens at their homes. This unstructured time is always such a fruitful venture of connecting, reaching out, and being present in the teens’ lives. I much prefer it to actual club time, honestly. I just love something about gathering where they are in life at that moment. On Monday, two of our visits consisted of meeting brand new babies in the arms of their brand new mommies (one duo was literally 12 hours old!). What a privilege it is to pray into these new roles of child and parent. Prayers that break through nervous eyes, regrets at the loss of childhood to motherhood, celebrations of a new little one, giant fears that don’t know what comes next, and sleepless nights. God sees and holds both mother and child as they each transition into the future He has for them.

As the winter day moved on, the occasional ray of sunshine brought warmth into every crevice of my body. I pulled out of Mountain View toward Kommetjie Beach, the spot that has played such a haven for us throughout this African journey. I looked out to see Taylor among a sea of surfers with a backdrop of glorious mountains and I set out for a walk as the sun allowed for just one more hour of daylight. When the sun sunk down for its final goodbye, I met my sopping wet husband with a dry towel and a fleece jacket and we went on our way home for the night. Hearts full. Joy realized.

That was my Monday. It wasn’t dazzling or extraordinary. It didn’t cost much or require any makeup. But it tasted good on my lips and it was a day that left me full and satisfied. Just enough to keep me moving and trusting that God is holding tomorrow. Just like the manna.

God is good. All the time.

Deuteronomy 4:9 "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from you heart as long as you live.  Teach them to your children and to their children after them."

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Normal

My eyes opened on Friday morning just in time to catch the first light.The African mountains were stirring outside our window, their splendor awakening with every inch of the sun’s rising. I lay close to Taylor in our own warm bed and fought away the air’s winter chill, my heart both soaking in the moment and readying for the ones that were to come. My thoughts were taking me to this life of mine. You see, our normal has evolved into its own unique story of patterns and routines and expectations. Our emotions have primed themselves for certain circumstances and triggers and experiences. We have officially taken custody of the daily rhythms of life flowing throughout our path here on this tiny dot on a map across the world we call our home. This African life we live is not one of greater proportions than that of anyone else. It is not grand or celebratory or wild. It is simply what it is: our life. Last year about this time, we were leaving Africa ready to get back for a time to our life in America. This year, we are leaving our life in Africa to get back for a time to America. The difference is substantial.

Fast forward 48 hours ahead from that Friday morning sunrise. Bags have been weighed, planes have been boarded, dry recycled air breathed, weirdly timed meals consumed, and heads bobbed in and out between fitful sleep. The final set of wheels screeched to a stop on the runway and we finally met family with sweet, familiar embraces. Home. This morning my eyes again opened just in time to catch the first light. The creek was trickling outside our window and the birds were exchanging songs, the sweet smell of the farm dancing in the air. I lay close to Taylor in the cozy guest room bed and welcomed the summer breeze as it slipped through the cracked window. My heart both treasured and pondered the moment.

It’s a difficult thing to describe: this veil that rests between life in two separate places. We know both worlds so well. They have both been ours and are both still ours, yet feelings that suggest this coexistence of worlds is unobtainable poke at every beloved memory of the past and every dream for the future. Who am I? Where am I going? What do I want? Lord, you are my portion, my desire, and my satisfaction. Let me find my “normal” in the familiar touch of your fingers around my heart. Allow me to identify with the image of You woven into my being when there is no longer a way to define myself by a society or a lifestyle or a long term plan. Make my home your heart.

Growing up I was the self-proclaimed “Old Faithful.” Football game going on? I’m there. Family function to be had? Yes please. Dinner with everyone tonight? Count me in. The togetherness of family and the comforts of home have always been irresistible to me. In them live so much joy and laughter and fullness. The luxury in being real and known and loved is unsurpassed. And we will spend the next few weeks basking in those very moments of HOME. To be home is refreshing and fills our souls with deep breaths of rest. But over time our hearts have shifted to recognize that while time at home is precious, it is not what gives life. We serve the Giver of Life. We worship the Bread and Water that satisfy our souls. We follow the Shepherd that leads us into green pastures of peace and comfort, knowing that He will not lead us anywhere but into His best for us. Right now, our minds are tired. Our hearts still sometimes ache for earthly pleasures that seem far away. We find ourselves yearning for home and family and “normal.” But more than anything else, above all those other desires, we are overflowing with praise for a Father that sees us and knows us. His faithfulness is a normal part of daily life as we witness Him show up again and again to meet our deepest needs and desires. God is good all the time. He is good at home and He is good far away. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Life and rest are found in trusting in that promise.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 139:7-10

"Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there; if I rise on the wings on the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast."

 

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Altars

I’m afraid to check the date on the last blog post I wrote.It’s been a while to say the least. The past few months have allowed for days of living, learning, and soaking for Taylor and me. When you live internationally on the mission field you need (and want) to keep family, friends, and everyone engaged in your life. This maintained connection often comes by us telling- informing, revealing, expressing, and conveying in the form of newsletters, photos, blogs, text messages, phone calls and Skype sessions, which all become a regular part of life. We found ourselves recently in a season that wanted us to simply stay inward for a time. Not to keep secrets. Not to disconnect from community. Not to isolate ourselves because “others wouldn’t understand.” But because we needed time to quietly gaze upon God and His faithfulness. There have been days of fervent prayer and seeking guidance. We have spent time focusing on God’s promises and how open (or not) we are to receiving them in our lives. There have been moments of enlightenment when specific areas of obedience became clear to us, and we have been challenged to express our faith in new, uncomfortable, yet powerful ways. As I look back on the weeks behind us, I’m led to worship. God has been here with us and we want to praise Him for that.

I’ve been reading lately in Genesis, witnessing a God that makes covenants with His people. He talks to us. He listens to us. He is faithful to keep promises. Protection, blessing, rescue, expansion, justice, comfort, provision.

“Just trust Me,” He says.

That’s all that He asked from Abraham, from Sarah, from Hagar, from Noah and Jacob and Joseph.

“Believe I can do what I say I can do.”

As I’ve poured over the pages of Scripture, I’ve seen fallible people allow their hearts to trust in an infallible God and felt how relevant and present tense that same God is today. I’ve encountered visions of the altars built by each of these characters in which they laid a part of themselves down and were met by God in tangible, life-changing ways. He is a God that shows up at the altar. Not just once. Not after a few college tries. But time and time again. He meets His people and He keeps His promises. The most beautiful part is that those altars remain for generations to come. The stones are stacked as testaments to a God that kept His word. We have reminders that a sacrificial heart is strikingly worth it. Ten fold.

My mom and I have passed a song back and forth to each other throughout this African journey that helps welcome the day when it feels hard to open our hands to another sunrise. At one point it says, “I’m about to get my worship on,” and I’ve tried to find moments to let that take me over. Just the other day, I was sitting on the floor with laundry and dishes and dinner waiting on me when an old hymn came on that moved my heart to worship. My mind began to wander to the altars in my life that are standing as authentic evidences of God’s faithfulness. When have I had fears and inadequacies be wrapped in the peace of a truthful God upon laying them at His feet? Where has my heart been surrendered only to be lifted up to new heights by the Lord? What have I given to God that He has multiplied abundantly?

God shows up when we approach the altar. There is no fear in that.

That day on the floor as I was getting my worship on, I found tears falling from the corners of my eyes remembering a faithful God. He was faithful to David in the cave. He was faithful to Noah on the ark. He was faithful to Abraham with a knife at the throat of his promised child. He was faithful to Moses and Ezekiel and Ruth and Hosea and Mary and Paul. He was faithful to me and to Taylor in our yesterdays and He will be faithful tomorrow.

We must simply be willing to meet Him at the altar with something to lay down. God is good, all the time. He is good in our sacrifices. He is good in our moves. He is good in our mistakes and regrets. He is good in our unmet desires or expectations. He is good in our inconveniences. He is good in our greatest fears. And He will make good on all of the promises that He has written before us.

True worship is a willingness of heart rooted in a confidence in God’s sovereignty. Take your willing heart to the altar today and let a Sovereign God meet you there.

 

“Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him…his son Isaac.”

“…And to this day it is said, “on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

Geneses 22

 

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