Friday, June 22, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Risk


Parliament at night :: One of the many gorgeous sights in the majestic

night scenery of Budapest,

this city that I now call ‘home’.


When I think about risk I think about heart.

Having the heart of surrender.

Having the heart of faith.

Having the heart of trust.

Having the heart of courage.

Having the heart of knowing there is one life to live.

Having the heart of security.

Having the heart of knowing you are always going Home.

Having the heart of peace.

Having the heart of great confidence in a God bigger than sky and sea and spans of the world and farthest reaching stars and all the breadth of the Heavenly Hosts.

Having a heart of wanting to see nothing more than Him.

Having a heart to always, always love.

Having a heart who knows how deeply, infinitely and always you are loved.

Having a heart that owns in the innermost folds, that one identity that truly stands for all time :: that I am beloved, bought with a price, FULLY redeemed from past in present and for an eternal perfect future.

Having a heart to dwell in the riches of grace.

Having a heart that brims with a love that is known in the secret that it might be lived out loud.

Having a heart that rests in truth for the feeling of all of these will fade especially as the stakes of risk dig deep into a lasting ground and the swells of sacrifice beat strong against the shore of the next steps in the journey, so

Having a heart to live in the reality of RISK, taking steps no one has paved a way for, but a God who calls always to the willing heart & promises to supply all that’s needed, and this same heart that RISKS with all it holds dwells ever supremely secure.


faith filled friday


Monday, June 18, 2012

an inheritance of shame, or a legacy of grace?

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

 ~Ephesians 2:8

As a missionary, it is not the work that could call us anywhere in the world that rocks my deepest moorings.

Rather, it is the all-of-life calling as a wife and a mother. My husband and kids are the ones who see me at my worst, yet love me still.

They love me because we are family and even at my son’s and daughter’s tender ages, they know that we belong together. A good God is knitting our lives, our stories, so that they are deeply intertwined.

And this is overwhelming. I know that as long as I am this side of Heaven, I will sin and fail and fall and they will see it and experience the consequences of it.

Won’t you join me for the rest of the story over here?  This is a community that I love being a part of and wrestling with others through the hard but good questions of a ministry journey. 





Tuesday, June 12, 2012

when you realize it’s all quite hard

Hősök tere :: Heroe’s Square

where one of the first flash mobs to go global came to be

I’ll be honest.

It’s hard to write these days…which is exactly why I know I need to keep at it.

I find myself in this {almost} constant inner battle of gauging what I am supposed to be feeling like in this new life.  And I am haunted by the question, ‘is it really supposed to be this hard?’

We climbed a mountain, or so it seemed, to get here, but I am wondering if it was really just a part of the foothills.

There are things that are coming to be that I feel like should instantly fill me with joy, but I am tossed about inside by all that is new and difficult to know.

Every day ‘Jesus Calling’ is about letting go of worry, fear and seeking to control.  Every day it is what I need to hear.  And every day, though I know the truth I am to claim, it seems so evasive.

Honestly, why is it this hard?  To know, simply, how to live? 

Part of it, I know, is the pull between all of these things I feel like require all of me.  Wife and support to husband taking the lead into this new world.  Missionary with a constant overflowing love & zeal for these people.  Friend, daughter, sister, auntie to the many that I can SKYPE with, facebook message, etc. across the ocean. Mama to two little loves in such tender places in their lives, that when I think of them, I want to cry for how I am so weak and failing them.  Then, there is the domestic engineer unpacking and organizing this life, I think, to help us live in a settled and more peaceful way.  Oh, and there’s the language learner that wants to run at and tackle a really hard language with all I can and somewhere in there I’m supposed to remember that I’m pregnant and put my feet up every once in a whileWinking smile

I know my discontent is that I feel like I am doing none of these well and just think I am a complete failure at it all.  Why is it so hard and why can’t I get it together?

And yet here I write at Fan the Flame and I want that fire to consume all others.  I know that there will be no peace in endless standards…I have lived enmeshed and miserable and struggled for Grace and Freedom too much in my life to go back. 

The truth is that we’re here because the time is short.  We have one life to live and only what is done for eternity will last.  And everything feels like it fits into that calling, so I get confused.  I need to learn the language as an expression of love for this nation and to achieve a level of independence that will help us thrive and stay the course.  My house can’t be a disaster or it won’t be a place that we can invite others into.  I absolutely need to love & encourage my husband as he learns the language and seeks to minister full-time.  And these precious children, they have had so much change, and their daddy and I are the constants through it all.  If our family fails, nothing else will matter.

And all I can say is that I know I don’t have the strength to do any of this well.  This life is stripping me bare and the sense of failure, I know, is a part of the journey, BUT absolutely not the destination.  All of this sums up a life where I desperately need a Saviour who with every waking thought reminds me of His sufficiency.

This is the mess and the gut-wrenching reality of walking through a life where I need God.  This is the life that makes the way for dying that I might really live.  This is the life that when anything good springs up I fall to my knees and give Glory to God.  This is the life that makes much of Him.

Oh Gracious, Precious God.  I praise You for the Cross.  That I can write vulnerably on a blog and not qualify it because You are my strength, my life, my songI live and move and have my being in You.  I can do nothing good apart from You.  I need you.  I am desperate for You.  None other will satisfy…You Alone are my secure dwelling and show me how to live these moments when it all closes in.  You Alone can fill me with love, joy, peace…all of Your fruits.  I affirm again that I choose no other life than the life where I need You.  This is the only one worth living and the only way to beholding You.  Make my life a sweet song, a pleasing aroma in this new home.  For Your Glory Alone,






Friday, June 8, 2012

Five Minute Friday :: Expectation

stormy sea


The nature of expectation for the inner me is like a storm-tossed sea.

I see the rising of a great tide of unknown

and the crashing to shore of its waves

and as soon as hope rises

it may quickly fall away.

I expect high and full to be stretched and pulled

in every windy direction of the things

that keep coming

this life so beyond my control.

I see and believe that in all of it

there is a pearl in some

tossed about oyster

a pearl of great price.

It is for this pearl that I have come

on this journey far away from

what is home.

I cling to the expectation that that

greatest-price pearl

has not the potential to disappoint.

For He is the object of the vision

it is the seeing Him more clearly

and needing Him more dearly

that is the clarifying expectation

that this heart awaits.

And so amidst a storm-tossed sea

of thoughts of how this all can go

language, driving, schooling for kids,

ministry in a foreign land,

sometimes I am full of the expectation of

success and then

almost immediately, it seems,

I am flushed out and depleted

to the reality that it's all quite hard.

But the expectation of a sure and true

Savior who is always the prize

always the vision

always the way

to walk this long road Home…

the road that spans the world over

and beckons all of the Redeemed…

this is what remains.


faith filled friday


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On the Tidal Waves and Soul Quakes of Life and His Presence that Calms

Gellert Hill

Looking up at Gellert Hill and the Szabadsag Szobor {Liberty Monument} and the Szabadsag {Liberty} Bridge from the Pest side of the Danube River in Budapest.

Close up of the Liberty Monument {ironically erected by the Soviets in 1947 to commemorate the defeat of the Nazi’s.  The statue of the Soviet soldier was re-located after the fall of Communism} at the top of Gellert Hill named for Saint Gellert who was martyred by pagans in the 11th century.  He is credited with bringing Christianity to Hungary.


Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

~James 1: 2-4

Is it any secret that I, as a woman and mother, like to be in control?  Most of the women I talk to, and the ones I know how they roll, are like that, yes?

And then come the tidal waves.

For some it is a devastating illness.  For others it is the beloved child’s rebellion.  Or it could be the job loss, the church split, the relationship fracture.  Any of these are like soul quakes and our inner sense of security is shaken deeply and profoundly.  Sometimes, too, we don’t know what our hearts are doing, we just see this tsunami of the unknown, this moving living wall of forces beyond our control.

I find that I respond in two ways.  Either I cling desperately to the areas of life where I think I have some control and work like a madwoman to keep it.  Or I become paralyzed with fear or worry so that I cannot know the presence of God or what is to receive and give His love to others.  And surprisingly these two extremes can exist strongly at the same time.

Actually, I think, right now, this is a lot of how I have been living.  The tidal wave of this big overseas move in the midst of a pregnancy where those uncontrollable forces seem to grow in strength and number daily is definitely shaking and quaking me deeply and breaking up my peace. 

I struggle for identity, for some level of a sense of competence, when so much is new and I know so little.  This is all natural and understandable but I cannot be satisfied to stay and live out of anxiety or fear or doubt.

I must find a way to breath deeply and push past the walls of a faith that can seem so strong when I am in my own country.  So, in a way, this whole new life is exactly made up of the ‘tests and challenges coming at me from all sides’ that James is describing.

And just like with so many things this whole life journey, I need to dig deeper, to see more and more of the false stripped away so that the underlying colors of what my faith is can shine.

I say vulnerably and humbly that I don’t exactly know the way.  I know I need to know His Presence and find Him greater than the tidal waves and soul quakes.  The overarching Truth of this God who is over all the Universe shouts boldly that He. Is. God.

“Be Still.

And Know.

That I. Am. God.

{and I love how the rest speaks especially, to the missionary me living in a foreign land}

I WILL BE exalted among the nations,

I WILL BE exalted in the earth!”

~Psalm 46:10

It’s the same verse I’ve heard a thousand and more times, but it must sink deeper, I must embrace it further in the complex caverns of my fearfully and wonderfully made self.  And I cannot be satisfied with surviving and functioning in a self-made world.  My soul yearns, even faints, for His dwelling and my heart and flesh cry out for the Living God…

Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on me.  I need You in this new home more than the food I eat, the water I drink or the air I breathe.  I pray that I would settle for NOTHING LESS than the reality of Your Presence.  I trust in You.  Your Unfailing Love that has met me this whole journey through…all of my life and before I was born.  Your faithfulness that reaches to the Heavens.  Your Truth, the Reality of Your Love that have sustained me in every trial and need.  You are all I need.  Make my heart pure that I might see You and know You here and now.






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