I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.
- 2 Corinthians 6:18

Friday, June 19, 2015

Here Is What I Know

 Dusting off a corner of the blog today to type a little note... It's been six months too long. But I'm back, armed with a cup or two of Ethiopian coffee {thanks for speaking my love language and bringing 12 pounds back, mom and dad}, some encouragement from a dear friend, and this stirring in my heart, ready to put something out.

 These past six months have been beautiful and challenging all at once. God has drawn me into this sweet, intimate awareness of Him; He has shown me the beauty of spending time alone with Him. Having time with my Savior alone put this public space on the back burner for two months.

 The initial two months were needed. I began to crave writing again. But then there were many days I sat down to write with a burst of inspiration, only to stop after a paragraph or two with an oh, I'll get back to it. There were also days I sat with fingers hovering over these black keys, trying to think of something, anything worth writing about.

 I think somewhere along the way, I bought into the lie that I did not know enough. I didn't know enough about what I wanted to write on. I didn't know enough about blogging. I didn't know what people would want to read, or if anyone would even like what I put out. This quiet fear just slowly overwhelmed me.

 And while it's hard, typing these words is such a relief to my soul.

 Here is the thing I'm learning: the unknown should not hold you back. Yes, it is scary- fear and insecurity will hold you captive if you let them. There is a lot I don't know. And that fact hindered me for a while. But God is beginning to remind me again of what I do know.

 I know that God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness.

 I know that He calls us to boldly proclaim His name.

 I know that He has given me this desire to share my heart through the power of words.

 Again, there is a lot I do not know. But I'm committing to share what I do know. And in doing so, God continues to reveal more of His truth.

 Tomorrow morning, I board a plane to the Dominican Republic. I have the amazing privilege to spend a week working alongside Compassion International and loving on some precious kids. I'll get to meet the girl I sponsor through Compassion, nine year old Mari who ends her letters saying "goodbye with a big hug." During the week, I will run into a lot a don't know. I won't know the language. I won't know the people, city, or culture. I don't know what I'm going to see and experience.

 What I do know is that whatever happens, whoever I meet, wherever I go, God is with me. I know Christ is calling me to love, to serve, to learn in this country. I know that He is going to show up in unexpected ways and that I will be shown more love than I could even think about giving.

 I'm holding to His promises, and in Him I will not allow the unknown to hold me captive.

 I'm stepping out in faith, clinging to the One who knows me best. What I do not know will not hold me in fear because I know Him.

 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.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

God is Good.

 Well Christmas day is here and sometimes it's really not hard at all to get caught up in all the baking and the wrapping and the last-minute-planning, so sometimes you just need to take a break and open your hands and open your heart and remember that y'all, God is so good. If I have learned one thing this year, it would be the simple, profound fact that God is good all the time. So here I am reflecting on this year {with links to some of my fave posts!}, giving myself some space to breathe.

 This year has been hard. This year, I've been broken. But this year I've learned that every day, life is beautiful, because there is this beautiful redemption taking place and my Lord adores me- even when life gets messy and I turn away.

 This year I began to catch glimpses of what it really means to live radically- halfway across the world and right here in north Georgia. {by the way, 500 dollars raised in a month?!?! God is so good. You can continue to give until December 31st- the money raised beyond my goal will go to provide safe water for life.}

 I've said goodbye to some precious, precious children this year- goodbye-for-now to the children of Ethiopia and goodbye to two absolutely sweet sponsor children {because sometimes God needs to show me that he is sovereign and working even through the pain of people you love moving away}.

 I've struggled through perfectionism and learned that failure does not define me. I've seen extreme poverty firsthand and how Christ can shine through broken people in a broken world. Sometimes though the brokenness would overwhelm and I'd lose sight Him, but our Lord longs for intimacy with us and He has shown me more and more of Him in the most profound ways. I've felt so closely the peace and joy of Him. 

 And just like that Big Daddy Weave song says, I delight myself in You. In the glory of Your presence, I'm overwhelmed, I'm overwhelmed by You. 

 Merry Christmas, friends, and have a blessed new year.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sometimes God Answers Prayers Quicker Than Expected.

 I thought about titling this post 'In Which I'm Going to do Something Crazy and Pray that God Comes Through,' but it seemed a little wordy. But you see, when I was writing this previous post just a few days ago, I honest to goodness had no clue God would answer my plea for radical living in the here and now in such a... Well, in such a crazy radical way.

 If you don't know by now, I am passionate about the ministry of Compassion International. But even more so than that, I'm passionate about the children, teens, and families whose lives they are changing. Poverty feeds lies to these children and teens- lies that tell them they have no potential. That they aren't worth anything.

 I mean think about it for a second. Most teens here in first-world America don't have to worry about dropping out of school so they can support their families financially. But for that 15 year old over in Columbia, it is a very real possibility. With little schooling though, it's hard for them to find jobs that will provide substantial income. So they're left to rummaging through garbage, begging on the streets, drug dealing, prostitution. And that breaks my heart.

 Christ calls us to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. He calls us to holy burdens for those living in poverty- right here in America and to the ends of the earth. And Compassion is giving us a simple, but so incredibly important way to respond to the Great Commission and combat the poverty in the lives of His children.

 And it's as easy as giving twenty-five dollars.

 That's all it takes for you to change the life of a child in poverty. Because there's this thing called vocational training. Compassion is providing teens with training in fields that interest them, teaching them skills to secure jobs as adults. Compassion is working alongside these teens to give them the confidence and skills needed to break the cycle of poverty.

 The cost to provide teens with vocational training, such as cooking, tailoring, and computer skills, is $500. And when I first looked at that number, I thought, "That's way too much, God. I couldn't do that." But our relentless Lord continued to press this on my heart and I truly believe He will see it through to completion.

 Here's where I need your help, friends. All I need is twenty people to give $25. That's it. Just twenty people to skip dinner out for one night and instead support this mission. If you're not sure yet about the monthly commitment of sponsoring a child, but want to do something, this is for you. If you already sponsor a child and want to do more, this is for you, too.

 My goal is to collect all 500 dollars by December 31st. If you want to walk alongside me and this incredible ministry in releasing these teens from poverty, would you please consider supporting this cause? We have set up a secure PayPal account to make giving as easy as possible for you. Any amount is of course appreciated and needed.

 Also, please be praying with me through this. This is God calling me to radical living and I'm not taking it lightly. Pray for the teens that will receive this training- that God would open doors to break the cycle and open hearts to know Him. And most importantly, pray that this would be used for His glory and to further His Kingdom. Because that's really what it's all about.

 So, give through our PayPal account here, send a check (email me at conversefamily{at}yahoo{dot}com for our mailing address), or hand it directly to me if you see me around. If you have questions, leave a comment below, send me a message, or find me in person- I'd love to chat! Thank you in advance for partnering with me for His glory!

 To further His Kingdom,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When My Comfort Zone Became the Third World

 Dear October + nearly half of November, where did you go? Really. I feel like I blinked and it just flew right past me. Once upon a time I thought I could blog on a single topic for 31 days straight with no planning whatsoever. We all know how well that worked out. But although I only wrote 11 days out of 31, change happened. This heart of mine was opened and broken. It was brought to a deeper understanding and awareness of God's great love. And in this awareness of Him, He placed this little question in my heart.

 What if I asked you to stay?

 As in stay here. In Georgia. As in no mission trip next summer. The question literally stopped me in my tracks while I was fixing lunch a couple weeks ago. I mean seriously. Come on, God. You're the one who placed this passion for the world in my heart. And now You're asking if I would stay?!

 I've just been so positive I'd be going somewhere. Whether it be Ethiopia or the Dominican Republic or somewhere else. So here I am shaking my head at God because how could I not go?

 A sweet friend of mine kinda brought this revelation to a whole new level when she told me, "When we talk about stepping out of our comfort zones and doing the hard thing, our comfort zones have become the third world. The foreign country. And sometimes the hardest thing and the place we'll end up being stretched the most is here."

 At home.

 I'm all about stepping out in faith and going outside my comfort zone. But what happens when the foreign country becomes my comfort zone? Because no matter how heartbreaking and challenging it is, it's where I want to be.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hello, Failure. {When You Feel Like Not Enough}

Well, Failure, I really didn't think we'd meet up here. I have to say, you surprised me. 11 posts out of 23 thus far? Wow. Why don't you just go ahead and put a big red X over this 31 day challenge. Put another tally mark on the board of "Abigail's Failures" for the month.

 Hear my sarcasm, Failure, when I say thanks for pulling through. I thought you were gone, but you showed up yet again. I guess if there is one thing consistent in my crazy life it'd be you. And you know what? That really sucks.

 Really. Can't I have a break already?
 Failure, you make me go crazy. You stress me out. This perfectionist can't stand the sight of you. But it's this perfectionist that keeps drawing you back.

 The perfectionist in me tries to do so much. I need to blog more. I need to be a better friend, daughter, sister, Christian. I need to do better in school. I need to be a more committed sponsor. So-and-so is asking some tough questions about God; I need to have the right answers so I can keep her persevering in the faith.

 This is where you come in, Failure.

 Better, more, not enough. 

 Why do I let myself believe the lies?

 Time and time again, Failure, I usher you in. I get so caught up in the "not enough" that I forget to listen to the God Who has redeemed.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

One Thing Remains

 God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. His love remains.

 Thank You, Lord, for being my constant. You are still God and You are still good. Fill me with You.

This is day 16{ish} of my 31 day series, Romanced by Him. Read more here. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day 15: Remember.

 There are days I seem to forget. Days that are more like one step forward, two steps back- when I'm simply overwhelmed by life and underwhelmed in my soul. I lose sight of Who I am pressing on towards. These are the days that I just wish I could physically see Jesus. I need to be reminded of His presence; I need to reach out and cling to Him.

 Some say that's impossible. I say God always come through.

 Because there are these girls. I call them my small group but they're really more like my sisters. They remind me daily of Jesus' love not so much because they say it, but because they show it in all that they do. These girls spread God's love like wildfire, y'all. I get chill bumps because in every text message, in all the times we've cried till we laughed and laughed till we cried, in every hug, in every prayer, I get to see His love in action.

 These girls will get down on their knees with me when I'm broken before the Lord and then lift me up so I can see His face. And isn't that what Christ, in His vast love, does for us? He comes down and meets us in our brokenness. He doesn't leave us there, though. He lifts us up with His strength and grace.

 On the days when I really just need a tangible reminder of His love and every day in-between, my small group girls have always been right there. They make me laugh when I'm tempted to feel down but they also know when I just need to cry and will let me cry, always praying for me. They never fail to remind me of God's love. They are my reminder of God's love.

 To my girls: You all mean the world to me. You all are gifts, each one of you. I can't thank you enough for everything you've done for me. Y'all love me when I'm being unlovable, you show me grace. God's grace. Thank you for being my daily reminder of our Savior's great love. I love y'all with all my heart. Or all my appetite. I'm not sure which one is bigger.

 This is day 15 in my 31 day series, Romanced by Him. Read more here.