Posts tagged #austin

a holy violence

If we are engaged with the world around us, we will care about that world. We will be passionate about people's needs, our holiness, and God's glory. We will not be still in prayer. We will cry out for mercy with a holy violence. If we are silent, it will be because in our distress, words have failed us.- Tim Chester, Total Church

When I stepped off that plane ten years ago, I had no idea the impact Haiti would have on my conscience. This country, very much in survival mode, changed me and broke me in ways I still have problems describing. I mean, how can you accurately portray the splitting open of a worldview? How can you sufficiently give words to bloated bellies and tiny fingered vice-grips on your arm? So many times I would just stand there in silence. The red dirt beneath my feet, the sweat dripping down my face, the kids yelling and screaming and playing around me. I would stand there and feel the tearing open - the fissure - and I knew I would never be the same.

I'm faced with the same realization now. Days away from Africa, I already feel the breaking. Watching the rain outside my window, I wait for the words to come. At times, it feels I'm grasping at the air - coming up empty just when I feel the itch to get to the keyboard or my journal. I know this trip will change me. I know because it's already working in me - tearing at my securities and comfort.

But I don't want to forget about the here.

I look out my window and realize this holy violence cutting away the dead pieces inside reacts no differently in Austin than it does in Kibera. It sees the poverty. It sees the negative assumptions. It sees the expectations of failure and hopelessness. And it burns for release - for justice.

I just haven't found the words.

Posted on June 9, 2010 and filed under africa, reagan2kibera.

foster care: relationships

"To give birth is incredible. To foster a child is divine." A foster mom told me this after a brief freak-out. This whole process - paperwork, studying, collecting data and preparing to be responsible for living and breathing but broken human beings - definitely overwhelms at times. And Thursday night, in the midst of documentation and stories of bio-families turning on foster parents and what you deal with on a day-to-day basis, my heart questioned just how much I was willing to put it through.

But see, here's the thing: it's not about me. Russ & I may deal with some feisty individuals - we may get some kids who have been through things we couldn't even imagine. But that's okay. If I truly believe rescue is possible - if I believe the story of redemption supersedes any of my preconceived notions - than my focus will not be on what I can or cannot gain from this experience.

My heart may be broken in this process. In fact, I pray it does. I pray my heart stays tender to the leadings of the Spirit. I pray I always stare into the eyes of those He has entrusted to me and see them as Christ sees them. I pray I forget about my comfort - if for just a second - to remember the comfort of others is more important.

I have no idea who God will place in our home. There are still months left before we can even consider finishing the process. But this past week I was able to take a deep breath and place a lot of questions at the throne. He knows who needs to be with us - whether for a season or forever. He knows when it will happen and how. He already knows the story - and He already loves them. And this is absolutely beautiful to me.

So, over these next few months there are a few things you can be praying:

  • Over the past few months, Russ has been approached with some solid leads concerning jobs. Our prayer is that he hears - and soon - about a job that fits his heart for people and food. We don't want just any job. We want him to be where God leads - anything less will be second best and will most likely cause him to be miserable.
  • Our lease ends in May. Currently we live in a one bedroom apartment. We are looking in a specific area on Austin and have a few houses on our radar. Wisdom about exactly where is crucial - our search is highly intentional.
  • That God would begin to prepare our hearts. Currently, we are undecided about age group/specific level/"adoptability" - my prayer is that Russ and I would be in complete agreement.

These next few months will certainly be crazy, but absolutely breathtaking. I can't wait to see how God will move. For now, we will take the next step...ever so timidly...and trust in His provision.

Posted on March 28, 2010 and filed under adoption.

Listen.

So I say instead of picking up a book, pick up the world with your strong arms and read the hidden but seen stories and write the greatest story ever.- Ni'd

Our art of storytelling workshop was last night. I swear these kids capture more of my heart every time I meet with them.

I wish I could capture the look on their faces when we start talking about writing and stories and poetry and everything that bearing the burden of words entails. But I can't - however - I'm pretty sure Nijalon's quote above and DeVonte's video below will give you a bit of a peek into the heart of these incredible teenagers.

[vimeo 10405326]

Posted on March 23, 2010 and filed under story.

snowday2010

it snowed here today. you may read that sentence and not really think much of it, but um...

i live in austin, texas.

yeah. so, when i left school this morning around 10 because there was already about two inches of snow on the ground and the temperature was dropping and i didn't really want to drive on sloshy highway...i called Russ.

"Hey babe. I'm on my way. How's the weather in Austin?"

"Eh. Not bad. It's just misting."

just misting.

shortly after we got off the phone, the white stuff came falling from the sky in downtown austin and suddenly my twitter feed was full of people exclaiming their excitement. and i admit, as i pulled into my apartment about an hour later and these huge flakes fell on my nose, i felt like a little girl and smiled with anticipation.

i went on a lunch date with my husband. (we never get to go on lunch dates.) we perused local shops and spent time talking with a brazilian friend who owns a shop in central austin. i took a three hour nap. on a week day. can't even remember the last time i was able to do this. and now i'm up - despite the hour creeping past 10 - spending more time with my love because school has been delayed tomorrow morning.

i think i may go cuddle some more.

what do you do on snow days?

Posted on February 23, 2010 and filed under fluttering pulses.

when the Healer shows.

I wasn't expecting it to hurt. I was in the shower when God told me. I knew we were about to go through one of the toughest things we experienced in our marriage.  And I was right. Well, God was right. Russ came home and said the words I knew he was going to say. But I wasn't expecting  pain. You know the type  - the fall on your knees, gut-wrenching-fighting-for-breath pain.  I fell into Christ's arms; it was the only safe place I knew. I was angry. I was hurt. But I knew Abba provided protection - so I clung to Him.

The next few weeks proved hard. Every day I fought the lie we were doing this alone. Almost immediately Christ began to surround us with incredible people who turned into incredible friends. People who pray for us. Fight for us. Live life with us. Once the road evened out and we were able to wipe the tears from our eyes, we were able to look around and notice one thing: in our moment of weakness and pain, Christ picked us up and carried us to where we needed to be the whole time.

Peace was immediate, although the pain was still there. Scars have a way of ripping open at unexpected moments, and so we still fought those lies of hurt and rejection. And then we went to Verge.

I knew the past weeks had been healing, but it wasn't over. I still fought bitterness, still prayed for breakthrough. Those weeks leading to Verge I felt Christ like I never experienced before: close to the touch, tangled in my own thoughts, present in my moment of pain.  But I knew I was holding back. I went to the conference, expecting big things for the city, not anticipating my own moment of clarity.

And then one afternoon, in the midst of 2000 other believers singing His praise, my Healer showed.

"Jesus I love you! I love you Jesus!!" the cry came from the back of the room, the voice desperate for a touch from the One in our midst.  Up until this moment, my heart refused to let go. This plea pierces through any of my pride and I collapse against Russ. For the next ten minutes, the sweet names of our Savior fall around me: Elohim. Jehovah Jireh. Protector.

My Healer.

The tears fell and I sank into my chair - speechless and unable to join with the others in worship. Never before had I experienced a literal shaking of my soul. My heart was finally finding rest in His truth. I sat there soaking in His presence, breathing deep of His absolute beauty.

He didn't have to show. He didn't have to prove to me His love and absolute joy in my pursuit of intimacy.

But he did.

I won't ever be the same.

Posted on February 10, 2010 .