winds of change

FullSizeRender-4

You know how they say “when it rains it pours”? Well I’m drenched.

The week started like any Monday morning does – with a hint of hostility and a never big enough large cup of coffee – wondering how the last two days flew by as fast as they did. I was as ready to tackle the week as anyone is at 9am on a Monday morning. By 10am there was not nearly enough coffee in my system to logically comprehend just how my week would change. “Hey Lis, you’re moving on Friday. Oh, right – that’s fine. I mean, I really don’t have that much stuff. I’ll just organize my time and try to get as much packing done early so I can focus on school.” Like I said, not nearly enough coffee.

So off we went – full speed through the week. It really was just like any other week: watching kiddos, never sitting at my computer for more than 10 minutes without being interrupted, watching Gilmore Girls to avoid homework, watching the kiddos again, trying to figure out what the next 6 months of my life will look like, starting to work on my homework, deciding I really need to actually sit down and work on homework – and BAM, it’s Thursday night. Excuse me, I disagree…it CANNOT be Thursday. I MOVE on Friday.

Well ladies and gents, this girl was fixing to have a come apart (a term that I now realize not many people understand – interpret as you wish). And here I sit on Friday night, somehow having moved almost all of my possessions. And homework can wait for another day, right?

You see, the house that I sit in has been my home on-and-off for a year and a half now. I sit here surrounded by memories, times past, and uncountable hours of laughter. I fell in love with Uganda in this house. I drank coffee on the front steps almost every morning. I stayed up too late here, ate french toast instead of attending church (sorry, not sorry),  and built lifelong friendships here. And now it feels like I’m just walking away from that season of life. But yet again (because heaven forbid I learn a lesson the first time), I remind myself that a house does not the memories make. The people are the memories, the community built still remans, and we can make french toast in another kitchen. Yet, it feels so real.

If anyone knows me, they know when I feel overwhelmed, I shut down. I avoid everything I need to do & drown myself in any form of “procrastination”. If I feel like I can’t breathe in one area of my life, I give in and push myself even farther underwater. Hence, the Thursday night “come apart”. And the Friday morning “come apart”, tears falling on Asher’s shoulder. And the Friday afternoon “come apart” as I pushed all of my belongings into the right room, not having the desire to unpack even one thin (except for a few candles, but that’s a given). I was drowning. And I wasn’t doing anything about it. And I’m a pretty decent swimmer.

Skip ahead a few hours to this evening. I was watching kiddos again, going through the normal post-school/post-nap routine and it started to rain. And I mean rain. There were poodles falling everywhere (please remember the stressful week and the lack of sleep that has come with that, and overlook that horrible attempt at a joke). And just like that, we were off to the upstairs balcony to watch the rain fall effortlessly in front of us. It was the most serene moment. Three kiddos, completely content watching the raindrops fall, dreaming of dancing in the rain, all while trying not to get their feet wet. And suddenly it hit me, sometimes a storm isn’t so bad. And sometimes we just have to sit under the dry roof, smelling the damp air & listening to its sweet song.

There I sat, rain pouring down in front of me, unbelievably content & completely sure of who He is in the midst of the storm. And while I’m still half falling apart on the inside, I know that this is just another step forward. I was reminded that I t is progress, a challenge, a new season. So next time you feel like you’re stuck in the middle of a storm, I suggest we tuck ourselves under His dry wing, knowing that the sun will come out tomorrow & soon we will be wishing for rain again.

FullSizeRender

Advertisements

getting there

IMG_8612

Alright folks, I’m bringing back my monthly goals. And by bringing back, I mean I’m doing it for the second time – I don’t really think that counts as an official thing. I’m changing it up this time. Because I’m heading back to the States for a few weeks, I’m going to bundle two months together. I know – I’ve gone off the deep end. But here goes. Here’s to another few months – on two different continents.

Goals

  • Read 3 books. Seems simple enough… Especially when I have  l  o  n  g  flights.
  • Blog at least 1 time every week – if not more.
  • Go on a hike that I’ve never done before.
  • Take pictures of the everyday.
  • Let Jillian Michaels kick my butt more often with her crazy yoga workout.
  • See at least one Blue Ridge Parkway sunrise and one sunset.
  • Hug Target.
  • Go on an adventure every weekend. Away with these Grey’s Anatomy marathons.
  • Visit those kiddos at Arise & Shine at least once a week.
  • Pick up my guitar more than once every month. (And that’s a good month.)
  • Read more blogs that I follow. I get those emails for a reason…
  • Hammock. A lot. Cause I’ve really been slacking on that.
  • Continue to be more intentional with relationships.
  • Spend more time with the Lord – in his word. Feeling refreshed to start again each day.

Wishes

  • Pumpkin spice lattes. Because even though I’ve gone the same amount of time without them as everyone else, it still seems like it’s been about 3 years too long since I had one.
  • Eat Mela while back in Asheville. Because Mela.
  • Go to at least one show. Because I miss doing that – a lot.
  • Not wish away my trip worrying about how short it’s going to feel.
  • Eat BBQ. And Chipotle. And salad – so much salad.

So here’s to September & October. They will be a whirlwind, but they will be a dream. A time to be refreshed and renewed. A time to try this all again – and aim higher.

FullSizeRender

all that I am

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

Oh, how my heart has changed over these past few months.

Just months ago, my heart was hurting. I felt so out of place, I felt alone, I felt discouraged. There was a lot going on here. There were spiritual attacks like I had never experienced before. I was adjusting to living in a completely foreign place on my own. I was trying to figure out where I fit, where I was useful and effective. I was navigating a language barrier that I still can’t seem to cross most days. I was finding contentment in ways that I never had to before.

And here I sit – having a better idea of where I fit and belong. I have a [small] community around me. I have met friends who have built me up in ways that I could never describe in words. I work for an organization that allows me to be who I am, crazy and all, good and bad. I’ve learned more in the last 6 months than I did in the 23 years prior to my move here. I won’t lie, there are still times I wish I could send a quick text at the end of the day, and in a few short minutes be sitting with my friends, sipping a [good] glass of wine. But as a whole, I am content. It’s somewhat of a foreign feeling – it’s been a long time since I felt that.

Contentment does not mean loving every moment of everyday, but it is knowing that in spite of those moments, you’re where you need to be – and you find joy in that.

So here’s to contentment, here’s to joy, here’s to living the little moments.

 

 

heartbeats

Here’s to the living the little moments. The everyday. And two blogs in one week.

IMG_5788

IMG_5792

IMG_5800

IMG_5807

IMG_5822

IMG_5846

Sometimes I forget how incredible it is that this gets to be my “everyday”. In the hard moments, the stress, the exhaustion, the missing of family and friends – these smiles greet me every morning. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

keep on keeping on

IMG_4512

The big stuff. I tend to blog the big stuff.

I blog the hard times, the transitions, the times I feel the most joy. I blog the pictures, the song lyrics, the inspirational quotes. I blog the smiles, the tears, and the heartbreak. But I’m not very good at blogging life.

The peaks and pits are what often stop us in our tracks, but the days in between define us. It’s not always the big hills and valleys that determine who we are, but the everyday steps that move us towards Him. It’s responding, not reacting. It’s choosing joy, not wandering lost in the heartbreak. It’s taking small steps forward when you want to turn around and run. It’s the little things, the moments that seem insignificant, the day-to-day mundane that forces us to look towards the One who determines our steps.

I want to get better at documenting the typical, the mundane, the insignificant moments. I want to value the daily life that He allows us to live each and everyday.

Now, I also want to watch less Grey’s Anatomy and do my laundry more often, so small steps will be key. One episode less, one load to get me started, and a few words here and there to remember these days. Seasons end so quickly (both in the land of Seattle Grace and the land of real life and red dirt), they move on to the next with just a hint of change and a gust of wind. I want to savour these moments, and I want to remember them.

So, here’s to the everyday, the joy, the sorrow, the small baby steps. Here’s to the boring, the mundane, the daily routine. Here’s to not being afraid of what others think, or say, or how they react. Here’s to sharing the little moments and the big moments alike – moving forward on the path He chose us to walk. Here’s to tripping and falling and making a mess. Here’s to coming together – mess and all, to choosing each and everyday to live everyday for Him.

where my feet may fail – one year later

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14.

Numb. I feel completely numb.

This must be a bad dream. A joke. A horror movie. This can’t be real life, can it?

I got the message today that sweet Eli bug was back in the village. His mom of a year had to do the unthinkable, the unimaginable, and make the step into that van to take her baby to a home that, for unjustified reasons, decided after all this time that he needed to come back. My heart broke.

It was not hours before that I met two amazing friends from home in Kampala to start their week-and-a-half in country – serving alongside Sole Hope. My heart was full of joy and excitement as we caught up on missed times and just enjoyed drinking coffee at the same table.

How could this be the same day?

I think back to that very first day that Asher and I met Eli. His name was unpronounceable and his tiny little frame was frail and malnourished. Through many bouts of sickness and attempts to nourish his body, he became the 4th (sometimes 5th) member of the Collie family. He always held a sweet corner of my heart. The Lord allowed me to witness him become more alert and grow into his long and lanky limbs. Leaving in August was one of the hardest things I’ve done – knowing I would miss so many milestones that wouldn’t feel the same from thousands of miles away. Yet, the Lord challenged me to put that little boy in the palm of his hands and walk away knowing the Savior of this broken world called him son.

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 12.56.18 AM

7.15.13 | Blog Post – “Where My Feet May Fail”: “It’s definitely going to be a lesson in trust. In giving the things that I can’t control over to God. He has a plan far beyond what I can envision. Where my feet may fail me, God still has Eli’s life in His hands. He has my life in His hands. Let me have trust without borders. Let me go wherever you have called me. I’ve been so blessed to be given the opportunity to hold this precious life in my hands. Sleep well little Eli, God’s got both of us in his hands.”

If only I knew how those words would resonate with me almost exactly one year later. While those words were just written with the intentions of moving back home, these words could not be truer of the situation today. I still don’t understand these words. I still don’t want to deal with what this looks like. I still don’t want to hand over that little boy not knowing what tomorrow will look like. I wish I could go back to that night when Eli was sleeping just a room away, where he was safe in a family that loved him and cared for him more than he will ever know. Where I knew he would grow up to be the most amazing man of God.

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 12.54.02 AM

Even still, God knows. He knew this day would come – and in some ways, I’m angry with him for that. I so want something to blame for this pain I feel in my chest, this tightness that feels like the weight of the world is crushing me into the ground. Yet in all of this disbelief and lack of understanding, still He is good. He knows us by name and calls us each to a life in pursuit of him. Still I will pursue him. Still I will trust his plan. Still I will cry out in pain knowing that my God will fight for us.

My heart is numb. It’s breaking. It’s crushed. It can’t begin to understand.

His family is one short tonight. His crib is empty. His parents and siblings’ hearts broken with grief. Still they trust you – knowing your plan is somewhere in the midst of this earthly heartbreak. For them I pray for peace that makes understanding this unimaginable brokenness unneeded. I pray that they move closer to the Creator as a family of one less – yet full of You.

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, you’ve never failed and You won’t start now. – Oceans, Hillsong United

Still He is good, He is faithful, He is sovereign – he holds us all in his hands – the safest place we could dream of being.

pilgram days

 

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Pilgrimage: a journey to a sacred place, returning with newfound knowledge. Returning changed.

Today has brought an end to the traditional work-week (whatever that means in terms of life here) and a slower pace compared to the rest of the week. It was a morning of strong coffee, debriefing of the week, and a cool morning breeze. Completely immersed in the returning of emails and making of mental to-do lists, my now dear friend and intern, Hannah, bursts into conversation about her love of the words pilgrimage and pioneering. Something triggered in my brain – the concept seemed familiar, but somehow distant. I had come across that concept not too long ago. A blog? A book? A conversation?

Finally, it clicked. I had come across the blog A Sacred Journey several months ago, intrigued but busyness and lack of time kept me from being hooked. This past month, I was again drawn to her blog through the writings of Dear Abby Leigh – an old friend and beautiful writer. Again, I had to explore this pilgrimage concept that I had ever so briefly glanced over. I lost myself in blog post after blog post, finding myself smiling in agreement – applying these thoughts to my own life and wandering spirit.

It’s an interesting concept – something that has been present for so many years, but is often put into a box that we bring out at Thanksgiving. Normally with the pumpkin pie. But the journey goes so much farther than that. We are all pilgrims – on an adventure of learning and discovery. I suddenly viewed my life differently.

IMG_5273-3

I am on a pilgrimage. My life has consisted of one pilgrimage after another.

I am a wanderer. A free spirit. An adventurer.

I don’t sit still well. I like to move. Journeying from one place to another. From city to city. From culture to culture.I like learning. I like the familiar, but I crave unknown places. I’ve learned more through my travels than in any other time of my life.

Abraham. One of the original pilgrims. “Called by God to leave his homeland on a journey of sacred encounter.” (Read more HERE) Leaving the everyday, the mundane routines, the stagnant waters of the familiar. Journeying with the purpose of Divine encounters.

“Pilgrimage is wandering after God.” (Source here)

“Pilgrimage is a sacred journey – a movement that brings us toward the Divine.” (Source here)

Suddenly, you start thinking differently. My journey now has a different meaning. It’s not just wandering. It’s wandering with purpose. It’s intentionally journeying knowing that the sacred encounters along the way with others and The Lord Most High will cause you to return changed. My constant wandering isn’t aimless – it’s purposeful. It’s warranted. It’s crucial.

Here’s to my current pilgrimage. My next pilgrimage. And here’s to finding meaning in my many pilgrimages completed. Here’s to intentionally pursing the life of a pilgrim, to finding joy in the adventure, to learning and loving well.

Bring out the pumpkin pie, because today is Thanksgiving – and so is tomorrow.