The Jungle Before Me

thank-youThank you all for the tremendous outpouring of support you have shown me since my last blog.  Because of your generosity, I was able to stay in Thailand for a whole extra month!

So, on 2 October, I will be boarding a plane in Bangkok and heading back to the USA. It is a good thing, because I am in need of some rest.  I have asked my supporters to continue to support me through the New Year so I can have some time to breathe, take a look around, and figure out what direction I will go in next.

This next season holds a LOT of uncertainty for me.

It is like I am heading into a jungle. The jungle is crawling with life.  Some of it good, some of it is quite scary.  But that is where I am heading.  There is no path through this jungle. There is only thick, thriving jungle.  I have to make a path.  And I can’t see much farther than the beginning.  I know there are great things ahead – waiting to be discovered.

Jungle river nature - Mindoro island

Pray for me as I head back into the jungle :)  Pray for wisdom and discernment as I navigate the wild, unknown territory that lies before me.

I Need Help

The Painting entitled "Jesus Blessing the...

The Painting entitled “Jesus Blessing the Children” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus said that we should come to him as a little child.  Right?

I always assumed that meant to come with the wide-eyed wonder of a child.  I want to believe without cynicism.  I want to have faith that amazing things will happen just because I have faith.

I am realizing something else about the idea of coming to Jesus as a child.  Children don’t make any money.  They live off of what their parents give them.

I don’t make any money.  I live off of what God provides for me.  And he has promised me that he will not forget me.  He says that I should not worry about tomorrow, but only look for what I need for today.

That kind of faith is hard.  I have been watching my support account dwindle for months now.  I can’t help but to worry about tomorrow.  But I want to have the faith that he will always take care of what I need.

Recently, I was directed to Philippians 4.

6 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.7 And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – AMP

So I am praying for a miracle, and thanking God for what he has given me.

And now, I need your help to be a part of that miracle.

I currently have about $160 in monthly support.  Which is the exact amount of my student loan payment every month.  I also currently have enough in my support account to almost get a ticket home, or to live in Thailand for another month with a tiny bit of extra money.  But after that, I’m out of money.  I will need at least $800 per month coming in if I am going to be able to stay in Thailand for the full two years that I committed to.

How you can help me to stay in Thailand for 4 more months:

1.  Pray.  I am at a point of desperation.  I need Jesus to clearly show up in this situation.

2.  Give.  I need a lot more monthly support.   Anything you could give would be a huge blessing.  HERE is the link to support information.  Or you can click the tab above labeled “support me”.  Please let me know if you plan to give because I might have to make some tough decisions coming up!!

If you are interested to know what has been going on in Thailand, please click HERE to read my latest newsletter.

Have you ever been here?  Needing to ask for help?  Needing a miracle?  Do you have any encouragement to share?

Confessions of an Introvert in Leadership

Quite regularly, I receive shocked responses when I reveal that I am introverted (INFP for those Myers-Briggs people).  Most people assume that outgoing means extraverted.  I can be very outgoing, as a developed character trait, not as an innate one.  I love to be around people.  I also need to be alone in order to recharge.  That is what makes me an introvert.  I think it is shocking to people that I am an introvert, because I am good with people (generally) and can be very outgoing.  But those are things that I have developed as a result of the path of life I have chosen.  On the inside, I am a nerd who prefers books and good conversation to “fun”, overly-stimulating environments.

Ever since I could remember, I’ve been more on the quiet, deliberate side rather than the risk-taking, boisterous side.  I’ve watched, in situation after situation in my life, people being praised for their outgoing and brilliant social skills, quick thinking, and dynamic personalities.  These are the people chosen for leadership positions.  These are the people who hold the most influence over other people.  And so, I’ve decided that I’m not leadership material.  I’m not overtly loud and attention-seeking in crowds.  Few people are drawn to me, save types like myself, who despise loudness, crowds, and endless small talk.  I’m not especially quick-thinking, either.  I take my time in deciding what to say and how to say it.  Often, the words in my head sound so much more brilliant and beautiful than what actually comes out of my mouth.  The best way for me to express my thoughts, is to write them.

Continue reading

Chasing Promises

I am starting to see that God’s plan for my life is not to throw everything in my path and watch me choose what I want.

I wish.  

I think that I have lived most of my life in the desert because I refused to believe that I was worthy to receive the promise.  I have looked at certain promises (or even just things I wanted) in my life but didn’t go after them because I thought if I was meant to have them, they would come to me.

Continue reading

Desert Seasons: Leadership

English: Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deu...

English: Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deuteronomy 6:1-15, illustration from a Bible card published 1907 by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moses was clearly anointed by God to lead his people through the desert.  He didn’t even want it, but God had chosen him.  And Moses got to enjoy really close relationship with God.  They were such close friends that Moses told God that he wanted to see him and God showed up for him.

Moses enjoyed a perspective that most people didn’t have.  Because he got to spend more direct time in the presence of the Father.  The people didn’t have all the information.  They rarely do.

They resented him.  They didn’t like his decisions.  They said things like, “God speaks to us too, so why should we listen to Moses?” They operated out of distrust and fear.  They complained about Moses.  And when they did…God got really mad at them.

What struck me was that God told them that they weren’t complaining against Moses, but they were complaining against God himself.  Because God had chosen Moses.

The Israelites had to stay in the desert longer, in part, because of their refusal to trust their leadership.  They refused to go into the promised land because they were afraid.  Then, they suddenly decided they really did want to go, but God had already told them to wander the desert.  Moses told them not to go.  He told them God’s presence wasn’t with them.  They went anyway.  And they died.  Maybe they should have listened…

So maybe sometimes we prolong our stay in the desert by refusing to listen to those who have the perspective and wisdom to guide us out.

We bring death into our lives when we refuse to listen to our leadership.  We do not have all the information.  And we don’t need it.  But following leadership requires a trust that is no longer innate is us.  We are taught to question.  We believe that leadership positions are places of greater importance, worth, and value.  And so we desire them.  And because we all desire to be in charge, we constantly question those who are anointed to lead us.

I know there are bad leaders out there.  And I’m not suggesting that we blindly follow.  We have to use our brains.  But when someone with more experience, greater wisdom, and a position of authority in our lives advises us to do something and we do our own thing anyway, we are disregarding them.  And often we feel the consequences because….they were right, and we chose to learn the hard way because we thought we knew better.

I wonder…

I wonder what would happen if we decided to encourage and support our leadership instead of criticize and judge them?  What would happen if we chose to pray for them?  (And not those manipulating prayers that sound like this: Dear God, please show him what he is doing wrong)  I wonder what would happen if we honored them, not because they deserve it but because we chose to be people who carry and bestow honor?  I wonder how it would affect, not only the lives of the leaders, but our lives as well?

I think that sometimes we can find out way out of desert seasons faster by allowing some authority in our lives to speak into the situation and actually doing what they suggest.

Scripture references:
Numbers 12, 14, and 16.  

Desert Seasons: Trusting God

There is always a desert in between the end of slavery and entrance into the inheritance. 

God spoke that to me when I was worshiping with a bunch of world racers at Karon Beach one night.  I could NOT get it out of my head.  And I began to read about the Israelites desert experience and God began to speak to me.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how desert seasons represent a place of freedom.  In the midst of desert seasons, we learn to walk out our newly found freedom.  We are being prepared to enter into the inheritance.  We are being reshaped and reformed into our new identity as free people.

From the very beginning of their journey out of slavery, the Israelites began to complain.  Continue reading

Lessons from Loneliness

About a month ago, I was staring my 33rd birthday right in the face.  And I didn’t have a single friend around me.  Sure, there were people here to celebrate with, but nobody that knows me.  And I began to long for the things of home.  I miss my friends and my family.  I miss good food.  I miss couches and carpeting.  Did I mention that I miss good food?  I am missing the opportunity to watch my nephews grow up.  I have missed countless weddings, baby showers, and birthday parties.  Lives have gone on….without me.

I was feeling quite sorry for myself.  And as I was walking to 7-11 one fine evening, I told God that I was here and I wasn’t going anywhere, but that I was lonely and I needed a friend.  And I, quite awkwardly, “friend requested” God.  I asked him to be my friend.  Because…I need one. Continue reading

You’re the One Holding the Key

People have an obsession with keys.  Why?  What is so awesome about keys? What do keys actually do?

Keys unlock things.  They lock things.  That is really it.

In my last job, I only had a key for my desk drawer.  I only had the power to lock the drawers in my own desk.

When I was a teacher, I had keys to my classroom.  I didn’t have keys to the building or to other teacher’s classrooms.  Because I was in charge of my room only.

This is my current key ring.  I think that I have more responsibility than I know what to do with…. Continue reading

Desert Seasons: What is the point?

Great Sand Sea of Egypt.I have been in quite a desert season lately.  I don’t like desert seasons.  They are dry and uncomfortable.  They stretch me and tempt me.  I feel a desperation that reminds me of how much I need God.  I don’t like feeling desperate. I tend to think of desert seasons as something to avoid.

But in my quiet times, God has continually been speaking to me about deserts.
When I think about deserts, I always think about the Israelites wandering around for 40 years in a desert.  So I decided to read Exodus to learn a little more about desert seasons. Continue reading