Monday, February 13, 2012

Support the BIG ADVENTURE : Prints available of Her Eyes!

This painting has a very special story (read here) and is playing an important role in my journey! 


To help raise money for all the expenses of my upcoming trip (more details coming soon!) I am selling prints of this picture (without the watermark!) signed by me (the artist!).

All the money - every single cent that this picture brings in - is going directly for "the big adventure" and is playing a key role in making this happen financially! 

Below is a list of the sizes available with prices (prints only!) :

4x6 : $5.00 each or 2 for $8.00
5x7 : $7.00 each or 2 for $12.00
8x10 : $10.00 each or 2 for $17.00
11x14 : $15.00 each or 2 for $27.00
12x16 : $20.00 each or 2 for $37.00
16x20 : $25.00 each or 2 for $47.00
20x30 : $35.00 each or 2 for $67.00


Shipping NOT included.


If you're IN FLAGSTAFF, I would love to meet up with you to give you your order!

If you are NOT IN FLAGSTAFF, shipping is not included in the prices above. The cost of shipping will be what they cost me to send, nothing more!

If you want to get a picture, send me a message on facebook  or email me at kailey.jensen257@gmail.com with your NAME, ADDRESS (if outside of Flagstaff), WHAT SIZE and HOW MANY prints you would like! If you would like it signed, let me know!

Checks can be made out to Kailey Jensen and sent to :
         400 South 10th Street
         Williams, Arizona 86046

I will make the first order MONDAY February 20th and can meet you or send your order the following week!

If you have any questions, you contact me on facebook or email me at kailey.jensen257@gmail.com!

So thankful for your support and role in making this opportunity come to life!


- Kailey

Her eyes..

Do you ever have those moments that you know you just have to do something, create something, be somewhere, talk to someone, reread your favorite book, look at your most treasured photograph? It's  like an ache, a craving inside you that you cant shake. I was in one of those moments and just needed to get it out of my head... I had dreamed about this picture several times and it simply wouldn't leave me alone, so I decided to paint it.

And this is what came out. 


For many reasons, this picture is a glimpse deep into my heart. The purple (my favorite color!) stands for purpose, imagination, inspiration, and seeking something; green represents life, healing, learning, safety and transformation; white means purity, kindness, energy, truth, wholeness, new beginnings... Kinda interesting how that turned out huh? I didn't set out with this color choice in my head, but as I looked at the finished painting in front of me - it came at me in a deeper way.

The girl is me, who I am isn't important - I didn't put myself in the middle of the painting for a reason.

The true face in this painting belongs the child I am holding. The eyes were the hardest part in this whole image, I just couldn't get them right. Seeing this in my head they were the thing that kept capturing me, keep tugging at my heart and asking me to come back and stay. It is said that the eyes of a person reveal their soul - and I knew that somehow these precious eyes would be revealing both her's and my own. 

There is a deep longing for safety and desperation for love in them. So many questions, such reserve. Not the eyes of a child but of one that have seen too much in her young age. And each time I look at this image all I want to do is pick her up and just hold her, tell her that she is loved and that she is safe, that she is a miracle and a blessing

Speak deep into her heart that she is a child that is wanted and adored. 

There are so many children that never hear those words. That rarely experience healthy human contact. That usually don't have enough food in their bellies or know of where they will be sleeping at night. They don't hear "I love you" or "sweet dreams" before they close their eyes at night, or often hear their name being called with a loving voice. They don't have many memories that make them smile, or someone encouraging them to follow their dreams and listen to their hearts. They don't have someone to kiss the scraped knees or put band aids on them, to wipe the tears after a bad dream. They don't have someone that loses sleep when they don't come home or stays awake in the hospital room with them. They don't have someone to speak truth about who they are - loved and adored. 

And I am not okay with that. And so that is why I am going. If only for one child or for many - to remind them or maybe even for the first time tell that that they have worth, that there is hope, and that they are wanted.

I don't have concrete details of what this will look like, but I know that it wont be easy or comfortable - I don't think that is the life we are meant to live any way. I do know though that it will be full of adventures with crazy wild amazing so sweet! cool stories, of digging deep into trust, of standing fast in hope, of speechless moments, deep sadness and overwhelming love. And I am willing for it all.

Friday, February 3, 2012

MY JOURNEY....


 Many people have been asking me about my story and what has lead me to the decision to pursue going to Uganda, so here is a little of my journey...
_________________________________________________________________

About 8 years ago I began thinking about working with children 'when I grew up'  - I was fifteen and had no plans to 'grow up' anytime but my dreams of astronaut and circus performer weren't quite panning out so I thought I should put some thought into it.. When this whole process started I had a no idea what this would look like and in His faithfulness, unending patience and overwhelming grace (praise Jesus!) He's revealed more and more about my personality, gifts and passions. Through opportunities and incredible adventures in the last several years, I've discovered more deeply about what makes my heart come alive and have been walking towards where He wants me.  


I went to Northern Arizona University (NAU - go Lumberjacks!) and double majored in Women and Gender Studies as well as International Relations. As a disclaimer, I've not graduated due to a few reasons but have about a year left to finish! I focused my attention on issues of women and children in poverty and the relationship of empowerment as well as human rights in the Third World - basically what is causing poverty and how we can eradicate it! One issue that resonated with me personally and that I spent most of my time academically on is the reality of millions of vulnerable children and orphans due to poverty as well broken social and political systems - specifically due to HIV/AIDS. 

As many of you know, Young Life seeps into the blood and so for about 12 years now it has played a very significant role in my life. This ministry is all about loving on students and has changed how I see Jesus, shown me time and time again how He redeems, how He gives adventures and life to the full in ways more then I could ever dream up by myself, and has cemented a commitment in my heart to live a life that reflects the deep intentionality as 
well as the relational aspects that Young Life is built on. 

In my sophomore and junior years of high school, I began taking a more active role in leadership and responsibilities, learning more of the background and theology Young Life and of how Jesus lived and loved. Over the years, more and more has been given and asked of me! My senior year a group of us started Wyldlife in my hometown - it was hugely challenging but also incredibly beautiful! If any of you have ever ever interacted with middle school-er's : #1. praise Jesus for you, #2. its exhausting and completely ridiculous! I was challenged hugely through this experience and began to realize more about the Father's extravagant love and grace and my desperate need for both.



 

My sophomore year in college at NAU I was asked to be apart of starting Young Life College Life for our campus - I had no idea what I was doing or what needed to be done BUT the Lord's grace covered my inefficiencies and through a lot, a lot of tears and laughter, people's deep passion and commitment to our students, and their faithfulness to seek out and love on our friends - we now have a full blown ministry that is active and currently exploding!  I have learned so much more about God's heart, about my personality and quirks as well as how my mind and heart work through the experience of being apart of starting a ministry from scratch. 









Amor (http://www.amor.org/) is an organization that we here in Williams and Flagstaff have been working with for the last  decade or so.The first trip I took with them, I was a silly sophomore in high school and was utterly speechless at the poverty and hopelessness of the community we worked with in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. But more than anything, I saw the glimmer of joy and desire for redemption in the kids eyes as we worked to build a home for them in a weekend. What has captivated me each time I'm in this place of such desperation and loss is watching the kids come alive; the joy that is evident in the eyes of the boys and girls as they are overwhelmed with love and attention. These moments have played a very significant role in my desire to work with kids that are alone and desperately need not just food or basic necessities but most of all, need love.

I've learned many real life qualities - aspects of business, organization and management as well as organizing events and coordinating details through being involved with Young Life, Amor and other experiences. But more then anything, I've been learning how to love when it gets hard, to be consistent and faithful, to chose joy even when I don't understand - how to live and love along side people as we are called to do.

In the last year and a half I've been researching a lot of non-profits that work with children in Africa - looking at how they operate and sustain themselves; trying to find ones that I fully believe in, ones that I love how they serve and demonstrate the Lord's heart for kids that desperately need it. My desire has been for the Lord to lead me to ones that He wanted me to 
support and work with.


I came across a friend's blog (http://www.mandiejoy.com/) several months ago and the Lord has used her words and courage several times since then to speak truth to my heart. I got an email that she had a new post and innocently clicked on it to go and read it, sitting in a coffee shop - soul shaking, heart throbbing and tears falling - I watched the video she made of the kids dancing over and over (about 9 times in a row!). I sat there and Jesus spoke several words and there was a deep peace that came over my heart; an excitement and confirmation that I am supposed to be apart of this magic, this utter joy that the Lord is calling forth. 


For about a year and a half, the word over my life has been 'wait' - and so its been a year of learning how to wait with grace, to lean deeply into trust and to listen in the silence and in the loudness. 

And now the word has become 'go', it has been confirmed only as He can - in the hilarious and intimate ways that only He knows my heart.  As my journey continues, I am realizing deeply how my heart beats more and more for living my live in a way makes people come alive; pushes them to reach for something big; to live in grace and to choose joy. I can't imagine doing anything else with my life. I have the freedom and the desire to go where He wants me - wherever that may be - and through a lot of talking with and listening to Jesus, I believe that I need to be 
faithful and pursue working with kids that desperately need love.  
___________________________________________________


There are so many more adventures and people that have played huge and important roles in me coming to this place. You know who you are, I am so thankful for the love and support, encouragement and prayers, that have blessed me from you - I wouldn't be here without you! And the excitement and confirmations that you have responded to this big adventure with - means more than you could possibly know!


And so I am going. With my camera and a desire for adventure. My heart is beating faster as I write this. Beating with excitement of the unknown, reaching for patience and sitting in utter peace that for this time, for this season, for reasons I don't fully know - I am going to be walking through the red dust that Uganda is known for. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Keeping the hope.

HOPE.  It seems to be the season of hope. Of wishes. Of promises. These words have been floating around a lot lately, I wonder if this is something I need to pay attention to.

What do you hope for
What makes you have hope?

In my head, my first thought about hope is its like a wish. Like "make a wish upon a star" or "hope they have my favorite froyo at Yogurt U!" or "hope the traffic's not bad or I'll be late!"... But part of me thinks that there has to be more to it than that...


Obviously, the first thing I did was google it - we (my trusty friend google and I) are best buds forever! As some of you know, that's not really  a joke but anyways...

I came across some interesting ones.

                                Hope means to  : wish for something with expectation  of its fulfillment.
                                                 : to have confidence in; to trust.                           
                                                 : to look forward to with confidence.
                                                 : to expect and desire.
                                                 : to be optimistic; to be full of hope.

Seems that hope has this involvement, this interaction that just wishing is missing. Its not just a thought or a side comment or a mumble under my breath but a verb, its an action, it requires a part of me to happen. Hope is not fleeting but instead there is a element of stability, of perseverance, of commitment that is missing in just a wish. Hope is an active choice rather than an assumption. The more I've been thinking about it, the more I'm recognizing that maybe hope plays a significant role in who I am. Maybe how I hope and what I hope in is key to who the Lord is in me.
Hope defered makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. 
                                                                                        - Proverbs 13:2
Its a hard verse. The first part has a sense of desperation to it almost. I don't know about you but I don't want my heart to be sick, its not quite on my 'to do list'... The definitions above don't at first lead me to believe that the confident expectation or desire of something will lead my heart into troubled waters. And yet, I know that this is usually where my stubborn heart leads me - you too maybe?

It seems to me that maybe we - the human race - have this desire, this innate ability to hope. And yet it's not until our hope has been violated or abused that makes us into the un-trusting and self protecting adults we seem to have to be to survive in this dog-eat-dog world we live in. We all have those moments that come to mind of the disappointments, the rejections, the not-met expectations, the loss of trust or intimacy, the broken heart
- the failures of ourselves and of others.


A friend had some really good questions, they sum up what I've been thinking about..
"Why do we defer hope? Why would we shy away from something                                      that can bring us happiness and peace?"

To defer is referring to the postponing of something. When something we hope for - a person, a circumstance, an answer, etc. - is delayed, not made evident in our timing (big one right) or is snatched away too soon for us is when the questions start rolling in and the doubt begins sinking little to deeply into our hearts.

But we also have a role in deferring hope. We can chose to walk away, we can wobble and let bitterness seep in instead of the stability that hope needs from us. I can grab onto distrust or the loss of things hoped for and un-met expectations from my past instead of being in the present.

Anger, pain, insecurities, loss, lack a patience, frustration, bitterness, fear, feelings of unworthiness, discouragement, loss of trust, un-met exceptions... I can defer hope because these things seek up and make themselves known. I can chose fear and discouragement instead of believing the worthiness and importance of my hope.

I think sometimes we can be so immersed in obstacles, in frustration or just not understanding what's going on that what we are hoping for becomes a bit fuzzy and goes a little out of focus. I can lose sight and waver because my hope is seemingly so far away - so I step back to prevent myself from being disappointed and my heart let down.


But hope asks for me to walk into it when adversity comes against it. Hope has me not run away when something looks different then the way I had it in my mind. Hope asks me to trust - myself and the Lord in ways that I might never have before. Hope demands a response and calls forth courage. Hope begs for confidence and pleas for patience.


And so when the hope I'm trying to hold onto seems to be slipping from my weak fingers, maybe I need to just breath and take the next step forward. Maybe I need to not focus on the many things I lack or insecurities, and look to the steadiness of the Lord's promises. Maybe when the confusion and disappointments hit, I need to chose confidence and patience. Maybe when my little brain just doesn't get it, I need to trust that He knows my heart so much more intimately then I know it and that He has it all together even if I don't. Maybe when the dam of doubt ruptures, I can depend on Him wanting a life filled to the brim for me. And when the ache seems too much, I can remember how He has never left me alone and that I am utterly and deeply loved. And maybe when it all seems like too much and not enough at the same time, I can see how He is giving me just enough, only enough to chose Him.

I came across this is Jesus Calling this morning, He has a funny sense of humor - reminding me that I will have enough to take the next step with Him, keeping me by His side and in His timing inside of marching out over the cliff on my own..
"Follow Me one step at a time... If I do lead you up the cliffs, I will equip you thoroughly for the strenuous climb. I will even give My angels charge over you, to preserve you in all your ways."


How my heart wants to soak up the promise that He is enough. I want to know hope.  I want to be a person of hope. I want to move forward in confident hope. I want to live my life in the hope of being redeemed.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Grey for Gray.

Life is precious. Fragile. Too short. Uncertain and flimsy.

Today as I sat with a few hundred friends laughing and remembering the joy of a friend's life - his laughter and fabulous gift of being ridiculous, the ferocious competitiveness, incredible strength and courage, absolute dedication to the Lord and to so many lives that collided with his, his belief in and support of the beautiful ministry of Young Life and a deep deep love for his precious wife and children - I am left without words at how beautiful the Lord is.

A man that brought laughter with him wherever he was and people together throughout his life, has yet again brought a glimpse of heaven through a life lived in fullness - inviting friends to come together to celebrate and remember this incredible God, even though he got to be with Jesus before us.



His life was soaked in hope. In not an idea but a reality that our God is bigger than, more beautiful than, more gracious than, more outrageous than, more adventuresome than, more compassionate than all of our dreams.



HOPE. Such a simple, short word for a man that lived life so big, that loved so deeply, that called forth joy so preciously.

I can see so clearly him striding forward to meet the Lord - his son in the arms of kids that have seen Jesus more clearly because of this brave  Father, sitting in the place that his father met Jesus so many years ago.  I can see a huge smile as He wrestles with this big man with a bigger heart and whispers "Welcome home, good and faithful servant.." And as we sat thinking, laughing and remembering, I know that the Lord was listening and smiling, laughing and crying with us as we celebrated the live of a brave man, friend, father, husband, son and brother.

Thankful for the many lives that have seen holy because of Troy Gray. For his courage and deep joy, big dreams and faithfulness. We are changed because of how he lived so ferociously and for how he loved a BIG God.

His life is a beautiful glimpse of what we strive for - memories abounding, dreams exploding, love spilling forth, and joy so deep as to change our souls. And a calling for us to walk into the same. To be intentional with our time and with our love. And to never underestimate how big our God is and how deeply He craves our souls..

Life is precious.


But oh so beautiful. So powerful it shakes the soul. So stunning it leaves me speechless.


A holy moment as we sang How Great Thou Art today, celebrating a life and a God that have brought so much beauty to our lives.





Friday, December 16, 2011

Whats up with praise?

It is the season of giving, of thanks, of sharing, of 'goodwill'. And it seems for a few weeks now I've been wrestling with this thought of gratitude, of grace, of thankfulness... 


There's several blogs that I 'subscribe to' and when I get a email that there is a new post, I want to drop everything to read the words that come from the depths of their hearts; they bring me to the feet of Jesus as I am overwhelmed with the vulnerability and truth that seeps into my aching heart. These women are incredibly strong, stunningly beautiful, overwhelmed and in high demand, not perfect and utterly amazing. And I have been noticing a theme in what the Lord is revealing to them and to me, and its this :


     recognizing the importance of gratitude & its role in our experience of 'full life'.


We are taught those polite manners and social 'nicities' such as "thank you'', ''your welcome'', ''have a good day'', ''great to see you", etc. from the cradle; they're ingrained and in reality they're a front, a fake, an unconscious greeting or parting comment most of the time. And sometimes it frustrates me that they are used as something to hide behind, a quick get-a-way as we are walking in opposite directions, you know what I'm talking about... And I have caught myself several times lately falling into the play-by-play we all know, without any intentionality or genuineness in the midst of the 'hustle and bustle' of this season.


And I wonder, how much do I rely on the ingrained or convenient phrases as I communicate with God? How much do I over look because all I say is "Thanks God, great going today!", or "Oh hey Jesus, hope you have a great day - peace out!", and the classic "So wonderful to see you, lets catch up SOON!"... And I realize, that sucks. I want more. And yes, Little Mermaid song is running through my head as I write that last sentence!


This word of "adoration" has come up many times lately... WHAT does it mean? HOW are we supposed to do it? HOW important is it? And WHY the heck is it seemingly so hard to do..?


Adoration : the act of paying honor. reverent homage. fervent and devoted love. worship given 
                           to God alone. profound love and regard. praise.


Well, there you go.. that's why its so hard. It requires of me in order to express fervent and devoted love. Its not an absentminded "Oh hey, what's up?" or a "You're pretty cool, I guess.." but an expression of utter thankfulness, of deep awareness of who He is and how He is working in my life and in the lives of people around me - near and far.


There is also the element of stability. I am praising and adoring the character of who God is, not just how pleased I am that He worked things out to how I wanted them to be in a certain circumstance. I am expressing love and devotion even when I don't have the answers and my heart is aching. I am putting my heart in a place of trust and depending on who He has promised to be, not only when its convenient but when I have all these lies going to and fro in my mind. I am choosing to praise through life and joy, but also in death and sickness by believing He is faithful.


One of my favorite writer's Sara (She's adopted 3 girls and 1 boy from Africa and has an incredible story as well as a beautiful gift of putting words together, check out her blog here) wrote this post, putting words to what I was trying to flesh out in my mind. And these words resonated with my heart :


     "Then come the questions - the shadows over my vision: Who am I? and Where is He? they 
     whisper. They seek to draw me back to the well of uncertainty, feeling low about myself and 
     all that I'm not and having forgotten the very thing which gives me life: who HE is.


     Enter adoration. Moments of praise aren't just for the ones who feel all filled-up with praise,
     but they are the weapons of war for those who have forgotten their last song. Praise is for 
     the bored, the broken, the barely-surviving. Adoration is like oxygen, infusing, building and
     rebuilding... Him into us, and us built-up in Him. You and me, on our worst days, have been 
     given a way out. A way up."


Praise isn't only when I'm happy-go-lucky and when there are rainbows and unicorns  all over my world or just standing in church on a Sunday night. But maybe more importantly when I don't have much else left.. When I'm having really hard conversations.. When I am yet again curled up in a chair in the middle of the night at the hospital waiting for news of friends.. When I can't breathe because my heart hurts so bad. When I have so many questions rolling around in my head, the "why did this have to happen this way?" 's or the "why did it have to happen now?'' 's and the "why did it have to happen to that person?'' 's... When I don't have the words to offer comfort and can just sit next to them... When my empty arms ache to hold the one's I know need hugs, to let them know that someone care's and to wipe away the tears. When my lips ache to kiss the precious foreheads and boo boos that need comfort and healing.. When I'm stuck in the cold in the parking lot with a dead car in the middle of the night.. When my wallet and bank account have pennies in them instead of dollars yet again... 


Maybe these are the moments that praise is for... To know that I'm not alone in the ER waiting for news but am with my Papa, believing and knowing that He is faithful and good.  When my arms are empty and boo boos are going un-kissed, that their real Father has them in His lap - cuddling and soothing and healing and protecting in ways that I couldn't. When the empty wallet shows how intimately He know my needs and provides for them through people and circumstances... When there aren't words to comfort or heal or erase the past, the Holy Spirit in me is with us and healing as we sit in the silence. When my heart is breaking, getting a little glimpse of how intimately He craves all of me and how deeply He loves. And when the questions come a-knocking, answering with assurance of and trust in who He is. 


Praise is powerful.


Praise puts my heart in line with His, that no matter the outcome - He is good and faithful and true.


Praise is getting my head out of my butt and focusing on who He is and what He has promised instead of slipping into doubt or frustration or anger or bitterness.


Praise is healing.


Praise is a breath of fresh air and a peace where there wasn't one before.


Praise is hard, but it is so integral to my survival. Because in praise I can recognize how powerful He is; I can acknowledge my limitations and lack of control and give Him reign to be sovereign; I can release my aching heart into His care, knowing that He will give it back to me a little bit more healed and a little bit more beautiful. And I can declare how He has brought me this far, how He redeems, how He pursues the heck out of me. I can proclaim not just with my lips and words but with my heart and soul that He is good.


And so in this season of reunions and goodbyes, laughter and tears, changes and patterns, new memories and loses - I am choosing to praise with all of me. Choosing to declare, recognize, proclaim, acknowledge, whisper and scream that He is faithful and good and true, that He delights in us, that He calls us home to His side and His heart, and that He loves. And I'm choosing to remember the blessings that I have and the people that I love - whether they are with me or not. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Coming awake..

Some days I wonder...


Some days I ache...


Some days I get frustrated and unsure...


Some days I am so excited that I start shaking... 


Some days I simply don't understand...


And I am discovering something really important - that no matter what I'm feeling that day - if I let myself step back and right into Jesus with the fears and trepidation, those blasted insecurities, the shaking-in-my-boot excitement, the wonder and amazement, the frustration and the millions of questions or simply with my aching heart... He meets me there.


I came across these words last night and felt such peace... 


           "My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is 
           the only way we'll know we're living truly, living God's reality. It's also the way
           to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For
           God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do 
           ourselves." (1 John 3:18-20)


I love that this starts out with talking about real love, about living a full life. And He knows that for us that means so many emotions, so many hard situations, such pain and longing, such joy and grace... And the best way to keep out of my head the revolving parade of mistakes, the "I shoulda's" and the "I'm not worth  ____'s..." is to keep. Keep loving, keep walking forward, keep moving towards His heart, keep breathing when that's all I can do, keep trusting with all of me, keep listening even when the silence is deafening, keep asking questions and keep expecting Him to answer in His time...


I want to live "in God's reality". I want to be so awed by who He is and how He redeems that I'm speechless. I want to see people's souls shake when they realize how deeply they are loved. I want to know in my gut, in my soul, that God is faithful and steadfast. And I'm realizing that the more I ask of God, the more I want Him to be revealed and the more I need grace - the deeper I need to sink into trust. 


I thought that He was good and in my head I knew that "He worked everything together for His marvelous plan"- but the closer I get to His heart, the more I need to not just read but rely on His promises; the more I need to believe and not have thoughts about how good He is; the more I need to know and not just think that He knows me, my heart, my journey AND everyone else's to align them together for His perfect will; the more I need to act in deep trust instead of just saying the words that His timing is so much better than my own... 


Because this journey is not my own. Because even though I don't exactly enjoy roller coasters (well, more the plummet to the earth with great speed and force part) or the shoving myself off of things from great heights - there is the beautiful moment of feeling so blessedly alive as the ground is racing up to meet your face. I think that we are made to be alive, to come awake. Made to do and be. Made to have a crazy story, live this amazing adventure. To look back and say "WOW! That was a crazy ride!"...


And to be alive and come awake means that I need to step out of complacency and of comparison into compassion, into grace, into joy and laughter, into tears and hard conversations... For what else is fullness about after all?


I'm discovering that as I walk into what He is calling for me, the more I need all of Him - not just the comfortable parts - and that requires all of me - not just the convenient, the pretty, the comfortable but the aching, the questions, the confusion, the past experiences, the uncomfortable and ugly parts... And the incredible thing is, He wants it. He wants me - baggage, failures, and the greatness all roled into one. He delights in me, He made me, He desires my ME and He is continuously pursuing my stubborn heart.. Go figure, huh? 


I love how the passage wraps up with "for God is greater than our worried hearts and know more about us than we do ourselves." It makes sense, doesn't it? My silly little heart takes so much onto itself - the details, the stories of others, the "planning", the confusion but He is bigger than it all. And He can handle it. He doesn't need my input or questions or doubt every half second and it certainly isn't good for my stress level.  Now if I could just get that into my head and heart a little deeper, I might be a little smarter... This gives me peace, that even though my heart is fickle and my eyes are woozy, He is still good, still God, still sovereign, still faithful and still deeply in love with me.


In the words of  C.S. Lewis, "the great thing to remember is that though our feelings come and go, God's love does not."  Amen, my friend. For some days, that's all I can I can hold onto. I am so thankful that He is so much more faithful that my fickle heart and so much more steadfast then my wandering eye, that He wants me close to His heart and that His patience level is light years beyond mine. 


Time isn't guaranteed for any of us. And I don't know when I'll get to see Jesus face to face, but I do know that I want the people that I love to meet me there. And to be celebrating, dancing/hopping around, signing (off key for me) and hanging out with Jesus for eva... To be able to tell Him that I loved deeply, that I walked toward Him even when I didn't understand, and that I trusted who He is and was and will be. And so today I am singing this song over and over wanting the words to sink deep into my aching heart... Because we are meant to come awake.


Monday, November 21, 2011

"Holla, mi nombre es..."

One of the things that is rolling round 'n round in my head is this idea of names. I was talking about it with some friends a bit ago and since then, I've been loving what the Lord is showing me about my name and about our identities.

Maybe Shakespeare was onto something in Romeo and Juliet with his famous "what's in a name?" quote - it is such a powerful question. When someone asks who you are, the natural response is "Well, I'm (insert your name)", and that's that. Our name is what we are known by, it's our identity, something we can embrace or hide behind, something we can be proud of or want to walk away from. It has this power, this element of revealing our soul.

There can be so much love in someone's voice when they say our name.. Or such indifference. Someone remembering my name has the power make me feel loved, known, wanted and important; but on the flip side, if someone's like 'Oh yeah, you... how's it going?', I feel a little lost and a lot insignificant.

It got me thinking... about my name and what it says about me. So, (and if you know me, you know what I did next..), yep I googled the meaning of my name (big surprise right!). And this is what I found:

      Kailey means 'keeper of the keys', 'pure/purity', 'darling', 'beloved', 'rare beauty'.

      Elizabeth means 'God's promise', 'God is my oath'.

I sat there and was overwhelmed. I mean, 'keeper of the keys'? Seriously? THAT'S really me? 'God's promise'? What does that EVEN mean??! I've been captivated with how John is so fully rooted in being 'the beloved one' but I don't know if I could really call myself that...

And some beautiful words came from Jesus to soak into my heart.. Sometimes it blows me away how intimately the Lord knows my heart - He KNEW that I would need my name to be BELOVED so that I could soak in it, so that I could remember every time my name is spoken, called or yelled that I am really hearing 'darling, My beloved'. He KNEW that I would need something as ridiculous as a middle name to remember that my identity, my reason for living is to be apart of fulfilling His promises of love and redemption here as I walk this earth.

And the whole 'keeper of the keys' thing, I don't know what that is all about but there is something in my soul that resonates as I hear those words... So I'm going to keep thinking over those words and see what other sweet things the Lord has for my heart in them :)

The more days I live, the more I am coming to realize that importance of knowing who we are. Not just the random 'I can do this weird trick' (though that's fun and good), but more who I am - where my heart is, what makes me come alive, what makes me stop and thank Jesus, what makes me ache for grace, what makes me rest in His faithfulness, what makes me reach for trust, what brings me to my knees, what stops my heart with beauty, what makes me run away and what pisses me off, what stirs my soul...

Cause if we don't know who we are, if we aren't sure-without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt/deeply-aware/living-in-the-midst of our identity as the loved one, then I don't think we can fully come alive.. I know that when I'm trying to patch this/just make it to the next moment/cross things off my list/stay above the water, then I'm missing something vital, something crucial. That isn't me living a full life, it's not me coming alive, it only existing.

I don't want to just exist.

want 'm gonna dance.
want 'm gonna be joyful.
I want 'm gonna stand in awe.
I want 'm gonna be speechless.
I want 'm gonna laugh so hard I cry.
I want 'm gonna ask hard questions.
I want 'm gonna intimately know God's heart.
I want 'm gonna know that meaning of family.
I want 'm gonna love so hard my heart hearts and my hands are dirty.
I want 'm gonna have the 'stampeding elephants' feeling in my stomaching.

And so, I am going to live out my name to it's fullest. I'm going to be the person that my name calls out to me to be.

I'm not going to lie, it's hard. Hard to stand firm in my 'belovedness' when I have so many things screaming at me that I'm not worth it, that all I got is junk. Hard to sink deep into 'God's promise' when I have a video on replay in my mind of all the times I've screwed up.

BUT, thank goodness for the His faithfulness. For His grace. For His peace. For the way that He covers all my inadequacies so that I can just keep breathing in and moving closer to His heart and who He has made me to be... :)



Monday, September 12, 2011

Dirty Hands...

                                                                                                

I want my life to look like the lyrics of this song. I want 'this' to be bigger than me. I want my soul to be awake. I want to breathe out Jesus is how I love and how I pursue girls. I want to invest my life in love, to be remembered for how big I loved. I want Jesus to be so big in me that I cease to exist, and it is solely Him chasing after hearts through me.

My heart aches for the faces that pass through my mind almost constantly. I want my heart to be broken, I want to see redemption. I want to be stunned and speechless at how BIG the Lord is and how infinite He is. I want my soul to stand in places of injustice and brokenness. I want to trust and dream big - bigger than my comfort zone, bigger than what I think I can do, past all of me

I want to push my dreams solely into God's realm so I know without a shadow of a doubt that it was because of Him and His grace that they are coming true. 

And I am. Moment by moment. Taking the next step or falling to my knees at how the Lord is pursuing my heart. Conversations in my car driving down 40 or 2 hour long talks in my kitchen that I know are only because of the Lord knowing my heart so deeply and intimately, knowing the words I need to hear to challenge, inspire and call me out.                                                                                
Filling a mop bucket and coming face to face with my need for control, gasping for grace and grabbing for Jesus.                        

Standing in a room with 350 friends, men and woman, that are crying out for hearts broken over our cities, for healing and redemption, for God to show up and be glorified. Standing soul to soul proclaiming and declaring that we're walking in faith towards Jesus, taking as many of our middle school, high school and college friends with us.

Reading the words of incredible women as they reveal not only their insecurities but also the holy moments of their adoption journeys and the adventure they are trusting the Lord with. The passion the Lord has given them to rescue and bring home their children from around the world, just as Jesus pulled us and rescued us, bringing us home to be in His arms... 

I believe the Lord absolutely delights in us moving closer to His heart; asking for ours to be broken for what breaks His; for the moments He gets to romance my heart and show me how worth it I am; the chance to wake me up with a loud boom of thunder and huge hail hitting my window so that I can smile and fall back asleep thinking how cool Jesus is... 

I'm still prone to impatience.. I'm still sick to my stomach at how selfish I am... I still have an awful terrible struggle with letting go of control and trusting..

And yet, the Lord is asking big things of me. Instead of standing up and proclaiming "I got this God, thanks for the chance to show off how great I am - oh yeah, and You too!", I want to be on my knees asking for more grace and holiness, thanking Him for using the mess I am, asking to be closer to His heart then ever before. 

I've been learning so much recently about what it means to lead, to be a leader and to be a follower. I am realizing more and more the people in my life that "lead me" towards Jesus  are the ones on their knees, getting their hands dirty. 
The more I see and discover the kind of leader I want to be, the more I want to be on my knees and get my hands dirty. The more I want to talk to Jesus. The more I want my eyes to be open and my heart to be looking for the holy moments, the glimpses of Jesus working and walking and crying and dancing with me. 


A friend wrote this as his status and I was captured by these words:  "Live the kind of faith that ought to require seat belts; do the kind of work that ought to require gloves." 

I can't wait to stand before Jesus, say that I definitely needed a seat belt and that I got my hands dirty :) 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Waiting...

I came across this poem as I was reading a friend's blog this morning and it struck me hard... This past year (and still going) has been and is so much about trusting myself and trusting Jesus; about His faithfulness and me learning to be faithful; about healing and brokenness; about redemption and grace; about peace and joy; and wrapped up in all of that, its been about waiting...   


I've prayed word for word some of the lines in this poem - wishing for fast answers and quick fixes, for immediate gratification and for my heart not to be broken. And yet, the Lord has met me here - when my heart is broken He can speak and heal; when I'm tired and lacking faith, He covers me and my selfishness; when I'm frustrated and not at all patient, I can  see His grace in this elaborate redemption adventure He has asked me to be apart of.




                                                                         Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate...
and the Master so gently said,"Wait.""
Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.
My future and all to which I relate
hangs in the balance and you tell me to Wait?
"I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign.
Or even a 'no,' to which I'll resign.
You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
and grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting...for what?
"He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine...
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.
I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.
You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
you'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
when darkness and silence are all you can see.
You'd never experience the fullness of love
when the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
the faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.
You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
but oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you.
So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still "WAIT".
~Author Unknown


And so I wait. 

I wait for God to continue pursuing my heart and revealing a little bit more about where He has called me; I wait and open my arms to the people that are in my life now, loving and crying and living and dreaming together; I wait and I pray for the faces that pass through my mind and dig deep into my heart; I wait and dream of possibilities and opportunities and adventures; I wait and I learn and seek knowledge and wisdom, I ask questions and dream; I wait and I rest, knowing that my life will not look like this much longer; I wait and learn patience and just a little bit more about relying on the Lord with all of me, instead of just a part; I wait and I pray for friends now and friends to be, for an abundance of grace and a mass of courage, for the adventure and plans that are unfolding, for God to be bigger than I could dream imagine and even bigger to even comprehend...


I'm captivated by this song... The lyrics are words from my heart and so I listen to this on repeat for hours, knowing that Jesus delights in my waiting, that He is meeting me here and preparing the adventures to come, the relationships and faces to meet, the joys and the heartaches in store, the profound grace and the chances to catch deeper glimpses into His heart, to come face to face and heart to heart with His unconditional and all consuming love. 




I sit and I dance and I pray and I cry and I trust and I love as I am waiting for the next step, the next piece to fall into place, the next challenge to jump into on this crazy adventure of life that He for me.