Guest Post: Behind the Artist

My friend Allie is an amazing artist and when starting our social enterprise she was the first person that came to mind for a logo design. Check out her story and the inspiration behind her art!

http://www.sparrowhousebotanicals.com/stories/behind-the-sparrow-the-artists-story

No Sleep ‘Til…

If he were alive today, my grandpa would describe my life right now as me passing myself coming and going.  I didn’t really understand that when I was a kid but I sure do now.  Between work, school, and family life I’m short on time, rest, and grace these days and starting to fray a bit at the edges.

President Pic
WHAT?!

Something I’ve been working on for the past few months that’s taken up quite a bit of my energy is the start of a new social enterprise that became a legal entity last week!  I’m super excited about it so if you have a chance, check out the website and read a bit about the business and the mission!

Sparrow House Botanicals

Ugly

I haven’t been writing lately and I’ve told myself it’s because I haven’t had time, which is partly true.  The bigger truth though, is that I haven’t really wanted to give voice to most of the thoughts I’ve been having.  I’ve been overwhelmed and overstressed, with negativity and exhaustion ruling my days, complaining and cursing the problems I’ve been facing.

IMG_3650As of right now, I’ve been acting as executive director of Redeemed for almost 3 months and to be honest, it’s been more difficult than I ever could have imagined.  I’m emotionally raw from the challenges that come from working with trauma survivors.  Mentally, I’m spent as my wheels continually turn over the responsibilities of leading an organization.  My physical self is so tired from days spent in meetings, in the car, constantly on call, and networking with donors and service providers.  My spirit feels empty, despite working for a faith based organization; this is probably the hardest to deal with as a missionary.

I’m praying, I’m reading the Bible, I’m going to church and participating in small groups, but it all seems hollow right now. I’m just a big fake and it sucks.

 “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” Habakkuk 3:17-18

I’m trying really hard to get to that second part, rejoicing despite the barrenness of my soul.  I want to have the strength of faith that allows me to praise him in all circumstances, to have the constitution of Paul, but I’m just not there yet.

I have too much anger, too much grief.

I’m sitting right now in our assessment center, or emergency shelter if you will, with our last client waiting for placement.  Lack of funding has forced us to close our doors and I’m pissed off about it.  Because of money, we’ve had to lay off a staff that gave their all in a place of constant crisis.  We’ve had to push out women who are still experiencing trauma, and put them into circumstances where they won’t be getting the kind of care they need.

I don’t know how to rejoice in this circumstance. As a believer I know that God has a plan and that beauty will come from these ashes, but right now I only feel the pain of the pruning that is taking place.  Even this post has been written over the course of several days, as I bounce through my emotions, and my writing reflects my disjointedness.

All of this rambling to say it’s hard right now.  Mission work is hard.  Ministry is hard.  Staying positive and being a good leader during times like this is really hard.  I’d appreciate your prayers.

What just happened?

So it turns out becoming a missionary and being in graduate school and having a family is kind of a lot to do.  It’s all, “YAY I’m a missionary!” and then life starts moving so fast you don’t have time to do things like grocery shop and pretty soon your kids are complaining about starving and not exaggerating for once!

It’s been a crazy couple of months.  I lost my car in the flooding back in April and within 24 hours was on a plane to Orlando for a conference.  No sooner had I landed a few days laIMG_3575ter did I get to go car shopping so that life could go on uninterrupted.  Inconvenient, but it could have been worse.  Within a week of replacing my car, we had a water leak in the house that caused us to have to rip up all of the flooring in about half the house and we’re just now putting the mess back together.

 

A friend told me that if satan was working this hard against me I must be doing something good.  I’m not sure how good, but I’ve certainly been busy!  The majority of April and May were spent getting ready for my director’s upcoming (now) sabbatical in which I would be stepping into his role.  It was a busy time in the ministry in general, with a lot of transition and a lot of emotion; we had staff members transitiIMG_8102on out of the ministry and women move on from our program, as well as new staff come in and start learning the ropes.  Our assessment center has new ladies being referred in constantly, and one moved into our long term restoration program.  We’ve dealt with health issues, both physical and mental, and celebrated a baptism with one of our sweet ladies.  Criminal charges have been dropped against another, and the women in our restoration program volunteered to serve the homeless.  The last several months have certainly been full.

So now it’s June and I have stepped (temporarily) into the Executive Director role for Redeemed and things are still standing 🙂  Please pray for me and the ministry over the next 6 months as we make our way without our regular leaders… pray that it will be a growth process for all involved.

Also, I’ve been so busy that fundraising has been a total afterthought… I’d love to talk to people about this ministry and what I’m doing so if anyone is interested in supporting me or Redeemed, please let me know! 🙂

I’m a Missionary. Don’t laugh.

I feel like I’ve wanted to be a missionary for ages now, but if you knew me even 10 years ago this would sound like a colossal joke.  But here I am, a domestic missionary, working in the field of anti-trafficking.

Over the last few years I’ve been on multiple foreign mission trips, I’ve started seminary (almost halfway through… YAY!!), and worked with Redeemed Ministries, all while going about my life as a wife and homeschooling mom of 2 crazy girls.  Last year I accepted the position of Houston Director of Operations with Redeemed, which was a bit daunting but has been great.IMG_7453

Well, I’m still the Director of Operations but have recently been taken on as missionary staff, which means not only am I an official missionary (!!!), I get to start raising support so that I can be funded like an official missionary!

That may not sound like a fun thing, or a perk of the job, but I’m actually pretty excited about it.  I’ve raised support for my mission trips in the past and used to dread “begging” for money and risking rejection when I asked for support.  But I realized as I’d go on these trips, people weren’t giving me money, they were offering their prayers and financial blessings for the work that God was going to be doing on these missions.

I love my job. I get to work with law enforcement, with other non-profits and agencies, meet fascinating people and be in ministry with people I love and respect.  No two days are ever the same and things can change in a moment.

I have the privilege of working with survivors of some of the most horrific traumas imaginable.  They bring me to tears, and they provide me with some of the most hysterical laughter.  I end every day knowing that I am exactly where God wants me to be.

I’m so grateful for the place I am in my life. I’m ecstatic that God has realized my dream of becoming a missionary. And I’m going to embrace every part of it, which includes raising support for the awesome work that God has called me to do with survivors of human trafficking 🙂