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 🙂

I’m not a failure (despite what my brain tells me)

This week has been overwhelming, exhausting, and otherwise wearying.

It’s my last week of classes this quarter, my days have been filled with trainings and meetings for work, I’ve been on antibiotics for an infection (that I’m pretty sure has morphed into something else??), and I figured out last night that while I’ve been out of pocket my kids have been subsisting on ice cream sandwiches.

So… I’m behind on schoolwork, overloaded on material related to the exploitation of minors, neglecting my own children and my house looks like this:

IMG_5797 IMG_5798

It’s really easy to look around and think, “I’m failing. At absolutely EVERYTHING that I’m trying to do.”

In fact, I got in bed last night thinking that very thing. All of these things in my life – seminary, working with Redeemed, homeschooling my kids – are all things that God called me to, but I find myself feeling inadequate; a failure.

We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace

Ephesians 1:7

I thought about this a lot today as I was returning emails, posting in forums, getting ready for a meeting, picking up around the house and cooking dinner. I realized that my value does not come from how well I am doing at any given moment in time at any given task. My value comes from God, and I am to give him my best. Sometimes my best is going to be messy and disorganized and crazy because I am human, but that’s OK.

He knows my heart, and I am striving for my best.

This Summer

I can’t believe July is almost over. I haven’t written in ages because I just haven’t stopped long enough to put anything into a cohesive post… probably still not there but I might as well get back to it!

IMG_5191
Monet exhibit at Chicago Art Institute

The summer kicked off with a trip to Chicago for the Justice Conference with one of my best friends, Cynthia. We’d never been to Chicago and had a great time visiting the Art Institute, riding the train and seeing the sights.

IMG_5208
The el

The conference was amazing, with speakers like Dr. Cornel West, Louie Giglio, Jonathan Merritt and Bob Goff (who I got to hug!!) There were panels on racial justice and reconciliation, as well as on poverty and social reform, gender issues and how to engage the church in justice. I was invited to a networking dinner for people involved in the anti-trafficking movement and  we stayed at the Plaza. Oh… and we saw Crowder and Rend Collective in concert.

Seriously. Awesome conference. Definitely want to go back next year.

IMG_5385
At the Aram Market

So a few days after I get back from Chicago, I head back to the airport; this time I’m on my way to Kenya! If you’ve read my blog before, you may know that I’d been planning this trip for months and was joining up with a mission team from Durango, Colorado. This was a totally new experience for me, going it alone with a group of strangers but it was a good trip. It was harder than a lot of other trips I’d been on before, in a lot of ways; while everyone on the team was great, it was lonely not having a friend to share the experience with. Also, this trip focused much more on physical work than trips I’d been on in the past. We built two mud houses, worked on a gardening project and ran a medical clinic, in addition to working with an amazing group of widows and their children.

IMG_4299
One of many beautiful smiles

It was a wonderful trip. Like I said, harder than most of the trips I’ve been on in the past. It made me question some things because I struggled so much, but that’s OK. I definitely want to go back. I made some friends there that I want to see again.

I flew back from Kenya on the first day of the summer quarter for school and since then I’ve been eyeball deep in reading and research… really hard reading and research.

I’m taking Ministry with Sexually Exploited Children and Christian Ethics this quarter so I’m immersed in child abuse and the injustices of the world and how as a Christian, I should respond to them. The reading is so heavy and it’s been weighing on me pretty heavily over the last few weeks.

IMG_5364
In the gardening shed with friends

 However, the summer is already more than half over and it’s been absolutely racing! We got back today from New Braunfels and taking the kids to see JAWS at an outdoor event where we floated on a lake in the dark during the show; it was awesome. So I’m trying to find time here and there to have some fun and not devote every single moment to hard stuff.

This weekend I’m working a Walk to Emmaus as a musician, which I’m really excited about. It’ll be a great chance to relax and reconnect to the Holy Spirit, to serve and to have a great time of fellowship with some great women.

So this has been a really long post, not really that cohesive, but just kind of a catch up of what’s been going on and where I’ve been the last couple of months! It’s been busy and crazy and at times overwhelming and stressful but it’s been really good too.

Hopefully will be back soon 🙂

Just got real

So I just realized that in the next month I have three trips (one out of town, one out of state, one out of COUNTRY), and 2 research papers due as finals for this quarter. I might be slightly in shock now.

WHAT?!
WHAT?!

It’s going to be crazy and it’s going to be awesome. I hope I can slow down long enough to enjoy it all.

Special days

Happy Easter to you!

I’ve spent mine with family, celebrated my mother in law’s birthday, watched the kids do three separate Easter egg hunts and played guitar in two church services. It’s been good.

I’d have to say my favorite part though was looking out from the stage this morning to see my 13 year old daughter in church, singing along in worship.

She declared herself agnostic last year and hasn’t come to church in a long time, but our deal was that she would come on holidays and other special occasions. This has been hard for me as I’ve started seminary, and essentially committed to a life of serving Christ as a vocation, which needs a family’s support.

While I’m not going to jump the gun and declare victory over her return to Christianity, this was an encouraging sign and made this day even more special.

Praying that everyone had a great day celebrating the resurrection 🙂

religious