Tag Archives: faith

I’m Not Her

I’m not her.

Her. The one with the summer-ready bikini wearing body.
I’m doing good if I buy a new bathing suit that fits.

Her. The one who has meal plans and carefully prepares the healthiest choices for her family and grocery shops within budget.
We travel so much and honestly, Stephen and I both agree that he is a better cook. 

Her. The one who never complains no matter the struggles in her life.
Hello! Is she plastic?! Does she not ever bang her funny bone and scream? 

Her. Who rises early every day to work out and pray.
Cheers to you lady, my time with Jesus is often midnight, not 5 am. Unless of course I’m in another time zone and it’s 5 am back home ;-) 

Her. The one who stays calm and only speaks kind things.
You, my friend, are a CHAMPION! Maybe it’s my red hair, but sometimes the passion I feel about life is, well,…not so calm.

I basically just described the modern-day Pinterest Christian woman and can I just say upfront that I am NOT her. 

We all have at least one person who comes to mind when you think of someone who has it all together. There can even be aspects of several women that make up an ideal person in your mind. I know I have names that come to mind.

I believe one of the greatest distractions of our generation is rooted not just in comparison, but by not appreciating who we are.

When we don’t appreciate what we have, we appreciate and idealize what others have.  

This causes confusion and unhealthy relationships on so many levels. 

I’ve seen many social media posts of friends who I think are incredible say things that ultimately convey that they don’t feel like they’re doing enough or that they’re caught in this comparison trap.

While I don’t think there is wisdom in broadcasting these type of comments to the greater social media world, I haven’t been surprised when I’ve read them. The truth is many of us feel that way even if we aren’t posting about it.

I’ve even had some people comment on my social media posts and assume my life it altogether lovely when they’re only seeing small glimpses into what I refer to as #MyKuertLife.

Without going into the crazy details of what is wrong with my life at times to spare sounding like I’m complaining (because the ideal “her” wouldn’t do that ;-) ), these people don’t really want my life because there’s only grace for me to be me. And I don’t really want to be “her“, whoever she is because I’m not graced to be her. 

When I’m trying to be someone else, I can never fully be myself.

Last fall marked four years of marriage for Stephen and I and it was an exciting little milestone in our little journey together. However, along with that fourth year, it marked four years of not being in good health as it correlated to a car accident and prevailing issues. I honestly fell into a funk for a few weeks.  

We were traveling a lot, Kibibi Design was taking off and succeeding, and even though I felt like I was able to truly dream again, I felt discouraged by physical limitations. I was weighed down by negative comments from others and I desired some routine and familiarity in my world. 

One morning I decided to have a pity party. I was complaining internally and telling myself how unfair things were and how alone I felt in my physical pain. I wished how I could sleep through just one night without waking with urinary pain and struggling through days with other complications. I was doing a pretty good job at feeling awful for myself in my self-absorbed world.

Then I heard the louder than loud voice of God speak and say, “Bailey, don’t I give you grace for every day?”. And as He often does by asking me rhetorical questions, I was silenced by His question.

Yes, there was a real pain I faced most days and He was not invalidating that.
Yes, there has been some real injustice at times and He was in no way ignoring that. 

He was just bringing to my attention a much-needed reminder that He was giving me fresh grace to face every day for the ups and downs that my life encountered.

My struggle was because I wasn’t aware and thankful that there was grace extended for me to be who God created me to be even in difficult situations. God gives me grace for my shortcomings and to deal with the health issues I’ve faced. He also gives me the grace I need to use my strengths of administration, creativity, and connecting with people.

This realization caused me to have joy, TRUE joy whenever I faced these trials. One might think that because I know the words that James, the brother of Jesus opens his book of the Bible with that I’d have already walked in this profound joy. However, just because I have scripture memorized and have taught on it, doesn’t mean I truly KNOW it or apply it to my life. 

James says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

I wasn’t facing every trial or pain with sorrow and discouragement, but some days are definitely harder than others. I wasn’t even struggling with comparing myself to others so much, but I often assumed that I “should” be doing this thing or that thing. Others told me I “should” be “her” and I let myself believe them and the lies I was telling myself.

In short, I was “shoulding” on myself.

I know that “shoulding” is not a real word and I’m fighting the red underline marks as I type, but it’s definitely a Bailey word. Whenever I think that I “SHOULD” know better, “SHOULD” do better, I am “SHOULD-ING” on myself. And you, lovely one,  “should” on yourself and you “should” on others too. 

When we envy others or wish we had aspects of their lives, we don’t factor in the grace that God gives to them to live those lives. We automatically assume we would have the grace to be them and by aiming to be someone else, we negate the grace we have to be ourselves. 

Sometimes I can’t do things that I could even just a few years ago because of new physical limits or the changes our job has brought our way. While that’s frustrating at times, it’s unfair to expect that I “should” be able to do the things I did before. I did those things before a lot of injuries to my body or when I lived in a consistent location with minimal travel. 

Often these thoughts have originated with someone else’s opinions and their “shoulding” over my life and they have never originated with God. 

We have to be close to what He is saying in any given season so we don’t get close to someone else’s plans for our life. 

When I see others who have their well thought out meal plans and host dinners, I can’t assume I “should” do that. I’m rarely ever home in my pre-furnished apartment. When people see me traveling and think they’d like to have that, they’re not factoring in the sacrifices we’ve had to make.

Sure there are aspects of someone else’s life that from a distance we think we would want, but we never can truly operate in their lives with the individual unique grace given to us. 

I stopped viewing “I’m not her” as a negative statement that projects a longing to be someone else. Instead, I say, “I’m not her” and I mean it as a positive statement because by not being “her”, I’m allowed to be fully me. 

I’m not her because I’m me.
I’m not her because I want to be me.

I’m not her because only she can be her.

I’m not her because I am not graced for her life.

I’m not her because I’m only graced to be me.

You aren’t “her” either because you’re only graced to be you. And what a lovely “you” you  are! 

My Grandmother’s Dandelions

dandelion (1)

My grandmother, my mom’s mom, sent me an email of a comic strip this week.

She’s 88 and not only does she use an iPhone, Facebook, and Instagram, but she has a better memory than I do sometimes. Maybe this happens because she’s fully present in a given moment and makes you feel like you’re the center of her world. I always joke with her that she’s not that old because my memory is worse than hers.

When I opened the comic, I had no idea why this was relevant. I asked her why she had sent it and she recalled an exchange between she and I a few weeks previously.

Most of my mom’s side of the family had been in together celebrating Easter and some birthdays so we all went out in the backyard to take a family picture to capture the moment.

Upon coming around the corner from her patio, I noticed Spring had indeed sprung up with a bunch of dandelions scattered all over her yard.

I said, “Wow look at all of those dandelions!” which were literally everywhere. I said this in a negative way as I was thinking of the toil involved in removing them.

My sweet grandmother says as giddy and thankful as possible, “Oh…Thank you God!!”

Perplexed, I asked, “You’re thankful for the weeds?”

She said, “Yes (giggled) they’re beautiful”.

The Hi and Lois comic she sent me had a little baby admiring the dandelions calling them pretty flowers and assuming that the mother must like them too because she was picking all of them. The mom is then shown gathering the weeds and quite flustered and complaining.

One saw the beauty in the evidence of Spring and another experienced the toil and nuisance of Spring.

I laughed that my grandmother remembered this and I wondered how I had forgotten it so quickly.

I assume if I had the perspective that she had that I would’ve remembered it because I would’ve been thankful like she was.

This made me ponder about how many times I’ve chosen to look at situations with an ungrateful heart and missed out on a moment to be thankful and to stop “smell the roses”( or dandelions as the case may be).

How many times have I acted old but not wise in my age? How many times do I not see with the simple faith of a child?

While I joke with my grandmother about truly being younger than me at times, I think that she has learned to have faith like a child. Even though there is a 59 year age difference where I am obviously younger, I often see things like the mom in the comic strip and instead of being thankful, I become frustrated.

After the exchange between my grandmother and I, my youngest cousin picked up a dandelion that just had seeds and blew it all over the ground.

Yes, that created more dandelions if they took root, but she seized the moment to be thankful too and created a memory instead  of losing a moment like I had. 

This little reminder with the dandelions is helpful to slow down and see the beauty even in things that are annoying and will require a little extra effort.

If you’re anything like me, stop and appreciate the small things of beauty. I immediately saw a task that needed attention instead of the fun and beauty that dandelions can produce. I forgot a moment with my precious grandmother when she savored that moment.

Also, if you have dandelions, once you’ve admired them, then go get your lawn mower or some weed killer because clearly your yard needs some attention ;-)

Happy Spring! 

Where Feet May Fail–Overcoming the Fear of Failure

Where feet mail fail (1)

Have you ever felt paralyzed to move forward with something?
Have you stepped out and had a bad experience and purposed in your heart not to try again?
I’ve been there and I think all of us have faced failure to some varying degree in our lives. I’ve learned a few things from my experiences and I want to begin 2016 by becoming a water walker.

When we moved to Madagascar in 2014, we asked people to pray for us whenever they heard the song, “Oceans”, by Hillsong since we were in fact moving to the middle of the ocean. The lyrics spoke such life into me during a season where I needed them the most and wrote about it some on my blog here.

Some of my favorite lyrics say,

“Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.”
This song is about the story of Peter walking on water to meet with Jesus. To understand what I mean by becoming a water walker, we’ll need to look at the story of Peter found in Matthew chapter 14.

When they added subtitles in the chapters of the Bible, they didn’t title this story “Peter fails and sinks”, “Jesus rebukes Peter’s faith” or even, “Peter walks on water”.
It’s titled “Jesus walks on water”.
This goes to show this story has very little to do with Peter’s ability to do something and everything to do with Jesus’ empowerment.

To Peter’s credit, I love how when Jesus called to Peter that he came. He was wiling to come when everyone else sat in the boat. He went TOWARDS Jesus and AWAY from the boat that confined everyone else.

The Bible doesn’t tell us how many steps Peter took on the water before he sank. For all we know he could’ve walked half way across the lake or maybe he only took two steps.

I try to put myself in the shoes of Peter because in acting you have to do this to try to understand what motivation your character has for their actions. This story causes me to ask myself all sorts of questions like–Did Peter think that first step was actually going to work?
Was he wondering how it would be possible to walk across the water to Jesus?
When he realized that he could walk on water, did Peter think it was of his own accord?
However many steps he took and whatever questions he might have thought, the Bible is clear that Peter got distracted by the wind surrounding him.

When Jesus says,” O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”, I don’t believe it was this harsh disappointment of, “Really Peter?! You failed?! Good job–well now you’re sinking!”. I believe it was more of an empowering rebuke of, “Hey I had you–did you not know that I was keeping you afloat? Why did you doubt me? Why did you move your trust off of me?”.

It was a learning lesson not just for Peter, but for the other disciples as well AND a lesson to you and I.

When I let my fear of failure keep me from ever stepping out of the boat, I don’t leave any opportunity for Jesus to sustain me or to catch me when I fall.

Where Feet (1)

Peter needed to know that you have to come to the end of your faith in yourself before you’ll ever see the true beginning of what your faith in Jesus will look like. Jesus knew that this moment would prepare Peter for the future. He knew that one day Peter was going to deny Him three times and feel like a total failure.

Walking on water was an illustration to show Peter that he was going to do something no one else had ever done because of Jesus’ empowerment. This happened so that when the biggest heartache of his life comes later on from denying Jesus and knowing he died, he would know there was a hope of redemption.

Maybe Peter eventually had the thought, “If I started to sink because I got distracted with the storm around me and Jesus caught me, He can catch me again in this storm that I am in now.”

Jesus knew that getting Peter to walk on water that it would not only prepare him for other times when his faith would fail, but it also taught Peter to stand in difficult circumstances. He had to learn to rely on Jesus so that he would be prepared for the day when he would lead the church.

He learned to step out so that others could follow. The principle I’ve taken away from this is that if I don’t leave my comfort zone, I can’t lead people out of their comfort zones.

I love the end of John chapter 21 when Jesus has been resurrected from the dead and restored Peter. He says these words in verses 18-19, “ Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish. This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’”

These are the last words that we have noted where Jesus is speaking directly to Peter. Jesus is talking about Peter’s death here and how he would die in a way that would glorify God by dying on a cross. Jesus uses the words, “you walked where you wished” which reminds me of Peter taking the steps to get OUT from where he was comfortable and walk where only Jesus could sustain him. In Peter letting himself actually feel his feet failing and Jesus catching him, he was prepared for the storms to come.

I think so many times we resist the storms because we think we might fail. We get afraid to step into something new because we anticipate a storm might come and we might not be able to do it on our own. Yet if Jesus caught us once like He did with Peter in saving us, then we have the promise that He’ll catch us over and over again.

Many know that I have faced significant health challenges since SK and I got married. Far more than we shared on our House Hunters International episode ;) A bad car accident that left me with a compressed vein in my kidney that took two years to diagnose, some nerve damage that thankfully hasn’t been permanent, reoccurring infections and various tropical diseases. Moving to Madagascar where my throat began to close off in the middle of the night while visiting in 2013 was quite a step of faith. Our job required us to go and we felt with what information we had at the time that God was calling us, so off we went.

To be honest I was afraid of failing.
I was afraid if I took this step and failed that it would be the worst thing ever. Yet even in the chaos of the storms and in the pain, Jesus had me the whole time and has made such beautiful things out of my bold and obedient steps. He can with your steps too.

Thomas Edison tried over 1,000 ways to invent the lightbulb. When he was asked about his 1,000 failed attempts, he said this, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The lightbulb was an invention that took 1,000 steps.”

What is it that you need to take another step out of your comfort zone this year?
What doubts have held you back?
Have you tried to do something in your own strength only to fail?

Jesus is ready to catch you my friend and restore your trust in His ability to keep you walking on water! 

Keep taking steps in this new year of 2016 and purpose to become a water walker!!!
Keep trusting and don’t be afraid of failing!
What looks like a failure to yourself or to those around you is an opportunity for God’s strength to come in and through your lives.

I shared these thoughts in the closing point of a sermon with SK two weeks ago and you can listen on podcast here. This point is from 25 minutes-30 minutes.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Cheez-Its in the Fireplace

Today, the house worker assigned to the guesthouse in Kenya where we are staying right now came over. Honestly he is more like family as he’s worked in the compound where my in-laws have lived for about 20 years. His name is Paul and he’s one of my most favorite people ever. He comes over to hand wash dishes (because there is no dishwasher) and take care of things inside of the house. There is a fireplace here and while I know some friends are sweating in the August temps in the USA, I’m freezing here in Kenya. We’ve been asked by the workers on the compound why we haven’t lit a fire yet as there is a lot of firewood outside of the house and we’ve never had a good response. We’ve been back and forth to so many medical appointments and running around that when we come home at night, we just throw on more layers and heat up hot water bottles. Last night however, we finally lit a fire! I sat near it and finished an ongoing project on my computer and then we watched a movie.

This morning when Paul came over, he was very happy to see that we had used the fireplace last night! Stephen thanked him for putting the wood in there and that we had really enjoyed it. A huge smile came across his face and a joyful laugh came forth. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Paul has the best smile and is one of the most joyful people I’ve ever met. I’m always trying to learn Swahili from him and make jokes to get him to smile. Even though he’s known Stephen for years, we joke that I’m now Paul’s favorite. All that to say once Stephen said that “Bailey really appreciated having a fire”, the man was on a mission! He cleaned out the ashes and quickly brought in more firewood.

I entered the room right as I saw him carrying a “Cheez-It” box. I thought what on earth is Paul doing with a Cheez-It box and where did it come from anyways?! I’m not going to lie, it also kind of made me hungry. I watched him as he walked over to the fireplace and began to rip the box apart. “Ah for kindling!”, I said as I realized what was going on.

Stephen and I then headed out the door in search of reliable internet. We again emphasized our gratefulness for Paul taking care of the fireplace and how much we were looking forward to another fire on this cold day. As we headed down the driveway in a car, we saw the man coming to repair the electricity in the house (which is a story for another day). Stephen went back inside with the electrician and as he did, the mechanic came to get the car which got hit two nights ago (again another story for another day). So that ended our plans to go find internet. Back inside the house I went and began to work on my laptop as Stephen discussed with these men. Shortly after sitting inside I began to hear “popping” noises. Stephen started laughing from the other room and called out to me, “Paul lit a fire for you!”. Oh my! He took my gratefulness to another level and lit a fire for me during the daytime! Good thing as we were now stranded at the house. photo 1

This made me think of having a grateful attitude to the Lord. He delights in us being thankful and praising Him. He is always moved on our behalf and wants to bring us good gifts. One word of thankfulness from our lips causes our hearts to receive more of His goodness. He is always pouring out love on us, but I’ve found that a thankful heart positions us to become more aware of His goodness. I challenge you today to thank Him for something He’s done. It could be something so small, but find something to be thankful for. Tell Him that you love Him and that you’re thankful you’re a child of God. Then wait for His reply. It might just be that your own Cheez-It box appears from no where and that your heart gets lit up with more thankfulness for Him ;-) …but really, I’m craving those tiny cheese crackers now!

Since my entry above, a VERY thoughtful missionary here in Kenya read my blog and brought me these photo 2

Avocado Tree

In the backyard of my in-law’s house in Kenya is a huge avocado tree.

It produces avocados that average about 2 pounds each.
This varies largely in comparison to the tiny avocados that Stephen buys at Whole Foods in the States :)

My in-laws didn’t plant this tree, the former owners did.
Whenever they moved into the house and heard there was an avocado tree, they were a bit amazed as the tree was so little and didn’t produce any fruit.

My father-in-law asked a local gardener how to get the tree to produce fruit.

He was told to beat the tree with a bat or a stick.

I can only imagine what the neighbors must’ve thought when he went out to beat up the tree.

Shortly after the “beating”, the tree began to blossom for the first time. That was when they learned that these trees must be shocked in order to produce fruit.

This made me think about my walk with God.

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that praying for patience inevitably produces more opportunities for…patience right? Such as a traffic jam (which in Africa can be painfully long).

Well in my experience, there seems to be a place where when we go through trials and test that we have a chance to grow in the fruit of the spirit.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against sun there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”-Galatians 5:22-26

When you go into Christian bookstores and see jewelry and various other Christian items that have the fruit of the Spirit listed on there, the fruit appear simply and applicable to every believer’s life right?

There are even paintings of beautiful fruit baskets and cornucopia of fruit with Galatians 5 written on them.

I haven’t however seen huge warning signs or fine print attached to such beautiful gifts and decor that tell of what it took to produce that fruit.

Yet, that’s probably what should be written ;)

Let’s see long-suffering…what on earth does that mean?
What types of things would we walk through to produce that fruit in us? ::WHACK::
Kindness? What about that obnoxious neighbor who is completely disrespectful of anyone else but themselves? ::WHACK:: just a chance to grow in kindness.

I definitely think the picture of the avocado tree is a picture of us growing in the fruit of the Spirit.

I don’t mean to say that God beats us and challenges us in order for us to grow in fruit. But Jesus did say that in the life we would have trials and tribulations.

He never said life wouldn’t quit throwing punches at us simply because we are Christians, but we are promised that we are more than conquerors through Him.

So when life takes it’s “whacks” at you, ask Christ for endurance that you would produce fruit of the Spirit and fruit that remains.

The avocado tree in Kenya is now over two stories tall and produces several hundred avocados each year.

What fruit will the trials you’re going through now produce in the years to come?

Day 23–Words in RED–Witnesses

And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:7,8

Jesus’ last words in red to His disciples were these great words. While He has already died at Calvary, He hadn’t yet ascended to the Father. He actually spent 40 days on the Earth after resurrection which is astounding to me in itself. As He is leaving, He comforts His disciples with these words. He is sending the Holy Spirit in place of Himself. He states that they will receive POWER to be His witnesses to the ends of the Earth.

So much can be shared on this verse and the content surrounding it. I just wanted to close the words in red this month by challenging us to receive the power of Holy Spirit to be Jesus’ witnesses in the earth. Regardless of where we are and what we are called to do, we need the power of Holy Spirit to live rightly, to seek Jesus fully and to tell others of His great love.

In this day, they were going to be the first to be filled with Holy Spirit and go out with the testimony of Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead. It was important that their old selves “died” so to speak and were empowered with boldness to proclaim this truth. Many would die for their faith, but did so at the gain of many coming to know Christ. You and I are reading this today because these disciples went and shared the truth of the gospel.

In one moment we see Peter who had been full of shame and had weeks earlier rejected Christ become full of boldness and proclaim the gospel and thousands get saved! We see John who went to the foot of the cross later on become the revelator who beheld Jesus in a way no one has. It’s amazing how these men and women went from followers to bold witnesses simply by receiving Holy Spirit. They yielded themselves to Him and obeyed the words in red.

Likewise for us to become witnesses for Him, we must receive the Holy Spirit. We can’t depend on our own ability to walk out Jesus’ commands and testimony of the gospel. We must lean upon a power that is higher than ours. Holy Spirit who knows and understands the ways of God and the Son. The One who leads us and guides us in all truth. The only way we can walk in total truth and share this to the ends of the earth is abiding with the words in red and receiving the greatest gift that could be given to us. Jesus wants to abide with you and I forever. Not just in eternity, but in the here and now while we are on this earth. This world needs to hear His truth and the dark areas need His light.

Will you receive power from the Holy Spirit? Will you share the words in red with the world?


Day 22–Words in RED–Faith Without Sight

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

Today I had the opportunity to speak to some Kenyan youth. Their service was a panel discussion where they could ask leaders questions. I was asked at the beginning of service to close the end. I was blown away by the questions these young people asked. They asked such involved things that it was decided to continue the panel next week.

As I listened to their thoughts and questions, I formatted thoughts to close with. I thought of this verse in that we are those in the later part of the verse. We believe in Jesus even though we do not see Him. When you consider all of those who have given their lives to Jesus since His resurrection against those who physically walked with Him on the earth, it’s obvious more have believed without seeing than who believed by seeing.

I know I often want to be like Thomas, whom Jesus is addressing here. He wanted to be absolutely sure that this was truly Jesus. While I’d like to physically be with Him to know He is real, I’ve yet to have that privilege;) . Yet I have His word, His saving grace, and the testimony of His life, death and resurrection.

I have the choice to either believe or not believe the words in red. There will be moments of questions and not understanding all of the bible. Many times I’ve asked questions that the youth asked today. Often I’ve wondered why did God do this or why did God say that. While I may not always understand, I keep seeking Him. I keep taking steps towards Him. Jesus didn’t discourage Thomas’ unbelief or questions. Instead He met Thomas in the midst of uncertainty and proved who He was.

Likewise blessed are we when we believe even if we don’t see. Even if we don’t understand everything there is to know about Jesus, but we choose to believe, we are blessed. Even if we question things at times, it’s ok as long as we seek Him, His truth and His word and still believe. Jesus affirmed Thomas and drew near to his questioning heart. How much more will He draw near to is whom, “have not seen yet believed”?

“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” Proverbs 25:2

Day 21–Words in RED–Come

And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. Matthew 14:25-29

There is more to this story, but I want to focus on the first part of this story.

There are many things I’ve done in my life that I thought that I had no courage or strength for. Even the fact that I am living in Africa at the moment is beyond something I could’ve done in my own strength or good ideas. Jesus strategically beckons me to come to Him wherever He is. There are times that I am quite confined to my “boat” and my ideals. Then Jesus comes along and shows me something beyond my boat. I call out like Peter did and if I know it is in fact Him, I have empowerment to take a step.

Often we stay in our comfort zones, our ideals of who Jesus is and where He is. When we find Him and He calls out to us, we’re often afraid to step out.

How strange and bizarre it must have looked for Peter to walk on water. Can you imagine what Peter would’ve thought if he had been told a week prior that he would walk with Jesus on water? It would’ve seemed inconceivable. Yet, it’s in those odd happenings like this that we can often find our Lord. He is there on the water challenging our thinking and ways of logically following Him.

What boats are holding you captive? What are the “walking on water” experiences Jesus wants you to walk in? Are you positioned in a place to hear Him calling to you? Have you overlooked seemingly impossible scenarios because it wouldn’t make sense to find Jesus there?

Jesus tells Peter,”Take heart, it is I, don’t be afraid”. With this assurance, Peter is filled with bravery to do something that’s never been done before and meet with Jesus in a remarkable historic way.

Jesus never said following Him would be easy. Most times, our steps of faith are difficult and require leaning upon His commands. He makes us brave and able to walk on the waves of this life.

“You make me brave. You call me out beyond the shore onto the waves…”

Day 20–Words in RED–The 10 Virgins

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘ No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. Matthew 25:1-13 

This is one of my favorite passages of scripture and since today is my birthday and the date is the 25th, I thought Matthew 25 would be fitting! :-)

Since today’s passage is longer than normal, I’ll keep this short and sweet. We must obtain intimacy of known who Jesus is and His heart. We can’t go off of someone else’s relationship with Him. We must encounter Him ourselves and be on the our look for Him in all areas of our lives.

Here’s a great song I love about this passage https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj3SVa6RS1A

Day 19–Words in RED–Send Out Laborers

Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Matthew 9:38 

I felt these words in red hit my heart in a particular way in the middle of the night last night. I began to pray. As I’m watching the World Cup most evenings here in Africa, I am seeing many faces of many nations. Even traveling around in Nairobi daily, I’m interacting with wealthy and intelligent doctors as well as poor people. There are some native born Kenyans and many others from various nations. Every one a part of the harvest.

This verse is obviously close to my heart as a missionary. I see all being ones who Jesus loves, cares for and died for. I’m thankful for my experiences as a missionary even before I became a full-time one. I’m thankful I’ve traveled not for pleasure but for purpose. I’ve seen many beautiful places, but most importantly I’ve met beautiful people and watched Jesus transform their lives. It’s a real joy to serve Jesus’ heart for souls.

I grew up loving Africa and always saw myself living here one day. Once I came to know Jesus, my heart broke for the people here and around the world. I even thought I would marry a European missionary to Africa ;) As I traveled and sent teams around the world, I began to love all people and pray for the nations. I’ve cried hard over countries I may never touch foot in. I’ve prayed for people I might never meet. Then there are the ones I have met in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in Cambodia, in Dominican Republic and many more places. The ones even today I asked Jesus to send someone across a friend’s path that needs Him, and the faceless ones in Kenya whom I’ve yet to meet who need Him. Catching a glimpse of how God feels over a person and praying for them is the best feeling in the world. Partnering with God by praying for the harvest and going out to the nations is to me the greatest use of our lives even if it’s not in a full time occupational job. We are all called to pray.

God, send forth laborers into the harvest. Wake up our hearts to live for something bigger than ourselves. Show us Your heart for people. Let us be willing to go in these last days. Let us be salt and light to a world bound in fear and darkness. Let us look around us and realize that the harvest is everywhere and let us not waste any time.