Mushy Ground

After a really extra long, extra cold winter here in Buffalo, spring has finally arrived!

Yesterday, I parked in my usual spot to pick up my munchkins from school. I started walking across the grass area I always do. This time though, I got really muddy. The ground was super soft and wet from all the melting snow. And it got me thinking…It’s usually after the first big thaw that the ground is the mushiest and messiest. The ground is super soft, and pliable, ready to receive the seeds in spring that will grow through summer and yield harvest in the fall. I think it’s how God uses difficulties and storms in our lives. After the winter and during the thaw:

  • We are the most pliable and soft to hear from God.
  • We are fertile soil for Him to plant in us what He is calling us to.
  • When we feel we are at our messiest, it’s the perfect time for God to shape us.
  • Many times the weeds are dead and there’s less competing to distract us from growth.

Life is all about seasons. For now, I find myself in a winter as I am waiting on God for our adoption, but there are signs that spring is coming!

If you are in the joy of summer, make sure you don’t allow the soil of your heart to harden and get you to a place where you aren’t relying on Him.

If you are in the harvest of fall, enjoy the blessing and fruit of how God is using you and immerse yourself in Him because you know another winter is coming.

If you find yourself in a cold, long winter, remember that spring is coming. Lean into Him in the long, cold nights.

And if you find yourself in the growth of spring, keep the soil of your heart soft so that God can mold you and plant in you Kingdom callings!

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” 2 Corinthians 4:17

When Death is Beautiful

My absolute favorite season is fall. As a Buffalo girl, it’s another hopeful start to the Buffalo Bills season (naysayers don’t even haha). I love the crispness of the fall air, and comfortable temperatures. I love the general “coziness” of the season: apple picking, pumpkin farms and warm apple cider. Most of all I love the beautiful colors of fall. Every day I awake to a new beautiful color display as if God repainted the canvas of the trees at night while we were all asleep.

Recently while driving I reflected on the “why” behind the changing colors. I was reminded that the changing colors are actually the process of the leaves dying. The leaves must die in preparation for winter and eventually for new growth in the spring. If it weren’t for the death of the leaves we would miss out on the beautiful splendor that comes with the changing colors. And even after the death of the leaves we know it is not the end, after some time, past the cold of winter, new leaves will bud once again.

I think this applies to our own lives. Sometimes good things must die to make way for the new. We might fight against the process, but if we were to let go, we can actually learn to appreciate the beauty in that process. Sometimes I find myself letting go of something only to try to take it back again. It reminds me of those last few leaves that hold on to the trees, the ones that are there during the first snow. The problem is, those leaves freeze, and weigh down the tree, damaging it.

We must learn to let things die. Whether its bad attitudes, bitterness and anger, or even some of our commitments that keeps us too busy. If we keep holding on to them, just like the leaves that hold on until winter, we will damage ourselves. When we let go, the death of those things make way for new life. Bad attitudes can be replaced with joy. Bitterness and anger can be replaced with peace. And moving away from being overcommitted can lead to more fullness of life.

Learning to let go is not always, and death can be painful. I encourage all of us to do it. I would even push us to take a step further, to a look for and appreciate the beauty in the process.

What things in your life do you need to let go of to make way for the new?

Spells, Bob Goff & Backyard Bullies

Last week was interesting to say the least. There was weird stuff, hopeful stuff and hurtful stuff all at the same time. My hope is that these stories and lessons learned will be an encouragement to you.

The week started out as a normal week in the let them LOL office. The energy is exciting and the office is always busy as we are preparing for our upcoming Water Gala. Then Wednesday hit. I received a call from one of our Sierra Leone staff that someone had put a spell on me. “What did you say?” was my response. Yes, someone had put a spell on me, but it wasn’t a “bad” spell, it was one that tries to control the heart of the person. However, all our Sierra Leone staff was going to fast and pray for three days for me.  Oh, thanks, now I feel much better. It’s not a bad spell but you are all going to fast and pray for three days? After we hung up, I was definitely feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed by this whole idea. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much Wednesday night.

Thursday morning I woke up thinking about the whole thing. I wondered, who do I even talk to about something like this? Then I remembered that Bob Goff, the author of Love Does (one of my favorite books) had experience with this kind of stuff as a result of the work he is doing in Uganda. In the back of Love Does, Bob left his phone number in case a reader wanted to call him. I remembered this but thought to myself: “he probably has someone answering it for him, what’s the point?” I changed my mind though and opened up the book and dialed the number. “Bob Goff here” was what I heard. I put my shock aside and went right to explaining everything, as I didn’t want to take up too much of his time. He said a lot of encouraging things and I will share the key takeaways at the end of the post.

Literally 15 minutes after I hung up with Bob, I get another call from our Sierra Leone staff. This time someone there was threatening our program. They didn’t have ground to stand on, but both our US and Sierra Leone teams were upset. We were basically being bullied so someone could get what they wanted. It took a couple of days, but the whole situation calmed down and was resolved. 
By the end of the week, we were all really worn out.

Here are a few things that I learned this week:

1. Fear is contagious, but so is hope. (Bob Goff) This is the phrase from my conversation with Bob that sticks out the most for me. Once one of our Sierra Leone staff started freaking out about the whole spell thing, then the whole team there was freaking out and then I was. When you face fear, you have a choice about how much power to give it. If you let it overwhelm you, it will spread to others. In the same way, when you allow yourself to be filled with hope that is contagious too. I want to be a HOPE spreader and a fear stopper! Don’t you?

2. Be careful who you give the microphone to in your life. (Bob Goff) Yep. I often struggle with this one. While other’s input in our lives is important, we always need to watch how much influence that has over us. I was reminded on Sunday during a song at church: “no power in hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand.” It is important to seek advice, but always weigh the advice against who you are because of WHOSE you are.

3. Perseverance. We have been so excited to be able to share so many of the amazing stories of all God is doing through let them LOL. But what most people don’t see is the weeks like these. The weeks where we are left completely empty and exhausted. Through prayer and help from God, we press on through the struggles and challenges. Someone once said “I didn’t say it would be easy, but it will be worth it.”

I’m pretty sure this week wasn’t filled with spells for you, but I’m sure many of you faced struggles and trials. What’s one thing you do when you face difficulty?