New blog

Well, as I begin this new chapter in my life, I've decided to move to a new blog. I may be back here every now and then, but I plan on using the new blog to process through things I am learning and share about life experiences. You can find the new blog here.

Thank you for sharing this amazing journey to Botswana and back with me! What a great adventure it's been! :)

Birthday Blessings

So today is the day I celebrate another year of living. I honestly have not been looking forward to this birthday at all. I'm not sure exactly why, but it just hasn't been a priority to me. I was very, very blessed this morning, though, when I had a skype phone call at 6 am with who I thought would be one of my former students using my friend Theresa's computer in Botswana. What a shock it was, though, to see all of my former class on the other side of that video! Yep, all those precious kids crammed into Theresa's office and we were able to chat via Skype for a little while. Can I just tell you, it was SO great to hear their voices! Man, I love those kids.

An added blessing was Semakaleng walking by and getting to sign hello to me and me getting to have a long chat with Theresa. It was a beautiful start to a great day! I've been loving my morning with Jesus and looking forward to time with friends later today. So far the prayer for my day has been one of thankfulness for another year of life, a year so full of blessing, challenge, and growth. And I pray that I will use this next year as an opportunity to reflect Christ more in all that I do and say, that I would love well, and that I would live a life that truly brings Him glory.

Sidenote=I think on people's birthdays we should also give a birthday greeting to their mom. I mean truthfully, it's the moms who did all the work on that day! So thanks, Mom. I love you!

True Identity

Something the Lord has been driving home with me lately is the truth that our identity should be found in Him alone, and that being His is enough. This is a harder truth for me to swallow than I'd like to admit. For a couple of years now I think I have found my identity in Botswana and God's ministry for me there. Before that I think it was in being a teacher or in having various leadership positions. But I'm not sure I've ever been in a place where I had nothing else to put my identity in other than Christ. It is so humbling...and hard. But so, so good.

You know, if you are like me, you spend so much time worrying what other people are going to think, how they are going to perceive you, and hoping that they never find out that you really don't have it all together. The fact is, though, we ALL have things we are going through, things we are struggling with, things bringing us pain in our lives. None of us really have it all together. I think if we would spend less time trying to make other people believe we did, we could actually begin really ministering to and encouraging each other. I don't know; maybe you don't relate to this at all, but this is very true for me.

Let me just put it out there...I am a mess. I don't have it all together. I am feeling pretty lost right now. I have nothing to really put my security in or find my identity in right now. BUT, that's ok. Because the fact is, I am Christ's. I am His. I am His precious daughter, a life that He ordained and knit together in my mother's womb. I don't have to have it all together or have things all figured out...because I am His. I don't have to find security in things or in people...because I am His. Nobody else in this world needs to value me or love me...because I am His and He does. No matter what I do or don't do, what sins I struggle with, no matter how many mistakes I make or how many good things I do, nothing, absolutely nothing will change who I am in Him and His perfect love for me.

This is what the Lord is teaching me right now and I have a suspicion that there might be a person or two out there who is struggling with the same thing. Can I just encourage you with something...YOU are His! He loves you! He created you and has a purpose for your life. You don't need to find value or identity in any other thing or person because He loves you, He values you, and even if you feel totally alone and lost, He never, ever, ever leaves your side. He knows the way for you to go, takes your hand, and leads you one step at a time.

Let's keep reminding each other of this because we have a great deceiver who is desperately trying to make us believe otherwise. But praise God that His word is truth:

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. You did not choose me, but I chose you..." -Jesus (John 15:9, 16a)

"Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?...For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made...Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there none of them." Psalm 139:13-14a, 16

"As indeed He says in Hosea, 'Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved.'" Romans 9:25

This is one of my new favorite songs: