be love

four and a half years ago, i stepped foot on african soil for the first time. i was overwhelmed and unsure, broken and laid bare in a place that would ultimately change + give me so much more than i could ever leave behind.

liberia was nothing that i could have been prepared for, yet i knew i was following His lead. He had sent me to this tiny nation with the mandate to “be love” to the poor, the orphaned, and the voicelessas i held children in my arms and my lap, as my tears fell silently into their ebony hair and the red dust of the earth, my heart felt so heavy and full i was sure it would beat right out of my chest.

over the years, i wondered, time + time again, if i had made a mistake, if liberia was really the place for me, if the time + energy + tears made any difference at all. and i heard Him, time + time again, always answer with the same two words. “be love.” that’s it. simple, uncomplicated, wholehearted love. that was my mission, is my mission to this day. it’s my purpose, my calling, my ministry, the cry of my heart. “be love.”

be love. to the crippled man sleeping in the garbage pile.
be love. to the thirteen year old girls raped by grown men.
be love. to the hungry boys and girls begging for a dollar, a meal, whatever they can get their hands on.
be love. to the lonely children who cry themselves to sleep at night and wonder if God has forgotten them.
be love. to the neighbors and friends who just can’t seem to catch a break in life.
be love. to the quiet voices that no one listens to, the faces that  fade into the background.
be love. to the women who wish they were better.
be love. to the men who make them feel that way.
be love. to those who know not what they do.

because really, when it all comes down to it, what each of us needs most in this world is loveand love has a face. it has a voice. it’s a bed and clean clothes. it’s justice and standing up for another’s rights. it’s a warm embrace and a kiss on the forehead. it’s giving without expecting anything in return. it’s speaking words of promise and hope over the discouraged and downtrodden. it’s getting your hands dirty and your heart broken. it’s sacrificing that which you barely have. it’s braiding a ten year old girl’s hair and whispering in her ear how beautiful she is. it’s saying, “i will not give up on you even when everyone else does.” it’s teaching an entire generation of forgotten and voiceless children that they matter, that they’re worthy, and that i see them.

though my country of residence has changed, my mission has not. no matter where i find myself in the world, no matter who is set before me, i will choose to be love. truly, there’s nothing that could matter more. join me? get on out there + be love to someone who needs it today.


in the waiting

ever had your hopes up only to have them disappointed? yeah, me too.

ever felt like it was God who let you down? yeah. me too.

i’ve had Him promise some wild and crazy things to me, things that my logical and rational mind dismiss. “there is no way,” it says. “impossible.” 
but my faith and hope have grown strong over the years. they say yes, even to that which seems to make no sense.

then comes the waiting. it’s easy at first. firm faith, high hopes. the wait is filled with expectancy and anticipation.

and then…time goes on. i’m still waiting. faith wavers, hope disappears. doubt creeps in.
“maybe i heard Him wrong.”
“maybe it really is impossible.”
“maybe. … but maybe not.”

lately, i’ve been in this place. i’ve waited such a long time, and my heart has all but given up hope.

but today, as i spent some time in worship and prayer, i heard Him. He promised–again.

“[I’m] giving you  new vision, renewed hope. I didn’t tell you to lay that down. I didn’t tell you you had to give it up. I didn’t tell you it was impossible. Behold, nothing is impossible for me. No promise that I have made shall ever turn up void, for my words are true. [I am] reviving that dream in your heart. Believe it. Receive it.”

He promised. again. and so the waiting begins. again.
i don’t know how long this wait will be. i don’t know how long i’ll have my strong faith, my eager hope. i don’t know how long.

but i know Him.
i know He is faithful.

what about you? what dreams has He placed in your heart that have been laid to rest? how long has it been?

perhaps you’ve grown weary in the waiting, as i have. perhaps it seems too good to be true, too big to be possible.
but perhaps, just maybe, you can pause for a minute and hear Him promise…again. He who can do all things, who makes everything new, who can simply breathe on dry bones and have them raised up–He is the one who promises.

“He gives life to the dead, and calls things that are not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17)

believe it. receive it.
just as He promised me, He has promised you.

wait with me. and we will see the goodness of God in the land of the living.
He promised.

Many people seem to think it foolish, even superstitious, to believe that the world could still change for the better. And it is true that in winter it is sometimes so bitingly cold that one is tempted to say, ‘What do I care if there is a summer; its warmth is no help to me now.’

Yes, evil often seems to surpass good. But then, in spite of us, and without our permission, there comes at last an end to the bitter frosts. One morning the wind turns, and there is a thaw. And so I must still have hope.

Vincent Van Gogh (via thelittleyellowdiary)

merci! gracias! THANK YOU!

Last night was the benefit concert at Hope of the Nations. Only one word can describe it: INCREDIBLE. How beautiful it was to be able to share my story and the story of what God is doing in Liberia, in the lives of those precious children that live there. I am immeasurably blessed to have had that opportunity.

Thank you so very much to all of you who came out & showed your love and support. And thankyouthankyouTHANKYOU to everyone who helped put this whole thing together! I’ve said it a million times, but it’s true – there’s no way I can do any of this without you. Thank you, Jewels, for birthing this event – love you times a million! Thank you to those who decorated (Mary, you’re awesome!) Thank you to everyone who baked all the yummy desserts (and thank you, Cordie, for taking care of planning that!) Thank you, Callowhill Cafe, for donating the coffee. Thank you, Al & Donny, for doing the sound and A/V. Thank you, Bala and Laly, for being my creative geniuses. 🙂 And thank you, Gustavo and Twila, for being not only my pastors but my dear, precious friends. Thank you for supporting and encouraging me. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for caring about the things that make my heart cry. 

And finally, thank you so incredibly much to everyone who gave. The offering last night totaled over $1,500! (And that’s not even counting any proceeds from Jewels’ merchandise or donations from my monthly sponsors.) God is so amazingly faithfulI know beyond a shadow of a doubt that last night was just the beginning of something special in my life, in the life of my church (just like you said, Twila!) and in the lives of all of you who have joined me on this journey.

Much, much love to each and every one of you.