Meeting in a Moment

Tonight, my eyes saw one of the prettiest sunsets.  The sun was only visible through its reflections on the clouds.  These reflections brought so much beauty for our eyes to see.

How special it was that God made the sky breathtakingly beautiful in that moment just for us to enjoy.

This beauty faded quickly.  In an instant the sun set and all of the unique ways it was shining through the clouds was over.

How easy it would have been to miss that beautiful moment from God tonight.

Coming home from about nine months out of the country has landed me in a difficult time of transition in my life.  It is a time I know more than ever that I need to fully rely on God.

Maybe this is why this moment with God tonight reminded my heart of the importance of stopping in the moment to really see and enjoy what is in front of us-not our problems, fears, struggles, or doubts…but rather God Himself.

To be still in His presence knowing that He is God.

To be quiet long enough to hear His voice for comfort, reassurance, direction, acceptance.

To be open to these moments with God as opposed to missing out.

Since being home it would have been easy for me to miss out on every moment God wanted to meet with me.  I found myself in a place of doubt, fear, anxiety, worry, sadness, and confusion. The very things clouding my vision from seeing God in the midst of it all.

The beauty I have seen tonight reminded me that God wanted to meet with me right where I was, in that dreaded place.

I am so thankful that God is shining a light on a new path with Him.  I am stepping out of all of the things that want to hold me back from seeing and enjoying God’s beauty in my life.  In these moments is when everything else fades away and all we can do is behold the beauty of our God in every season of our lives.

I desire for my eyes and heart to be open and ready to meet with God in those special moments He creates just for us to enjoy with Him.

Thank you Jesus for the moments you make throughout our days for us to behold your beauty.  Help us Father to never miss out on the best moments of our days-with You. 

 

 

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King of My Heart

Let the King of my heart

be the mountain where I run

The Fountain I drink from

Oh He is my Song

Let the King of my heart

be the shadow where I hide

the randsom for my life

Oh He is my Song

These lyrics are from a song I have simply come to love.  We sang this song at a worship night and God used it to speak straight to my heart.

Earlier that day I was wrestling with my thoughts yet again.  It is just so hard to be “home” after making my home in foreign places during the last nine months of my life.

My time away encouraged and highlighted these passions I have deep in my heart.  The most obvious of passions being India and women rescued from sexual exploitation.

Now that I am home I find these passions fading away, or so I thought.  And is exactly what I thought just before I walked into worship.  Fear and doubt knocked on the door of my heart as I wondered how these passions could possibly be fading away from my heart when I was certain God was the one who had put them there.

Then we sang the song above and in an instant God asked me the following:

What is the king of your heart, Diane?

When I thought about my answer everything became clear to me.

These passions of mine aren’t fading away they are just falling into place.  It is not the easiest process to watch passions of yours fall away from places of your heart they are just not meant to be.  But it is oh so necessary because of the following:

I am not to love what God has called me to more than I love Him.

I am not to focus my attention on the things I do for the Lord more than I focus on Him.

I am not to do for God more than simply being His.

I am not to get caught up in the needs all around me more than I get caught up in sitting still in God’s presence.

With passions as the “king of our heart” we cannot rely on them, depend on them, trust in them for anything.  Only when God is the King of our heart can we rely fully, depend completely, and trust wholeheartedly in Him to keep these passions and fulfill them in His time in His way.

When these passions of mine fall I trust they are landing in the places they need to be.  The places where God wants them to be for Him to grow them deeper and use them best for the purposes He has planned since before I was even born.

And as the song continues to play, my heart fills with thankfulness to God for protecting the throne of my heart to be only His.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When You Don’t Know

In April, I made my way back to Amsterdam to attend a six week seminar surrounding the topic of human trafficking and the Christian response.  The seminar was quite intense, hearing from just over 20 speakers from all aspects of this injustice: prevention, awareness, aftercare, law-enforcement…just to name a few.

I remember one of the first days being bombarded with the following question:

After you see what you see and hear what you hear are you going to be able to say at the end of the day that God is good?

For the remainder of my time at the seminar and during my time in Spain working in an aftercare home for women, the question was on the back of my mind.  Now that I am home, this question remains.

My answer has always been and still is, of course, God is good no matter what.  The problem with this answer is that it was not the answer of my heart until recently.

Being home has its own set of challenges.  I have had so much change in the last nine months.  Being home brings more change and a lot of unknowns.

I do not know what this next season of my life will look like.

I could think of all of the unknowns.  Trying to come up in my mind with different plans and ideas and thoughts of what I could possibly do or where God possibly wants me to go and do.  And this is what I have been doing a lot of.

The only thing this does is cause an unnecessary and ridiculous amount of anxiety.

I realized that I have a choice to make during this transitional time of my life.  I can continue to focus on the unknowns driving myself into an overwhelming pit of anxiety, doubt, and fear OR I can choose to give God the unknowns and focus my thoughts on all of the things I do know.

Because when it comes down to it, God knows each of my unknowns.  I do not need to think about them because He already has.  I need to think about all of the things I do know.

In this process of making my little list of things I know that I am going to focus on from now on, I realized one of the things I know that I know that I know is:

God is GOOD.

This isn’t just an empty phrase.  This is truth that has been rooted deeply into my heart especially during the last nine months of my life.

As I followed God into dark places, His goodness remained.

As I saw heartache and despair, God’s goodness was found.

As I listened to stories that should have never been a reality for God’s precious children, I learned of the goodness God alone is using to rewrite these stories.

I always like to remind myself of the following, if God has done something before it is a good indicator that He is going to do it again.  It will look differently but it will be His best.

Reflecting back on all of the goodness of God that I have seen and experienced reminds this weary heart of mine that His goodness will continue.

So as I sit here with the threat of unknowns ready to devour my peace, I hold onto the goodness of God.  I hold onto my little list of the good things about God that I am going to focus on.

As I continue on this path God has me on to see the brokenhearted and journey with them to Him, this question will continue to challenge me.  Knowing God’s goodness will not always come naturally, but I am thankful for those moments I have had witnessing His goodness and as I focus on those I wait with eager anticipation for all of the future goodness of the Lord.

Thank you Jesus for eyes that see Your goodness no matter what.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Psalm 27:13

 

 

 

 

Into the Depths of His Love

Spiraling downward…that is how I have felt.

Downward into what?  It would have been easy to be convinced I was going to a place of despair.  A place of darkness.  A place so filled with doubt and fear there is no space for light, love, peace.

For many moments throughout my time here in Amsterdam I almost lost hope and accepted this pit of despair.

Thankfully, when fear invaded my heart and tried to paralyze me, God was there through prayers of sweet friends.

When I wanted to give up and go home, sermons from back home encouraged me to persevere.

When doubt filled my mind, I emptied my mind into God’s hands and received His truth to meditate on.

It was in each of these moments I realized the truth of the depths I was diving deeper into: God’s love.

The enemy wanted to discourage me.  He wanted me to believe the lie that I was drifting away from God’s love.

In these moments God gave me His eyes to see.  Clearly.

I am drifting into the depths of God’s love for me every time I find the courage inside to stand against the enemy’s schemes of destruction and hold fast to God’s Right Hand.

God is with me in the quiet green pastures and He is with me in the valley of the shadow of death.

This past six weeks has been hard, but it has also been a time where I have felt moments of God’s joy like never before.  Moments where I have been more sure of God’s never ending love for me than ever before.  Moments where I have just held His Word in my hands and heart knowing I am secure.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,…Ephesians 3:17b-18

Thank you Jesus for taking me deeper into the depths of your love.

 

Journeying to His Heart

I remember the first time I listened to an informative CD on human trafficking.  The lady speaking was training counselors who were preparing to go overseas to work with lives impacted by this injustice.  Before listening to this CD I had never known about this injustice.  After listening I just knew God was calling me to do something with all I had just heard.

I did not know what or how or when but I started with prayer, asking God to show me just how He wanted me to be involved with this injustice.

A few days later I was talking with a friend after church.

“I am praying for six girls that have been rescued from a brothel in India, will you pray for one?”

This plea for prayer was the exact answer to my prayer.  This was the start of a journey of seeking and finding God’s broken heart for one of the most heinous injustices flourishing in this fallen world.

The first Praying Aunties meeting I attended to pray for two of the six sweet girls just rescued, I was told about the opportunity to go to India.  I thought to myself, that is great that you all want to go I will pray for you but there is no way I am going to India.

Little did I know God was using my prayers for these sweet girls in India to open my heart to going to India.

I started praying about the possibility of me going to India.  I told God I needed a sign because if I was going to go to India I would have to know this is what He wants me to do.

God gave me a sign, a literal sign hanging from the ceiling of a store I walked into the night before I had to have my decision to go to India or not to go to India.

The sign simply read “Journey to India” and it was in that moment I knew I was going to a place I never wanted to go but a place God surely did.

After my first trip to India where I worked with several of the homes the Praying Aunties Network supports through prayer, I just knew God was calling me to work in some capacity with these lives impacted by human trafficking.

I was starting to see the how, the what, the where God wanted me.

God was calling me close to this broken piece of His heart.  The more I learned of the things that broke God’s heart related to this injustice, the more my heart broke.

During this time I felt God calling me to counseling school and India.  Sure enough He provided a way for both of these to be a reality when I went to the Foundations in Counseling school in Amsterdam and India.

While in Amsterdam I learned of a Shine Seminar that focuses on the injustice on human trafficking and the Christian response.

Again, I knew God was calling me to this seminar.

I will have the opportunity to attend this six week seminar in Amsterdam.  I leave today and will return May 21st!

I am most excited to understand God’s heart more for this injustice and His heart of justice.  I am so thankful for this opportunity that will bring me even closer to His broken heart.  That being said, I know there will be challenges but I know God is with me always.

This is where I am so thankful for you.  Your prayers for me provide the comfort and support I need.

I love knowing and seeing God’s journey for me to His heart and I am excited to follow Him where He is leading.  I trust after the seminar He will continue to lead and guide me as I journey to the depths of His heart.

With His Love and mine,

Diane

 

 

Sprinkled with Joy

I always feel compelled to share what God is doing in my heart towards the injustice of human trafficking during the month dedicated to bringing awareness to this heinous injustice.

Normally as I write I am surrounded by the comforts of home.  Sitting on my plush couch, sipping a cup of hot coffee, wrapped in a warm blanket.  This year as I write I am sitting far away from home in a different kind of home especially dedicated to the lives of sweet children impacted by the horrors of human trafficking.

The team I am with is working in a home filled with sweet ones who were rescued from the brothels where they were born and raised.  The brothels are not a place intended for children to be.  Some children do not make it out of these horrible places alive.  Children are robbed from their innocence and freedom while behind the walls of these brothels.  Their surroundings are far from comfortable.  Whether they are under the bed their mother uses for “clients” or hidden in a hole in the wall…this is no place for a child to grow up.

Fortunately the children I have been spending the last couple of weeks with were saved from the grasp of the enemy and brought into a safe place.

Sharing smiles, laughter, food, games, songs, and God’s word with these sweet children has been one of the hardest yet most joy-filled times of my life.

Each child has a story that cannot be told without tears falling from your eyes, but God reminded me He holds these tears.

During worship one night God spoke to my heart about this verse in Psalms that says He collects our tears in jars.  I was trying to find this verse in my Bible but instead I found another:

Psalm 126:5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.

When my eyes met these words in my Bible I instantly thought of my time here with these children.  There have been many tears falling from my eyes.  There have been even more in my heart.  I think of what these children have been through, what they are still going through, and all they have to face ahead of them.  I think of the ones that have already been sold and are just being “held” in a safe place until they “mature” to the wee age of 9 to follow their mother’s footsteps in the brothels.  I think of the people tirelessly fighting for their freedom against corrupt justice systems.  I think of the stories that were never intended to be penned.  All I can do in response is cry and ask why. Why did this have to happen?  Why do these little innocent children have to be affected by someone else’s brokenness?

This verse gave me a surprising answer.  We are sowing in tears here, but reaping with joy is worth it all.  As I reflected on this verse and what it meant for our time together with these children, God showed me what He was doing with those tears in bottles up in Heaven.  He is cleansing out the pain and sorrow from those tears.  Those bottles are left filled with only the joy of the Lord.  I could picture our team dancing and singing with these sweet little ones while God sprinkled His joy over us.

Honestly, our team has felt these sprinkles of joy every time we share His love in this home.  When we first walked into the home we felt a sense of hopelessness.  God has washed that away with His joy.  He has transformed the hearts of women who dedicate their lives to these children.  He has transformed these children.  He has transformed our team as we witness a piece of God’s broken heart fighting for His precious ones here in this home and the ones still in the brothels.

Being here in this home has taken me far from my comforts but it has brought me close to God’s broken heart.  I am thankful to be in this uncomfortable place, near to God, because through the tears, I know His joy is coming.

My Way

It was a dark twisted path I found myself on

Following the signs I thought would lead me to something, anything new

I’m worn out from this journey

Walking so long- all alone

It’s been awhile since I have seen a sign

It is dark and my eyes have a film from my tears

Did I miss it?

I hear a voice inside telling me to keep on going

Fear starts rushing through my veins

I start to doubt this voice within

Where will I go?

What will I do?

I can’t go back

Even if I remembered the way I wouldn’t want to go back

I don’t have a place I can call home

I didn’t have anyone to call mine

I look up to the sky and in an instant my vision becomes clear

A sign!

A sign?

Surely this cannot be for me?

My eyes were not meant to meet this sign

I am captivated by the sight

The clouds open up to light up the sky

Dear One,

I am with you

I love you

It is me your Heavenly Daddy

This journey you have found yourself on is not my way for you

But I used it to bring you to the place you always belonged

Here, in my arms

They are reaching down to you

Embracing your shattered, orphan heart

“Trust Me”

From this moment forward

Your steps will lead you to My way for You

When you start to doubt look for my love

You will make it

You are hand in hand with me from this moment on

My hand will take you to someone else’s path one day

You will be my love on their dark path

Leading them to me

Isaiah 50:10 Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant?  Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on His God.