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I’ve been tentatively walking thru open doors lately.
Some I didn’t have the courage to even knock on.
But if I’ve learned anything the last 3 years, it’s this: chasing the heels of Jesus leads you into the unexpected, saying the little yes’ everyday, often leads to more opportunities and bigger yes’.
When I wrote about the real estate situation in Kenya, it was to educate current and future donors. But really, I wrote because it was an oppressive weight on my chest. It made me feel better to explain all the impossibilities of owning a permanent home to continue to help pregnant girls and young mothers at Mercy House.
But just days after I hit publish, we stumbled upon a house that was about the same size as the one where we pay high rent, but instead of being priced at 1 million US dollars (like our current home), it was priced at a fourth, $250,000.
After we checked into the house and did our research, we were able to get the asking price reduced by more than $65,000 (the owner loves the mission of our maternity home and needs to sell).
And while that was a steal of a deal in the steep Nairobi housing market, the bottom line price was still more than we had.
Here’s that place I often find myself: the crossroads of I can’t and He can. It’s an uncomfortable gap in the road of life and the only tangible way to bridge the two is faith.
So, I did what all good type A control freak mothers who run a non-profit in a developing nation do, I tried to figure it out on my own. Without getting into all the financials, I asked a trusted generous donor to loan us the difference in good faith that we would pay it back and we tentatively began to move forward.
But just like that, my carefully manipulated plans fell apart and the Mercy House Board gave me one word: wait.
48 hours passed and nothing happened.
Except that I resisted the urge to visit a bank and email all the rich people I knew-which at the time took serious constraint. And I’m serious about that. Because even when you have the power to make things happen and go your way, it doesn’t mean you should.
Life lessons are hard.
I prayed and waited and as the sun set on the third day and the window of opportunity began to close, God showed up in way I didn’t expect or anticipate. It was big and beautiful and I cried knowing I almost missed a chance to see the Hand of God move.
Because instead of providing a loan, He gave us a gift.
When God says wait, it’s not because He’s not there, it’s because He’s getting ready to show up. We often miss it because we get in a hurry.
“This is how God works. He puts people in positions where they are desperate for his power, and then he shows his provision in ways that display his greatness.” David Platt
Not only did He provide the immediate cash I wanted to borrow, He reminded me (again) what He’s able to do–exceedingly, abundantly more and this –this– renews and strengthens the weary (raises hand) to keep going.
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31
We are doing due-diligence, carefully navigating and negotiating the purchase of a 3,500 square foot residence in Kenya to house a dozen or so girls, plus their babies (phase 1). This is a small part of the big picture God is revealing to our slowly expanding organization.
I don’t know what the final outcome will be, God may close doors and open others, but I am confidant He will do something amazing.
If I wait and let Him.
Easter is about Jesus (It’s also in 25 days!)
It is a day to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.
I’m not against fun or chocolate covered eggs, I just like meaningful things to remain, well, meaningful. I want my family to celebrate Him. Sure, we can add in the fun, but I don’t want the fun to be all there is.
Call me a radical zealot.
Here are ten ways to keep Easter About Jesus and have fun:
- Read The Parable of the Lily and plant (or force) a lily bulb
- Create this easy, beautiful watercolor Cross Art
- Plant an Easter Garden
- Dye/hunt eggs. Share the reasons behind the traditions
- Make Resurrection Eggs. Read Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs
along with it.
- Bake Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday
- Fill Easter baskets with something meaningful (a new Bible, a cross necklace, eggs with Scripture)
- Make Resurrection Rolls for Easter morning breakfast
- Share your Easter meal with someone who might spend it alone or take a basket to a child in a hospital
- Have a family devotion together and talk about the meaning of Easter (this is a good one)
I think Easter is fun when it’s celebrated for all the right reasons!
And that works for me!
What would you add?
Repost from archives
Congrats to random winner, Kit Jordan.
Three years ago today, I traveled to Kenya for the first time to blog about poverty and found true religion.
I took many of you with me on the life-changing trip.
I’m still amazed at how God took a willing heart and sent it around the world and turned
a small, simple yes into a House of Mercy, brimming with happy babies, healthy girls and expanding every day.
God’s funny that way.
He gives us just enough information and protects us from the big dream we haven’t grown into yet.
Because I didn’t know finding Edith would stir my heart to help her orphaned siblings, living in a rural village so far from their big sister. I didn’t know Edith would mourn them everyday in our house. I didn’t know we’d find them in desperation and we would be able to help.
I didn’t know rescuing Cindy and baby Nicholas would give us the chance to help her family allowing her mother start a business and give her siblings an opportunity for the future.
I didn’t know that digging deeper, exposing ourselves to more work and pain, would present more opportunities to love and new chances to see Jesus.
I’m glad I didn’t know.
It makes the discovery so much more powerful.
There are still so many unknowns in my life and yours, but the beauty is in the journey.
God is writing a a great love story there and here. Because I also didn’t know a mom would sacrifice $3 every month faithfully for 13 months and on the 14th month, donate $1000. I didn’t know He would compel others to do the same over and over to keep this little mission afloat.
I didn’t know He would build Mercy House thru your generosity or give us a thousand miracles to get from there to here.
But He knew.
Love’s like that: a contagious, spreading fire that cannot be snuffed out by our inadequacy or ignorance. You would think the world would overwhelm this heart of mine, but instead it’s just grown bigger for the world.
Three years ago today, I didn’t know the end of my trip was really the beginning of an epic love story.
This month, my favorite art company, Show Offs Art is loving mercy with us. You can join them by showing Christ’s love and compassion by shopping their company this Easter season. Use the word MERCY to get a 10% discount and 25% of your sale will go to Mercy House. If you’d like to win my favorite beautiful canvas, leave the name of the person who needs a little extra love in the comments as your entry.
She walked toward the car and I could tell by the wide grin on her face, she made the cut for the first Junior High track meet. Every week, the coaches plugged in the best times for each event, but with bad weather, the kids didn’t have much time to practice for their first meet.
“What event?” I asked, smiling at the way my daughter lives fearlessly.
“100 Meter Hurdles and the 300 Meter ones,” she said confidently.
I leave the pasted smile up a moment longer than I planned. Hurdles? My momma heart cringed.
“Great! Have you, um, done hurdles before?” I asked, my hesitancy proof of my doubt.
Yay. (note sarcasm) “I hope I don’t fall and end up on youtube,” she laughed.
My husband, a high school hurdler tried to give her a few last minute tips. We bundled up for the cold and long meet, waiting our daughter’s debut track appearance. I was a nervous wreck.
With her hot pink spikes and hair pulled back, lean body stretching, I hardly recognized the young lady waving at me from her lane. She was such a new runner, she opted not to use the starting blocks and flinched when the gun started the race.
We cheered wildly as she ran her heart out.
With each hurdle in her path, I held my breath. She was running a fierce race, but at some point her back foot tipped the obstacle and she tumbled and fell hard — i n –s l o w — m o t i o n — right in front of us. The crowd gasped and my heart broke, not because she fell, but because I couldn’t help her up, seeing her physical pain, feeling the emotional.
But in less than a second and without thought to her bruised and bleeding body, she was up and running, hurdling over the remaining obstacles in her path.
She finished the race.
I pushed thru the crowd, searching pony tails, looking for my girl. I couldn’t find her.
We asked her if she was okay. She nodded, but I could tell she wasn’t. I pulled her over to a dark corner, “Mom, I don’t think I can do the next race. I’m really scared.”
This is where I wanted to just pack her up and tell her she can quit.
Instead, I held onto her and I gave her the best pep talk of my life. And I prayed for her right there under the bleachers and I left the decision up to her.
Because now it was more than an event at a junior high track meet. It was real life and real choices and real pain and a real mom who couldn’t fix the broken place.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait around to see what she decided. My mom had just gotten out of surgery and I had an hour drive to the hospital. I hugged her tight and left.
I can’t describe how hard it was to walk away. It’s hard seeing your children hurt, but it’s not the first time on this parenting road or the last. I’m not sure it gets easier.
I pulled the car over halfway to the hospital so I could text my daughter and tell her I loved her and no matter what, she’d already won.
But she knew that:
The next morning, while we bandaged her banged up leg, I told her how proud I was.
“Mom, wouldn’t you be more proud if I’d won?” she asked.
It’s a good question. But winning isn’t always winning. “And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Heb. 12:2
“You did win, honey. You finished.”
Life is full of obstacles at every turn. There are financial stresses, family issues, hard parenting days, lonely moves, just real life hurdles that trip us up and leave us a bloody mess.
In those moments we don’t learn the lesson on the ground, we discover it when we get back up.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I hope you finish strong today.
Because that’s what winning is really about.
And it’s the lesson that keeps on giving. An update-She finished 5th overall at her second track meet in the 300m Hurdle race:
The curtains hung half hazard, cups and plates piled high, throw pillows thrown. My hubby wiped the table, I put away leftovers, stepping over a misplaced toy on the kitchen floor, the kids tattled. “Mom, one of the kids said a bad word tonight.”
It was just another night of community group in our home, kids and parents at our table, breaking bread -and apparently wall hangings-together.
No one said it would perfect. This loud, messy gathering of friends filling our house and our hearts. Sure there’s inconvenience and sacrifice involved, but we cannot deny the absolute benefit of doing life with others.
Click to continue reading over at (in)courage…