Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Scaling the Valley Walls, to get to the Mountaintop.

I feel like I was just on the mountaintop. The cool feeling of the wind blowing through my braid, struggling to keep my broken sandals on my feet, looking down on a country that God has covered in beauty and grace.  That mountaintop was beautiful, so is the mountaintop of life, but I realize I can't spend my life standing on top of mountaintops, looking down on a countryside, on a world that is in need. I have to jump, leap from the mountaintop and go down into the valley.

I remember standing on that mountaintop looking down thinking about all that God had done and was doing in the time I spent in Africa, and the entire time I was up there I was thinking, Cam, there are people down there who need Jesus, what are you standing up here looking at them for, get down in the valley.  It wasn't shortly after that I returned home. And in the valley I have gone and I have been and I currently am.

Life's a funny thing and grace is a funny thing. I find that God's grace is found in the most unlikely ways. I find that His grace cover's me in times I forget, in times I get lost, in the times I spend to much time trying to hang out on mountaintops. Because honestly, I wish I could spend my life on the mountaintop, it's exhilarating, thrilling, wonderful, happy feeling, the valley is a dark, cold, and scary place. Mountaintops are much easier to conquer than a valley.

So, this morning as I got ready for work I had a huge moment of sadness. It was a heart-wrenching, gut aching, tear jerking moment of sadness. I've been told to help me get through these moments it's important for me to first of all pray my guts out and second of all write it all down. But my thoughts are so many I cannot fathom and my feelings so strong and I cannot control them, but I guess I can do the best I can do as I struggle through this valley...

There is a term I heard often when I first got involved in missions. people always mentioned the mountaintop and valley experience, but I never quite understood what they meant. How could someone be so happy and then so sad by something that made them so happy... it just made no sense. It wasn't until my first trip to Africa that I completely understood this meaning. As I struggled through a series of depression my senior year of college and not knowing how to explain it to anyone. As I struggle through the tears of pain and yet tears of joy in the middle of the night while people slept. That valley was so dark, I didn't think I would ever make it through. I didn't know how to handle it, how to ask God for the guidance, so I sulked in the valley and hope that someday I would be able to climb back up to the mountaintop.

I struggled for a long time in that valley, it wasn't until I took another life-altering trip to Haiti that I was able to find the words and prayers to call on God to pull me out and see me through this shadowy valley. I saw similar things I saw in Africa, but in with different eyes, with different thoughts, with a different heart. My team in Haiti helped me realize that it's okay to be happy and sad, to feel joy and pain, and God showed me that He places certain people in my life for reasons, He not only gave me friends, but He gave me people that were walking through a valley as well. Ones that laughed with me, cried with me, sang with me, prayed with me. God is so good and His grace seems to find me even when I'm not looking.

And now I've just returned from a mountaintop, a very tall, very beautiful scenic mountaintop. One the gave me glimpse into a story that has been written out for me. One that is calling me to continue to climb mountaintops and scale valleys, because that's who I was made to be. The struggle is there, I think it always will be. But sometimes in the struggle we find who we were made to be. Right now I'm in a valley. I wake up mornings wondering if "my kids" have food, or shoes, or made it to school, if their parents are alive. It's a burden, one that make my heart heavy and my bones ache.

But I wouldn't want it any other way. I prayed for this burden, I prayed for my heart to ache for God's people, for the orphan, the widow, the alien, the outcast, the poor. And everyday I'm faced with that aching and faced with the choice to make camp in the valley or to scale the walls, love the people and bring them to the mountaintop with me. It's not an easy task, no, but it's one that I must do. Even now as I'm selling clothes to save money. To walk through this valley, because God's already showing me He is moving and doing amazing things in my life. Giving me amazing friends and amazing opportunities and answering crazy prayers... prayers I prayed many years ago, answering them now. All in His timing.

I'm walking through this valley, I'm seeking out the people God desires me to seek out, trying to love the least of these, trying to love the unloveable. Everyday gets harder, everyday I am away from my heart, everyday I've been away from Africa. But I'm here, and God's blessing me with my family and friends right now and the chance to grow in the valley. Because even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I'm not scared because he's holding my breath. 

Right now I don't know what I'm struggling for, the burden are heavy and God is teaching me how to carry the burdens He has given me and I have asked for. And I'm finding my strength in His love because I know He will see me through this valley and will be the one to pull me and the rest of us to the mountaintop of eternity.

Attempting to Scale the Walls,

HIS and yours,


Thursday, March 21, 2013

I can't sleep with all these thoughts...

Sometimes my brain gets overloaded with all my thoughts shooting around my head. When all I want to do is sleep an extra hour, just sink back down into the warmth of my covers and the comfort of my pillow against my head, the thoughts some mornings tend to win out and I get up and write things down, think things around, pray things out. This is one of those mornings.

One of those mornings where I'm laying in bed just thinking about life in general, and all these things are coming up. And God's like "Hey Cameron, why don't you get up and think about these things, write these things down, meditate on my word and look deeper into my heart." So I give a frustrated huff and slide out of bed groggily with my journal, my pen, my bible and my laptop and say out loud, "Okay God what are you trying to teach me this morning." And sometimes, I wish every morning I would get this sensation, this urging because what I learn is so beautiful.

He created me to travel the world, to have a home in HIM, to have a lap for the orphans, a hand for the widows, a voice for the voiceless, eyes for the blind, and a heart for HIS people. And in each moment that's who I was made to be and that is who I will be.

I've been thinking a lot about reunions lately and I've decided that I don't think I like them. Yeah sure, it's a chance to see how everyone you haven't seen in a while is doing, but I also feel like it's this chance everyone gets to one-up someone, to try and fit in this box that everyone seems to carry around in life. This idea of "Look I have 2.5 kids and a house and a marriage and life seems to be seemingly okay, and if you don't fit in this box than you're strange. And I feel like I'm at that age, and I guess I am strange.

But I was not made for this box and neither was God and I have decided that I am not going to shrink down who I am made to be to fit into this box. Ever. Nor with I shrink who I know God to be to fit.

Some of us are made for the life of marriage and kids and a dog and a house with a fence and some of us are made for something different. Nothing any less, or any bigger, just different. This doesn't make either life any less extraordinary. I have friends who are single, dating, married with kids, not married with kids, just married, some living half-way across the word, living with their parents, working, living on their own, in college and everywhere in between.

Each of their lives are beautiful and unique, even when they can't see it.

None of us were created to fit in this box that we all carry around. No wonder our hands are calloused and our shoulders sore and heavy, carrying a load this is not ours to carry.

He created each of us to do amazing and beautiful things for His Kingdom, we each have gifts and talent that He has specifically given us. To dance, to sing, to teach, to love, to be a baseball player, a cop, a wife/husband, a parent, an advocate, a writer, I mean with God the possibilities are endless.

   He created me to travel the world, to have a home in HIM, to have a lap for the orphans, a hand for the widows, a voice for the voiceless, eyes for the blind, and a heart for HIS people. And in each moment, no matter where I am, that is who I will be.

Thinking on little sleep,

 HIS and yours,


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Miracles from a Miraculous God

Around three months ago I was in Kenya. Around three months ago something happened in my life. Something huge. Something scary. Something that made my heart drop in my stomach and tears fall from my eyes, and shear panic to break through. Something that causes me to stop and take a look at my life and wonder what God is doing and why He is doing it.

Africa is a long long way from home, but in some weird way it has become my other home. Because home is not a place, but it is the people that are there that make it home. And every time I am in Africa, no matter what country, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, a huge part of me feels home. But my other home is where each of my family members are. And three months ago a part of my home got hurt really bad. My brother, who I love to the ends of the earth and back, even if sometimes I just don't understand him, was in an accident. I was 8000 miles away and I couldn't do anything. I couldn't sit and hold his hand, I couldn't sit and talk to him, I couldn't be with my sister and talk with her, or my parents and just sit and wait. I couldn't do anything but cry and cry and pray. I didn't know what was going on in this part of my home. I was panicked and wondering why on earth this could happen while I was so far away. And it's still hard to think about. It's still hard to write about.

So two and half months ago I made the decision to return home early from Kenya. I prayed and wrestled and wondered if I was doing the right things. Wondering if God knew what was going on. In all the circumstances leading up to my decision, In all the issues and the struggles and the tears I boarded a plane to return to my other home. In short I was told the my bro may not be able to play baseball again, may not ever be the same. I didn't see it or him, but I know my brother and he doesn't take no for an answer, when he wants something he goes for it with all his heart. He is strong and smart and independent and a wonderful man of God. My prayers, and the prayers of my friends all over the world were covering Him, and I knew deep in my heart that God's plans for him were bigger than what the enemy tries to destroy. And so as I flew through the air, a big part of me wanted to see him right when I got home, but a big part of me wanted him to not be there, wanted him to be back a school, back with his friends, back on the mound, back where he was supposed to be. So Through the 36 hours of airport and plane time that is what I prayed. How much my flesh wanted to see my brother, but how much more my spirit wanted him to be healed and on his way down the path.

I didn't know how he was really doing or if he would be able to be back to normal, I just had to trust in God that he would take care of him. And I landed on Iowa soil and my brother was back at school. Prayer answered. He was laughing and joking around. Prayer answered. And then I got to see him pitch, I got to see him on the mound, i got to see his God-given talent. Prayer answered. He was healed, a miracle yes, but we have a miraculous God. Who hears and answers prayers. That I can attest to.

I still struggle everyday with this. I know my God is a healer, but since leaving Africa, I've found it harder and harder to connect. Being home in America is hard. yes, but it's where I need to be. Because in being home God has showed me through my brother, that in everything He is Good, He is working, and He has a plan. My brother has a testimony of God's goodness and faithfulness. Of the fact the He will never leave nor forsake any of His children. And through my brother's testimony I have been given more faith. I have seen how God holds His people in His hands, and that gives me the strength to believe that all those children and widows and people I have cried over at night, who I don't know if they are alive or dead, sick or healthy, under a roof or out in the street. That He his holding onto them, even when I am not there. He is working miracles. He is there, no matter what. Because God builds up the things that the enemy tries to destroy. And that is a beautiful thing.

I am happy to report that my brother is as awesome as ever, pitching, playing ball and growing in Christ. I couldn't be a prouder sister, but more importantly I couldn't be happier to see how God is working in his life and I'm so glad I get to see it. Also happy to know that right now even though I am extremely anxious and impatient. This time of waiting is necessary, because there are things I am learning and seeing that need to be done and need to be known.

That yes I miss Africa more than words can describe. But God knows the longing of my heart. He knows that nothing here can take me from this calling, this burden, this amount of love that is on my heart. Yes, there are other desires there, but life is fast and things happen and I can't put my life on hold waiting for something that is not suppose to happen right now. That in this moment I'm here to reach out to people. To love people where I am. This transition has not been easy, I don't think any of them have or ever will be. But God is moving and working.

In my heart, I knew he would take care of my brother, I know that He is taking care of all those I love and left in Africa and I know that He is taking care of me. I just need to have faith and know that He works miracles, even when people don't believe it's possible. God's shown me that through my brother. So I just keep working, and chilling in coffee shops. Trying to stay updated on all of the people's lives around this home, until it's time to return to my other home across the sea. God's got it covered.

Watching, Waiting, Listening,

 HIS and yours,


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Heart in a different time zone...

Some days I open my eyes and hope to find my feet tangled in a mosquito net and a roosters crow echoing through my ears. Today was one of those days. Where my heart woke me up in Africa, but reality woke me up in Iowa. Today was a a sad, stressful, tiring, aching heart kind of day. And right now all I want to do is sit in my bed and cry.

I think I'm just frustrated because I just don't know what I am doing here. God, what am I doing here, why am I here. Transitions are the most horrid time periods of my life. I feel lost and yet found, safe and unsure, at home and yet not. It's so difficult to have patience with certain things. Sometimes even in my job. Thank God I found one to start paying off loans and such, but how selfish people can be.

A lady returning a dress because she found it had a snag on it. In my head I was thinking "Lady there is a little girl 8000 miles across the ocean that wears the same brown and pink dress everyday, with the holes across the stomach, and you are returning this 80 dollar dress because it has a snag." Or the man who is upset because he found a chip in the plate or the woman who returns the drapes because they were "defective" Lady be thankful you even have a house that has windows that you can hang drapes in, because many people lack that.

And the sadness just overwhelms me and I don't know what to do. I'm trying to be patient and I'm trying to wait on Him, and I know His ways are higher and His plans are better. And somedays I wish He would just drop it right into my life. He would scream into my ear with joy. "Cami, Cami my beautiful one, you are leaving today, you are going across the ocean, to stay with those Orphans and those widows, to give your life to them. I have got you and them all taken care of now GO."

But right now He is telling me that my place is here, and so here is where I stay. soaking in time with my family, working to pay off loans, making new friends and reconnecting with old ones. And hoping and praying that soon will come the day when God finally calls me. When I am no longer in my transition but in my mission. But that day is not right now.

 So yeah, some days I will continue waking up with my heart tangled in the hands of a little child half way across the Ocean, tangled in the hands of my Beloved. But it's much better than waking up with it tangled in the hands of selfishness, tangled in the hands of the evil one.

So here I sit, tears on my pillow, heart in a different time zone, prayers lifted up. Waiting.

HIS and yours,