Trust Me. . . I’m a Lawyer

Did you know that I was a lawyer? After my three years of law school, debts, studying, writing, researching, and coffee drinking, I achieved a lot. If you went to law school or had friends that did, you would know that I was successful by “making journal,” becoming a Publications Editor on that journal, joining clinic and so much more. I landed an amazing summer internship and then was hired as an Associate in the same prestigious Washington, D.C. law firm practicing Intellectual Property Law. I received a ten-thousand-dollar increase to my salary in the first week.

By all the world’s standards, life was good.

I lived in our Nation’s Capital. I went to the best events. Ate at the top restaurants. Met some high-powered, world changers.

Until God decided to change my world.

That is when my husband and I heard our call to leave our lives and become missionaries in Africa.

“Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1

Our families were shocked and said to us, we left Africa to give you a better life and now you are returning to Africa!

They gave us a better life. For us to have that choice.

That was ten years ago.

I can’t believe we have been in Africa for ten years. And still God has so much work to do through us.

But what changed? Somewhere in that ten years, and I don’t know when exactly, but I lost hope.

We came at first to Africa on fire. Passionate to serve the community. Full of love. Hope.

Then, discouragement hits. Slow change around us. War room prayers set aside.

Judgment creeps in. Hypocrisy. Pride. Distractions. Disappointments.

Then, the roller coaster ride. Some days excited to serve the Lord. More days less excited.

Then, this Holy Week comes along in our church calendar. I wasn’t expecting much. With two little kids, it is hard.

But what changed this year? I regained my hope.

It wasn’t like I never missed any of the Holy Week services. Actually, it was the opposite. For the first three days of Holy Week, my son was really sick so I missed every morning and evening until Thursday! And when I was there, my three-year-old needed me to keep helping her put the arms of Mr. Potato Head in the right place (I thought iPad apps were supposed to keep them busy so that I could focus!). I also kept trying to make sure my spiritual children were meditating and reading during the long hymns or what we like to call “meditation and prayer time.”

But, God gives a special grace. It is what I like to call a special “Mommy Grace” reserved for Moms for the quality and not the quantity of time spent with Him. He blesses it. He fills it. He bursts my heart open. He warms me with His loving arms wrapped around me.

During the procession in our Resurrection Feast Liturgy, that is when I realized that Christ had done a work in me. Do you know how I responded? I danced. If you have been to Africa before, you would know that our services include a lot of traditional songs with dancing and praising Jesus. So, I danced with my church family.

Then, as I danced, it struck me. I don’t remember the last time I had danced.

Before that, and even during Holy Week, I had been praying for Christ to reinvigorate my heart for the people and His work He called us to do.

It wasn’t emotional. It was God deep in my heart answering my prayer. To enjoy the Resurrection. To know His Power is there. That our God is a great God. Able to rise up from the dead. And that Power lies within me.

“I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” Revelation 3:1

For far too long, I was alive on the outside. I am not alive from the outside only. But from the inside.

Thank you Jesus.

Pray for our mission here in Zambia. Pray for me.

I leave you with a beautiful meditation that a dear friend of mine shared on Facebook (there are spiritual treasures on Facebook!).

Devout and God-loving people, enjoy this kind and bright festival. Wise people, come and share joy with your Lord. You who have laboured in fasting, receive your deserved reward. You who have laboured from the first hour, come to the festival now!

You who came at the third hour, rejoice!
You who lingered until the sixth hour, celebrate!
You who came at the ninth hour, do not be sad!
You who managed to come only at the eleventh hour, do not be dismayed by your lateness. No one will be deprived of heavenly joy!

For our Lord is generous.
He welcomes those who come last in the same way as those who come first.
He is grateful to the first and rejoices in the last.
He consoles those who came at the last hour,
as if they had laboured from the first hour.
He gives to everyone:
those who laboured and those who wanted to labour. He receives the service and kisses the intention.
He values the deed and praises the desire.

All of you enter into the joy of the Lord:
First and last, receive the reward!
Wealthy and poor, rejoice with one another!
Diligent and lazy, celebrate the festival!
Those who have fasted and those who have not, be glad together. The feast is abundant, eat your fill!
All of you enjoy the wealthy banquet of the faith and mercy of God

Let no-one go away hungry or offended. Let no-one be sad about their poverty,
for the kingdom is now here for everyone. Let no-one weep over their sins, for forgiveness for all has burst with light from the grave. Let no-one be afraid of death,
for the death of Jesus has freed us all.

Embraced by death, He subdued death.
Having descended into hell, He took hell captive.
Isaiah prophesied: “Hell was troubled, having met You in the underworld!”
Hell was in mourning, for it was abolished!
Hell was distressed, for it was condemned!
Hell was impoverished, for it was deposed!
Hell was destroyed, for it was bound!
It took on a body, and touched God.
It took on the earth, and met heaven.
It took what it saw, and fell to where it did not expect!

Death! Where is your sting?
Hell! Where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are brought down.
Christ is risen, and the demons have fallen.
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice.
Christ is risen, and life triumphs.
Christ is risen, and there are no dead in the grave. Christ has risen from the dead, become the firstborn of those who sleep and set into motion the resurrection of all.
To Him be glory now and forever.
Amen!

–St. John Chrysostom

 

Let’s Chat: Tell me about your Holy Week experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Did We Lose Our Way? Part 2

Recently, I wrote a guest post on Fr. Anthony Messeh’s blog, entitled “Did We Lose Our Way?” After some serious soul searching, I felt God really opening my eyes to seeing some dark things in my heart. Revealing how I stopped loving others.

Thank God for His Grace to shine His light in my heart to change me.

In God’s great love, He did not stop revealing the things in my heart.

After almost 10 years living in Zambia, I finally renovated my kitchen. If you ever visited me, you know my kitchen only has a table and a small counter with which to prepare our meals. Because there were two cabinets, most of my food, appliances and other things were just on the floor or on the very tops of the cabinets. It was quite a mess. I now have a functional kitchen with lots of cabinets and two huge countertops. This may not sound like a big deal but it makes life a lot easier. I did not want something luxurious – just something practical so we can continue showing hospitality.

But, wait, God revealed something to me. Since renovating my kitchen, I haven’t invited over a single soul! Didn’t I want the kitchen practical and easy to use so that I can invite more people? Serve more? Continue having baking days with the neighborhood children? Invite those that cannot invite me? Reach out to the lost and lonely and make them feel that they have a home? Invite missionaries that have sacrificed a lot of time and money to serve with us? Make smoothies and popsicles with my children?

Thanksgiving came and went and was forgotten in my newly renovated kitchen.

When my kitchen was small and not functional, it functioned perfectly.

What functioned in the past was my heart. Not my kitchen. My heart was ready to reach out to love.

Did we lose our way? I wrote in my guest post that we lost our way in our churches by not loving those that need it the most. But, I think also too our homes are an extension of our churches. When we open our hearts to others, our homes are naturally opened up as well.

This holiday season is just the perfect time to do just that. Open our hearts. Open our homes. We don’t need the perfect house. The perfect kitchen. The perfect children. Just only the perfect God. His perfect heart. His perfect hands and feet.

I once read a blog post that said, “True hospitality is when your guests leave your home feeling better about themselves, not feeling better about you.”

But I would argue a step further that true hospitality is when our guests leave our churches and leave our homes feeling better about God. Wanting to desire Him more.

In Genesis chapter 24, Abraham’s servant searches for a bride for Isaac. When he met Rebekah, she was at the well. Her well was her home. Her church.

She welcomed the stranger. She gave him water to drink. Not only that, she offered of her own free will to draw more water and give his camels to drink as well (verse 19). She not only did it, but she did it quickly (verse 20).

All she had was a bucket.

She did not have a fully renovated kitchen. She did not have a beautiful house.

Only a bucket. And a well.

Her heart was quickly ready to serve her God. To love others. To love strangers. Even his dirty, smelly animals.

And the servant of Abraham concluded from Rebekah’s beautiful hospitality, “Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham” (verse 27).

May others call our Lord blessed when they come to our churches. And our homes.

Let’s Chat: This holiday season, how will you open your heart and home to others?

Tough Call by Mama Maggie

I know I am behind in knowing the latest information but I must share how super excited I am that there is a book out about Mama Maggie.

Unlike some of my dear friends that have met her, I have only “met” her through a video-conference. Fortunately, this conference was shown here in Zambia via video back in 2011. This is when I first heard about Mama Maggie. And I can honestly say she touched me so much! Imagine I am from her church and her country and never knew about her!

I am sure many of you have heard her story of how she was teaching top students at the prestigious American University of Cairo. She left it all to follow the tough call Christ called her to. In her own words she describes the call as, “When God wanted to promote me, He said leave the best and go to the poorest of the poor.”

Her words never left me. I found a clip of that video below of that conference.

Sorry that it has subtitles that sometimes get in the way. But please enjoy the clip and prayerfully listen to her message.

She will encourage you on the journey of how to make the tough call for yourself.

 “We don’t choose where we are born, but we do choose to either be sinners or saints. To be a nobody or heroes. If you want to be a hero, do what God wants you to do.” –Mama Maggie

She also goes into detail on how to hear that call. Two things she focuses on in particular: Loving the Word of God & Silence. It is in silence that we Hear God’s Voice.

Her thoughts on Silence: “Silence your body to listen to your words. Silence your tongue to listen to your thoughts. Silence your thoughts to listen to your heart beating. Silence your heart to listen to your spirit. Silence your spirit to listen to His Spirit.”

One last thing I request is that if you are coming to Zambia soon, please bring me a copy of her book! I would love to read more of her beautiful gems. I hope you are reading the book too.

Let’s Chat: What is your tough call? What is holding you back from answering the call?