For the days when I want it to be all about me.

I used to be afraid of pain.

Afraid of getting hurt, afraid of feeling anything but happiness.

I used to think my life could only be measured by the good that went on.

By the blessings, obvious ones, that God put directly in my path.

But I’m finding more joy in pain, or maybe it’s in seeking God through hurt or turmoil.

But no matter what kind it is, I’m beginning to realize that hurt on this ball that we live on just points us more clearly to the one who loves us.

That I’ll never understand the world, and there will always be things that others say God has called them to that I disagree with. But the thing about that is I don’t understand God. And I can’t, at least this side of heaven anyway. I can’t understand why He does things I don’t agree with. But that’s not going to stop Him.

And I’m going to keep fighting for the justice that He has placed on my heart. That heart inside of me, or the soul, wherever that part of me exists, because although I can’t see it, I know for sure it is there. And not understanding is reason number 324 that I’ve come up with just today on why trusting in God is so much better than trusting in man. Because man will fail a thousand times a day, but we were made in the image of one who doesn’t know what it’s like to fail.

I’m beginning to accept that there aren’t neccesarily good and bad people. No, we’re all messed up because of sin. And it’s not my place to determine who is speaking to God and who is using Him for their own purposes.

Because they’re probably thinking the same thing about me. The girl who went to Uganda because she was sick of college. The girl who ran off to play with little black babies because she couldn’t handle the world rushing around her. The girl who “God told” to end many commitments and to be still in a place where stillness is equated with laziness. And then she went to Africa. Like that’s not the most cliche “Christiany” place in the world. Saving baby orphans in a mud hut somewhere. The girl who would do anything to be back there today.

And I relate more to the orphan in the mud hut than the girl with the _T sweats on walking across the quad. And I gossip less about who is dating who and more about who just “doesn’t get it”. “Get” that there is more to life than this green and brick patch of earth in the middle of Mississippi somewhere. And I get angry at people around me adopting from Uganda because don’t they know that’s illegal? And I’m annoyed with the American church because I feel like I’m walking into a rock concert when all I want is to fall at the feet of my Savior and worship Him in silence.

Because this world is too loud and too busy, and there are days when I’m overwhelmed and in need of a hug from a slobbery baby or to feel like I’m doing something to serve Him. Something. Anything. And I beg and plead for God to please send me somewhere where I could live this kind of lifestyle. And He tells me that’s exactly what He’s done.

That the girl walking across the quad needs Him as much as Jane or Gideon or Prossy does. That He overcomes legality to bring justice sometimes. That the hug might come from a best friend instead of a baby. That worship isn’t about the building and the band and the lights or the tarp and the sticks and the clapping, but it’s about Jesus. And He’s teaching me to follow Him, not the crowd. To hear His whispers. To love His people.

Come along with me and begin to see the endless possibilities on the horizon.

–Hallie

You might say that I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.

I have dreams.
Dreams that include my one-day children riding rickety bikes around a tiny village in some crazy third world country with friends that speak different languages but laugh just the same.
Dreams that include the adrenaline rush of needy people coming to my door in the middle of the night for medical attention that I’m not qualified to give but give anyway because God provides.
I have dreams of conversations of Jesus and justice.
And joy from these being my daily reality lately.
I have dreams of falling into bed completely exhausted knowing the only way I’ll get up in the morning is through real energy only given by God.
Dreams of a center for the destitute in the middle of a metropolis somewhere. A place for a meal, a bed, a hug, job training or a conversation. A use for this love of dealing with hard issues verbally that the Father has given me.
I have dreams that I don’t expect many to understand.
That I know are only from God because two or three years ago I wanted nothing more than to get married to the man of my dreams, have beautiful children, make lots of money, and attend a thousand meetings about everything from landscaping to baseball games.
But Jesus has gotten hold of my heart, and while none of those things are innately bad, for me it feels suffocating some days to be doing nothing more than talking about the dreams instead of doing something against the injustice Satan has so often clouded our eyes to.
But as far as my dreams stretch out, He has plans.
And if, for now, His plans are here, then so be it.
And I’ll be the best I can be right here and now.
And I’ll realize that injustice is all around us. And we don’t have to be anywhere but where we are right here and now to be living for Jesus.
I’ll run through any doors that He has cracked ever so slightly.
Knock at any opportunity that could be. Pray for direction and joy.
Run for positions where justice will be sought.
Follow the little whispers of my heart.
And love the ones He has placed in front of me and cherish the time with each and every one of you.

I Believe.

I believe that God answers prayers.
Even when He doesn’t answer them how we ask.
I believe that He loves me.
Even when my situation speaks differently.
I believe that He really does work for the good of those who love Him.
And I’ve seen that in the past two years.
I believe that He loves me more than my mom, my dad, my family, and my friends love me.
I believe that He doesn’t always ask us to do the absolute hardest things.
Even when the absolute hardest thing is really what our heart desires.
I believe He uses us no matter what the situation.
I believe I don’t have to be halfway around the world to live for Him.
I believe in everyday miracles.
I believe He is behind the perfect parking spot and the compliment that turns a bad day around.
I believe He is in the tragedy.
That He allows them to happen for many reasons.
That He wants me to depend fully on Him.
Whether amidst celebration or death.
Death of a person or death of a dream.
I believe in laughing until it hurts and loving when you don’t want to.
I believe in forgiveness.
But that simply believing isn’t enough.
I’m learning to practice it too.
I believe Mother Teresa was right.
“If you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
I believe that Jesus wasn’t a white man.
I believe that color and division are one of Satan’s biggest tools.
I believe in helping. No matter if the person deserves it or not.
Because I don’t believe I deserve anything God has given me.
I believe I deserve death, but He has given me life in abundance.

New Mercies Each Morning.

Thankfulness.

I was reading through posts from Uganda the other day and thinking about how much God has done. I have loved being home in many ways, but it’s also difficult sometimes because I left a nice chunk of my heart across the ocean. But God is doing big things here too. And I’m focusing on that this week, this month, and this year. A few weeks ago in a bible study I’m in, we went around talking about places we had seen God work in the past week. I sat in complete awe of the Lord as each girl shared how God had answered her prayer requests from the previous week, and most of them were answered in ways we couldn’t have expected or didn’t ask for. Truly the affectual prayers of the righteous availeth much. How good is our God.

So here’s another thankfulness post. More for me than anything. Mostly as a reminder that God is sovereign and He is here. He is alive and active. And I am His.

I’m thankful for churches that are speaking the Word, and not settling for “good enough”. I’m thankful for revival in this country and in our hearts. I’m thankful the state of the world is not what it looks like on the news, (as well as being thankful that I don’t watch the news often. it’s a scary place.) I’m thankful that we serve a God who has already got it all figured out. I’m thankful for our bible study group. A little idea I had in Uganda has turned into a weekly meeting of a group of incredible girls. It’s a fun time of fellowship where we’re able to be real and we’re learning what it means to walk with the Lord each day.

I’m thankful for a college campus where faith is integrated into life and education. I’m thankful for professors who we can ask tough questions and get wise guidance.

I’m thankful for efforts of social justice. I’m thankful that people are doing God’s work, even when it’s not in His name. I’m thankful for the things I don’t understand. The things I can’t understand. I’m thankful that even when I disagree with leaders or movements within the church or Christian organizations, we can know ultimately that God’s name is being glorified.

I’m thankful that it’s not all about me. Because pride and self confidence is a lot of weight to wear on your shoulders. I’m thankful that God is working to show me where those areas in my life are. I’m thankful to be surrounded by people who love Him. I’m thankful to have opportunities to love on people. People who know Him and people who don’t.

I’m so very thankful for an incredible support system. For my family and friends. For my dad and mom and sister and brother. For my grandparents. Uncles, aunts, and cousins. I’m so incredibly thankful and undeserving of the incredible group of people that God has given me to love and be in relationship with. I’m thankful for my friends. For the best “best friends” I could possibly ask for. For the most wonderful boyfriend. For new friendships and rebuilding and renewing of long-lasting friendships.

I’m thankful for my bible study girls. For my time each week with incredible almost-adults that love Jesus. For little opportunities. For seeing God at work outside of my own contexts. For overcoming and removing obstacles that I thought I would just have to deal with. For passion to know you and make you known.

I’m thankful for Rafiki and for email and letters. Thankful that we can still communicate even far, far away (although I’ve been a terrible communicator lately!). Thankful that God is just as big in Uganda and the far corners of the world as He is here in Clinton, Mississippi.

I’m so very thankful for answered prayers. For an understanding that God really is working for the good of those who love Him. For requests that were only voiced within my head or heart being provided for in miraculous ways. For problems I thought were impossible or unanswerable being made into beautiful stories of redemption.

But most of all, I’m thankful for the cross. For the blood that was poured out. For the nails in His hands. Thankful that He died for me. And doesn’t just leave it at that, but pursues a relationship with me each and every day. Regardless of anything I do or don’t do.

What are you thankful for this week?

–Hallie