Inhabiting the heaviness

Once upon a time, I lived in Liberia. For almost five years, actually. It was one of the hardest seasons of my life, but I kept going back, kept choosing to say yes. I felt a burden: for the country, for its beautiful people, for the incredible kids I got to work with, many of whom became daughters and sons of my heart. And then one day, I left. In part because the burden became … Read the rest

count the cost

it seems no matter where i turn these days, i can’t get away from three little words:: “count the cost.”

it all started a couple weeks ago, after i read through the gospel of luke. in 14.25-33. Jesus speaks of building a tower and a king going to war, of carrying one’s cross and the act of sacrifice to follow after him. count the cost. 

since then, i’ve been wrestling with this passage, these hard Read the rest

because the story’s not yet over

it all began with a puddle of tears soaking into the off-white living room carpet.

it was early spring, six years ago now, when there’s still a chill in the air and everything looks dingy and grey in the weak sunlight. i’d just watched Hotel Rwanda for the first time, i remember, and it’d ripped something open in me, something that cried out for justice and healing and peace, some deep part of my … Read the rest

i have a dream

if you know me in real life, or have been following this blog for some time now, you’re probably well-aware of one thing: i have a dream.

it’s a dream of red earth and blue sky, of toothy smiles and weathered hands; a dream of bright sun in my eyes and hair grease on my fingers while i loosen the girls’ plaits; a dream of dust on my lap from where little ones have … Read the rest

the return to liberia: an update

it was a mere two weeks ago that i stood in church, hands shaking in surrender as i realized the magnitude of what i was saying yes to. a return to liberia. a return to the oppressive heat and sleepless nights. to lives lost too soon, to children who nobody mourns once they leave us. to a land that assaults the senses, to the corruption, the poverty, the things i saw and heard that my … Read the rest

when i want to live a life that says “yes”

nearly seven months ago, i left Liberia. after an especially grueling season, i made the hard decision to fight for my emotional, mental and spiritual well-being and step off the mission field.

i dreamed of returning home to the States and resuming normalcy once more; i wanted to fall into a life of comfort and ease and forget all about the exhaustion of the past four years.

when i got home, i struggled a bit, … Read the rest

be love

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four and a half years ago, i stepped foot on african soil for the first time. i was overwhelmed and unsure, broken and laid bare in a place that would ultimately change + give me so much more than i could ever leave behind.

liberia was nothing that i could have been prepared for, yet i knew i was following God’s lead. i’d been to this tiny nation with the mandate to “be love” to Read the rest

when i have to say goodbye

i.
a pile of folded clothes sits atop the black suitcase, ready to be packed. photos come down off the walls, the closets are cleaned out and bathroom shelves cleared off. two large duffel bags, fifty pounds a piece, contain four years of memories. i think of the boxes and bins waiting for me back home and marvel at this, a life lived in such a way, packed up and stored at a moment’s notice. Read the rest

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recently, i told you about the decision i’ve made to transition out of full-time missions in Liberia and consequently transition back to full-time life in the States. i also recently shared some of the difficulties i’ve been facing here in Liberia, all of which resulted in an epic unraveling.

i have continued to struggle in every way here in Liberia. physically, i’m exhausted. i’m sick of being sick and tired of being tired. i sleep … Read the rest

a new season

this week has been tough for me. my heart is tender and tired, and i have to fight the tears back multiple times a day. i’ve been meeting with the girls in my small groups, the same girls i have loved + taught + mentored + laughed + cried with for the past four years. i’ve watched some of them grow into young women, others from little girls to teens. i’ve prayed for them, listened … Read the rest