Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why Am I Crazy?

Looking at some of my choices in the last couple of years, you'd think I lost my mind.
People work to build the stability that I used to have.

I had a nice salary. I had a furnished 2-bedroom apartment. I had a nice job, that was in the 'good hours' and let me feel important on rotating weekends, acting as the boss to some.

I had the proximity to my family (well, the fam that's in America). I was 15 minutes away from my mother and stepdad, and one hour away from my brother's college campus.

I had a church family who is honestly probably the best church community I've ever had in my life. I felt loved and that I belonged, even though I was going through brokenness. I was well-connected with the church leadership.

Then I left it all. I sold it all. I hopped on a plane and went all around the world for the gospel.

I got home, and you'd think I'd gotten it together, gotten the 'adventure' out of my system, right?

I moved to another state and started an apprenticeship at the very organization which sent me all around the world. Those gospel-enablers!

I wanted to learn from them. I wanted to learn about life as I never knew it before.

A life that isn't about 'how much money can I make' but a life that can actually change the world and impact it for Jesus. I've learned enough common sense to think that this is crazy, but it didn't hold me back.

What did Jesus even mean when He sent the disciples without a bag?

Surely He wasn't naive enough to think that they wouldn't have needs? That they wouldn't get hungry, or need to change clothes, or that they had no responsibilities to own up to?

Somehow, the disciples came back astounded. Miracles took place. Lives were changed.

I want that lifestyle.

I want to stand on the edge and say that I know that God will provide for me.

Yeah, I took a full-time job that pays me literally less than 1/3 of the one I had before. Less than 1/3.
I have to fundraise the other half of my income, and that still barely takes me up to 1/2 of what I used to make.

Guys... it's not about the money. It hasn't been about the money for me in over 2 years now.
I want my life to look more like those disciples in the Bible than the average American neighbor.

Yes, if that means I have to work multiple jobs to pay my debts and survive, so be it.
Yes, if that means I get to invite other people to come alongside me in ministry, if they look at what I'm doing with my time and my skills, and say "yeah, that's ministry, I can donate towards that" and give, so be it.
I will receive what the Lord has for me.
God will (already has) provided for my needs. Whether you cheer, join His team, or simply watch from the sidelines is up to you.

'But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.' Phil 3:7
'Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.' Phil 4:17

Friday, September 6, 2013

Finding My Voice

No, this blog isn't about me singing. You're welcome.

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live."

I've been doing a lot of standing up to live, and not as much sitting down to write. It's almost become a foreign thing, something that was once so natural to me. Now I put my life through so many filters before I share it. I ask myself too many questions. I lose the original spark, the gutsy courage that hits 'publish' and 'share' and lets the blog be read.

Is this appropriate? Is it too personal? Is it my story or somebody else's story? Does it represent me well? What will my family/friends/sponsors/coworkers/strangers/ministry partners/future employers think of this blog?

And I don't even post it. I don't even make it halfway into writing and editing. It's no longer a simple expression of my experience, but it's become some complex monster of a thing.
I worry about word count, and how many pictures I have in it, and how it's spaced. I worry about colors and fonts and I try too hard to find the best title, because, let's face it, the title is everything.

I worry about the takeaway more than I worry about me enjoying to write it or share it.

So this is me breaking that pattern.

This goes unedited, normal black font, without a picture, and the title isn't even that great.
Enjoy it or not... because I enjoy writing it :)

Oh and I'm breaking every rule, because I'm composing this in the blog window already. And I'm not gonna back it up before I publish it. If I lose this entry, so be it.


If my life for the past month could be summed up in a picture, it'd be blurry. It'd be the kind of thing you want to capture in a photo, but you just can't. You put down the camera, and just smile. You give up in the best way. It's not something you can keep, and even a picture wouldn't cut it. The memories themselves would just have to do.

Everything has been going in fast forward. Opportunities presented before me, people believing in me and my dreams, loss and gain, tears of happiness, and that feeling of holding your breath, hoping that nothing falls off the wagon. I've asked God plenty of times if this is too good to be true.

The cynical haha, but really, waiting for something bad to happen. Guys, I've been waiting, and it's... still good. God is still faithful. He's still speaking to me, still growing me and pushing me. I have yet to hit a wall, even as I sat there and waited for the other shoe to drop.

I wanted to say to whoever is reading this that it's okay to be happy. We sit and wait for a thousand things to line up perfectly, and then, lo and behold, when Jesus starts to pour out answered prayers... BE HAPPY.  Don't be afraid.

It's the feeling of asking for ice-cream, and then receiving it, but worrying that it'll melt too fast. Don't do that. Enjoy the moment.

Last weekend, I went to my friend Emily's dad's funeral. He lived an amazing life and I can't even begin to describe how great that grave-side, simple service was. His friends and family gathered around, told stories, laughed and cried. It made me realize, again, that it's time to stop taking things for granted. Time here on earth is short. Enjoy it. Be merry. Be brave. As I hugged Emily while she cried, and held Mama Penny's hand, I knew that I needed to keep letting go of fear. I need to keep being myself, the Helena that scores 100% Positivity on Strengths Finder. The one that will find a reason to laugh, and needs no reason to smile. And the one that doesn't care if a blog isn't perfectly edited, because I know darn well that life isn't always perfectly pleasing to the eye.

So here I am... Phylla House flyers are up around town.  I'm on the brink of new adventures, new roadtrips, new ministry, and I will not be silent about it. I will be happy out loud.

New is here! New is good!

And new sometimes is unedited :)

Now I will hit post, and I will not look back.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

UGANDA miss me when I'm gone!

When I'm gone,
When I'm go-o-o-one,
Uganda miss me when I'm go-o-one... 

Yes, I have been plugging 'Uganda' into song lyrics! That's how excited I am about this trip.
Not just a trip, but a fulfilled prophecy and an answered prayer!

I dared to whisper and declare while I was in Uganda in 2012 that I'd be back soon, in 2013.
God confirmed in January that I'd be going to Uganda.
In April, I received the news I'd been chosen to lead this trip!

Yes and Amen!

I fly out July 8th and return August 1st.  I am co-leading a youth trip (Ambassador) through Adventures In Missions.
You can follow the trip blogs here
Yes, I am also visiting a ministry with which Phylla House will partner.
Yes, this ministry is amazing. You can check it out here.

We'll be preaching and teaching all month.
It'll be an incredible, growing experience for the team of 14 youth, ages 15-18.
Please keep us covered in prayer!!!
Pictures and stories to come, of course... :)

Blessings and really crazy joy,