Friday, January 15, 2016

Tears of Joy

The room is quiet as I slip away, past the curtain that surrounds the small area where a sweet woman is laboring. I'm leaving to fill up another glass with water for her. When I return, she is sitting on the bed, leaning forward and taking a deep breath. I move the glass close to her and she takes a brief sip before gripping onto her abdomen as another contraction rolls through her body.
"Oh, Jesus." She cries out.
I remind her to breathe. I'm able to get her eyes to meet mine and she slowly takes a deep breath with me. "You are doing so well." I smile and she nods. "Jesus will help you. He can give you all the strength you need and you will see your baby soon. Let's pray for Him to give your strength."
She nods, and reaches out to grab my hand. Together we pray.
The next hour goes quickly. Soon, she is telling me she is ready to have her baby. It is only minutes later that we welcome her little baby into the world, immediately placing his squirming body on her chest so she can hold him for the first time. I look up at her after her son is in her arms and watch as tears slide down her face and then deep sobs well up within her. 
"You did so well! Wow, mama, you did it! Your baby is here!"
She nods but continues to sob. 
It takes another 30 minutes before I can actually sit and talk with her again. Her baby is holding onto her finger and she smiles at me. "He's holding my hand."
She is so in love, and my heart begins to melt too.
"Wow, it is so crazy that your body is able to create a baby!"
She nods eagerly, "Yes, so crazy and so amazing!" 
"God is so awesome that He can create your body to make a new life! He is so special."
"That is why I was crying." Her eyes meet mine as her hand strokes her baby. "It hurt so much, but now he is here. They were tears of joy."
Six months have passed since I last wrote. The routine of life is very much the same, yet I feel like I have changed so much. I have grown and learned an incredible amount is so short a time. I share this story of a sweet mama that I had the joy to be with during such an intimate experience in her life. I truly love being able to pray with her, to encourage her, and to sit next to her while she holds her baby for the first time. 
Yet I am also challenged because no matter how much I enjoy spending my days with women or learning more about women's bodies and the process of birth, there are times when I am exhausted, when I miss being home with my family, and when I just want to take a break.
Jesus is reminding me that I can abide in Him and receive refreshment in His presence. No matter how my emotions change, how my circumstances change, or how my sleep patterns change, He is steadfast. I can always be with Him, I can be in His presence. I am much more effective when He is constantly filling me up than when I seek to do anything based on the moment or how I am feeling. Regardless of my good intentions, He is purely good. I desire His heart, and I know that I will only find that by being with Him.
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." - Jesus (John 15:4-5)
Remember, my sweet friends, that when we remain in the presence of our Savior, He will enable us for all things He has intended for us to be and do. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015


"I could never do that." The phrase was almost muttered under her breath. It wasn't a comment that was new to me, but sometimes I had to wonder, "Can I do this?" Because whenever this was said, there seemed to be this expectation that in order to cross the ocean to be the hands and feet of Jesus required a very special kind of person. But I don't feel especially mighty, strong, or different from those who whisper, "I could never..."

I have spent the last month in the Philippines, and the significance of this does not go unnoticed. One month. Thirty one days. A year ago I would not have dreamed that I would be here. Six months ago I would have only hoped I would be here. Three months ago, I was believing that I would be here in faith, but not sure how it would happen. Yet, I am here and I have been here for an entire month. Part of it is surreal, like how could I possibly be here, privileged to be a part of such a beautiful ministry to women and their families? The other part of me just smiles, knowing of course Jesus would do this. The months of paperwork, phone calls, visa applications, and preparation were worth every amount of energy I spent. On the days when I had nothing left to give, Jesus continued to faithfully lead me towards this place. I am grateful, I am content, I am filled with joy. And I can't help but thinking, "You could do this." 

No matter where you go, or what you do, you can be His feet and His hands, and love with His heart. You don't have to live in fear of wondering if the Lord is going to provide for you, and you don't have to wonder if you are strong enough. He is strong, and that is enough. 

"And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

I want to encourage you. If you are afraid, or discouraged, or feel that you simply lack faith, there are times when I feel that way too. You don't have to be good enough, or strong enough, or "Christian" enough. The Lord is seeking the willing, and He is eager to walk with you. So, trust Him. The best way to build up your faith is to use your faith. Even when you aren't sure that you can, practice trusting Him. And one day you'll look back and think, "I can do this." 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

This Love

The feeling flows through my chest, and I don't know how to describe it. It is warm, and comforting. My heart beats slowly and the peace of knowing washes over me. This sweet knowledge that I am loved, I am adored, and I am His. There are these moments in my life when I feel completely overwhelmed by His love. I look upon Him and my heart is full: my King, my Savior, my beloved. Jesus. I am so undeserving. It is right for me to love Him, to adore Him, and to worship Him, but how could He love me? To be seen and to be known so completely causes me to want to shrink back. Yet He is so gentle. He has freed me from every chain of sin that bound me and I am no longer a slave. I am bound only by the intensity of His love for me. He gives His love freely; He went to the cross for my sin, my ugliness. He is here, loving me, filling me, restoring my soul every day. And all I can think is I love Him. O, I love Him. 

This is why I follow Him, out of this depth of desire and love for Him. This is how I want everyone to feel. I want everyone to know this love, and to be known so deeply by their Savior. Hearing about the love of God might be a common message, but it lacks so much meaning if you have never truly experienced the depth of this love He has for us. He goes so much farther than we would ever go, and the only response I have is to love Him back. He has paid the price for our mistakes; He doesn't hold them against us. He wants you. He wants every part of you. When you surrender to the depth of His love, you will find yourself thinking I love Him. O, I love Him. 

"I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine..." (Song of Solomon 6:3)

I can't understand
This work of Grace
How a perfect God
Would come and take my place

The stars, they don't move you
The waves can't undo you
The mountains, in their splendor
They cannot steal your heart.

The God who is holy
Perfect in beauty
Awesome in glory
Is ravished by my heart

Though I am poor, you say I am lovely
Though I am dark, you say I am beautiful

Somehow my weak glance has overwhelmed you
Somehow my weak love, it has stolen away your heart

Saturday, April 11, 2015


I have often felt accomplished by my sheer amount of will power and diligence which allows me to accomplish so much in a seemingly stressful time of life. I went through my first year as a college student receiving good grades, and making deep friendship with other students and women I look up to as mentors.

This year has been completely different. My first semester as a sophomore provided more challenges than I anticipated. I took my roommate to the hospital two weekends in a row, my position as a Resident Adviser of students with disabilities distanced me from the other students on campus, and I wasn't sure that I should stay at Bethany College of Missions. It was an uncertain start to my sophomore year. 

Jesus was with me the whole time. The Lord has always provided His comfort and peace when I need Him. It is because of all those circumstances in my first semester back at college that I am where I am now! Through my first semester, I also became good friends with the women I RA, I went to my friend’s labor and witnessed my first birth, and now I am on the path toward becoming a midwife to serve women around the world!

All these wonderful things have led to this semester becoming even more chaoric than my last. I have been thrust head first into fundraising for the two and a half years I will spend in the Philippines, attending births (including the incredible birth of my nephew), completing my Associates degree, and making preparations for moving to another country.

I have been humbled over the past many weeks. I have come to the end of myself, and I feel generally that I wish to be done. I want to be done with college classes, done with fundraising, done with visa paperwork, and done with being sick. The past year has been such a whirlwind and I find myself utterly at the end of my strength, my persistence, my hard work. To make it even more overwhelming, I received a phone call yesterday with news that my car’s engine was blown and now find myself without transportation.

Yet, I have been reminded by a dear mentor that it is when we come to the end of ourselves that we begin to see the Lord working. When we surrender, He will take control. I thought I had surrendered everything to the Lord, yet I realize I have still been seeking to accomplish all of these things on my own power!

“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5)

I surrender. I cannot heal myself of being sick. I cannot repair a damaged car engine. I cannot provide the finances for myself. I cannot grant a visa for myself. I am unable to do anything within my own power. I trust Jesus. I know that He is good, and He provides abundantly more than I could ever ask, think, or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20) As I reach the end of myself, I reach out to the Lord. He has never left me, and I know that He never will. His will is perfect, and I have trusted Him to guide me to this: I am able to trust Him to provide me with strength, diligence, and protection from the evil one! May we glorify His name for all that He does in our lives that we do not deserve! He is good; His name is worthy to be praised. I surrender all, Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Newlife//New Adventure

Hello, my dear sweet friends! Life has been very busy lately, and the Lord has been doing so many things in my heart that I am so eager to share with you! As you likely know, I have a heart for women’s ministry. My vision is to minister to women so that they might know the true value of who they are and how much Jesus loves them. Currently, I am able to do this as I mentor and assist the two young women with disabilities that I live with.
However, over the past few months, my interest in midwifery (assisting women in the process of childbirth) has grown. I have learned about midwifery through my sister and her interest in midwives. I wasn’t sure how this could work together with my heart for missions, and I wasn’t sure if this was something I could really do. I was interested in it, and enjoyed watching documentaries with my sister on it. I had put all thoughts of becoming a midwife someday on the back burner and never really mentioned it. Midwifery came back into my mind when I was spending time with my friends who live here in Minnesota, about twenty minutes away from my college campus. They were expecting a baby, and we watched a midwifery documentary. I told them how I thought maybe one day I could become a midwife.
Later that week, I was with a mentor of mine who I shared my thoughts with. When I told her about how much interest I had in midwifery, she shared with me about a program called Newlife International School of Midwifery. One of the staff members here at Bethany College of Missions has a daughter, named Jenny, who went through the program several years ago. I was able to hear all about the program from Jenny, and about how much she enjoyed it. The program mixes both missional and midwifery training for women to become missionary midwives, and it resides in Davao City in the Philippines. The clinic where midwives receive their training is also a Christian ministry for the impoverished Filipino women in the area.
The more I heard about the program, the more excited I became when I realized how I could mix these two things together. A couple weeks after hearing about Newlife and reading everything I could on their website, I returned to my friend’s house to share my updates. They invited me to attend the labor and birth of their baby, and I gratefully accepted. The next morning I received a text message inviting me to the birth because my friend was in labor! It was the first live birth I have been able to attend, and I am so thankful I was able to be there. They even asked me to cut the cord! As I watched the midwives do their job, I fell in love with midwifery. (And then I fell in love with their brand new baby boy!)
I have spent a lot of time in prayer and seeking the Lord about going in this direction. Over Thanksgiving break, I decided that I will be graduating from Bethany College of Missions in the spring with my Associates of Arts in Intercultural Ministry. This month I am applying to Newlife International School of Midwifery and hope to be moving to the Philippines next fall. I am so excited for the ways the Lord will use me in midwifery as a holistic ministry for women to seek health in every aspect of their lives. I believe this is a door which the Lord has opened before me and I am so eager to step through and see what else He has in store.
Over the next several months I will begin the process of fundraising about $30,000 which I will need for the two and a half year program. If you are interested in financially supporting this venture, please let me know. Also, I am selling t-shirts to aid in my fundraising efforts. If you would like one, they are $18 ($20 for vneck) and come in four different colors. Email me for more info! 

I want to say thank you so much for your support as I continue to follow the Lord in all the things He has laid before me. I want to love each woman the way He loves them. Please be praying for me as I pursue this program! Blessings on you as you spend time this Christmas season with family or friends!

Here are some fun videos about midwives: