It’s okay to be dissapointed.

Tomorrow marks a year since my dad’s death. While I’ve been counting down the days in my head… 2 more months, 1 month, 2 weeks, 1 day – not out of excitement, but out of dread not knowing what emotions I would be feeling – I sit here today in peace.

To be honest, it feels weird.

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I have heard and read it all. Stories of friends who have lost a parent in a car accident. Stories of friends who should have lost a parent, but they miraculously survived. Stories of friends who have a father, but have never met him. My cousins who lost their dad (my dad’s brother) unexpectedly when they were very young and even stories of friends who have lost a parent and the other parent is terminally ill with cancer or a heart disease. A story of a friend whose mom committed suicide. The list goes on and on…

And yet there are still times – like during a wedding when you see the bride walking down the isle with her dad – that you feel alone in your pain.

I can’t explain the why. I don’t know why friend A’s dad survived his heart attack and mine didn’t. I don’t know why the Lord decided it was my dads time when I was living overseas (which He knew has always been one of my biggest fears in leaving my family behind). I can’t go back and change the fact that my dad was late to the airport to say goodbye to me when I left for Spain and so I went through customs without waiting for him. But I also know I can’t let the regret seep in.

I don’t have the answers. The thoughts and reminders will never go away. But I do know one thing, without a doubt.

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I have another loving Father who gives me comfort and peace when I can’t explain it. that surpass all understanding. Another Father who gives us all these stories so His glory can be lifted higher. A Father who truly KNOWS what we have all experienced. because we have all at some point in time lost something or someone. We have all at some point felt alone in our stories.

I sit here today with peace knowing my eternal Father is telling me it is okay to be disappointed. The future we imagined may not ever turn out like we planned. The sweetness of the past might never be fully recreated again. but it is okay.

He knows our deepest desires, as well as our deepest regrets, and our deepest fears. They are rooted from the same place: our connection to others. but that shouldn’t stop us to continue to love and dream big. To continue to jump and trust. To bet His words over the voice of doubt.

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Join me. Join me in weeping amidst the sweetness of the Lord even here, right here in the middle of the desert. We can keep asking why and how, but those questions aren’t the point. I think the point is  that they keep us turned to Him. Drawn to Him. because lets face it we are a stubborn breed. I know I can be. The wilderness isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just remember He has given us a map. a way out of it. We have to choose to follow. again and again and again. His promise leads us towards land. Land where there is abundance and thanksgiving. Joy and gladness. no complaining, but singing.

So for today I am going to grieve. Tomorrow, I am going to watch The Cowboys win because I know that is what my dad would be doing :] and the day after that when I get sad, I will remember the sweet memories of my dad and I will speak God’s promise – that everything will be okay.

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[ Stop Waiting for Things to Happen. Go Out and Make Them Happen. ]

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Welp, here we are a week and a half after our first Jog For Justice Race. It is crazy how a year and half of visions and 5 months of hands on planning can go by in 5 quick hours. The weekend was such a sweet success!! Not only did we get to see old faces and celebrate new ones, we were able to join in the fight against Human Trafficking together!

We ended up having over our goal of participants, around 315! Because of this, just through registration alone we were able to raise $7,000!!!!! We gave $2,000 to the local anti-trafficking organizations and $5,000 to Educate Nica! We even had one woman run with us who had been a victim of trafficking in her past, what an amazing story that she could join us! This was above and beyond great for our first time. It didn’t surprise us though, because we know God shows up BIG. always.

So THANK YOU all for your support and prayers. Here are some photos I wanted to share to those of you who joined us in this fight, but couldn’t be there physically with us last weekend :]

 

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^ the Start and Finish line ^

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^ the 27K runners are off ^

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^ 5K runners ^

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^ 1 mile ^

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^ our youngest participant, too cute! ^

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^ before we ran the 16.8 miles the weekend before, love this family ^

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^ SO proud of our participants! ^

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^ WR family ^

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Jog for Justice!

Family and Friends!! Hello. It’s been awhile. Life’s been busy. whew!

As some of you may or not may be following us, but the27project has been posting a lot lately on our social media sites to get people to sign up for our upcoming race. Well, I want to step back from the social media world for a second and write this post as a friend.

As you know, Stacey, Jennifer, Jessie and I have been working hard on the details of this race for the past 4 months! It is beyond exciting to see Stacey’s dream finally come true in just 10 days!! Our hearts are wrapped around and in this event and even more so what it is accomplishing already and will continue to accomplish…

So far as of today, we have 220 people signed up! This has exceeded out expectations. We also have already raised more money than expected for Educate Nica as well! Way to go guys!!!!

Marketing agendas aside, I want to 1 – thank you all for supporting us and believing in us through out this. And 2- I want to let you all know I hope you can come to the event and share this wonderful day with Stacey and I!! We want you all there! Very much so!!

[ INFO ]

Saturday, May 4th, 2013
Heritage Square (Austin Ave & 3rd Street) – Waco, TX (only and hour and half from Dallas!)
1 mile fun run/walk, a 5K (3.11 miles) and a 27K (16.8 miles)

You can register here: https://www.raceit.com/search/event.aspx?id=18537

>> ALL registrants will get a t-shirt and goodie bag (you must sign up by tomorrow to receive your shirt AT the race, those after will be mailed to them) and 27K registrants will be receiving a medal as well for finishing! After the event there will be live music, BBQ, drinks and a kid’s bounce house fun zone! <<

Local organizations that also work against the fight on Human Trafficking such as, Unbound, Grace Alliance, Jesus Said Love, The Family Abuse Center and Christian Women’s Job Corp will be at the race as well!

Even if you can’t participate you should still come! We’d love you to join. This event is happening because of you all – so come celebrate! This is going to be such a special day and again we thank you for supporting us and loving on us!!!!

Love,
Woody

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Today, I was reminded.

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…when we put our joy in Him alone.

 

One flavor of my personality that the Lord has blessed me with is JOY. I bring lots of joy. I say this not to boast, I say this out of confidence in who I know God has made me to be. I know I will one day be a great wife and mom because I will bring them joy. It has taken me 20-ish years to figure this out about me and almost 27 to knowingly walk in it.

One side to knowing a good quality about yourself is then you intentionally can give life. On the other side, I am now always immediately aware of when I am not bringing joy into a situation. And when I am not being joyous, I usually feel the extreme opposite.

Confession time…

Lately, I have been really grumpy. Just plain grumpy and lonely. The opposite of joy. I’ll wake up with nothing wrong and then BOOM one small thing I hear or something goes wrong and it throws my whole day off. I hate when I’m grumpy so the fact that I know I am grumpy when I am, makes me even more grumpy and mad at myself… do you still follow? :]

 

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Step 4. Ignore step 3!

I know grumpiness and loneliness is not who I am and so my first thoughts lately have been “Man, why am I always like this once I am back in the States,” and I end up blaming it on life here in America. On the overwhelming fast pace of life. On the idea that we have to have a 9-5 job to be successful. On the fact that I *think* I am able to better love strangers overseas than wealthy people in the US. On the fact that these are all just excuses if I let them be.

Tonight I was thinking – “Okay Woody, what if you take away those factors…” Take away the busyness, take away the excuses… the fact that when I nanny a 3 month old all day and then go home to work on a computer all night, wellll of course I’ll be grumpy having had no adult interaction all day, HA! I’ve realized something simple. I’m the one letting myself get upset and grumpy. I’m not choosing to feel a certain emotion – those are real and perfectly okay to go through the motions – BUT I am choosing to believe the lies. This isn’t something new I’ve never learned before, it’s just something I realized I have been doing lately.

Here is an example I know all of us ladies can relate to in some way or another no matter which side of the spectrum you are on – it is the ongoing single life VS married life argument.

I hear from my friends who are married and are moms how lucky I am to be able to still be single and travel the world and not have other people to worry about or take care of. Yes, they are very valid in their statement – it is a blessing to do the work the Lord has specifically given me! It is a bonus it has been overseas. Just as they might struggle with not having the opportunity to experience such things, it is as hard when He has placed a desire on my heart to be a mom and I don’t know when that day will come, when loneliness hits. It is equally as hard to take care of a screaming child for a 3rd day/week/month in a row, all the while getting to experience a love like no other. The roles can be switched. Neither one is better or above the other good or bad. Either scenario we have we WILL find something wrong with it. fact. we all do it.

Here is another example. I am living with my grandparents for the time being. At times, it is definitely not easy hearing your grandmother tell you how she thinks to live or not live your life. Okay okay, most of the time it stinks. BUT it is those other moments that I am reminded what a blessing it is as well… and that time with loved ones is precious. Just the other night, my grandmother fell getting into the shower. I had just gone downstairs and so she was alone. Neither my grandfather or I heard her screaming for help for at least 20 minutes. I finally (thank the Lord!) heard her, but if I hadn’t been there, my grandfather wouldn’t of been able to hear her. I barely did. In those moments I am reminded.

I am reminded that being content cannot be dependent on our circumstances or blessings.

I am reminded that the gifts the Lord has given us are to be cherished.

I am reminded that the Lord is not fair. For none of us deserve what we’ve been given.

I am reminded that the Lord is a dreamer and so we should be too.

I am reminded that being grumpy is okay. staying in it is not.

I am reminded that even though I can be stubborn at times and have to be reminded of these things over and over, there is grace.

I am reminded that when I feel I have taken two steps back, I am still one step foreword and if I’m not then the Lord is there carrying me.  

I am reminded that courage isn’t the absence of fear. Courage is just deciding that fear isn’t calling the shots anymore (Love Does).

I am reminded that struggle is not confined by the color of our skin, our gender, our geography, our occupation, our age, our financial status or our marital status. It attacks every single one of us.

I am reminded to bring life. to all. and constantly. even if no matter how lonely you may feel that day or how frustrated you may be. It is not worth it to not be a life giver and fire starter.

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I was reminded these things ^^ and now I am going to do and be. I won’t be perfect, but I will do my best. And my best is with Jesus by my side. So when ya don’t see Him beside me… feel free to call me up and call me out because we can’t do this alone!

We are all in the same big ole boat called life and there is an inheritance waiting for us to grab! One that will last for eternity and be sweeter than any memory here on Earth… and this makes me happy : ]

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[ SIGN UP ]

Today, Stace and I were on the Baylor campus all day! We had set up a booth to continue to get the word out on the27project. It was odd being back on a campus… I definitely realized the difference between college and the real world today even more, ha. We spent the afternoon going row to row placing our business cards in the windows of cars. yupp. we were those annoying people. classy I know, BUT we knew it would be effective.

We’re praying the Lord’s favor over the27project today – that Baylor helps us to spread the word on who we are like wild fires. C’mon Jesus!!!! : ) A lot of great movements start on colleges, yeah?!

Other quick updates:

-This past weekend in Clifton we held a spaghetti dinner that raised $2,400!! Wahoo!
-The race info is now updated and on our website!
-By the end of the week we will be launching the race registration officially, which is HUGE!! Now, we can hit it hard on getting sponsors.
-We also have set/found our featured international charity! Info on this will be on my next blog update : )

 

>>>>> [ If you would like to keep receiving updates on the27project you need to click here and sign up for our newsletters! We will be doing them from mailchimp from here on out, thanks! ] <<<<<

Home is where the heart is.

It hit me today. I have been home from Spain for a month now. It has been a year since I went back to Haiti and two and half years since I began my World Race adventures and actually stepped foot in Haiti for the first time. Man, Jesus sure has taken me on an adventure.

In the past 3 years I have lived in over 13 countries. Which means my heart has pieces left all over the world. Besides where I was physically born, I’m not even sure where “home” is to me. It is all over. I love this and hate this all at the same time.

If you have been following my blog from the beginning you know how hard it was for me to come back home the first time around. Being in the states was hard. Dallas was hard. A sweet friend of mine, Whitney**, recently wrote a blog on freedom and transitioning back “home”. I wanted to share parts of it because it really hit home.

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“Racers travel endlessly pouring out their hearts to the hungry all the while the Lord is restoring their confidence, their identities. Anchors are released and hearts begin to soar in purpose… the beauty of living on behalf of someone besides yourself.

Then, you come back “home” and those blinders fall back into place and the weight of the past shambles you back.”

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Man, did this ring a bell. Even now being home from Spain. But then I kept reading…

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“That’s the lie anyways,  it’s the first attack they face, I faced. I have found so many breakthroughs in this exact moment, or moments where you decide to hold close your freedom, know your freedom and proclaim it when you don’t feel it. This is the moments where you are breaking through the threshold. To write it out, to speak it aloud. You’re still free. Let that freedom revive and resurface in your heart right now, wherever you are.”

Home is everywhere, freedom is everywhere.
You are home, you are free.

<<<<<

This past week I was able to go back to The Porch. It had been over 6 months since I had been there – actually over six months since I had attended an English speaking church. I was dreading it to be honest. I knew the feelings above ^ that I had been through before all too well and I didn’t want anything to do with them. But I knew I had to push through. What was crazy was seeing the transformation of my heart over the last year. Not only for a big church, but for the city of Dallas.

My city. The burden for Dallas and for young adults suddenly hit me harder. Like it had in Haiti. In Thailand. In Moldova. In China. In Spain.

I left there realizing even more how amazingly blessed I am to have so many homes. It is rough to keep genuine community when you are constantly leaving and coming back. It is rough to have a heart for a city that has so much money when you have seen how the poorest of poor live. It is rough to take the blinders off that you have for your own culture. But through all that, it is totally worth it. Jesus has called me to move. not stay. and I wouldn’t change any of the places He has taken me.

I am overwhelming blessed and grateful for my multiple homes.

My home in Haiti – where the people who live in endless rows of blue tarps bring me such joy.

My home at Watermark where I was first shown how to be an authentic and vulnerable follower of Jesus and then how to make disciples.

My home in the Dallas County Jail – where I have truly learned and seen that our past does not define us.

My home in Spain- where beyond the beauty of the Mediterranean is the beauty of a community that will always be there for me. Where roofs are ripped open and giants are being slayed!

My home when I go running – When despite the fact that I feel can’t make it another mile, I stay encouraged by all the victims of human trafficking… knowing that we are making a difference one step at a time.

My home with my mama, brother and grandparents – where I have seen first hand what endless love is and where I have my chittens to cuddle with me always, no matter a good or bad day.

 

:: My heart just beams for you all. You all are beyond dear to me and I thank you. Thank you for loving me every time I come back and supporting me every time I leave. Thank you mama for saying goodbye even when you don’t want to share me. Thank you for teaching me about hope. Thank you for not letting me give up, for fighting for me. Thank you for loving me so even when I mess up. Thank you for teaching me how to not let satan steal my silence. Thank you for giving me your anointing and thank you for believing in me. always.

I was recently reminded of something Andrew always says… “When you walk with God, your enemy makes you…No Goliath? No David!”

I desire for my numbers of homes to grow. Oh how I wish I could just have you all in one spot, buuut I have a reason to sing. A reason to sing that I want to shout from the mountains! A reason to sing that I want to share to the masses! My life is not a journey to the grave where I intend to arrive all pretty and done up, but I intend to arrive torn up, used up and warn out. A mighty solider at Jesus’ feet. Full of joy and hope and love from all my homes : )

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*This video was done by my very talented friend Paul Bailey. It is what made Dallas touch my heart.

**I also wanted to share this about Whitney… check this woman of God out. do it. you won’t regret it. She is currently raising funds so she can go back to one of her homes… Candelaria, which is in the western part of Nicarauga. She is a woman of power and love and so so so much joy. Oh how I just love her and she needs our help so she can go love on these children here!!!

change.

I don’t know if it was because Obama was on the TV all day or what, but today this word has been on my mind.

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^^ and this just makes me laugh ^^

Change has been a constant theme between Jesus and me ever since I chose to follow Him. I feel like I am in consistent transition mode. It is like I am playing Grand Theft Auto and my car is constantly having to go to the paint shop- only I’m not on the run from the cops, ha.

Change is good, this I know. But man can it be scary.

As you all know I recently just moved back from Spain (you can read all about why I was there and what I learned in my blogs here). I also recently experienced the death of my father – someone who can’t be replaced by anyone. Just yesterday I had to say “see you later” to one of my best friends who moved back home to take care of her sick mother. My other best friend and I are working on her non-profit full time for free while at the same time trying to pay off loans and not live at home for forever. That is just to name a few. And I know there will be more change to come just within the next couple of months.

Big dreams. Big changes. They go hand in hand.

I was thinking the other day how when change hits us – good or bad – miracles or tragedy – we don’t just gain/lose a person or thing, but we gain/lose the way we see the world. Our outlook on life changes…

The way we have conditioned ourselves to think, believe and behave get disrupted. sometimes this is hard to process and sometimes this is easy, either way it is a good thing. Why? We’re not called to live comfortable lives. Jesus never did stay in one place for a long period of time. We are made to continue to grow and love and be pushed. lots of time beyond what we think we can handle.

Yesterday, I got to witness 10 or so people get baptized. all ages. all races. all backgrounds. From an adorable 7 year old girl who knew she was choosing to die to herself, to an older woman raised in Singapore and born into a Buddhist culture, to a man – my age – who had been struggling with pornography for 8 years and to a whole family choosing to embrace change together. all shapes. all sizes. all equal. all who Jesus had touched in some way or another. all who experienced a shift in their hearts. all who felt Jesus tell them He was the only way to overcome. Baptism represents this change. Yesterday, I heard it explained this way…

There are two dogs living inside of us. One is a good dog, the other a bad dog. Both we try and feed, but we no longer need to feed the bad dog because he is no longer alive. He is dead. Why feed something that is dead?

When we choose Jesus, we are being renewed… changed. Is this an instantaneous switch?

absolutely not. I wish it was, I think following Jesus would be easier. Buuuut then I don’t wish that because easier doesn’t always mean better- something worth having is worth putting up a fight for.

Think of it this way. In order for a seed to grow it first must be dead- yeah? Then it has to be buried and rooted and grounded in the soil. Then there is a process and system of watering and feeding that seed for it to grow. Not all seed make it.

It is a process. Change is a process. Following Jesus is a life long process.

Our past was a process leading up to a choice. The choice itself was not a process.
It is a choice to follow Jesus.
It is not always a choice when our circumstances change.
BUT it is a choice on how we process that change.

Jesus chose to keep on walking. Keep on moving. Keep on fighting. He chose the adventure. For the past 2 years Jesus has been teaching me to embrace change, so now when it comes I have learned that even though it may be terrifying or something I don’t even desire, it is good. It grows me. It shapes me. It transforms me to become more like Him.

I hope that no matter what change you are going through, good or bad… just know that if you keep your eye on Him it will all be okay. Hakuna Matata : )