Monday, October 31, 2011

Now I Have Seen You With My Eye...

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You."
Job 42: 5

Somehow, for a good portion of my Christian adolesence, I thought Job was like, three chapters long.

Chapter 1: God & Satan have conversation. Everything Job owns and cares about is destroyed. Chapter 2: Job's wife (how much did he care about her since she is still alive? And really, can you blame him?) tells him "curse God and die" but Job refuses. Chapter 3: God pats Job on back and returns his wealth times two.

Then I read's a lot longer and reading it makes me really wonder about the phrase "patience of Job" since the entire book is either him whining about how the situation isn't fair and he wants to make his case before God or his friends giving him really bad advice.

I simplify...I know. The truth is, Job is one of my favorite books of the Bible.

First of all you have a man going through a horrible situation...and the entire book he wants to know why this is happening. He is trying desperately to make sense of it. If he can just figure out what he did to deserve this, if he can just undersand why God is letting this happen...then somehow it will be alright. But he never gets the "why" answered. God shows up and kind of gives him "what for" and reminds him that we might not understand the ways of God but He is always in control and He is always...well, God.

God never explains to Job the "why" of it all. He doesn't tell him "Way to pass the test!" He lets him know that He is aware of what is going on in Job's life and that He is still in control. And Job's response is a new awareness of who God's like before he'd only heard of God but now he'd seen Him. There is a whole new reality, an entirely new perspective, a concrete relationship.

That verse has been running around in my head a lot today but sort of out of context...

You see, I knew the statistics. I had heard the stories. I was aware of the girls. Today I saw them with my eye. Today I know one of them really loves Reeses Cups. I know one of them wants to be a cosmetologist. I know one of them is having a rough day and can't stop crying. I know at least one of them (I hope more) is looking forward to me coming back.

There's a new perspective, a new reality. These girls are more real to me than they have ever been. And because of that my heart cries out even louder and with more desperation to God "WHY???!!!"

I just don't understand. I don't understand why this happens. I don't understand how that much evil can be in this world! I don't understand the traffickers and the brutal cruelty and manipulation they use. I don't understand the "johns" or the buyers if you prefer. You cannot tell me they don't know these girls are underaged! And if they can honestly convince themselves the girls are doing it because it is their choice then God help us because there are too many idiots running around this world for it to survive much longer! It is vile beyond words! I want to scream, I want to shake somebody, I want to hit something! I want to take it all back for them, restore their innocence, their identity, their lost childhood.

I want God to explain it to me. Instead He brings me to the book of Job. He reminds me that He is ultimately in control. That He is God. He reminds me that I have seen Him with my eyes as well. Not necessarily in a whirlwind mind you. More like the mirror. I know that He knows what is happening. He hasn't lost control of the universe or been caught napping or a momentary lapse of reason. He knows. I don't understand why. Won't ever understand it. But I trust Him. I trust that He sees these girls, that He loves them, that He can restore what they have lost.

My heart will never be the same. And I hope not. I hope I never "get used to this". I pray fervently that God use me to change their lives for the good. They've changed mine already.

My 1st Day @ Girls' Home (Be warned...kinda long)

Deep breaths. No stress. Don't freak out.
Don't start wondering what you are going to say.
Don't start wondering "What if they don't like me?"
You are not allowed to over think this.

Has God led you here? Yes. Will He desert you? No.

Don't you love it when I let you into my head?

I still remember the first time I walked into the women's shelter I volunteered with and then worked with for short time. I'd been a bit nervous but felt I had a handle on the situation. After all, I had "been there" so I had some understanding of their mindset. Don't get me wrong, I quickly learned how minimal my experience was next to the women who lived at the shelter but my life story gave me more confidence to walk in the door.

I have nothing in my life that makes me think I have any understand of what these girls have experienced. It is beyond my understanding. It is completely unfamiliar territory...which is not a place I'm comfortable. I like knowing things. I don't mind change or new adventures as long as I have some sort of foothold, some sort of comprehension about where we are going or what is going to happen.

I had none walking into this. As a matter of fact I didn't even know what we were going to teach until this morning. However, when I heard, I was reassured about what I was going to say. Debbie and Meredith were starting a new lesson and the girls had asked to have a class on how to find a job. Job hunting skills...a dry topic to be sure. But one I know a lot about...and one that-for the girls-means hope, a new life, the chance to achieve dreams.

When I worked at the women's shelter we often had volunteers who came in wanting to "help" the women. However, having no understanding of the condition of the women's mental and emotional state, they often walked in expecting tears, hugs and "warm fuzzies". What they usually got was the opposite. So they left feeling disappointed and disillusioned and many of them never came back. I made sure I set what I felt were realistic expectations. I certainly didn't look for any sort of fuzzies. I was extremely glad I was with two women who had been going to the home for a while, who obviously loved the girls, didn't consider me an intruder (one more worry laid to rest), and who "knew the ropes".

The day started with a meeting and prayer (lots of prayer), a quick lunch, then we headed over.

On the drive over...(yep, you are in my head again)
Ummm...Father? (Yes?)
Ummm...not sure how to put this. (It's okay, I know)
At this point I start this a Christmas list but so much more important!
I want them to know I love them even though I've never even met them.

I want them to know You love them.

I know my story isn't like theirs but it is the story of rescue and redemption. I know what You did in my life. I want You to do it in theirs. I want to be a part of You doing it in theirs. Not for me, so I feel good about what I do but for them. I want to see them healed, whole, happy. I want them to know You are there for them and that You are more than able and willing to rescue, restore, redeem.

I want all their best dreams to come true.

(So do I.)

Few minutes later...
Ummm....Father? (Yes?) I...think You know. (I do)
So I turn up the radio, singing praise music loudly, joyfully...badly. So grateful I have a Father who knows me, loves me, and reassures me in the midst of my uncertainty.

Walking up to the door, I hear a sound that is immediately familiar and reassuring. It's like walking up to my house on Wednesday evenings. There is a group of teens that comes over to hang out and get a ride to/from church every Wednesday. The numbers vary but the volume is always the same-loud and high pitched. The sound I'm hearing is teenaged girls laughing, squealing, and trying to talk over one another.

We walk in and I see a number of girls sitting on couches, standing around, talking. Topics of conversation seem to be clothes, jewelry, the "borrowing" of clothes or jewelry. And disappointment...they know it's Halloween but they won't be dressing up or getting candy (well, maybe they will get a little candy thanks to Meredith but they don't know that yet). I'm trying not to stare or appear to be staring and sort of slide over to Meredith as we are standing there waiting that point I'm not sure. I just want to appear like I am suppossed to be here and that I'm useful.

The girls are broken into two groups. The first group sits down. We start talking about resumes. Debbie has a paper with samples of headings and we have them pick their favorite. She has a sample application she wants them to fill out so they have the information when we do their resumes. We talk about how to answer the phone when you don't recognize the number and it could be a potential employer. I explain to them about creating a professional sounding email address. No or We talk about changing voicemails. It's when we get to the sample application that I am really able to help out. I can wordsmith a job application! Never had a "real" job? Ever babysat, mowed grass for $5, cleaned your Grandma's house? Suddenly you have work experience in "childcare", "groundskeeping" and "housekeeping." "Friendly" means "good people skills" and they learn to put the word "negotiable" next to "Expected Salary". Not all the girls are engaged in the lesson but enough of them are that they keep me busy for the duration. One girl wants me to "interview" her and we have to reassure her several times that we are going to do that in an upcoming lesson. She really wants to do it now but is distracted when Meredith breaks out the treat bags. They are so excited and tear into the candy. One girl barters Snickers for Reeses Cups while another quietly takes some of hers and hides it in her jacket. She smiles at me "They aren't going to take my candy." I reassure her that we got permission before giving it to them but I notice she never takes it out of her pocket.

The second group comes in and sits down. They are a little less rowdy than the first and really need less help in areas but I'm able to help in some of the same ways as with the first group. It's the girl that is sitting to the left of me that has my attention for most of the time. I hardly get to say anything to her but I have my hand on her shoulder for quite a while. She tries to participate in filling out the application but gives up and lays her head on the table. She is crying the entire session. There's nothing I can say or do. I don't know her name or why she's crying. I just want her to know that someone notices, that we care. When Meredith passes out the candy, she puts hers in her pocket and asks if we are done. Debbie nods yes and she leaves.

I kind of feel bad, like I monopolized Debbie's lesson, but she is actually grateful. She and Meredith are both encouraging, telling me what a good job I did and how glad they are that I know this stuff. Meredith asks me if I've taught before and when I say yes, she says she could tell. One of the teachers who was observing gives me an enthusiastic "good job" and one of the other staff comes over to ask me some questions about interviewing. But the absolute, without a doubt, best part of my of the girls comes over to make sure I'm coming back. When I tell her I'll be back next week, she smiles at me like this is the answer she was hoping for and walks away.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Your Story

"I didn't like you." The lady standing in front of me said.

She didn't say it with any animosity. Just matter of fact. Sort of like you'd say "Grab an umbrella, it's raining outside." But it really knocked me for a loop...I mean, didn't everyone like me?

It was day two of a three day women's retreat. This retreat isn't your typical women's retreat. It's for women who have incarcerated loved ones. Husbands, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons...serving time in county jails, state or federal prisons, diversion centers for a variety of crimes. You don't know what. It's one of the rules. You don't ask. This is a safe place so if the guest doesn't want to say, she doesn't have to.

Having been a guest on the retreat six months before, I had volunteered to work on the team for this weekend. During team meetings, I had been asked to speak on "anger". I'd been really nervous but totally convinced that the Holy Spirit had been in control while I wrote the talk and when I stood in front of all those women and given it. I was still a bit shakey from the experience though it had gone well (I didn't stutter or trip on the way to or from the podium) and the women had really responded to what I had shared.

And now I had some woman I had only seen briefly over the last two days publicly proclaiming her dislike for me?!

"I'm sorry...what?" I asked.

"I didn't like you." She said. (I had totally gotten that point) "I watched you walking around with this big smile on your face, hugging everyone and laughing like you didn't have a care in the world. I didn't think you had a right to be here. You didn't have a clue what I was going through, what any of us were going through"

She paused for a moment, then continued. "But then, you told your story this afternoon. Halfway through it I realized, if God can do that for you, He can do that for me."

At this point, I'm Niagra Falls crying. "Yes, yes He can...and will."
She starts crying and smiling at the same time, hugs me, and walks off.

I'm overwhelmed with gratitude...that God would take my story and use it to impact this woman in such a way and that He would arrange it so that I would know He had done so.

What does God want to tell through your story?

By the way, if you'd like to know more about this particular ministry, check out the Kairos Outside website:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Now What?

She's the antithesis to the casher at Golden Corral (if you are confused, see previous post on "Spreading Awareness"). She's aware...very aware. She's heard the statistics, the stories, detailed descriptions of the horrible evil that is sex trafficking...she's overwhelmed.

She hears presentations and talks. Attends forums and discussions. Reads the articles. Watches documentaries. But in all of this she feels something is missing.

They never tell her what she should do about it. She's sure she has a role in stopping it from happening, in the restoration of the victims. There is something she can do! She's just not sure what.

At this point, many people become mired. They want so badly to do something but they don't know what and they feel helpless. Some of them continue listening, reading and watching because they care but some of them just shut down.

Not her. She is a college student. She knows about research. So she starts researching on the internet. She makes some phone calls. She finds Wellspring Living. She talks to one of the staff there and they help her work out a plan and empowered she begins to do something.

She forms a project called Sister to Sister and begins recruiting help and asking for donations. They collect toiletry items, journals and ink pens. They decorate boxes and set them up in different areas as drop off points. In the end, there are ten of them filled to the brim with donations. I'm talking big boxes...big, heavy boxes! (Having loaded & unloaded them, I'm familiar with the weight! lol Big, huge thanks to Trey for helping! I'm a lucky Mom to have such an awesome son.)

I got to meet her this week when I drove up to the school to collect the donations. My new role means I get to work with her as she takes the next step and then the next and then...

She talks to me about the drive she wants to do in January to collect some winter items for the girls. She wants to take a team of girls to do a project at one of the stores. She has plans to get some more students together for a Saturday activity at the Girls' Home and she wants to recruit female students to be mentors for the girls. She even intends to write a grant proposal to get the money to cover the cost of the background checks and training the students will need to be mentors.

I am just blown away by this girl. During our conversation she's informed, clear about her goals, and so enthusiastic her eyes light up and her face is glowing. She is empowered. She knew there was something she could do and she found it.

What about you? Maybe this isn't your "issue"...maybe it's extreme poverty, illiteracy, obesity in children. Something that gets under your skin and you think "Someone needs to do something!" That someone is you. Maybe you want to do something but you just don't know what. Start researching, start calling. Most non-profits, even if they can't help you, can send you to a person or organization who can. Maybe you are thinking you don't have time. But you don't need nearly as much time as you think. In most cases, just a few hours a month can make a big difference. But don't just sit there.

I'm reading a book called "Just Courage" by Gary Haugen. It's one of those books I have to read slowly because I read a bit and then I have to think through and process what I've read. I love those type of books, even more so if someone is reading it and processing it with me! (No hint there, really.) Anyway, in chapter two he says Christians tend to feel a sense of discontent and begin to wonder "Now what?" He calls this a "divine restlestness", a "voice of sacred discontent", "the voice of the holy yearning for more"

"This is the moment in which we can see that all the work God has been doing in our lives and in the life of the church is not an end in itself; rather, the work he has been doing in us is a powerful means to a grander purpose beyond ourselves. This is the supernatural moment when the rescued enter into their divine destiny as rescuers. This is the critical transition-when we who have been rescued by Christ come to understand that our rescue has not been simply for ourselves but for an even more exalted purpose. Indeed our own rescue is God's plan for rescuing the world that he loves."

You were rescued not only because Jesus loves you so but because He loves them so and He wants to use you to rescue them. So what are you going to do?

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Fluffy Kind of Blog Post

Today I'm sitting at my desk in the Wellspring Living office, answering emails, returning phone calls, etc. I hear someone say something about a kitten outside the door but I don't pay a lot of attention. Next thing I know, the UPS person has brought in boxes, left the door open (hands were kind of full!) and the kitten has come in to the office! We tried to shoo him (?) out but he just hid behind desks and bookshelves so eventually we left him alone. I got him some milk in a styrofoam saucer but he didn't seem to know what to do with it. For part of the time he hid but eventually he came out and started snooping around the place. He also quickly discovered how much fun it is to sleep on people's feet! One of the staff members, trying to get his attention, started calling him by a variety of differnt names ("Tiger", "Fluffy", "Sebastian"). He liked "Sebastian" and so Sebastian he is. A total cutie pie and a great distraction for a Monday!

P.S. Get it, "fluffy blog post"? I'm sooo funny!

Lessons From Grandma

Those of you who know my story already know I spent quite a bit of my younger years being raised by my Grandma. And those of you who have heard my story and have heard me talk about my Grandma have already heard me talk about her gardens.

Grandma had two gardens. One provided for the family and one provided food for others who needed it neighbors, friends or strangers.

Now I wouldn't call what she did human trafficking but I would describe it as "child labor". She'd been raised on a farm as one of 14 children and during those years or sometime after she had definitely read 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat". Actually, I don't recall being given the choice to work or not to eat. There were days I would have gone hungry rather than work in the garden.

To be honest I don't think she worked us as hard or as often as it perspective as a child and my perspective as an adult on those times are quite different. For one, I cherish them much more now. We often cherish people more when they are gone. But she worked me enough that I learned valuable lessons from gardening. I know about planting, weeding, picking vegetables and what to do with them when you pick them. A few years ago I started gardening again not only as a means to feed me and the kids but because I'd suddenly found something very soothing in the process. When Adam and Eve lived in Eden, God told them to tend the garden so there must be something spiritual about planting, watering, weeding and eating the fruits and vegetables of your labor. The more I garden, the more I learn...

And this weekend got to put that knowledge to more use. A bunch of us from OM USA went to Clarkston, GA. At some point, the federal government picked certain areas to patriate refugees. Apparently they looked for areas with plenty of apartments and public transportation (or those were two of the qualifications from what I was told) and Clarkston was a grand location...and now one of the largest refugee populations in the country. There are approximately 60,000 refugees from around 150 different ethnic groups in the area. Our team from OM USA split into groups and worked with several different projects. Some of us visited homes, some walked around the area and met people (praying, having conversations and praying with people when appropriate), we had backyard Bible groups (face painting, singing, story-telling), a pottery class, a dance class, a landscaping team at the elementary school (working with the 4-H club) and a team that went to the community gardens to help out.

Guess what team I was on?

The community garden is a project run by Friends of Refugees and about 40 families have a small garden plot plus they have a community area where some things have been planted and everyone can share. We helped clear some land so that 40 more families can have a plot. We also weeded, mulched and helped put up a fence to try and deter thieves. I helped clean out and clean up the small green house they had built as well. Because many of the refugees are new to the area they don't know the land that well and often experiment to see what will grow. Many of them of course want vegetables, herbs, etc from their homeland so they do their best to make them grow. I was able to talk to Adam from FoR and the garden keeper (whose name I sadly can't remember but whose story of his home in Bosnia I will never forget) about some of the things that grow well, some of the ones that won't, times of year to plant, etc. I was also able to do some things to help that others on the team didn't know how to do because they didn't grow up with my Grandma.

I don't believe in the idea that people in Heaven can look down on us. But I do know God is a loving God and I know that my Grandma fought hard to beat her cancer because she was so worried about me, about what would happen to me when she was gone, if I would be "okay". I a whimsical fashion of course...if He gave her a glimpse into this day, with me working in this garden, to let her know that though the lessons she taught me would take a while to sink in, I would not forget them...and more than that, would put them to good use.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spreading Awareness

"So what 'injustice' were you trying to stop?"

"Huh?" I look at the young guy behind the cash register at Golden Corral trying to figure out what he's talking about. Takes me a second to realize it's my shirt. I was wearing my shirt from Wellspring Living's "Stop Injustice" 5K.

"Oh," I say realizing. "Sex trafficking in Georgia"

"Wait...what...that happens here?" Now it is his turn to look dumbfounded.

"Yea, some estimates say an average of 400 girls every month" I explain.

"What do they do, like bring them from other countries?" He's still trying to figure this out.

"Well, yeah...but the majority of them are girls born here in America, in Georgia. Many of them running away from bad home situations, some of them trafficked by their own families"

The people in line behind us are impatient. I sort of motion to them and apologize for holding the line up.

The guy responds "Well, at least you spread some awareness." His face still hasn't been able to resume a normal expression as we walk away.

You'd think I'd feel elated that I'd accomplished something...but I didn't. Instead I pondered it a bit...what was that like for my kids as they stood there during that conversation. What did it do to the guy at the cash register? Would it spur him to action? Or-in the midst of a busy Friday night-would he forget it? And part of me was sad that he was no longer "innocent" of the situation. It's not that I want him to be innocent...I want to live in a world where I don't have to ruin that innocence because there is nothing there to tell. But I don't. I guess part of what I was shocked at was the fact he really didn't know! I live within this informed group of people that are really aware of issues going on here and internationally so even though I hear about how people don't know I don't think I've ever actually talked to someone who was completely ignorant of the situation. And I think that I thought-perhaps even judgementally-that if people didn't know they were choosing to be ignorant of it because they didn't want to know. But this conversation really made me aware that there are people who are just honestly unaware simply because they've never heard...because they've never imagined it could happen "here".

So...if you are one of those people or know one of those are a few suggestions on how to learn more:

Wellspring Living I'm kind of partial to this particular organization. (And for those of you who don't get the joke...this is my new job) They also have the "Wellspring League" and you can go to You Tube and type in "Wellspring Living" and find some really good, informative videos.

A Future Not A Past has a website specific to Georgia or you can visit their National website.

The Not For Sale campaign focuses on all different areas of human trafficking.

And if you are wondering how you can get involved, Street Grace has lots of volunteer opportunites.

Watch the documentary "Very Young Girls"

There's a couple of really good blogs I'd suggest as well:
Matthew Snyder "Writing And Ideas That Are Changing The World" 
9 to 20: A Survivor's Journey Out Of Trafficking

Making someone aware might ruin their day, shake their world, hurt their innocence but until more people are aware...and more than that...involved...this will keep happening. And I'm just not okay with that.

Are you?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This weekend I had the chance to "run away" for a few days with a four other women from OM. It was interesting because it was four women that I knew but not well...but enough to know this was going to be a great weekend. To be honest, I almost backed out because I had "so much to do" but I think because I have so much to do, this was the perfect time to step back and just relax for a few days, rest, talk, soak in a beautiful atmosphere and in His presence.

This was the house we stayed in...and if that isn't enough to make you jealous...

Check out the view from the deck...I should have coffee and a view like this every morning!

The four women I was incredibly blessed to be with all weekend...

Sheila (first lady on the left) works in Women's Ministry and spends her time encouraging women all over the world. She facilitated the weekend. We focused on "Who God Is..." discussing His attributes, His character, the work He had done and was doing in our lives. It was a restful weekend with time together as a group and time to spend alone. The atmosphere was sweet and close...we prayed a lot, cried quite a bit, and basically reveled in His presence.

I knew I needed this but I didn't know how much until I got there and experienced it. I started school not realizing I would be working two jobs. I'm really struggling to keep up with assignments, work, and be the  Mom I need to be-and Trey and Embree need me to be. I've been feeling overwhelmed and bit "on the edge". Everything going on in our lives-specifically mine-is good but it is a lot...and at one time. I'm not whining...just trying to be transparent. I'm walking this journey one step at a time and God is strengthening me step by step but there are days I'm not sure how I'm going to get to the end of it and accomplish all that I need to accomplish. The past few days were a great time of refreshment and strengthening so that rather than feeling desperate, I'm much more confident when I look at the week. I know I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. And I am more aware than ever of the amazing people that God has placed in our lives. These four women and I have a new bond, a new awareness of each other, and a renewed sense of who we are in Christ.

I hope everyone has an amazing and truly blessed week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 was about seven years ago when Embree, Trey, and I did our first show with Newnan Community Theatre. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is the tale of what happens when the worst kids in town take over the local church Christmas program. It's one of the most fun-and a personal fave of mine-Christmas tales ever. Once upon a time, it was a made for TV movie starring Loretta Swift. I'm not sure why it isn't one of those classics that get played repeatedly in a 24 hour time slot during the Christmas holiday. 

The first time around Embree played Gladys (Shazaam!!!), Trey was David, and I was Mrs. McCarthy. This time around Embree is Beverly and Assistant Stage Manager, Trey is Tech (Lights/Sound), and I am Mrs. Clausing and Stage Manager.

Our reprisal of this show has me reminiscing about the first one and how much time has passed, all that we have done, how big my kids have grown, how much NCTC has grown!

For more info on the show go to If you live in the local area, you should definitely come see it! Performances December 3rd, 10th, & 17th at 11 AM and 2 PM.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I didn't go just sort of found me. I mean, I knew something was going on...I'd had this "unsettled" feeling since February. I'd prayed through, trying to figure it out...wondering if it had something to do with the fact we were going to have to move or the fact I've been at OM for four years and maybe the 'new' had worn off. I'd finally come to a place where I trusted God with whatever and knew He would guide my course. I'd wait and see.

I've always had heart and passion for women, women's issues, women's ministry. My friend Ali, over the course of several converations and a couple of books, had opened my eyes to the issues women face globally and I have read and prayed over so many stories, articles, etc. Wondering how God was going to use me to make an impact. This summer, God started bringing me back home (so to speak). It started when I watched a documentary called "Very Young Girls" (I highly recommend). During the documenntary, Rachel Lloyd says that American's perspective are skewered. When we look at sexual exploitation in other countries we call it "sex trafficking" but when it's happening here we call it "prostitution" because somehow that makes it easier for us. That hit me hard because I realized that while I spend a lot of time focused on international trafficking, I hardly ever think about it here in the US. A few weeks later I went to meeting where Rachel Lloyd was was during this meeting I heard it's estimated that-on average-400 girls a month are commercially exploited for sex in Georgia every month. The average age of the girls, 14. I was stunned. I knew I wanted to do something but I didn't know what.

When I found out I would have to organize and lead a service project for a class I was taking, I decided I wanted to work with one of the organizations in Atlanta that work with the issue of sex trafficking in Georgia. I went on the Street Grace website to look at possible volunteer opportunities. Wellspring Living was one of the organizations on the site and it's located in Peachtree City. I'd heard of Wellspring Living before. I knew about the work they did helping women recover from destructive lifestyles but I wasn't aware of how much work they do to help girls who have been trafficked in Georgia or the advocacy work they do. I called and talked to Christine and began to organize a team to help with the Tour of Faith which promoted the work Wellspring does and helped them raise funds. After the event, I met with Christine a few times to help with their volunteer program. While Christine was out of the office getting married and enjoying her honeymoon, I answered volunteer inquiries. When she came back, she took me to lunch to thank me...and talk to me.

She told me her position was changing, that she had already talked to Mary Francis (founder and president of Wellspring Living) about me and that they were wondering how I'd feel about coming on staff at Wellspring to direct the volunteer program. I didn't feel comfortable giving an answer until I had talked to Jane (my supervisor, friend, mentor and "Mama Bear" at OM USA). I went straight to her office on my return and told her about the conversation. Jane replied, "Here are my thoughts." I anticipated a list of pros and cons that included housing, income, benefits,'s the way Jane thinks...which-for those who know me-is really good for me. So I was shocked when the next thing that came out of her mouth was that though she'd hate to lose me and I'd be difficult to replace, this job and this ministry were "my heart", it was who I was and that it would be a better fit for me than the work I was doing now. I mean, I'd known that but I hadn't expected her to be that blunt about it! I had a couple of other friends pray with me and everyone was feeling the same thing...this was the path and I should walk it. I emailed Christine and told her if Wellspring Living offered me a positon, I would take it.

The next week, they offered me the position. I took it.

The transition will actually be a long one. I'll be working ten hours a week at Wellspring and 30-35 at OM until the end of the year. As of January 1st, I'll be full time at Wellspring. I'll be the director of their volunteer program, speak on occasion, and teach/mentor one day a week at the Girl's Home. I'll be half salary/half support in order to better meet my budget (if you are interested in giving to my support, let me know and I'll be glad to send you instructions!). The long transition is both good and bad. In a way it makes it harder. I keep looking around OM, talking to friends, sitting in prayer time, having meetings and I think "This is all going to change" I know that I'll still see so many of them but the connections will change. I'll miss them-a lot. OM USA has been such a huge and wonderful part of my life that it is really hard to leave it behind. However, at the same time, I'm incredibly excited to be a part of what Wellspring Living is doing and anticipating the time when I can put my full energy into being a part of it. And-to be honest-trying to get the things I need to get done with two jobs, going to school and being a Mom is a bit exhausting...and I've only been doing it a couple of weeks. If you could pray for my energy and focus, that would be awesome!

The cool news is we have found a house...and it isn't even a mile away! It's a really nice one for a great price. The family that lives there is actually leaving OM as well...they'll be moving to Gainesville to work with Adventures In Mission. So we won't move till they do, which is around the last of November.

And that's where we've been, where we are, and where we're headed.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


So Paul, the Artistic Director at Newnan Community Theatre sent out request...looking for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever script. I sent him text telling him I had one (since we did the show seven years ago) and knew exactly which box it was in...turns out I was wrong. Nine boxes later, I found it.

I think I keep too much stuff.

Catalyst 2011

So, it's really unusual to see me out of bed and ready to go at six in the morning.
It's unheard of to see me out of bed, dressed and on a ferris wheel at 7:30 in the morning!
Yep, it's me and yep, that is a ferris wheel.

So what in the world was going on?

Gwinnett Center

Ahhh...Catalyst 2011. Somehow now it makes sense. One of two good reasons to get up ridiculously early (the other being the Passion Conference). This is my second year going to the conference and I gotta say this year was even better than last year. I think somehow it had to do with less stimulation. Last year there was "never a dull moment" but this year they toned it down a bit. This was actually helpful to me because I feel like I processed more of what I heard.

Some of my favorite quotes:
"Live, live well. Breathe, breathe deep. Don't be alarmed, be alive. Taste life"
"Go deep rather than wide. Go long-term rather than short-term. Go time, not just money." (Andy Stanley)
"Jesus does not ask that we care for the less fortunate, He demands it" (Katie Davis)
"Everything depends on my connection with God..." (Francis Chan)
"Fear is vision without hope" (Mark Driscoll)
"We-as Christians-believe in a God who can do anything but we don't believe He can end extreme poverty through his people" (Scott C Todd) BTW, check out his website Live 58.
"A hatred for injustice is not the same thing as loving people" (Cornell West)
"You want what you want instead of what God wants" (Priscilla Shirer)

These are just a few of the nuggets we got during the two days we spent at Catalyst (By the way, "Catalyst is not a conference, it's a runway!"). I didn't get to hear Jim Collins speak because I had to attend online meeting and I'm really disappointed. Heard he was great. Mark Driscoll was huge surprise to me because I'd never heard him speak. Priscilla Shirer blew me away. Andy Stanley was-as always-awesome. Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS, was there. You should check out his new book "Start Something That Matters" (and let me borrow when you are done). And David Kinnaman's book You Lost Me" is now on my Must Read list (very near the top). Also, everyone needs to check out Katie's blog The Journey.

The Social Justice tent was really well done. Had amazing conversation with guy from International Justice Mission and he gave me copy of "Just Courage" which I'm excited to start reading! I didn't get a chance to go into the soak tent/meditation tent/reflection tent...forgot what they called it...and really didn't understand the placement of it anyway. Not sure how you could focus with the very loud music playing across the sidewalk...but that's just me. That and the fog which causes my eyes to water continuously are my only two negatives so I think that's pretty good. Well...the coffee line...but it's free coffee...and not just free coffee but coffee from Land of a Thousand it is totally worth waiting in a line-no matter how long!

The worship was amazing!!! And I found out about Seryn! Which everyone else might know already but I'm slow so cut me some slack!

Catalyst has more swag than any other conference I have ever attended and this year was no different. A personal fave was the finger light.
Thanks to Donna for modeling her light so well!

13,000 attendees from all 50 states and 7 countries...letting their light shine.
(Ha, ha...yeah, I know it's cheesy...)
Obviously this isn't ALL 13, 000 of them.
Thanks for a great conference Catalyst. Hope to see you in 2012! Hope that what we heard doesn't fade but changes us in some way, changes the world in a big way.

"Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone...Maybe this is how we change the world..." (Andy Stanley)

PS If you are on Twitter, search #cat11 and you'll see just about every notable thing said during the conference!