Україна (ukraine) has moved}}

since i have the intention of doing many more trips like ukraine in the future, and people always want to hear about stories/pictures etc. i made a blog for them.
i'll be doing my ukraine posts over there: goingforlove.blogspot.com for now there's a slideshow over there.

because my heart needs this space to be free and vent and exhale.
and i can't do that if i keep feeling i need to write about ukraine.
and also
i can't really be sending
ok i don't *want* to be sending
many people to this spot.

((this is where my heart in all its rawness is free to explode with no fear or worry of judgement or assessment. as much as humanly possible i write here as if nobody ever reads it. thanks to the few who do, and still love me! haha. but seriously. everybody needs a _space_ to be freee from feeling [boxed] into society expectations. or church expectations. or conformity in general. just sayin'. rant over.))


upmost for his highest // aug 4

He took the twelve aside . . . -Luke 18:31 
"Oh, the bravery of God in trusting us! Do you say, "But He has been unwise to choose me, because there is nothing good in me and I have no value"? That is exactly why He chose you. As long as you think that you are of value to Him He cannot choose you, because you have purposes of your own to serve. But if you will allow Him to take you to the end of your own self-sufficiency, then He can choose you to go with Him "to Jerusalem" (Luke 18:31). And that will mean the fulfillment of purposes which He does not discuss with you.
We tend to say that because a person has natural ability, he will make a good Christian. It is not a matter of our equipment, but a matter of our poverty; not of what we bring with us, but of what God puts into us; not a matter of natural virtues, of strength of character, of knowledge, or of experience- all of that is of no avail in this concern. The only thing of value is being taken into the compelling purpose of God and being made His friends (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-31). God's friendship is with people who know their poverty. He can accomplish nothing with the person who thinks that he is of use to God. As Christians we are not here for our own purpose at all- we are here for the purpose of God, and the two are not the same. We do not know what God's compelling purpose is, but whatever happens, we must maintain our relationship with Him. We must never allow anything to injure our relationship with God, but if something does injure it, we must take the time to make it right again. The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack."
(nailed. i have allowed things to injure my relationship with my God; i have demanded to see His purposes in certain situations; i have been too arrogant-proud-stubborn to be used. i've allowed spiritual warfare from ukraine to follow me home--i've given over victory to the enemy when fighting was as easy as declaring "i know Whom i have believed, and that is enough. i don't need to figure anything out, don't need to know His plan to know He is good, always at work on behalf of His children, always saving lost and always working a slooow victory and redemption." thank you Lord, for using oswald to clear my vision. yet again)


sometimes other people write your heart and you find it by pleasant surprise

i just read this on my friend laura's blog. sssh. i am stealing her words.
this morning i had sunrise at the atlantic. + comrade. to download a bit with somebody who is processing ukraine too in a place where God's glory is so very visually stunning we could not forget about His beauty & goodness & power.
the whole drive home, i was thinking. about how God grows me, how i recognize this cycle. amazing experiance-flames-ashes-rebirth. but my attitude wasn't great. i was thinking "God, can this be enough change for the year? can i just curl up in a corner and You can get my heart where & in whatever shape it needs to be? ..."
laura convicted me. EXACTLY where my heart is! i didn't know how to put it in words {emphasis mine}

And so that's why I refuse to be broken forever.  That's why I refute the lies with the truth.  That's why I stay awake when I want to crawl under the covers.  That's why I welcome in the new even when sometimes I just wish, wish so hard, for the old.  Because I will not let this heart, this life God has given, to dry up and leave me a walking bottle of tears.  I won't do it.  I will hold onto hope.  I won't let things go without being grateful for what they are, what they have been, what they have the possibility of being, what God could and will and can do.  I won't hang onto broken hearted times, rubbing the bronze shiny, just to say I remember how it hurt so much then and how it can still hurt so much now.

I won't stop saying, "Thank you." even if my throat is too closed to get the words out at the time.

"God has dealt graciously with me, 
and... I have (all things, 
more than) enough."
~ Genesis 33:11



i know.
i'm way behind.
i intend to set up a separate blog for my travels, and i'll be posting pictures and ukraine stories there. just trying to get into a rhythm of school + work, with time for fam & Jesus. and the very best friend that is moving away in 6 weeks.
i can't process.
i just get snatches of time here n there; and i'm already a s-l-o-w processor...tiiiiiiiiime. everything takes time!
if i were to try & write bout Ukraine now...it'd be a mess. children, stories, american/ ukrainian teams...the beautiful resilient country with its shattering history and rising from ashes...can't separate things from the effect they wrought in my heart just yet so all that crap would be mixed in... God used Ukraine events to stir up in me and ugliness He revealed in my heart and i know it's to turn it into beauty.
but honestly, having a hard time seeing beauty right now.

just a season.

growing pains.
sigh. ((ps. theme song of the week? i saw what i saw, sara groves))


culture shock verbal puke

i feel lost.
here i sit in my room, a different girl then the one who left 3 weeks ago for Ukraine. (3 weeks? are we sure it wasn't 3 months, or years even? did we really only do 2 orphan camps?) i want to burn the furniture, tear everything off my door & rebuild from scratch. i missed my beautiful family but i was not ready to leave...was i really walking the streets of Kyiv just  27 hrs ago? i have seen so much. i've been punched, smacked, loved, bruised, hugged, bitten, kissed, tackled, peed on, adored, blessed beyond measure. i've been heartwrenched, ecstatic, humbled, scared, used by God, convicted, challenged, blessed, confused, broken. i've seen inhuman treatment of children that i cannot comprehend. i've seen some of the most beautiful hearts Jesus ever created in His people & seen Christ shine through them. i've loved freely as God loves through me, and i have held back love i ought to have shared. i've felt the bravery God's spirit brings when one steps out in faith. i feel regret. i've looked an enemy in the face and backed down, i ran when i should have fought, i let fear rule when i had God's strength, i have been unusable because of pride. i have been more concerned with man's opinion than God's. i am spent // but i wish i were more spent. i cannot sleep. even though i spent 19 hrs in travel and slept very little the last 8 days. my body says it is 10.30am not 3.39am. i don't know why i cannot jump into home so easily as i jump into mission. the physical time change adjustment is symbolic of my heart and mind--adapting when going is faster, easier than coming back. it's like trying to put on the wrong size clothes. trying to step into an old life where everything has changed and moved while you were changing in a completely different direction some 5,000 miles away. how am i ever supposed to explain those 3 weeks? so many names, faces, stories. so many bruised hearts & bruised bodies & pain; yet also hope & joy & a handful of Ukrainian believers whose hearts for Jesus & selfless love for children won my heart's admiration. i literally drove across the entire country. from sweating every waking/sleeping second on the Russian border during camp 1; a nice apt in the city for 2 days to rest; then freezing in the Carpathian mountains close to Poland for camp 2. so much that even i don't understand. its impossible to translate, lest they actually experience it. so much i have not words for. yet how can my friends and family understand who i am lest i try?

i feel so out of touch from daily life here. i was the farthest outside my emotional & spiritual comfort zone i have ever been. i saw things that i still don't know how to process, things i don't know how to reconcile to scripture. how does one come back from that?!
there was football playing in the atlanta airport. i thought it was 5am and tried to order breakfast at 10pm. what happened to the olympics? its football season? i can't stand to think about football. there's food, ice, cold coffee & gasoline available everywhere. post-its all over my background from joe made my heart squeeze. i am so loved, and i have done NOTHING to deserve it. america, i love my country but oh it overwhelms me. how does one stand facebook? texting, what's texting? i have clean water that i don't have to ration out? available any time day or night? joe might go to UF? my mum & 2 siblings just got back from seeing my virginia fam and i didn't even know. i don't think my dad has a real job yet, i don't know what jobs i have. i have math class at 9am tom. wait what? how am i supposed to care about school? i don't have books. i don't really care.
i had my first hot shower in 8 days, and all i can think about is one of my ukranian teammates who hasn't had hot water in her house for 2 months. i can't stand how many clothes i have, i wish i'd taken more so i could have given more. i'm still selfish & greedy enough to almost miss my favorite blue addidas shorts and that sickens me. i'm disgusting.
i am so self-centered.
so american, in the bad ways.
so wasteful of my blessings.
so unloving. so greedy and selfish and sick.
i need a Savior.
i need Jesus just as much as the orphan kids. i AM an orphan kid, a wild gypsie one. who doesn't shower and turns up my nose at clean clothes; who hits, scratches, slaps; and then comes back desperate for loving attention. i just feel so... lost. and all the emotions that i couldn't find expression for during the camps and the days in kiev are enveloping me, swallowing me, getting tangled in thier desperation for freedom.

Jesus help.
{{Jesus, i need sleep. i need tears, i need to release all the pent up aching. i saw beauty, i saw You. i am more grateful than i can say for You sending me. but my heart physically hurts. for Vova who sobbed when i left, for Marta of the lifeless empty eyes, for inexplicable Nastia, for Tarras, for the kids from camp 1 they took away, for sweet Viktor & "malai" Sasha & smart Sasha & angry Vanya. for Karina who wanted God to live in her heart, for Ivan that said he knew Jesus, for Natasha who was so sweet but not read, for my precious joyful one-armed little boy whose name I never understood, for Misha & Ura & Svete & Masha &Marina & Katia. Jesus hold these children. Meet them, Father them, save every one. Water the seeds, protect them from the enemy, break the grip of satan where lives are so bound to his destructive lies. Somehow, someway, be Victorious. Be the Warrior King. Give them hope! Prove Yourself faithful & create a harvest from orphan kids that will grow into a mighty redemptive force in Ukraine. Give Jekka & his team rest joy provision. Keep their hearts burning with Your vision. help me. help me live here fully. show me what to do next. do not forsake me? lead me back to You, use Your rod & staff to bring me into closer step with You. help me know what to share, give those closest to me understanding into my heart. oh Father, thank you for forgiving my failures. thank You for washing away my grossest sins. Thank you for answering my prayers for a repentant heart, for a broken heart that has not the worldy grief of emotion but grief that leads to repentance. please work that out as change in me?}}

*(i will write about the kids & camps & adventures in the beautiful rebuilding country of Ukraine when i can)