Saturday, April 29, 2006

i wonder if americans would ever do this

this is a picture of a street off Independence Square in Kiev, from November 2004.
it was called "the Orange Revolution" and was a quiet, public "sit in" staged in protest of the outcome of a recent election - the results of which the general public felt had been manipulated.
people lived in tents, on the streets of Kiev, for a month.
a month.
in november.
in eastern europe.
it was cold, snowing, and generally unpleasant.
but the people of Kiev felt they had been lied to, and they weren't going anywhere until the government set the record straight. the prime minister was eventually forced to do exactly that - come clean, and admit defeat. for a month, the people of Kiev endured freezing temperatures, living in tents w/no running water, no bathroom facilities.... nothing. one of the strongest things i gained from my trip to Kiev was a deep respect for Ukranian people. they are resilient. determined. and not easily swayed. they've endured a lot, and so, are able to endure much more than most americans would be willing to endure.
case in point - the florida fiasco from the presidential election. people still talk and complain about it. calling it a "stolen election". yet no one ever did much about it, did they? excpet go on t.v. and complain. there's this overarching attitude that there's nothing we can do when we disagree w/our government. and yet, we outnumber them. imagine if just a small percentage of those who felt the election results weren't right had staged a protest similar to the one in Kiev. imagine thousands of people camping out in front of the white house. for a month. think the powers that be could have ignored that?
we don't realize how much power we really have.
we've gotten lazy.
or maybe just too cynical and jaded to think we can make a difference. which is sad, because, compared to the citizens of a country like the Ukraine, we haven't endured enough to warrant being jaded or cynical. Ukrainians have endured communism, forced famines that killed hundreds of thousands, invasions, corruption... so much. and yet, it's made them more resilient. more determined to fight.
we've endured.... what exactly? some corruption? 9/11 (the only "homeland" attack that's ever come from a foreign land)? rising gas prices? slavery? all bad, yes, but nothing compared with the trials endured by citizens of other countries.
maybe someday we'll realize, not only that this country is worth fighting for, but that we actually have the power to fight. and to win.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"it is possible to believe in something and still fail to live up to it." - one of the characters from the show "House"

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

a lover's embrace
from an unexpected place

.a man with nail-scarred hands.

a heartbeat so strong
mine can't help but beat along

in time to the rhythm of his love.

like the beat of song that has yet to be sung.

for the cries of souls yet to be won.


he holds me
and i him

with nothing....
....and everything
"I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness
and justice
in love & compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord"
- Hosea 2:19-20

i'm restless today

click the image. it looks better bigger

Monday, April 17, 2006

well here we are. this is the team that just got back from amsterdam. (plus a few zolder people thrown in for fun) :)
and despite the fact that there aren't words to convey what this trip was like, the writer in me feels compelled to try.
above all else, this trip was God. His hand was so clearly on everything we did. there were so many "chance" encounters and conversations with people who were seeking truth about God. there was also so much spiritual warfare. i've never experienced such tangible, manifest spiritual battles. it was tough. and sometimes scary. but always God prevailed.
one day in particular, we went to the outer edge of the Red Light District and spent some time talking w/people in that area. it seemed that most people we talked to were either drug dealers or addicts. i have never stood on the front lines, fighting to take back God's kingdom in such a tangible way before. it's forever changed me.
this trip was also about getting to the heart of things. the heart of me. the heart of others. God set me free in some areas that have been difficult for me for a long time. it's always been hard for me to truly connect with people. i've always *liked* people, and always love being around them, but something in me always held back a little. i rarely let people really know me. that changed on this trip. for reasons i can't explain, something just opened up. i think in part it was caused by watching some people do the very same thing, and watching others not do it at all. it was like God was saying "you have a choice. 'a' or 'b'. pick one." i pray that i never hide my real self away again.
and, though i need to spend some time in prayer, and some time talking with those who know me best, i think this trip confirmed that it's time to move forward. i went to amsterdam last year, too, and between then and now, dozens of people have asked me if i'd move there. without hesitation, my answer has always been 'yes'. because i hadn't followed through yet, i was beginning to think that i was simply caught up in the romantic notion of living in amsterdam. but during this trip, the people at Zolder shared their vision for planting churches in other parts of the city and in other cities besides just amsterdam. and suddenly i see what purpose i would serve by being there. i want God to use me to fight for that city. i want to walk the streets everyday, praying redemption and freedom over every person i lock eyes with.
this seems like a strange time to throw in comments about our team, but since this is more a 'stream of conciousness' thing than anything, that's what's next :)
our team was incredible. so many people, all so different, and yet all working together to acheive a small part of God's vision for that city and for one another. i'm grateful that i was able to get especially close with a few members of our team, and i hope that closeness keeps growing and deepening.
i've come to terms with the fact that i'm an artist. i feel like i can say that for the first time without any hesitation or doubt. 'till now, i've never considered myself artistic or especially creative. (i know ... this is the part where anyone reading this says "what?!") because that's always how people react when i say that. but it's true. yea, i do creative or artistic things sometimes, but i've never considered myself an artist. on this trip, God used a couple of people - one of my team mates and also someone from Zolder - to... well.. i guess to set me free. their creativity and artistic expression.. it was as though it awakened something in me. the Easter service at Zolder did the same thing because it contained so many creative elements.
consequently, tonight, instead of watching a movie or reading a book, i'm making a video. something short. simple. but suddenly i feel as though i *have* to create in order to effectively express my emotions about this trip and about God.
i feel so different, sitting here, in the same spot i've sat in for hours and days on end. same location, different girl. granted, everyone says that after missions trips. everyone feels "changed". but this feeling goes deeper than emotion or nostalgia. there's a line from the movie "as good as it gets" where jack nicholson's character says "she's evicted me from my life".
that pretty well sums it up.
i've been evicted from my previous life. which is ok, 'cause i wasn't that attached to it anyway. the next step? to get ready for the next step i guess. do some research, ask some questions, do all *kinds* of prayin'. i don't know how it's all gonna work out, or what it will look like, or what the process will be. all i know that i need to find out how possible it is for me to move to amsterdam and what route i take to get there. is it a straight shot from dtw to ams? or should i detour through cali first?
::shoulder shrug:: only He knows. but that's good enough. that's enough.

time to put away the tiny things
that distract from what's to come
time to set aside the trivial things
and fight for an eternal kingdom
time to stop running
time to turn and face what lies ahead
time to stop questioning
the God Who's got me in His hands.


in about 1/2 hour we leave for the airport.
this trip has been intense. some of the most heavy spiritual warfare i've ever faced.
and it's been great.
to stand on the front lines and reclaim God's land and people. there's nothing like it in the world.
i don't know what's next for me, except to get ready to go. go where? i'm not sure. i've gotten three invitations for three differenct locations. two in holland and one in california. the california trip would be a pre-cursor to the move to holland. i've been told that any of the three choices would be good. that God would use me anywhere. and i know that.
but i also know for sure that my heart is here. in this city. i know that my heart's desire is to stand on the bridges at the outskirts of the red light district and reclaim that place for God.
i'd right more, but the power is this building is strange, and my battery is dying.
i have over 200 pictures and lots of stories to share, so there will be more.

for now

tot' zinzes (good-bye)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

just over 24 hours

so much has happened over the last few days.
this trip is going to be interesting. in good ways.

this weekend i was confronted with some old "ghosts" for lack of a better word. thank God for those people in my life who are so gifted at uncomplicating things. i was reminded, once again, of the freedom we have in Christ. i needed to hear that, 'cause I haven't felt very free lately.

billie is coming to visit at the end of may. man, i can't wait for her to be here. it's hard to believe that she's been in australia for a year and a half.

i've gotta do my taxes before i leave.