Monday, July 21, 2014

Brave.

I like words. I notice them like I notice old friends at the coffee shop. From billboards to coffee sleeves, text messages to handwritten notes, spoken word and words strung together at the bench of an old piano. I like words.

The word meeting me in my coffee shop spaces and in the quiet corners of my life is "brave".  Everywhere I look I see it. It's like it's beckoning me, challenging me to be it. To be brave.  I can't escape it.

In both the secular and the christian realm the anthem of bravery is being shared out loud. Just a few examples I've encountered over the summer:

Bethel's amazing album "You Make Me Brave" You can listen to the title track here.

Anytime I'm in any store anywhere I hear Sara Bareilles sing "Brave".

The MOPS theme for 2014-2015 is beautifully "Be You Bravely". (EEK. This makes me want to lead MOPS again! What a GREAT theme!) 

Author/speaker Annie Downs just released her book "Let's All Be Brave".

It comes from friends who say "Do that thing you want to do. Just be brave and do it."

It lands softly in my spirit in the morning as I'm getting ready to face the everyday.

I come face to face with it, with moving on in bravery or choosing to stay in my comfort in choices I make every day.

Brave.

People think that I am brave but I am not. I am comfortable in things that might appear to need a measure of bravery. I don't say that to be arrogant. Quite the opposite. The truth is I skip over bravery quite easily because it appears as though I live brave when really I just live in the confides of my comfort. It's easy for me to do certain "brave" things but if it's easy to me then I'm not really brave at all. Are you following?

The past 6 months or so I have been challenged to leave behind what is easy for me. To open my hands even more to everything the Lord desires to give and take. Giving and taking... oh it has happened. The undoing of my will and my pride continues daily. It has been glorious and frustrating all at once.

So why say all of this? Because I want you to know and I want to know and I need to say it. I need to say out loud that I am done just noticing brave in the spaces of my life. I am done making awkward grins and glances and waving as the opportunity to do life with bravery passes me by.

I am letting go of my control. The unwinding and undoing might take my lifetime, but I am embracing brave and stepping out into deep waters and trusting the only One who makes me brave. He has given me desires and passions that I dared not to pursue in the past because I was afraid of the unknowns and the outcome. I amwas afraid of what people might say. I was afraid of what might happen when  finally I live fully trusting and not controlling. I am done with that. On with it already.

My God has gone before me and is calling me to be brave. Not just for the sake of bravery but for His glory. That glory that is bursting to come forth that I have made small by my fear.

He won't lead me where He will not go and THAT is all I really need to know to be brave. 




Changes on this small space of mine coming soon. Stepping out into some unknowns...would you please come with me? 





Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Enough.

Enough is enough...

Enough is more than enough...

Enough if a hard word to teach my 2nd grader how to spell...

But back to my point...

Enough

Right now I'm sitting in my beautiful home. A 2-story condo we are renting. It's a dream. I'm watching the rain pour down outside and I'm warm and safe under my favorite IKEA blanket. 

Enough.

I'm typing this post on my Mac Book Pro. One of my kids is tucked away with literally dozens of books in her reading nook. The gift of reading. It IS a gift. Oh..and I also have a desktop, a kindle, and a few i-Phones around here somewhere. 

Enough

Another kid is sitting on the couch next to me playing on my i-Pad. 

Enough

The rest of our family is at Publix buying us even more groceries than what we currently have here. It's Taco Tuesday and we were out of cheese.

Enough

I've spent the last 3 hours trekking around town from shopping center to mall to Target and everywhere in between to find a pair of jeans for myself. Except... I didn't really trek anywhere...I hopped in my nice mini-van with all the bells and whistles and drove around town while listening to my favorite worship songs. 

Enough.

I drove passed 3 different Starbucks, 2 Dunkin Donuts, and all the local coffee shops..(those are my favorite. Hello, Mitchell's!) and of course I just had to stop for a coffee. It's what us moms do when we can spare the change  dollars

Enough.

While dragging my daughters from store to store one of them innocently commented on how her legs were tired. Tired from walking from our car, to the mall entrance, and through Old Navy...in the A/C.

Enough

While shopping for myself I was texting with a friend on my i-Phone. She works at one of the happiest places on Earth and told me she is exhausted from working 80+ hours last week for a kids birthday party that cost 70 grand. Yes. You read that. 70 thousand dollars. 

Enough.

Tonight I will pour fresh drinking water in cute little cups for my children. They will probably beg for something other than water. 

Enough. 

I will then bathe them in crystal clear water, brush their teeth, and tuck them into their cozy beds. Safe from all danger. 

Enough. 

Once they are asleep my husband and I will cuddle up on the couch and talk about the deep things of life. You know, like what to watch on Netflix. Then we will plan our dream road trip..except it's not just a dream for us. We have the means to make it possible one day. 

Enough. 

I want to scream it from the rooftops. Starting with my own. ENOUGH. ENOUGH ALREADY. 

Did you catch any of that? Did you feel the tension of my day? Probably not but that is OKAY. I didn't used to feel it either.  I know. I know it sounds NORMAL. Like "duh Ida. Nothing too fancy happening with you today. It's what people do EVERYDAY!" and you know what? You are RIGHT. It IS what we do everyday. AND IT'S TIME WE SAID ENOUGH IS ENOUGH....

If you're reading this right now that means you have some sort of internet provider, unless of course you are "borrowing" from your neighbor. Let's say you pay $30/month. A kid in Haiti could EAT FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH on that much money. We have MORE THAN ENOUGH.

You're sitting in your home, right? You already know I am. Back in 2010 it was estimated that there could be half a million CHILDREN who are HOMELESS in the US alone. Without a home. No roof over their heads to keep the rain away. We have MORE THAN ENOUGH. 

Oh and driving...and reading...and having clothes...well if you own clothing and a vehicle, and I'm assuming you can read since you're here right now then you are in the TOP 5% of the world's wealthy. I'm serious. WE ARE RICH. I am rich. We have MORE THAN ENOUGH. 

This is the tension that I live in. Once your eyes are opened to the world around you you have a choice to make. You can retreat back to "life as usual" as if you didn't know you were rich. You can go right back to your old ways. Your old ways of nothing is ever enough and I must have more for myself and my own. The comfort, oh the comfort. It is killing you. 

Or...

You lean into this tension...you lean in and you let it hurt you. And hurt you it will. When truth of poverty and hunger and aids and the water crisis and homelessness and illiteracy invade your mind and Truth invades your heart it will mark you. The crashing of your idols will crush you but you don't stop with the pain. You take your brokenness and His closeness and lean in, dive deep into the sea of faces all around you, the ones you usually try to avoid...you begin to see them...and you begin to love them. You lean into this tension and lean on the God who longs to restore. Every act of kindness is an act of worship. Every exchange of love is love poured out to the Father. 

What will you decide? A safe retreat or a life of holy tension? (Yes. I call it "holy tension" in my own life.)

How can you let go of some of your "more than enough"and share the excess with those who need it most?

Could you be content if you had "just enough" for yourself? 

What is an idol in your life that needs to crash and burn? 

Today my idol was new jeans. Incase you were wondering I never did find a new pair. Well, I found A LOT of pairs...but I just couldn't say yes. Not today. Today was a day for remembering to be content with enough. When you see your homeless friend sitting under an overpass new jeans just seem not important anymore.

 So next time you see me and I'm wearing my one pair of jeans that sag in the butt and have a huge hole in the knee don't worry.I'm leaning into the tension...I'm choosing to be content with enough. Will you join me?


Saturday, June 7, 2014

On Street People and Church Vans and Strip Clubs

"You mean STREET PEOPLE?"

That question has marked me forever. The conversation continued:

"What would we do with them? How much money would this cost us? Do you know how to handle their issues? I'm just not sure we are equipped to handle people like that. If they started to come regularly what would happen? Do you have a long term plan? Remember, this isn't a homeless church.

All of that verbal vomit was in response to my husband's simple statement below:

"I'd like to start a bus ministry here. We could reach more of our community. There's a lot of hurting people around our church We can start now if we use the church van."

That's all he wanted to do. Bus people to church. Or van them. We couldn't fit anymore people in our own vehicle. This seemed like a good, logical, loving thing to do.

It was when we heard the response above that we realized, maybe for the first time, that not every church really loves Jesus. Or they love him, but not more than they love themselves.  They might love things about him, but they definitely don't love him first and most. If you're offended by that statement you don't have to keep reading. It's sad and it's true. I can say it because I used to be one of those christians who claimed I loved Christ yet ignored him when he showed up and didn't fit my ideals. I was the safe, Sunday Christian. I loved Jesus less than I loved myself and my way, and I didn't want him or his word messing with my safe, churchy sensibilities. 

I was so mad. I was mad that we were serving at a church with that mindset. I felt like an idiot for not seeing it sooner. I was mad that someone was telling me that I was not equipped to love people. I was mad that I believed that lie for a LONG time, that I was not called or equipped to love and share Jesus. I was mad that I was part of a church that served man before serving God. I was mad that I myself lived that way for so long.

BUT..I was also OVERJOYED because for the first time in forever (did you hear me sing that?) my eyes were opened! My whole Christian life prior to that conversation I would have played it safe and said "well, okay. You're right. That won't work here." But not this time...we kept pressing into Jesus and asking for His heart. He gave it to us and it cost us a lot, but it was AND is SO WORTH IT!

We, as you can imagine, didn't stay there at that church long after the "street people" conversation. The bus ministry never happened, but this was bigger than a church bus. This was about God breaking us for the hurting and lost and giving us the chance to step out of our comfort zone and live like we really loved Jesus.

In the years since this conversation God has been gracious to mature me. I was such an arrogant punk. He's been gracious to give me numerous opportunities to love people recklessly. Church people, street people, rich people, poor people. He's opened my eyes to let me see that I don't have to ask permission to do what Jesus told me to do in his word. He has set me free.

I don't get mad anymore when people "don't get it". I pray for my own humility and brokenness. Pride is so ugly in my heart until God reminds me that I too "didn't get it" and Lord knows I'm NOWHERE where I need to be. Instead of anger, I pray that people and churches and pastors will fall so in love with Jesus that they won't live for their own version of him anymore. Real Jesus is SO MUCH BETTER than man-made Jesus.

Since being set free and REALLY getting to know Jesus I've done some stupid, crazy things with my crazy, Jesus loving friends that I would have NEVER done before. At least I thought they were stupid, crazy things. Now I know that light belongs in darkness and it's not really stupid or crazy at all. One of those things is visiting a strip club in our area. We had no 5 year plan. Umm..let's keep it real...we had no 5 minute plan and we still don't. It's something I always felt in my heart I should do. Then one of my very best friends had a dream that we were in the club sneaking girls out through the roof. Then finally one day she and I "put on our big girl panties" as she would say and we stopped making excuses. It was Valentine's Day so we got a few of our friends, made some gift baskets, prayed like never before, and awkwardly shuffled into the strip club.

I could write a book about the miracles that happened JUST ON THAT DAY, and the ones that continue to happen. It's almost too much to believe. In short, we've seen several women freed from the industry, women and their families join a local church, a woman going to college, a woman getting a new wardrobe to restart her life, us laying our hands on dancers and praying IN THE NAME OF JESUS right in the middle of the club, and so much more. I've watched my friends fall in love with Jesus more as they love these ladies. I've watched the women in the industry become our friends, no strings attached. The men, too! We just love them. No long term plan, other than to show up. And I'm so thankful for my friends who show up WEEKLY when I can't. Having 3 small, homeschooled children does not allow me to visit the club as much as I'd like, but the beauty of the body of Christ is that someone from our little group is there almost every week. I'm certainly not the leader of this thing. We need the whole body of Christ to love people. Not just a few key "leaders".

And get this... we don't have a ministry name. Nope. No catchy logo or rhyming mission statement. We didn't pray and fast for 10 years before walking in the doors. We've already been told to shine bright in the darkness. How many more times do we have to be told before we just go do it? We don't have an agenda. We just show up. We just love them.

Why do I tell you all of that? I'm not really sure. I just felt like I should. Here are a few things that I want to add:

1. Has God told you to do something? Perhaps it seems crazy. Maybe you've been told you're not equipped. Maybe you're scared. Maybe you brought your idea to someone and they answered you with a "You mean STREET PEOPLE?" comment.  I wish I had great advice, but all I can say is obey God and do it scared. He will go before you. He will meet you. He will equip you. He will use you. You just have to go. Don't let people stop you from what God is telling you to do.

2. With our weekly visits and nice quality gifts/food/clothing purchases for our friends who are in and getting out of the industry we need some money! How's that for being honest? I was talking with my dear friend, the one who goes to the club every week, and we both admitted that we need money for this. It's been okay from out of our pockets, and we still do the best we can, but we could certainly use more than what's in our pockets! I have no fancy way to say it. So, if you feel like you want to give to our efforts please let me know. Maybe your family or your church is looking for something to give to? Let me know if you want to help financially. We would be SO grateful!

3. Please pray for us. We're walking into utter darkness. We need your prayers. Pray for the men and women we meet inside the club. So much going on. Please pray. We need your prayers. Seriously.

So, there's that. Oh yeah, and I thought it would be fun to answer the questions/comments that were thrown to my husband when he asked about a bus ministry. Here ya go:

"You mean STREET PEOPLE?" Ummm....I'm not sure what street people means?

"What would we do with them?" Life. We would do life with them. We would pick them up. We would eat with them. We would give their kids high-fives and fist bumps. We would hold them when they cried about the hard life they are living. We would tell them about our only hope, Jesus Christ.

"How much money would this cost us?" Probably not anymore than the fancy events we throw for people inside of these church walls. Let's move the money around. Yes?

"Do you know how to handle their issues?" Well, if we're being completely honest somedays I don't even know how to handle MY issues. So I get it. There will probably be some pretty big, dark stuff we will encounter reaching out to people who are far from Jesus. So let's go meet them, find out about their issues, and use our networks of churches and believers to help them. Oh yeah..and we can pray for them and share the word with them. That's right...the same power that raised Christ from the dead is LIVING INSIDE OF ME. I'm pretty sure we can do this.

 "I'm just not sure we are equipped to handle people like that." You're right. Sad. But right. We're NOT equipped to handle people like that because WE DON'T EVEN SEE THEM. Jesus help us.

"If they started to come regularly what would happen?" My guess? Revival. Revival would happen. And we'd loose the people who don't like "street people". And to them I say peace out!

"Do you have a long term plan?" Yes. To always show up.

"Remember, this isn't a homeless church." I'm NEVER speechless about anything but this one stumps even me. I've got nothing.



Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dear Mama who feels like she is failing

Dear Mama who feels like she is failing,

The constant chaos. The never-ending laundry. The toddler who still poops in his diaper. The late reader. The attitude from the older child. The fact that you feel like you never look quite as good as the picture perfect mom at church. The moment when you realize all of the parenting ideals that you once stood so strongly for are failing you. The sticky floors. The judgement from peers. The failed Pinterest recipe. The exhaustion. The frustration. The deep wells of joy mixed with deep feelings of wanting to quit.

All of that is crippling you. I see it on your face. I read it in your texts and Facebook messages. You feel like you are really messing up at this mothering thing. You want so badly to just enjoy parenting. It's not at all what you imagined. You feel like you are failing.

I've been there. I'm really good at pretending I can do things in my own strength. I can carry on that way for a long while. Just trucking along and getting things done...all the while ignoring my own deepest need. I keep pouring out, leaking love, and then suddenly I realize how parched I am.

Do you feel parched?

It's at that moment when I lose the ability to carry on. Every small issue becomes a big one threatening my patience and my sanity. I've poured out and watered and nourished my children, but from a a dry and empty source. It's then that I realize my deep need for refreshing. Not just a day or night out, although that too is wonderful, but a "come to Jesus moment", as I fondly say. It's a horrible, beautiful moment to realize that we've been mothering from our own strength.

So, Mama who feels like she is failing, in our own strength we are and we always will fail. It is impossible to do this mom thing on our own. Cry out to Jesus. He alone will quench your thirst. It is from the goodness of his presence that you will be equipped to lavish your children with love and grace.

When we realize that we have been given grace undeserved and love never-ending, we can't help but pour it out on others. 

So, Mama who feels like she is failing, go lock yourself in your bathroom for a few minutes. Get on your knees. Cry out for refreshing. Tell Jesus you need him to survive. We all do! Ask him to pour his presence, power and love over your life. Remember how great he is and how small we are.  Do you have a praying friend? Give her a call. Ask her to pray with you. If you don't have one, email me. I will pray with you.

So in closing, Mama who feels like she is failing, you are not failing. You are just thirsty. Go drink and be refreshed.

Love,

Another thirsty mama


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

All The Single Ladies

All the single ladies! This one goes out to you. No...I'm not going to sing and dance in a leotard. Sorry. Maybe next time. For now I want to share my heart with you and a tiny glimpse of the Father's heart pouring over you.

You are beautiful. All of you. Single friends, I adore you. We live completely different lives. I admit that I don't know what it's like to be where you are. I'm 29 years old and I've been married for over 10 years. I married my first ever boyfriend. I know you might not want to hear my thoughts on your singleness since I myself have really never been single, but I hope we can see past our differences and speak life and grace over each other.

I sat at my piano today to steal away a few minutes with my first ever true Love. The One who has known me since before I was. The One who beckons me to come even when I have wandered far away. I sat down to be with him, Jesus, the lover of my soul. It was in that moment that the faces of my single friends bombarded my brain.

"Okay, Holy Spirit. Why are you bringing them to my attention?" I asked and waited for an answer. I prayed for each face that graced my thoughts. This was a rather odd, but totally welcomed, Holy Spirit driven interruption to my quiet time.

I began to write down what the Lord was speaking to me regarding you and the season that you're in. I felt led to share those humble notes here and I pray that your heart will be encouraged.

Ladies, He sees you. He has not forgotten you. He has not passed you by. He knows your heart's deepest desires, even the hidden ones. The one's you've never shared. He knows your fears. He knows your insecurities. He knows your longings. He knows your pain. He KNOWS you. All of you.

It's so scary to be so KNOWN sometimes, right? To be so raw, vulnerable, before Him. Especially when you feel like He's not giving you what you want.What you think is "good".  It can become rather frustrating to know that you are SO KNOWN, and yet still not have your deepest desires met. It can feel like despair. It can feel hopeless. It can feel like you've been betrayed. But you haven't been. Don't listen to those lies.

Here's the beauty of being KNOWN in this way by the One who has always been: He knows you, your every thought and desire, every frustration and disappointment, and STILL he is madly in love with you.

Your fear cannot push him away. Your disappointment will not hinder his love. The walls you put up to keep him at a distance...they will not stop His relentless pursuit of your heart. 

He knows you deep and yet He loves you deeper still. Nothing you do can ever change that. Nothing you think will ever revoke his love.

Ladies, it's okay to get frustrated. It's okay to want to step into the next season. God is big enough to handle your frustrations. But I felt the Lord leading me to tell you to lay down your yearnings for anything else that is not Him. 

Yeah. That's hard. Lay down your yearnings? Did I really tell you that? I did. Because I felt like the Lord wanted to tell you to lay them down. Those dreams, those wishes, those pictures in your head and heart that you want to become reality...lay them down on the altar. Let His fire consume your dreams. He can be trusted with those treasures. He is worthy of your whole life laid down. 

I've noticed that in our weird "Christian culture" we've been lying to singles. We've taken the message of "die to yourself because we were told to carry our cross and die", to "die to yourself because once you do Jesus will give you exactly what you always wanted." Ladies, it's just not true.

I know that the letting go and laying down of your desires is scary...especially when there is no promise that your life will ever be resurrected exactly how you want it to be. But here's what I can tell you about that:

It's in the laying down of our life that we find true life. We cannot experience the goodness of God, His closeness, His nearness in this life, when we are gripping tightly to our own ideas and desires of what is good. You just have to open your hands and trust that the Lord is good. He is SO good, friends. He can be trusted. He is your good shepherd who cares for you deeply. His goodness, His ways, far outweigh our ideas on what would be good for our lives.

And when you're ready to open your hands and let go, I will stand with you. I will be your friend. I will stand in prayer. I will stand in tears. I will stand in the wait. I will stand in the fire. You are not alone.

This is a beautiful time in your life. I know and He knows that it's not the beauty you imagined or hoped for, but I promise that there is beauty. You are in a season where all of your affection and all of your attention can be poured out on the only one worthy. Steal time away with Him tonight. Pour out your heart. Open your hands. Lay down your dreams. Commune with Him. If you don't have words just ask Him to come close. He will. 



So, there you have it. From the heart of the Father, to the bench of my rickety piano, to you. I am praying for you wonderfully loved single ladies. You are not forgotten.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

On Bridges and Stories.

A bit over three years ago the life of my family was radically changed. In an absolute whirlwind of events we experienced what was the hardest but most blessed time of our lives. We were obedient to God, obedient to the point of losing our "security", Nate's full-time ministry job. It was hard and unpredictable but we did not fear because we knew God was leading us somewhere, doing a new thing in our family and in our hearts. We would not be content anymore with anything less than the presence of God overflowing in our lives. You could take every earthly possession away from us and we knew we would still lack nothing because we had Christ. We were very aware of our spiritual poverty, our deep need for a Savior, and at the same time God began breaking our hearts for those living in physical poverty here and abroad.

For the first time in my Christian walk I felt like I really knew Jesus. His heart. I began to see him in faces of the poor and broken. To this day I feel his presence most when I am in the midst of those that society has deemed "poor" or "unwanted"…those who are often forgotten and cast aside. 

It was at this time that Nate traveled to Haiti again, and since then he's taken our first born daughter. I have traveled to Chauffard a couple of times and Nate just returned home from another trip last week. Aurora and I will go again in the summer, and in the future the whole Mundell fam will visit the mountain together. I can't wait for that day. 

Fast forward to now: we are working on raising our support to work full time with CPI Haiti. We thank you for your prayers and financial gifts as we step out in this opportunity that God has given us. 

Our heart is in Haiti. There is not a single hour of any given day that someone in our family is not talking about Haiti. My favorite moments are often initiated by Aurora, our seven year old daughter, and usually begin with "Mommy, when I went to Haiti I remember……" It is precious to hear her relive her memories. 

I have begged God to move us to Haiti. Over and over and over again. BEGGED HIM. Pleaded. Bargained. If you know us in real life you know we would sell every last thing we own and pack only a few books and live in a tent on the mountain. We are in LOVE with Haiti and even more so the people who live there. Our kids would do great. They are little traveling gypsies, content with just being together. We homeschool so their education would not be interrupted. To me, in my {small, human} brain it only makes sense that God should say "Yes, Ida. Have your way! GO and live there!". Yet, he hasn't. He has made it very clear that for now we are to stay here. 

Really, God!? Can't I have MY way?! The past few years God has been redefining my calling, my purpose on this earth. Some days I struggle with wanting MY WAY so much that I can't see past myself to see His bigger picture. 

However; the past few months God has been gracious and allowed me opportunities to see why he has me here. Here in my beautiful Lakeland, Florida. I really do love this place. 

I am a bridge. 

I am a storyteller. 

And so are YOU. To the team that just came down from the mountain…you are now a BRIDGE. Bridging God's heart for the poor to hearts in the US. Bridging Chauffard to Lakeland. Bridging spiritual poverty and physical poverty and realizing that we are not great, American "fixers" who lend pity to the poor…but we are ALL POOR and in need of a Savior. Whether that be physical poverty or spiritual poverty…. we all have a deep need and it's for Christ. 

On being a bridge: Last December I got to invite one of my very best friends on an adventure. Bridging my Lakeland loves to my Haiti loves. She said yes. We were sitting on the steps of our bunkhouse in Chauffard. Then he came running up. It was Wilson! Kim's sponsored child. The child whose picture is stuck to Kim's refrigerator. The child that Kim's family has prayed for and talked about and wondered about. Kim was now looking at him in person, in Haiti. This was one of the greatest moments of my entire life. This "bridge" between here and there, between us and them, between Kim and Wilson. Wilson came to life that week. Kim did, too. Through tears we loaded in the back of the truck to head back to the city. Wilson ran after our truck as fast as he could, right on the edge of the mountain. Kim, like any good mother, yelled out "Be careful, Wilson! I will see you again!".  And now Kim is a bridge…between here and Wilson. She has stories that need to be told that only she can tell. 






I am a storyteller. God has let me live some pretty cool adventures. I know that I am not to keep those stories to myself. I am to share about His goodness and faithfulness. I am to be HONEST when telling my stories, sharing about the hard times, the bad times, and how God steadied me through it all. I am to tell stories to bring nations together, to unite communities. Haiti to here. Here to Haiti. My stories matter. YOU are a storyteller, too. Your stories matter and have the potential to change lives. You have stories that ONLY you can tell. 

On storytelling: 

Our daughter returned home from Haiti overflowing with stories. We want our kids to know that their voice matters, that they can use their voices to tell stories that will change lives. Aurora planned a "snacks and stories" night so she could talk to her friends about her big trip. We invited all of her friends and packed our tiny bungalow full of kids and their parents. Aurora prepared her note cards and told the most memorable stories from her trip. I did not edit her. I let her totally rock her night, 6 year old style. Adults and children were impacted by her stories, and that led to Aurora's friends gaining a passion to learn more about Haiti and the kids that live there. Several families signed up for child sponsorship and others decided to go on a trip with us. Lives changed here and in Haiti. All because Aurora ate snacks and shared stories with her friends.

Storytelling can change lives. Always tell your stories. Invite people into your world and show and tell them what God is doing in you.

Do I still want to live in Haiti? Everyday. However; I know that I am right where I belong and that what I'm doing here, building bridges and telling stories, has eternal worth. 

Do you have a story to share? I'd love to hear it. I'm serious. If you're local we can meet at Mitchell's. If you're far away you can type your story in the comments. 

Use your voice to impact people. You won't regret it. And if you'd like to hear more about CPI Haiti I'd love to come tell some stories. Email me at IdaMundell@gmail.com to invite me to share stories with your community. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

On Jumping Through Hoops.

I sat in my children's dentist waiting area this morning wishing I had grabbed a second cup of coffee before our day took off. The kids went back for a cleaning and I picked up one of the parenting magazines sitting on a side table. Beautiful faces and charming things danced across the pages. Articles on how to have the "greatest" kids filled each column. Advice from "pro mothers" to "amateur mothers" on how to have the best post-baby body and how to fake it if your body is less than perfect. Words on top of words on top of words all pointing to how to be the best, prettiest, smartest, coolest mom on the block. Then more words about the "must have toys and gadgets" so your children can also climb the ladder of greatness amongst their peers…because it would just be tragic if your 4 year old was the only one that didn't have the latest smart kid app loaded on their iPad.

I closed the magazine and in my mind I saw women jumping through hoops. Hoops of performance. Hoops of greatness. Hoops of beauty. Hoops of satisfaction. Hoops labeled "enough"...but the sad thing was that after each woman gave everything she had to jump through the hoops she hit the ground and realized that someone in front of her had already jumped through another hoop. This began an awful game of racing to the next hoop in hopes to jump the highest, faster than the other women. Each new hoop hung higher than the one before it. Each woman was striving to make the jump but no one was ever strong enough to keep it up.

They were never enough to keep up with the mom in front of them. They were never enough to make the jumps.

{Yes. This all flashed in my mind. No. I did not suck down any laughing gas from the dentist.}

Then the faces of beautiful women in my life flashed in my mind. Women who think their worth is measured in how high they can jump. Women who give everything they have to be "the greatest". Women who have hit the ground in tears because after so many years of running and jumping they have reached the conclusion that they are not enough. 

Ladies, crashing at NOT ENOUGH is the best place to be. 

What I am about to say is not popular, but if you know me you know I don't care.

WE ARE NOT ENOUGH.

We are not smart enough, pretty enough, engaged enough, cool enough, rich enough, thoughtful enough, loving enough, or good enough.

When your eyes are on the world and not on your Father this revelation will crush you. You see, there will always be another woman who can do it better. Someone who can jump through the hoops while wearing stilettos and baking homemade GMO-free granola bars while you wear your ratty, smelly Toms and split a cookie from Mitchell's with your kids. (Um…did I just give myself away?) 

When you're focused on jumping through culture's hoops of bigger, better and best your Father is beckoning you to come lay down at smaller, lower, and least. 

This world, our culture, is like a 3 ringed circus, the music always humming in our heads telling us that we are in a race of greatness and that only when we are the greatest will we feel satisfied. The world lies to us and tells us that we can be the greatest if we spend all of ourselves jumping through the hoops. The world yells "jump through the hoops to be enough!"

Our Father tells a different story.  He makes it clear that without Christ we will NEVER be enough, no matter how high we can jump. 

So, embrace the place of not enough. Stop the jumping. Know that you need Christ. Let him fill the empty spaces with His grace. Only He is enough.

"God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs." -Matt. 5:3