Thursday, August 20, 2009

It finally hit me...

As I was walking my older sister and her two young sons to her car last night. "Don't leave, come home and live with me. We'll go out to lunch all the time and get manicures and pedicures and do all sorts of fun things." That is what I've become accustomed to hearing from my 80 year old grandmother who just wants everyone she cares about within a five mile radius of her. I hear similar things from my mother on a pretty regular basis too and occasionally from my father, but they are trying to be good. 

But last night, my older sister, Stacy, who never says anything that may even be taken as meant to discourage me from doing anything I want to do, hugged me for the longest time in the middle of the road with tears streaming down her face (also a rarity) and said, "You can come home, Stevie, you know that?" Just a simple question that wrapped up everything she was feeling but never said. And that was it. Well, that and, "I love you, be safe." Even writing this it makes me want to cry. 

I haven't been sad to leave home since I left for college 5 years ago. And I'm not really sad for myself, but for them. It finally hit me why my family has been acting this way when they didn't behave like this when I went away to college. They actually expected me to come home for good. I think it is only within the last two weeks that they are starting to realize that I have no intentions of living at home again. And even though, I'm strong in that decision, because I don't think Jesus' will is for me to spend the rest of my life in South Florida, five minutes away from my whole family, married with 2 1/2 kids, it is heartbreaking for me to realize the reason behind their fears. They fear the truth that I really have been serious the last few years when I've been telling them that I'm not coming home. That...and for some strange reason they all think I'm going to get shot in Camden. 

I have the greatest amount of respect and love for everyone in my family and how they have chosen to live their lives. They are all wonderful and loving people and the family is about a tight-knit as any I've ever met. We have a blast together, and often too. But my life is different. My dreams are different. I don't care if I ever have the perfect husband, 2-4 wonderful children, a big house, two cars, a dog, and a picket fence. I don't care if I ever make six figures. I don't care about prestige, fame, beauty, riches, or anything like that. I care about people and I love Jesus. And I want to be where I can best love Him and others. And whether or not all of those other things come to me matters not, actually, I'd prefer they don't. I'd much rather a hut in Thailand than a picket fence in Coral Springs. I'd much rather spend my life needing God than being comfortable and complacent. And I don't ever want to think or feel like I don't need God. But all of that doesn't make seeing the tears in my sister's eyes and hearing her soft voice any easier, or any less heartbreaking. 

Pray for my family please, and pray for me. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Loving without fear

I need to not be writing this. I need to be getting ready to run some of the hundreds of errands I have to complete before I leave next Friday, but Jesus gave me an awesome revelation this morning and I had to share because I think it is going to be incredibly important to me throughout this next year. I'm sure that what I wrote in my journal would be completely incoherent to anyone but me so I will try to make it clearer in my retelling of it.

I was thinking about love and about why we love who we love. And I wrote, "who my heart loves is up to You, because You own my heart and You teach it to love and You love through me." If I'm already making no sense at all, refer to 1 John 4:7-21, but it might be just as confusing. It occurred to me, that is the reason we are called to love everyone. Because we cannot love God and NOT love anyone, which is why He says, "Anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God." We cannot hold hatred in our hearts for anyone and expect to still hold love for God. God loves everyone and if He lives in us, then like 1 John 4:12 says, "His love is made complete in us." And when we love like God, we will love everyone without prejudice, judgment, or fear. That is why Mission Year. That is why I'm excited to go to "the most dangerous city in the nation." Because God is teaching me to love without fear, because "perfect love drives out fear." 1 John 4:18

Monday, August 3, 2009

Send me anywhere...

Interpreted by Jesus: Camden, New Jersey. 

In about three weeks, I will be moving to Camden. Brave and faithful souls are welcome to Google Camden but if you lack either quality I do not recommend it. :) So I've moved all my worldly possessions that I've collected over the last five years out of Pensacola, my first grown-up town, and back to my childhood home in Coral Springs. It is very surreal moving out of my first "grown-up" town after spending 5 years there. It was incredibly difficult to leave all the people that I've come to love so dearly, but I have full confidence in them, myself, and Jesus that geographical location will not diminish the depth of those relationships. 

I've promised to keep a blog throughout the year to many who are thankfully interested in the work God will be doing in and through me in Camden. Though I must warn my attentive readers that I will not have internet access in the house I'll be living in. I will, however, make as many trips to the public library to update as is humanly possible (and no, not alone for those who were concerned).  I will also be writing on my blog through Mission Year at  I just think this one might be more accessible and easier to find so I've chosen to keep my own personal blog as well. And the format is less confusing for me (technology!). 

So what I've learned so far about Jesus/life/myself since applying to Mission Year:
-it is really hard to leave your first adult town, since nothing but sheer will and desire will bring me back there (without the obligation of biological family, you know?)
-true friends are the ones who will stay up till all hours helping you to pack or just visiting with you while you rummage through all your junk
-there are people you love who will try to convince you to stay and others that are glad to see you go...both love you equally as much, they just have different ways of showing it. 
-practically speaking, it is harder to trust the perfect will of God than the imperfect will of me
-Jesus never intended for me to be still in anything or anyone but Him
-just when I feel like I'm going to get a break from being a leader, I get chosen as a team captain, which taught me that God will not tolerate complacency
-some people give good advice with little love, others give bad advice with great love....take what you can
-the love of God eliminates fear, the love of a person multiplies it
-that I should be afraid, that many are afraid for me, but that the safest place to be is inside the will of God and perfect love casts out fear
-that I have WAY too much stuff
-that God only reveals as much as we NEED to know, not as much as we WANT to know

Those are just a few things and I'm sure there is a lot I'm forgetting and a lot more to come. I'm sure really excited to look back on this initial blog in one year and see all that Jesus taught me about Himself and about those He loves. But I'm not going to rush or wish away even a second of this next year so as far as I'm concerned that day can take as long as it wants to get here! 

Thank you all for your interest in my new ministry opportunity and for your constant love, support, prayers, and happy thoughts. If you want to learn more about Mission Year, check out their website at

Or if you want to send much needed financial support you can go to my launch page at  

Peace and Love in Jesus!!!