finding the beauty in what is

There is something to be said about what happens when your expectation for something doesn’t meet reality. If these two were a couple I think we’d all be happy. Our expectation meets reality. End of story.

When rather that rarely happens. Whether our expectation doesn’t meet what we imagine, surpasses it, or turns out a completely new way there is something to be said about the beauty in accepting exactly what is.

What is. Recently I had a discussion with a friend of mine who I have known since I was a little girl. This friend of mine is older than me, has walked along this path called life a lot longer than me, and really understands me for who I am. With knowledge and experience she helps to guide me, encourage me and be there for me even though we don’t see each other as often as we would like to. She’s known the dream that I spoke about years ago, and believed in me when a lot of others doubted me. She taught me how to read and helped to uncover my passion to write. Not just there to celebrate the milestones, but being there between the valleys and mountains in all difficult and confusing times. I wonder what I would be like today if I never had known her. She knows exactly who she is.

She also was one of the first people I excitedly called at boarding school when I got my acceptance letter from UNC, and she is probably someone I will write a book with one day. What I value is our ability to have honest conversations without faking a thing. To lay it all down without the fear of being judged or unaccepted. I love and value friends like this more than they could imagine. Since you know who you are, thank you.

She suggested that when I go back to Ghana I should jot down just one lesson I had learned that day. It could be about anything. And I mean anything, and then I thought about what my daily lessons would have looked during those 7 first months in Ghana if I scribbled one down each day…

Take a bucket shower, or two or twenty and see if it humbles you

Learn to try new things, including foods like banku and fufu

Try eating with your hands, its not so bad 😉

Ask more questions

Use your words for good, to encourage and inspire to build and to communicate love

Working with kids acquires a lot of patience, like A LOT of it 

Move to a new place, and see how strong you never knew you were

Appreciate the beauty in surprises

Appreciate the beauty in change

Spreading love is contagious, and it changes lives 

You’ll never know how much you can learn from someone when you truly listen

Don’t place your worth on a feeling in a single situation, your so much more than that…

but I’ll stop myself there and save those for another day…

And on that day that I met with this friend of mine I jotted down this is my notebook.

Lesson #1

It’s okay when expectation doesn’t meet reality. And when that happens it’s okay to accept it.

She shared with me a time in her life when she had to learn this by walking through something and understanding her expectation was in fact different from her reality. And accepting exactly what is was the beautiful part and knowing that it is okay when your expectation doesn’t meet your reality. I think this can applied to almost everything in life. There is something to be admired about finding peace in what is and being grateful for the walk through mountains and valleys, and moments in the pit where your really in the trenches.

Lesson #2

Life can change in an instant, therefore your expectation does as well.

There’s another blog post in progress…

thanks for reading. More soon to come, but now I have some packing to do !

you are all loved,

Dev

He has Risen!

He Has Risen!

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Luke 24:1-5

24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Hearing these verses read at the Easter Sunday Service gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. Is this not the most exciting thing to hear on Sunday morning. That death could not hold him, and that Christ arose from the dead! This is one of the most exciting things about being a Christian, knowing that our Lord made a way for us for life after death, through the cross…

But it didn’t just end at the cross, there is more for us who believe than everlasting life.

It did not end at the cross. It is where our journey begins. There is salvation, and hope in something more than just living. There is also more than that. There is authority in the name of Jesus. There is power in his name to heal the sick and cast out demons, there is great power in his name. He has overcome, so that power is available to us, don’t loose sight on all that was given to us on the cross. Thank you Jesus for what you have done.

“What a beautiful name it is

nothing compares to this

the name of Jesus”

What a beautiful name it is

they call it good friday

today is good friday. sometimes i wonder why they call it “good” friday when it pains my heart to think about what Jesus went through today, a couple thousand of years ago. for me, and for you. yet it also reminds me of what makes Christianity so beautiful and powerful is that Christ died on a cross and resurrected. there is life after death for all who choose to believe…

i am not here to push my beliefs on anyone. you do not have to keep reading. i’m here to share my love for christ with you. and if you can see that then you too will know that christ is real. and you too will know that he died for you and me. you too will know that he suffered immensely out of pure love for you.

he was scared leading up to this, he knew what it would mean, and how painful it would be.

“they went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, he said to them.” Mark 14: 32-34

sometimes we think this was easy for him because he is God’s son. forgetting that it troubled Jesus deeply thinking about what was to come. but he loved us so much he knew that his body had to have been broken as a living sacrifice for all of us to deserve something we never deserved.

what we cannot forget that this was sacrifice, a sacrifice that he didn’t need to make. and he made it because he loved us. he loved us so much that he let people mock him, spit on him, crown him with thorns and beat his body for hours until it was no longer recognizable. he loved us so much that he allowed himself to be crucified between criminals. he loved us so much that he allowed his body to be nailed to a cross, slowly gasping for each breath painfully until he breathed his last breath. this was not easy for the son of God. it was a sacrifice for all mankind. so that we could have eternal life, everlasting salvation, the victory over the enemy in all things. that we could have healing, hope, identity, purpose, and the chance to abide with Christ from this life to the next. because Christ died and he rose again. there is power in the cross, the cross is our way to heaven. without his death on the cross we could not enter. but Christ made a way, because he loved us. it is not by our good works, it is by the belief that Christ died and rose again.

“And they began to call out to him, Hail, king of the Jews! Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid to homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off purple robe and put his own clothes on him. They led him out to crucify him.” Mark 15: 18-20

his blood shed for us. innocently shed for us. beaten, broken, mocked before all for something that he was completely innocent of. all for us.

“Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals. one on his right, and the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” Luke 23:32-35

Christ gave himself up for us, but he gave us free will. this is not something that is forced upon us. we have the choice to believe or not. we have the choice to enter into relationship with him for eternity. there are no second chances, when you die that is it, there is no turning back, there is no going back. you  have one life, one choice. Christ so desperately wants all of us to know him, to enter into relationship with him. he loved us more than we can imagine. just to meditate and think about all he sacrificed for us overwhelms my heart. the next verses that i am going to include below are my favorite verses that offer hope to all of us if we are still questioning this, or feel unsure.

” There was a written notice above him which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23: 38-43″

even until your last breath, you have a choice, and once you make that choice all sins are forgiven, yesterday, today and tomorrow, your sins are forgiven. you are a new creation in Christ. Jesus assured the man who believed that today he would be with him in paradise. because he loves us at our best moments and our worst, there is nothing we can do that can ever separate us from his love. so today would you allow these words to mediate on your heart, and in your mind. would you simply remember all that Christ sacrificed for us, all because he loves us. the story doesn’t end here, the story doesn’t end at the cross, it is where it begins.

he took it all to the cross, all of our sins so that we could live! so that we could have victory and authority in his name.

and they call it good friday.

 

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“Hope can change a nation”

Hope can change a nation.

hope
noun
  1. a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Hope can change a nation, hope can change a generation, hope can change just one.

Inspired today after reading the beautiful article that I have linked down below.

Just thought I would share this article for anyone who isn’t on Facebook. We are blessed by Orphan’s Promise and encouraged by all that they do for children all around the world. It always inspires me to learn about new organizations and programs that work within different cultures to uplift and transform children in dire need. Below are some shots of our kids featured on the article. To see more you’ll have to click on the link below 😉

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Have a great day, you are all loved,

Dev

Orphan’s Promise PNN Article

hardships, happiness, trials and joy.

I think I can start with a simple thank you.

Thank you to every friend, relative, person who has poured into me. Who has encouraged me, spoke life back into me. Who has taken time to tell me something as simple as they are mindful of me, and keeping me in their prayers. Thank you.

Even if I do not know each of you personally I am thanking you. Thank you for being apart of the family, and apart of the team. Something I am most grateful is the people God has placed in my life, knowing I would need them at certain times. Whether it is enjoying a cup of coffee together, a quick phone call or an email, thank you. There is nothing that we can do more for each other than lift each other in prayer.

I have exciting news to share. But… that will come within the week! Someone commented in advance that the good news was the Tar Heels as the 2017 National Champs! And yes that is good news, but not the news I was going to post about!

What can I possibly blog about life lately. Life lately has been hard. But through the hardships and trials of life I have seen and tasted God’s joy and promises for my life. I walked into his love, and reminded myself that the foundation of my faith in Christ is built upon his perfect love that casts out all fear, all darkness and again I found myself complete in Christ. Love in his perfect being.

I didn’t cross that out because it isn’t true. It is because it was what I could have written to take the easy way out. And I don’t ever want to do that. Yes it all is true, but it didn’t quite just happen like that. There is more behind those words…

Now not to sugarcoat anything. These past couple of months I felt so down I wondered how I could ever pick myself up again. Sometimes I wonder how honest I want to be since this is a blog, that is published, not knowing who is reading this on the other side of the screen. But I want to be honest, because if one person can relate to this or find the hope they too are missing, or in a place of questioning the same things I was. I need to be completely honest.

What I can say is that from December to now I have learned more than I think I wanted to learn. Sometimes I felt like saying to God, I think I’ve been stretched and endured enough this month, and yet something more would happen.

Unintentionally, I promise I kept learning. I can say that these past four months have been the hardest months so far. (And I am sure harder moments will come) but God uses these moments in life to build us up stronger so that we can endure the next situation.

I felt like I was getting attacked in every aspect of my life, and I felt honestly hopeless, sad and forgotten about. I felt at times God forgot about me. (here is the thing he NEVER forgot about me, and he’ll never forget about you) I know that God uses EVERYTHING for our good. But in these moments I couldn’t imagine how that could be possible.

God allows things to happen to us, but he will use all of it for his good in our lives. Nothing goes wasted. God promises us. He’s got us. Even when we are questioning that. He still got us.

Lets take a minute to process that. I’m sure many of you are feeling confused as to why God would allow something “bad” to happen to someone. At least every character in the bible had to endure hardship, and endured moments of hopelessness, confusion and bitterness towards God. Sometimes we only want to focus on the victory, without teaching and appreciating the hardship that built faith that lead to that victory.

We are all human, we all have feelings. Feelings of hopelessness, doubt, insecurity, anger confusion and the list can go on and on and on… but I’ll stop here because…

these are all feelings. They too will pass, these too can change in an instant. God uses these bad and terrible hardships for our good. To teach us something we didn’t exactly know before. To show us how faithful and good he really is. There isn’t exactly a time frame on these lessons, some last longer than others, but I know that no matter what it is or looks like in your life, if you keep fighting and believing that it will work out for YOUR good to BUILD your faith it will.

If you don’t believe me that is okay. I have been in that same place of not wanting to believe that. But I am writing about something I didn’t want to write about, because at moments I wasn’t sure I would ever have gotten out of it. But I did, not because I was able to, but because God provided for me, he knew what I needed and he saw me through. He kept pursuing my heart, even when I didn’t “feel” it.

Sometimes we go through seasons of dryness, or sometimes we go through seasons of life that seem so hard, sad and overwhelming we start to question where this God we call ours is. I want to say that there are seasons of life that we don’t “feel” God around us. We could be in a dark place wondering where he is, confused because we don’t “feel him.”

It’s a good thing our faith isn’t based upon feeling, am I right.

Our faith is based in KNOWING.

Hence…

“I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

We never have to doubt God because feeling isn’t apart of it. Our emotions change, something as simple as a sickness could change the way we are feeling that day, but it doesn’t ever change that we know our God does not sleep or slumber, it doesn’t change the fact that we know that Christ died and rose again so that we could live and be overcomes and claim the victory! All because of Christ. All because we have victory over all of these situations in his name. And Through these hardships I see happiness and joy, every morning, in the faces of the children who have new hope and life based in Christ.

For anyone who isn’t exactly “feeling it” don’t be frustrated at God. Don’t point your finger back at him, wondering where he has been. He has never left you. He will never leave you. He holds you in the palm of his hand. You are his. And he is yours. I am not sure who is reading this, and if you can relate or not, but a friend recently sent me this and at that moment it was exactly what I needed to hear. This kind of captures everything I have been writing about and explains it in a much shorter way 😉

“Sometimes farmers allow fields to lay fallow, or empty for a season so that in the future the field will bear a greater harvest. It is our privilege to depend, and rest on God for contentment in every season.” 

Philippians 4:11 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

For anyone who feels like they are walking down a road and wondering where God is, or how far you are to get to where he is. Don’t grow weary in this process. Our faith is not based upon feeling, it is based upon knowing. God has never left you, and he never will.

Our greatest reminders of this lay within our own lives. I can look back and see this to be a testament in my own life. And I am sure many of you can. And if you are going through something believe that it will soon become a testament to God and how he worked it out for your good, how he turned the situation around so he will get all the glory.

And now after writing that I can insert the part that I crossed out in the beginning so we understand what it took to get through to write this.

“But through the hardships and trials of life I have seen and tasted God’s joy and promises for my life. I walked into his love, and reminded myself that the foundation of my faith in Christ is built upon his perfect love that casts out all fear, all darkness and again I found myself complete in Christ. Love in his perfect being.”

Isn’t it exciting to know that God is working it out for us, even when we cannot “see” or “feel” it. I would encourage anyone to reach out to someone you are mindful of. Pray for others because prayer CHANGES things. and simply know that you are loved. Life is hard, but life is awesome and so are you.

Dev

p.s. I took a little break  blogging as you could tell, I didn’t want to be writing things that I didn’t feel lead to write. Thanks for understanding, I have a lot to catch you up on these past 2 months! I always make it an effort to blog things from my heart and never want to sugarcoat this journey. Thanks for being apart of it 🙂

exciting news…

 

This might be my shortest blog post ever!

When I gather my words, I have some exciting news… stay tuned

You won’t want to miss this.

Thanks for being patient, since its been over a month since my last post. Sometimes when so much is going on it is hard to find the right words to come close to describing or explaining things.

Just know that through it all, God reigns, he is control, and he has us in his palm, even when we don’t “feel” it. All will be explained, I promise 😉

You are loved, Dev

Lilian, Mary and Isaac

“I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” John 14:18

These three pictures, are the pictures of our newest additions. Our family is growing. Meet Lilian 5 years, Mary 8 years and Isaac 7 years.

Our God is faithful. I look at these pictures, as I am in New York now, and will return to meet these children very soon. I see hope, and the chance at a new life. I am looking at the leaders of tomorrow. Their futures are so bright! I’m excited to love them, to meet them, to experience life with them, as they have already changed mine.

Once abandoned, now accepted. God is good. I believe in a day where our world will have no orphans. I believe that every child deserves the right to dream, the right to a better future. I believe that children deserve the right to education, love and a family. Every child belongs in a family. It’s the way God intended it to be.

I’m asking that you join our team and staff in Ghana, and our team in the US in prayer. Would you join our PNN family in prayer? Would you lift Lilian, Mary and Isaac in prayer today. There are days when I am in Ghana, going through a lot, dealing with more than I think I can handle sometimes, and then I feel relief, and I know someone on the other side is lifting me up in prayer. Sometimes I can literally feel it. I know they will, so lets come together and lift them up.

Those three pictures remind me of this picture below. The first children to come to PNN, I love how our family is expanding. I love seeing God rescue and bring light to the darkness. Because darkness cannot win, when we choose to shine light in dark places. I love being apart of something so much bigger than myself. I love seeing God move, and bring hope to the hopeless. And lastly…

I love knowing that there are three less orphans in the world today.

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where there is light, there is life

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with my boy Edward. This boy has my heart.

lets slow down, lets take a moment to reflect.

I’m not sure if this is a personal reflection or if I am just speaking from my heart on what this past year has meant to me.

At the end of the day, when times get rough, when life throws the unexpected your way, to a point where you feel like you are drowning in sorrow, challenges and difficultly, there is light.

There is a way out, and it comes in only one true form. Jesus.

The name above all names, the name that saves, redeems, rescues, loves and forgives. The name that selflessly gave himself so that we could have eternal life. Life that so greatly surpasses the length and meaning of this life.

There is freedom in Christ. A lot of people want to believe the opposite. I have seen this freedom, I have lived in it, I have witnessed it. I have tasted its goodness. I continue to seek it, continue to enjoy this freedom in Christ. I continue to spend my life seeking his face , seeking him, getting to know him.

I have seen the most innocent lives transform finding hope, safety and love in Christ. And it is amazing. It is real. It is happening, because of Christ.

I have seen children who carried around the heaviest of burdens from experiencing abuse on every level, let it all go. I have seen the sadness and despair in their eyes turn into joy and life. Because of Christ. Because they can lay down their burdens and experiences at his feet. Those which do not determine their worth, that can be erased and renewed. Surrendering their lives into his hands. What an amazing God we have.

Hopeless lives that were set in darkness, abused, forgotten, neglected, abandoned. Yet where there is light, no darkness can hide. And there was light and life. And there will continue to be light and life. Darkness did not win, and it cannot win, if WE choose to be the light. To shed the light on darkness all around the world. To what God has called our hearts to.

Christ came so that we could live. But it doesn’t end there. We need to be an active part of bringing love and salvation to the ends of the world, to shed light on the darkness. Even if that means shedding light in the darkness of where you are now. Maybe you don’t even have to travel to get there.

Did you know that there are more slaves today than ever before in history? Most of which are children. We can choose to ignore it because it doesn’t effect our day to day. Or maybe something else touches your heart, orphans, refugees, whatever it is. I am not asking or telling you, I am just speaking from my heart. That if Christ offers freedom, hope, redemption and life wouldn’t you want to share that ?

Because where there is light, there is life.

And where there is light, darkness cannot hide.

Lets. choose. to. be. light.

Let’s make this decision every morning, renewing ourselves and our lives to Christ. Laying down ourselves at his feet to be used for his glory, in this day and age. Because we are here for such a time as this.

And where there is light, darkness cannot hide.

 

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12