our kitchen remodel with before/after pics

If you’re anything like me, I LOVE perusing beautiful pictures on Pinterest of dream kitchens. The ones with gorgeous light splashing thru a spotless lens — where you can imagine how peaceful, fresh, clean, and relevant you would feel in it. Not to mention how delicious everything would be being prepared in such a dreamy space! The reality of having a space like that seemed a far off lofty notion. It also seemed way too expensive, but when my hubby, myself and our three boys moved across town, I had the perfect opportunity to try out some designs I had been dreaming of!

This kitchen seemed… sad honestly. It was closed off from the main areas, and needed a little TLC. While I have MANY ideas, Kurt, my very handy husband kept me in what was actually affordable and doable. I knew we couldn’t mess with the footprint of the kitchen, and I’d have to keep the tile floor, appliances and cabinets. Those things weren’t in the budget for us at this time, so we’d have to work with what we have. So with the parameters set, we got to work!

The vision was easy for me. I knew what I was drawn to, and wanted to create. I wanted minimal clutter.. I wanted light to stream in. I wanted white everything! White subway tile, white countertops, white sink. It had to feel comfortable and efficient. I wanted our 3 boys to relax and enjoy it with their friends, and not be scared to mess it up. Even WITH the white!  I also have champagne taste on a beer budget. Not even good beer type of budget…  I’d have to get creative, all the while practicing contentedness. 

The first thing to go were the walls that closed it off from the rest of the house. They also blocked the gorgeous morning light that could carry thru the house.  

While we wanted to open it up completely, we ran into some plumbing venting and electrical issues we had to work around. Because of this… I was worried it would look too dorky from the living room looking into the kitchen, so we installed faux shiplap to wrap around on the living room side. THIS WAA HUGE WIN! I loved how it turned out, and highly recommend this to anyone wanting to make an affordable upgrade to any wall. {Kurt ripped 1/4″ plywood into 5.5″ wide planks and nailed/glued away.} This was a good reminder that when doing a reno on a tight budget, the house stipulates what you can and can’t do.

After ripping out the upper cabinets, next was electrical. Kurt installed some remote controlled dimmable lights for the opening, and made it so we could fix them into the open shelving. Lighting in any design is a step that is NOT to be overlooked! Great lighting makes or breaks a room.

After much research and many samples, we were able to afford a white quartz. The company had a great promo on one that made it fit my budget after install. You can read more about that coming soon on houzz.com. While waiting for the install to happen, we turned our attention to the open shelving along the one wall and selecting tile. My handy father in law welded me some steel brackets that we screwed to the studs, and Kurt built some amazing wooden shelves that slid over them giving us the floating shelf look.

 

 

While we patiently waited for the counters, I bought my sink, faucet, and cabinet pulls online. Although I dreamed of a white farmhouse sink with a front apron, I quickly discovered they were way out of my budget and settled on this beauty. I haven’t had a moments remorse, and love how deep and wide it is!! The faucet is minimal, and I LOVE how it can spray and pull out without having extra holes in my sink and counters. I had been envisioning clean straight stainless steel bar pulls. No knobs. This is one of my most favorite decisions! You don’t have to mix knobs and pulls people. Going all pulls has a bigger impact here.

After counter install came tile backsplash. White subway tile from the counters to the ceiling… and all the way around. Honest moment. That was not fun… we hated the tiling part, but man it turned out magical!! I went with white grout because I knew over time seeing all the lines would make me crazy.

Lastly, we painted the existing cabinets. The lower ones are all still water by Sherwin Williams, and the uppers over the oven are alabaster white by Sherwin Williams. I was a bit skeptical of going so “colorful”, but maybe THIS is my most favorite decision of the kitchen!

It turned out better than I had dreamed up in my head! It’s so dreamy, I catch myself daily thinking “this cannot be MY kitchen!” I absolutely LOVE it!! You can hear me chat with my design partner for more details on kitchen renos over at By Design Podcast.

All the finishing touches were made possible by Marshalls, my mom and mother in law for the dishes, Muddy Handshake Pottery, Ikea, and some special grandmas with the vintage finds.  I’d like to thank Bryan Buchelt for taking the amazing after pics, and my darling husband who puts up with all my harebrained ideas!

depression. you are real.

I’m sure all of us have felt the effects of depression at one time or another. The fizzle of any joy, the down in the dumps, discouraging feelings. For some people those times come and go, and it doesn’t stay forever. For others, the numbness, the discouragement, the sleepiness, the unhealthy thought patterns, the depression doesn’t relent, it engulfs.

I hate depression. I hate that I have struggled with depression daily for way too long it seems. I hate how way too many beautiful souls struggle silently with depression out of fear of what others may think or say.

I struggled silently for years. 

I was embarassed. I felt like everyone else had REAL problems and more serious health issues, who am I to feel this way!? I’m so blessed! I have so much to be thankful for!  Now pull up your bootstraps Lyndsye, and SNAP OUT OF IT!!

Sadly, I let well meaning people who were quick to give their opinion influence my thoughts and actions on this. Whether publically, or whispers murmured about dark moments of other peoples’ struggles. It influenced me.

Every person I’ve talked to about this, whether in a mentoring relationship, or just swapping our stories in a quiet place says the same thing. They feel silly or selfish with their struggle. Depression, you are real, and can be devastating if you don’t get help. It’s overwhelming, and where do you start?

When I finally broke down and realized my need of help… I was so confused because I honestly thought if I just had more faith, read more bible verses, I wouldn’t be here. Maybe this was punishment for me for being so selfish, or having “bad thoughts” or judging other people. We tell ourselves some crazy stuff to get through. My husband knew how bad I was struggling, no one else… He also knew to go for help.

Our wise Pastor gently told us when I couldn’t make up from down, you need three things:

Good counsel.

You need to get yourself into some great counseling where you can start unpacking what’s going on. What are the triggers? Is it grief? Abuse? Hormones? Unhealthy thought patterns?  How do you start fixing this? This is where you have to be careful of where you go for counsel. Get help finding a reputable biblical counselor. Someone who can help encourage you in who you were created by, and whose you still are. You likely will need help for this, and that’s ok!! If you’re married, your hubby or wife may need some tools to help you too. My husband knocked this out of the park for me. He is for me. He wants the best for me, so he’s been quick to learn about depression too so we can fight this together. For our family’s sake.

Good community.

Suffering silently isn’t helping anyone. Reach out to a trusted friend, or ask your local church for names of mentors who can be encouraging you, and checking in with you regularly. You can’t do this alone. It’s always so encouraging to realize that others have walked this road, and that there’s hope you too will come out the other side.  Also, when you’re in a bad place, you want to withdraw. You need to have people who will include you still, encourage you, and will just show up. No expectations, just to love you.

Good medicine.

Not everyone will need medicine. There isn’t a one pill cure all for this. But, there are wonderful doctors who know a lot more about this, and are there to help. I know how I was so embarrassed to speak with anyone. After each baby I had, my “baby blues” worsened. My then family doctor at the time asked me pointed questions, he knew I was struggling, but my pride was so big that I wouldn’t be honest with him. Not until we moved to a new country, away from family, and I felt the weight of my depression… You can read more about this time here. I believe that my God is sovereign. He saw me. He saved me and brought some incredible people around me to help me deal and grow.

Go see your family doctor. Just be honest with them, and let them help you decide whether medication is needed. It’s taken me years of going on meds, then going off because I thought I was better, and I hated that I needed that little pill… Pride… still.

But, I’ve finally got to the point where I see that little pill as grace. I need medication and I’m so thankful that I live in a place where its available to me. It’s not a cop out. It along with the support of my family and friends, and leaning into Christ who is my hope, that’s how I fight. Jon Foreman of Switchfoot says it well “I want to thrive, not just survive”.  Some days are better than others. I’ve learned to give myself grace. Look to the psalms. David struggled and he was a man after Gods own heart! There’s so much wisdom and encouragement of how to live well in God’s word. Let’s not ever miss that.

Our life here was never meant to be roses and easy all the time. It’s wrong of us to think that. John 16:33 says;

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” NLT

Throughout the New Testament we read how we will have trouble and struggle, but our hope is that one day He will make all things new, He has the victory!  Do you believe that? This may be the thorn in my side that I’ll carry all my days on earth, I’m ok with that. It allows me to have this space where I can help point you to help, and true hope.  I’m called to love God and love others. You are not alone. So I will continue to walk alongside you, wherever you are, with the grace and love that God has for me and you.

So, “Let’s be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”  Plato.

Much love,

Lyndsye

 

Top 10 of Springtime

My Top 10 of Springtime

Spring is my ULTIMATE FAVORITE season!! {Strong statement, I know… you may hear it at 3 other times a year from me, because that’s how I roll… I’m sorry and you’re welcome.} Here are my top 10 reasons why…

1. Open windows… even if you can see your breath some mornings, who cares! Those windows are OPEN!!! Goodbye smells of cooped up children and exasperated mothers. Hearing those beautiful birds singing is some of the best music for your soul!

2.  NO SOCKS! Yep, even though I desperately need a pedi, these toes are airing out. AIRING OUT I TELL YOU!!

3. Longer days… Ahhh, spring forward… even though we “lose” an hour… this mama gains an hour to sit out on the deck sipping vino, and watching her boys take penalty kicks.

4. People are generally nicer. For some reason, the warmer weather, open windows, and toes that are now free, brings out the good in people. {observation: mine}

5. New life! All the buds on the trees, the crocuses trying to stretch out of the freshly thawed earth, the smell of the “hi, I’m new here” dirt… it all gives hope that new mercies are available to us too, and that is hope I’ll take!

6. NO MORE COATS, HATS, MITTS, BOOTS mess in my house!!! HALLELU!!! Spring coats or hoodie ONLY for busy school mornings! {and all the moms said amen!}

7. Mini eggs

cadburyeggs1

8. Mini eggs

9. Mini eggs

10. Yep, you guessed it… Mini eggs.

 

freedom in surrender

I was so humbled when Kacie asked me to share my story of surrender. What a privilege. My first thought was “YES!!! I’d LOVE to!!!!” I know crazy right!? Who wants to tell of their most ugly time!?  Most sane people say “NO FREAKING WAY!! Someone else please, their story is better, bless your heart, and I’m just going to go on my merry way…” But God has done some amazing things in my life, and I’ve honestly felt a nudge to share more, but kept making a million excuses.

There was a time, 6 years ago when I was still desperately trying to keep all my suffering and striving of a ‘perfect life’ a horribly kept secret. Heaven forbid I be real and ask for help. To those around me I was hunky dory… To those close to me, well honestly, that’s a laugh… I kept anyone remotely close at arms’ length. I used my charm and sarcasm to cover any situation that was uncomfortable to me in the least… you know, for defensive purposes. That’s the embarrassing part to me now. Ugh, what a poser.

Lets go back to that time for clarity’s sake. It’s the spring of 2010. Hi. I’m Lyndsye, about to turn 28, married to my best friend Kurt {Let’s liken him to being my lobster if you’re a “Friends” fan like me}, and we have 3 small sons. Hudson 5, Everett 3, and Jude 1. We are living the typical dream. Cozy, comfortable, safe, lacking nothing in north central Ontario, Canada, on Georgian Bay. Beauty abounds around us. It’s like living in a postcard of rocky cliffs, tall windswept trees, and tranquil waters. Both of our entire families are all within 20 minutes of us. Kurt and I together had dreamed, designed, and built an amazing custom home, on land that was his inheritance. This land is dearly loved, and 5 generations before us brought their babies home to it too. We had plans to raise our boys and grow old together there. He was a home contractor by day, so in the evenings and weekends, whenever he had time, he, my father-in-law, my dad, and many friends would show up to help on this house. Kurt and his dad tirelessly built our forever home. We were doing just fine. Especially by the worlds standards. Kurt, also has a gift of music. He can sing well… REALLY well, write music, and more importantly, lead worship. He’s been completely gifted with that. He led worship at our local church every Sunday and also served on the board of elders.

IMG_6176IMG_6174

That spring, Kurt was restless, and struggled with an unfulfilled desire nagging at his heart. It was becoming more apparent that something had to change in our lives. We were miserable, building our kingdom of stuff, fitting into what culture said success was. We were open to music ministry, kind of… as long as it fit into our plans. He would record and such during any downtime in his own little home studio set up. It just wasn’t what we knew God had for him and our family though. One weekend, he led worship for a youth retreat and boy, did God meet him there. He came home and told me that if we really wanted to serve God wholeheartedly, then we would have to surrender our geography. Not going to lie…I laughed, then cried. Then UGLY CRIED. You have to know my wise, stable, quiet, God honoring husband, to know that if he shared that with me, then LOOK OUT! The next week, {THE NEXT WEEK people!!!!!} we get a call from a growing church in Northwest Indiana, looking for a full time worship leader. Long story short, after much praying and seeking wisdom from respected people in our lives, it was an easy “yes God, send us”.  But we had to surrender a lot… our country, families, hobbies, our nostalgia for our kids childhood that they wouldn’t have, financial stability, our beautiful home, our friends, the dairy products, and chocolate. {seriously you guys, Canada kills the dairy and chocolate. You should get some. You’re welcome.}

After the agonizing goodbyes and move to northwest Indiana, not to mention the immigration hurdles, the major depression that I’d been hiding for MANY years had gotten worse. I was struggling baaad. The eating disorder I didn’t want to acknowledge I struggled with, it reared it’s ugly head again, the hidden abuses I had suffered as a child at a “friends house” that I had never spoke to anyone, NO ONE, not even Kurt about… well, I started having nightmares of that time again.  So let’s say it’s safe to say moving 1000 miles away from all our family, with 3 small kids, to a new country… all for the name of Jesus? Not a huge fan… I couldn’t control anything, I was completely overwhelmed by expectations that only I had put on myself, and I couldn’t keep up. My perfect looking world was spiraling out of control. I struggled to get out of bed, I was completely disconnected from my kids and husband. I didn’t know how to do this. I was going to need some help, but where to start. I was proud and selfish. I was such a mess.

Then, after a couple of years of poorly maintaining this facade, I finally broke. One morning I got lost taking my boys to school just 2 blocks away. My brain was so fuzzy and numb, I couldn’t/didn’t “feel” any feelings, or care about anyone or anything. I struggled reading anything and had a hard time putting coherent thoughts together. I withdrew from family and friends. I cried a lot and just felt like such a burden to everyone. Because of me trying to gain some semblance of control during this time, I skipped meals, made excuses to control my food intake. I lost weight and couldn’t sleep at night. I went to a dark place where I started to believe the lie that my family would be better without me.  My skewed thoughts and choices were not what a mature christian wife and mother should be having.  “What a big fat fake” is what I would tell myself. My everything was so wrapped up in the identity that I wanted for myself, to impress, to juggle it all, to be the perfect wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend… you name it. It was all about me me me. It was sinful and ugly.

Matthew 16:24 says, “IF any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways and follow me.” NLT

It seemed so easy when I read that passage for this chronic ‘good girl’… Follow Christ? Of course! I always had… but truly turning from my selfish ways and follow him? To surrender? To choose to open up my hands to all He has for me? That was scary!! That’s for other people, and honestly, I couldn’t control that! I had to repent of my pride, of my selfishness and ask for help. It was the most freeing thing I had ever done!! I went to counseling then, and my sweet counselor told me to go to the book of Ephesians and read it out loud to myself. Every night. I lived there, in Ephesians… driving truth in to drive out the lies.  I had to change my thoughts and theology and believe that I was chosen, adopted into His family, loved, and here for a purpose. I also have some pretty sweet friends, despite my arms length stature of keeping them away from truly knowing me, they loved me, helped me, prayed for me, brought my family food. They were the gospel that I could see. When I surrendered my pride, my control, my striving, my selfishness… God gently replaced it with His grace, His mercy, His unconditional love. I was overcome with gratitude. With His peace… peace that truly passed all my understanding. I started a long road of healing and somedays, I still feel raw, but I’m ok with that. I’ve let myself off the hook that I’ve put myself on, and choose to keep my hands open for whatever and whoever crosses my path.

I’ve learned to choose a life of surrender. Surrender being a verb, an action word, it needs an action, a turning on our parts to be fulfilled. His ways are higher, and being surrendered to Him has made the hard parts easier to deal with. Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me through the hard days, asking Him and the community around me for help and prayer when needed. To stop hiding my sin, to repent and submit to HIS authority, His promises, His truths. The freedom is there.  It’s wildly wonderful!!  So now, I choose surrender to Him and His ways. I want this life of surrender desperately more than my old life of selfishness.

Now, because of Gods great mercy to me, I’m able to have opportunities sharing my story to encourage and walk alongside other beautiful women that struggle with some of the same struggles I have. It’s such a beautiful, life giving thing! Only God can do this stuff!!  We’re still here, in Northwest Indiana, serving our church and community. Our boys have grown, and I don’t want our old life for them either…

IMG_0228

I often think of something Jennie Allen said in her book Restless, “great people do not do great things; God does great things through surrendered people.” That’s my prayer for you and me. Whatever you’re facing, whatever you’re holding on to… Our God sees you, right where you are and loves you despite it. You are delighted in, and He can use, and fill the broken places in us to shine His love through.

Much love,

Lyndsye~

IF:Valpo2016

This year’s IF:Valpo was SO GREAT! Although I was tired from a super busy few months of conferences, a new EP release, recording and everyday mom stuff, IF was something I knew had to happen again in Valpo.  I was so thankful for an incredible group of women who served so beautifully alongside me. Dannette Gora graciously said “yes” to help with the design of the event, and mercy, she hit it out of the park… again! My favorite parts this year where the local touches we highlighted. We had the best worship with Kurt Felsman, Matt Siewert, and Jen Crane. Rachel with Kids Alive International came to share their incredible work of saving orphans around the globe, and Jessica Burkman with Compass came to share her amazing heart of working alongside families right here in Valpo that need help with language and culture barriers. We also had our very own Noonday Ambassador Liz Bradley available to chat with anyone interested all things Noonday.

The MOST BEST part was how bathed in prayer everything was. We were committed to making this about what God had for us. Each of us. Us on the team, you who came to our IF:Local, and the women gathered around the world with the same heart.. “IF God is real, THEN we want more than anything to live like it.” Jennie Allen. Each seat was prayed for intentionally. The last thing we wanted was for it to be just a pretty event for people to come to and nothing else… We longed to make a space where women could gather, connect and grow in their relationships with each other, and our heavenly Father. So thank you Jennie and team in Austin for facilitating such an encouraging time of truth… May we have the courage to say yes to whatever is held before us.

 

Majesty & Mystery

You know those dreams that you have that are constantly in the back of your mind? They nag you for years. You make excuses. You just can’t shake the feeling that it’s never the right time… but… it’s constantly there. We had a dream like that. Kurt had wanted to record his own worship for a long time, and this fall that time finally came! My extremely talented husband finally recorded his debut worship EP! For real! Not just for us and his parents to listen to anymore, but for the church!! Now YOU can go to iTunes and download Majesty and Mystery here, or visit his website to get a copy! I promise you won’t regret it! I couldn’t be prouder of this man and how he leads our family! Enjoy!

LISTEN HERE…


 

simply tuesday in the midwest

I co-led a Tuesday morning bible study with my gorgeous soul sister Dannette Gora this fall. I know. That’s a scary thought. Me in front of people totally unqualified to lead the brilliant women of Calvary Church in anything let alone soul questions!!! The book was Simply Tuesday by the eloquent Emily Freeman. It was such a beautiful time honestly. Full of soul searching, praying and prepping with a dear friend. But lets be real… It was crazy too. Not only was my hubby recording and releasing his debut EP, we had the regular busy wife, mom, soccer schedules to contend with. The bonus was… We got to weekly meet with some amazing ladies, and Emily was coming to our little Valpo at the end of the study to speak to our ladies.

.DSC06681DSC06688

Friday evening was a casual q&a with her with just the ladies from the study.  Saturday morning was a lovely time where 130 ladies gathered to connect with each other and hear Emily speak. We also had a decor swap and full worship… It was such a life giving time.

RAOR2Hs8xI_evqx2pAdzBA2sG7NqTc42AO0i3Rr9mCU,9TeAZhpq4cX0ydejMGUiuB_UychHm8UZdGuH78NnJ80

!DSC06702

I highly recommend anything by Emily, but her book Simply Tuesday will resonate with so many. Its all about being present in the everyday. To stop building ladders to get more, and start building benches to sit, breathe, be humble and hospitable. Thanks Emily… You’re a gem.

 

Kenya

I love how God weaves lives together. It’s such a humbling thing when you step back and realize who is in your life, and how they got there. Noticing His timing in all circumstances is something I’ve become so excited to be able to realize, and remember. One such time was in November of 2012. Kurt and I had been asked to accompany our amazing friends to Kenya to visit the homes, staff, families and orphans that Kids Alive International support. {Kids Alive is doing an amazing work all over the globe, and I’d encourage you to check them out!} We were ecstatic to be able to go and meet the beautiful little girl Judy who our family sponsors, and the home with all her precious “siblings”. Our home church has completely committed to meeting the needs, and supporting this home in Mitaboni. It’s amazing to be a part of it! When we said yes to this trip, it was right before I had experienced a major breakdown. {you can read more about that time here} I was raw. Still oozing brokenness raw. We can laugh about it now with our sweet friends Mark and Kelly.. about what a mess I was. That’s what good friends are. Despite your brokenness, and hard times, they come alongside and just show up. They pray when you have no words. They let you cry, or be angry, or silent and still love you. They walk arm in arm as family.

.IMG_6177

So God gifted me with my people for that season right where I was. In beautiful Kenya where the red dirt stains your shoes, the sun warms your face and the people reflect God’s amazing love. The first stop was in the little village of  Mitaboni near Machakos where our Judy girl lived. We all were so eager to see these beautiful kids and the loving staff who do such a great job caring for all the childrens’ needs. These kids have forever changed me. There aren’t words that I have to adequately articulate what their eyes told us. They had hope now. A lot of these kids came from homes where they were abandoned in garbage dumps, or their dads had taken off and their mums had died of AIDS. The extended family, Grandmas, Aunties, etc. can’t keep up to support these precious souls, and this is where Kids Alive shines… Not only do they help the child in need with a safe place to stay, healthy meals, and an education all while showing Christ’s love, they do everything in their power to keep these kids connected to their families, to their communities… So they can still be tied to their heritage, and be able to lead in the future. It’s hope people. Pure, selfless, hope.

IMG_6175IMG_6172IMG_6164IMG_6165

We were able to visit some of the kids’ homes, hear some of their stories, and see the hope they have now. I was wrecked hearing and seeing what these little ones have lived through, and to see the joy exploding out of them now. To see the staff so lovingly, selflessly care for these children, to watch the joy these kids have despite their backgrounds… It hit me. LIKE A TRUCK. My worldview, my western way of thinking was so wrong.

I had this idea, this bad theology, that I was damaged now because of my story…unworthy of love and joy… The crazy thing was I didn’t even realize I had these skewed views until I accepted and saw my own brokenness. I thought I deserved wholeness and togetherness this side of heaven. But James 1:2-4 tells us.. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  I had much to apply. Things I knew, I had to turn from myself and apply them to my life and actually LIVE IT OUT! Consider it joy… This was going to take some work and perseverance on my part. And that is GOOD!

After a tearful, snot running everywhere goodbye in Mitaboni, we rode back to our hotel to “unpack” all we had seen and heard. This is a process friends. I believe I’m still processing it all.

We then moved on to a boys home, where the surrounding community all walked miles to come see these boys graduate! This was such a privilege for us to behold!! These now men, going out and changing their families circumstances because of the hope Kids Alive have showed them. There was a grandmother who got up to thank the staff that day, and may I never forget what she said with her heart and eyes leaking gratitude, “You have been the gospel that we could see!” Wow… Again, humbled, broken, thankful for all God was showing and teaching me.

We then moved further north in Kenya, where we could see majestic Mount Kenya, and experience rainfall and muddy roads like never before. The gentleman then running that home for Kids Alive, was Silas. God used Him to show the gospel in so many ways. Not just to the community, but to me.  He shared some of the stories the kids there have endured. The beautiful girl who’s mother chopped her face and body with a machete because she believed some mystic witch doctor. The mother with special needs who couldn’t provide any basic needs for her children, and they were starving to death. We were able to visit her, take her some food and see where these kids were rescued by Silas’s own hands and feet… Being Jesus’s hands and feet… Scooping them up and bringing them to hope.  I still see the tiny room, piled high with garbage and Silas pointing saying that that was where he found the little boy. Laying limp, listless, hopeless on a pile of stuff.. And he just decided then and there to scoop him out of certain death, and extend love and mercy. That’s what Jesus did for me.  That’s what Jesus did for you.

IMG_6168IMG_6167IMG_6170IMG_6169IMG_6171

The last stop Silas took us all to was a slum. I’m sure we all have seen images on tv… We’ve heard how sewage, waste and filth flood the streets. How prostitution is the only hope for women and children… How corrupt police and community leaders look the other way for a bribe, or a conversion…

Let me tell you though, seeing with your own eyes, the smell assaulting your senses, the eyes surrounding you sunken, hungry, desperately begging you for something, anything! It was heartbreaking and it’s real life for way too many.

Silas had built a relationship with the slums community leader. She was a muslim lady. We had to have permission to visit from her, and she then told us which homes we could visit and take food to. {The homes who were desperate and converted to muslim so humanitarian aid, like us could help them.} The corruption was angering. I was still trying to process all that I had seen at the different places from the last week, then here at this slum, we entered the last home. Silas woke up a lethargic little 4 yr old boy, named Dennis who scarfed down the bread we brought. His mother couldn’t have been in her 20’s yet, and had a cough that rattled her frail body. She couldn’t stand. She was so close to death. AIDS was going to take this little boys mama, I could take no more. I could see my 8, 6 and 3 year old boys. My heart broke for the too young mum, the little boy who would likely end up on the streets after she died.. The injustice of it all. The Kids Alive Kenya Director was with us, and she lovingly helped us talk through the anger, the sadness, the waste of it all. They helped unpack what was up, how we can help, and how to move forward. They gently advised us of all the aspects of helping, and understanding the problems and hurdles we need to overcome. It’s a complex problem, but you can’t unring a bell. Again, James has the answer. James 4:17 “If anyone then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

This timely trip, while working on my struggles helped put so much in perspective. God knew I needed to have these experiences, so I could experience Him. Have the conversations with the people that truly care of the state of peoples hearts. All these people, the staff at each of the Kids Alive homes, the director of the countries who are aware of the cultural surroundings, the precious children at each home, and in each community. The friends who sharpen and love us, and the husband who loves me unconditionally… God has placed each one so perfectly beside me, for such a time as now, so that I have what I need to fulfill what he has for me.  This is God’s story, and I just get to say YES!