Welcome 2012!

Reflecting back on the year, 2011, I feel, in some ways, as though I’m peeking in on someone else’s world. So much has happened in one short year—so much that I was not even capable of dreaming one year ago tonight. And that has opened up a whole new world, allowing me to dream bigger dreams for 2012, and the years to come.

What thrills me most is that my dreams are bigger than me. I suppose one could say that’s criteria for a ‘dream’, however, some dreams can be achieved single-handedly. But the thing that meaningful dreams are made of is partnership, team and the effort of many people. And that is the dream that I embrace for 2012!

I have been blessed in the past year and six months to do ministry with Faith Girls Unleashed, and God-willing it will continue, however, when we started this ministry we discovered quickly that we had dreamed too small. As people—men in particular—approached us sharing suggestions and ideas for a bigger vision, we knew we needed to make some changes.

I’ll be honest, when I first heard things like, “maybe you’re not supposed to just do conferences” and “maybe God has a bigger plan” and other such comments, I resisted. Almost rebelliously. For fifteen years I had dreamed of these conferences and they were coming to life just as i dreamed them, except better, more fulfilling. How could God ask me to change direction or add a ‘twist’ to this ministry?

But then something happened and in a moment when I felt as though the dream required more than I had to give, God showed me a need, and in that need He birthed in me a new passion and the will to fight for something greater. This led to redefining the next level of the former dream, and making some adjustments. The result is that, early 2012 we will officially establish a charitable organization that offers conferences and training specifically to address the epidemic of abuse and violence. Where Faith Girls Unleashed specifically targeted women, the charity will address the needs of men, women and families in general. Faith Girls will function as a program within the new charity, rather than as a separate entity.

Within the new charity we have designed programs targeting various oppressed and vulnerable people groups. We will partner with individuals within these cultures to work together for maximum impact and to best meet their needs. One of the programs, for example, will translate books into Low German, using High German phonetics, to develop material for an oppressed Low German culture where abuse is prevalent but the women and children have nowhere to go for help, due to the fact that many know only their mother tongue–which was, until recently, an unwritten language–and are otherwise illiterate. These doors have begun to open in the last few months, as God miraculously connected us to some key contacts there.

With other programs we will target both the Christian culture and secular culture, including colleges and universities, where doors are already starting to open. One of our goals is to do presentations in churches to share the vision and work together to offer hope both internally and in the community, by setting up support systems, such as weekly group teaching sessions, as well as offering subsidized counselling for those needing assistance.

The initial response of business men we contacted for sponsorship, has been supportive and encouraging—for this we thank God and thank them.

We believe that 2012 will be a year of dynamic impact, both on a personal level and on a ministry level. We embrace this challenge with wonder, humility, passion and as a gift from God. We look forward to experiencing the dreams He brings to life throughout this year.

Thank you for your prayers, your support, and ongoing encouragement. May your year be filled with God-sized dreams, that only He can help you fulfill! God bless you all in the New Year!

Life on the run…

… we’ve all been there… we’ve all done it… living life peeking over our shoulder–figuratively speaking–nervously waiting for something to crash, fearing the truth will be revealed, lies exposed… constantly on the verge of drama… wondering, what if someone discovers who I really am? What if…

….The fear of the truth backing us into a corner and leaving us stripped haunts us.

Like most of you, I have done this. As I think about it now I wonder–What was I thinking? Why was I so afraid of the truth that I lived a lie–a life of pretences? What if it didn’t have to be like that? What if our most terrifying secrets didn’t have to hold us captive? What if a life of ‘no lies, no fear, no pretense’ was a safe option?

Not long ago I had an encounter that, like a breath of fresh air on a muggy day, reminded me about the wonder and beauty of honest living. I was about to enter the auditorium at an event when I heard footsteps and a young friend approached me, practically running. As she got closer I realized she was on the verge of tears. “I have to tell you something. There’s something I’ve done and I have to confess it!” I held Sonja and comforted her as she wept and spilled the story of the two days leading up to the confession. When she had ‘told all’ we spoke at length about what she was feeling, what she wanted to do about it, and what she felt would make the situation right again. The most difficult part for her was feeling like she had disappointed a God she loves. One prayer later it was all over, forgiven.

King David says it well when he says (in my own words) ‘I will live with integrity in my own house.’ Sonja showed me what this verse means. What she shared with me could have been her own little secret. No one would have needed to know.

There is beauty in raw integrity: I am what I say I am, no pretense. I do what I say I will do, no misleading. I speak truth and embrace it.

I have learned to trust Sonja over the past few years, not because she makes no mistakes but because she is humble and I never wonder if there’s another side to her. I see her strengths and her weakness and somehow they make her a beautiful, believable and well-rounded woman.