Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Snapped !

I’m kinda looking at God going “Okay, okay, God, I get it. My strength is not enough.” 

And it never will be. 

My strength has failed me. 

I feel like I’m flailing around a kiddie sized swimming pool panicking that I don’t know how to swim, when all I really need to do is stand up. 

This past year has been grueling, trying, heart breaking, pushing me further than I ever thought I could or would be pushed. 

I feel like I snapped a long time ago, but today I feel like I’ve reached this semi-crazy place where you just look at where you are, what you’re doing, how you’re standing, and all you can do is laugh. 

Recently, our adoption finished, which should be like this huge, awesome hallelujah, right ? It’s more been like a final push to get the name change, the birth certificate, the passport, and apply for the visa. See, I had this really brilliant plan that I was going to have the first three things done by the time my husband gets here on Saturday. Then he could simply take all the paperwork home and apply for the visa from New Zealand. Doesn’t that sound awesome ? My alternative is shipping all my originals to South Africa, the closest New Zealand embassy. It frankly has been funny how hard I have pushed to get this paperwork done, and how nothing has happened. One month later. I’m still like a mosquito just buzzing around the mosquito net and can’t escape. 

On Sunday, I started a fundraiser because due to huge changes going on in DOORS, four of the most important people in my life may not have the chance to finish school. We need to raise $15,000 in the next two months to keep them housed, fed, and in school for the next two years until they can graduate high school. I started the fundraiser and within the first hour someone had donated $50. I was ecstatic ! Here we go, God, time to roll in the money !!! And that $50 sat there….and sat there….and sat there. I’m pretty sure I clicked refresh at least 500 times before I went to bed that night. I was so confused. I woke up the next morning and that $50 was still staring at me. I wanted to scream. God, don’t you see how there will be nothing for my boys if this money doesn’t get raised ? 

Then today, oh today was really special. I have a place where I keep money saved away for different things. I have my son’s passport money that I recently withdrew from the ATM sitting there. Or it was sitting there. I looked for it today and all the money is there, except for that little envelope with the passport money. Nobody has entered our house since I withdrew that money. I most certainly have not been robbed. Did the envelope jump out of the lock box ? Yeah, maybe that’s what happened. I frantically begin searching my room, shaking every piece of clothing I have, tearing the sheets off of my bed, fanning through every paper in our adoption file at least 5 times. Nowhere. Nothing. What? An hour later, I ended up laying on the cold tile floor pouring sweat, staring at the ceiling, thinking, “God, are you just messing with me? Are you just trying to show me how much I need you?” I’m still kind of convinced that He is and I’ll probably find that envelope laying under my bed tonight. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 

The yoke has not been easy, and the burden has not been light. And that’s nobody’s fault except for mine. I’m ready to throw out the bowling balls I’ve been carrying on my back, and walk uninhibited.

I’m at that point where my natural instinct is to push harder, work later, advertise more, look in the ceiling tiles of my room, push until whatever tiny scraps of strength I still seem to be in control of have totally disappeared and I have absolutely nothing left….

I’m also at that point where I need to give up, where giving up won’t be giving up, where giving up will look a lot like surrendering. 

Surrendering to God’s timing, to the fact that He is so in control. Surrendering my fear for trust that God is a provider, that those are his boys, not my boys. Surrendering to the fact that the past few weeks I have been stressed out and slightly running crazy, and there is a high chance that I hid that money in a sock packed away in a suitcase in storage and thought it was a good idea at the time…..and surrendering to the fact that ok, that is not the end of the world. 

Once I’ve put those things down, it’s really easy to just sit here and laugh like a semi-crazy person at how hard I’ve been trying, and realize it’s time to eat some chocolate, chill, and trust God to do what He says He is going to do. 

Wednesday, 13 July 2016


Last week we had thieves try to rob our house in the middle of the night. 
We were fine, they didn’t get very far thanks to our excellent guard dogs. 
It’s not the first time something like this happened, so it didn’t bother me in that way. 
I’m white, most people in this country think I’m filthy rich. 

The disturbing thing was that there were a few misplaced items in our yard that indicated that the thieves knew where we kept those items. We were being watched ! I couldn’t shake that feeling the next few days and found myself looking over my shoulder….as cliche as that sounds. 

I felt myself withdrawing from my neighbors and people that I pass walking near my house every day. 

Thinking to myself - “ What if I’m smiling and greeting the man who just tried to rob me ?! I have no clue it’s him, but he definitely knows it’s me and he walks away laughing to himself at this silly mzungu!” 

It clicked in my brain about how off that sounded. 
I realized how many innocent people I could snub, how many enemies I could refuse to love. 
I realized that my snubbery wasn’t going to protect anything except for my pride. 

I chose to take the Word literally… “ to love my enemies” and “to love my neighbors as myself.” 

It was humbling to put my smile back on. It was even more humbling to search the depths of my heart to find the love that goes behind it. 

It felt like an investment. 
Choosing to love again - a culture and a people that I’ve been burned by too many times to count. 

That’s what trust is - laying down our treasure, laying down what’s precious to us, and believing that it will bear fruit.

Things that make us feel rich and comfortable, things we value, parts of who we are - laying them down so that our hands can be empty to plow, to sow, to reap, to harvest….

And to rejoice.

This year’s been harder than most. Maybe tumultuous would be a good word for it. 
Some days I feel 100% OK, and most others I feel like a 100% absurd basket case. It’s been hard to share that with people. I probably should have been more vulnerable, but in those raw moments where you’re trying to figure out what the heck you’re doing with your life and 1000 places sound better than where you are, the last thing you want to hear is …

“But look at all you’ve done !” 
“You can always go home” 

I had to choose to invest in people who were going to bring me to feet of my Comforter. I knew that’s where I needed to be, and I knew if I took comfort in the fact that I and done enough and I could go home now….then I may have just done that. 

I believe I’m on an upward climb out of the valley of dry bones. I believe I’ve seen that place and laid there long enough. I believe God has asked me to be transparent and vulnerable. I believe God has asked me to love my neighbor and speak life over death. I believe God has asked me to see myself the way that He sees me, and if I can do that - than I won’t be walking out of the valley by myself. 

I can’t love someone well if I don’t love myself. If you’re bucking against the way that God made you, it will be very hard to see the goodness and glory in our brothers and sisters without having bitterness, envy, jealousy, and hurt. You will see the log in your eye so clearly and you will be anxious to point out the stick in someone else’s. 

And I’m pretty sure that’s it’s 100% impossible to give God praise for the way that He made you, if you don’t trust Him. 

I can’t tell you how many times the past few months that I’ve cried out to the Lord asking to be loved by Him and for Him to help me to love Him. Once I got over this hurdle of realizing that I can’t be loved by someone I’m not trusting, I lay down my burdens and all that I think I have to carry, and fully just flopped into His love like a big, fluffy pillow.

I’m sure there’s a really fancy theological term for this, but here’s what I’ve found one of my biggest hindrances in trusting the Lord has been this year…. 
I’ve been letting my overwhelming circumstances creep in and project themselves on how I view God. 
Instead of letting my God project Himself over my circumstances. 

As I see Him clearly, I can see myself clearly - and only then I can love my neighbors as I love myself. When I see His worthiness, my struggles are swallowed up in His peace and I’m comforted by His hope. 

Trusting that He is who He says He - despite the world around me, the loneliness that can swamp me, the bank account that can haunt me, and the thieves in my back yard.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Red Cups

I’ve been pretty upset with social media lately. I've had a hard time blogging because of that. 

We can not buy from God. He holds the keys to death and to hell, He owns everything on the earth. He does not fit into ‘our culture.’ He is above culture, and above reproof. Throughout cultures and generations, He has stood unchanging beyond reproof, beyond doubt, above lust, and above shame. You can not receive the next best thing from Him and you can enter into a relationship with Him for the glory of yourself. He is not our next biggest adventure or an avenue to make the most out of our life. He is not an excuse to blog about all the cool things you do every day. He is not simply a scripture above a picture of an orphan that you once knew. 

He is a call to come and die. Die to your culture, to your will, to your desire to make the most of yourself, and to your desire for earthly praise. To die to receiving your value from what you do, what you post on instagram, and die to your desire to change the world. 

Die: shift the world, change the earth, by entering into eternal life in the kingdom. One life dead to the flesh. Not to make yourself a better person, but a NEW person. Not for your own good, but for the glory of His name. 

We preach a diluted gospel when we preach “Come to Jesus and He will make your life better.”  We begin teaching that God is merely a supplement, a tool. 

We withhold His glory from Him when we withhold the truth that God gives us NEW LIFE - not just simply makes the old life good. We withhold His glory when we don’t acknowledge that there is death to the flesh. We cannot live two lives, it’s one or the other.  

God is not a self-help book. 
He is not merely a means of reaching a better place. 
Do not be a teacher that coaches your flock into half-hearted surrender. 

We can not come to God to better our lives, we come to God to LOSE our lives.

I came to God when I realized that this world had nothing for me, and that He desired to give me NEW life. 

His worthiness lead me unto death. He did not come to make my life on this earth better. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords died a death on a the cross because of the worthiness, and kindness, and HOLINESS of the Father — and the Father desires for his children to have LIFE.

He is worthy of the lives that He paid for. 

His desire is for the glory of God to rest on our faces. Worthy. 

His desire is for every person who has been hurt, betrayed, deceived, lonely, and unsatisfied by this world to have an abundant life with Him. Worthy. 

His worthiness is why we cry out for His children to receive life. 

Jesus didn’t die to answer my earthly problems. He died so i can be in relationship with the Father, and my captivation and relationship with the Father is the source of all my joy, all of my identity, all of my love, all of my strength, and all of my satisfaction. 

When we attempt to walk in an effort to “fix ourselves,” we are not walking in new life. 

New life doesn’t need to be fixed, because it is made out of the perfect will of our perfect Father.  God doesn’t desire to ‘fix’ his children, but to raise us up !  With love and discipline. That way, we can walk worthy of the calling He has placed on our lives - a calling to BE his child. 

Not so that we can fix anything or anyone, but to Be his child : love God, love others, feed His sheep. 
We live in a world in which everyone desires for their voice to be heard, for their life to be glorified. We are so easily offended because we are continuously putting ourselves “out there” instead of letting ourselves die. 

As believers, we have to remember and renew our minds every day that our battle is not against flesh and blood. It’s not against red cups or whatever is the trending social media argument. It’s not against your fellow brother. 

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


My earthly father is a painter. He’s an astonishing one at that. In our old playroom back home, almost every inch of wall is covered with his finished artwork. Pieces he spent days, weeks, or even months completing. We recently were on vacation and for a week he couldn’t paint. While we were there, he didn’t long to be in the playroom gazing on every finished piece of art he had done. He longed to be PAINTING. 

I’m not him, so I can’t say what delights him the most, but I have observed him much throughout my life; and while he looks at and observes most of his finished paintings with satisfaction - his true delight is the actual painting. It’s the process. 

It’s the days that he can put on his old grungy clothes, go upstairs into his studio, blast all kinds of ridiculously loud music, and stare at a half painted canvas. Those are the days he longs for.  Those are the days that he delights in. 

I’ve seen the fear of not being ‘finished’ hold more people back than I can count. 

I used to be one of them. 

I’m not ‘finished’ so I don’t have anything to offer right now. 

I’m not finished, I’m not 100% good, So I can’t walk out of the court room where the Judge just declared me PARDONED. He has given me another chance, ANOTHER LIFE, and I can’t walk out in it because I know I am going to mess it up. 

I can’t sit at the dinner table with my Dad, because I’m not ‘finished’ enough to be present myself in His presence. 

When will stop trying to finish ourselves ? I can’t wait until I deem myself good enough to present myself before God. That day will never come ! 

Humility and meekness. 
Seeing yourself exactly the way the Father sees you, nothing more, nothing less, and giving Him the power to correct you (to create, to paint, to shape, to mold) without defending yourself. 

It’s not really about how I see myself. It’s about how He sees me. It’s about His heart. While I’m freaking out that I’m not finished, He is delighting in the creating. He has put on His old grungy clothes and is rocking out upstairs, simply delighted to have an unfinished canvas in front of Him. 

He sees the slums of Kampala, the suburbs of America, and every where in between; His heart doesn’t sigh heavily over us and He doesn’t declare us “unfinished.” He rolls up His sleeves, turns up the music, and gets excited to paint. It’s His delight to paint. It’s His delight to create. 

He’s not losing hope at how “unfinished” we appear to be. 
He’s calling out to the warriors, to the fearless bride, to the children of hope, to the fierce hearts of prayer, “ Come and paint with me ! ” 

“But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8

My earthly father's creations... 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

DOORS Mission School

Teacher Viola and her class 

This is exciting ! And a little bit terrifying ! We are raising $2,500 to buy high school curriculum for the DOORS Mission school. This is equally exciting and terrifying because our boys have finally reached a high school level through the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum ! We are beyond proud of the hard work and ownership they have put into their education and meeting their personal educational goals. The curriculum we need to purchase includes the mandatory subjects, as well as supplemental learning materials for science labs, understanding math concepts, and speaking English. We need to purchase these materials by May 1! If you are interested in partnering with us to invest in the DOORS Mission school, please read below and follow the link to our blog where you can donate online. 

From the time we began the DOORS Home in 2012,  we started an up-hill battle of trying to educate our boys in the home. They didn’t fit into the Ugandan school system. We had sixteen year olds that didn’t know their alphabet, fifteen year olds that hadn’t been to school in six years, and eleven year olds that were testing back into Primary 1 class (first grade). We homeschooled for a few months, hired teachers to tutor on the weekends, and the boys spent hours each night reading and studying trying to get ahead in class. Yet their dreams of finishing school and going to university were constantly being shot down by other children in the school nicknaming them the “grandpa’s” of the class, or teachers calling them out saying “you’re a man, and you don’t know this answer?” and schools merely passing them in different subjects because they were too old to be in the younger classes they were in, even if they didn’t understand the material. 

There were many a night when the boys would come home from school, discouraged and beaten down. Their goals of finishing school appeared to be unreachable, and that led to a lot of rebellious behavior that stemmed from the belief that there was not a good future in front of them. 

As a staff we had to address this on two levels: the first being to teach them to trust the Lord that there is a good future in front of them - a future that is better than they can imagine, dream, or ask for !! The second: we began to pray and seek for alternative ways to educate our children. 

A friend of the ministry had mentioned the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum to me, and I began to research whether or not that could be a curriculum that our boys could excel in. As  I studied the curriculum, I began to believe that our boys could begin this curriculum and be completing more than one grade of school in a year, and that we could use A.C.E. to rehabilitate our boys into the classes that they needed to be in. Our staff began to pray about this, because we didn’t have any contact to A.C.E. or any experience working with them. Later that week, I was at the basketball court of all places, and I made a new friend. A friend who asked what I did, and then introduced himself as a teacher who was trained in this homeschooling curriculum called A.C.E. 

God’s never late and never early….. He is perfect in timing and perfect in His ways ! 

With the help of our new friend, we began with one homeschooling classroom and targeted our older boys who were the furthest behind in school. Boys who had spent over a year and a half in school, yet still couldn’t read or speak English. Within three months, they were all reading and all speaking English. Within one year, most of them had covered at least two grades of school and were leaving elementary school behind. Not only completing these classes levels, but excelling in them!

Now, our homeschooling classroom has grown into the DOORS Mission School - a school that is targeting children within DOORS Ministries that are either within our homes or children of our staff members - that aims to meet each child’s specific educational needs. We have nineteen children within the school that are separated into three classrooms to best ensure and benefit each child’s learning, three teachers, and a school administrator (all who have now been trained and certified in the A.C.E. curriculum). Our school day consists of a morning worship service, the children working within their classrooms, and extracurricular classes each week of dance, football, p.e., or art. 

Our teachers are phenomenal. Most of them have left behind their previous jobs as a response to God’s call to work with underprivileged children. They can not just “do their job,” its a huge personal and professional investment working with our children, and they do it with an excellence that comes after seeking God’s heart for his people.  

The fruit that the DOORS Mission School is bearing (both physically and spiritually) is a testimony that the soil is good ! A soil built out of a belief that God has a plan for each one of us, a soil consisting of hearts that are humbled by the opportunities before them, and a soil that is focused on making sure that each individual receives the love, empowerment, time, and education that they deserve. 

To the right on our blog is where you can make an online contribution via paypal, if you are interested in investing in the DOORS Mission School and helping us purchase the curriculum we need. 

Monday, 23 March 2015


There’s a parable that says that a farmer went out and sowed good seed into his field. At night, an enemy came in and sowed bad seed among the good. The farmer could see that the bad seed had been sewn, but couldn’t uproot the bad seed without also uprooting the good. He had to let both fully grow to fruition, and then he first removed all of the bad fruit, before he could go through and harvest the good fruit.

This parable has resonated in my heart for the past year. When our leadership team started DOORS, we were young, like average age: twenty-two. We made a lot of mistakes. We played the game without setting the rules before we began. So while ultimately our desire was to be a ministry that was sowing that good seed, we had a lot of learning to do. There have been so many times that I have questioned God about whether He is who He says He is, or if He is going to do what He said He was going to do, because I was seeing ‘bad fruit’ rise up among the good fruit in this ministry. 

Last year, I constantly found myself reading and re-reading this parable. I found myself being challenged to believe Biblical truths that were not consistent with the ‘bad fruit’ I was seeing in our ministry, but were ultimately the truths of the Lord. To put it nicely, last year was a season of refinement. A season of creating systems and rules and building a strong leadership team in all areas of our ministry, that still had the freedom to be led by the Spirit but also was not working out of places of chaos. It was a year of tearing out that bad fruit.  

As a ministry team, we know that the season to harvest our good fruit was coming. We have certainly been harvesting, and it has been more abundant and more plentiful than I could have ever asked, imagine, or dreamed of. Yes, we were young and inexperienced and made a lot of mistakes; however, this ministry was born out of a desire to see God’s glory expand across this country and this earth, and we did a heck of a lot of things right too ! 

This past fall I kept hearing the Lord in times of prayer and worship and through his Word keep speaking to me to go out and look for land. I thought we were looking for land for our DOORS homes, and I began asking around. I had no idea how to look for land and we certainly didn’t have the money to buy land either. Yet, God kept telling me to go and look for land. He brought friends by my side that I trusted to go and look for land with, and I began this search. We found this incredible piece of land about fifteen minutes away from our current home. It was big enough to build at least four houses for our boys on it. We would be able to bring in a lot more kids. However, we began not to have peace about making that land the new place for our homes and our kids. 

So then we went to the Lord in prayer, and began seeking “Well, what are we looking for land for?” 

God gave vision for this 1 acre plot. A vision of a farm that is teaching inner-city farming techniques to families in the Namuwongo and Kisinye slums that we work in. A sustainable farm that grows highly nutritious foods and vegetables for the homes, school and other DOORS programs directly targeting the health needs of the kids and families. A farm that our boys from our homes and the students from our school can go to, to learn how to farm and learn sustainability projects. A farm that hosts a small group of street kids - the hard kids, the drug addicts and the kids that nobody wants to invest in - once a week for program of farming, homecooked meal, counseling and discipleship outside of the city; to be a place in the city but outside the city for us to raise up farmers (of crops and men). We have vision of a bakery there and a workshop for the women in our Jubilee jewelry program. We have vision of chicken houses, pig pens, goats, cows, herbal medicinal gardens, and sample slum houses to teach our families within the slum what farming techniques are available to them. 

We knew that if we went further outside of the city, we could get a huge piece of farm land for the money that this 1 acre was selling for. However, God was telling us to stay true to the vision that He had given us and what we value as a ministry : discipleship . Our intention is for this farm to be a place of discipleship and a place of teaching. Discipleship will always cost more than effectiveness. Pursuing discipleship will always look more impossible than the other options in front of you. Pursuing discipleship will keep you in a place of desperation for Jesus. Pursuing discipleship will cause you to make massive steps (LEAPS!) of belief in the direction of the promise God has given you. 

We decided that this was the piece of land that we wanted. We waited for two weeks in prayer for the $200,000 (gulp!) that they were asking for to come in. It didn’t. The landowner called and asked if we had the money and we had to see “No, we don’t.”  

Three days later I was contacted by somebody who told me that they wanted to give us $200,000 to put towards land. 

We quickly called the owner back and told him that we wanted the land and made a verbal agreement. Throughout the next two months we faced a series of challenges mainly revolving around this slow-moving culture, and we lost the land. They sold to another buyer. 

Obviously, we were a little confused. In January, we began to look for land again. On the very first day we went out, we found a piece of land that was closer to all areas of our ministry, already had every single building (from sample slum houses to chicken coops to a bakery to a workshop to two houses that we can use for ministry) that we needed and desired on the land, and was also asking for a higher price for that land. 

Again, God provided the amount that we needed, and within two weeks we had the land title. 

We would like to introduce all of you, to the DOORS farm. Our newest area of ministry, a place that we will be pouring development and prayer into; that it would be a harbor, a safe place, a place of discipleship, and a place where love abides. 


Who is protecting who?

See, I thought that I used to be the one with the strength. 
When you were on the streets and fights used to break out,
I thought you fled to me for safety. 
When we would walk through Kampala holding hands, 
I thought you were hiding your bare feet, dirty clothes, and chagrin under the protection of my white skin. 
Wherever we would go and people gawk and stare and talk and talk, 
The white woman and the street child both somehow exiled from ‘normal’ society, 
I thought by teaching you to ignore them that you would see that God loves us equally. 

I went through a crash-course on being a mom, 
We got teenagers who had seen way more hate and fire and darkness than I had ever seen 
And God gave us sons who learned how to trust, and you learned how to dream. 
Now you’ve grown! You’re big and you’re tall and you are strong, 
And we look kind of awkward as a son and a mom, 
And you walk me home at nights, my sons and my shield,
And I realize that the protected one has always been me.

The shield that you are, you always have been,
Standing next to me and declaring I’m yours,
Protecting me from street fights and misguided words,  
As I walk down the crowded roads that I barely know, 
You held my hand and showed me your home, 
And as the people talked, you hid their words from me, 
Not wanting me to believe that I was anything but a blessing to you and this city. 

You taught me how to light that dang charcoal stove, 
And to cook and to wash and to mop and to speak, 
And that sitting on the front porch talking together every night, 
Was so much more fun than I could ever have watching t.v., 
You gave and I gave and we gave some more, 
And in the purest of loves we now can both see,
That we protected each other from lives of normalcy. 

God has given me beautiful sons. We’ve walked through many, many challenges and joys together. We may not look like a mom and a son, especially as our age gap looks like it is quickly closing. We have pushed each other to breaking points, we have refined each other through fire, and we have spent an uncountable amount of nights rolling with laughter. I say it’s been a crash course, because in three and a half years I have “gotten children” ( and not in a normal way, mind you), poured into them with the beautiful community that God has continuously placed around us, and now as the first four of them have reached eighteen, they have left the nest ! They are now in the Joshua Home, a home teaching them independence, leadership, and discipleship. They are thriving. They are becoming men that I am simply proud to know. Men that will never settle for anything less than the dreams God has put in their hearts, and men who have encouraged me to do the same.