Real Expletives & Hope

“F*&K you, B!%#H! Just kidding, you’re alright.” With a  toothless grin and contagious laugh, eight year old Patrick continued to play, unaware of the weight of his words.

Progress had been made.

Only a few days prior, this same boy declared his hatred for all of us, white people. (Haha & mind you not all of us were white.)

“You staying in those dorms? Sh!!!T, I’m gonna set them on fire tonight, and watch you burn!”

Yes…..progress had been made in just a few short days.

Patrick

At eight years old, Patrick is consumed with anger.  See, his environment has conditioned him. To voice one’s hurt, is to declare your weakness. In fact you can’t hurt me, if I don’t let you close. And before you can even attack me, let me tear you down. Masking his pain with resentment, in eight short years, he has become numb. Instability is home, so he clings to what he knows best, anger. Craving attention, he acts in aggression. Unaware of the consequences of his words and actions, he has grown cold towards others.  He has been robbed of his innocence and joy.

Yet, Patrick longs to be loved.

Hidden behind the ugliest of words, we saw him. We saw him as who he was truly created to be.

A beloved son of the Most High King. 

It was one thing to hear about Pine Ridge, but there was nothing that could have prepared us for what we would encounter. Just the day before we arrived an ELEVEN year old girl hung herself.  Yes, you read that correctly.

“Nothing worth living for” was the recurring theme.

There is no way to sugar-coat this reality.  & in no way are we doing them justice by  belittling their pain or trivializing their hurt. The history of the Lakota is one filled with inconceivable misery. Their anger justified. Generations have passed, and those seeds of bitterness now flourish. Their pride is rooted in the pain of their forefathers.

And forgiveness is but a foreign word.

Wounded Knee

Yet in the face of all this brokenness, beauty exists. God has NOT forsaken His Lakota children.

His love is so tangible the moment you walk into the Re*Creation Center.  This ministry seeks to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth–to the Rez. & these men and women have selflessly committed their lives to doing so. Day in and day out, this small staff faithfully fights in the trenches. For most of these kids, they are perhaps the one constant.

Though the battle for their souls rage, Hope is stirring. Purpose is being ignited and forgivess is bringing change. A new generation of Lakota are reclaiming their identities as Sons and Daughters.

& I was left humbled to be in their presence this week.

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Not one sermon was preached, nor a skit performed. Ministry was redefined for me in the moments of flying basketballs and singing Frozen. In a gym full of kids, Jesus’ love met us in these moments of pure chaos.

There was nothing glamorous about it. Beautifully messy, I was left speechless.

Missions is not about this romantic notion of wearing long skirts and kissing on babies. Nor is it about the exotic locale or about the kajillion likes your pictures will get. Or even what you did for Jesus in that poor third world country with all of the poor people. (Mind you, I ain’t hating. You do you, boo.)

It is not within our power to be a savior.  It is not our job to change their culture.  We cannot fix them. They are not projects to pity, but people.

People, who despite what society says,  that still matter.

And we have been called to give our lives to fearlessly love each one.

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The Rez holds problems too big that I cannot even begin to wrap my head around.

Yet, I am resolved with this Truth: God has NOT forgotten His Lakota children. He has NOT forsaken them.

His love, both passionate and strong, runs deeper than any root of unforgiveness.

It is this same Love that radically transforms lives.

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And even in my ignorance, Patrick existed. Now, even in my knowledge, life continues on the Rez.  I have returned to Tulsa. Stuck. I’m stuck in the dilemma of what to do.  How can I proceed with life as I previously knew it?  One week was not enough. It will take a lifetime or two to witness these beautiful promises fullfilled.

So I am reminded of my now. Right now, I am called to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I am called to be wholly committed to the people right here in front of me. To fearlessly love each.

& as my heart continues to ache for Pine Ridge, I am reminded of the potency of prayer.  the beautiful opportunity it is to financially give. & the power of sharing their story and mine.

I did not leave my heart in South Dakota. No, a piece of South Dakota came home with me.

& I will never be the same.

 

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(THANK YOU. THANK  YOU. THANK YOU. for all of your constant love & support.)

xo Jourdy

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No Reservations.

I sat in the back of the room, crying bitterly. Arguing with God, “This is not what I signed up for!”

I came to Tulsa, to leave America.  Yet, God told me to stay.

I already knew deep-down that I was going to South Dakota. So as the room was buzzing with excitement and they announced where everyone was going on their missions trip, I wept.  A total brat. I was cynical and frustrated. I didn’t understand. Something along the lines of… “Ok God… Seriously, Dad, You brought me to ORU, to go. To finally pack my bags and get out of the US…”

Uh, yeah. No. Not yet. 

A time of worship started and the snot-abounding come-to-Jesus moment occurred. The music continued…

“I lean not on my own understanding. My life is in the hands of the Maker of Heaven. I give it all to you, God, knowing that you’ll make something beautiful out of me.”

I stood there in surrender.

& He has been wrecking my heart since- (& in all honesty, it’s been the hot mess kinda way—real good and ugly.)

We are less than three weeks away from leaving, and I am beyond ecstatic. I am humbled that God would consider me to be a part of such an incredible team. That He would consider me, in all of my brokenness and mess, to be a vessel of His Hope. I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness. By the outpouring of your support. Miraculously, my trip is paid in full!

(Seriously, thank you!)

As we get ready to leave, I’m left speechless thinking that even all those years ago, He saw that in 2015, the little freckled-face island girl would be on the Pine Ridge Reservation in flippin’ South Dakota.

This is beyond me.  

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We head out early Saturday morning, March 14 and will return Friday, March 20. Did I mention we’re driving? OH YES. We are driving, 17 lovely hours each way. (Yours truly is one of three designated drivers over 21. Yay for being old!)

I’m preparing my heart to be broken and perhaps shattered in more ways than one. (*This is only slightly dramatic.)

We are stepping into unknown territory. Years of pain and oppression have suffocated the hope out of the Lakota people. Confusion and disunity have been roadblocks to progress.

& mind you, I am aware of my naivety, yet I am expectant. I am expecting God to reach the hardest of hearts. I am expecting the miraculous to occur. I am expecting passion to be reignited in those serving. I am expecting the Holy Spirit to show up in a powerful way.  I am expecting that the power of the Gospel-will be on full display. I am expecting that the love of the Father will captivate the hearts of His children & bring healing.

I am expectant.

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Thank you. I have been left speechless multiple times by the outpouring of your love and support. Thank you for believing in these crazy dreams and encouraging my leaps of faith. To be surrounded by family from around the world, who not only intercede but generously give on my behalf, I am overwhelmed.

Thank you. 

(The 100% deadline for our team is Wednesday! If you would like the opportunity (not obligation tehe) to support my team, you may do so with a click of a button here. Memo: Team South Dakota, Jourdan Winkler)

Much love

xo

anger management, procrastination and other disappointing things

Enough is enough.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve reached my breaking point, which is slightly ironic in brokenness. Exhausted, I’ve become tired of my mess as I’ve been treading to stay afloat.

Transparency is uncomfortable. It’s awkward. I’ve learnt this in my last few months. You are undeniably confronted with truth. And, after pouring your heart out on the internet, you also actually have to face people and reality (?!) SHOCKING. (Sorta. *Caught the sarcasm?) Even more so, God continues to work in me as I write, and it ain’t pretty. I may or may not have attempted to write five other posts since this one, and every time I’ve stopped. Unfinished.

I’ve resorted to busyness. Full-time student. Two jobs. Lack of sleep. End of semester. Need to study. Need to sleep. Maybe I’ll go run. It’s cold. Forget the run. No, go run. Catch a cold from the cold run. Too sick. Need sleep.  Early mornings. Late nights. Not enough caffeine. (Basically the story of my last two months).

(AND that was my excuse two four months ago.)

Hi my name is Jourdan and I am a professional putter-off-er, I guess the politically correct term would be procrastinator.

(First step is to admit you have a problem, yeh?)

I justify myself in my busyness, I quietly and consistently put God on the back burner. I don’t want to hear what He has to say, though I need it.  I grow in frustration as I’m discontent with my mundane life.  This is not the life I want, God! Yet, it’s the one I’ve chosen.

I’ve been paralyzed with fear. Afraid to face the endless possibilities…the Ephesians 3:20, ‘exceedingly, abundantly, infinitely’ kind of possibilities…as I’m conflicted with dealing with all the possible letdowns and crushing disappointments I’m bound to face.  YET I ache for more than the life I’ve settled for. (#TheStruggleIsReal)

This is what I have concluded- my latest startling realization:

I’ve been limiting God by my perception of Him.

Let me clarify this, in no way am I belittling or arguing His Sovereignty, that would be absolutely foolish of me. I have limited Him in my life, by what I believe He should do or how things should turn out, and that questioned His Sovereignty.

My faith has been rooted and wavered in circumstances rather than the One who holds the Universe.

When I was younger, and way more naive (hah)…when I was eighteen (let’s laugh some more), I was angry. Angry with God. Furious and indignant, I was frustrated and disappointed with life and all of the injustice I saw living in Jamaica.

Why? Why do my parents have to scrounge by EVERY SINGLE month, barely paying the bills, when they’ve been faithful and obedient to YOU for over 25 years?  Why did that helpless 10 year old girl, YOUR child(!), go through the appalling terror of rape and abuse alone?  Why would You let him, of all people, die, so suddenly, so unfairly, so soon!?  Where was the miracle?  HELLOO Lazarus, remember? Why? Did You miss all this?!?  Are You even up there?!

It sounds so ludicrous to say it out loud now, but this was my reality. I was mad at God!  I wanted no part of Him. IT WAS AWFUL. It all built up to a catastrophic moment at Church with me at my seat, refusing to worship. (One of those petty “I’ll stand because everyone is standing, but won’t raise my hands” moments.) Yet as the first line of Majesty began to play, like a hammer to my hardened heart I cracked and the floodgates of tears came pouring out. I was  bawling like a baby and  repenting profusely.

There was no more anger, so to say, but I still held onto these nagging heartaches and held them against Him.  Perhaps a grudge? But adding to the list as the years went by every thing that He didn’t come through on., quite often throwing that  pity party of one.  Selfishly and dejectedly whispering, Why can’t I afford to go to a good school? Why am I stuck here? Am I not enough?  All slowly  accumulating to a  moment just last month, the startling realization that I can’t see beyond my Whys.

Yes, You know.. THE Whys?..  the infuriating, heart-wrenching Whys?  that gnaw at our souls. They are the sum of all of our disappointments and frustrations from our unmet expectations. And when left unchecked, they become stifling and crushing.  And well, life as you know it, becomes downright hopeless.  It’s poison. Intoxicating, it distorts your perception.

It left me blind.  It infected me- to the core of who I was.  Bitter and faithless, the dreams and promises inside of me were contaminated. I could never dare confront, much less come to God. Quite honestly, I didn’t believe that there was more for me than this life filled with recurring letdowns and circumstances. All the good things that happened for others, the miraculous, well that was way too good to be true. Those things just don’t happen to me, no point in setting myself up for heartache. A veil of deception, layered in hopelessness and stitched together by disappointment, warped my vision.  Blinded, I could not see who God was. His Heart.  His Grace. His Love for ME.

While I began to believe the whispers of doubt in one ear, all my flaws were screaming at me in the other. I am unworthy. I am unfaithful. I am not a good “Christian”.  Countless, the list goes on, these were just the one’s booming. And if I am unworthy, unfaithful,  AND a horrible “Christian” then why would God love me? Why did I deserve any of the promises, any of the good things?

Angry and frustrated like an exhausted three-year old child throwing a tantrum on the ground, I plugged my ears, wailing,  “Na-na-na-na I can’t hear you!”   The funny thing is (OK! It really is pathetic..) I didn’t want to hear what God had to say. Stubborn and wrong, I wanted to be right, and justified. I wanted to be independent and strong.

But like any good hissy fit, one becomes unbearably weary after a while. You give up. You throw your hands up and are ready to be held by your Daddy.

As the snot abounds and you hiccup your feeble apologies, you are nervous of the reprimand bound to happen at any moment. An eruption of justified anger and punishment, perhaps a good beating or slap across the face. This is God after all. The blubbering subsides, and as you dare to look up into the eyes of your Father, you are interrupted. Staring back at you, are eyes filled with mercy and grace.

Forgiveness brings healing.  Eyes  now wide open. This is your Daddy.

He has always longed to love you. In the mess you’ve created, He finds beauty and purpose. After all, you are His. His child.  His heart has always been to protect you. His actions, though I do not begin to fathom them all, serve this purpose. Though I have made choices outside of His will, and the consequences of others have affected mine, His purposes and plans will prevail.

Though I’ve known of God my entire life, I am only now just discovering Him.

This is who He is.

He is not only good, but He is just. He vindicates, and makes right.

He is holy, without fault. He cannot lie nor fail. He is faithful. He is consistent in His pursuit of us. He does not waver nor does He change (despite my human emotional days). He remains.

He is Love. He can’t and won’t stop, nor will He deny Himself.

And yes, He is the Creator of all things, but He is mindful of me. He is with me, though I am (daily) unaware. He is for me. Rooting me on, and calling my name, He wants the best for me.  Not only is He safe, but He saves me on the regular. Protecting and guarding me, as His child, as His treasure, He sustains me.  And it’s all for His glory.

Though I am one in 7+ billion, He knows me. He knows me, and loves me.

And, it is His love that compels me. Compels me to trust Him. To live for Him. To subject myself to His pruning. Though He is mindful of me, His heart of love is what compels me to love and serve others.

It is in Him, that I find my worth. (#SappyGirlMoment). In Him, I am found.

I am empowered. With His strength and grace, I am enabled and capable to boldly go where He is taking me.

The power of truth is in its knowledge; it brings freedom. It tears the veil of deception.

I am His; this truth sustains me.

The pesky whispers of deceit, defeat and discouragement (try saying that 5xs really fast haa!) nag at me daily. And, YES, it sucks a whole lot more some days than others, but I must make a choice, daily.

I choose to be grateful, because though my circumstances change, my God, He remains. He is still good.  Still faithful.  Still just.  He still saves.

I will not let anger or bitterness destroy the promises and dreams that I have been given.  The world is filled with injustice and hate. But with this fiery righteous passion, I must catalyze change. I will not procrastinate what He has called me to do now, even in the Wait.

Though the fear of failure taunts me, and hopelessness abounds, I must make a choice. I choose to be obedient. His love motivates me. Yes, He is calling me to greater, in my human-thinking, scarier things, but He is safe. He will not take me where He cannot sustain me. He calls me to trust Him and believe for the miraculous.  I face disappointments, knowing that they happen as God is exceeding my silly expectations. Though some of my Whys?  are still left unanswered, I am reassured in knowing Him.

Knowing His Love, His heart for me is good, I will not waver.


 

16May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].

17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,

18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];

19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—

Ephesians 3:16-20; Amplified Bible

Ouhh I can’t stand Her!

Since we’re being honest… I’m gonna go here…

But promise me, you’ll finish reading this in its entirety before you slaughter me for being “un-Christian”.

We all know that one couple. YES, the one with the absolute greatest guy, who just so happens to have the wittiest sense of humor. He’s kind, generous, loves kids, and hey, he just so happens to be pretty darn gorgeous. *Swooon. BUT his girlfriend on the other hand.  (I’m restraining from rolling my eyes and gagging as I type. Forgive me, as I momentarily revert to my childish ways) ajhdkshksjfkakjdafsajdl…UGH!

Okay ONE, she is not even THAT cute. TWO, she’s stingy AND mean (to put it nicely). The list goes on, but we’ll end it on three. AND THREE, how can HE even love HER!?!?

Yup, this basically sums up my feelings I had/have (work in progress) about Jesus’ Love, The Church and His Christians.

(Did you see that one coming!?)

For about seven months, I despised the very thought of being anyway associated with the Church, Christianity, Christians, and ministry in general. Just give me Jesus! (Un-Biblical, I know.) They didn’t want me, I didn’t want them.

I’m going to be honest, and you should note, this is not out of a place of bitterness.

(Been there, done that, & moved on.)

Something inevitable happens when one is faced with abuse, disappointment, and rejection.

You hurt. And I was hurting.

I prayed, at the beginning of the year, the all too familiar prayer: “Lorrrrd, please open the right door, and shut the wrong one.” And deep down, I gave Him my best advice and thoughts on the door I wanted open. Yup, well, that door got slammed shut. Right in my face, with my fingers and part of my heart getting crushed in the process. To be honest, I was shattered. God whispered something to me that day, but it got distorted and temporarily lost in my pain.

“Don’t be confused by their rejection, it is My protection.”

Behind that closed door, just so happened to be Christians and at the time my very identity and self-worth.

It’s unnecessary for me to go into further detail. You can just imagine this was the catalyst for my brokenness. I couldn’t see it yet, but God had me right where He wanted me; broken, and stripped of the very people I had placed as idols.

BUT  I was still alone, rejected, mistreated, abandoned, bitter, broken, confused, angry, more bitter, a whole lot more broken, hurting, AND unemployed.

The very (“Christian”) people who were supposed to love me, support me, encourage me, and build me up, were nowhere to be found. No texts. No calls. Nada. (Mind you, this is not a pity party.) I went back to work at my high school job as a waitress. There, I was loved by people who were just as lost and hurting as me. Sidenote: You’ll probably never meet some of the most caring, loving “unChristian” people than those that I have the privilege of working with. They are transparent, honest and real. And hey perhaps, they cuss every once in a while and enjoy a margarita, OH WELL. They showed me genuine compassion, when I was abandoned and alone.

I was waiting tables 40 hours a week and wallowing in pain. I witnessed life as a Christian normally deems, “unsaved”. I’ll just come right out and say it, I HATED WORKING SUNDAYS! “Christians”, I quickly discovered are among the worst people to serve. I would rather wait on a happy drunkard, than the “Christians” fresh out of church.  I was A.P.P.A.L.L.E.D. I received more grace and compassion from the beer-drinking, chain-smoker, than the “Christian” family saying grace.

See, during this time, even in my pain I longed to find Jesus for myself. Grace began to crack through my hardened heart. I knew the basics of who He was, but most of my coworkers, they didn’t and still don’t. And the only Jesus they see, are His Bride, the Church, Christians. What do they get from His Bride?  On a regular basis: Stingy tips, judgment, and bad attitudes. This is what I received on a regular basis. In my hurt and frustration, this is all what I distortedly saw.  This was my reality. I did NOT want any of it. If this is what Christianity was? I would never participate in ministry ever again.  Forget it. I’m out.

I was bitter, and empty.  Longing to belong. To be loved. To be accepted and known. Secretly, I wanted someone to reach out to me, as I struggled to keep my head above the water. Heart-breakingly, I was disappointed. They didn’t. They didn’t see passed my plastered fake smile. They never questioned it.  I had become a professional at keeping them all at arm’s length. As I held onto unforgiveness, they were all completely unaware. I expected these people to be Jesus. To be my Savior. Shockingly, they weren’t and aren’t.

They do not hold my salvation. They do not hold my worth. They do not hold your freedom. Perhaps for a while I gave them that power. I was bound by how they did/did not treat me. Who I thought I was, was deeply rooted in who they were.  And, I was forgotten.

*Cue Jesus*

I wasn’t forgotten. God orchestrated it all. Despite the devil’s many attempts to deceive me, God knew that every disappointment would lead me back to Him. I was stripped of the very people who I thought were my answer. In their rejection, I have found His acceptance. I am not labeled by their standards, but by Grace, Himself.  In Him, I am His. I have found refuge and protection. I have found where I belong.

And as I discovered this truth, I grew more livid.  HOW COULD JESUS LOVE THEM!?!? How COULD He?! It’s not right. WHY?! Why would God allow people in power to abuse the ones He’s given them to love?!  How could He let them?! Let them distort and taint the image of Him?

I contemplated this, on my ride home from work one night. As I vented to God, it all began to hit me like a pile of bricks. (I may or may not have started blubbering in tears at this point). The very things I despised about “them”, were the very things I despised in myself. I am judgmental. I am hypocritical. I am unkind. I am impatient. I am selfish. I fail miserably and daily.  As I am flawed, they are flawed.

Grace is unfair. It’s beautifully unfair. I will never be able to fully understand it.  I will never know why bad things happen to good people. But this is what I’ve realized, I am not the exception. Despite, how I may feel, they will always be His. His Loves. Perhaps, ministry has become distorted and people do not love as they should, but it is not my place to hate or to judge them. The moment, I did, despite my pain and hurt, I became like them.  Desperately in need of His Grace.

As I have been broken, and have come undone, I am more aware of my flaws as His Love. I suck. I have been stripped of my religion.  My years of Christianity and doing “Church” cannot sustain me. I am learning from Jesus. God’s love has begun to restore me. I don’t know it all, and I am being challenged daily, as He is making me new. He is redefining me, as His.  His Love. His Bride. He’s renewing my heart for His Church, and it’s not easy. There are moments when I would really like to relapse into bitterness and unforgiveness. (But ain’t nobody got time for that!) Let’s be real, I will never be the shining example of Christianity, but I believe I have been empowered to reflect His love and heart for others. This is my aim.

As I write this my heart is heavy, because I know I am not alone in my pain. If you are reading this, know that it’s NOT over. This is NOT the end for you. We desperately look to certain people to fulfill us, but they can’t. They were not created to do so. Yet God places unlikely people in our lives, to lead us back to Him. I am grateful for those unlikely relationships that have grown out of brokenness. It’s ridiculously easy to hold onto the bitterness, but it’s poison. Friend, it’s time to let it go. There is freedom waiting for you.

We may be broken, but we’re not victims. Or maybe we are? Victims of Grace.

Roller Coaster Ride, Hiding, and Other Messy Things.

So, this is my first  third attempt to blog. I’ve never had the courage to click that pretty blue button that says publish. I’ve been crippled by the fear of what others may think. Pathetic, I know… It’s this perpetuating fear that perhaps, no one will ever read this, yet possibly everyone and my grandma will read this. (Hi Grandma!) In my years of professional people pleasing, I’ve never allowed myself to be honest. I’ve held it all together for so long, (I have been dubbed the “glue” of our family) that why in the world would I need/want to be broken? Brokenness. It’s a crazy concept that has baffled me. In the past year, I’ve been in this heart-wrecking process. It ain’t pretty. Yet God has so beautifully begun to put me back together.

You can imagine it being a ridiculous roller coaster ride that never ends. (Please note, I have an acute fear of heights and definite trust issues.) I’ve seen some incredible heights and plummeted to some ridiculous lows. Heart racing turns of events and loops of devastating blows. I’m currently learning to embrace it. I’m embracing my brokenness, and learning to trust God even in my own lack of understanding. (Can you believe it’s ACTUALLY okay to not know it all!?! *Hashtag MindBlown)

You would think, that being a “Christian” for the great majority of my life, I would have figured all of this out. FALSE.  You may have seen the smile on my face, but there’s been moments (more like months) of absolute despair.  Nights well spent on the floor of my room, laying in the fetal position, bawling. The ugly type of crying, the kind that results with a massive headache afterwards and snot left everywhere. Shocked? Don’t be, I’ve put on a good front.  I believed it myself.  I was bound by the idea, “Fake (faith) it, till you make it!”. I was hiding. I was exhausted. I was empty.  *Cue Jesus* Then I found Grace. Not that Jesus was ever lost, but I finally surrendered. Overwhelmed by Grace, Himself.  He saved me from my own self-destruction and failed attempts of perfection.

I finally gave up, and mind you, am still giving it all up. The concept that God already knows everything I’m doing and thinking, hindered me from coming to Him. I was ashamed.  Yet, He still longed for relationship with me.  He longs for you.  It has been the constant struggle of humanity, we look at Adam and Eve in the Garden. (Genesis 2:25, 3)  They walked and talked with God. They were naked AND had no shame. (Crazy, yeh?) They sinned. They hid, trying to cover up their nakedness.  (Sounds all too familiar..) And despite it all, God in all of His goodness, placed in motion His beautiful plan for Redemption. *Cue Jesus* He pursues us. He waits patiently.  And I would like to think He  gets a good laugh at my nonsense and is smh-ing.

He wants to replace the veil of shame with the glory of His grace. I was blinded by what I thought I was suppose to be. I couldn’t see the value and worth that He saw in ME, His daughter. In Him, I’m finding truth. In Him, I’m discovering freedom.  It’s hard. It’s messy. It’s not all butterflies and singing Hallelujah. Being honest, and becoming transparent is this constant process of being stripped of what I thought I knew. (Like you think you’re done with it, and then BAM, oh hey, more brokenness!).  Yet, I’ve found so much freedom. Getting real with God. Being honest with myself. Being transparent with people. I don’t have to hide. In my hiding, I’ve withheld all that God was doing in me. I couldn’t imagine people seeing me struggle. I purposefully put people at arm’s length, because it was safe.

One: They couldn’t hurt me or disappoint me. (Those pesky trust issues)

Two: My value at the time was rooted in how people accepted me. (Professional People-Pleaser, elllo!)

Three: If they saw me, for who I was, in my mess and failures, could they still love me? WOULD they still love me?

The “they” varied from my best of friends, to my parents, to the people I work with, to those at my old school, to even God, Himself.

I read this once:

“The greatest fear is this:  if you knew all about me, you wouldn’t love me.  God says just the opposite:  I know all about you AND I love you.”

But will you let Him?

Letting God love me, does not mean I become an instantaneous saint.  TRUST me, I am very much aware of my flaws. I will never be perfect. But, He loves us enough to not leave us drowning in shame. He loves us enough, to break and strip us of the walls we’ve hidden behind. I may be broken, but He alone will make me whole. No more hiding. Here we go, my friends!

Whirlwind love & surrendered dreams

“But Jesus, HOW COULD YOU LOVE THEM?”

Yes, three years ago, with sweat and tears dripping down my face, I came undone in the middle of a gym in Wylie, Texas. I was filled with so much anger and confusion towards God’s Beloved, The Church. I had faced not only major rejection and injustice, but abuse, and I was sure right then and there at 20 years old that I would never be a part of ministry ever again.

And as I tried to process  my hurt and pain, He hit me with this truth, “Jourdan, the beauty of my grace is that it’s unfair. And it’s with the same love that I lavish you with that I freely give to them. In their broken mess, I’m still glorified. They are Mine.”

OUCH, OKAY, Lord! I began to walk the track attempting to physically and spiritually cool down.  I fell into step behind two Arab women dressed in their hijabs and work-out attire. That day three years ago, as I wrestled with His Grace for His Beloved, He whispered to me, “And the same love and beauty I behold in you and My Church is what I see in them. Won’t you see them through my eyes, my lost and hurting Children. Hidden behind the veils of their empty religion, J, they are longing for hope and seeking a home that only can be found in me as their  a Father.”

Over the course of the last few years, God has taken me on a beautiful and at times very uncomfortable journey of healing–restoring my faith and enlarging my vision.  From a trip to South Africa with my sisters to an Arabic class in Texas, He began to birth in my heart the dream to one day work with refugees in the Middle East. Yet, as I took the leap of faith and came to ORU last year,  He told me to stay–to surrender this dream. He asked me to trust Him in this process. So I went to South Dakota with ORU Missions last Spring and spent my summer serving in inner-city Tulsa with at-risk elementary school students. I went into last year completely unaware of what heart-wrecking awaited me.
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In the last year, He opened my heart to see the beauty found even in our brokenness, right here in America. And where I once had fixated on an exotic place, pleading for Him to send me anywhere but here, He captivated my heart for His People–His Children. And, oh His love for America is so passionate and strong! At the end of my summer, He hit me with this: “You want to change the world, yet you’ve resisted the very change I’ve wanted to do in you.”

He is after all more concerned about the conditions of our hearts than what we can do FOR Him. Because, He doesn’t need me. The beauty of God is that He wants us. He chooses us and sets us apart. He loves us. 

This has been the humbling revelation. 

& somehow in all of His goodness and timing has placed in me in THIS season. &  I’m excited to share with YOU, that I have the incredibly humbling opportunity to be the Team Leader of a two-week trip to Hamburg, Germany this coming May with ORU Missions.

& GUESS WHAT?

My team and I will be serving alongside Hamburg YWAM and their ministry Church in the Center–as they minister to refugees and immigrants from the Middle East. 

I am in awe of God’s fingerprints all over this trip and team. MAN! Like, I’m so overwhelmed by His faithfulness. I am co-leading with not only an amazing ATL (Assistant Team Leader), Aaron, but we are leading a team of TEN incredible students.

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We will only be in Germany for two weeks, MAY 8-24, but I know God has strategically placed us together in the next few months of preparation to cultivate an atmosphere of expectancy. We are positioning ourselves to be His vessels– that we would cultivate within our team a family. A family who is not afraid of the messiness of freedom, but as we position ourselves together we would experience His faithfulness and encounter the Father’s heart. In our honesty and vulnerability, we would confront heart issues and rediscover our true identities as His sons and daughters.

& out of this identity, our team would be empowered to boldly and humbly go to Germany ready to fearlessly love and serve those we meet. As we serve alongside YWAM Hamburg, we are strategically supporting their long-term ministry there. We will be serving refugees as well as university students and doing ministry in the Red Light District. Our heart for this short-term trip is to share the glorious Hope we know to be true and the beauty of a Home found in knowing our Heavenly Father.

Three years ago in the middle of a gym, as He hit me over the head and heart with the revelation of His love for His Children, I could have never imagined this is where I would be. It’s been a whirlwind year and it’s only the end of February.

& I am so grateful that He’s been so kind in walking this out with me, but He’s surround me with such incredible support and encouragement like YOU.

(THANK YOU!)

In the next few months, I’m asking you to partner with me in prayer. The weight of this team is one I know I have been graced to do, but I’m not afraid to ask for help when I need it.

I need your prayers.

I’m no longer just responsible for little ole’ me, but I am humbled to be entrusted with such treasure. Out of my Germany team, this is eight’s FIRST ORU missions trip. Aaron and I have the honor of leading them on this journey as they discover the beauty of missions.  Yes, that even includes awkward fundraising, messy logistics and weekly team meetings. YAY MISSIONS.

I know God’s called me to these trips so I’m expectant that He’s going to make it happen.

My trip to Germany is completely paid in full.  (THANK YOU!) If you do feel led, though, to partner alongside one of these students financially, I am always grateful for your support. Our team’s  100% deadline is April 6.  Any gift is tax-deductible and can be made via checks written out to ORU MISSIONS, memo: Team Germany or you can visit ORUMissions.com/Donate, indicate Team Germany. 
Thank you for your continued encouragement in these crazy leaps of faith and support as this dream becomes a reality. I am so so so so so so so so so so thankful for YOU!