finding your place in the picture

These two.  My bright shining star and my little love bug.  I have known them practically their whole lives.  I have kissed their owies, contended for their healing, washed their grubby fingers before dinner, cherished their first steps, cataloged their smiles and caught their tears.  Albeit imperfectly.  These two. They teach me volumes about Papa’s heart.

I stand there joy spilling at the mural one of our missionaries painted on our office wall.  Such love poured out in hiddenness, lavished on brick and plaster.  And now these darlings run to pose and take their place in the picture.  They are quite sure it is incomplete without their presence.  We gesture and make faces {maybe I’ll even share some of our sillier moments– shall I?} and convulse in volcanic displays of laughter.

My once babies now preschool-aged daughters know what’s really important.  Finding the place in the picture that only they can fill.  I want to capture this moment and make time stand still until I can absorb every. priceless. detail.

They get it.  My love bug doesn’t want to stand in someone else’s shadow.  She has her own to cast.  How much of my life has been spent in various ways trying to fit in places in the picture that weren’t really mine to fill?

Thoughts of if I could just be enough like _______ {fill in the blank with some amazing lover of Jesus who is changing the world} the picture would make room for me like it did for themThe picture around me is so full, if I am to squeeze into such limited real estate I am going to have to look, sound, preach, serve, become like _____Only to discover, the harder you try to emulate someone else’s greatness the tighter the squeeze becomes and the farther away you are from finding any space at all.

These two. The picture makes room for each of them to be fully who they are.  It only gets crowded when they want to stand in each other’s spot. I watch as they figure it out and decide to stand side by side.  Oh that I would be so wise.

We are not created to stand in anyone else’s place.  The harder we try to fit, the more cramped and restrictive the picture around us seems to become.  But when we decide to stand in our one-of-a-kind absolutely unique place side-by-side, there is always room for one more.

The move soon to come looms large on my horizon, the change it heralds for my place’s context with it.  My time spent on this red patch of earth will be much more condensed in the new season at hand.  It is right.  It is God.  It is love.  But that does not make it easy or without cost.  How is it that love so often asks the thing most costly?

My life landscape is changing.  Papa is wielding a paintbrush and re-framing the backdrop.   But I know now, only I can stand in the place He has created for me to stand.  No one can take this place in His picture. If I am trying to fit in by being placed anywhere else, my spot will remain empty.  To be fully placed in grace, fitted in love, rightly positioned for such a time, every time, by Him regardless of what it does or doesn’t look like to us… isn’t this and only this success?

I lean hard into Him. Yield wildly. Trust recklessly. Risk extravagantly. Become intentionally. Seek first His Kingdom and from there find where I belong.

Beloved, I am writing these posts in Florida from my most recent trip to South Sudan.  I am now based in North Florida and continue to serve as the Creative Director/Founder of Iris South Sudan resourcing our amazing field teams and leaders any way I can.  I will still be traveling back and forth to our bases in South Sudan frequently, but the bulk of what I now do is based in the USA. 

Here I am pioneering Create 61, a missional creative community with an Isaiah 61 mandate for His Presence and the poor that weaves together 4 distinct strands: Supernatural Lifestyle. Creative Expression. Authentic Community. Engaging the Margins.  In conjunction with Create 61, I am also part of pioneering an Iris Missions base here on the First Coast.  My driving surfaces are now more or less paved but this journey into His heart is still the same.  An unpaved road of grace.