this one life

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I love roses.  My personal favorite are Hawaiian Sunset. But roses don’t usually love me back. I can admire them from across a room but any closer, well… let’s just say we don’t play well in close proximity.

So I splurged on the tote bag variety of roses.  I’m a sucker for turquoise and black/white anyway.  And I needed a tote bag to muscle my notebooks and computer to area coffee shops when I want new scenery to study around.  You see I am heading back to school.

As if this journey wasn’t already strange enough.

I feel like I keep apologizing for not being here. I so appreciate you sticking with my silent seasons.  I am more of contemplative at heart than I ever knew and there are seasons that can only be lived out well in hidden places, secreted away in gardens that look barren and dead.  But they they aren’t barren or dead.

A while ago now a reader asked me to explain this journey I am on, to share what precipitated the decision to go back to school and start a business. I have readers. Really?  You. Here. Sharing these words, this moment.  I am humbled by that. And I’m frankly always amazed when you stop by my inbox and let me know you are out there.  Friends, I so appreciate you.

To all of you who have been wondering and not asking, oh how I wish I could explain my journey, distill it to its purest form, serve it up in storied sentences for you to enjoy.  Yes, please.  I love being able to explain my seasons, when they are nice and neat, appealing and understandable.  When they are as clear and defined as those graphic roses exploding in Vera’s print above.

Alrighty.  Cleared that right up, didn’t we?  {Ahem. Right.}

I want to live my one life well.  To make Him smile.

It is easy to feel like you are living your one and only life well when you hold broken children a world away and stare straight into the faces of God’s promises fulfilled over and over every single day.  It is easy to know each moment counts when you have a story to tell of all the amazing things He is doing in the bold expressions of grace all around you.  It is a good deal more challenging when the amazing things He is doing are hidden largely even from your own sight and defy vocabulary.  When your rose bush looks more like brittle twigs, barren of blooms raised stark and empty against the sky.

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So what happened that this missionary from Africa turned around, returned back to her hometown, started her own business {two actually} and signed up for a master’s program?  It is not as incongruous as it all might seem.

At 17 I had an audacious plan to take over the world and start my own leadership consulting firm, which of course would single-handedly rewrite the way leaders are trained and shape history. By next Tuesday.  Thank you.

Two weeks after arriving to Baylor University as a wide-eyed teenager {Sic’ em Bears.}, God very bluntly me told me He didn’t want me training leaders just yet.  I needed to learn more about His Kingdom first. I asked for the course syllabus and He instead took me on a 17-year long journey that has traversed across the planet and back many times, each step leading lower and deeper into His heart.  Seventeen years virtually to the day, He handed that dream of owning my own consulting firm back to me.  In my laying it down and letting it go, Jesus was able to shape it into what He desired it to be, only to hand it back to me. How many dreams are stunted because we refuse to lay them down?

This is not an either/or journey.  It is both and more.  Edge Creative Consulting is the fulfillment of a God dream planted deep in the soil of my destiny.  It puts a name to what I already have been doing just because God has woven it IN to the fabric of my being.  It will eventually be a channel of resources to flow right back into South Sudan and to other nations too.

I am based in the USA now. I still continue to travel to preach and minister here and abroad.  I am still serving with Iris Ministries, raising awareness for our work in South Sudan and serving the field teams there as much as I can.  I will, as soon as I possibly can, go back to South Sudan to hold my little ones I miss so much.  And now I have my own business that allows me to engage the mission field right here 2 feet beyond my front door in ways I never could without it.

Why do I love business so much? I mean jump up and down, turn back flips, love this consulting business. I straight up enjoy what I do.  I LOVE to see others fly.  But business is simply a different looking mission field.  I am not talking about putting a fish on my business card and calling it good.  I am talking about being so Love-saturated and filled with the reality of Who Jesus is and the creativity of heaven, that every person and organization He allows me to serve gets splashed on out of the overflow of His Presence in my life, while being served with excellence.

And school? This particular degree program is the program I really was hoping my earlier MBA program would be.  I gained vital experience and understanding in the MBA portion I did complete, but the remaining courses were not topics relevant to what I needed then or now.  This degree curriculum is every class I wished they had for me to take, combined in one program that didn’t even exist until very recently.  Talk about a God thing!  And all online, able to be integrated into my whirlwind of a life.  I can scarcely wait to get started!   This too is a tool to be more effective in loving the people Papa puts in my path, right here as well as a world away.

Even though this is a quiet, at times confounding season, I know the growth happening in the hidden places will at just the right time burst into bloom changing the atmosphere around me.  This one life of mine lived well, infused with fragrance of the Rose Who wore thorns for a crown so He could crown me with His beauty.

When I lay down at night and He whispers, “Sweetie you did great today. Well done. I am so pleased with you.”  That is the only measure of success I ever want to seek.

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Psssst, before you go… here’s a super duper exciting new art adventure for 2013 over at TalkingWallsArt.com {my art studio}.  Love to see you there too!

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