Sunday, June 16, 2013

things i find myself saying on any given day.

Please let go of her hair.
Where are your shoes?
Why did you take your pants off?
Did you poop?
Put your dress down, please.
Please don't lick me.
Please don't stick your hands up my skirt.
Please stop squeezing my boobs.
Please don't eat dirt.
Are you poopy?
Please don't pee on the floor.
Please don't pee on me.
Use your words, please.
Calm your body.
I can't understand your tears.
Please stop whining.
Please stop whining.
Please stop whining.
I can't hear you when you're whining.
Hands to your own body.
We don't throw sand.
We don't throw toys.
We don't throw books.
Please, for the love of all that is good, go to sleep.
I'm not really sure what you think you're doing...
Why is there play-doh in the carpet?
How did you get play-doh in your shoes?
Please don't touch me with pasta hands.
Come here please. Come here please. COME HEEEERREEE PLEEEASE.
We don't shoot at people.
We don't throw rocks at people.
We don't bite people. 
We don't hit people with hammers.
I will help you.
Please stop tackling your friends.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Sometimes I feel the urge to write about things I've never really told anyone before... About burdens in my heart that I have trouble expressing vocally. They pick at me until I HAVE to write them down, let them flow out of my brain through my finger tips. It's amazing how after just typing everything up, I can let go of something that was bothering me. But I'm also not just writing for me. I hope others can find encouragement in what I write, too.

Growing up, I had a lot of different people investing in my life, encouraging me to pursue my passions and develop my talents. Since before I can remember, I was told things like, "You are a leader." "You are confident." "People are watching you." "Use your talents to bring others to
God." I spent so much of my middle and high school years in front of people, starting and leading studies, leading worship, singing and speaking on stage.  I loved initiating change and encouraging growth.  I was confident in who I was as I left for college, and had a crowd of people who had always supported me.

But then, I got to college. And I had other people in my life tell me other things. People I trusted a lot. Tell me that I wasn't a leader. That I was a follower and no one was watching me. That I didn't love Jesus enough because if I did, I would be more outgoing and building relationships would come naturally to me. That I belonged in the crowd, not on the stage. So I started to try to be more extroverted in order to "show" my love of Jesus more. But I failed, and then just felt awful about myself. I stopped leading others, afraid that people did not want to follow me. I fought my natural desire to be "in front" and told myself that it was selfish and sinful to want to lead. I even stopped singing. Not just in front of people, but there was a time where I really just stopped singing at all. This conflict was created in my mind: Who am I? For four years I struggled with my identity. My inward passions and dreams conflicting with who I was told I should be.

So when I graduated and moved to a place where no one knew me, I was stuck. "Who am I? Who is the Haley that these people will get to know?" Is it the Haley that my family and childhood friends and mentors know? Or is it the college Haley who really didn't know who she was? Should I speak up and offer leadership in areas where it is needed? Or should I let others tell me how and where to serve?  I can honestly say that I am still working on it. I haven't really figured out "who" I am. But daily, I'm praying that God reveals who He made me to be.

Here is what I have been doing to "rediscover" myself:

- Focus on the Word: God is so clear about who we are in Christ.  Recently, I have been reminding myself of these facts:
1. I have been giving the Spirit, which means I am able to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
2. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but one of power! 
3. I am also living with a peace that surpasses understanding.
4. I am a disciple maker.
5. I am a justice seeker and a mercy lover.
For a long list of who we are in Christ, check out this Joyce Meyer blog post
I may not know exactly who I am supposed to be, but I can be confident in who the Bible says I am.

- Feed your passions: God has given me a very passionate soul. Once I get going about something I love or despise, I can't stop. I'm sure it's exhausting for my peacemaker husband, but he graciously reminds me that he loves it because he always knows where I stand on an issue. With that said, I have been trying to rekindle the passions I had so many years before, and develop the ones that have popped up since then. Instead of just wishing I could do something I love, actually do it! Find a way to share these passions with others! I've been scared to try for so long, afraid no one wants to hear what I have to say or that they don't think I am capable of pulling some of these dreams off. But that doesn't matter anymore. If these things matter to me, I shouldn't let what others have told me in the past keep me from pursuing my dreams.
Some of these include:
1. Adoption, foster care, and orphan care. I can't wait to adopt my own children and hope to eventually develop an orphan care ministry to partner with churches here in New England. 
2. Education and care for American children who live in poverty. 
3. Incorporating art into education for young children, especially for those who don't get to do art at school. It's so important! 
4. Tex Mex. 
5. One passion that I really need to develop is for modern day slavery. It's one that I've sort of skirted around, afraid to really commit, because that would actually mean sacrifice. But God calls for justice and its time for me to take a stand. I cannot claim to love Jesus and others if I so easily look over this issue.

- Read. There was a while after we moved here where I stopped reading. I was learning for the first time to balance a full time job, Sojourn stuff, church stuff, relationship building stuff, wife stuff. Life hasn't gotten any less busy, but I'm trying to prioritize reading over some other things, because I feel so alive when I read! There is so much to learn, and my passions can be fed and developed by just spending some time reading each day. Right now, I am finishing up The Church Planting Wife by Christine Hoover and starting Multiply by Francis Chan. 

- Pinpoint my struggles and work on them
I know there are things I need to work on. Let's be honest, a lot of things...
1. I struggle with talking to people older than 10. So I'm making conscious efforts to build relationships with adults. ((Even though sometimes I'd rather be talking TO their kids than ABOUT their kids.))
2. Also, I've never had a lot of practice or guidance with making disciples. I was discipled in high school, but  went to college and was never really shown how to disciple others. It's always been a weakness, because again, that would mean initiating conversation with an adult. But Jesus said to make disciples. So I'm trying. Even now, as I meet with two Sojourn girls weekly, I am sometimes scared they don't want to follow me or hear what I have to say. That they just said yes to meeting with me because they felt guilty.  But you know what? I pray for wisdom and make myself speak up anyway. And they seem eager to listen. I'm so excited to see what God is doing in their lives! If I hadn't made the leap and jumped over my insecurities and the voices in my head saying, "you aren't a leader, no one will want to follow you," I would have never initiated anything with them, and wouldn't be growing along side them now.
So, if you're reading this, and also feel like you got lost somewhere along the way to where you are now, take heart, and know that I understand. You are loved, and created for a purpose. Even if you haven't found it yet. 

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
((Ephesians 3:17-19

Monday, June 10, 2013


"If you choose to obey Jesus's call to follow, what might it cost you?" 
[Francis Chan, Multiply]

A year and a half ago, Nick and I had a decision to make. We could pursue jobs near our families and home towns, or we could move to New England. We could seek security in what we "knew" would provide, or we could seek security in God's promise. It honestly wasn't a hard decision at the time. We both felt that we would be blatantly disobeying God if we said no to Rhode Island and continued to search for an engineering job in the Midwest. So we moved. We chose the ministry planting life instead of the engineering life. We chose to fundraise Nick's salary instead of a job where his salary was provided. 

A year and a half later, we are still on that path, but the decision has not remained easy. I need those daily reminders that God is my security, and that living the "American Dream" is not necessarily Christ-centered reality. 

Recently, I was watching a show based in Waco about house hunting. I couldn't believe how low their budget was and how much they could get for that "low" number. I cried, yall. Laid on my couch in my lovely home overlooking the bay and cried. Nick just patted my back while I had a nice little pity party with myself, wishing that we still lived in a place where we could buy the dream house within a reasonable budget.

Sadly, it wasn't the first time. Over the past few months, as my friends have been buying houses, I find myself comparing my situation to theirs, thinking, "If only Nick had an engineering job, we could buy a house." Or, "If only we didn't live in a place where the cost of living involved also selling our arms and legs too, we could find an awesome fixer-upper with a yard for a dog." I'm so excited for my friends, but comparison really is the thief of joy, isn't it?

In college, I had the *perfect* dream.  I wanted to move Flower Mound after graduation, live in a pretty neighborhood with a huge yard, attend The Village Church and send my kids to a private Christian school. Of course, moving somewhere new always sounded exciting, but did not seem as realistic. Safe and familiar sounds better than unknown and unsure, right?  I think that's why I am where I am now. God knows that if he gives me the worldly security I sometimes desire, I'll just set up camp and never leave. I could be very happy living in that little FloMo bubble... But how could I find true joy if I'm ignoring God's very obvious calling in my life? He doesn't want me to live in Flower Mound. Sure, He wants some people to live there, but not me. He wants me in Providence. He doesn't want Nick to be an engineer right now. There are plenty of engineers. But you know what there aren't plenty of? People working daily to show college students in Rhode Island how much God loves them. I'm grateful for a husband who is confident in where God has placed him. And while I hope that He wants us to own a house some day, I have to be ok with the fact that that day is not today. 

My challenge, for myself and for you, is that as we pursue God's plan for us, that we would not ignore His requests in order to cling to worldly security. Because really, nothing is secure if it's not in Him. 

"The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him." 
[Lamentations 3:24]