Tag Archives: walkingbyfaith

When You Tell a Wanderer to Stay Put for Awhile

She might panic for a little bit, searching for a place to call home

In searching, she might discover plenty of options. Options that include wild and crazy, random ventures as well as the most normal sounding paths. You might hear the rhythm of possibility dancing in her heartbeat.
She might embrace this wandering of a different kind, this new adventure
She might forget how to string words into sentences – both legibly and audibly
She might lose sight and grasp of objective and desire
She might get caught up in a mountain of detail
She might sob and it might be ugly
 A little lot might come where that came from…
However, we know the story does not end there. The sun rises the next morning, the hours tick by, and more oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide. After acknowledging the ever-presence of her sweet Refuge and many deep breaths later, she might get up from the ground and do something…just to see what might happen.
It goes like this:
I boarded a plane at London Heathrow and hopped off at Los Angeles International with the last few years of my life in tow this January, quite uncertain of what would be next. Poetic right? New Year, new journey – or something of that nature.

The first order of business upon return, as it goes for anyone who was been away for a time, was to reacquaint with so many names and faces – all the way from down in San Diego and up to the Bay Area. Stories and smiles were exchanged as friends and family welcomed me back. Thankfully, I was able to attend the Calvary Chapel Missions Conference in January – much exhortation and encouragement was spoken to me as well as plenty of words of grace and peace. Some were so kind as to brace me and to give equipment for the shock that was surely soon to come, but no one could have thoroughly prepared me for what was coming without delay.

Some call this reverse culture shock; whilst others, “reentry”. Still more humans might define this as a season of transition. Whatever you call It, it is no joke.

These past few months have been a bit of a blur, to be honest. Just as I had touched on in the beginning, many tears were shed and many feels were felt. On plenty of days, I found myself lying on the floor with no reason as to how I got there and no desire to get up. The atypical day in which I felt particularly productive, I gave myself tasks and projects because productivity typically helps an uneasy mind. Sorted through my closet and got rid of some old clothes, picked up my crochet hooks again, climbed a couple rocks in the woods…all whilst crying out to Jesus from the depths of my turmoil-filled heart.
One particular defining moment, in the midst of all of this, occurred when I was visiting a church one evening. Everyone was singing along to this chorus, “Christ is enough for me. Christ is enough for me. Everything I need is in you. Everything I need…I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back – no turning back!” There I was again, choking up, on the verge of tears. Pull it together, Vanessa. You are in public. Stop being such a hot mess. Oh, but as hot and as messy as they were, these tears were much sweeter. Somewhere, deep inside the recesses of my heart, there was resounding affirmation of these words being sung. Surely, this must be true – it really is the only thing that makes sense. Heart, do you dare to sing of Christ’s sufficiency? Even if it can barely escape your lips, no louder than a strained whisper, remind yourself, “Christ is ENOUGH for me. Christ IS enough for me. Everything I need is in you.” Sometimes we humans make commitments that we do not cannot fully understand the depths of in the moment. That must be why we call them leaps of faith, right? Whether the commitment is to a life of carrying a cross and following Jesus until death, a marriage, a set of outfits for a trip, or a payment plan of some sort, you cannot fully understand the weight of it until said commitment is tested.
Decide for yourself. Will you follow Him? Through every and any season? Note that your indecision to follow is a decision to not follow.
If you decide to follow Jesus and without turning back, you will not regret it. Surely, you will be “ruined for the ordinary”, but who wants to be ordinary anyways?
The times that shake you up help you to realize the magnitude of your commitments. Somewhere, somehow amongst all of the uncertainty, I came to a deeper realization that faith in Christ is so real. Like, there is something within me that is so unshakeable, it cannot be quenched nor questioned – I know that is none other than Christ in me, the hope of glory.
Well, all of this following led me here, where I find myself again – learning how to be led by God in an unfamiliar land. It was like I woke up one day and asked “Well how in the world did I get here…but more importantly, what am I going to do now?” The bizarre thing is that this unfamiliar land is where I am from. The sights, the sounds, and the smells are supposed to be familiar, right? These are the things and the life I was supposed to miss, they tell me. I should slip right in and just tralala…right? Eat In N Out, drink iced beverages, and be merry?
The truth is, that It does not go so smoothly sometimes.
Some days I cannot shake off this heavy, inexplicable anxiety.
Some days I feel like I am flapping my wings, trying to find a place to land.
Some days I can hardly formulate words, much less – sentences.
Some how days turned into weeks, which turned into months and I am finally posting a blog about returning to the land of the stars and the stripes, a blessed land indeed. I do wonder what exactly brought me to this place of being able to write about these things. Was it that moment somewhere in between two and three AM, with a migraine and a stillness of heart that uttered the resounding “it’s time”, or was it the strengthening glimmer of the moon shining through my window? Perhaps it was a combination of these, accompanied by the rawness that these hours birth in a sleepy soul. Whatever the cause may be, I know that God can use a number of means to speak to a listening ear and to calm a wandering heart.

Not sure of what these next months will look like, or where this will take me, but I do know that my life is in the hands of the Maker of heaven. I am certain that the Wanderings of Waness are not over – not because of my will, but because of His.

The number one thing you learn as a wanderer is that you do and you can because your only true home is in heaven.

Lord knows I just want to be out “there” so I know the in between will not be easy, but His grace is obviously more than enough and I know that He has made all of the arrangements. Meanwhile, I will be slinging shots of espresso downtown and readjusting my sails to ready for when the wind comes to blow me away.

“Rock of ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee”

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My life  here in Paphos very much revolves around divine appointments. By that I mean, most days I wake up with no scheduled plans, but by the time the sun goes down there have been seeds sown through conversations with friends that I run in to or new friends that I may have just met on the street that day.

A lot has been going on in the lives of people that we are reaching out to here. Each individual has his or her own story; the gospel has been shared much and relationships have been made and cultivated. Plenty of seeds have been sown and watered; in the past few weeks two young guys have given their lives to God (PRAISE HIM!)!

In all honesty, being here can be pretty draining at times. Sure, the island life is chill and the land itself is unspeakably beautiful. By no means does this draw an equivalent to hearts and lives. A place that is so gorgeous can simultaneously be a harbor for hard hearts to gather. Spiritually and emotionally, yes this field can be hardcore.

However, that is what  I signed up for. This is why I am here doing what I do. Like this one man from Washington DC said one Speakers Week when I was at bible college, “Be tired from the ministry, not tired of the ministry.” He shared this during a teaching on John 4, when Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus sat down to rest and have some water, because He was tired. What did that lead to? A divine appointment.

Praying over the city.

Praying over the city.

As should be expected, a lot of faith building has been taking place in my own heart. What has God confirmed? I simply need to rely on who He who is and trust that He is doing something. There is much strength and much peace in that. Perseverance goes hand in hand with faith. Pushing forward in His name when everything around you tells you that your efforts are futile so you may as well stop. Why press on? 

14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NKJV)

That is why. It always comes back to the cross.

I catch myself realizing the reality of my life quite often in that God brought me here. He did not simply just bring me here, but God brought me here to be an example of someone living after His heart. This thought is humbling, to say the least. Why? Because, who am I that God would use me to glorify Himself?! The words of this old hymn surely ring true,

Nothing in my hand I bring, 
simply to the cross I cling;

Thank you for taking the time to read about what is going on in Paphos, Cyprus and  in my heart.  Please take the time to pray for the city and the individuals that dwell here. As the words and the love of God are being shared around here, pray that the seeds sown would take root and that hearts would be softened unto repentance and absolute surrender. Pray for emotional and spiritual support for those that minister here and if you are able to help with my financial support, PLEASE DO. The link to my PayPal is as follows, (https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=589WDYYWP7BKW).

Peace and blessings to you, friends and family.

Introducing: More Than Nomads

Hi all, greetings from Paphos, Cyprus, where I am for another 3 months! I returned from Hungary (where I spent the last 3 months) almost a week and a half ago and the days have already been quite full. I would not have it any other way. It is lovely to be back here, reacquainting with faces and places while learning more about the warm, accepting culture. This, week we have an outreach team coming in from CCBCE in Vajta, Hungary. They are a group of 9 and we are all collectively excited and expectant for God to move in and through the whole lot of us.

Since, the last time I wrote, God has been showing me a lot about more about His calling. Especially how specifically He seems to design these callings per individual. Coming to accept the whole “3 months in, 3 months out” way about doing ministry in Cyprus helped me get to that place, spiritually.

“3 months in, 3 months out” means that I am not permanent by any means. I can stay in Cyprus for 3 months, ministering, serving amongst the people here. After those 3 months are up, I must be somewhere else, and stay out of the country for 3 months before I can come back. This means that I get to go and make disciples in multiple nations!  Living this way is not something I would have orchestrated by my own process of thought. However, as the pieces started to come together, the reality of who I am and how I am showed me that it all just made so much sense. Sometimes, faith makes so much sense. God designed this for me. Basically, I am a nomad…but more.

Here is a little piece from Hebrews 11, a chapter full of other like-minded folk:

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

These lead me to introduce my kick start project that I am hoping to implement in my blog: More Than Nomads

The desire is to share God stories of other missionaries. How they are called, led, provided for, used and so on and so forth.

We live a life of the most bittersweet farewells and the warmest hellos. There are times when life is surreal and times when life gets SO real.

The “where” is sometimes only a manifestation of latitude and longitude. Who you are and what you do is quite important. That is what goes with you. The most important is Who goes with you.

While Jesus walked on earth He went to and fro, but His heart was always connected to His Father’s. Who does His great example lead you to be? What is it that will remain with you when you go wherever you go? May it simply be your relationship with the one true God and may your eyes be set on Jesus, the perfect example of just how to be, the author and the finisher of your faith.

Friends, the call is simple: GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS.

This is what we are living for. Sure, it involves much adventure; the nomadic way of life becomes the normal (although, is it ever really “normal”?) for those who pick up their cross. Oh, but how sweet it is to be more than nomads.

Stay tuned to read more. Thanks for remembering me in your prayers and support. Pray for Paphos. Pray for missionaries everywhere, that the love of God would be shown and known.