"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you in with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt...and go out to dance with the joyful." - Jeremiah 31: 3-4

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Without a doubt, 2009 was the craziest year of my life.

I started the year in New York. Freezing. Overwhelmed. Sick with strep throat and struggling with feelings about a relationship. A bar in Brooklyn, surrounded by outrageously drunk 20-somethings and few overweight, balding middle aged men is where I rung in the new year. The night consisted of a kiss a midnight, an hour or two spent standing alone in the corner, a questionable taxi driver and an air mattress in an empty room with no heat. I'm not making it sound very fun but all in all I guess it wasn't so bad. I spent time with people I cared about and experienced New Years Eve in New York City (something you'd probably have to pay me to do again).

My fourth, and what would end up being my last, semester at Kutztown University began in the middle of January. Other things began as well... A relationship. A bad habit that progressively got worse. And an unfortunate total and complete inability to hold on to any part of who I was in Christ.

I knew it, too. I knew there were only fragments of my old self left in the new, out of control version of me. I was making decisions based solely on what I wanted at that very moment. Sometimes, it felt like I had no part in the decisions at all and someone else was making them for me. I allowed myself to be manipulated, controlled, abused and used. And in return, I manipulated, controlled, abused and used others. I was the source of more than one person's pain. The worst part was, I was not learning from my mistakes and I continued to repeat them.

To be completely honest, I was a very selfish and downright cruel person for the first few months of this year.

I never meant to hurt anyone. Deep down I knew I was still a kind, loving, caring person. But I was so far gone at this point that I barely even cared. I was no longer convicted by my actions. I had completely turned from Jesus. But still, through it all, God saved my life. He protected me from terrible things that should have happened to me and I thank Him every day for that. Also, I thank Him for doing what it took to turn me back to Him. Extreme as it was, it was what I needed.

As I write this now, I wonder what people are thinking. Do you think I'm exaggerating? That I probably wasn't that bad? Everyone makes mistakes, right? Are people questioning how sincere my return to Jesus is? Maybe I'm just on a quick "spiritual high" because I went to Africa and held orphans?

Then I remember... I truly don't care if people doubt the sincerity of my love for Jesus. I know it's real. God knows it's real. What else really matters?

I went from being the absolute worst version of myself to the best in one year. I was empty and now I'm filled. Lost and now found. Darkness and now light. I've been transformed. Most of you won't understand that because you either did not know me then or you do not know me now, but that's okay. God saw it all. He knows me and my past and still loves me completely and what more can I ask for?

One thing is for sure... I am very much looking forward to starting off 2010 the right way!

Happy New Year, everyone! :)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

God is good. God is great.

I will never claim to understand God. His ways are so above my own that I can't even begin to comprehend how He plans the paths of my life. But thankfully, I don't have to understand Him. I just have to trust Him. That, I can do. I'd be a fool not to trust God after all that He has shown me He is capable of doing. And now it's time to add one more miracle to that list.

God is bringing me back to Kenya. Again.

I came home at the beginning of this month, excited and ready to start fulfilling my goals of leading a new life in Christ. It took me about two weeks to realize that something was wrong. Nothing was connecting with me. I wasn't feeling led to pursue anything and I was getting frustrated with God. I wanted to start a new life so why weren't any doors opening? I was not at peace and I knew there was something that needed to happen. I just had no idea what it could be or where to even start looking. I begged God to show me and lead me onto the path that He wanted me on. At this point, I would have walked across the country in a prom dress if that's what I felt God wanted me to do. I was desperate for guidance.

That's when I went out to breakfast with Faith Ecenroad. Faith took me on my first trip to Kenya back in July. She was supposed to come to Kenya in November but wasn't able to because of health issues. We had been looking forward to spending some more time together in Kenya and when it didn't work out, we were both pretty bummed. And then she asked me the question that answered all my prayers. "Would you want to come back to Kenya with me?"

I can't explain the feeling that washed over me at the moment. Something like relief mixed with pure joy and a dash of shock. I couldn't believe that I was going back to Africa! Because I was. There wasn't a doubt in my head that this would work out. That's how strong the peace was that came over me. I brought it up to my parents later that day. Though I didn't expect them to say no, I wasn't expecting such a huge yes either. They were thrilled and gave me their blessing.

So on January 27th, I'll be on a plane to Nairobi. This time, my main priority is to be discipled and mentored by Faith. Along with that, I'll be spending most of my time working with the Shimo girls and the Neema girls.

This will be my third trip to Kenya. Each time I'm there it seems as though God has a different plan. In July, I made a full commitment to Jesus and for the first time in years began walking with Him again. The second time, I was healed and restored through my forgiveness of the ones who had hurt me. I was introduced to the church as the body of Christ, not a building and I was shown what my life as a true, Spirit filled believer would look like. This time, I believe that God will begin to direct my steps towards what my mission is in the church. How I can use the abilities that God gave me to benefit the body. With Faith as my mentor I'll be learning not only how to give presentations about Transformed International and spreading awareness, but also how to live my life with confidence in Jesus Christ and in His plans for me.

I have no doubt that this trip will complete the plans that God has for me in Kenya and I can't wait to see what He is going to do in the six weeks that I'm there.

So again, I don't understand God. I probably never will but truthfully, I don't think we're supposed to. He's God! As soon as you understand something, it becomes less amazing, less beautiful, less incredible. We will constantly be driven to know God more because we will never know everything about Him! We will never fully understand God, but He's the God of LOVE, not the God of knowledge. I love my Jesus and that's all I need to know!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:16

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Back at home.

I've tried to start this blog at least ten times. I don't know how to best express what's going on in my head right now. Leaving Kenya wasn't easy. On Sunday morning I had to say goodbye to people who have helped shape me, kittens who have annoyed me for the past few weeks but secretly I really liked them, a house that I helped redecorate and turn into something that doesn't resemble a warehouse anymore and the compound that had been my home for three months. On the bus ride from Kitale and Nairobi, I had to look out at the mountains, the clouds and the scenery and soak it all in knowing that it would be the last time I'd see such beauty. On Monday night I had to say goodbye to the only guys I've ever fully trusted, the only city that I actually enjoyed being in, and the country that I had grown to love. The taxi ride from the hotel in Nairobi to the airport was emotional, to say the least. After saying goodbye to Nate and Scott, I couldn't hold back the tears any longer... I cried more than I have in a very very long time. On Tuesday morning, I had to leave the girls that had turned into my best friends. So many goodbyes in only three days was draining. I was exhausted by the time I got on the plane to fly to Philadelphia.

And I'm still exhausted. I blame jet lag but in truth I think I'm tiring myself out trying to fit back into my life here. I'm different. Home isn't different. It's like trying to shove a square into a circle. I just don't fit anymore. Cliche, but true. Already I've received phone calls from people I thought were far into my past, seen things that caused me to cringe and been in places that made my heart hurt. Even something a small as talking with a friend is difficult. When the conversation isn't centered around Christ, I feel my Spirit clawing inside me. I miss being in a community where Jesus is the head of the body. I thank God for my family. Without that foundation I'm not sure how I would survive as this new creation in my old stomping grounds of sin.

I need to learn how to shape my life here at home so that it fits with who I became in Africa.

I enjoy being home, truly. It's not like I came back to a nightmare. It's just that Kenya was a dream and now I'm back in reality.

"As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance." 1 Peter 1:14

Everyone in Kitale, Reno, Florida and Canada - I miss and love you all! <3