To Love is to Come Alive

You know when you are doing something that you love, 
you just come alive. 

It was so inspiring attending this year's Abolition Summit in Kansas City with Exodus Cry. This was our fourth consecutive conference. Unfortunately we were only able to attend Friday's events, but it was such an amazing time! The Abolition Summit is a place for both the advocate in the trenches fighting sexual exploitation, to the interested individual just beginning to explore how their life intersects with this work. Exodus Cry does a phenomenal job at joining together experts including survivors, psychologists, pastors, and those who directly serve victims and survivors to speak on this issue. 

I was struck by the similarity in advice given by survivor, Rebecca Bender, and Dr. of Psychology, Dan Allender. 

"Help them (the survivor) find their dream." R.B.   "Help them learn what they have been made to love." D.A.

As we journey towards the vision to see lives restored, we recognize that this is a key piece for not only ourselves but the people we love. 

Currently we are in a season of transition as we move. This opportunity came as a direct invitation from some friends of ours who are launching a church. One of the core values for their church is restoration, we love that. As we look for a place to live, raise support, continue the work that has been started in our current city, we are on a journey of pursuing the dreams God has placed on our hearts. 

We have been dreaming of a partnership with international missions. We have been dreaming of a place where women and children who have been rescued from sexual exploitation can find safety and healing. We dream of not only being able to outreach into places of darkness but cultivate real authentic relationships with the people there. We dream of empowering those who have been affected by sexual exploitation, to heal through the creative arts, movement, prayer, and to explore their own dreams. We dream of building a team of people who will partner with us to address not only the exploited but the exploiter, who is severely broken as well. We dream of a community that honors and protects the vulnerable. We dream of helping people find and do what they love. This is what fuels us. 

This past month we took time away to road trip out to California and back. This trip spanned nearly 6,000 miles. We returned exhausted yet inspired. Beauty inspires us. Did you know that it is easy to begin to fight for the hearts of others while missing the own fight for our own heart? Those of us who feel compelled to help others, are we letting our own hearts be cared for? Are we pursuing the things that we love? We had just come out of a very intense season. We were exhausted and made an intentional decision to get away. One of our favorite places we visited was Crater Lake National Park. Boasting as the deepest lake in the US, Crater Lake was breathtaking! With sheer cliffs down to it's edge, crystal blue water, and towering pines, our hearts were in awe.

Even in all this beauty, we had to take the time to sit, and just take it in. Sometimes, in all this transition, it is easy to think about what is next, to anticipate the next thing. I am personally being challenged to just "be" in these moments. To quiet down and listen to my heart and what it is saying. It is hard. It is a fight. Today as I take a moment to sit and reflect on the things I love, and the things that make me come alive, I must remember a few things:

Be willing to say "No"
Don't compare
Embrace your uniqueness
Position yourself
Start small
Be patient
Be courageous
Often what you love will seem "fun" and not "work". Don't overthink it. Go with your gut. Sit in God's presence and let Him uncover your desires. 

To love is to come alive.