Leading, loving, and learning.

If you have been one of the billion people that has spoken wisdom to me over the past week, then this post will seem redundant to you and you don’t have to read it. But maybe you haven’t heard about our time in Kenya (from me) yet and this can be your opportunity.

It was everything I expected and nothing I expected all at once. 

In all honesty, I had the planning down as perfectly as I could get it. The money, the passports, the details – were all in place and everything went smoothly.

What didn’t cross my mind for about 3 seconds was the fact that 16 people would be spending two weeks together. 16 personalities, 16 hearts, and 16 brains that work differently all being together for two weeks.

As a leader, you pour your heart and soul into the people you are leading. Whether they realize it or not, they are your entire world for the amount of time that you are leading over them. From the planning to the tickets to the airport to every moment we were in Kenya and leading up to it, I was thinking about their well being and how to help them experience Kenya in a way that most lines up with our organization and our heart.

I wanted them to love it. I wanted them to love it real bad.

But at the root of my heart, I wanted them to love me. To see my heart and think I was just freaking awesome.

I hate saying that out loud. I hate saying that I need approval, that my sinful and broken self needs another sinful and broken human to tell me that I’m worth something.

But that sin, that need for approval – was where I failed as a leader. And I would imagine, that’s where most leaders fail – finding their purpose in people instead of Jesus.

No one died, okay. We had a couple close calls (KIDDING, PARENTS!) – but all in all, everyone was safe and fine and did what they were supposed to do.

But as a leader, I was nowhere near enough. I was desperately below where I should have been.

And much to my dismay, that’s exactly where Jesus wanted me. If I were enough, if ANY of us were enough for where Jesus called us, where would He fit into the plan?

He wouldn’t.

I need Him. I need Him desperately.

It’s ironic, you know. You think about what you want in life, and you dream about how great it will be – but you never think about the way Satan will attack you with it. You think “I’m gonna be this great trip leader/speaker/writer/worship leader/momma/daddy/teacher/ANYTHING” but you never think “I’m sure Satan will attack me this way through my dream.”

Because our dreams are perfect, they are goals that are so perfectly executed by OUR HEARTS that Satan couldn’t possibly be a part of them.

But he always is. He is going to attack that dream, that love, harder than he is going to attack anything else in your life.

Satan attacks our dreams because he knows that they have the potential to capture our affections more than Jesus. And if Satan can get us to find our worth in this dream more than our Savior, then he has won. He will attack your security so much that you have no choice but to believe that if this dream doesn’t go the way that you planned, that you are a failure and that you have to fix this.

But that’s the complete opposite of grace. The truth is, this dream won’t go the way you planned, you are not enough but you are not a failure, and Jesus gets to be the fixer. Jesus gets the be the enough that you never will be.

I struggled with approval bad on this trip. I wanted them to love me so badly. So much so that I failed to call people out when I should have absolutely called them out. So much so that I got frustrated behind close doors and I let it affect my leadership abilities. I was frustrated with myself, that I wasn’t better at this but once again, it’s Jesus who is my answer, not myself.

But here’s the thing about God’s calling in your life – He doesn’t give you this position because you’re already enough for it, He gives you this position so He can take credit for you getting there. 

The stretching, the growing, the change – it doesn’t happen pre-calling, it happens DURING the calling. 

Leadership was this incredible, beautiful, and messy thing but I loved it. I loved watching 15 other people love my Kenyan family, my kiddos, and my home. They fell in love, they GOT IT. We truly got to be vessels for the kingdom – broken, messed up, and sinful vessels but still we got to be used, people. And it was incredible. It was my favorite thing that Jesus has ever done in my life.

Shalee & I went to bed every night talking about what was to come. Almost like pregnant mommas who can talk about their babies lives, names, and futures without having even touched them yet. We dreamed about One Loe and about God’s calling on our lives, the whole trip was a “this is just the beginning” and it was awesome.

Knowing that this trip is only the BEGINNING. It was so amazing and incredible and I want to cry because I loved every minute and this was the first one. Our first team was a group a beautiful human beings. They loved well, they poured into everything with their whole hearts, and they just loved Jesus. They rocked. They trusted our baby non-profit, they trusted us, and they trusted their Savior. We couldn’t ask for more.

I have never learned so much in a two week period, probably ever. Not even during finals week at school, and that is saying something.

This trip will forever be a treasure in my heart, Jesus met my broken self and healed my heart.

So if you are struggling through your calling right now, if it’s hard for you to love what you’re doing, maybe YOU are doing a little too much of the doing – give Jesus some room to work. He wants to, I promise.


Upendo (love in Swahili),




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