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.

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Upendo (love in Swahili),

Crissy

 

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Nothing I hold on to.

Tomorrow we go to Kenya.

I made a mistake in our planning process and I’m honestly freaking out a little it about it. I’m choosing to write this before the situation is resolved. I’m choosing to write in the moment, not after God has taken care of it. Because by the way, I know God is going to take care of it. He has worked out raising over $56,000 for this trip, not including getting passports, shots, & paperwork taken care of. He is going to work out this one detail.

And yet my heart is still freaking out. FREAKING. OUT. And it still took me twenty minutes to pray about it. I spent those twenty minutes trying to figure out how I could fix it on my own. Only until I couldn’t fix it on my own, did I go to Jesus.

I’m so annoying. I always do that.

I think that because I’ve done so much on my own (or well I think it’s on my own) that I should be able to handle everything, fix every situation. Well what happens when I can’t? What happens when I won’t know an answer until tomorrow and I just have to wait?

It means trusting Jesus even when I don’t know the outcome. It means trusting Jesus REGARDLESS of the outcome.

I think trusting Jesus is the hardest when you made the mistake. You don’t feel like He should fix the problem when you were the one to create it.

When in reality, it doesn’t matter who created the problem, Jesus will always be the one to fix it.

One of my (many) prayers for this trip is that there won’t be any expectations, that we would trust God and let him move.

Well little did I know that He was speaking that to me. That I would be okay deviating from the schedule, my plans, and my dreams for this trip. For an OCD over planner, this is hard to do.

I have EVERYTHING planned and I want everything to be okay. It is so hard walking into something knowing that God could change it and to trust that it will be okay no matter what He does. But it’s the creator of the universe that is in charge of this trip, His plans are about a million times better than I could ever think, dream, or imagine.

So therefore my new prayer for this trip is this song.

“Nothing I hold on to” – Will Reagan

I lean not on my own understanding,
My life is in the hands of the maker of heaven

I Give it all to you God,
Trusting that you’ll make something beautiful out of me

I will climb this mountain
With my hands wide open
I will climb this mountain
With my hands wide open

There is nothing I hold on to
There is nothing I hold on to
There is nothing I hold on to
There is nothing I hold on to

I don’t know about y’all but climbing a mountain with my hands wide open sounds stupid.

Guessing that’s why the writer wrote it that way.  That it would seem very illogical and not the best plan of action. Climbing a mountain with hands is hard enough, without them? Impossible.

There is really nothing I hold on to. Not our plans, not our itinerary, and not what I think should happen.

I’m trusting every detail of this trip with our creator and it really is so much easier that way.

Thanks for praying for us and with us. We are honored to serve Jesus in Kenya.

xo,

Crissy

On people so much better than me.

We leave for Kenya in 12 days. Our team going is truly incredible. Pretty much every night I think about them and I think about the way God has already worked in my heart through their encouragement and I’m just floored.

I wanted to talk about two of them today. I wish I could blog about our entire team before we leave but for now I’m gonna share about two of the greatest people I have ever met.

Genna & Casey Schutza.

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You’d think after knowing people for 10 years that you wouldn’t learn anything new about them, right? You’d think you would just know the way they work and while you are constantly aware of their greatness, you’re not surprised by it.

I am surprised by the Schutzas constantly. They point me to Jesus in every thing they do. I am constantly reminded of the depths of grace by the way the Schutzas love each other and the people around them.

Now don’t get me wrong, they have their flaws. Genna laughs at her own jokes A LOT and Casey judges feet pretty harshly but for the most part, they’re doing it right.

I think from the outside, a lot of people assume that Casey & Genna have the perfect marraige, that they have it together, and that they don’t struggle. Which just isn’t fair. They are humans after all. I think the greatest joy of being friends with them is that they will tell you the opposite of all of those things, they have no problem reminding you that they fail each other & Jesus daily. That they are sinful humans who run after Jesus’ call on their lives with everything that they have.

This is my favorite part. When I come to then in my sin and expect more brokenness, I always get grace. I always get love, joy, and lots of hugs. Some tears. Mostly hugs.

Genna reminds me to be a little tougher, fight a little harder, and push a little farther than I ever have before. Casey reminds me that there is no such thing as being “too much” – usually because people describe us as too much and we just tell them to go away. He shows me that laughing harder and singing louder is always okay.

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Essentially, both of them – they remind me that in all my mess, they love me. And in doing that, so does Jesus.

And then there’s the faith. YOU GUYS, THE FAITH.

A year ago, I returned from Kenya and Genna said “We’re going with you next year.” I shyly said, “okay” because if I’m being honest, I wanted them to come SO BADLY but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. It was a year away after all.

Well then next thing you know, it’s February and the Schutza’s have taken on the task of trusting God to raise $7,000. We all stressed out a little. We all thought the Christian thing “God is bigger and this is His money anyways, He’s got it.” But did we believe it? I don’t know, honestly. I was scared but Genna and Casey? They asked and they knew that God would provide.

Well now we are here. 12 days from the trip and all their money is paid for, passports have come in, and shots are taken care of. The Schutzas, my best friends, are coming with me to Kenya.

They have walked through every part of every season of my life and now they get to see this part. My home, my family, my friends, that are 8,000 miles away. My heart is exploding.

I ask that you pray for Genna & Casey today. Send them some love. Tell them how great they are. Because even after reading this, they won’t believe it. They really do walk so humbly with Jesus and I just cannot even handle how much I love them.

I also ask that you pray for our team, 16 beautiful people will be serving Jesus in a place that most of them have never been. Pray for God’s will to be done and pray against fear, anxiety, and stress (aka for ME).

Have a wonderful Thursday!

xo,

Crissy

One Love His Love.

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I’m sure most of you are like, uhm what, you just started a non-profit…what’s going on?

Well I promise it didn’t happen overnight but pretty much the moment I got back from Kenya this year, Shalee (co-founder/director) and I knew that this was something we wanted to do. With the rehabilitation project pretty much ready to go and a whole team of people ready to go back with us, we knew God was telling us to get this thang going.

A little backstory, in 2011, I REALLY wanted to start a nonprofit but I was like 20 years old and had to been to Kenya twice and had no idea what God was talking about so I just said…’later’. And then in 2012 after I got back from living there for two months and my Kenyan dad had brought up the idea of a rehab center, Shalee & I knew we wanted to help build this but were unsure on how to fund it. We wanted to make sure that people knew where their money was going to but we had no idea on how to start a nonprofit nor did we have the money or time. We tried going through another non-profit but they were bringing up a lot of questions (which is TOTALLY fair) and it just didn’t seem like a good fit.

And now here we are, with our own non-profit. We’ve had a couple hang ups, like our name was in conflict with someone else’s blah blah blah, we refiled paperwork and now everything is FINALLY going smoothly. But here’s our heart behind it.

One Love His Love.

When praying about this name, to be honest we (I/Crissy) just didn’t want something cheesy. Haha. I really wanted something that reflected our vision for our non-profit while also not sounding like we thought we could change the world. Heck, we cannot even change ourselves, that’s Jesus’ doing… so the world? Some sort of joke. We wanted to be clear that anything that happens as a result of this non-profit, flows out of God’s heart for His people and we are just humbled enough to be the vessels through which He works.

But let me make it clear, Jesus is doing all of this. There is One Love in which we work and it’s His Love.

Get it. Okay now we’ve all got it.

Our first project is obviously the Rehab Center and of course taking our first official team EVER to Kenya (seriously? AHHH).

It has been my dream for the past 4 years to take a good size team to Kenya and it just hasn’t happened, well now it has and it’s so freaking exciting. Everyone coming loves our vision for One Love His Love and has a heart for Africa, and after the trip they will have a specific heart for Kenya…I can just feel it ;).

The Lord has been so faithful in this journey. I never thought when I got off the plane on June 2, 2010 that I would be coming back to Kenya for the rest of my life. I never knew that THIS would be God’s plan for my life. It’s crazy, beautiful, and the most incredible thing that I’ve ever been able to do.

I think the most amazing part about all of this is that it truly has nothing to do with me. The first time I went to Kenya, one of my friends Dad’s paid for it and just invited me to go. The trips since then were organized by an incredible group of humans known as Tin Roof Society. There is NOT ONE person I know in Kenya that I didn’t meet through them or through a friend of theirs. Their work in Kenya has affected my life eternally, I need to make it clear that I would not have even heard about my Kenyan family if it weren’t for them. Whitney, Shawn, & Heather, I will never be able to repay you for the gift that you have given me. Because of your sacrifice, your love, and your encouragement, I know Jesus better and I love Him more.

Also, I wouldn’t have even thought about fundraising for the rehab center if it wasn’t for Shalee Thomas. She was the first person I told about it and she was also like “YES, LET’S DO IT” immediately after I told her. She truly has faith that moves mountains which is funny because I’m pretty sure that she weighs as much as a mustard seed. This non-profit would not exist without her either, and I’m pretty sure I would have a lot less hair if it wasn’t for her. When I get stressed and want to pull my hair out, she reminds me that Jesus is in control and I calm down.

Enter our non-profit staff – Kris Gitonga, Jordyn Downey, Garrett Menichini, and Genna Schutza – we literally asked them to do this and gave them a couple days to pray about (not even really knowing what it was) and they said yes. I’m so thankful to have people in my life that step up to the call and follow Jesus even when He leads us down crazy paths!

To the people who had given their own money and time to twenty something’s following Jesus dream for them, we are forever indebted to you. We promise you a sweet castle in Heaven. But for reals, yall rock.

To our friends & family – who have stood by us, loved us, gotten real with us, and supported our goals in this, you do not understand what you have done for us. We would not be anywhere without you guys.

To the people who have sent facebook messages, text messages, emails, comments, etc., please know that your words do not go unnoticed. The encouragement from our community has been overwhelming, to be such a baby nonprofit and to see so much love from everyone has been beautiful.

To those of you coming with us to Kenya this year – WE LOVE YOU SO GOOD. You saw what we were doing and you said yes to Jesus’ call. You guys rock. To have a dream and to trust Jesus with it is one thing, but to see other people trust it too…it just makes me bawl like a baby.

This post is entirely too long but this non-profit is at the core of who Shalee & I are. Everything we do does not always flow out of God’s love but every GOOD thing we do definitely does. He is the only good thing about us and we are so thankful for that.

Lastly I want to share our vision with you. By the title you can see that it’s about love. Specifically it’s about serving the people of this world through love, God’s love. In any form of service, in any kind of way. If that means sitting with a momma through her pregnancy or helping to heal an addict of heroine addiction or sending a kid to school, we just want to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Right now, it’s in Kenya but our dream is to have an organization where people can come and say “I have this dream of serving Thailand but I don’t have the resources to start a non-profit, can you guys helps me?”. We’re not in this for ourselves, we want Jesus to be made famous any way He can and we want to constantly be a part of that. It’s start with the building of a drug & alcohol rehabilitation center and helping a small village school but we know that it’s going to be so much bigger and we cannot wait to make Jesus famous.

I hope this gave you a better picture of our dream and just in case it didn’t, feel free to join us tomorrow night (Saturday, March 22nd) at Campus West (FBC Euless) from 7-9 PM for a benefit concert! It costs $10 to get in and we will be raising money for the rehabilitation center and for our team of missionaries to go to Kenya.

Also, feel free to check out our website: onelovehislove.com

xo,

Crissy

Friday Favorites.

Praise the sweet Lord above because we have all made it to another Friday.

IT’S THE WEEKEND.

Okay well as a makeup artist, I work on weekends and I have to work on Saturday but I’m still happy about it so don’t rain on my parade.

Here’s what I’m loving this week!

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Aubrey Kinch. Is that so creepy? To be obsessed with someone who’s like not even a celebrity? She’s an incredible lifestyle/fashion/beauty blogger and graphic designer. I literally love EVERY single thing she posts and creates. Go check her out! And she created that printable up there, so go to her blog and download anything she’s ever made…ever.

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Maybelline Hot Plum & Dose of Colors WIld Child. Hot Pink makes me pretend that it’s spring and that’s fine with me. I blogged about it on Monday, here.

All of me // John Legend – I’m claiming this song to be my wedding song. You steal it, I’ll hate you for at least 20 minutes.

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Neon Pumps – I can afford exactly zero of the heels that I’ve found but here’s to pretending I’m rich.

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OneLoveHisLove – shameless plug to my non-profit. I really am loving my team and the team of people that I’m bringing to Kenya this year. They all rock and they are all so much cooler than I am.

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Knuckle Rings – Some of the makeup artists I follow use these and I am buying some as we speak, they just seem cool. So here’s to following the crowd.

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SCANDAL AND GREY’S ANATOMY IS BACK ON PRAISE THE LORD HALLELUJAH. We don’t have to talk about the unhealthy obsessions I have with both of these shows. My joy is abounding.

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

The Oscars are on Sunday! Now that I have officially fallen in love with makeup, style, and just all things beauty, the Academy Awards have become about so much more than the show. My bestie & I are having an Oscars party and I am PUMPED. Can’t wait to review my favorite looks!

Well, that’s all I’ve got! What are you enjoying this week?

xo,

Crissy