I Have Issues

I have to be honest.

I have issues.

I am a mess of emotions and poor coping skills.

And I know I’m not being melodramatic because I’ve scared myself on multiple occasions with the vast swing of my emotions.

Like I said, I have issues.

Anyway, now that has been established I’ll get to the real reason behind this blog post. I’ve struggled, BIG TIME. I’ve had the hardest time seeing the good in the set backs and the faithfulness of God in it all. Recently, I had to make a huge decision about school and Haiti. I had gotten accepted into an amazing internship that would allow me to experience Haiti and missionary work in a brand new way. I was ready, and dead set on going. I had it all mapped out, and was ready to fundraise my butt off. However, the day after I got accepted I saw I still needed one more class as a prerequisite for the nursing programs I planned on applying to in the fall. And that particular class was offered over the summer, the exact time I planned on being in Haiti. I was at a crossroads, and I had no choice but to sit and…cry my eyes out. Yes, I cried and I cried. I called up some friends talked about it and cried some more. I knew what I had to do but didn’t understand why I was being put in that place. It was tough. My face was a mess of eyeliner and mascara, but I found the strength to let them know I was unable to do the internship.

I was heartbroken, and confused. I didn’t understand what God was doing and didn’t necessarily want to understand what He was doing. I felt like it was too much. My dream and vision of being in Haiti this summer and doing what I know I’m called to do was gone. I wanted to give up everything. I kept wondering why would God give me a heart for this nation, and then basically block me from doing what He’s placed in my heart to do.

This went on for hours and hours. Stayed up all night just journaling and asking why. Finally, after God heard enough of my ranting He gave me His answer. In that gentle way of His; He whispered to my heart that my life is not my own, and never will be. Ummm…Jesus? At first I didn’t know how to take it. Don’t I have some type of say in my life? Silly question, I know! But then I realized that to live fully submitted to God comes with the realization that my life isn’t mine exclusively. It was a simple realization, but an atomic bomb to all those well thought out scenarios of what could have been my picture perfect life.

In that moment, I realized just one of the many costs there are for being fully submitted to God’s will. Your life is not your own. It is God’s to do what He will. It’s a bit frustrating, let me tell ya. It has come with plenty disappoints and soggy pillows. It’s true, I have seen greater things come out of my own plans being trashed and God taking control. But what’s so different about this time? Why am I having such a hard time trusting Him? Is it because I truly felt I was walking in His will and then just got thrown a curve ball? Honestly, I don’t know. And all it does is make my head hurt if I think too much about it.

Somewhere in the silence of my heart I feel Jesus. Like a stubborn flame that can’t be snuffed out; I know there is hope for the future. As the Spirit moves and weaves a greater story I sit and hope for the goodness of the Lord to shine through. It’s in the quietness of my heart where all the crying ceases and the Lord begins downloading truth of His faithfulness into my soul. I am chosen. I am good enough. I have a dream that can’t be discredited. In that secret place I can lay all my issues, disappoints, swinging emotions, broken hearts, journal pages, and soggy pillows at His feet. Jesus gets me. Jesus understands. It’s going to be okay. I’m going to be okay. I might not be in Haiti this summer but it hasn’t stopped Him from cultivating and growing the dream inside my heart. 

My life is not my own, it’s always been His.

Maybe it’s time to start living like it.

Steady Grace

This year. Oh, this year. I’ve seen and felt things that I’ve never thought possible.

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Looking back, in January I was standing in the aftermath of putting all my dirty laundry out for the world to see. I published “The Year of the Lord’s Favor”  out of obedience. As the new year rolled in, and days transitioned to nights I fought fear and shame. Fear of judgement and condemnation, and a shame that mocked me and told me lies. I fought. I fought hard for peace because I knew my freedom was a promise from God. The response I got from that post was overwhelming. I was completely taken aback by the comments and messages. I felt stronger when I realized I wasn’t alone. I heard Jesus tenderly lifting my eyes up to truly see His grace, and let it flow about me without hindrance. I have never felt such peace, such love.

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Soon after, I was struggling. I had left LSU, and I wasn’t in school. I was taking a night CNA class that I had to drive over an hour to get to every night. I was in a dark place. I felt that God had stopped talking to me. After all I had done for Him; He decided He was going to leave me where I was. I was mad at God. Mad that things weren’t going my way and hadn’t worked out like I had planned. But in that dark place He was all I had. I found worship as an escape. I worshiped and ranted. It looks so funny when I type it out, but I ranted, I cried, I threw tantrums only to go back to worshiping the One who had all the answers. Throughout it all, Jesus knew my heart. He knew I was hurting, broken, and confused. I discovered that my secret place with Him was my haven. My safe place to lay my head after a rough day of battling insecurity. His presence was the balm my soul needed.

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Haiti. My life has not been the same. Mere words can’t express the complete heart change that happened in that country. The intense longing to just sit and be in a moment has never been so real until that one day in a Haitian mountain village. The enemy fought me like no other before both trips. The inner struggle to completely put my  faith in the Lord seemed like an insurmountable task. I felt that the Lord was teasing me somehow because EVERY TIME I drowned in doubt. However, He continued to pour out His grace and His abundance. I experienced miracles, and still get a little giddy when I realize all that He did to get me to Haiti. Oh, Haiti, My heart aches to be there. I have dreams of being back. It makes me laugh because I know God’s just fanning the flame. Who knows, maybe I’ll move there (with momma’s permission, of course).

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After Haiti, I began my transition back into normal life. I was enrolled back into school, and involved in the church like never before. My heart was, and still is to serve my church. But in the middle of the semester I was running on empty. I was desperate for more of Jesus. Even though I felt like I was at church all the time, I was lacking somehow. That’s when He called me into my season of healing and rest. Rest sounded so good, but it was so complicated. I would find myself still falling into the same pattern of filling up my time. Filling it with church things, but neglecting my time with Jesus. It took a while, and I was finally hit with the truth that I was running from my healing. I wasn’t ready to face my issues and work things out. I wasn’t ready to have my wounds cleaned because I knew that involved removing my makeshift bandage. One woman put it to me this way; she told me I was on the operating table, and as Jesus came in to sew me up I would flail. I would kick, scream, and fight while Jesus would whisper rest. It wasn’t until I heard and saw what this woman was saying to fully grasp that I was resisting my healing. Something that I had prayed for throughout the year. 

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So began my healing process. There isn’t much to say except that it was brutal. It hurt, and I was completely out of my comfort zone. I felt like I was exposed and vulnerable. The months of my healing process had to be my weakest moments.God led me to share my testimony many times, which would bring back old fears of rejection. I found myself back in my secret place. While the Lord gently operated I saw the beauty being brought forth from my ashes. I wrote a lot, and burned a lot. I had to have a physical representation of what was no longer allowed to hold me hostage. I refused to be a victim and walk in entitlement. I was striped of my pride, and found myself on my knees more times than I can count.

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Now here I am today. A few weeks out of my healing process. Not perfect, but whole. I have found such peace. A sweet rest that accompanies me everywhere I go. I have found a refuge so safe that I haven’t gone a day without feeling protected. I have tasted and seen of His goodness. I’m being called deeper and deeper into His endless love. I found my identity and worth in Him, and I find myself walking in my brand new confidence with shaky legs, but I walk. I press on, and I keep my gazed fixed on His face because I know I’m called for more.

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you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. – Isaiah 62:2-3

Unexpected

The day I left for Haiti was rough.

I left my phone at the Houston airport, I had an 10 hour layover in MIA, once in Haiti I didn’t have any cash to pay the new tourist fee, and then had to be interrogated by the customs people because I didn’t know the address of where I was staying. By the time I walked out of the airport and under the blazing Haitian sun I was done. I was ready to walk back into the airport and catch the next plane home. I was sleep deprived, near tears, and had the worst attitude.

However, all the crazy stuff that happened wasn’t a surprise to God.

There was a reason I left my phone. The whole week leading up to Haiti I knew I needed to rest. I was running around everywhere. I was constantly on my phone, but then I realized that not having my phone forced me to rest. My whole time in Haiti I wasn’t distracted by my phone and I was able to use the down time I had to rest and actually read a book! I have no profound revelation truth for spending the night in the airport except that I had no money to spend on a hotel. But I learned my lesson, and I will avoid sleeping in the airport in the future. I pulled an all-nighter, and spent most of my time laying on the floor eating cheez-its and watched movies I had on my computer. Never again. By the time I got on the plane to Port-Au-Prince I was exhausted. I don’t even remember the plane ride. When we unloaded at the airport I saw they were separating Haitians from non-Haitians. I read the signs and saw that I had to pay $10 to enter the country. That was when I realized I had traveled to a foreign country without any cash! I was silently freaking out, practically begging God to work a miracle. As always, He did and a woman who was standing in front of me paid for me without any prompting from me. I was in shock, and thought that it would be smooth sailing after that incident. But my bubble was popped when I realized the fake address I put on the immigration wasn’t going to fly. I didn’t have my phone so I didn’t have the real address to the I’mMe house. They made me sit in a room and asked me all sorts of questions. Where is my mom? Does your mom know you are here? What about your dad? Why did you travel alone? Why don’t you have an address? For thirty minutes I had to answer questions. I was on the brink of tears. I was tired, thirsty, and hot. Finally, at my wit’s end I realized I had my laptop! The address was in one of the documents in my computer. I gave then the address and basically ran out of the stifling room. The whole walk to baggage claim I forced myself to keep the tears at bay. It was not the time to break down. I was in Haiti after all, and I knew in a few minutes I would be reunited with my I’mMe family.

I made it to the house, and was greeted with the biggest hugs and smiling faces. I got to meet all the newest additions to the family, and fell in love with them. I was so happy to be at the house that I forgot that I had an almost melt down. After settling in I got to meet the team who was already there. They were the sweetest and welcomed me into their group with ease. It wasn’t until later that night after connecting some info together that I realized that the team I thought I would be with all week would actually be leaving the next day, and I was staying at the house with no team. I remember going into the room and throwing myself on the bed asking God what is He doing aka having a tantrum. I also  felt bad because I didn’t want to be a burden to Lauren and Patrick, who were  living at the house and taking care of all the kids.

Nothing was going how I expected it to go. I didn’t understand why God had me there and why was I back so soon. I still don’t understand all the why’s, but I know that my time in Haiti was blessed.

Most of the week I stayed at the house helping out with the children. I got to learn the story of each child, and my heart broke for each one. There was never a dull moment. Smiles and laughter were abundant. I was flooded with joy just holding a tiny hand, and running around the house chasing squealing children. I have never seen so many melted crayons on the driveway, or played an intense game of musical chairs until I was in Haiti. I had my fill of pomegranates off the pomegranate tree. My soul was at peace, and I was rested physically and emotionally. I got to take naps when the kids had nap time. I had quiet time with the Lord in my favorite place in the house (the porch, the rain, and the rocking chair). I got to hear Lauren’s and Patrick’s hearts, and watch them fight and love for the children they were taking care of. It was definitely a privilege to be able to see how things run when there isn’t a team there, and at the end of the week I was more than grateful that I ended up being there without a team for a few days.

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Leaving Haiti always leaves me in tears. It’s hard to leave the place where your soul finds peace. The plane ride home I was blessed to sit by a man who was talkative. He was Haitian, and white. He was born and raised in Haiti, and owned a shipping company. He met his wife in Haiti, and raised his family there. After the earthquake he moved his family to Miami and he now flies from Haiti to Miami every 3 days. He told me, “My business is in Haiti, but my heart is Miami.” The conversation was such a blessing because I was a little emotional leaving Haiti. He playfully asked me about the boy I was leaving behind, after I assured him is wasn’t a boy he got really serious. He looked me in the eye and said, “you have a spiritual connection with my country.” In that moment I was like, yeah you could call it that, but as he kept explaining I knew the Lord had me sit next to this man for a reason. Somehow, I needed the reassurance that I wasn’t feeling how I was feeling for nothing. My heart wasn’t breaking for the children and this country “just because”, and that Haiti wasn’t just another stop in long list of countries I wanted to visit.

As I said before, I don’t know why Haiti has invaded my life and settled in my soul. The way this trip played out was completely unexpected, but it was everything that I needed.

 My story about Haiti has only just begun.

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*A special thanks to my supporters to making all of this possible. May the Lord continue to bless each and every one of you.

Soon, Haiti

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These last few weeks have been absolutely amazing. From getting a new job, to running around Houston, to just sitting here writing this blog. God has been so prevalent and patient in this life of mine.

Last week,  I knew my confirmation had come. I was able to talk to one of the little boys in the I’mMe house. He shared with me all that he has been doing, but quickly the conversation turned into him asking me when I was coming back. I honestly didn’t have an answer for him in that moment. I said soon, and waited for the moment to pass. I kept thinking I couldn’t possibly go, my car just broke down, I get paid well but I’m only working part-time, and I just went! But as our conversation ended I felt something stir in me. I knew I was going soon, real soon. I continued to pray and asked God for another confirmation. So, the next day I asked my job would I be able to have that week off, and they approved it in a heartbeat. They were even supportive and told me to take a lot of sunscreen!

Here I am now, in almost the same situation I was in a few months ago. I am still not the biggest fan of fundraising, but I know God will provide in miraculous ways like He did before!

This trip is a few days longer than the last. I will be in Haiti from July 25-31. The cost of the trip is $1600 and will cover my flights, accommodations, and meals. I can’t wait to be back there and continue to build relationships with all the amazing people who I met on my last trip. If you would like to give you can click on the “donate” tab in the menu bar or click  this link:

http://www.youcaring.com/mission-trip-fundraiser/bayli-to-haiti/197689

If you are moved to give I cannot thank you enough! Your support encourages me and makes me realize that I am not in this process alone. If I can do anything like babysit, wash a car, or any odd job let me know! I am more than willing to work. Even if you want to talk about Haiti and all that’s been going on, let me know. I would love to connect and tell you my heart. Also, please pray for I’mMe as God continues to expand the organization and that I continue to have peace as I continue my journey to Haiti. I am amazed at what God is doing in my life and in Haiti. I can’t wait to be there and just soak up all the love and joy!

If you would like to read my earlier posts about Haiti, click here.

To learn more about I’mMe visit their website: imme.org

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Where To Next?

The first time I ever considered Haiti was last year while I was in Africa. It was a fleeting thought that I quickly pushed into the back of my mind. Two days after I walked off the plane, with Africa still heavy on my heart; Haiti was in my mind again. August 3, 2013 was the day I knew I was going to Haiti.

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Throughout the semester at LSU, Haiti was not my first priority. I mean, I knew God had called me to go but I wasn’t all that willing to go through the whole fundraising process again. However, now that I’m back at home God has made it crystal clear where I will be this summer.

I am in the process of getting my CNA. Whoop Whoop! At first, I wasn’t too happy about this, but I can see how God is moving. As a CNA I will be able to gain some experience in the nursing field and make some money while I’m in school. (Hallelujah! I refuse to be a broke college student.)  Anyway, as I was wasting time on the internet I came across a website that said they accepted CNA’s in their Haiti mobile clinic. I probably stared at the screen for a hot minute before I was signing up and emailing the director.

Things aren’t exactly set in stone and I have a tentative date of when I will be going. The organization that I will be joining is called Mission of Hope: Haiti. I’m still indecisive about fundraising. I will be working soon so I’m thinking of saving and possibly taking care of things myself. But who knows at this point.

I always get this sense of overwhelming joy when I know I’m being called somewhere. I can’t really explain it, but I know God will have His way getting me to Haiti. I’m glad I get a front row seat in seeing what He will do in my life and others lives these next few months.

He is fulfilling a promise and bringing my dreams into fruition.

“It’s a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates.”Amy Carmichael

#baylitohaiti