Lately

May 11, 2015

in the quiet, with clutched and achy hands, you dump out your burdened heart. the hurt, the confusion, the insecurity. you’ve needed this moment. be honest, you’ve needed this for a while now. it’s time to let it go. it’s time to decompress and just lay down for a while. you try to conceive what it would be like. maybe it will come like winter, with a bitter reality encased in a cold chill. or maybe it will come like summer, with a bright revelation wrapped in a warm glow. maybe, just maybe; it will come in the quiet. like the soft wind suspended between two seasons. waiting, anticipating the changes to come. you’ll listen intently for that voice. the voice your heart longs to hear. you’ll begin to pay close attention to the soft rustle of leaves and the quick snap of branches. but for now you wait. in the quiet, you wait with a steadfast hope. what are you waiting for? you’re not sure. maybe it’s reassurance. a word that speaks just to your soul and yours alone. or you wait for something tangible. something that takes you by the hand and leads you to what you’ve ached to fathom. you’ll wait. however long it takes, you’ll wait because you know that in the passage of the middle you are being refined. weeds lose their hold and seeds prepare to sprout life. you long to be truly satisfied in these quiet moments. you pine for peace and the realization that you want absolutely nothing, and have all that you need. you fill your lungs and trap the promise that you lack no good thing inside your chest. you’ll wait to bloom. you know you will. because you’ve weathered too many erratic storms, stilted winds, and wilted harvest to stop you now. you’ll wait with emptied hands and a light heart. you’ll wait for the voice your heart yearns to know; the voice that calls you home.

May 26, 2015

it’s comfortable. this life you lead. but it’s not enough. your comfort is safe and debilitating all at the same time. but there is only so much your soul can take. be honest with yourself, this is not what you wanted. you’ve compromised; something you said you’ll never do. but it’s not too late. it’s never to late when He’s here with you. He was there when your heart cracked open and birthed a strength you thought you lacked. He was there when the foxes prowled in your vineyard and attempted to steal your joy. He was there. patient, and steadfast in His love for you. this comfort isn’t so comfortable anymore, is it? it’s starting to chaff and leave your soul exposed. you’ve patched over it a few times. hoping that lies conceal and your secrets erase, but it doesn’t work that way. He’s the only balm for that patchwork soul of yours. still, you lack direction and courage to listen. it isn’t what you want to hear. to give it all up? but Jesus, isn’t that too much? still your heart beats for something greater. something fills you and calls you out of that comfort, into the unknown. it almost sounds like drums, the beat floods you from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. and you walk. you leave your comfort behind and walk into the call placed on your life. it’s daunting, but you know the drums beat out a rhythm of grace that guides your every step. your song of deliverance rings inside of you and overflows to those who have yet to hear of His goodness. you’re out of your comfort and in the hands of the ultimate Comforter. you have tasted His goodness and want for nothing. you sit and listen in His presence. His anointing sweeps over your body and you dance. free and unashamed, you dance to the beat, the song only meant for your heart to hear. you’ve pushed past comfort and reached a place where His love is naked before you. your comfort dimmed its light, but there’s no mistaking the love that shines in His eyes. eyes that blaze with passion, and acceptance. you realize now that comfort can be overrated. you’d much rather dance before the One who created you to do more. so much more.

Sing a New Song

A new season. A fresh anointing. The sun is beginning to rise over days I never imagined.

BUT no one warned me about the fear that would try to cripple me.

The fear of failure and the comfort of complacently has dragged me down. This process of discovering the new season of my life has not been an easy walk. It has caused me to take note of the things that I need to work on and things to let go of. It has been difficult, but extremely humbling. I realize now that as I have walked through the lonely corridor of introspection, that God has been gently molding and preparing me for whats to come.

I have found hope in dwelling on what He has done. He called me to LSU to experience the Holy Spirit on a whole new level. He called me back home in the midst of my brokenness to build up my faith. He sent me to Haiti (TWICE!) to fulfill a promise and reawaken a dormant dream. He has placed me at Lakewood Church to serve; to pour into my church as much as it has poured into me. And now as He is calling me into leadership I realize that all along He has prepared me for such a time as this.

Fear has tried so hard to take away my joy. It’s crazy because the voice of failure has never been so loud and the sting of rejection has never been this sharp. However, Jesus has been as faithful as ever. Quickly refuting the lies with truth. Filling me with a double measure of joy and peace. He has given me the confidence to step into my new season. To taste and see of His goodness.

So, here’s to a new season.

A fresh anointing.

A fresh perspective.

A new song.

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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.

I Am Here.

March 14, 2014

I am here.

Do you not feel my arms around you this very second?

I have seen you. I have seen your tears.

Do you know, I sat beside you and wept with you?

You are tired. Come to Me.

Rest.

You let go. Let go of what isn’t good for you.

Those restless nights were not in vain.

I longed for you to spend time with me; gently nudging you so I can show you all that I have for you.

I am doing a new thing in you.

Just look about you!

Those tears are watering the seeds of the new things that are springing up.

Let go of all the things, but don’t ever let go of Me.

I am all you need. Your one true God.

I have missed you.

Wait earnestly for I am doing for you what you couldn’t do for yourself.

I am here always, and that is where I will forever be.

Just some lines that God laid on my heart a few days ago. I was begging for peace and clarity. Thought I would share because I know someone needs some encouragement. God is here and longs to touch the hearts of His people.

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A sweet little reminder I got of just how God’s light invades the darkest of nights.

Dance Before Me.

Condemnation. It’s been staring me down. Pushing me and waiting for me to crack under its oppression. I feel it when my thoughts wonder, and when I allow words to pierce my heart. It’s a horrible feeling staring at condemnation and having to make a conscious decision to believe the lie or spit in its face. When condemnation approached I fell into its waiting arms. I was ready to pout and wallow in my self-pity. I’m beginning to believe the lies that are being whispered in my ear, and allowing my soul to be drenched in the mistakes of my past. I feel consumed and overwhelmed by it all.

It’s crazy how the enemy is so quick to throw my past mistakes in my face. He tends to bring up things that I’ve already submitted to God. Things that I don’t struggle with any more, but if I let my guard down for a second; I’m caught. He’s crazy. But you know what’s even crazier? Is that recently I found myself believing the lies and accepting the condemnation thinking I actually deserve it. It’s twisted, but that’s how the enemy operates.

However, I have a loving Jesus who sees it all and UNDERSTANDS what I am feeling. In Hebrews it says that we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who isn’t able to sympathize with us because even though Jesus was fully God; He was also fully human. He’s just been reminding me that He knows how I feel. He probably knows more about what I’m actually feeling because half the time I’m just a jumble of emotions and feelings.

He deals with my condemnation the second I give those feelings to Him. I can hear Him clearly countering every lie from the pit of hell with His truth. He tells me that I have been bought with a price. My sin has been paid in full. He loves me, and has covered my sin. I am forgiven, and being made new every second, every minute of the day. The skeletons of my past are out in the open, but He has breathed new life into them and transformed them for His glory!

My past or mistakes don’t have me in bondage like they did before. I have to consistently remind myself to keep my guard up and counter the lies with Truth. I have been forgiven and the yoke of my past is off my shoulders. God not only took my sin, but He made it new. He transformed it not only for my salvation, but so that He gets maximum glory in it all. The things that He has pulled me out of is just a testament of His unending grace and unfailing love.

My sin doesn’t control me. It dances before me. Dancing to the song of forgiveness and redemption.

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“…And then there was God, who’d caused even the dry bones to dance before me.” -Marilynn Griffith

Worn.

A few days ago I was a complete mess.

The day started off well, I guess. I slept in and made myself some breakfast. Things were normal. But they weren’t. I was oblivious to the trap the enemy had set up for my day. Throughout the day I was being plagued with insecurity. Now this is something that I thought I had handled, but these thoughts were relentless. I was being broken down bit by bit and just allowed the enemy to feed me lies. It seemed like all throughout that  day my defense was just being chipped away, and I sat back and watched it happen.

 I didn’t breakdown until I got some alone time in my car, and I just let God have it. The weather was awful, my car was acting up, and I was just tired of trying to find the good in every bad situation. I was angry, hurt, and was tired of fighting. I basically told God, “Look, I feel like I’m walking on egg shells with you because I’m afraid You’re going to take something else away from me. I don’t know what is happening in my life, and I don’t like it. I tired of fighting the enemy and I tired of fighting You trying to figure out how You plan on using me here. I’m tired of trying to force clarity and this huge understanding when I read my Bible when I know I’m not getting anything out of it. This can not be the rest of my life. I’m tired of disappointing You and everyone else.”

At this point I had convinced myself that, that day was a bad day for Bayli the Christian. I was fed up with God, and I didn’t understand and didn’t want to understand what He was doing in my life. I had almost given up. Almost.

That night I got home and text my friends just telling them exactly how I felt, and told them not to lecture me because I didn’t want to hear it. I told them just to pray. I knew I needed prayer because I knew God would not let me go to sleep with an angry heart and I was preparing myself to stay up all night and hash it out with Him.

And boy did He kept me up. I left my Bible in the car, but my journal was my release that night. I wrote pages of the struggle that was going on in my spirit. If someone were to read them they would probably recommend me to a mental institution. Literally, one page is filled with a rant about how I’m tired of trying to be hopeful and basically wanting to give up to the next page being filled with all that God has done for me. Ultimately, I got the peace I was searching for when I stopped writing and begged God for rest. Finally, my spirit was settled and I fell into a restful sleep.

The next morning, I got my Bible and knew I had to give my quiet time another shot. First, I was just flipping through my Bible admiring my highlighted pages, and my little drawings. But God got tired of my foolishness because He led me to Isaiah 41:9-10&13-16 real quick.

9 I took you from the ends of the earth, from its furthest corners I called you. I said, “You are my servant;’ I have chosen you and have not reject you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 13 For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you, Do not be afraid O worm Jacob, O little Israel. for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. “See I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will blow them away. But you will rejoice in the Lord and glory in the Holy One of Israel. 

In that verse I got a clear understanding that I didn’t need to fight any longer. God was fighting for me and I was basically punching at the air getting absolutely no where fast. The enemy had spent so much time trying so hard to break me down that day and night. It was one of the realist struggles I have ever experienced, but God was constant and faithful through it all. The next morning I wrote this in my journal:

Isaiah 41. What a beautiful verses for my tattered and worn soul. God, I don’t know what was happening last night, but your grace abounded even then. Thank You for Your unfailing love. For the words You continue to wash over me. You cover me and protect me. YOU LOVE ME! You have not and will not let me go EVER. You have set me apart and have called me to the nations. You are the one who given me strength to fight the good fight of faith. I will not give up because You are at my side. Bow down, Devil! 

A song that basically sums up how I felt is Worn by Tenth Avenue North. Check it out here.

reflect | nineteen years.

nineteen years.

years filled with some light and some darkness.

days filled with an abundance of goodness.

my days on this earth have been filled with so much laughter and beautiful moments.

there are so many moments that have caused my heart to leap. these moments aren’t huge or brilliantly bright for all to see. no, these moments are small and subtle. they catch me off guard when they happen, but they linger with me still.

moments like:

talking to strangers and not realizing that you have let a complete stranger see into a corner of your heart. the glorious moment the sun touches your face warming your cheeks and you sit waiting, listening for the sweet truths that God whispers over you. the sudden burst of laughter from your lips as you see something that could only provoke an unadulterated moment of pure innocence. that time when the awful truth leaves the dark hiding place in your soul. those moments where life has washed over you and have left you alone and cold. but at that same moment a loving God cradling you in His arms; showering you in a love not polluted by conditions. the days you witness miracles and get a taste of heaven as it graces earth. minutes, hours, days have led to these moments. perfectly orchestrated to patch together a beautiful life story.

nineteen years

so what will the following years look like?

there’s no way to know, but I pray they are filled with more of these glorious moments. more smiles that red-painted nails bring. more favorite songs to blast in the car. more energy to continue to dance around the house. more mirrors filled with funny faces reflecting silliness. more cups of peppermint tea. more spontaneous acts that bring dreams to reality. more times for words to fuel and inspire a mind that is constantly seeking inspiration. more moments of total stillness. more simple minutes of reflection. more occasions when the magnitude of God silences an anxious heart. more times when there is nothing but pure joy filling an awakened soul. 

yes, I want more of that.

let my days be filled with these flashes of goodness. not just for memories sake, but for it to be known that I have lived every second, every minute, every hour, every day of my years on this earth.

I have lived.

my heart is expectant for the years to come.