One Day At A Time

*Sorry if this blog post comes across as choppy, vague, or evasive. Over time, I plan to write more about the time I took to process and the things I learned but for now, it’s good to be back!

It’s been a while and a long time coming. There have been so many instances these last few months that I wanted to spell out everything going on in my life but ended up staring at a blank screen. Somehow, the words and stories fell short of actually reaching my computer screen and I was stuck. I was stuck for a long time.

It’s been a process, a long process. Now that I look back, I had to heal. There were things I had walked through and were walking through that didn’t necessarily need to be publicized. I was learning discernment throughout and realized the Lord was protecting me from a lot. If I were to have written in those moments it would have been out of a place of hurt, shame, pain, and hopelessness. I needed time to let the Lord truly minister to my heart in those moments. He had to take me back to the basics and remind me who He is and who I am in Him.

Today, I’m in a much better place. I took some time to seek wise counsel, I made time for myself to focus on what I was lacking, I made big girl decisions regarding my spiritual growth, and prayed like never before. I had to learn a lesson these past few months. It took me a while to understand exactly what was going on, but now it’s like a lightbulb has gone off.

“Say yes for today.”

I wish I could go on and on about the fear that cripples me as I think about the future, and how it causes me to  immediately start shaking my head. I hear the promises of the Lord and instead of receiving it and claiming it, I immediately allow fear and doubt to take over. This has happened more times that I would like to admit as a “believer” especially since the New Year rolled around with a fresh new set of promises.

I realize now just how much time I have wasted feeding into this fear. I could have been working on seeing these promises come to fruition but I’ve locked myself down and haven’t moved an inch. I realize now this is how the enemy likes to play. To try and make the possible seem so impossible, and use fear to rob you of precious time. I have been robbed of time, sleep, and peace of mind worrying about something that I don’t even have to worry about!

So today, I take back my peace of mind. I’ve been letting fear cripple me, and stop me from sharing AMAZING NEWS!

In January, I got accepted into Coreluv’s Internship. I have the privilege to serve in Haiti for the whole month of June this year. 

I’ve been so hesitant to share or even try and grasp going back to Haiti. It’s been a long time coming and to have it sitting in my lap, I’ve literally been stuck like a deer in headlights. I’ve allowed fear to rob me of my excitement because I knew fundraising would have to happen, and we all know fundraising stretches your faith like no other. I’ll have a blog post about the story and the internship soon!

But today and every day after, I say Yes. I say yes because I have experienced the goodness of Jesus. I say yes because it is Jesus’ nature to be good to me. I say yes because He has never failed me, not once. I say yes because in Him all promises are yes and amen. I say yes because He had this planned out before the beginning of time and He knows what He’s doing. I say yes because I trust Him. I trust Him to do what only He can do, to calm this anxious heart of mine, and give me rest. I say yes because I love Him. I love Him not for what He has done or what He will do, I love Him for who He is. He is mine, and I am His. Always.

Jesus, give me the strength to say yes even when I don’t understand. In the moments where confusion or doubt creep in, remind me of your faithfulness. Give me the peace knowing that when I say yes you have control and you won’t let me fall.  Help me say yes in my weakness, to not let pride rob me of my promise. Let my days be filled with yes.  Forever and ever. Amen. 

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.

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.

032 033 031 030 052046

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.

imme.org

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

Image

On My Heart

At the beginning of the year I never would have thought I would be where I am today. All my plans got trashed, but God brought in plans that have flooded my life with so much light. I am learning about the beauty of the process, the goodness of friendships, the fruitfulness of listening, the simplicity of living in the moment, and the joys of being spontaneous. I still wonder why I haven’t felt the same since Haiti. My thoughts never stray too far from that beautiful country. I continuously pray and believe for the miracles that God will perform there. I just pray that I am there to bear witness to them. But for now, I am trusting God in my process. The process of learning the awesomeness of God and learning who God has made me to be. It’s not easy, and I have to work through some growing pains. However, as I grow, I am rooted in the knowledge that God sings a song of love and hope over me every day.

Haiti

The past 24 hours have been a complete whirlwind.

I am sitting here typing this still in shock.

So what all went down? Ha! I still trying to process the huge turn of events. I’ll just start from the beginning.

It is known from an earlier post that I planned on going to Haiti in the summer(you can click here to read that).  I was all set and ready too. Well, until God had other plans. I have been researching/ stalking an organization called i’mMe since I began my search of organizations in Haiti. I didn’t realize they had trips until a little later, and I remember thinking about how much I would love to go with them. I looked at the dates and realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to swing it, and resigned myself to just planning to go in the summer.

A few weeks ago I was on Instagram stalking some of my new friends, and I was clicking on random names, just putting names to faces of people in my church. I came across one Instagram account and I saw the i’mMe logo and freaked out. I realized that this person was somehow involved in i’mMe and I needed to talk to her ASAP. I remember I wrote down her name, Trina, and proceeded to text and hassle all of our mutual friends to try to get in contact with her. Finally, I got in touch with her and I realized how much God had orchestrated it. Her Instagram is usually set on private, and for some reason that day she made her Instagram public. That was the day that I saw her Instagram. That has Jesus stamped all over it! Anyway, she told me more about the organization and how it began. Talking to her I knew I wanted to go on a trip with i’mMe, and I was more than willing to wait for a more convenient time for me and avoid fundraising all together.

Fast forward to yesterday, I was waiting for confirmation from God if I should go through with trying for i’mMe’s trip in April or wait for a more convenient time. On Tuesday I had set up a fundraising page, but couldn’t follow through and publish it. I was desperate for a sign or something. I wasn’t going to go through the fundraising process and realize it’s not what God wanted me to do. That morning at work I got a text from Trina telling me that God is waiting to do a miracle. That was all the confirmation I needed. I knew I had to get myself together and get ready to have my faith stretched again. Last night I went to church and that was just more confirmation of what God wanted me to do. I stayed up way past midnight to make a donation page, and just surrender this whole fundraising process to Him. It’s pretty obvious that I have no way of paying for this trip myself. I am jumping into this with complete faith and total dependence on the One who as called me.

What miracle does God need to do?

i’mMe is taking a group to Haiti April 24-29, 2014. I plan on being with them.We will be the light that God has called us to be to the people of Haiti. We will be visiting orphanages, cleaning up around Port-au-Prince, helping out with feeding program, and much more.  The total cost of the trip is $1,200. The cost will cover my flight from Florida to Haiti, accommodations, and meals throughout the trip. The kicker is that I need $600 two weeks before we are the leave to reserve my spot (April 10) and I have until the day before we leave to have the rest (April 23). Also, I will somehow need to find a way to get a flight to Florida from Texas to meet up with the team. Now you can see why I need a miracle. I don’t even have a month! I could panic, but I don’t even have time! I have a little over 20 days to raise money for this trip to Haiti. I know that if it’s God’s will He will do what He has to do to make this trip possible. I’m just saying yes to the call and just expectantly waiting to see how He’s going to fulfill this promise.

To friends and family I am more than willing to babysit, mow lawns, house sit, watch a pet, wash some dishes, paint something! Just let me know! Text, call, or message me on Facebook and we can set something up.

If you would like to donate click here. Or you can click the link on the top of the page that says “DONATE.”  Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart to those who feel lead to give. Your support means the world to me. If you feel lead to share, please by all means, share! Also, please pray for me in this major fundraising task and for the team that is going to Haiti. Prayer is essential and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for prayer. Even, though this is crazy and totally unplanned,  I know that in the end God will get the glory!

The facts and figures in front of me say that this is impossible, but I am trusting God with this. I am confident that He is still in the miracle working business, and if He has called me to Haiti at this time then He will provide in a way that I can’t even imagine. 

If you would like to know more about i’mMe check out their website here. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

#baylitohaiti

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.

afterlight

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

Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Well, I’ve meant to write this post for a while and since Thanksgiving is in a few minutes…it’s perfect!

I just wanted to list some of the things that I’ve just been so thankful for this past year and semester at LSU. I have a bunch but I gave myself a limit of 19; since I’m 19 and all.

19.  Warm, soft, fluffy things.

With the weather getting all cold and stuff; I am more than happy to pull out all of my scarves, socks, hats, and bulky sweaters.

18. Peppermint.

I have this thing for all things peppermint-y. I’m a sucker for peppermint tea, and I put mint in just about anything. Go get some peppermint hot chocolate from Starbucks and your world will never be the same!

17. Hot Bubble Baths.

I have definitely taken the luxury of a bath for granted all these years. Since I’ve been in college, and have been completely stripped away from baths; all I want to do when I get home is sit in my bathtub. I know I have some emotional connection to my bathtub, but don’t judge. Some people just ain’t about that college shower life…

16. YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu Plus.

Thank God for these wonderful video players. Now I will never miss an episode of Scandal, I can watch all my Touched by an Angel episodes, and I have the privilege to spend hours watching pointless videos that distract me from the important things in life.

15. My Childhood.

I revel in my childhood memories. The good, the bad, the ugly. I love them all. Moments like hiding books and sugar packets under my pillow or picking my switches from the tree; those days have molded me into who I am today. I would never change a thing.

SCAN0054

14. Musical Movies.

I have this thing for movies that have songs that I can sing along to. Hairspray, Prince of Egypt, Sound of Music, Disney Princess Movies, and Anastasia are a few of my favorites. “these are a few of my favorite things…”  See, like that!

13. Books.

I have a healthy/ unhealthy attachment to books. The healthy attachment is that I love to read, and I tear through so many books it’s ridiculous. The unhealthy attachment is the fact that I will buy 7 more books when I haven’t even finished the last 2 I bought the day before, and if somebody tried to touch or sell my books I would rip them a new one.

349

12. Journals.

I pour my heart out when I write in my journal. I appreciate all the journals I have because I am able to see how far that I have come. I love to go back and read my journal from elementary when I had a crush on William Moseley. Those were not easy times, okay… No Judging.

11. LSU.

I go to the greatest school on the planet. All you other schools just need to go sit down somewhere. Say it with me: Geaux Tigers!

1479138_10202525782368913_303559372_n

10. Christmas Music.

Listen to: Dave Barnes – Very Merry Christmas. Matt Wertz – Snow Globe. Nat King Cole – you should already know… Boyz ll Men – Christmas Interpretations. Go, click those links, and let your souls be drowned in all the wonderful Christmas music.

9. Hard Times.

As I’m getting older I am starting to really understand why some things can’t always be easy. Going through hard times and sometimes hurting seems to makes it all worth it in the end.

8. Spontaneous Worship.

Worship. I just love it. My soul sings, and I just come alive when I worship. I love when it isn’t planned and it isn’t rigid or stiff. It’s always raw, real, and refreshing. And it ALWAYS, without fail, leaves me breathless. I will spend all of my days worshiping my Creator.

photo 1454721_10202512285471499_1068920570_n

7. Africa.

Like I posted in Instagram a while ago. “I miss Kenya. I miss the simplicity. I miss the people and their welcoming nature. I miss Manuel, Jeremy, Emmy, Patrick, Grandma, and Annette. I even miss Georgiana! I miss church, and the 5am prayers. Take me back.”

DSCN0273

6. Lakewood Church.

Where would I be without Lakewood in my life? Lakewood will always be the church that God put in my life to be a lifeline to pull me through all the mess I was dealing with. I rededicated my life to Christ, encountered Jesus, and was bathed in the Holy Spirit at Lakewood. I am forever grateful for all that I experienced there.

5. Antioch Community Church: Baton Rouge.

What a community! I am completely blown away at how much I have grown these past few months. I am challenged to live my life radically and truly live out what the Bible says. I am so captivated by God’s presence at Antioch; I can’t help but be thankful for the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing in His church.

4. Maddie, Oyinda, and Megan (Cheetah Girls/Double Stuffed Oreo).

I am constantly inspired, encouraged, and challenged by how these girls live so wholeheartedly for what they believe in. They strive to make everything they do pleasing to the Lord. I am thankful for Maddie’s “sugar sweet and intuitive” soul, Oyinda’s “prayer warrior” spirit, and Megan’s “tell it like it is” attitude. God knew what He was doing when He brought us all together.We are force to be reckoned with. Watch out world!

1453507_10202512237150291_309378254_n 1466090_10202512224029963_1338609453_n

3. Friendship.

I am the luckiest girl alive to be surrounded by a community of people who I can just do life with. I have the most honest, genuine friendships. God must really love me because He has granted me with friends I know will be in my life for a long, long time.

1461075_10202512224669979_1746027733_n 1452012_701159783228061_1749578330_n995541_10202512257190792_543287858_n

2. Family.

I can go on an on about how awesome my family is. We are not average. We are messy and chaotic. Loud and spontaneous. Passionate and supportive. Goofy and silly. We are all of these and so much more, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

1470051_10202512264430973_775363727_n

1. Jesus.

I think y’all already knew this one was coming…

Jesus. My Savior.My Friend. My Foundation. My Creator. My Hiding Place. My Everything. My soul sings at His goodness. My spirit rejoices at His faithfulness. My feet dance because of the joy that He has bestowed upon me.

I am forever in awe and grateful for the wonderful gift of His grace and love that He so freely pours out over my life.

tumblr_inline_mvyv8zbhId1s5fhrr

Selah.