Mercy

Justin bought me a guitar for Christmas.

yes, a guitar…

I haven’t played in close to twelve years. My daddy spent countless hours teaching me when I was young and I would go to my PawPaw’s house on holidays and listen to and watch Daddy and his brothers, along with PawPaw, play and sing. There I’d be, singing along and playing the tambourine. I remember so vividly those days. I can remember how the basement apartment smelled, how cool it was down there and even the way my PawPaw’s hands looked as he played the mandolin and the guitar. If I close my eyes, I can hear Daddy’s beautiful voice along with the baritones of PawPaw and Uncle Bobby. Music is something that has always been a part of me. About twelve years ago, I let someone steal that joy from me. A boy, yes. Here’s the reality though, it wasn’t that boy stealing anything from me, it was the enemy of my soul. I allowed him to steal my song and with it my joy.

So, when Justin gave me my guitar, Mercy (that’s what I named her), there was this insanely beautiful, nostalgic, peace and yet a crippling fear of what if I have completely lost my song. I held her. I smelled her. I strummed and tuned and tuned some more and finally got her just right. As I sat in my bedroom strumming and playing through the five chords I could remember, I cried. I thought about how my whole life has been like me tuning this guitar.

See y’all, when the delivery guy dropped Mercy on my front porch, it was 14 degrees outside. She was COLD. Do you hear me?!? COLD! She needed to be warmed up, tuned up and reminded how beautiful she is…

..Gods been pruning and picking away the ugly. He’s been removing the yuck so I could see crisply, clearly what His purpose was for my life. It took years, intense therapy, lots of ugly, broken relationships with others and myself. It’s taken time and energy and praying relentlessly. It’s remembering daily who fights my battles and refusing to let Satan win. It’s knowing I get to CHOOSE joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control. It’s being reminded by little people on a daily basis that He is in control of all the things so I don’t have to be. It’s surrender and choosing Him. It’s accepting and receiving His grace and mercy and knowing that I am loved unconditionally. That I am valuable and worthy of love simply because He created me.

I need to be reminded that my song is just that…mine. It can only be taken if I allow it to happen, if I choose it.

Tuning my guitar was absolutely necessary so that it could be used for the exact purpose it was designed. God pruning and fine tuning me, well, that’s the same idea. I can’t be used for His purpose if I’m not fine tuned to hear His voice clearly.

My greatest desire is to honor and glorify Him. I want to have so much Jesus in me that it literally oozes from my pores. I want to feel His love so intensely that it has no choice but to be shown to others. I choose to love. I choose to let love, His love, guide me.

Can I be really honest for a minute? Making the choice to love can be really hard for me. When I say God is fine tuning me, it’s seriously a significantly large undertaking…I mean, I wouldn’t want to be in charge of that department. Yet, just like the patience and fortitude and gentleness I showed when tuning Mercy, God does the same and is even more grand in His ways..in His kindness and patience.

His mercies are new every morning…and for that I am so eternally grateful.

My choice to love hasn’t come easily. Many days choosing to love looks like not arguing with a six year old what outfit to wear. Other days it looks like choosing to love myself and refusing to allow someone to manipulate, guilt or shame me. Some days, choosing love looks like snuggling a cranky two year old when I really want to drink my coffee and read a book. Choosing love is hard for me. It IS a choice though…one I continue to make because if not me, then who?

 

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He can.

Well, friends, we’re at the end of 2018 and 2019 is barreling straight at us. My family and I have lived on the Rez for 17 months now…for 17 months we’ve been stretched and pushed and forced to think outside the box that we’d created for ourselves. For 17 months, we’ve learned to love outside our comfort zone, we’ve practiced boundaries where we weren’t sure they’d be accepted, we’ve looked death and darkness in the face and have come out on the other side. All the while, He’s walked alongside our family and has held our hand. The past 17 months have been monumentally life changing and oddly enough, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

As I reflect back on all the past year has brought, all the joy, sadness, bitterness, resolve and challenge-I realize how He’s been preparing us all for our life here. He’s been preparing us to make our home here, in the West…with the Navajo. 

Several weeks ago, our ministry partner, Tab Smith Ministries, came out for their annual Christmas on the Rez. This is a time for pastoral training, distribution of food bags, Christmas shoe boxes (similar to Operation Christmas Child boxes), blankets for elders and fellowship with other Navajo pastors. It’s a beautiful time to see these incredibly anointed men and women give of themselves while working together to spread the Gospel to their own people. This year’s distribution day was drastically different for me. This year, I wasn’t a stranger in a place I lived. I didn’t feel out of place or uncomfortable. Many of the men and women in the room are now my friends-my brother’s and sisters in Christ. Women I have grown to love dearly; women I pray with and for, diligently. Men whom I’ve watched J believe in, fight for, pray for and love. This year, we were part of the village, not just outsiders…

Y’all, I didn’t realize the magnitude of that revelation until I sat on my couch at home and wept. You see, I needed to grieve the reality that unless God moves, we are here. This is it. 

In all honesty, I love this revelation. 

I was truly grieving the reality that unless you live this life, walk beside these precious people, see the struggle and injustice and oppression EVERY. SINGLE. DAY, you can’t possibly understand the reality of life here on the Rez. What an honor that my family was called to live the nitty gritty with such incredible people. 

I’m so humbled by the love and laughter we’ve been given on this Wild West adventure…know what’s even more humbling? It’s not an adventure anymore, it’s our life. This. The Rez. The Navajo. This beautiful, unforgiving, dry, dusty land. It’s our life and it’s our home. My heart, my family, the trajectory of our future has all been changed by our choice to follow. J’s choice to be obedient and my choice to let him lead. 

Our ministry’s mission statement says this:  

The mission of Beautiful Harvest Project is to develop families who have both head and heart knowledge of their worth and identity in Christ so they become devoted believers who know, love and follow Him, impacting generations for the Kingdom.

I never would’ve imagined that in order to even scratch the surface of pressing into this mission statement, we’d need to recognize, acknowledge and allow for our own family’s destiny to be transformed. We’d have to relinquish control of our family, our marriage, our children, our ministry and give every one of those things to God. We had to choose to live a life that doesn’t make sense to most people. Some days, it doesn’t even make sense to me. Some days, I’m still unsure how we can achieve these God sized goals…and then it hits me square in the face. I can’t-He can.

See, when we go visit Alleluia Canyon for their Christmas community outreach and they have parking attendants, ushers to help with seating and active volunteers who are there to serve any way they can, I see Him moving. 

When I look into  Lilly, MyMike, Masani and Grandma E’s eyes and see how they love my children, my family, I know He is here.

When I text my dear friend, Hilda, to let her know we’re snowed in and I can’t get to town and she reminds me that God’s word says to use wisdom in making our choices, I feel His presence.

When I join our brother and sister, Julian and Autumn, in worship, the presence of God is all over us.

So, even on the days I’m not sure what in the world we’re doing or how we’ll do it…I KNOW He is here.

When I came here for the first time in June of 2017, I was overwhelmed with the darkness of this place. I decided on the way home from that trip I wouldn’t let the darkness consume me, I chose to see this place for the good, to see the Navajo as Jesus sees them. Every day for the past 17 months, I have chosen to live a life of abundance and not one of fear. I have chosen to love fiercely and without condition…

…and life is so beautiful, so magical, so imperfectly, unpredictably wonderful. Because I choose Him. I choose to follow. I choose to love and be loved by incredible people who love Jesus.

I am forever thankful, honored and humbled by the opportunity God’s given us.

Hang on tight…

I have wanted to write for weeks. I keep telling myself, sit down and write a blog.  Honestly, we have been so insanely busy.  Each time I sit down on the couch (typically around 9 pm), I last about thirty minutes and then I’m ready for bed.  J’s in the same boat.  We’ve got so much ministry stuff happening and keeping it all straight has become interesting.  My planner has started to look like Rainbow Brite sprayed some rainbow magic on the pages.  All the littles have their own color, J has his own color, the ministry has its own color…its beautiful actually.

So is the life we continue to build here on the Rez.

In the past two months, I’ve driven to multiple churches across the Rez, solo.  I know.  Amazing, right?  No one who knew me this time last year and knew the struggles I was having with being here, would’ve thought I’d be driving across the Rez to reach the people I’ve grown to love so dearly.

The truth is, seeing the smiling faces of the children at each church, the pastor’s and their wives (who have become some of my favorite people), and ironically, the drive to each church have started to fuel me.  The drive time and the distance between churches and our house are long and tiring.  Oh, the joy though, when I pull in and those beautiful babies greet me.  The confirmation in hearing Mrs. Verna share her Bible story and the children respond.  The sheer effervescent presence of the Holy Spirit meeting with Mrs. Hilda and Billison during their prayer time before service.  Watching my children walk into a “new” Sunday School room, introduce themselves, explain where we’re from, how we got here and what we do, creates an overwhelming sense of pride.  It’s the coolest thing to observe.

What’s even better is the way we’re seeing God move in the communities and people.  The reality of what the churches on the Rez face in reaching their own people, is seemingly unbelievable.  Yes, we live in the United States.  Yes, WE have ACCESS to running water and electricity but many of our churches don’t even have that luxury. And yet, some of our pastor’s drive four hours round trip EVERY. SINGLE. SUNDAY.  Every Sunday, these warriors drive to share the Gospel.  I say warriors because they ARE Kingdom warriors.  There is Kingdom work being done and still to be done on the Reservation. The Inspired Learner’s Co-op is growing by leaps and bounds.  I am watching as my fellow home school mama’s take ownership of our co-op and are leading, each in their own strengths and gifts. I am seeing first time “teacher mama’s” step into their new role with grace, with increasing patience and a fierce determination to educate the kiddo’s in their house.  Our partners, Pastor Mary and Roland and their congregation, were out this weekend visiting some of the most remote parts of their communities.  They were taking coal, food, and gifts to elders who felt they’d been forgotten, delivering gift boxes to children who may not otherwise receive Christmas gifts and all the while sharing the love of Jesus Christ.  This is Navajo reaching Navajo.  This is what we dreamed of when we established Beautiful Harvest Project.

We are so excited about what we’ve seen and been a part of in 2018.  Oh, but the excitement of 2019…well, it’s almost palpable.  We know God has big plans for BHP and for our family here on the Rez.  If you’d like to partner with us and stand in the gap as we work alongside the Navajo, please prayerfully consider becoming a monthly donor by clicking on the donate button.

Hang on tight, friends…it’s just getting good.

joyful noise

Today was Pastor Appreciation Sunday at one of our partner churches.  It was super cool to spend the morning with our family.  I taught Sunday school; the kids plus their friends, rode the four wheeler with Grandma E and we had a delicious lunch.

…and for the first time since I was thirteen years old, I sang in front of a group of people other than J and my children.

What’s funny about this to me is that when J and I started dating the tag on my car said “ROXSTAR”.  I’ve always told him, “I’m a rockstar in the car because no one can hear me.”

Over the summer, I had a dear friend tell me I needed to use the gift God’s given me.  I laughed it off and just told her I didn’t sing in front of people.  She looked me straight in the eye and said He gave you the gift of song to reach His people.  If you aren’t using it for Him, what’s the point?

Ever since that conversation, in my quiet time, its come up again and again. If you aren’t using “it” to glorify Him, what good is “it”?  Over the past few months, I’ve seen the “it” be lots of different things.  If you aren’t walking your brown eyed girls through hard things AND teaching them to have faith in Him, what good are you doing?  If you aren’t showing and giving grace to those who are hard to love, what good are you doing? If you aren’t leading through Christ’s example, what’s the point?  And, finally, if you aren’t using your heart for worship for His glory, are you fully living into His purpose for you?

This morning, as I sat listening to the final words from MyMike, I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Now.”  I knew what that meant.  I knew exactly which song I needed to sing and I knew I had to do it NOW or I’d never get the courage to do so.  As MyMike stepped down, I stood up.  I explained that I’m not one to speak in front of a group-that the Spirit had just lead me to sing the first verse of “How Great Thou Art”.

So, I did.

I could feel my entire body shaking. I could feel my heart beating out of my chest.  I could hear the tremble in my voice as I started out…and then, there it was.  The same warmth I felt as a little girl, singing in church, worshiping my Father in Heaven.  I closed my eyes and sang.  It felt so good, y’all. So, so good.

It felt good to lead.  It felt so good to hear my own voice mix with the voices of my precious Navajo family and it felt real.  Genuine.  No flash, no hype.  Just Jesus and me and my brothers and sisters.

We had church today.  We worshiped today.

As we drove home, I thought about the morning.  I thought about the strength I draw from watching my family here on the Rez.  I thought about the tenacity and the endurance and the boldness I see in their eyes when they commit to Him.  At the end of our drive home, I realized how much strength it must take to leave behind everything you’ve been taught, go against the grain in so many ways-to trust in a man that walked the Earth so long ago.  Someone who was both God and man.  Someone none of us have ever seen and only felt.  I thought about the “guts” it takes to look into the eyes of your family members and say, “I don’t believe the way you do.  I’m choosing to follow Christ and I hope you’ll love me anyway.”  All the while, knowing, deep down-that may never happen.

What courage.  What love.  What a measure of God working in and among the people here.

When I sang “How Great Thou Art” this morning, my family felt the words to that song.  When we joined our voices together, there was belief.  When we opened the church doors wide, the Holy Spirit entered in.

Because, y’all, Jesus is ALL we have.  He is everything.  He is enough and because He’s enough, so are we.

I heard and felt every negative thing possible when I started to lead this morning…Jesus heard His children.  He heard a joyful noise.

…a joyful noise, indeed.

…out of a job

Crazy is how I’d describe the past few weeks.  Honestly, I pride myself on being very good at setting boundaries around my time and energy…not because I don’t want to do things; because I want to have the ENERGY to do things.  As an introvert if I don’t refuel myself, I falter miserably.  I always want to say no to good things so I can say YES to God things…

The past few weeks though, all the yeses have been to God things, they just sort of piled up on me. Ha.  J said it best…”sometimes it feels like we’re stretched as thin as we can go and then we get stretched a little thinner.” The joy’s of growing pains are real for the Galloway family right now.  The pain of being stretched farther outside our comfort zone is legitimate.  The reality of what life with six kids looks like is sometimes frightening.  God continually offers the next right step, we’re just focusing on the daily dose of grace and mercy we get from Him in this season.

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending Living Proof Live with Beth Moore in Chinle.  I was there with women who represented TWENTY-NINE various Native tribes. It was absolutely breath taking to see all those beautiful faces, hands lifted high, worshiping our Savior.  The Spirit was all over the Wildcat Den and Beth brought the Word.  The coolest moments of the day were when I looked up and realized how I’ve truly grown to love the Native way of life.  How much respect I’ve developed for the women who are so progressive and yet still so true to their Native heritage and culture.  It was incredible to recognize how Jesus must have seen us all in the building.  The wonder and awe I felt as I watched woman after woman relate to Beth’s message, I know Jesus must’ve felt such joy as his princess daughter’s loved on one another and Him. Beth spoke about how each of us is significant.  What a powerful message for women.  For me.  I can’t tell you the number of times I feel insignificant.  The times I feel like my job as a wife, mom and home school teacher are insignificant.  I have, since my day with Beth, reminded myself multiple times a day that I am significant…my life, my jobs, my family are all significant because HE sees them all.  I’ve also written in my journal several times, this statement…”If I feel insignificant, how do my Navajo sisters feel?  Do they feel forgotten?  Do they feel less than, the way I often do?”  I don’t know the answer to those questions-I do know that so many of the women in the Wildcat Den with me were just as overwhelmed as I was that day.

The following weekend, I saw a dream become a reality.  I met with Mrs. Hilda, a pastor’s wife from one of our partner churches, and we wrote a Sunday School curriculum.  Yes, you read that right, we wrote a Sunday School curriculum.  One of our biggest challenges in ministry since we arrived is that our beautiful church families are tired.  Most, if not all, work full time jobs, run churches and have families to help provide care. Many are running these churches alone.  Many are families trying to raise up a new generation of believers, however, at the end of the week they are weary and putting together a lesson causes some difficulty.  Almost immediately, I began to dream of what it would look like for me to work with other Navajo church leaders to write a children’s ministry curriculum…one that spanned the wide variety of ages served in our churches and that was dynamic and thought provoking and ultimately lead the next generation of Navajo to Christ.

Well.  We did it. Mrs. Hilda, me and Jesus. We did it.

In December, at Christmas on the Rez, Mrs. Hilda and I will present each of our fifteen partner churches with an entire year’s worth of lessons for children.  Bible stories, games, crafts, monthly themes and memory verses-they’re getting it all.  My prayer is that each year, more and more of our Navajo leaders will join in and that I’ll work myself out of a job.  My greatest joy will be the day I am able to hand off the curriculum weekend to my sweet sisters in Christ and watch them complete a year’s worth of lessons on their own. I can’t wait to watch Jesus move in the hearts of the young people here on the Rez, to see His spirit dwell within them and watch them grow and move into a working, fluid relationship with Him.

Now, you might be asking why I’d want to work myself out of a job.  The Navajo are a strong people.  They are powerful and bold.  I’ve written many times about the fierceness they have in prayer, about their gentleness with the land and their livestock and the way they continually turn their eyes to Jesus.  The simple fact is, the Navajo don’t need me.  The Navajo are fully capable of reaching their own people. I am simply here as a servant.  I want to work myself into a cheerleader and not a leader.  I want to be their biggest supporter and their smallest dependency.  I want my children to grow up loving their brown cousins and trusting whole-heartedly, the way Little Man does, that he is Navajo, too.  We may not have the same color skin-we were adopted though…into the family of Christ and into our Navajo family.

My hope is that as you read these ramblings, they’ll all make sense.  I hope you’ll feel my heart and the way it beats for the Navajo.  I hope you’ll begin to understand that what started out as a calling only revealed to J and a blue-eyed, six year old, has become a passion that pours out of every fiber of my being.  I am not Navajo; I am FOR the Navajo.  I am forever changed by the brown eyes that see into my heart, by the smooth brown skinned hands that hold mine as we pray together and the beautiful black hair that dances as the desert wind blows.  I am humbled and thankful to do life with my Rez family.  I am honored to have been adopted, accepted, and loved by them.  I am not Navajo, although, my heart beats to the rhythm of Navajo land.  Thank you, Jesus, for bringing my family here…for bringing me here, for holding steady when I couldn’t see.

…a choice.

Last weekend, I had the privilege of flying back East to meet my niece.  It was a quick change of pace as I was able to travel the six hours to the airport, alone.  Fly, alone.  Both coming and going.  It was nice…however, I quickly realized that I’m so used to constant noise, I almost needed a little. Ha.  Isn’t that the way of things, I needed a break…got one and then it was too quiet.  I sang to Lauren Daigle and Adele as loudly as I possibly could, though, so that was pretty nice.

I’ve needed some time to process all the feelings that went with seeing, for the first time, my sister being a mama, meeting my beautiful niece and watching my BIL and sister work together to take care of this precious little girl that Jesus has given them.  I’ll admit, it was kind of cool to NOT be the one feeding a baby at 3 am.  I got to spend some good time snuggling and singing and speaking truth about who Jesus is to her and then pass her off to her Mama and Daddy and that was WAY cool.

When I first arrived at NayNay and Bubba’s house, I looked down at this tiny face and was overwhelmed with God’s goodness, with His love, and with love for this tiny human I’d only imagined.  I remember praying years ago that one day, I’d be able to share motherhood with my sister.  I remember praying that we’d be able to have real conversations that were more than surface level deep and that we’d be able to joke about the craziness of being a parent, as well as the joy.  What I didn’t realize all those years ago, was that it would take me working through some pretty intense things, to get to a place where I could just be her sister and not feel compelled to be the mother. It was a crazy good feeling to just be the sister, the aunt, the sister-in-law and not be the one in control and trying to fix things.  I felt such joy in watching NayNay be a mommy and not telling her how to do things.  It was incredible to see how easily she’s slipped into the rhythm of motherhood, how Bubba has stepped up as such a support person for NayNay, how all of a sudden their house felt like a little home with a family.  I loved my time with them and my time with my little Lo-Lo.

Meanwhile, back on the Rez, Justin was manning the fort and thanks to some great support people, the weekend went off without a hitch.

I realized last weekend that love really is a choice.  I’m constantly reminded of this truth.  It was ever present in the weekend, though.  As I’ve spent this week processing my feelings and the events of my time back East and all the things here on the Rez, I’ve stepped into a place where I’m realizing that even those in my life who are hard to love, hard to please, hard to walk alongside, I get to choose to love them or not.  Not loving them, though, isn’t being Jesus with skin on and that’s my greatest motivation.  I want others to see Him in everything I do.  The reality of this truth is that it’s not easy.  Sometimes its literally the hardest thing I’ve walked through.  Lots of times, it’s not what I want to do at all.  It’s not what my flesh wants to lean into…it is what He tells me to lean into.  Lean into love…”if I speak with the tongues of men and angels, yet do not have love, I am simply a resounding gong or cymbal.” -1 Cor. 13:1.  I don’t want to be a cymbal or a gong…honestly, the thought of that grates my nerves…how much more does it work the nerves of those I’m around?  In truth, I don’t have to please everyone, I get to choose whether to involve them in my life or not, I get to choose who to allow into my inner circle, the ones who understand me best…I also get to choose to love.  Loving doesn’t mean giving in or letting someone manipulate…love doesn’t mean putting on a smile just to please someone else.  Love means truth.  Love means honesty and openness and being willing to do the hard things.  “Love is…patient, kind.  It does not envy or boast. It is not proud, it is not rude or self seeking.  It is not easily angered.  And keeps no record of wrongs.  It does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes and endures all things.” -1 Cor. 13:4-7

If I’m being honest, I’m not really good at the keeping no record of wrongs…forgiveness has always been a struggle for me.  But God.  He can and does help steer me away from bitterness and anger, every. single. day.

For me.  I’m choosing love.  Even when it’s hard and ugly and not what I want to see.  As a people pleaser, that’s pretty difficult.  I’m pressing into Jesus.  Trusting that He can do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine.  He loves me that much.  He loves you that much too.

Small

I recently read Rachel Hollis’ book, Girl, Wash Your Face.  I’d read many Facebook posts and several articles raving about the book and it was recommended to me by a dear friend.  So, all those things combined with the fact that her last name matches the first name of my very best friend, I figured it couldn’t be a bad read.  It wasn’t.  It was actually really good, a quick, easy, busy mom-friendly kind of book.  I appreciated her wit and insight into what its like to be a mom and a wife and a young woman who is still trying to determine what the greater plan for life will be.

What I appreciated most though was a section of her book where she talks about making herself small to please other people.  She says this, “You were not made to be small! You were made to be the best version of yourself… and the best version of you does not shrink herself to fit inside of anyone else’s expectations! Be brave in the face of uncertainty. Be bold in pursuit of your goals. Be unapologetically you!”.

When I read those words, it was like being slapped in the face.  All my life, I made myself small to please other people.  Aced a math test, oh no big deal.  Made first chair clarinet, great job but you can be better.  Played like a big dog on the ball field, you were good but so and so was better.  As a college student, I wanted others to like me so I made a very small deal of myself and my faith.  I fumbled the ball in that department quite a bit.  I made my morals small, on lots of occasions, to get others to be my friend.  As a young woman, I sunk to low levels to keep a guy who never really loved me.  As a wife and mom, I find myself consistently making myself small, my thoughts, my ideas, my dreams small so that no one is offended.  I find myself walking through each day growing increasingly concerned about what it means to live a “life on mission”. I watch all six of my littles watching me…how will Mama react?  How will she handle adversity?  How will she handle the Goliath that’s in front of her?  Will she be brave and bold like she encourages us?  Will she stand up for the God things?

The truth is…

I make myself small.

I don’t want to be seen.  I don’t want to be heard, not really.  I only want to be seen by my people.  Those closest to me, those who are called to love me regardless.  The reality is though that love is a choice, much the same way that my being small is a choice.

Do you know what’s even crazier than making myself small so that other’s don’t see me.  So that other’s can’t disagree with my ideas or dreams?  It’s that for most of my life, I’ve believed it works. Ha.

Disclaimer:  it doesn’t.

God didn’t call us to be timid and small.  He called us to live out our lives as He’s created us.  He’s called us to walk in the fullness and understanding that we are worthy to be loved simply because HE CREATED US!  EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US!  Y’all.  How do we as Christians miss this so often?  How do we sit by and watch as we tear one another apart?  How do we walk through life, day in and day out, and choose not to love the very thing that God created in His own image?  Choose not to love other’s well?  I can’t make it make sense, other than a little part of us all must want to be small. Not seen.  Not heard.

I need to be honest.  I can’t live like that anymore.

I’m what others might call a spirited introvert.  I so enjoy being around MY people, the ones I’m really close to.  I also THRIVE in quiet.  The times where no one is talking to me, where I can sing, write, read or draw.  I am at peace in silence.  It is often the best part of my day when there is LITERALLY no one speaking to me.  When I read Rachel’s earlier statement, I realized I’ve been using my introverted-ness (is that even a word?) as a way to make myself even smaller.

Here’s the thing.  I watch people all around me make themselves small, too.  I’ve watched my beautiful Navajo brothers and sisters make themselves small because for so long they were forced to be so.  So many of my Navajo family have incredible intellect.  They are smarter than the average bear and many have more common sense than most.  They are wise.  Often, they see things others can not because we don’t take the time.  Life is often too busy in the Anglo world to realize what’s right in front.

That’s sad to me.  There are lots of things out here that are sad to me.  Right now, though, the saddest is watching these beautiful people make themselves small.

My prayer is that I’ll stop sticking to small.  My prayer is that I will be bold, like a lion.  That through my boldness, my brothers and sisters will take heart as well.  That they will step out of small, too.  And that together, we can walk in the fullness of who God has called us to be and we’ll be able to love each other and the world BIG…not small.