An hour and 15 minutes

I have one hour and 15 minutes until I leave for the airport.

Get excited, world. Get excited.

As I mentioned in the last post, please be praying as often as you remember for my team and for the hearts of people that we meet. I want to love on people that I meet, even though I can't spend one-on-one time with them. I want the Lord to be glorified through and through. As I sit here, working on lesson plans and chillin with Custis and Lauren, my heart is racing. I'm nervous to death. I'm afraid that I will say something wrong, or teach something in a fashion that doesn't get across what I want to get across... but the Lord will work no matter what.  The Lord is mighty and will work through my failures, thank goodness. 

Lord, work through my team and me this week. Let us glorify You, even when our human faults shine through brighter than ever. I love you, Father. You are Good, even when I am not. I lift up the lives of my team and I ask for safety. I ask that you put us in situations that are out of comfort zone, and will push us to cleave to You. Lord, reveal yourself to the hearts of those we come into contact with. If they do not know You, God, POUR OUT UPON THEM! Let the people's of the nations shout Your glory!

I love you, Father.
I love you, friends :)

I am praying for you and missing you.


Art that breathes... and other rambles.

((This is a 3 part blog. I have three completely different things to address, I just haven't had any other time to get on. Okay, that's partly a lie. I haven't had the words to address them in. See part one.))

I don't remember the last time I really just poured out into my art. 
I mean, woke up that morning, got out of bed, and raced to my camera or to my pencil, ready for the day. I miss that.

I miss the feeling of a stack of blank paper, ready to be written on, and actually having ideas flowing from me. I miss the feeling of the film winding and already having 15 more shots pictured in my head.

This dry spell is taking a toll on me. 

I want to write and I want to take pictures. I want to create something from my inspiration- but I feel like I have none. A good friend of mine and I have talked about how when she's painting, it's such a sweet alone time with the Lord... and really, it's the same for me. It's a place where the Lord can meet me and I'm open with Him. A lot of my work has never been seen by anyone but me, simply because it is my place of intimacy with my Lover. What is keeping me from meeting Him there anymore? 

Is it fear of failure? Lord, I miss having time with you in my art. I can see a lack of drive in my photography, my writing, even my voice. 

I want to meet with you. I desire to spill my passion for you onto a new canvas, I just need you to open me to what you are pouring in, because I feel like I'm closing myself off to you. I want art that breathes your truth to the nations.

"He put a new song in my mouth,
   a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
   and put their trust in the LORD."  Psalm 40:3


I've been asked a couple times about my name. Taraji527.
Taraji is a word that the Lord laid on my heart a couple years ago, as he begun to point me in the direction he wanted my life going. It's a word that reminds me of my joy in the Lord and how much love He has for the world. Taraji is swahili for "hope for".  As many of you know, I have a slight bit of an obsession with Africa. In fact, I'm getting an african footprint (like this http://www.ualberta.ca/~saga/images/shirts/old/footprint2.jpg) tattooed on the top of my right foot with the words "Taraji 527" written through it. It is a reminder to be in constant prayer for the peoples of Africa, and the world. I have HOPE that the Lord is working, even in the darkest places, those that seem hopeless. 
The numbers 527 are important to me because of Isaiah 52:7.  "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns.'" You may have caught this, but I also have a thing about feet. Hah. Some people hate feet. I love them. In fact, I started a photo series called "Beautiful Feet" once. I would like to one day finish that. It's funny that I love feet... because that's one thing I hate about myself. I have funny looking feet. I danced for several years and ran track for a long time. My feet are NOT what I would call "beautiful feet", yet the Lord tells me that they are! Crazy. That verse, and that number, has been everywhere for me recently. License plates, clocks, I wrote a check the other day for $52.70. To me, 527 is a sign of peace in the Lord's plan for my life and joy in His heart for the nations.
So there you have it Taraji527.  ... And feet ... 

(Side note. I just talked to Blair a minute ago and she said she saw a guy today with an Isaiah 52:7 shirt. Crazy times.)


Lastly, but definitely not least:
In 2 days and 7 hours, I will be driving to the airport to leave for Haiti.  Yes. Haiti. Les Cayes, specifically.
I'm pretty stoked :) I listened to my Haitian Bible Songs cds last night on the way home from Falls Creek and I danced, sang really loudly, and just got excited for what the Lord is going to be doing while we are there.
In case you have yet to hear about the trip, I'm going for 10 days to Les Cayes, Haiti, with 5 others from my church. I'm the youngest.. the next two are in their 30s, then one in his early 60s, and then two in their late 60s. Not exactly my normal crowd to hang out with, but I couldn't love my group more. We will be going to teach music in a camp that the missionary has run every summer for the past 16 years! I will be helping with the choir, as well as teaching voice and helping in the beginners piano class. Additionally, we will have devotionals in the morning, and I'm hoping that the Lord will provide sweet opportunities to really talk with the Haitians and find out what their background is and how they see the Lord working. I'm telling you this in order to ask for prayer. Some things specifically:
1. Safety. That may seem like an awfully "mom"ish thing to ask for prayer about- but Haiti doesn't exactly have the best reputation as far as sexual assault and what not. I think thats one thing that the Lord is going to work with me on, just trusting Him for my safety. Not being dumb and just trusting anyone I meet, of course, but not being afraid to step out and go to a place that is slightly scary for a 20 year old girl who has had issues with that in the past. Sometimes I struggle with the idea of living in a poor country and how dangerous it might be for my family (if I'm lucky enough to have one!), but who am I to turn God down simply because I'm frightened?! Psssh.
2. Communication. We will have a translator there with us, but there will still be a huge communication and cultural barrier! Living with an international student this summer, I've realized that I'm not as good at breaking past that as I'd sometimes like to think I am, so just prayer that it wouldn't get in the way of us sharing the gospel.
3. Worship! There is this wonderful quote in this book I'm kind of obsessed with (Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions) that says "Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exist because worship does not. Worship is ultimate, not missions..." I think that sums it up well. We are there to glorify the Lord on high. As a music nerd, it's easy to get caught up in the details of composition or the imperfections in the piano piece, but we are not there just to teach music. We are there to worship and to bring glory to Him.
4. Humble hearts. (which also ties back to worship) Pray that my team and I don't get caught up in what we are doing that we forget that He doesn't need us. He doesn't need ME or anyone else to go and teach these men and women. His name will be known no matter what. That quote I just mentioned goes on to say "...because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over and the countless millions of redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more." 
God could use the next person, or the next, it doesn't matter who he uses. His Will will be done, and He will reign forever and ever, even after my time on earth is up, after every person I meet on this trip's time is up. It matters not. What matters it that He is Lord and His name is perfect.  

I know that the Lord is going to work a lot in us and through us next week, and I can't wait to be there :)

Okay. I guess that's about it. Sweet.  I love you all, and I'm praying for you specifically.

Lord, I just lift up my life to You tonight. I am ever grateful for how You have changed my life and turned me away from my shameful past. I give up my selfish desires to You and ask that You take hold of my heart. Take hold of every piece of me- my passions, my creativity, my voice, my LIFE, God. I praise you for giving me a voice to sing with, a mind to write with, and an eye to see your beauty. Find me faithful in how I use the gifts you have given me. I surrender them to You and only You. Take those talents, Lord, and waste them up on Your glory. 
Father, pour out your blessings upon the readers of this blog. Allow them not to hear my jumbled thoughts, but to hear YOUR voice coming through. Lord, work in the every beating of their hearts. Your plan for them is so perfect, so beautiful, so intricate and amazing. I love them as my own family and I know that my love for my friends and family is NOTHING compared to Your heart for them, for the people of Your kingdom. Let me see Your kingdom, help me express Your love and beauty and truth. 
Ruin me next week, I'm begging. Allow me to never again see myself the same. Allow me to never again see You the same. Break my heart for the people I meet and rip me to pieces when I think about the lost sheep. Don't let cultural barriers frighten me away! In fact, make it so that I strive even harder to communicate the urgency of Your gospel. Keep me humble and worship-minded, and focused on You, Father.
I love you, my glorious King. My heart wanders sometimes, but You hold it next to Your own. Thank you.



An ache so strong it consumes me

I long desperately tonight. Every single thing in me cries out for the peoples of this world to know Your name.

Jesus, I'm crying for you. I'm crying for your people, Lord, please.

Why do you have me here? When the only thing I desire is you and the advancement of your kingdom throughout the people groups living in the unreached nations, in the slums, God, in the deserted corners of the abandoned warehouse? I want to see Your name exalted in the regions that have not been touched with Your truth. Why do you still have me in America, Lord?

I placed my heart at your feet. I'm waiting on you to tell me where. Please tell me where. 

I wake up crying for your people who are lost in darkness and in a world without hope. Pierce the dark, God. Pierce it with your light.

I want to be there to hold a candle, if nothing else.

Isaiah 49:6-  "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."

Isaiah 52:7- "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns.'"

Nahum 1:5-  "The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it."

Habakkuk 2:14-  "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."

Haggai 2:7- "And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts."

Mark 13:10- "And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations"

John 10:16- "And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd"

How can I ignore the call? Lord, Here I Am. Send Me.