Packing my Bags

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I’m packing my bags.

I prayed for years for God to send me on a mission trip, but the details never worked out right. Then last year, when God asked me to “be still” and watch Him at work, He opened the doors for me to go to the Dominican Republic. I leave on Thursday.

I’ve poured over the packing list. And as I’ve configured my travel toothbrush, some antacids and my Bible, I realized I packed so much more that you cannot see.

I take with me each of the people who bought the 115 Everyday Missionary shirts to help support my trip. I take those who selflessly sent checks to One Vision. God provided immeasurably more than enough.

I pack away the memory of my grandmother who paid the way to my first ever writer’s conference and really planted the seed that started this journey here. Tucked deep down are my Memaw and Pop – my Pop was a man who dedicated his life to preaching the word of God with Memaw by his side. He was the one who told me to ignore God’s calling on my life, because if God was truly calling me, He wouldn’t let up. Pop was right.

My uncle Frank sent me a gift of love to help support my trip in memory of my aunt Gail – she who had a heart for internationals. I take her memory with me and hold it close.

Friends, I’m an emotional mess. I’m humbled that God would use a silly sequined girl like me to bring His message of love and grace. Did you know that just seven years ago, on that first trip across the nation to the writer’s conference in New Mexico, my girlfriend Amy had to hold my hand and let me cry on take off? I was scared to death.

And now this. Don’t let me fool you. I’m not as cool and confident as I may seem. The sparkles and bling are a deflection of the mess of me. I’m really not all that. I’m just someone who has been absolutely changed by Jesus.

I’m the one who cries most days during my quiet time, because as I read God’s Word I’m so amazed and humbled. I am not the same girl I used to be.

I am changed.
I’ve been redeemed.
I’m chosen.

And because of that, I can’t keep it to myself. So every day, I take my knee-knocking self to the foot of the cross and humbly ask God to use me.

Some days that’s loving on my twelve-year old son and letting him know that no matter what crazy things he does, I’m going to love him anyway. Other days it’s listening to a friend who needs to pour her heart out about family problems.

Still others find me (crazy enough) in prison, loving on the men there and learning from them about grace.

So this week, God is taking me to the Dominican Republic. Not because I’m somebody so awesome, but because HE is!

So if you are reading these words, I ask you to please pray for me and the team that will minister there this week. Pray also for the missionaries there and the Dominican women who will attend the conference.

And if you are reading this and are wishing God would “wow” you in your own life, I have a secret for you. He is waiting to do just that. Just let Him know you want to be used. But don’t sit around waiting for Him to use you. Draw close to Him and spend time in His presence, because that is where you will see change. You can’t be in God’s presence and remain the same. And when you are changed, you can’t help but share it with others.

Thank you sweet friends. Thank you for loving me.

I will be blogging from the trip – the Lord willing and the creek don’t rise – so stay tuned. If you don’t already receive my posts by email, you can sign up in the upper right corner. You’ll just get an email on the days I post something new.

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All my love,

Carol

Learning to Smile from the Inside Out

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It was our third snow day, and I was passing out chores like candy. Around the house were trails of discarded mittens and scarves, random shoes and a smattering of toys. To top it off, it looked like someone took a saltshaker of tiny, dried, brown bits of grass and shook it wildly over every speck of the floor.

All I wanted was a little help sprucing up. Was that too much to ask?

Join me today at the Internet Cafe where I’m posting about learning to smile from the inside out. ;) Click HERE to read the rest of my devotion.

Carol

Where I’ve Been

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Miss me? I haven’t been around in a month!

I’m still writing, just not here lately. I’ve been writing for the Presidential Prayer Team, The Internet Café and Just 18 Summers.

But I’ve also been working on the talks for my upcoming mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I’m getting very excited. I leave March 27 and will return the 31st.

God has provided in ways that I can’t even comprehend. I want to share with you and I will, but first – can I ask you a favor? If you bought an Everyday Missionary t-shirt, would you please send me a picture of you in the shirt?

You can go through my contact page to get my email address, or if we are Facebook friends, you can tag me in a picture or direct message me. (If we aren’t Facebook friends, come friend me.)

I’d like to write a post about the mission trip and feature pictures of some of the people who bought shirts. Thank you so much! I look forward to hearing from you.

*Photo credit

Lots of love,

Carol

When Life is Hard to Swallow

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I’m really not a dog lover.

I don’t tell cute dog stories over coffee with friends. It’s not often my dog has a picture on Facebook. But, there are times when I look at the floppy ears on her hair-dropping self and think, “You’re pretty cute. When you don’t stink and aren’t shaking tufts of fur all over the house and aren’t licking your…”

Well, let’s just leave it at that…

I’m posting over at the Internet Cafe today. Click HERE to read the rest of my devotion.

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And today is the last day of my t-shirt sale to support my mission trip to the Dominican Republic. After today, you will not be able to order a shirt, so if you wanted an Everyday Missionary shirt, don’t miss out! HERE is the link for a t-shirt order.

For those of you who have ordered one already and for those of you who are praying, thank you!!

Carol

Is Jesus Cold? and Mission Trip Update

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Hey Friends! First of all, let me give you an update on the fundraiser for my mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I’ve been overwhelmed at your generosity and the way God provides.

God called me to go, and He has sent the money to cover the expenses – some of it through many of you. First, you have Facebook shared my post “How Being Still Is Causing Me to Go” 468 times! Thank you!

I set a goal to sell 75 shirts. So far, I’ve sold 65 of them, but you have donated above and beyond the sale of the shirt. On the Booster site, I have raised (including the sale of the shirts) $890!!

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My t-shirt fundraiser isn’t over yet! It has 7 days to go. After that time, you won’t be able to order the Everyday Missionary shirt anymore. If you wanted one but haven’t ordered yet, HERE is the link to the site. Please continue to share the link with your Facebook friends. I’ve had many people buy shirts that I don’t even know because you shared it with them.

I may be the one going to the Dominican, but I carry each one of you in my heart as I go. Thank you!

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I’m also posting a Giggles and Grace column over at Just 18 Summers today. You won’t believe what Grace told me while we were driving down the road the other day. Click HERE for a good chuckle.

In Him,

Carol