sowing kindness. reaping joy.

ImageGod is kind. faithfully & undeservingly kind. he knows my heart has been stained with sin & there is nothing on this earth i could ever do to be worthy enough for Him…yet He chooses me anyway. yes. God is kind. 

i’ve lived on this island for a month & a half & i have seen the kindness of Jesus in abundance. i’m learning that kindness is Christ reflected in our hearts & every single second is an opportunity to demonstrate that kindness. normally, when i was in the States, i would pass someone while walking down the street or at the store & i wouldn’t really acknowledge them. not in a rude way, but i certainly wasn’t going out of my way to speak to them. i would go into a coffee shop or a restaurant & smile & utter a short & sweet “thanks so much,” & that was as far as i’d allow the conversation to go. i don’t necessarily think this was a bad thing, but lately i’ve come to realize how many sweet stories & lovely conversations i’ve missed out on & i didn’t like that at all.

so i’ve changed the way i do life with strangers. i see them on the street or in line at the farmer’s market or while hiking, & i talk to them. always. & sometimes it doesn’t go very far, but sometimes it does. i’ve made several new friends simply by no longer allowing the conversation to end at “thanks so much.” these are people from all walks of life: elementary aged children, high school graduates, mail men, street artists, single mothers, foreign exchange students, & everything in between. at first it was kind of awkward & uncomfortable, but now i find the time i get to visit with strangers kind of special, because i know that Jesus cherishes every single one of these people (even the strange woman on drugs with purple hair & twenty tattoos.)  i want so badly to be a living image of Christ’s kindness, & His kindness is the kind that pursues….even when it’s awkward & uncomfortable.

my favorite book in the whole wide world is To Kill a Mockingbird. i’ve read it at least fifteen times & i still learn from it. one of my favorite parts is when Atticus is teaching his daughter Scout about how to treat people with kindness, & this is what he says,

“you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin & walk around in it.”

i love that. it sounds so weird & intimidating but so genuine & profound. i want to do my very best love these people & take them on a journey that leads to Jesus & if that requires being kind to strangers, then that is what i will do. & if you’re wondering about the sweet stories & lovely conversation that you might be missing out on… i encourage you take a second & be kind to a stranger. i for one am real thankful that when i was far from jesus he didn’t awkwardly pass me by. we must stop rejecting the unfamiliar. we are missing out the blessings of servanthood. & i refuse to miss out any longer. 

 

jesus thank you for loving me. thank you for the ways in which you pursue me & show kindness to me. teach me, father how to serve those who are far from you. give me your eyes to see the needs of others. help me to be brave enough to love & encourage people who are unfamiliar to me. forgive me for the ways that i have failed to show kindness to those around me. i want everyone to know the joy & forgiveness & freedom that comes from christ. thank you for letting me live on this teeny tiny island for the summer to be your hands & your feet & thank you for your grace, it has delighted me more than anything i will ever know.

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where life happens

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this is the table. things happen here. this is where i start my day. i sit here & i eat a bowl of yogurt & granola & blueberries. this is where we eat dinner every night. this is where max paints & where andrew hides when he’s not ready to shower yet. this is where ashley teaches us new things about the bible & where we talk about the good things that we find in each day. but something else happens here & this particular thing is my favorite thing. stories happen here. some really good stories, some really sad stories, some stories about triumph, some stories about heartbreak, some stories about life, some stories about loss & everything in between. this is where we sit with people, sometimes people i’ve never met before. but then they share their story & they invite me into this small snapshot of their life & suddenly we aren’t strangers anymore. that’s what i love about this table, something special happens here. i’ve learned so much about Jesus just by taking a seat at the table and listening to people share their story. we share stories too, like the story of The Village & how it started. i used to watch ashley tell the story, but now i watch the people across the table, who are hearing these stories for the first time. some of these people are believers, most of them aren’t. & when the story is over they always say “how does something like that just happen?” & ashley’s answer is always the same, “Jesus.” & just like that, we have an opportunity to share an even greater story, a story about a God who created the heavens & the earth & who loved us so much that he sent his son to die for us so that we could experience a relationship with the One Who has written us on the palms of His hands. stories like that are meant to be shared & i’m real thankful for small wooden tables & kind strangers who sit at these tables & share their stories with me. & i really hope we have storytelling in heaven, because i bet they’d be really good. 

grace & peace,

taylor

island livin

things here have been crazy busy & crazy wonderful & i would really like to tell you all about it.

Imageone sunday after church we went to a rainforest and hiked to a waterfall. we climbed through a little cave & we pretended it was our house. andrew made a “no girls allowed” rule but was gracious enough to bend the rules for me. he makes me smile.

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last week i took the dogs for a walk & stumbled upon a scene of Indiana Jones. you’d be surprised at how realistic it looked considering the fact that we live on a mountain. kids do cooler things when they don’t have cable. mitchell here is proof.

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went for a walk & found some of my favorite flowers on the side of the road. most of them are weeds, but i don’t really mind. it reminded me of how jesus turns things that are meant to be ugly into things that are actually really special if we take the time to look for them on the side of the road.

Imagelast week we had church on the living room floor. some would call it dysfunctional, but to me that time was really beautiful. the bible says when two or more are gathered in His name He is present, & if we gotta start somewhere, why not here…on the living room floor.

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canada day was a few days ago & to celebrate i climbed a really tall mountain….in chacos….& overalls. originally we were just going for a walk & having a picnic, but when opportunity knocks you answer. i stood on the summit & looked out on the whole island. there’s nothing quite like it. if you’ve never climbed a mountain, i really think you should. maybe not in chacos though.

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i’ve met some  beautiful people & heard some beautiful stories & i’ve seen jesus do beautiful things through the village ministry. these are just real people with real hearts just searching for real truth. & sometimes i take that for granted, but when i really sit down & think about it for a second i realize what an opportunity i have here. these are people i have grown to love & the thought of them not knowing the greatest gift the world has ever known makes my heart ache, but i know that peace rules the day when christ rules my heart & for now, that is enough for me.

have Your way, Jesus.

grace & peace

taylor