My High Places

He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me upon my high places.

Psalm 18:33

I was pondering this verse the other day. My high places. Why MY high places? Why not just “high places”? Or “the high places”?

I won’t claim that I know what David himself meant when he wrote those words. But it got me thinking of mountains. Those things that seem too hard for me, those things that seem like I might never be able to overcome.

The difficulties I face aren’t all the same as yours. And it’s likely that the ones I face seem a lot bigger and more imposing to me than the ones you face, because those are the ones I personally confront. Those, in a sense, are MY high places.

Our God wants to set our feet on the tops of the impossible mountains we have to climb. He leads us in victory in Christ. In Him we are more than conquerors. And this is a reality He desires to live out in us! Whatever it is you face, our God is fully able to set your feet on your high places!

Take the very hardest thing in your life – the place of difficulty, outward or inward, and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot. Just there He can bring your soul into blossom.

Lilias Trotter, Parables of the Cross

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. You could replace the word “school” with anything worth doing. What glory it would add to every moment of life if I did it with this singing in my heart!

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:36, NASB

(P. S. – sorry for the sloppy handwriting 😂)

Long Distance Fellowship | Week 8 Update

Today was Election Day in Bolivia! Things should be calm today and even in the next few days, but there is potential for emotion to erupt into action in the weeks to come. Please be praying for favorable results from the election, and for the peace of Bolivia in the coming months! Pray that these elections would be another tool God uses to advance His Kingdom Bolivia.

This is Muffin. Cat pictures make every blog more interesting, right? 🐈

One thing that kept coming to mind this week was the incredible blessing and strength that comes from comaraderie. Missions can be a lonely course for many. So many people who choose to faithfully follow Jesus, whether at home or abroad, face being misunderstood or even rejected by their friends and family.

This is a hardship I’ve not had to walk through. I’m blessed beyond measure by the family and friends in my life. I am showered with love and support and prayers. Friends consistently messaging me to see how I’m doing and to hear what God is doing in me.

This is not normal, and I am so very grateful. But it’s grown in me a desire to make sure that I am being that friend who is building up my brothers and sisters in Christ!

Many times, people will show a lot of interest in the ministry someone is doing. Less often will a person reach out to hear how a missionary is doing personally.

Dear brothers and sisters, reach out to your siblings in Christ! Let them know they are loved and remembered. Bear one another’s burdens. Pray for one another.

It seems to me to be a biblical principle that those who help support a laborer for Christ will share in the reward that laborer is given. (Matt. 10:40-41, Phil. 1:3-7.) Whatever reward God might give me for the work I am doing now, many will be sharing in it.

Are there any rewards you’ll be sharing in?

I don’t know what this plant is, but it’s beautiful! We were awing over it outside. Then one of the girls picked it for her mom. We were a bit disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to watch it grow. “Mom, look what I picked for you!” “Oh. That’s sad.” 😂

Join in my reward! 😉 Please be praying…

  • For Bolivia as the election results come out
  • For continued rain
  • There’s going to be a biiiiig party at the children’s home this week to celebrate their electricity; lots of important people from the town nearby are invited! Pray that doors would open for the Gospel, doors of opportunity for physical and practical needs to be met would open, greater favor would be gained with local authorities and leaders, and more connections would be made. As well as everything going well for the big party, haha. 🙂

And for those wondering, Screwtape is doing really well. He seems to have recovered from his encounter with the broom, and got an enclosure upgrade this week!

Never forget our greatest reward, Jesus Christ Himself. Never stop pressing on so as to attain Him!

Looking unto Jesus,

Olivia

Teachers and Trees

Happy World Teacher’s Day! I get the day off today – but that’s because I’m in the big city, getting paperwork done for immigration. But that meant enjoying my first affogato (which I enjoyed very much), so there’s that, anyway!

Anyway… I tend to think about teaching a lot. Which might be because I’m a teacher. But recently while listening in on someone else’s conversation (teachers are good at that) my mind was lit up with a picture of what a teacher is.

Teachers are like trees. Or any plant, really, but trees sound more poetic. And alliteration-y.

Teachers are like trees because they start out needy yet humble, and therefore willing to receive. The little saplings freely drink in all the nourishment the Lord sends them from the sky and the earth. The little trees take all that is given them and grow into big, strong, stately things.

Perhaps being able to use a description like this is another reason I like the idea of comparing teachers to trees. Ha. Yet, so far, doesn’t this describe all humans? Small and helpless at the start, and unable to grow unless able to humble themselves and receive – and learn. I mean, call me pretentious but I’m assuming someone taught you how to read…

What makes teachers stand out in the midst of the forest is that their ultimate goal in being made strong is to pour out what they have received to see others made strong. A teacher’s job is to take everything stored in him or her and give of themselves to fill up others.

This can be scary. This can be vulnerable. But when it’s done right, the end result is always life! And just as when the tree nears the height of its giving, it bursts into floral glory; so the teacher is at his or her most glorious when pouring out in selfless abandon, giving his or her life that others may become big, strong, and stately.

Teachers, keep on receiving. From Jesus first, then from everyone else around you. Then, keep on giving. The grace, the gifts, the life that rain down in us from heaven and that we soak up from the earth – these are given to us so that we can pour them out again.

Made strong to be poured out… that is the life of a tree; that is the life of a teacher.

Thoughts on Testimony

I’m gearing up to finally start sharing my story of how I ended up in Bolivia! Before I do, I wanted to share my heart behind sharing personal testimony. ♥

Testimony is descriptive, not prescriptive.

I love to use the blind men Jesus healed as an example of this. One man He touched and the man’s eyes were healed (Matt. 9:27-31; 20:30-34). He put clay on the eyes of another man and had the man go wash, and then the man was healed (John 9:1-7). For Bartimaeus Jesus simply spoke and he received his sight (Mark 10:46-52). Yet another time Jesus had to lay hands on a man twice before his sight was fully restored (Mark 8:22-26).

So what then is the proper way of healing a blind man? Seems there isn’t a specific way it has to happen. But what is consistent in every case is that it does happen, and that it is the Lord Jesus, preforming the Father’s will in the power of the Spirit, making it happen.

Just because God does something a specific way in my life doesn’t mean He’ll do it the same way in your life. Don’t feel bad or feel like you’re doing something wrong if God doesn’t work in you the same way He works in me!

When I share a story of how God has worked in my life, I’m not trying to share a teaching about how God works. God can and does accomplish the same end using different means.

That said, there’s always the possibility He will work in your life in the same way He works in mine. And that’s okay, too. 🙂 Just keep your eyes fixed on our Guide, not on the method He uses to guide.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5, NASB

Eternal and universal truth can be illustrated in testimony.

…and I pray that the Lord gives me the articulation to highlight the eternal and universal truth that can be brought out of the testimony that I share!

My relationship with Pinterest is a great example of a story that doesn’t necessarily apply to others, but the principle behind it applies to everyone.

I’ve had to give up Pinterest – no turning back. For me, it was too much of a snare. I loved using it as a tool to collect and save resources, especially for teaching and cooking! Unfortunately, I had the hardest time not getting distracted by it. I might go on intending to find a new recipe to try that week, and hours later find myself looking at pictures of snow leopards and galaxies or just mindlessly scrolling through pins.

My efforts to bring my Pinterest time under control didn’t make things better. Trying to be responsible wasn’t doing it. Telling myself I wouldn’t get distracted next time didn’t keep me from getting distracted next time. It became clear to me that I had to give Pinterest up completely, and that to refuse to give it up would be to rebel against the clear leading of the Lord.

It would be really easy for me to start preaching against Pinterest and telling everyone they needed to delete their accounts and renounce all association with it. But Pinterest wasn’t the problem. My lack of self-control was. Pinterest can be a powerful and helpful tool in the hands of those who have the self-control and discernment to manage it well. I shouldn’t expect anyone else to give up Pinterest just because I had to.

What I should encourage is that others root out anything that distracts them from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. If I ever find myself exhorting another believer to remove distractions, I can give my Pinterest story as an example. But the whole reason I’d give it would be to make clear the underlying truth that applies to all people everywhere in all time: let nothing distract you from Christ.

Pray that the Lord gives me the ability to bring out those truths in every personal story I share!

My desire is to share what I’ve been given.

Ultimately, what I’d like to do through sharing my life is to encourage you all, spur you on in your pursuit of Jesus, and make much of that wonderful Lord we are pursuing. I firmly believe that all the gifts we are given, we are given so that we can bless others. My life, my story, my ability to write – these are all gifts the Lord has given me, and I want to use all of them to build up the body of Christ.

I pray this blog as a whole will bring life to those who visit, whether it be through delighting those who love me, encouraging fellow believers, or maybe even inspiring the next one God calls to go to the ends of the earth. I desire for the life of God to pour through me as I walk in step with His Spirit.

This is no small task! Yet in Christ I have everything I need for all that God calls me to. And you do, too. 😉

With eyes on Him,
Olivia

Prepared in Advance

Is it not the same wonderful Fashioner Who fits us and our ministry together, and forms us through it with unerring precision, preparing us for the white stone and the new name which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it, eternity’s seal on the heavenly individuality of each. That eternal future will show how the Lord had need of each of us in our varying character, and how all that made up this earthly life fitted us for “bearing about” the special manifestation of Jesus entrusted to us, in which no other could take our place.

Lilias Trotter, Parables of the Christ-life

I feel like I’m surrounded by my favorite things! Kiddos and kittens and critters and brilliant, brilliant night skies! I’m not entirely fond of not having AC or warm showers, but those feel like small prices to pay in light of what I have gained. More and more, I am seeing how God has been shaping me for this very position I am in now; I hope to gradually share some of that backstory with you all eventually! (BTW, highly recommend Parables of the Christ-life!!! Free to download on Gutenberg.org!)

…we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10, NASB

Behold My God!

“Olivia, I think it’s just so great that you’re doing this!”

Over the last few months, I’ve had several people say things along those lines. It’s really sweet and really encouraging. They want to build me up by pointing out what they see God doing in me. Or sometimes, they’re just blown away by the fact that I’m doing what I’m doing and feel the need to express that.

There is a secret as to how I’m able to give up so much and do potentially scary/uncomfortable things for God. But it actually has nothing to do with who I am. It has nothing to do with what a great or amazing or faithful person I am.

Knowing Jesus

In one of my favorite sermons, Knowing Jesus, Major Ian Thomas describes two cars. The first car is the ultimate rust bucket. It’s probably fifty years old. You can just see this thing driving down the highway and slowly disintegrating as it goes. In fact, when you open the door, it falls off.

If I told you that I was going to drive that car from California to Maine, you would have reason to be impressed with the level of my faith. You’d have reason to be concerned about the level of my faith, even.

But what if it were a new car? One with 650 HP. Fifty MPG. New tires, new everything. A squeaky-clean accident record and no history of mechanical problems.

Would you be so impressed with my faith in this car if I told you I was going to drive from California to Maine in this?

And what was the difference? The car. Because you knew what the car was like, you knew that me thinking it would make it cross-country wasn’t that impressive.

Guys, if we KNEW our God, we wouldn’t be impressed by the faith of men. When we heard about the trust and confidence that others have in Him, our response would be, “Well, DUH.”

Be Impressed with My Jesus

The reason I’m able to do things that seem impressive to others is not because of who I am, but because of who God is. It’s because I know Him.

He is my Provider (Phil. 4:19). He is always with me, and He, the Almighty Creator of the universe, is my Helper (Heb. 13:5-6)! He is constant and unchanging (James 1:17), and He will use everything for my good (Rom. 8:28). He delights to give good gifts (Matt. 7:11), and nothing will ever separate me from His love (Rom. 8:38-39).

And that’s just the beginning! With a God like that, and who is so much more than that even, is it really so impressive for me to take any risk for Him? To do anything uncomfortable for Him? To give up anything for Him?

When you see me, or anyone, do “impressive” things for God, don’t be impressed with us. Be impressed with our God.

And you know what else? That is your secret, too. Your secret to living a life of full surrender to Jesus. Of doing risky or impressive things for God. Of venturing you all for Christ and changing this world for His glory. Know Jesus.

…the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.

Daniel 11:32b, NKJV

Chase after Jesus, friends!

His and yours,
Olivia

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