Geaux.

I am an LSU Tiger through and through. Pride rises in my heart at the sight of an LSU bumper sticker. Anyone wearing LSU gear is automatically an ally. I bleed purple and gold.

You might have heard about the ever-increasing tension between LSU and Alabama. I, being the Tiger that I am, have been trained for the past four years to hate all things Crimson. I have many loved ones from back home that love Alabama. I just pretend they don’t.

That said, I help lead worship for the Refuge, a wonderful college ministry at LSU. Refuge Band was invited to lead worship at a retreat for a college ministry at Alabama. Last weekend, we packed all our stuff in a trailer, hopped in a big old Yukon and made the long trek into enemy territory.

As we pulled in to the city, our drummer leaned out the window and belted “GEAUX TIGERS!!!” at the top of his lungs. As much as I don’t like Alabama, I was ashamed. We were those Tigers. Even still, there was crimson everywhere I looked. Clearly I needed to be on guard at all times.

Last weekend, I sang and played piano for a group of college kids that I didn’t know from a school that I’ve been trained to despise. But every wall of division in my heart melted to the floor as I saw their hands raised in worship and their hearts lost in the presence of God.

I got the honor to sit with a few of them and listen to their stories. I soon discovered that I was in a room full of brothers and sisters whose lives have been changed by the same Jesus who turned my own world completely upside down. It was humbling to say the least.

I will never root for Alabama.

But there is an added sweetness to my understanding that I am part of a beautiful story written by a beautiful God, who ransoms hearts from every tribe and nation and tongue and university.

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and is in all. Put on then as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.
Colossians 3:11-12

Grace and peace

Hope

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Viva La Vida

There were many “moments” that took place throughout my two-week stay in Kenya. Moments that impacted me for whatever reason. Moments that I never want to forget. Some were more “Jesus-y” than others, but each left its mark on me through and through.

The town of Naivasha sits on a beautiful lake surrounded by rolling hills with larger mountains draped across the background. Driving back to the house from the orphanage, we took a detour through a large flower farm. My absolute favorite thing to do whenever we were on the move was to crack open a window (see the About Moi page) and let the wind whip across my face as I bury my iPod deep into my ears. A momentary retreat into my own little world. That right there is a recipe for moments. Nothing burns a memory into your brain like music.

Anyway, I had my eyes locked on the sun setting beyond mountainous horizon as we were driving across the hills. We hit a clear patch along the road where there were suddenly millions of things to see. I asked Lisa (our boss missionary/hostess/driver) to back up for a second on the dirt road so I could take a couple photos.

As I was snapping the mountains to the left, a herd of gazelle leapt across the dirt road just ahead of us. I heard some of the other passengers gasp, so I whirled my head around to behold a bundle of zebras grazing just off to the right. The majority of folks in the car were photographers, so we of course jumped out to snag a better view.

We spent a good ten minutes chasing zebras, avoiding zebra shookie doo, and enjoying the view as dusk set in. When we got back to the car, Lisa asked if we wanted to ride on the roof. Heck to the yes. We climbed up and settled in the best that we could and we went merrily on our way, singing a verse in Swahili of the song that my sweet girl at House of Hope orphanage taught us. We are laughing in the light of God, we are laughing in the light of God.

The crosswind was freezing. The sky was beautiful. The hills were quiet. My heart was full.

Riding with the windows down has forever been ruined for me.

Grace and peace,
Hope