He was the one father figure that stayed consistent in my childhood and life... He will NEVER be forgotten!
My family gathered recently for a final farewell to my gramps that passed in November last year. We spread his ashes at the ocean. It was a sweet time full of laughter and tears... food and family. We flew kites, roasted hot-dogs over a campfire, and wrote notes of remembrance on a cross.
He was the one father figure that stayed consistent in my childhood and life... He will NEVER be forgotten!
There is a beauty I couldn't previously fathom that is found in the desert... A desert place literally and figuratively became my dwelling for a couple months while trying my best to be obedient to God's lead. God was clear in leading my steps to Texas... but once I arrived the purpose for my journey that I conjured up in my mind's eye was shattered. In fact all the things I had been to told to expect were not reality and the mission took a much different turn. I found myself being asked by God to carry a message of preservation and stern warning! Not exactly as exciting as sharing the Gospel and delivering little babies to thankful mamas... but still important and necessary for God. I also found that along the most difficult path I've been asked to walk was countless nuggets of promise, new friendships, truth, lessons, and these very still moments to draw nearer to my Creator. So I've been able to reflect on the trials and be incredibly grateful for all the beauty that resulted.
The city itself leaves something to be desired for this PNW native... but I did come to find something surprising: In a predominantly Hispanic population... I actually look like everyone else!! I hadn't even realized that back home I'm not the majority ethnicity... I guess I have also been raised in a family and culture that doesn't look at skin color first (thankfully) but to walk into a public space and have to search for a single blonde was pretty entertaining for me not to mention EVERY SINGLE interaction with a stranger began in Spanish until I explained I'm an English speaker only, LOL!
There was a lot about El Paso that I began to love. Especially the people! Many were so friendly and welcoming! I made a handful of meaningful connections with women at church and some of the volunteers at the youth ministry where I lived. I did however spend SO MUCH time alone... that was hard for me! But I soon found my flow of spending time with Jesus and discovering my favorite places like the ones pictured above! The church family at Abundant Living was like cool water on my dry soul!! The messages, worship, and community were on point! My favorite coffee spot was bike riding distance from home and served the best honey latte with a good side of sunshine on the patio! My home at the Kings Kids base was a true sanctuary of peace! I also enjoyed a local gym, nearby hiking trails, a diner that served delicious authentic Mexican food, and got to tour a local birthing center too!
I don't even ask the question, "Why did I have to go, Lord?"... I can't articulate all the reasons but many are clear now. I needed to be obedient and learn that God's process isn't my own. I needed to learn how to fully rely on God for every single need spiritually, provisionally, and relationally. I needed to walk in the grace and love God made me with to deliver a difficult message with tender strength. I needed to assist in protecting the integrity and safety of potential students and patients by putting a stop to some things. I needed to allow God to build strong communication and trust to give my new relationship depth and longevity as we pursued each other in spite of the distance. I needed to go through the process of simplifying my life, paying off debts, saving finances, and paring down my belongings to free me up for the life I'm living out today! I needed to gain wisdom and experience pertaining to the really hard parts of leadership and honestly... the lesson of...'when nothing goes as planned.' I'm a different person having learned these things and gained these experiences! I'm deeply grateful!
I say that I trust God but...
my unknown future fills me with doubt
I say that I have forgiven but...
I find it so hard to trust
I say that God is good but...
I wonder if His goodness is actually for me.
I change the way I speak depending...
on who I’m around.
I say modesty is important but...
I too want to be noticed and found attractive.
I say hospitality is important but…
I haven’t had a single guest in my home for months.
I say communication is a strength of mine but…
talking to my own family is such a struggle.
I say prayer is powerful but…
I don’t pray with confidence for my own needs.
I say the Gospel should be shared but…
I can't recall the last time I spoke the words to a stranger.
I ask God to use me but…
I’ve hidden away afraid that I can’t be used anymore.
I say that I value my friends but…
I miss opportunities to bless them all the time.
I say that I need people and support but…
I lack transparency to share my needs and seek help.
I'm a hypocrite who needs Jesus daily.
I'm still in progress and its messy.
I'm not nearly perfect but I'm learning to let God lead me.
I'm in need of endless grace, be patient with me.
** I wrote this 2/18/2017 and just found it... I still have many moments like these. Still so very accurate. Jesus help me.
I was 15 the first time I witnessed a newborn take his first breath. I was scrubbed in for my baby brothers C-section... I was enthralled with the nuances of everything I saw... lights, drapes, the bustle of staff, instruments, masks, and the beep of machines, the pulling and tugging to gain access to my mothers womb... the same womb that gave me life! WOW! I watched intently as this little guy emerged flexed, pink and wailing. What an overwhelming and elegant dance it had seemed to be. Choreographed as if they'd done it a thousand times (probably because they had). It was then that I realized I loved medicine and the human body was pretty freakin cool!
It wasn't until years later after I'd working with women in crisis pregnancy that it became startlingly apparent how many tiny lives never get the chance to live, grow up, and experience the abundance of God's love and creation. My motivation for working in midwifery has always come from that instinctive perspective... God designed life, God loves life, God can use us to protect life.
My experiences in labor rooms around the world only deepened my desire to partner with God to protect life. Women and their babies deserve GREAT care: quality, skilled, compassionate, Godly care. I am going back to the drawing board for plans on how to proceed... El Paso was a bust, unfortunately it was never going to be the time or place or team to carry out a healthy sustainable program. Coming to that conclusion after packing up my entire life to relocate was incredibly disappointing, but I can see the purpose in the journey. I had to go, I had to connect with the people I did, I had to deliver an important message, I had to be the one to carry out a difficult task of protecting aspiring midwives, I had to grow through the challenge.
Now that I've returned home, I hope to find ways to stay connected to the local birth community here in Pierce County through midwife assisting, doula work, and serving New Beginnings (a local YWAM maternity home). I'm praying for the right relationships - that one day a team would come together to launch a program to train midwives for missions. Based here in the Pacific Northwest, a school could learn from our thriving midwifery community before taking their skills to share with communities in need around the world. I'm praying for the right doors to open. I'm praying for God to lead me in every way. Speak to me Lord. Show me the way, light the path... and help me be patient for your perfect timing.
My silence hasn’t been intentional... just been busy spending real time with the people that matter in my life!
It was brought to my attention that although I’ve been home for about 2 weeks, I haven’t announced via Social Media that I’m officially back in the Tacoma area for good!
There is a long story involved...full of unexpected set backs, some heartbreaking realizations, some beautiful God-moments, a lot of driving (like so much), the kind of growth that transforms, and many Kingdom encounters along the journey. I’m an open book - so just ask if you’d like the detailed version.
I’m recovering from the disappointments and refueling by spending time with friends, family, and my incredibly supportive and amazing guy! I’m happy to be home and ready to discover what the future looks like here!
I’m deeply thankful for every single person that encouraged me, prayed for me and supported me through it all! I have no regrets, in fact it’s becoming more and more clear why I had to go to El Paso, TX.... God’s way is the best!
I feel like I weathered an intense storm but kept my integrity, faith, and passion intact. Couldn’t have done so without reliance on Jesus! He is the real reason for everything! And I refuse to be reluctant to give Him glory. I’m determined to keep having radical trust and obedience... ♥️
no matter what country, state, or city you live in.
no matter what your day job looks like.
no matter how busy you feel.
no matter the size of your wallet.
no matter the gifts or talents you have or lack.
no matter if you feel like it or not...
Life is a mission field. Every moment you encounter a walking, talking being you are presented an opportunity to conduct yourself in a way that glorifies God and represents your Savior. You have the option to speak life and truth. You can inspire and encourage. You can display hope. You can model freedom and joy. You can testify to the reason you live. You can share the Gospel of Jesus.
Don't get hung up on a title, position, calling, or location. Just be a child of God as you run your race. It won't look like anyone else's because God needs YOU to uniquely journey through the hills and valleys like only YOU can! So stop for the one. Smile more. Look up. Be present.
** This is a reminder for ME! I need to keep this in the forefront of my mind!
Hey world, I'd like you to officially meet my boyfriend Jon... In the last couple months he has become my favorite person! I’ve never known what it feels like to be treasured... until now.
And since I know there are those of you that would love to do some light Facebook stalking - I'll tell you now he doesn't do social media. Sorry. Instead let me share a bit about him...
He is humble, kind, generous, a servant, loves Jesus, honest, protective, encouraging, completely supportive in my calling to midwifery, hilarious, intentional with his words and attention, super hot with dreamy blue eyes, he matches me perfectly in deep conversation as well as wit and sarcasm, he desires God first in everything, he is passionate about recovery and freedom in Christ, he has a really lovely extended family and so many fiercely loyal friends, we have tons of fun together, he makes me laugh and makes me hope for a future I’d stopped dreaming of, and he consistently pursues my heart with so much care! I am so happy!
He is also wayyy obsessed with football or maybe sports in general, a bit of a neat freak, a bottomless pit that is never not hungry, a cat dad of 2 fluff balls, definitely leans toward nerd on the scale of cool (just like me), loves the original Nintendo, has been accused (rightly) of being a perfectionist, and has terrible taste in late 80's/early 90's movies, but I haven't told him that yet. His list of my oddities is probably 3x's as long... yet we still choose each other! Yay!
BUT let’s be real... I wasn’t looking for love... I’m moving to Texas soon... so 'long distance for a while' is going to come with blessings and challenges! We are both trusting God to bring us through.
Friends, please pray for our relationship! We want to honor the Lord in every way and follow His will for us!!
We have packed a lot of memories into the last couple months! I'm so thankful for every minute we've shared!
It's hard to believe we have only known each other for 2.5 years... because you feel like family. I honestly treasure our friendship... it started as coworkers but quickly became much more. You and your husband have not just shown me incredible hospitality and generosity but you have also modeled a truly beautiful marriage! The way I've witnessed you laugh together, honor each other, champion one another, and totally geek out together over the weirdest stuff is just the best! I wonder if you realize how wonderful you are...? I wonder if you have completely grasped the depth of everything you have to offer..? The future family I know you'll one day have is extremely blessed to have you as mama bear. Thank you for being a constant source of encouragement, wise counsel, and so much FUN!
Lord, give her courage, patience, joy, and a life of marvelous memories! Amen!
I'm not sure that you would describe yourself as a warrior-ess.... but that's exactly how I see you. The fool who thinks he can come against your prayers that storm the heavens, is a loser for sure! I'm impressed by your ability to go deeper into recovery progressively for years now. You model healing and freedom in a way that is truly life giving and glorifies the Lord. Your heart for people to experience the things that you have is contagious. I'm thrilled to be your friend and to get a front row seat to your race... I'm your biggest cheerleader and fan! I consider you my little sister and love you like it too! I'm praying for all your dreams to come true in the timing of God's will. He has good gifts for you... he is your provider, comforter, encourager, constant companion, and giver of life! Be bold little sister, believe in your profound ability to conquer, head up and eyes full of fire... you are victorious!
Dear Jesus, hold her close and whisper greatness in her ear... light each step clearly and reveal her original design. Amen!
How do I even describe this friendship we've built?!? You have got to be one of the most intentional and caring people I've ever met! Your heart for God and worship and all things festive have restored something in me that I didn't realize was in such need of restoration! How can I thank you for being not just a friend on the surface, but a best friend that sees and knows and understands?! I'm truly grateful to God for making our paths cross! From you I've learned incredible perseverance, courage in the chaos, laughter in the pain, and what it can be like to lay down our cares at the foot of the cross and allow joy to invade! You've been my go to person especially this past year... always up for a last minute adventure! I will cherish every memory and look forward to making many more.. despite the distance these next couple years will hold. I know we will remain connected cause you're like family!
Jesus, hold my friend close and fill her with your presence! Amen!
You probably don't realize all the ways God has chosen to use you to affect my life! Years of conversations, hugs that heal, worship that adores the One, laughter that is contagious, real talk that would make a sailor blush, and most of all a friendship that will never be broken. I have tears thinking about the seasons we have walked through with each other... so much break-through, so much freedom, so much wonder at the awesome love of our Father! You are truly fearless in your pursuit of Love! I'll never be able to express my gratitude for your presence in my life! I don't care if we will be living thousands of miles apart... I'm trusting our friendship will last! I'm praying for every dream and every desire of your heart to come in His perfect will for you and Tim! Strength, whole-hearted blessings, family, and success! I love you beyond words my dear!
Jesus, one touch from you can bring miracles - may your hand rest on my beautiful friend. Hold her and remind her to look up always. Shower her with good gifts! Amen!
When I think of you I instantly grin! Not just because I can imagine your adorable giggle clear as a bell or because of all the memories we've made like that time the Russians were invading Tacoma with their satellite... but because you amaze me!
Your heart is one of strength and perseverance. Your genuine thoughtfulness, compassion and determination have affected my life deeply! I know you are someone that will remain close no matter time or distance. I'm praying that you continue to discover your God given identity and purpose because YOU are valuable and your influence on this world is needed! I love you so very much my friend! I feel absolutely blessed to call you my friend... not just any friend but a best friend! You have been there for me in good times and hard ones... You have helped me so much! And you've been a source of joy too... I love our talks and our laughs! I'll miss you terribly these next couple years.
Jesus, pour out blessings on my friend Melissa! Amen!
I can't believe how thankful I am for these pictures! Every single person has impacted my life in immeasurable ways. We have shared so many memories! I wouldn't be who I am today without each of you... Thank you for loving me! Though I'll be gone for a little while, I'll always hold these friendships close!
Obeying God even when it hurts, isn't my favorite thing... but I've done it...
When I became an outreach leader to the streets of Tacoma I knew I was called there. I knew mercy ministry was simply in my veins - I'm specifically designed to show compassion and care to those that are usually overlooked or discarded by society. It's a strength and gift from God that I'm able to connect on a real level with just about anyone with breath! My gift is sometimes also quite the challenge... I tend to struggle deeply with compartmentalizing and removing my emotions. I have to be extra diligent about processing challenging experiences, guarding my heart with truth, and filling my soul with the constant presence of my Savior!
It had been exactly 764 since I had been on the streets of Tacoma with the Search & Rescue outreach team. With a move to Texas on the horizon it has felt important to make sure my transition is as healthy as possible! part of that is finding closure with relationships, activities, and places. I have known for many months that I needed one more chance to go out on the streets for a positive experience connecting with the people I love out there!
The team that came together on a special night to accommodate my availability was absolutely hand picked by God. These guys served their hearts out and they gave me the safety of their presence. My boyfriend and I got to bless people on the streets together and see each other in action. That was so special too! I had some meaningful, sweet moments where the Lord opened opportunity to pray over people and encourage them. I also got to see some of the people I had come to call friends from years past.. it was so difficult to see them still struggling on the streets and battling addictions, but hopeful at least that they were still alive because with breath comes hope for change! I'm praying for them all... with a full heart. This is a ministry I will always believe in! Showing people they're valued and cared for simply because they're created by God can truly make a difference! What an absolute honor. Thank you Tacoma Rescue Mission!
Anthony Adam Hellman