More than my story…

As I am leading up to this book launch, I am taking deep breaths.  Those of you that really know me, understand how uncomfortable I am in putting myself out there. I have to keep remembering why I did this. I wrote this book to help others that are stuck, hurting, and afraid. God keeps reminding me that so many people feel these things, just like me, and it keeps us from fulfilling our purpose that God calls us towards. I shared my story in this book, but I want the focus to be on your story. My prayer for this book is that all of us can live perfectly weak–that each person that reads it surrenders more to God and says YES to what He is asking to do.  I am praying freedom to anyone stuck in self-doubt, brokenness and fear. I want to focus on others’ stories that have done that.

We all have a story, and this book is about all of our stories running after God and leaving behind what is holding us back.

I am highlighting some amazing women I know with stories of brokenness in which God has brought healing. This is a story shared by my good friend and missionary, Bailey Kuert.

When we were first married, I asked my Kenyan-born husband what the Kiswahili word for, “princess” was. He explained that there wasn’t one direct word like we have in English, but that, “kibibi” was pretty close and it usually means, “little lady”. Since then he’s called me his kibibi.

At the beginning of 2016 after a season of being labeled “sick” and feeling like I’d failed as a missionary, I felt God whisper to my heart to begin to dream again. I had sensed that so many dreams had died including being healthy again. It was within days of hearing this whisper that I began to dream of ways to help women in Africa without living there. This period of dreaming birthed something called, “Kibibi Design” where I’m selling handmade artisan designed goods from Kenya.

The products are hand-woven from natural sources like sisal. Sisal is a spikey plant in the agave plant family. The process of weaving sisal begins by pulling the spikes off the plant, and then a striping process occurs to separate the spike into many individual fibers. Then the fibers are often dyed and left out in the sun to dry and finally they are woven into different designs, which can take a week to complete one basket. The end result is stunning and it’s always a one of a kind product.

I feel like this sisal weaving process parallels my life. I’ve found that God often takes sharp and painful things and begins breaking them down working them for the good in our lives. He is able to weave all things together to make something lovely. Each individual fiber of sisal in itself is weak and can tear without much force. However, once all of the pieces are put together, it becomes something very durable and lasting.

This is the type of work that the Holy Spirit does in each of our lives. I’ve seen Him take broken, weak and extremely fragile places in my heart and begin to put them back together to complete something beautiful. 

God is always at work within us to move us on by His spirit even when we don’t see it. One of my favorite verses I’ve been studying recently is found in Genesis 35:21 where the first portion reads, “Israel moved on”. This verse is right after Jacob’s beloved wife Rachel dies in childbirth. Jacob has another son, but he has lost Rachel forever.

When I think of the loss and heartache Jacob would’ve suffered after losing Rachel, I can’t imagine how he ever left the place she was buried. It’s comfortable to stay in a place of sorrows and of pain. It’s easy to just fall apart and remain broken. It’s painful to move on, to go forward, and to regain strength. It’s challenging to allow God to come in and bring something new.

Yet I love that the Bible says, “Israel moved on”. It doesn’t say, “Jacob moved on”, which is significant because I believe this was speaking to who he really was, not what he was currently experiencing. Jacob received the name Israel after wrestling with God and learning to lean on Him.

God is capable to speak past the labels and names that have defined us in previous seasons. He is able to call us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

All you and I can ever truly do well is lean and surrender to God. We can lean upon our beloved One and let Him carry us while experiencing sorrow or even great joy. When we rely upon His strength, He can weave extraordinary things in our lives from our broken and weak places and use them to impact others for His glory. When we lean on Him, He makes us strong in His strength, He lovingly removes the labels that don’t line up with His words over us and He calls us His royal daughters, His Kibibis.