[Heart Fuel] Hope

HaitiHeartFuelBiblical hope does not disappoint. Did you catch that? Biblical hope does not disappoint. Let that Truth soak in for a moment. The hope we have in Christ continues rising no matter the circumstances we’re walking through. That should overwhelm us with peace. Valleys lead to mountaintops. Tears are wiped away. Joy is eternal. Hope is rising.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. -Hebrews. 6:29

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Conditioned

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world. -C.S. Lewis

I’ve never really felt like I fit in. In high school I was well liked, made good grades and was successful in athletics, but I still felt out of place. Something inside my heart told me I wasn’t where I belonged. Even in college, surrounded by some of the greatest friends and community I’ve ever had, I never felt like I found where I truly thrived. Since I started truly chasing after Jesus I’ve learned those feelings were because I’m not created to fit in. I absolutely love the blessed life I’ve been given, but it’s a temporary fix because I’m a temporary resident on earth. I’m an alien (1 Peter 2:11). I’m a sojourner passing through this place for a few years before I meet my Maker. I’m not created for this world (John 15:19). I’m created to be in an intimate, satisfying relationship with the only One who truly knows my deepest desires and how to fulfill them. Until I meet Him face-to-face I will always feel out of place and in the mean time I’m called to use this life to make an impact that’s greater than popularity, making straight As and being on the starting lineup. I’m playing the role of a lighthouse.

The purpose of a lighthouse is to steer mariners, whilst in dense fog or dark nights, away from cliffs, land and shorelines, coral reefs and other potentially hazardous areas.

That’s my role on this earth – to emit a light that steers others away from the disaster of an eternity spent completely separated from their Maker. I’ve been called to shine so that others can sail into the safest harbor – God’s warm embrace.

My whole life has conditioned me to shine. And when I say shine, I’m not in the spotlight. There’s nothing above average about me. I just serve a God that uses ordinary people for His extraordinary glory. It’s not about me, it’s about Him. I am powerless, but He is POWERFUL. The only reason anything is accomplished through me is because the Holy Spirit is in my heart. I can love others and tell them about Jesus, but He is the One who
IMG_8811saves.

The same goes for Mission of Hope in Haiti. They are literally a city on a hill. Their main campus is located on a mountainside and their buildings are lit for people to see for miles in the dark. They are a beacon of hope shining the light of Jesus into the lives of others in their darkest hours. The organization is doing crazy awesome things in Haiti, but it’s all a result of God flexing His muscles and transforming lives. The Mission of Hope staff is simply walking in obedience to God’s will for their lives.

While in Haiti, it was evident that I was conditioned for the bugs, dirt, sweat, cold showers, long days and tight living quarters. I live in Austin now, but I grew up in the country. I may dress nice for work, but there’s a backwoods girl underneath the pleated slacks and mascara. As a child, I spent tons of time at my family’s deer camp, which happens to be six miles from electricity. In a nutshell, dirt becomes an accessory, bugs are IMG_8088everywhere, summers are HOT, and showers are optional. Playing collegiate volleyball also conditioned me to keep going when my body told me there was no gas left in the tank. In Haiti the days are long, the sun is brutal, but God is so good! There were points where I thought I couldn’t possibly keep going, but when my strength was failing, my Savior was strong. There is something beautiful about being at a point where you can no longer rely on your own strength. After years of afternoons in the outdoors, tough off-seasons, and spending tons of time with teammates on charter buses for hours, the Haitian mosquitos, bed bugs, dirt and our living arrangements felt like coming home.

As I’ve settled back into life in the States, I’ve realized I’ve found a home away from home and left a huge piece of my heart about as far away from the American Dream of a white picket fence and six-figure salary as you can get. Over the course of the week I spent in Haiti, God showed me that the fullest life can be lived in flamingo pink, ocean blue and sunshine yellow block homes that IMG_8179house some of the most beautiful and vibrant ivory smiles I’ve ever seen. He showed me that success isn’t measured by a good salary or nice home, but instead is measured best by obedience to His call.

God rocked my world in Haiti and I can’t wait to share more stories of His power and goodness. Stay tuned!

Protection, Provision and Port-au-Prince, Haiti

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. -Hebrews 6:19

I’m just a product of grace spreading hope to the hopeless. In everything I do, I want to shine a glimmer of hope into people’s lives in their darkest hours. As a Christ follower, I want to help people realize better days are coming and have been promised by our Sovereign God. When we feel like the flood of life threatens to drown us, God is still sitting on His thrown making all things work together for our ultimate good. In the storms of life, He is the anchor of our soul keeping us afloat.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. -2 Corinthian 5:17

Over the course of my college career, God has transformed my heart and He continues to mold me into who He wants me to be daily. In the past four years I have served wholeheartedly for Fellowship of Christian Athletes at St. Edward’s University and throughout Texas at summer camps and retreats, and in Memphis, Tennessee over spring break. Every opportunity to serve has impacted my life and closer aligned my heart to God’s ultimate plan to make His name known across the globe. I’ve felt unworthy, uncomfortable, and fearful many times, but God has revealed to me that all of those insecurities are lies and has used these experiences to show me that my love story defined by His passionate pursuit of my heart has the power to impact lives for His kingdom.

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps. -Proverbs 16:9

Recently God has laid it on my heart to once again use my spring break to make much of Him and less of me. In the last month, I’ve been praying for discernment for where He wants me to go. All of the options were appealing (Memphis, South Padre Island, Haiti) and would require me to take a leap of faith outside of my comfort zone to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Internally and externally I’ve toyed with safety issues and the uncertainty of raising support for whichever trip I chose. After all, I’m graduating from college in a month, have no definitive plans, a dwindling savings account, and currently no place to live. So much of my life is up in the air, but oddly enough I’m worry free. Maybe, just maybe, this control freak is beginning to grasp what it truly means to let go, and let God determine my steps. Woah.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” -Isaiah 6:8

After much prayer, two weeks ago I made my decision. I’ve never felt more convicted or excited to share that I will be spending a week in Haiti with Mission of Hope. Serving in Memphis revealed to me what it’s like to have little in the United States and how God can make beautiful things out of dust. In Haiti, I look forward to seeing beauty amidst destruction, seeing joy in smiles of the children at the orphanage, and witnessing to the hope found in the Haitian communities.

As soon as I committed to the trip I had butterflies in the pit of my stomach in anxious anticipation for how God is going to reveal Himself to the Haitians I will be serving and to me. All the fears of safety and finances that consumed my thoughts have dissolved and as I begin writing support letters through tears of joy I’ve never felt more trusting of my loving Father. God has had His hand on me from the beginning of time and looking back it seems ludicrous that I ever feared for my safety or questioned His ability to provide for something that is apart of His will for my life. No, I have not raised enough support for the trip, but I have five months to watch God work and have complete faith in His provision. In the process, through conversations, support letters, and blogging, I get to share why I’m going to Haiti as another way to attest to God’s glory. How cool is that?!

Bondye Bon (God is good),

Meredith

P.S. If you are interested in supporting my trip, prayer is greatly appreciated. If you feel called to support financially, you can donate online at the link listed below. Be sure to include HAITI & MEREDITH BARD in the description line.

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. -Matthew 28:19-20