The first real conversation shared between Liz and I was a mostly one-sided, non-apologetic description of the cliffs of Ireland. Upon visiting the country myself for the first time several months later, I remain convinced that Liz's detailing of the green earth stands as strong as the literal experience of standing upon it...and that I could listen to her narrate any experience that has changed her, in that it would probably change me a bit too.
Liz dazzles in the dusty language of our generation's muddled verbiage. She is masterful with her words, calling them out as an art. In understanding their power, she has learned to harness them in a strong, but delicate euphony. Her language is in part a natural extension of a divine draw towards the Nations. She pulls words and thoughts together unexpectedly, the same way experiencing new cultures shakes senses and challenges perspectives.
Bear, DE, is Liz's "for now" home as she navigates what life as a young professional in full-time ministry and obedience to a global calling looks like. With the same harmony seen in her speech, Liz manages both practical, realistic, living and Holy dreaming, with an ease to be admired.
March's anthem of stark reality subdued by whimsy, whistles itself through the ebb and flow of Liz's life-balance. May we all glean a bit of her wisdom:
Working in full-time ministry is so challenging, and too often romanticized. Where have you found your biggest or perhaps most surprising challenging in your work place?
One of the biggest AND most surprising hurdles I’ve been faced with consistently is self-doubt. It kind of consumed me for my first year of ministry; I doubted my call to ministry, I doubted my call to the church I work at, really, I let doubt creep into every area of my life. I recently read a commentary on Genesis 3 that said, “Satan will shake what he cannot overthrow.” My identity in Christ and my call to do His will cannot be overthrown or taken from me, but it was definitely shaken.
Between a retreat that our church had and a well timed conversation with a good friend, I realized I wasn’t walking in the authority Jesus gave me as his disciple and I wasn’t walking in the authority my Pastors trusted me with. I won’t pretend like I have this all figured out, because the enemy is still trying to shake me. But the truth of God’s Word, confidence from spiritual authority, and support from a few key friends are the weapons I use to fight self-doubt.
How do you satisfy your desire to travel while realistically living with a 9-5, 5 days a week career?
My ‘intangible’ answer is by reminding myself that my current situation is not the end, and God is faithful to His promises that my desk and the four walls of this building will not be my forever mission field. His Word says He will satisfy the desires of our hearts, and I cling to that often. My ache to travel is comforted with His Word and promises. I have no doubt that He wants me to travel and spread His love even more than I want to.
More ‘tangibly’, I take weekend road trips and use my vacation time to take vacations that ease my wanderlust. Also surprisingly enough—just planning a trip (even if I’ll never take it or I won’t take it for years) helps me mentally travel the world!
What does being "called to the Nations" mean to your personally?
Back in 2010, after being in a relationship with Jesus for about a year, I finally started seeking the Lord on what He wanted for my life. I told God I would lay down my dreams and He could give me his dreams for my life. And around that time I felt this intense interest in India—the culture, the country, the food, the people, the music, everything. I was listening to The Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack all day every day. I thought I was weird, until I started praying through it and realized this was no coincidence. After about three months of asking God what was going on, I was in a chapel service and the speaker made a statement that changed my life forever.
The man, R.G. Lyons, was speaking on Jeremiah 32, when God tells Jeremiah to buy a piece of land that will be torn apart by the war. He’s preaching and I’m enjoying everything he saying and then he says, "Your life does not include bypassing the places of devastation—bring hope and life." I had never heard God so clearly—He didn’t speak in an audible voice—but in my spirit, I knew I was suppose to go to India. And I did, two years later. But I believe that statement is not just my calling to India, but my calling to everywhere.
Being called to the nations to me means that the Great Commission does not exclude me. Make disciples of ALL nations. Bring hope and light to ALL nations. At one time, this meant India. It may still mean India, but until I get to India again, He said ALL nations. So right now that means I’m called to bring hope and light to America. And one day when I visit New Zealand, I’m going to bring hope and light. When I go to Israel and Europe and wherever the Lord takes me, I’m going to bring hope and light. Because everywhere my foot strikes the ground—to every nation, to every person, in every place—I am called to bring hope and light.
How do you stay updated on world news, specifically the happenings of the local church worldwide?
It’s tough to depend on our news for ‘world news’—it’s so skewed and I believe, meant to instill fear in us. So I depend on my personal relationships to stay informed. I was fortunate enough to attend a ministry school where many of my friends now serve in churches all across America. I feel like I get a good read on American churches through those friends.
I was also fortunate enough to travel to India with a couple of ladies who have huge hearts for the 10/40 window, and I keep up with them and their updates on a few countries. I have a close friend with a huge heart for Israel and another friend who is a missionary in the West Bank—so between them I can get a read for what’s going on there. I know a couple who just moved to Africa and I read their blog, in addition to a couple of other friends with a heart for Africa. I’m blessed to serve in a church that plants churches in India and we’re always being updated on that. Not to mention, I’m still friends with many of the people I met in India, etc… Relationships are how I keep up with the global church. I don’t think there’s a better way!
What is your must have travel accessory?
Headphones! It seems trivial, but I find few things so beautiful as being able to put a soundtrack to all of my travels. I’m not sure I could survive a plane/bus/car ride without them.
What is your favorite travel memory?
I have to say when I hiked the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. I went to Ireland basically on a whim—a couple friends and I found fantastic prices and it was our senior year of college, so we said why not? We spent a few very sunny (which was out of the ordinary) and beautiful days near Limerick, a half a day in Cork, and then Killarney for a day. Our last stop before heading back to Dublin was this tiny little town called Doolin. Honestly, the only thing worth seeing in Doolin are the Cliffs of Moher and they are definitely worth seeing!
We decided we didn’t want to see them like a tourist sees them—which is by bus. The bus would drive you to this beautiful spot and you would get right up to the edge, take pictures, visit the gift shop in O’Brian’s Tower and then be on your merry way. We wanted to the hike the cliffs. So we asked our hostel manager (his name was Carl) how to do that. He drew us a sweet little map, gave us some check points, and told us which areas were muddy and which areas were good to walk in and we set off. It was cloudy for the first time in like 5 days so we decided to bring our coats just in case.
So we’re walking and it’s cloudy and a little windy and it’s really pretty and we’ve seen a few check points and it’s adventure! So, it’s so much fun! (Side note here: The previous day, we had done a 15 mile bike ride through Killarney National Park, we were just a bit sore.) And then it started to rain. Cold, icy, unrelenting, rain. My pants were grey, and then they were a very dark grey. We were way too far out to turn back and we had no idea how far we were from O’Brian’s Tower. So we walked for a very long time. Our map got soaked and we couldn’t even read it anymore, we had no idea if we were on the right path. My legs eventually went numb, it was so cold, and no part of me was dry. At one point, my shoe got stuck in the mud and my foot slipped out and I took a step so my sock got soaked and muddy. There was, at one point, a hill so steep we had to crawl up it—but it was muddy and slippery… my friends, it was a mess. My friends and I laughed and cried and whined and when we finally made it to the gift shop, we looked like wet dogs. The best part was how beautiful the entire thing was. You don’t get views like that from a bus tour. It was completely worth every minute in the freezing rain. It was both the worst and best thing we did in Ireland and to this date—my favorite travel memory!
What is the biggest dream you currently have for you life?
To get married and to live overseas! I would love to live in Europe for a period of time, but I’ll go wherever God opens a door. The marriage part God will work out in His time—but it is a dream of mine.