There Is Victory

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

After spending a tumultuous year abroad on the mission field, I clung to this promise from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. “Our present sufferings” for me was the feeling of being misunderstood, feeling purposeless, and ultimately spiraling down into hopelessness. Sound familiar? It seems to be a fairly widespread condition among humans this side of heaven. Whether we are in a valley or a mountaintop season of life, there will always be a sense that we’re not quite home.

As I served alongside the beautiful people of Nairobi, Kenya, with the nonprofit Chosen Children of Promise, I battled a depression that was no fault of my situation, but rather an attack from the enemy who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy anything or anyone that desires to build the Kingdom of God.

Only by calling on the name of Jesus to be my peace, my hope, my joy was I able to get out of bed most mornings. If you travel overseas to a developing country, you will be firsthand witness to something incredible. There is a rich dependence on God to be their everything. He is the provider; they may not have food for the day, yet He brings them their daily bread. He is the healer; they live and eat and drink in less humane conditions than you would think possible to survive; yet when they pray to Jehovah Rapha for healing, they praise Him and thank Him first when He heals them! He is the Best Friend; community and relationships are everything to Kenyans; and when you meet a Christ follower, you’ll know it because they’ll proclaim His presence in their heart loud and proud.

Witnessing this bold faith challenged my nominal walk. Go back a verse in Romans 8 to verse 17: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Would I be willing to share the sufferings of Christ (for surely He suffered in His time on earth), of betrayal, loneliness, rejection, being misunderstood, feeling homesick? Was it worth the dark night of my soul if He promised the glory revealed in me would be so much better it couldn’t even come close to comparing?

Near the end of my yearlong internship, I stumbled upon Hebrews 12:10-11, “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

My fellow warriors, we’re not home yet. We still suffer death, sickness, strained relationships, depression, anxiety, joblessness, fear. Take heart, for Christ has overcome the world, and there’s no situation He can’t redeem. The dark night breaks with the dawn of the Son! He is producing a harvest of righteousness and peace as we are trained by His sovereign discipline. Cling to Him. Walk with Him. Take hold of your name: Co-heir with Christ, God’s very Beloved Own!

stay lovely,
the tall girl

(Find this article also on the CCV SoCal blog.)

Let’s Meet Him

We have misconstrued Jesus. Do we worship an Eastern Rabbi who knew the Torah backwards and forward, who came to fulfill the Law and Prophecies of the Old Testament (meaning He followed the 613 edicts of the Mosaic law perfectly because He was raised in a culture that poured over them daily), not to abolish it? Or do we worship a romanticized man because we feel good and bubbly inside when we think about the benefit He’ll bring to our present temporal life?

Once our eyes are opened, continuing on the former path is a choice of rejecting the truth. If I meet the real Jesus, I pray I fall head over heels with who He was (and continues to be), not who I like the thought of Him to be for the advantage to my life. He offended and convicted people. He didn’t preach motivational messages as so many of our churches around the globe are giving today. We live in an outwardly blessed, inwardly impoverished era. Hence there’s no urgency to spread the Good News. I’m Guilty Party #1 of this.

I admire the Christ followers with the fearless personality to ask their bus seat buddy or the next person in the checkout line if they’ve heard of Jesus and what He’s done for them. It’s not my comfort zone, and I’m praying to get outside of it so I can be so bold.

These last few months have brought such tremendous insight into self. I’ve had a mirror brought to my mind and heart unlike before, largely due to the nature of my work in Kawangware, Nairobi, Kenya. As you can imagine, it hasn’t been a pretty season. When we see our frail, striving, dirty human hearts in greater clarity, it causes any number of reactions depending on the person and season of life.

At first I wanted to run and hide from it. I didn’t want to admit those weaknesses of mine were real. I wanted to continue to “look perfect” on the outside even if I simultaneously wanted someone to just understand how hard everything was and sit with me in it. Which is when the Lord came in. He did sit with me, He held me, and He has been leading me, even when I didn’t always presently feel Him.

So once my flight and denial phase were over, I wanted to change my external situation. I subconsciously concluded if I were more outwardly healthy, goal-chasing and community-surrounded, then the issues would improve; because I clearly wasn’t doing enough. This is my natural enneagram “3” reaction to discomfort. I didn’t want to wallow in depression and burnout (obviously…who does?), so I worked harder to reflect the image that everything was going great. This was quickly stripped away from being an alternate defense mechanism from self-discovery because the issues were still there – perhaps highlighted because supposed “solutions” didn’t work!

Here I am now in a place of a dead end. A dead end of myself and chasing my own answers. I think a dead end of myself is a fork in the road for Jesus. I can continue choosing my own way or once again let Him lead.

To surrender something so deeply personal as my trust to Him, though, I need to know who He is. Is He someone I can trust? Growing up in a Christian home, I never really asked such a question; it was assumed. Thus begins this journey of Jesus-discovery. Several influences have converged to bring this time about; obviously the inner reflection mentioned above, along with stumbling across a couple books on the hardcore truth of the Bible: The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer and The Forgotten Jesus by Robby Gallaty. For all my years of being a Christian, it’s amazing to peel back layer after layer and be astounded at how very little I know.

In addition to these, several conversations with friends and even strangers brought about a new vigor to know, understand, and love this Triune God I supposedly believe in and worship.

Welcome to the journey with me! Let’s meet Jesus!

Stay lovely,
the tall girl

Why India

Dear Family, Friends, and curious Reader,

There’s no other explanation for “Why India?” than with “Because God.”

The series of events that led to me booking a roundtrip ticket to Calcutta, India for 3 weeks in December each point to a sovereign God. Before I get into the details of that, I want to explain the nature of the trip. With a friend, I’ll be serving at the Mother Teresa Home for the Sick and Dying. The following quote of Mother Teresa’s fits like a puzzle piece to my recent thought process, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Many times I wrestle with the thought that anything I do can’t possibly make a difference. I’m just one girl; not rich, not famous, not powerful.

And then the part of me that always finds hope in God as my anchor asks, But what if I can be there for just one other person? What if I can maybe, just maybe, impact one person’s life for the better halfway across the world in Calcutta, India? And what am I here on this earth for if not to leave it better than when I got here, to bring God glory through my words and actions, to serve all people, most importantly widows and orphans, the sick and dying?

Then 2 drops were added to that ocean.


Now for an explanation on how this came about. It goes back to August of this year when I met the amazing Morgan Motzel on the Covenant Journey tour to Israel. We hit it off right away when we realized our mutual love of travel and adventuring. By God’s grace we kept in touch even after the trip ended via Facebook, where she gave me advice on Italy and we caught up on random things.

Late August I received a promotional email from this website StudentUniverse that hooks college students up with cheap airfare, hotels, and tours around the world. This email was for cheap flights to India of all places. Most of the time I delete these emails without opening them. For some reason, I clicked on it and proceeded to look up flights to India for February or March 2016. (I didn’t know where I’d go, why I wanted to in the first place, or what I’d do once I got there.) The round trip airfare was a screaming deal at $450, so of course I facebooked a friend from college who loves to travel, seeing if by any chance she’d want to be spontaneous with me and just go.

It didn’t work out, and now I know why. Morgan and I had been messaging back and forth about the Milan Expo when she asked me out of the blue, “This is totally a long shot, but have you ever been to India?”

Cue jaw drop.

Cue frantic typing.

Cue Facetiming parents the next three days to pray, talk logistics, and finally gain an assurance on all fronts that this would work. (Another small God moment was reading that you need to start immunization shots 2 weeks prior to leaving. I return home to Iowa on the 17th, 13 days before I’m off.)

My heart and mind has wrestled between excitement, shock at the peace I feel in doing this, and nervousness at potential heartbreaking sights or personal illness (Delhi belly).

In the end, I know God is in this. And if He’s for me, what can be against me?

Please keep Morgan and I in your prayers as we embark on this life-changing journey. This post is not a request for money, but I did create a page if you feel so led to donate to the trip. Anything over the amount raised will go directly to the Missionaries of Charity Mother House in Calcutta, India.

My deepest and most heartfelt thank you, lovely reader, for reading through this post.
I will be sure to keep you updated on how the Lord works in the time that we serve there.
Kelli Klaus
(the tall girl)