I feel small. It is the most uncomfortable comfortable. It is unusual and weird and settled inside it feels so right. My eyes aren’t on myself, they’re fixed upward. Whether blue sky or white expanse or the moon shining so bright, I’m stuck on something other than myself and I feel the weight of my smallness.

You don't have to be cut out. Because of Christ, you've already been placed in. We don't have to be more or try harder to achieve worldly success. We just have to shine like the stars against the dark of night.

Nearly a full year ago I stood under that same sky, gathered with strangers who had become family in just a few short days. It’s a weird feeling to look around at eye level and see darkness, only to look up and see the sky aglow.

City lights and street lamps and a world of quick stops and fast food light up around us but they are only a distraction from the Light. Just look up.

Better yet, go where it’s real dark, no earthly lights to distract you, and then raise your head to the sky.

You’ll want to raise your hands, too.

We stood there, silently gathered beneath the blanket of bright lights, thinking and praying, humming worship songs quietly. One by one as we were ready we walked back inside and gathered around the long table.

Gathered under the majesty. Gathered around the table. God was present in both.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.

Philippians 2:14-16, NIV

It was read over us and then it was my turn to speak, to offer encouragement to those around me, and what came out was this:

You don’t have to be cut out. Because of Christ, you’ve already been placed in. We don’t have to be more or try harder to achieve worldly success. We just have to shine like the stars against the dark of night.

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes standing quietly underneath the sky is the very best way to return to my own smallness. It’s my favorite part of creation, ever-changing but constant. I am always humbled. Sunsets and sunrises and the white moon… and the stars.

You don't have to be cut out. Because of Christ, you've already been placed in. We don't have to be more or try harder to achieve worldly success. We just have to shine like the stars against the dark of night.

One week from now I’ll be standing on that same cracked pavement and I promise I’ll go outside and look up. The land of the always allelujah is calling my name and I’m coming. So very soon.

But the sky is the sky no matter where you are, and maybe tonight you need to hear it, too:

You shine. Against the dark of this world and amidst the hard of life, you shine so brilliantly. You don’t have to worry about being cut out because you have already been placed in. You are right where you are for a reason and He has a purpose for you. Keep on shining even when there are other distractions that pop up. The real Light will always be brightest.

Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns.

Philippians 2:15, The Message

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One week from now I’ll be back in Haiti. My heart is so expectant and excited to join in what God is already doing there! Below you’ll find links to five of my favorite stories from my time there last year.

The Circle :: My favorite moment from the trip and the prayer that broke me.

On Quieting Our Stories and Carrying the Light :: Nelson’s story. Out of darkness, light.

The Song of Haiti: Broken & Beautiful :: The song that makes me cry every time.

When God Teaches You How To Read :: So when you meet a man who can only read the Bible? That.

Our Walls Keep *Us* In :: The truth is, the walls we build aren’t helping anyone.

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