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It’s hard to live up to the world’s elusive standards.

We wonder if anything about us is enough.

We wonder if we’ll ever be good enough, strong enough, tough enough, sensitive enough, or smart enough to bear the weight of the world.

The measuring stick’s out. And we know, we just know we don’t measure up. There’s no way, no way we can meet those standards. We fall short, judge ourselves against the biggest, the baddest, the brightest on the playing field. We work hard to become better, attain whatever it is we believe will make us whole, worthy, acceptable. It’s hard work, and sometimes it’s even exciting, fulfilling and exhilarating work. But even in all that, even after we’ve done our best, worked our hardest, there’s still a part of us that feels we could’ve done better, we could’ve done more, we weren’t quite good enough. We ask the inevitable question, is it enough to just be myself? Or will I constantly have to be better, go further, longer, harder to meet the standards of this world?

Yes, that’s the space I want to address today.

The space that whispers quietly, but persistently – You’re not enough. You didn’t do enough. You just don’t measure up. You’re not good enough. Nothing. about you. is. enough. It‘s all a bunch of lies. That’s right. A bunch of lies.

Those ugly words? They leave you in a constant state of defeat. And that’s never a good place to be.

So let’s go there. Let’s unpack those dirty old lies – I’m not enough, you’re not enough.

And I’m starting with me. Yep, that’s right. I’m about to toss all those lies out, right into the trash pile. The enemy of my soul wants me to be stuck in a place of defeat, of never being enough, and I’m tired of it. He will not win this battle. So I’m tossing his lies out the door. Right now.

Let me be clear. These are lies.

This is how I feel about those lies. And this is what I’m going to do with those lies.

You’re not enough.

Kicking it in the trash pile.

You’re not good enough. You’ll never be good enough. Just keep working harder and harder and harder. Don’t stop. Never stop. You’ll never be good enough. Never. Keep working until you’re dry to the bone, until every drop’s dried. Do it. Do it. You’ll never live up to the standard of good. Never. But you better keep trying because that’s what good girls do. They work hard and they always do good. Just be quiet. Say less. Be more. Do more. Work harder. Keep striving. Never stop. You’re not good enough, so keep working, keep working, keep working.

Enough. Kicking it to the trash pile.

All those roles you play? You’re most definitely NOT good enough in any of them.

Garbage toss.

Epic mom failure? Yep. Not always the mom you thought you’d be? Yep. Try harder. Never fail. Be hard on yourself, that’s what you have to do when you’re a mom. Never a break for the weary mom. Keep working mom. You’re never enough. Kids made a mistake? It’s your fault. You didn’t say enough, do enough, try hard enough, watch closely enough or pray hard enough to make the kids behave well enough. Kids had a victory? Good job! But keep working! A mom’s work is never done. No rest for the weary. Keep trying because you’ll never know when they’ll fall. You’ll never know when your best won’t be nearly enough. So never let down. Never give in. And keep your guard up. Because being a mom’s the biggest job of your life and there’s always something lurking around the corner. Don’t mess up because if they’re not enough, you’re not enough.

All those expectations, all that pressure? Tossing it out.

Epic friend failure? Yep. Totally not a good enough friend. Wasn’t there for her child’s hospital stay, had no idea how her marriage crumbled, didn’t know she was getting divorced until it was nearly complete, had no idea how this or that happened and now you feel like an idiot for asking because so much time’s passed, let the ball drop on those get togethers, let months and years pass without contact? Epic failures. Epic, epic failures. So not a good enough friend. The elusive bar you’ve set for adult friendship? Completely unattainable.

Toss the guilt. Toss those expectations, again. Toss the bar that marks good enough, not good enough.

And that house. Oh my. Never good enough. Always too dirty. You won’t ever be able to get it clean, or keep it clean. But you’d better keep working. Because you know, if you keep working, you might just be able to make it happen. There might come a time when you’ve cleaned well enough that everyone will finally say YES! That’s good enough! Great job! You finally did it! The house is clean once and for all! Excellent work! Thank you so much for keeping this house clean enough! So keep working. It’s always dirty, there’s always more laundry, the kitchen counter’s always a disaster in the making. It’s never. good. enough. You’ve never. done. enough. So keep doing. Keep moving. Keep cleaning every second you can.

Toss it. Out the door. Go. Now.

All those dreams you hope for? All those plans you have for your future? Let me tell you…you’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough or clever enough, and you’re most definitely not funny enough. You’re not nearly as eloquent, and not nearly as put together as she is. You’d never be able to motivate like that, connect like that, write like that, or speak your mind like that. You’re not Christian enough for them, and you’re too Christian for them. And you can’t keep up with any of them. So just drop it and get it out of your mind. Those not enoughs? Maybe they’re true. Not enough. Not enough. Not enough.

So ugly. Oh so ugly. Such horrible lies. Toss them like the wind. Toss them.

Then come all the random not good enoughs. Don’t wear high heels enough. Don’t wear sweat pants enough. Don’t wear your hair down enough. Don’t prepare homemade dinners for your family enough. Don’t buy or prepare organic food enough. Don’t worry about GMOs enough. Don’t watch your kids’ diet closely enough. Don’t chill enough. Don’t drink enough. Don’t come party with us enough. Don’t give enough. Don’t volunteer enough. Don’t keep up with the mail pile and finances, the photo albums and weeds in the garden well enough.

Blah. Ugh. What a weight. Toss ’em.

It’s enough to kill a person, isn’t it? This burden of not enough?

So you sit. You find yourself on the ground, lifeless, next to this trash pile of not enoughs. You know, there’s GOT to be a better way. You admit – I’ve had it. This. is enough.

You allow yourself a moment. To sit. And be with the trash. You call it what it is. Trash. Pure trash.

You realize – the enemy’s lies have held you captive for far too long.

You’re worth much more than this.

The trash leaves you empty, hollow, lifeless.

You must rest. And then you must go.

Get away from the trash piles and never come back.

And don’t you dare start a new pile wherever you go next.

Because you’re so enough.

You’re so enough, even when the world and all the evidence says you’re not.

So that weight of the world you’ve been trying to bear? It is not. yours. to bear.

Believe it.


And know.

God is good. He sent Jesus to witness our burdens for Himself. He bore the weight of the cross, this Good Friday, so we could be rescued from everything about us that’s too much and not enough.

Good news is on its way, folks. Good news is on its way.


We’re working through a week-long series titled “I’m Too Much, Not Enough.” In Part 1 of this series, we talked about different ways we believe that everything about us is just Too Much. In Part 2, we went deeper into the real life implications of this too much, not enough business. In Part 4, we’ll explore why we truly are. enough. Hallelujah!!


The Place


*This is the final post from a month-long series about my journey to Haiti. Click here to read all the posts in the series.

*Music courtesy of Ft. Alex Boye, Africanized Symphonic Cover of Adele’s Set Fire to the Rain

HaitiFB2collage2014“We already have victory against the battle we are fighting.”

“Our beneficiaries are sleeping giants. We feel the reign is coming.”

Program Communications Manager, Compassion International Haiti Country Office











Why can’t we just pass by poverty?

Why can’t we just leave, forget about it, store it away in the recesses of our minds?

Why can’t we just ignore this problem of poverty and hope it’ll go away on its own?

Because human beings live in those tent cities.

Human beings fill and hang off those tap taps.

Human beings wait by loaded buses for desperately needed supplies that might take days to unload.

Human beings walk miles carrying filled-to-the-brim metal pots, sacks and jugs on their heads.

Human beings travel to the market with donkeys and wheelbarrows, waiting on provision. for today.

And here’s the clinker.

Every one of those human beings has a face.

Every face is part of a family.

Their lives are precious and real.

They have hopes and dreams. And they’re working hard, really hard.

The simple truth is this. They don’t have access to resources that would meet their most basic of needs. They don’t have access to resources that could make their hopes and dreams come true.

So it’s up to us.

The Lord has asked us to serve and provide for those in need.

So we must.

Not only is it our duty, it’s our privilege.

It’s a great honor and delight to engage and witness first hand the slow, but sure transformation of a country.

Sleeping giants will rise. One generation of giants will give rise to the next generation of giants.

With God, all things are possible. Of this, I am convinced.

Haiti already has “victory against the battle [they] are fighting.”

Victory seen in the face of a little girl who drove down the mountain six and a half hours on a motorcycle with her mama, walked the markets of Port-au-Prince, and used precious resources to buy barrettes and the most beautiful dress they could find for the day they’d meet the little girl’s sponsor.


Victory seen in the face of a little boy who, because of Compassion International, was able to travel to Port-au-Prince to see doctors about the “problem in his head.” He and his family have hope now, that they will get help. God is working.


Victory seen in the faces of young adult men in Compassion’s Leadership Development Program. They’re enrolled in college, studying education and psychology, and they want to be a part of this waking of the sleeping giants.

“We are working hard to change the destiny of this country.”

“This is my dream, to change my country.”


Why would we ever want to deny the basic needs, the marvelous hopes and dreams of fellow human beings?

Why would we not want to partner, get in on this transformation of a country?

The beauty and hope of the possibility lit me on fire when I realized. Our work? It’s really making a difference.

Let’s rise one sleeping giant at a time. Human potential is limitless. God’s power through us? Unfathomable.

So today, I stand, on behalf of Haiti and its beautiful, humble, gracious and hard-working people.

I am with you. I will support you. I will not forget. And I will be back.

It is my duty, honor, and delight to be an ambassador for you.


Do you want to help raise up a generation of giants in Haiti? Sponsor a child through Compassion International. It’ll be the best decision of your life. Period. Click here to see children who are waiting for a sponsor.

*This is part of a month-long series about my journey to Haiti. Click here to read all the posts in the series.


The reason I came on this trip with Compassion International was to meet our two sponsored children, Djino and Bethchaida. And I was so excited to meet them. But I have to admit, when I found out, just six days before my departure, that the “fun day” with our sponsored children was going to be at a hotel, a tentativeness stirred in me.

I worried that the children and families who lived in such extreme poverty would feel great sadness entering into such luxury only to have to leave at the end of the day. God placed a burden on my heart to make this day a great gift. Yvonne, our trip leader and Compassion representative, had reminded us the night before that “this day is about the kids.” So I tried to keep that in mind. I wanted to live the day for the kids. I wanted it to be a very special occasion, a gift for the families and accompanying Compassion country staff.

So after we met and took a tour of the facility, after I discovered that Djino had woken up at 1:00 a.m. and traveled SIX hours to get here and Bethchaida had traveled SIX AND A HALF hours down from the mountains on a motorcycle to get here, all eight of us (me, 1 translator, two Compassion country staff, an auntie, a mama, and 2 sponsored children) played a table game I brought from home. It went swimmingly well, and was a time of laughter and bonding over a singular purpose.

We were going to play another round, but Bethchaida said she was hungry. Mom concurred that Bethchaida hadn’t eaten breakfast this morning because they were in such an unfamiliar place. Djino piped in, he was hungry too. We agreed to go eat.

I had purchased tickets for food from the front desk, so I let the children know they could order what they wanted. Bethchaida chose a ham and cheese sandwich. Djino chose a cheeseburger with bacon. Bethchaida’s mom and Compassion staff agreed they would share with Bethchaida. Five Sprites and 1 Coke later, we’d placed our order for those who wanted to eat. The translator, a lovely man, also Haitian, had already decided on the Coke, but politely asked me when we sat down at the table if he could get a hot dog, too. “Of course, of course,” I said, and left to place the extra order.

They ate.

This eating soon after they arrived wasn’t what I planned or expected to do. But they ate every bite. And I couldn’t help but think about Jesus and His call for us to feed the hungry. And I couldn’t stop thinking about that pyramid we all learned in Psychology 101. Human beings need food first. Then, once that is provided, they’re freed up to focus on higher order needs such as education, socialization, emotional development and spirituality.

So today, I learned firsthand – before anything else – we need to feed the hungry. Hunger is real.

We feed those who are hungry, we nourish souls.








When bodies are fed, souls are nourished.

Little girls emerge with confidence, step out with dignity knowing this bathing suit was chosen especially for them. They’re empowered to try something new, encouraged without anyone having to say it out loud. That dream? That hope you had earlier in the day to swim? Today, that dream will become reality. God has the power to make His dreams reality for you, too. He will help you be grateful and say “I love my life.” No matter what it throws at me.

Boys emerge with courage, stepping out into the great unknown. That fear you had? That not wanting to swim because you didn’t know how and you thought you’d just watch on the sidelines? Today, you overcame your fears. Today, rest assured young boy, that God has the power to release you from all fear. He can and will claim victory over your fears. Go in the deep, young boy, go in the deep.





When bodies are fed, souls are nourished.

Little boys and little girls, aunties and mamas and staff working hard on the ground know – God’s desire is for abundance. He wants you to receive this taste of heaven. This plate filled higher than you’ve ever seen? It doesn’t even come close to the peace and joy and love you’ll receive when you enter the gates of heaven.

Yes, that is the burden we have to feed those who are hungry. We must let them know – you are worthy, He invites you to His table, He prepares a banquet for you, He provides what is needed –  for today. Your worries are not for tomorrow, for He provides for today.

When bodies are fed, souls are nourished.

Men and women reveal bits of God’s dreams for their lives. The dreams, they seem impossible. But they agree, they believe, God can do anything. If God wants to make these dreams reality, He will do it. No matter what. For ALL things are possible with God, through Christ. Though distance and circumstance may separate, God’s dreams unite His people.


DSCN6399When bodies are fed, souls are nourished.

God’s people share what they have with one another.

God says – I’ve blessed you with love, insight, sensitivity, and an abundance of resources – GO GIVE IT AWAY.

God says – I’ve blessed you with love, humility, graciousness, goodness, kindness and faithfulness – GO GIVE IT AWAY.

Whatever we have, He wants us to give it away.

This is what it means to give it away.

Feed those who are hungry.

Nourish their souls.

Reach out, and tell a mama – who rode 6 1/2 hours on a motorcycle with her baby girl, who bought the most beautiful dress at the market in Port-Au-Prince just because her baby girl was meeting her sponsor – you are so worthy of this abundance. It’s God’s abundant love for you. He wants you to have it. He wants you to receive it. He wants you to know, this is His special taste of heaven. Just for you.

If you’d love to feed those who are hungry and sponsor a child through Compassion, please click here to see the photographs of beautiful children waiting for a sponsor. I promise you, your sponsorship would be a gift.


*This is part of a month-long series about my journey to Haiti. Click here to read all the posts in the series.




The suitcase that carried all the liquids already weighed 50 pounds on my scale at home. At the last minute, I decided to throw in two bottles of nail polish anyway. One bright pink, one sparkly purple.

But before I move on, there’s something you must know. I really don’t like my nails painted. I prefer my nails cut medium length and I wear them plain, natural. I never use nail files, and I’ve only had two manicures in my life because the intense nail filing irritates my sensory system.

My daughter, on the other hand, loves to paint her nails and everyone else’s nails, so she always asks me “why don’t you paint your nails, mom?” I give all my reasons and I know she just doesn’t understand. I encourage her, maybe she’ll own her own salon someday and she can do nails all day if she pleases!

So the two bottles of nail polish I brought in my suitcase to Haiti belonged to my daughter. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind that I shared. In fact, I’m sure she would’ve loved to be there today as I spent a good third of the day painting girls’ nails. And yes, as I sit here typing, my fingernails are painted bright pink, too.

Let me share this story that’s dear to my heart and moved me to tears more than once today.

It was another beautiful day in Haiti. We loaded the van for another Compassion Child Development Center.

After an amazing, heart-filled gathering with hundreds of children in the worship center, we were divided into small groups. I knew the odds and ends group was for me.

All 23 of us on the trip had brought gifts from home that we could give the children in Haiti. So today was an opportunity to engage children with one of the many fun activities we’d brought, likely something the children had never been exposed to.

It was time to head to the room assigned to odds and ends. A bunch of girls from the Compassion Center grabbed my hands and attached on to one another. At least 10 came alongside as we journeyed to the room where we experienced much joy together.

When bubbles and light up toys appeared and children swarmed, it was pretty clear that I’d prefer to isolate myself in a corner and engage more intimately one-on-one with some girls.

Two nights ago, our group had an opportunity to pool all of our gifts for children at the Compassion Centers. The only two gifts I chose to keep in my backpack were my daughter’s two bottles of nail polish. So nail polish it was!

As soon as I sat down with the two bottles of nail polish and showed the group of girls what it was, they began swarming around me. At home, I often feel overwhelmed with abundance. I become overwhelmed with excess, clutter, too much STUFF. Sometimes I just want to get rid of it all. And here, there was a deep sense of scarcity. The girls were worried there wouldn’t be enough.

I assured the girls they’d get a turn. I promised there would be enough. I created order where there was none.

A sweet soul, Eve, was the first girl to grab ahold of my hand out in the courtyard, and there she was, sitting next to me now for nail painting. So I knew, Eve was first.

I made it clear, before I even started painting Eve’s nails, that I would paint, one by one. Each girl was special, unique. I let them each choose which color they wanted, and asked each girl for a picture after she got her nails painted. And before I started painting, I let the girls know who’d be up next so chaos and that ugly sense of scarcity was minimized, and the predictability of abundance was maximized.

It worked perfectly.

I just kept painting and painting and painting. Each girl was made to feel special. It felt intimate. It was important service and care for these beautiful girls. And before each girl left, I shared a special word of encouragement. “You are beautiful.” “You are going to be a leader.” “You have really beautiful nails.” Whatever felt just right for that girl and what I learned of her while painting her nails is what I said. I’ve learned here in Haiti, these direct words of encouragement are precious to the people.

DSCN6222DSCN6224DSCN6225DSCN6226DSCN6227DSCN6228And then something pretty cool happened. From then on out, the dynamic shifted between me and the girls. See the girl on the top right hand corner of the picture above? She’d been waiting to get her nails done. She’d noticed my camera and was really curious and wanted to see how it worked for herself. She was clearly old enough to handle the camera independently and I felt comfortable letting her hold it and take a picture. So with the direct assistance from a translator, I showed this beautiful girl, step by step, how to turn the camera on, how to take the picture, how to zoom in and out, and how to view the pictures after they’d been taken. 

This is the very first picture she took with a camera.


I empowered her, “If you love to take pictures, you could become a photographer when you grow up. You can take pictures of the beautiful people from Haiti and sell them to earn money for your family. It can be your work.” She smiled and it felt good to share this love of photography. I really wanted her to know this was a possibility. She took several other photos and even taught the other girls a bit. But she was the only one, really, who had a natural inclination towards photography.

I kept on with the painting nails.


The teenage girl who’d been taking pictures hadn’t gotten her nails painted yet, so it was her turn. I painted her nails, and right before I was finished, she told me she wanted to paint MY nails. I nearly broke down in that moment, as I wasn’t there to be served, but to serve. So I didn’t expect anyone to serve me. But our group leader and Compassion representative, Yvonne, had reminded us last night, “remember to be open to receiving as well as giving.” I’ve learned the Haitian people are extraordinarily loving and giving, and I’ve been working on this receiving thing, so I accepted her offer graciously. After she painted my nails, I allowed her to take one of the polishes and start painting others’ nails, which she did with a servant heart.





Edwidge, clearly one of the oldest girls that was in the room with us, had stopped over earlier. She wanted her nails painted with the sparkly purple polish. I told her she was next, so she returned for her turn. I painted her nails and loved on her so much. There was a connection between the two of us I couldn’t measure. While we were engaging, Edwidge told me she creates art and she wanted to get a piece of her art to show me. I empowered her, yes, I would LOVE to see her art! So she left quietly, in search of her art.

I continued to paint nails. The last group of girls to come through was an assortment. Some already had their nails done and wanted to see photographs of themselves. There was one girl who was feisty, another with burns to her face, and other with deformities on her fingers. Their personalities were really shining through, so I continued to encourage them uniquely.







As I was painting the last round of nails, Edwidge returned. She had a black pouch in her hand, she wanted to fix my hair. I took the binder out, continued painting nails, and let Edwidge love me through her service. I thought she might braid my hair or put it up in some cool ponytails or something, but she just kept brushing and brushing and brushing.

Edwidge was showing her love for me, her care for me. I was humbled, moved so deeply, almost to tears, that Edwidge just kept brushing and brushing and brushing. I don’t know how long it’d been since someone just brushed my hair, not just to get the job done, but just to brush it as a loving act of kindness. It was so, so beautiful. Thank you, dear Edwidge.



When I was told it was time to wrap up and go eat lunch, Edwidge was waiting at the front of the room. I asked if she’d found her art. She’d spoken with the Compassion Center Director and the art would be held where we were scheduled to eat.

When I arrived at the location, Edwidge found me and showed me her art work. She was proud. And I was proud of her. She wanted a picture with the two of us and the art she’d made. I thought, based on our communication earlier, she’d intended to give me the art, but realized after she put the piece back on the table, that it had already been sold to another trip member (older students were selling the pieces they’d made to earn money to buy more art supplies).

I engaged others in conversation, and moved to the other end of the room. On my way, I found Carol (a woman on the trip I’ve come to adore – she’s a perfect mix of me, my mom and my mother-in-law, if there ever was such a thing) with Edwidge. Carol was speaking life affirming words directly to Edwidge. She spoke straight to Edwidge’s soul with words like “You are beautiful. Keep making beautiful things.” Carol’s words brought tears to my eyes. Real, big tears. These women I’d grown to love, each in different contexts, had grown to love one another, too.

Edwidge asked if she could sit next to me at lunch. I agreed, I’d love to have her sit next to me. We enjoyed a delicious meal and more time together. “I love you. I am so happy for you,” she said among other beautiful things in those final moments.

How to empower girls?

Love them. Come alongside them. Serve them. Teach them to serve others. Speak life affirming words over their lives. Be completely authentic. Remind them they can do anything. And tell them they are so beautiful, just the way they are.


*This is part of a month-long series about my journey to Haiti. Click here to read all the posts in the series.



  1. Hannah Hinojosa says:

    Beautiful post!! I love how you took photos of each girl after painting her nails!!

  2. Tiffany Femling says:

    The true excitement from first times!!!

  3. Monica Anderson Palmer says:

    Thank you for this encouragement to empower the girls in our lives! LOVED this!!!

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