Trip to Manila

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Update: Life has been quite the whirlwind as of late, but I have an amazing opportunity ahead and I need your help!

Isaiah 51:4-5 “Listen to me, my people;
    hear me, my nation:
Instruction will go out from me;
    my justice will become a light to the nations.
My righteousness draws near speedily,
    my salvation is on the way,
    and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to me
    and wait in hope for my arm.

That’s right!  As I mentioned before, we had the incredible opportunity to help send out a church to the Philippines and my boyfriend was a part of the team.  Now, as their inaugural (Sort of like a grand-opening service) approaches, I would love to be able to go.

Since I moved to California over a year and a half ago, I’ve had incredible opportunities and experiences.  I’ve been able to study the Bible with amazing women and be a part of their baptisms, and I’ve also learned more about the Bible than I’ve ever known.  However, world evangelism never left my heart as I’ve been working on evangelizing the Long Beach area.  The more I hear about Metro Manila, the deeper the desire grows in my heart to visit and see what we’re doing in our international churches.

The team was sent out a couple weeks ago and already their campus ministry is setting in with Bible studies. I would love to be a part of this and I need your help.

I’ve raised about a fifth of what I need to order my plane tickets and the prices are going up every day. My boss has agreed to give me the time off, so now I’m asking out of faith for your help. If you can give a dollar, or if you can help me finish my goal, every little bit helps and I am extremely grateful. The link is right below this paragraph.

Click here to give!
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at tori.lynn.wallace@gmail.com

Thank you so very much.


To God be the glory.

-Tori Lynn

Looking Ahead

Spending time in North Carolina has been excellent this time, and as much fun as I’ve had, I also learned a lot.  It was very sobering to see more of who I used to be.  To be honest with myself about the states of depression I’d been in, and to see how the old state I used to call home wasn’t near as bad as I once thought.
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DSC02537There’s a large difference between these two girls, from my senior photos to this little trip.  Seeing the old photos and sitting in my room gave me a delightful peace of how different I am now.  Who would have thought, when you really trust God, He takes care of you.  Ha.  As I look forward to 2015, I wonder what the difference will be between that woman and this one.  As I pass over the pine trees in a couple minutes, I’m entering another chapter entirely, and I’m genuinely excited about it.  All I can say is that God is good, and I couldn’t be happier that He’s in charge.  Here’s to the new year!  Love you all.

~Tori Lynn

My First Year

One year ago, my life changed entirely.  However, it was truly just the beginning of a new journey.

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When I said the words; “Jesus is Lord.”  I realized that life would always ask me, “Is He really?”

I can genuinely say that I’m not the scared little girl I was when I went down into the water, but I’m not necessarily the girl that came up out of them either.  Though I died to myself a year ago, I have learned the truth in this verse:

Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Daily.  Every single day from here on out I am becoming more of Him and less of me, and it’s been fantastic.  There are the obvious changes, of course, learning what it means to be a woman as well as living as a Disciple.  But a friend of mine asked me the other night, “Besides those, how have you changed the most?”

It caused me to think deep, but being able to answer that question was evidence enough.

I used to carry a thick notebook with worn pages and a cover that was falling apart.  I called it my “Thoughts” notebook, but secretly referred to it as a “Breakdown notebook.”  Every time my mind could no longer comprehend things, I would write frantically, hoping to calm myself down.  Shortly after this time last year, I simply stopped using it, and one day took it back to North Carolina and left it behind.  As I was explaining, I realized what caused this difference.  Openness, the freedom to express the depths of my heart with people whether or not they will understand.  As I poured out my heart with the brothers and sisters this weekend, the reality of this beautiful truth set in.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Perhaps I no longer need this form of therapy because now I have learned to trust God and talk to the people He has given me, and to listen to what they have to say.  Honestly, I know these are still my first steps, but the mountains ahead are thrilling, and my heart can only harbor so much hope.  Sincerely and truly, I want to thank all of you who helped me get this far.

As I reflected in the mountains this past weekend on the year before, my heart was overwhelmed with a joy unspeakable.  Standing in the same places I had cried out to God for clarity the year before welled up gratitude within my heart.  Where last year I was filled with questions, this year I have been immersed in a deep love.  From the depths of my heart, God, I am grateful for Your kingdom and Your salvation.  When people ask me how it’s been, my answer remains: “It’s the hardest life, but it’s the best life.”

Philippians 3:7-8 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ

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It’s been a wonderful journey so far and I can hardly wait to see what this year holds.  Somewhere along the line I realized that it’s no longer a trip or  simply an adventure, but the life I’ve been given, and a splendid one at that.  And I want to say, thank you Lord for loving me! ❤

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~Tori Lynn

Love of Thousands

As a former introvert, you can imagine my amazement at a long weekend conference of over a thousand people who not only truly love God, but each other as well.  As I wandered through the delightful fellowship every morning and evening, I exchanged numbers and hugs with countless people.  Not only did I constantly find myself in conversation with previous strangers, but it didn’t matter where I ended up sitting.  It sounded a little scary at first, but I tell you, there’s nothing like it.  

Hebrews 8:11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.

 

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This verse truly reminded me of the beauty of every moment.  Some embraces were new and warm, others were overflowing with excitement as old friends were united, but every one was filled with pure love.  Never have I seen anything like this before in my life.  Ah, to imagine that this is only the beginning, and to think that not every single one of us was present.  As the beautiful voices echoed through every room in that hotel, a mental image sunk into my mind that I shall remember in the most difficult moments.  

We are Family, to the End.

~Tori Lynn

Something

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I can’t quite explain freedom

or how hope feels in your bones,

but I know how it feels to be trapped,

and remember what it feels to be alone.

However, I do know that the absence

is something much more insane,

something beyond this captured scene,

of the sweetest calling of your name.

You’ll see other horizons, I’m sure.

Just don’t lose sight of what you came for.

~Tori Lynn

Landscapes

In all of my journeys, wherever they have taken me, there have always been those special places where everything else disappears for a moment.
One I found in the depths of the ocean, in that moment when you can no longer see land in any direction.  The salty waves rolled on forever and the breeze kissed my face.  I could stand on the end of the boat and I was ever aware of the gravity the rest of life bore in that moment in comparison to myself.  Endless depths stretched in every direction, those of which I could never entirely search out.
One I found in the rising fog after the rain, where the asphalt melted the waters into the summer sky.  The greatest tranquility settled over that place as the mist lifted through the pines and oaks.  The world seemed to stop as wind stirred leaves over the gravel, and that was all there was.  I was practically breathing serenity, my heart was still in those moments.
And then there was this shoreline, by a great lake that stretched and curved like a giant, unmoving river.  It wasn’t really all that much, but as the sun set over it, you would have thought it was the most beautiful of places.  Lined by rocks and trees, a stillness of nostalgia overwhelms the whole place.  The little wall by the grass-ridden sand rests ever still in time, as much changes, it remains still.
Another I found riverside at the foot of a mountain, where life seemed endlessly full of hope.  The surging force alongside the steady foundation showed me balance, a scene that deserved silence and bubbled with inspiration.  Whether the clouds chilled my arms or the sun warmed my face, it was one of those places that I could have stayed without a second thought.
There was also a place like this in the depths of the mountains, among icy mountaintops and never-ending forests.  A place which begged me to become a part of, to interact with it.  Wonder filled my mind and everything was so far beyond my reach.  The trees went on forever and the faces of rock were more than I could count.
This one place could have stretched on forever and I never would have tired of it.  A lake shimmering like glass with the clearest of waters and the most brilliant of lights.  The whole place is a breath of fresh air every time, and when you look around, you cease to fathom that the rest of the world still exists somewhere.  It’s like something out of a story, completely surreal.
A special place is full of the softest of grass and trees that stretch to the sky.  When you’re there, you become a part of it.  Every movement of the bugs in the grass, every tremble of the trees in the wind, every drop of rain on your face welcomes you to stay.  It’s one of those places you can lay in for hours without saying a word, completely unaware of the time passing above you.  The quiet enveloped me in a sound unlike anything else, and I had never so wanted to be a part of somewhere.
And there’s a place by the side of a road, where everything passes by and I’ve never felt so away from it all, yet still connected in some strange way.  A place where the night sky breaks in and the stars burst forth.  The tracks run on out of sight and the lights give some sort of quiet hope off, beside everything, it’s quiet and still, beautiful in the strangest of ways.
Yet another at the top of everything, with cities stretching on well out of sight.  The ocean rests quietly beyond it all, and when you stand there, the cityscapes seem to go on forever.  There’s a strange stillness in standing above it all, still being able to see it.
Then I found a new special place, like all of these but different, for I had never found a quiet special place amid a huge city.  Skyscrapers on every side, even underneath, it has every right to be chaotic with the city, but instead it’s a little oasis of serenity in the midst of it all.  As still as a mountainside, as quiet as the grass, yet it holds the beauty of the lakes stretching on.  The lights shine quietly, breaking into the dark and the structure upholds some sort of balance in a beautifully surprising way.  A city escape, somewhere I simply want to be a part of.
These are but a few, and I hope to find more as time goes on.  They are gems amidst all that goes on.

~Tori Lynn

Sobriety Smiles

I’ve found myself in a collage of memories for which I am ever grateful. However, there were impending events which could have caused a cascade of unnecessary troubles, had I not been rescued. On the verge, teetering above dangers that I could never have imagined before, I was whisked away in a whirlwind of such great magnitude that it shook everything.

Looking back, I have to smile. Snow coated memories and laughter of the purest sort rush in, and the smile which emerges is not one of over-jubilance, but a sober smile.

Despite the lack of the tangible holiday feeling, I must say that I am overwhelmed with joy this Christmas, for Christ who has given us more than we ever could have asked for, and for Papi who gave us a place in he grandest story of all time.

Perhaps the worst part of traveling, is that one must leave (at least most of) their books behind. However, perhaps the greatest joy is that you become your own story, much grander than any you’ve ever read.  As I’ve had to leave so many of my dear stories behind, I’ve found a different sort of excitement in being a part of the story myself, at last.

Colossians 1:16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

Meet Christmas everyone, I love you all dearly!

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~Tori Lynn