Quiet Revolutionaries


Photo by Alana Hurst

Yesterday was Freedom Day here in Portugal, as we celebrated the anniversary of the “quiet revolution” that took place in Lisbon on April 25, 1974. It was a revolt begun by army officers that quickly turned into a popular uprising. Jubilant crowds joined the military and, in an almost bloodless rebellion, managed to bring down Europe’s longest-lived dictatorship in less than twenty-four hours, thus restoring democracy. It was a coup like no other, often considered the most original revolution of the twentieth century.

As I meditated on these events of days gone by and the sense of hope they brought to the Portuguese people, my mind drifted to years much further back in history and to the ultimate revolutionary – Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah – who also led a somewhat “quiet” revolution, a coup like no other, overthrowing the enemy of our soul’s attempt at a dictatorship, bringing us hope for new life. He held no great political rallies, did not enlist the support of the military and made no attempt to woo the masses. He stopped for each one that crossed His path, speaking words of life, loving and living the truth, challenging corruption, freeing the captives, healing the sick, obeying His Father.

I hesitate to even compare these two revolutions, so powerful was the outcome of the latter that those who continue to embrace its magnificent victory and awesome leader, at a distance of more than two thousand years, continue to walk in hope and to experience new life and redemptive power. They need never be enslaved again. Quite the contrary, our beloved Portuguese brothers and sisters, live today, once again, in a corrupt society often characterized by hopelessness, disappointment and disillusionment. A revolution can only do so much when it’s led by mortal men, driven by hope in humanity.

We are called to be revolutionaries, you and I.

10253988_10205875664441203_725883989180164925_nLike our brother Jesus, we who know Him and have submitted our lives to Him carry the seeds of brand new life, the message of true hope. We drink from a fountain whose waters never run dry, that gives life to the dying, strength to the weary, healing to the broken. Yet so often, though we carry these waters in infinite supply, we fail to even take notice of the thirsty who walk beside us. We desist from sharing the Truth, the very Bread of Life, with the starving who we meet every day.

“I’m not a leader.” “I’m no one special.” “I’m no evangelist, no teacher or preacher or miracle-worker.” It’s true: those who we often look up to and compare ourselves to are the “loud” revolutionaries, the outspoken leaders, those who by nature of their personality and calling make themselves heard and easily garner our attention and admiration (or sometimes, our disappointment and disgust). But we are all called to be revolutionaries – and though we may be “quiet” revolutionaries, we can nonetheless be world-changers.

Each morning, when I wake up, I set out to change the world – not by my own charm or might or strength of will – but by the grace of God working in me and because I carry His incredible Holy Spirit. Everywhere I go, I am conscious that because I am the light of the world, the salt of the earth – because of Jesus’ incredible sacrifice and revolutionary victory on my behalf – I can make a difference.

The stressed cashier at the grocery store, the mom struggling to open a door while pushing her child’s stroller, the young man sitting alone on a park bench, the angry driver who cuts me off: each one presents me with an opportunity to shine, to share a smile, a word of truth, a kind gesture, a listening ear, an offer to pray. To be Jesus in a world full of brokenness.


Photo by Whitney Rae Hurst




Photo by Whitney Rae Hurst

I choose each day to be a revolutionary and though most of the time I may be considered a “quiet” revolutionary, I am changing the world one word of truth, one act of kindness, one prayer for the hurting at a time.

Jesus loves me and indeed died for me… and for every person I meet, each one that you meet, every moment of every day. I am daily given the choice, and so are you, to look outside of myself and break free of my inward-focused thinking and living. To extend love and words of life to the hungry, living water to the thirsty. To be a part of a coup like no other, where evil is overthrown and life triumphs!


Photo by Whitney Rae Hurst

We are the revolutionaries – whether quiet and less noticeable or loud and visible.
Let us rise up! Let us share the Truth!

“For God so loved the world

that he gave his one and only Son,

that whoever believes in him shall not perish

but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world

to condemn the world,

but to save the world

through him.

John 3:16-17


A Family of Storytellers


Somewhere along the road, while gathering crazy and wonderful experiences like so many wildflowers in a basket, our family began to love storytelling. It wasn’t really a conscious decision nor a concerted effort – it just sort of blossomed into being.

In the early years of our three children’s lives, I read to them every night at bedtime: tales I still remember well (as do they) about the consequences of giving a moose a muffin, of a town overrun with bees and the giant jam sandwich its residents made to lure them away, or a surprise birthday party thrown for a wombat by his friends.


As our kids grew and we shared our home and dinner table ever more frequently with friends and visitors from around the globe, our reading of stories before bed gave way to the telling of stories late into the evening. This practice was only encouraged by the marvelous Southern European custom of lingering for long hours around a meal. As our palates relished each flavor of the multi-course meals I’d prepare, we reveled in the unraveling of real-life tales. Stories of adventure and folly, of sadness and redemption. Accounts of God’s amazing provision for our family as we’ve trusted in Him against all odds, of His faithfulness as we’ve ventured down the often uncharted paths that have marked our life in Southern Europe.

The personality of each of our five family members is distinctly evident in our styles of storytelling and each one adds detail, color, flare, context and his or her own perspective. We speak of a life lived together, with all its joys and stresses; of a journey that’s been wild and wonderful, difficult and painful. It has required commitment and sacrifice from all of us and has, in exchange, afforded wealth unspeakable, undergirded with a quiet confidence in the One who has walked with us through floods and fire, over soft, white, sandy beaches and across fields littered with broken memories and disappointments.

You may have heard the Indian proverb that says, “Tell me a fact, and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth, and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” Jesus himself was the master of storytelling and knowing the incredible effectiveness of associating imagery with narrative to teach essential lessons, he opted to speak in parables more often than not.

Storytelling has such a magical quality because it not only reminds us – the tale bearers – of who we are and from where we’ve come. It also speaks deeply to the hearts of our listeners, passing on lessons that they will store in their spiritual and emotional treasure boxes long after they’ve been with us. I’ve often been humbled by comments received from friends years after their visits with us, confiding that some of their most cherished memories or nuggets of wisdom that they continue to carry with them were garnered during the hours spent around our dinner table.

Our family’s tales narrate a life spent seeking to love Jesus and to love all those He brings us in contact with; to follow where He leads and open our doors to whoever seeks solace or celebration within our walls. Our stories are not all narratives of greatness and glory, but rather our humble (and sometimes prideful and ridiculous) pursuits to know and serve the God of the Universe and to be submitted to Him. A journey I will never tire of undertaking, as it’s full of life, love and unexpected challenges around every bend – gifts that we have received and in turn, must give away.

IMG_0302Despite our oftentimes material lack as our children were growing up, I have no doubt that we have been (and still are) one of the wealthiest families in the world. The richness and beauty that every friend and guest has brought to our hearts is immeasurable. And the sheer plenitude that has been afforded us through living a life of faith, trusting in God to supply our every need (and to make clear to us those things that are not “needs” at all) can never, ever truly be put into words.

10329204_10205872345118222_7390358468795287862_nFriends laugh when they experience our family telling stories all together – five furious, passionate hearts beating in a crazy rhythm of animation and laughter, finishing each others sentences, correcting inaccurately recounted details and challenging embellishments. These are some of my very favorite times because, while we may not have a family home or heirlooms that attest to who we are and where we have been, our stories are our testament. They bear witness to a life lived in so many cities and cultures, with countless people who have become like family and one unifying, central pillar: the God of our salvation, never-changing, ever-faithful.

Today, our kids are telling stories all around the world and though our family tales are not quite the same when only Denny and I share them, we could not be prouder nor more thrilled with who our children have become.

12109292_10207914578652784_5325256804633419670_nWhitney, fiercely determined and beautifully sensitive, a champion for justice, is weaving stories of faith, hope and love that will forever change the lives and future of special needs children and their families in rural Southern China.

vibrant and free-spirited, an inspiration to the disheartened, brings a burst of color to every landscape she touches in Austin,
Texas with her uniquely creative and prophetic perspective.


gentle and wise beyond his years, a leader by example, is setting out to tell tales that will change the world, through his passion for Jesus and his drumming on a four-month evangelistic tour that will touch a dozen countries in Europe and the Russian-speaking world.

I can hardly wait for the next glorious opportunity we’ll have all together, each sharing the stories we’ve been living in our different parts of the world: the new chapters of our family life expanding across the globe. And you can bet that if there are some fresh ears around our table, we’ll be taking some of those wonderful old family “heirlooms” down from the shelves, dusting them off and breathing precious life into them once again.

“You are the salt of the earth.
But if the salt should lose its taste,
how can it be made salty?
It’s no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.

You are the light of the world.
A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden.

No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket,
but rather on a lamp stand,
and it gives light for all who are in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before men,
so that they may see your good works
and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

– Matthew 5:13-16

Created for Community

I need you. And you need me. We were created to live in community, to be a family.


Yet to those of us who grow up in the western world, truly living community does not come easy. Lesser still, to those like myself who were raised in America, where individualism and independence are paramount and needing others is more often seen as a sign of weakness than of valor.

My mother often tells the story of a five-year-old Maureen, on her first day of Kindergarten. The school bus stop was a few houses down, at the end of our road, and as she prepared to walk me there on this momentous occasion, I turned to her and said, “I can walk there myself”. What, I wonder, stirred me to act so “heroically” at this tender age? To feel the need NOT to need others, not to embrace the support and kindness of a loving mother, well-seasoned in the art of seeing children off to school? Why did I insist on finding the strength and courage required for that moment within myself? Had I been found lacking, I dare say I would not have admitted it.

DSC00204Fiercely independent. Wildly individualistic. Completely self-sufficient. How often have we worn these titles as if they were glimmering medals testifying to our completeness, to our value to those around us, because we do not need and we will take nothing from them? And how frequently have we sat broken and alone because of the very walls we’ve erected with our own self-sufficiency, our pride, our sad distortion of an “I can do all things” mentality?

Learning to live community, to freely extend myself to others while also admitting and welcoming my need for them in my life has been an arduously wonderful, gloriously challenging journey. Actually, the “freely extending myself” part has proven to be the less laborious side of the equation: I’ve always had a keen sensitivity to the needs of others and loved reaching out and helping however I could. The “admitting and welcoming my need for others” part is where the treacherous trek begins. For therein lies vulnerability.



Photos by Katrina Quinn

As I shared in a previous post entitled I am healed, I began to suffer from fibromyalgia 23 years ago, at the age of 29. At the time, Denny and I were living in beautiful Mantua, Italy, and we had two young daughters, ages two and three. My husband organized tours for bands and was frequently away, sometimes for a couple weeks at a time. So when I started experiencing exhaustion, chronic pain, daily headaches and debilitating fatigue, caring for two little ones and a household entirely on my own and with no family nearby became nearly impossible. I say “nearly” because I surely gave it a good go for quite some time. Friends, neighbors and our church family offered to help but unless I saw that giving me a hand was convenient for them or of no great consequence, I would graciously refuse. I COULD DO THIS, after all. And I WOULD. I WAS GOING TO BEAT THIS THING!

Somewhere along the road to completely unraveling from pushing myself to the absolute limit, I finally began to give heed to what God was trying to speak to me through the voices of some of my friends…

“I see you need help, I want so much to help you – but if you don’t tell me HOW I can help and let me in, I feel incapacitated.”

“You know how much you love to help and serve people and what a great blessings that is for you? When you refuse help from others, you’re denying them that same joy, that blessing of giving even when it does require sacrifice!”

DSC00569Slowly, fearfully and ever-so-hesitantly, I began to open that door and to allow others inside. Not only when I had it all together and could serve a delicious meal, but also when I was broken, faltering and insecure. And as you may have already discovered if you’ve been on this same journey, the wholeness of others (as broken as they themselves may be) serves to heal our brokenness. A friend’s steadfast faith delivered at the right moment provides a foundation for our faltering selves to stand upon. The safe place of a shoulder where we can cry, an ear carefully listening, a tender embrace, a prayer spoken on our behalf when words fail us… all of this builds a balmy fortress where our cold insecurity can begin to melt.

Each one of us bears a unique fingerprint, gifted to us by our amazing Father: a beautiful blend of character traits, capabilities, talents and idiosyncrasies. Some of what makes you who you are, completes who I am… and I in turn bring greater balance to you with some of the qualities that make me, me. I need you. I truly do. And when we cherish and sharpen one another, our lives are all the richer.

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts,
but all its many parts form one body,
so it is with Christ.
For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body
whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free
and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Even so the body is not made up of
one part
but of many.
Now if the foot should say,
“Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,”
it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.
And if the ear should say,
“Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,”
it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.
If the whole body were an eye,
where would the sense of hearing be?
If the whole body were an ear,
where would the sense of smell be?
But in fact God has placed the parts in the body,
every one of them,
just as he wanted them to be.
If they were all one part, where would the body be?
As it is,
there are many parts,
but one body.”
1 Corinthians 12:12-20