collision

This was a blog post I evidently worked on during a week or two in the US after my first 4 months in Honduras. 

 

There are moments in life where things seem to collide.  Some call it coincidence.  Some call it Karma.  Some call it fate.  I call it the hand or plan of God. 

There are times when there is an undeniable theme in our lives.  Sometimes it is sweet things like grace. Provision. Love.  Sometimes it is Sin. Forgiveness (when you don't want to forgive). Patience. Longsuffering.  We love those lessons that seem like a balm.  But not the ones James speaks about that build up things in us due to trials or because of our sin.  Those we can live without, right?

I shared with you guys about the Cross Centered Life.  It is still a theme.  One that I am learning more about daily.  How to cling to the cross in a new way that is freeing.  Freeing from the junk that distracts my heart and screams that it (or me) are more important.  Freedom from legalism.  From the way that we too often live in- the world's way. 

I found my book "Embracing Obscurity" when I came home and started reading it again yesterday.  I didn't take it to Honduras because I thought surely I wouldn't need to finish that book in Honduras.  There is nothing but obscurity to embrace there.  Oh. So not true.

Since before I left Honduras last week the Holy Spirit has been whispering truths to my heart and shining his Holy Spirit life on sin and just simply the ugly things I have clung to.  And this week with the Cross Centered Life continually before me, comments from friends that love me enough to be honest and not leave me like I am and in reading Embracing Obscurity I realize God is slowly wrecking me.  Breaking me down so He can put me back together whole. 

I am learning I have a long way to go as far as dying to self goes.  So very far.  I would glady hear and obey God's call to go to Let's say "AFrica" than to just let the guy beside me have the right of way when I am impatient and in a hurry. (EO Example)  I am not afraid to do the mundane.  The behind the scenes work. But when it comes to someone infringing on my space, my stuff, my way sometimes I bow up like a small kitten staring down a great dane. Selfishness and Pride. I chose who is "worthy" of my time and sharing His love with. I am a jerk and a hoarder of good things. 

It is not comfortable. It is not easy. I try to hide how I really feel, but He knows. And He loves me and calls me to more, to change. To be like Him. 

 

Note from June 2017- This is clearly not done...but it seems like something I want to share. Because I still struggle with it.  I am still humbled by seeing how He worked in my life then, how He still does.  How He loves me when I feel unlovable and completely selfish.  But that is His nature.  To love and work out His best in our lives.  For His Glory. So yes, Holy Spirit do that.  


For lack of a blog title... Him. And What's next. Maybe.

4 years ago today I had just started my 3rd week of what would be 3 ½ years of living in Honduras. 7 months ago this week I returned to the US from that life. My anticipation was to return back to the US to settle into normal US life…pay off my car, work on getting out of debt, saving up money, buying a small piece of land and build a little home. I looked forward to lunches with folks, long dinners with people catching up and hearing what the Lord was doing in their worlds. Times back at Auburn Women’s basketball and Softball, times at Stone Mountain with my littles, freezing to death in the air conditioning, and just in general doing what I want because I am not working 21 days in a row with a day off, no car and little money.

I found some of that. But I found my reality would be very different from the expectation (Isn’t it usually?) What I thought was the dream the Lord was handing back to me, long shelved, to build my little house didn’t come to fruition. As time went by I lost the desire. The reality of it didn’t fit my life’s reality. The job I was hired to do transitioned into part of the job I did back at the Arbor years ago. The stress of work radically shifted to a different flavor. Trying to rent a small house for August fell through, twice. Trying to rent my old house, up for sale again for almost a year didn’t happen. I felt the doors closing to what I thought life would be.

The friends I hung out with, now over 4 years ago, have changed. They have moved, moved on to other things, changed churches, had life shifts. Dinners and lunches didn’t happen like I thought. Settling into my life from over 4 years ago didn’t happen. I have changed, life has changed. My expectations weren’t fulfilled like I thought they would.

So I find myself feeling unsettled and uncertain. Asking the Lord over and over again in February and March….what do you want me to do? The only thing that felt certain was the job I am in now will end, and when it does my time at the Arbor will once again end. And I am ok with that. In a venting moment one day after work I said “I would be happy to just go and clean hotel rooms at this point.” To which my friend replied “You can volunteer to do that in Isreal for 3-6 months!” As time went by that just seemed to make sense. In my heart as I prayed I kept thinking and hearing “August” So I made plans for what is next…Isreal.

Application filled out, sent in, approved. Plane ticket looked up….$850 which is half of what it normally is…purchased. Isreal for 3 months.

Isreal.

Somewhere I have never really “wanted” to go. Last December I thought it would be nice to go with my friend Wayne and his tour group. But I had a car to pay off and a new job with no vacation time. And now I am going for 3 months. The irony of my life, headed again to a country that has never been on my radar. Details very unknown (to a planner like me there is a certain amount of anxiety in that.

And I don’t know what is after that. Praying He shows me (He will, but praying He shows me in the timeline I desire. Haha) Praying it will be my dream job of missions/evangelism in a church body. Serving. Talking about Him. Seeing Him at work through people. Seeing lives transformed by Him.

People keep telling me how ________________ my life is. (Crazy, flexible, obedient, cool…pick the word). It is. My life is crazy. If I sit and think about it too long I almost start to hyperventilate.

I have no home. No husband. No boyfriend. No kids. Soon to be no job. In a lot of ways unattached and feeling out of sorts most days. I don’t get to carry the labels that most folks have that define them. I find it hard to chit chat about my life because some days I don’t know what to say about it other than “I am just doing what He says, leads, tells me to do…and no it doesn’t really make sense most days.” And that is hard to chit chat. I don’t have kids to discuss and find common ground with others. I go to work and go home most days. I try to stay home and not spend money on things I don’t need just because I am bored and filling time. I read a lot. I’ve taken up adult color by number…it’s calming kind of like Legos, and I don’t have to think about it. I spend a lot of time with Him. In a lot of ways my life is boring, sprinkled with the random that day to day life holds. But it is where He has me and time and again He tells me to wait. To chill. To be content in Him. To find Him in the struggle of what isn’t.

So for those of you who this is news to, I am sorry. I don’t know how to once again, like over 4 years ago, say I am off to some new unknown. I don’t know how to make sense of that. I don’t know how to say “Will you pray for me? Will you support me? Will you walk along side me?” When I can only say I am going to Israel for 3 months to volunteer at a Messianic Jewish community that has a hotel, conference center and a biblical garden. And I have no idea what I will be doing but serving. And most of the time I can’t even spell Israel correctly.

But what I do know is He is clearly with me. He has continually said over the past month…ME. Just Me. Seek Me. Be with Me. Find Your Home In Me. Find Your Satisfaction In Me. Look to Me. Surrender to Me. Give Me Everything. Die to What You Think You Want or Need and Get What I Have For You. I Am With You. I Am.

And that feels really hard. It feels lonely. But it doesn’t feel alone. Over this past week I have had time to spend with my village in Texas and in Ohio. And repeatedly I weep at the thought I am blessed to live the life I get to live. To get to fall more in love with the Love of My Life. The one I never have to worry will ever leave me. Even though some days it hurts because I long to be with Him. To see Him face to face. To cease the struggle that is this world that is so easily distracted and distracting from the truth. From Him. Spinning to grasp everything but what matters, and do the things that are far from eternal. I weep at the thought that I cannot imagine life any other way. Even in the hard and the not making sense and the longing for the hope that is heaven, eternity with Him…there is a rest in my heart that cannot let go, because I cannot let go of Him. And He will never let go of me.

I’ve been reading about the life of William Wilberforce this week. It is much like the movie Amazing Grace depicts and so much different. Did you know that it took over 40 years for the abolition of slavery to finally pass? That it was voted on 3 days before his death, and they were finalizing the details as He died? So often we look at the tasks of our life and want them to be finished, to get tied up and done in a hurry. We get so frustrated and irritated that it takes longer than we think. But I am reminded again and again that life is a race…and not a sprint type race, but a marathon. And we are called to run in such a way to win the prize, the work being done by Christ, but we are called to work it out in our lives with His guidance. It is not easy, but it is worth it. To do what He has called us to, even if it takes over 40 years to see what we think is the fruit.

I look back over my life and see few things that I’ve been in for more than 4 years. I told Bufanda that my life is like a Hashbrown order at Waffle House- scattered, chunked, smothered, covered…depends on the day. But I guess at the end of it there is something good…I see His hand in every step of the crazy map of my life thus far. And what I thought would look more settled and straightline isn’t happening. So I surrender what I thought it would be back to Him (don’t we all do this over and over in some way in each of our lives?)

I am thankful for those who remind me we run this life thing together. My Coveys in the seemingly last quarter of an adoption journey of their little one. My Millers who are almost to the end of adopting their second little girlie. My Taylors who after years of struggle and waiting brought home their little one. My old folks at work who remind me about how God takes care of our needs. Punctuated by “every day.” Coming from an 89 year old one tends to take that statement with a good bit of credibility. The truth of his word that over and over again calls us to sacrifice. To love. Because He says, because it is best. Because it is worth it…because it makes us more like Him.

So I am grateful for those of you still along for the journey. For those of you who put up with the random that is my life. For letting me ramble about the often lack of clarity that my world looks like in the details. To those of you who pray for me, I would humbly ask that you would continue to do so. To those of you who wish to join me financially again for the next out of country adventure, thank you. To those of you who simply follow along and ask the Lord to keep doing what He does in my life, I’m grateful.

I love you. I pray for you. I cherish you. I love to see how the Lord is working out things in your lives. How you love Him. How you reflect Him. You make me want to be like the Jesus I see in you.

So let’s be after Him. Let’s be His. Because He is the one thing that is no doubt worth it all.


Love shows Up

I recently went to surprise my friend for her 40th birthday. I had planned the trip 4 months before. Because of winter storm jalepeno or whatever it was called, I moved my flight up because of a possible ice snow whatever situation in Atlanta. I had been caught in an ice situation the week before so I didn’t want to relive flying 1000+ miles out of the way to get there.

So I left work earlier than anticipated and flew to Ohio. My flight was delayed, no big. Picked up my rental car- a sweet NEW rental car. Google maps led me astray and on a crazy route until I corrected it… I was on my way to the restaurant she told me she was meeting up with some college friends. But then she wasn’t there.

So I killed some time going to WalMart to pick up necessary items- Dr. Pepper and some yogurt (late night snack). All the while hoping she would be at the restaurant (There were two and I was guessing on the location) and also hoping she drove her car so I would know without going in and looking I found them. I saw her car, parked and even saw her through the window! So I went in to surprise her. I anticipated after the shock wore off a bit they would invite me to stay but I had decided to go to her house and wait. I didn’t know them, and it was their party and I didn’t want to mess with it.

I went in and surprised her- I said Hey and she freaked out and said “What!? Why are you here!!?” I said “It’s your birthday week, why wouldn’t I be!? And I love you!” And basically left and drove to her house.

On the way to her house I started to think about her and her friends and praying for their time together. That it would be encouraging, the gospel would be spoken, and lives would be changed because of it. I also started thinking about why I decided to stop at the restaurant. Well, it was on the way home. And it was way more fun…she never would expect me to show up at TGIFridays on a Thursday night. And I didn't want to sit and wait at home for her without seeing her first. But mostly because it wasn't what she expected. 

My motivation for coming her birthday week was really just to help her however I could and tell her I love her. And it occurred to me that is just what love does- it shows up. I told her that the next night. I just wanted her to know that I loved her, and the Father loves her. And love just shows up. Over the next couple days we had several conversations and it came up in conversations with others about God’s presence and who He is. And How he shows up.  He is present. And rarely it's how we expect it. 

On the way home from Atlanta after my delayed/cancelled flight I was thinking about what “Love showing up” really means. It often costs more than we think it will. In my plan to come I knew her husband was taking her out overnight Sunday night. I kept the kids and had plans to do some things Monday so she wouldn’t have to deal with them before my flight out that afternoon. As Sunday night went, my throat started hurting more and more and by Monday morning I really felt terrible. I could have backed out and texted her and said I can’t do it. But I had committed to it. And love honors commitments. It’s what love does.

I couldn’t help but think of the cost as I left on my delayed flight to Chicago. In Chicago my flight was delayed then cancelled. I could have slept in the airport for 7 hours and caught a flight out but I felt terrible so I got a hotel to spend the night. Then flew out the next morning- missed work and finally got home at 3:30. And then had to drive to Montgomery 30 minutes after I got home then and back to Auburn. Still not feeling so good. So it cost more money (hotel and lost work time), time and energy than I anticipated.

As I drove from Atlanta to Auburn then to Montgomery and back to Auburn I just kept coming to what it means for Love showing up. Love to be present. And how much the Father shows His presence to us. I can’t help but think of the cost it required- Christ coming to the earth, His life, His death, His Victory over death and sin in his resurrected life. That the Holy Spirit has come to us, he is given to us day by day and moment by moment. That Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us. The cost for all of this, and continues to take.

Sometimes in our preconceived notions we seek to love people. And to love people well, like Jesus. But then things get difficult or hard or messy or cost too much we want to back out. To say it’s not worth it. And I am so very grateful that our Father in heaven didn’t say it’s too hard, it’s not worth it. He didn’t say it and he is still not saying it. Every single day and moment in ways that we don’t always see or even imagine He is still pursuing us.   I am thankful for the way He reveals His presence to me.   Like a bird art display in the Chicago Midway airport, a song on my ipod that reminds me of who He is, the truth he brings. Conversations about my R2D2 carry on that lead to conversations about Him. The way that He provides, humors, and delights. The way he gives us desires of our hearts, because when he placed those desires in our hearts, of course He will fulfill them. Because I asked Him to give me his desires. The way He consistently shows Himself. Because He is love. And love shows up. Even when we don’t always expect it. And usually not in the way we think He will.

I am grateful. I am blessed. I am humbled. Because of His love I have life. I have hope. I have His continual presence. I have just what I need. Because of Him.  

Ephesians 3: 14- 19 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Be His.


Turns to 2017

In returning to the states I anticipated rolling back into my old life. Hanging out with the same folks, eating at my favorite spots, settling into a routine and newfound freedom from 85-100 kids, 21 days of work in a row and carrying around a walkie talkie 24/7.
What I found was the quiet at night and in the morning seemed too loud, some of my favorite spots are gone. The same folks have moved on and are busy in new ways. Much like a kid who has gone off to college and returned home for summer break only to realize after years away everyone you knew had changed. And you did too.
I never had training for how to serve in a foreign country, raise support, take care of myself while away, nor how to return to the states after years away. I'm finding it much different that I expected and at times overwhelming.
I feel homeless some days. Grateful and thankful and blessedly I get to live with some friends while I work and figure out the future. Build or buy a house or get an apartment. Then but all the things one would need- starting over because I've sold almost everything I own. Bed. Couch. Vacuum. Brooms. Washer and dryer. Dishes and silverware. If my friends decided they didn't want me to live with them i would be homeless. (I know the federal guidelines for homelessness from working with them in seminary). This isn't a completely disconcerting thing but it humors me.
I think of everyone excited I'm returning to the US and myself included for the most part. Then the realization of how little I had hit. I had to buy all new pants for work- the few I still had didn't fit. I had not dress socks. I needed toiletries and everyday things one wouldn't think about. A car the Lord provided that I have to pay off. It added up and I had not even staters work. And when I did it took 3 wks to get paid.
The holidays brought a grief I didn't anticipate. Missing my hooligans. My kids. My bigs. On any given day 10 would be mad at me and 10 would be totally my best friend telling me they loved me when I walked or drove by. Life seems too quiet. The anticipation they have over new trams and presents. New movies to watch and getting to play the Wii once in awhile. Teaching them new things. Reminding them they do matter and they are loved by the Father. I've forgotten how to have holidays without them involved. Being with my family for part of a day was sweet but just felt strange.
Hearing people say "thank you for the time you served the Lord" felt weird. I still am. He no doubt sent me here. To this job. To this city. For this time. Just because I'm in America hasn't changed my heart to serve and Glorify Him. Just the context.
New Year's Eve I sat in church as the pastor talked about "all that has happened in your life this year". And I could barely think of a thing the past year held. I thought of the months when Katja was gone and I had the responsibility of my kids and decision making for them. Moving back to the states. And that's all I could think. I felt that I'd isolated my time in Honduras and visits to the states on vacation into a separate place I couldn't access. To keep the grief to a minimum. And I felt lost.
Then about 10 minutes later the pastor quoted Jeremiah 31. And my friend Bufanda looked over at me and said "isn't that Micah 7?" “Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.”
‭‭Micah‬ ‭7:18-19‬ ‭NASB‬‬
And I said yes. And she flipped in her bible to look it up. And I couldn't. Because suddenly I was flooded with remembering one of the things he taught me and in turn I taught my kids. He has tossed my sins into the sea. No one can retrieve them. Walk in freedom from them and from the shame. Longing for my kids to understand that. To walk with Him in His love and freedom.
And it was all I could do not to weep. To be served the Lords supper by my friends. Reminded of his sacrifice for me. The blessing of his brokenness and blood poured out on my behalf. So the only sacrifice needed would be my life in service to Him out of thankfulness love and gratitude for his grace and mercy.

The next day at round 2 of church I asked my friend to pray. She asked "anything specific?" And I said no. And His answer to our prayers was He is enough. He satisfies. He gives joy. Walk in freedom in it.
Just what my heart needed to hear. Not something "big" and loud. And steps to follow in getting from where I was to somewhere else. Just Him.
Even in what feels completely unsettled and a lot of times solitary and too quiet. Him. Just Him.
And now as we take off on a delayed flight to Atlanta we take off in the rain and fog. To come out above the clouds. With the plane wing visible in the backdrop of stars. And I'm reminded sometimes the quiet that feels so lonely and scary is just Him. Pulling me aside to Him alone to cover me in His love. To get above the fog and rain and storm. The balm I need to heal the hurt I feel in the missing my kids. In missing heaven and being with Him. I long to be there. I long to see His face. To be before Him. To worship Him without distractions or hesitation. To see His light and marvel at His creation like the stars in the sky.
I long for geography not to matter with those I love. In countries spread from Africa to Central America. Across states and even 2 hours away. For the constraint of money to not Exist.
To be whole. With my people. Gathered around the throne.
So for now I return back to my temporary home. My job tomorrow. And I seek to remember the simplicity He shows me. What freedom looks like from self made expectations. To walk in his way. Listening to His voice to lead me into spaces and places with those He has called me to serve and serve with.
And to find Joy in the journey.
So grateful for where He has taken me in my 42 1/2 years. And praying in this next calendar year to be diligent to just listen. Stand. Fight. Speak truth in love. And be graceful.
Thankful for those of you with me in this journey.
Let's love Jesus. Because He has loved us first. And love like Him.
Be His


Looking at the Manger

IMG_6563

I Saw this on Instagram from George's Farmers Market (one day I am going to make it over there by the way!)  I took a screenshot of it and as the last couple of days it just kind of stuck in my mind.  I couldn't think of why until the other night after the Resident and Family Christmas ball.  It just suddenly struck me....for all those years the Jews and so many expected the Messiah.  They waited.  They hoped and they anticipated.  And He came but no one seemed ready.  I am sure Mary and Joseph as new parents didn't feel ready.  Even after all those months of waiting and preparing after the Angel's announcements to them.  The sheperds probably didn't see it coming.  The wise men, well...they I'm thinking might have been ready after their travel and planning.  

The empty manger.  I can't help but think that in our nativity mindset, that manger wasn't just sitting there waiting like an empty bassinet at the hospital, empty cribs awaiting a baby to come home.  That manger was with animals and hay and who knows what. But that is where He came, Baby Jesus laid in a manger.

And so many people missed it.  There were not announcements made on CNN, on Twitter or Facebook.  Some angels announcing it to the sheperds but that was it.  And for 30ish years Jesus did his thing and grew into a man, worked and prepared for his 3 years of ministry, His death and His resurrection.  Even in those 3 years there was word of mouth of miracles, wonder and even anger.  Word spread, scripture was written, history made.  

And even in that, people missed it.

 It makes me so incredibly grateful to be on this side of the Nativity and the Cross.  To hold and read my bible and just be overwhelmed with the knowledge of Love, Grace, and Truth.  To have the opportunity to prepare my heart for the Christmas season as we celebrate Christ.  May I carry that with me daily and seek to reach those who have still missed it.  The arrival of the Messiah, and let them know what the true, deep, life changing meaning of Christmas really is.  

May we indeed prepare room in our hearts, our crowded days, this Christmas and New Year season to see Christ, the Father who loves,  us, and the Holy Spirit who is so sweetly strong and kind to us in the Grace, Love and Mercy of our Forgiving Holy Trinity. 

I'm thankful for sweet baby Jesus who was laid in a manger to save us all.  

Merry Christmas!

Be His 


Flashback meets fast forward

I have timehop on my phone which reminds me of all kinds of things I've posted on social media. Sometimes I've even confused myself- read a comment Scott Fillmer sent to me on a Uganda trip and for awhile I thought I might have been to the Detroit airport and completely forgotten about it!
It's really quite the thing to be reminded to read old blog posts from 8 years ago. And I'm just always astounded at the crazy life the Lord has given me. I've been to 8 countries. I have 3 degrees. Learned another language and have 85 kids! Bought and sold a house and a car and all my stuff. Started over in another country. It's been a crazy full and good 42 years.
Now he is leading me to somewhere else again.
Pretty much everyone I talk to here in Honduras asks me how long I've been here and how long I will be here- it's like the US equivalent of "what do you do?" My answer is always the same- I'm here til I die, the money runs out, or He says go. I haven't asked much "how long do you want me here?" to the Lord. Usually in praying He leads me to "Stand. Persevere. Keeping going. Stand firm. Fight" In August one day I asked and He answered differently.
"October"
Ok I thought. That's a year- my residency will expire next October. I'll have the year to say bye to all the teams one by one and get word out I need a job in the US or wherever. That same night I told my friend I heard the Lord tell me I would be leaving Emmanuel at some future point. But I wasn't specific. Her prayer for me that night confirmed a lot. It started to feel sooner than next October in my heart.
I've the past weeks I've been mentally planning taking things to the US I wanted to keep and how to do that 2 suitcases at a time. And then I started thinking I would leave on my vacation in the spring and just stay in the US then. And kept praying.
And a few weeks ago found myself wishing I would be with my family for Christmas. Which was odd. I even asked someone to take my Legos to the US and I would get them in the spring (just don't have time to mess with them here).
Then last Wednesday everything changed. I got a text. And everyday since that text He has made it clear I'm supposed to return to the US. I can't explain all the details right now but it is very clear that I'm moving back to Alabama. By November 1.
I know. That's soon. It's fast. It's surreal.
I met with David and Lydia last Wednesday morning and then talked to Lourdes. I explained God revealing his plan to me and confirming it in scripture after scripture. And His timing is just perfect. I will share more when I am able, like who is taking my job and what I'll be doing. But know it is Him.
I'm not leaving because I'm upset, burnt, angry or done. Yes this has been the most trying crazy hard thing I've ever done. And I would remain here if He said. But my prayer is He would tell me when and be clear. And he has been. So it's just time. I told the girls last Thursday and they heard my heart and my tears. And they understand. They are asking to make sure I'll take photos with them before I go. Haha
So I left last Friday with a couple volunteers to Teguc for touristy things. And I flew to the US Monday for my vacation. I'll go back on 19th spend time with my crazy kids and then leave here the 31st or 1st. I plan to start work on Nov 7.
For those of you who support me financially you are welcome to contact CMC to stop payments for Nov and Dec but my request would be that you would continue your support through the end of the year as I won't be paid by my next job until later on in November and I have transition costs. I have to find a car and buy supplies and work clothes... December funds I plan to purchase and send things my kids need. Whatever you may decide I am grateful. You have enabled me to be here...and do what He is called me to do. I'm humbled and completely speechless.
I would appreciate your prayers over the next couple months. Leaving here is sweet but hard already. My new life in the states will be difficult and I will miss it here. My kids.... And just need vision for where I will live, buying a car, doing a completely new job, if I have to buy things for a house or apartment...the details feel large.
But as always. Emmanuel- God with Us. He does what He does to love us and make us like Him. And I'm grateful. For it all. Grateful for you. Grateful for what He's lead me through and where He's taken me. And can't wait to see some of you face to face and get to spend time sharing the details with you!!
Be His.

Andi

Flashback meets fast forward

Flashback meets fast forward


The gift

So I'm spending some time away from Emmanuel for my day off and thought I would take a moment to blog to show you all I am still alive. Also to explain this box I received. Hundreds of you have asked about it since I mentioned it on social media and I couldn't keep my adoring audience waiting. Okay. One person has asked in the past 3 months....

So in March I'm on vacation in Ohio driving down 13 (the road that leads to or from anywhere from Carrie's house) and singleness came up. In the discussion I mentioned something I read earlier about "the gift of singleness." It seems to me that the way singleness is discussed in the church body is either you need to get married because you're so cute,smart, pretty or great OR you just most have the gift of singleness. Like its a spiritual gift. I literally checked a few times and it's not listed as a spiritual gift. So we laughed about adding to the list of "gifts" and talked about what my gift of singleness looked like. So a day or two later Carrie gifted me with my singleness officially. Ha!
Here's the thing... I know Paul mentioned the benefits of singleness over marriage. And encourages those who can to remain single. He also says those who can't should be married. I know the bible is full of marriage language. Heaven will be a wedding. I love that. I love weddings. I love love! Haha I get it.

I think we can all say In 2016 singleness is just a weird subject. I can list a whole lot of things that are great about being single. I can list a whole lot of things that are really far from awesome about being single. I acknowledge that marriage is hard. I've been in lots of friendships with couples and seen the struggles up close and even seen marriages fail. I get it.
What is hard to understand is why it's a "this or that" thing. You're married or you're evidently waiting to someday be married. I've never heard someone say "I think it's awesome that God has had you single because...." I'm thankful to have had people say "why don't you come over to our thing we are having because we don't want you to miss out" (married people thing). I'm thankful that folks in my world acknowledge my aloneness (I roll singularly...not that I'm alone) and invite me in to their lives for community. I'm ok with being involved in families and doing family stuff. I have time for that when married women don't. Most of my friends know I'm fine goin to the grocery store with them just to spend time chatting about whatever. They also know that I'm extra grateful for moments we can sit as grownups at a meal or coffee shop or on the back porch alone chatting. I'm thankful for those who pray for me about my not having a husband to partner with as I navigate life. And they don't necessarily pray the Lord would send me one. They just pray what the Father tells them. I'm thankful for those who ask how I'm doing and really want to know because they get that I don't have a husband to talk to as life goes on and ask his opinion and pray with about stuff that feels hard. I'm thankful for folks who pray for or with me because they get that at the end of the day I don't have a husband to do that with. It's how community should look anyway- single or not. We share life and time prayers and Jesus. I really try hard to be someone that does the same for my friends (who happen to be married) because I get what life must look like for them and I want to be an encouragement and friend to them. It's just what we do as the body of Christ. Because I'm single I try to live my life serving as much as I can because I know I'm free to do so.
A lot of articles I've seen lately about singleness seem to mention "while I was waiting for a/my spouse" and some are still waiting. Which is interesting because I just think...what if it doesn't come? I try to just live life, pursue my King, and see what comes. But I don't feel like I'm waiting for my husband. At least not an earthly one. I just don't want to spend energy on it. Like I try not spend energy waiting for another house or car or any other thing that's not in my life. That just makes it all feel harder
For me it's too easy to get caught up in what I don't have and I miss what I do. I have people who love me, in all my silly messed up ways. People who laugh with me that I'm turning into a spinster or the old lady in the shoe with all the kids. I have a Heavenly Father who knows exactly what is to come and I trust Him.
I think of Corrie Ten Boom talking to her father and wanting to know something. He handed her the big suitcase he had and asked if she could carry it all day. She replied she couldn't that it was too heavy. He responded with something alone the lines of "trust me that I know you can't carry the weight of it. Like you aren't ready to know some of the things you want to know". I trust Him. And if He up and surprises me with a man to become my husband then bonus. (And watch out world. That's gonna be a crazy time! Haha)
For now I sit my "gift of singleness" on the shelf and go on down the road of life doing my thing with my #village and trust my Father for the decisions He makes in my life. Knowing that I really don't have a gift of singleness because I am His bride! And that's the best kind of gift I know.
Love you guys.
Be His.

The gift


Semana Santa!

Had a team of High Schoolers from Florida leave Friday and a team of Union University folks come in Saturday.  Like the countdowns in the states our kids have been waiting Holy Week to start.... School is out just now and so it begins.  Week of Hot, dry, but NO SCHOOL for anyone and the boys only work half days.  Yah for all that...except the hot. 

So we have made a schedule for my girls so they know what we have planned and they are already asking questions about it.... Sunday tournament for prizes with a few of our card games, Monday we are doing the infamous waterslide in our yard (ours is the best).  I am considering bringing not only soap but maybe some vegetable oil...seeing as the grass is already dead we cant kill any plant life. Ha. Tuesday is  movie (and popcorn, they don´t know about the popcorn) and soccer court after dinner.  Thursday is water balloons and water games and probably just chaos with water.  Friday and Saturday I didn´t make plans because I will be Headed to America!! Katja wasn´t sure what she wanted to do with the girls yet. 

Mixed in there will be Wii time for those who have earned it.  I have discovered that the couple of groups that have gone are mostly terrible at tennis and half are terrible at bowling and the other half are awesome.  I got Mario Kart for them and they have enjoyed playing that but don´t fully understand what to do with the extra stuff.  It´s quite fun to watch them. I´ve videoed several times but whenever I video it is just boring. Will keep trying to catch them doing something loud and entertaining.  They keep asking for dancing games, but I have to make a list of acceptable songs on the discs. Because some are just....um nope. Not listening to that song! 

We have planned lots of activities for the kids and now the weather decides to up and rain all night and this morning... go figure.  It´s cooler for now which is nice but messes up time for non water related activities. My kids are dying to get wet, even when it´s not hot. 

So we start spring break today and I am finishing up my time here for my vacation to America...land of the fried food and easily available stuff I want and need. And My people!! Almost all my people! (Some I can´t see this trip :( 

So if you haven´t told me you want to see me, please let me know! And don´t forget I have a pow wow on April 16th if you want to come hang out!! 

Thank you guys for your support, prayers, and encouragement for me and my kids. 

Be His

 

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Part of the square in Guiamaca (We drove through on the bus, I rarely go to town)

IMG_2356 Art in Teguc at a round about. Yes, that´s a pig with a soccerball in it´s mouth on a plate of money on the right.... ha

IMG_2264My Little Big helping me make a cabinet for our tv and wii stuff a couple weeks ago. 

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Start of a sunset the other day.

IMG_2327Found one of the kitchen girls behind the kitchen after lunch like this. Told her next time David brags to everyone at church about the hard working kitchen girls I will have the sound guys put this picture on the screen hahaha. 

 


Ain´t happenin

I was going to post some more photos from Christmas but the reality of the internet here, even the fancier faster one in the office, is just way to frustrating.  I will try to make sure to post more when I am in America in April.  Speaking of America, friendly neighborhood reminder- I will be in the states March 25- Around the end of April.  So if you want to see me let´s plan something! 

School started yesterday and I have to say, like I said last year about this time, so ready for school to start! The kids were antsy and starting to act a bit nuts and we need some more structure and better schedule than the holiday schedule.  

As usual, I teach my kids what I learn, and last week´s circle on Wednesday morning was about Sin. Because I have 90 teenagers it is easy for folks to throw around reminders of past stupidity.  Sometimes I remind them because they are making new poor decisions and need reminders of the past ones. But I try to not put a kid in a box of being a "bad kid" and reinforce sometimes what people in their pasts have said. So, we talked about sin. 

I was explaining to the kids that when we are in Christ He has taken our sins to the cross.  We still sin, but we confess them and move on, letting Him change us.  We don´t allow the enemy to keep bringing them up again and again, reminding us that perhaps we are just trapped. That we can do no better. That we will never be free.  That we are condemned by our sins and cannot walk away from them.  

I know the tendency is to allow him to speak to us like that, and too often to listen.  But the bible says different.  Several places it talks about how God forgets or throws away our sin. And these are in the OLD TESTAMENT before Jesus! Imagine, in a system of forgiven sins in the temple with animals and shed blood God forgives, forgets, throws away sins! 

If you need to see it to believe it....Here are just a few:

Psalm 103:11-12

Or as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Micah 7:8,18-19

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Do you see that? He throws our iniquities- our wickedness into the sea!! Have you ever thrown a rock into the sea and then tried to go find it? It's basically GONE.  So when we stand in forgiveness because of Christ's work on the cross...we are forgiven.  And our sins are not to be found again! Into the SEA. 

 

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

When we think of sin we think of justice. And Justice for wrongs would be imprisonment, repayment, retribution of some sort.  This says He is Faithful and JUST.  And His Justice for us is to forgive our sins! How crazy is that?  He sends His son to die on a Cross, kick death in the teeth, so that we can live forgive and free....and in His Justice which is mercy, grace, and forgiveness because of Christ!

And as I explained to my kids, somehow we let the enemy try to tell us we aren't forgiven.  We will not be free, we cannot change....and live in the sins of our past.  Such a big fat liar. 

I long to totally understand and live in this myself.  And I long for my kids to understand this and walk in freedom.  He is so good to us and we fail to look to Him and walk in His freedom far too often.  I pray we see Him as He is, and the gifts He has for our hearts! 

Please pray for some of my kids who are making poor decisions regarding school right now. And for the people they choose to hang out with that are bad influences.

Please pray for wisdom for me and other staff.  

Pray for rest and restoration as we spend time with the Lord.  To be diligent in taking the time when it is open.

Please pray if the Lord is leading you to become a financial supporter. One time gift or regular giving.  When the funds don't come for me to remain here, then I can't stay.  I don't want funds to be an issue to my remaining here with my kids. 

I'm grateful for you guys. For your support and your prayers!! You don't know what it all means to me and my kids!! 

Be His

 

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

http://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

 


Feliz Navidad

I know some of you have been waiting for a post about Christmas here...so here you go. 

We celebrate Christmas here on the 24th- lunch this year was hotdogs and then we do gifts.  Thanks to the amazing coordination of Sarah and Amy helped with team help all gifts were given out in about 45 minutes. Between lunch and Gifts we took photos in the pavilion with the blow up tree and penguin I found for 50% off in Teguc. I think it was like 10 dollars a piece or something less. 

I had asked for help to surprise my girls and folks from CA, OH, GA, TN, ARK, and AL all pitched in.  I got bags with shampoo, conditioner, body scrubs, pens, word search books, socks, chapstick, hair ties and claw clips, candy, deodorant and each had sandals/flip flops given to them a few days before Christmas to wear for the day.  I was astounded at how much stuff I had...more than covered my 94 kids! 

I think I had 14 boxes in my den and I told my poor roommate I would have them out when she returned Jan 4 but because I have some extra things I can't get rid of them til I get my storage space secured which is a whole other thing. Ha She said its ok though.  

I started working on the bags the morning of the 24th while the girls were beautifying themselves and after Christmas gifts it took me another while.  I think 8 hours total.  

Christmas morning (25th) while they were eating breakfast the team helped me move everything to the pavilion.  When they saw the bags on the tables when they came out after breakfast they all came running and yelling.  I explained that friends had sent it all down- the same ones that sent the sandals.  They all hollored and yelled and cheered.  It was too hard to film as they hugged me and thanked me.  They talked about those bags for days.  And I was corrected by several saying they would love stockings... to quote one "We can have bags anytime but stockings only are for Christmas!"

 

So enjoy the photos and little bit of video.  I cannot thank you enough for all your help to surprise them.  I was expecting them to be more nonchalant than they were and were so happy to know they were beyond excited. Such simple things too. Thank you! Thank you a ton of times! 

 

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I have more but the internet is being sassy. So I will post these now and work on the others at another time.

Thank you for your investment in what the Father is doing to love on these kids here. I can´t do it without you!

Be His.