Friday, December 21, 2012

.unprocessed.



.I. don't really know how much time I'll need to fully process and think through these past six months. If you don't know this about me...I am a thinker...sometimes it's my greatest downfall. I remember it seeming so surreal that I was leaving Nicaragua up until I landed in Miami. I told Dave, one of our elders/pastors, that it just felt like the team was going to leave and I was going to say goodbye to them once again. Just weird to wrap your head around leaving somewhere like Nicaragua...more precisely...House of Hope...to enter into the world of the States.



.Two. totally different worlds.



.It's. hard to believe that I have been back in the states for a week now. Thinking back to life at House of Hope and just how much can and does happen in a week my heart aches knowing that I am not there walking through those changes with those precious girls and women. (Right about now is when my eyes fill with tears...hence the reason why I have not made it through this posting until now.) For me this is trust in God being walked out. Moment by moment. Hour by hour.



.Believing. and trusting that God loves those precious girls and women incredibly MORE than I could.

.That. thought right there is amazing and full of awe...it brings me to my knees in thanksgiving and humility. That is my God. That is your God if you are a follower of Christ. He choose us friends!



.The. last week at House of Hope is all a blur because of the many happenings and preparations for the festival of colors. We had fun with the women packing all 400 Christmas bags for each of the women that works on Tuesdays. The Festival of Colors was an exciting way to end the year and I felt privileged to play a small part in those women's lives.



.A. few days before I left my Alma came back to House of Hope.

.I. say that statement with a heavy and light heart. Heavy for the darkness and pain I saw deeply etched in her eyes. When I got the news that she was up in the front building at House of Hope tears sprang to my eyes and I threw down whatever I had in my hands and I ran as fast as I could to see my precious daughter. As soon as I saw her I literally skidded to a stop. She wore the shame and pain of mistreatment and abuse like a wet coat. My heart ached and hoped for her in such a way that I knew was a reflection of God's love and acceptance of us.



.Standing. back a few feet I watched her as she interacted with the other girls telling them stories and answering their rapid fire questions. The whole time Alma kept her head and eyes angled away so that there was no chance of her looking at me. One of the woman came up to me and put her arm around my shoulder and said, "Your daughter is back!". I looked at her with tears in my eyes and told her that she is so hard and that she would not look at me. This woman then said, "It's because she has a lot of shame and she doesn't want you to see." That hit me hard. To think that she thought I was mad at her or upset with her. No! I was overjoyed that she had returned. I cared only that she was alive and here...not what she had done. I cared only for her. I walked over to her and kissed the top of her head and walked away and sobbed. Crying for her and for the pain she had walked through again.



.God. has used Alma to teach me about himself in deep ways. I had an experience of just how deep God's grace goes when I messed up and didn't run from him but ran to him with hands open showing him the brokenness I caused. This story...mine and Alma's story...has taught me that same lesson even more so. It brings me to my knees to see even a small glimpse of just how great is our God!



.Along. with the heaviness my heart is light because God has answered my prayers over and beyond what I ever imagined him doing. Alma didn't stay at House of Hope that day and she was found sleeping in a park. A woman that attends the Tuesday program at House of Hope who has left the lifestyle of prostitution took Alma in to her home. She is walking in obedience to God and making much of Him who rescued her from a life of abuse. My Alma is loved by the creator of the universe and he gifted her a home to be loved and cared for.



.Oh. how great is our God.



Monday, December 17, 2012

.re-entry.bites.

.but.God.





.I. feel a great need to thank those who have prayed for me, supported me emotionally and financially, and emailed/facebooked/facetimed/skyped me when it wasn't fun or easy for you to do. I am eternally grateful for your obedience to God to stepping into the role he had for each of you in this part of His story.



.My. prayer for you all is that you grew closer and deeper in your knowledge and understanding of who God is through your obedience.



That through your giving you were able to experience God's love that much more.







That through you buying that phone call to chat with me and pray with me you were filled with just how much He loves you.



That when you posted on Facebook that you were praying for me that you saw how the Holy Spirit was connecting us in such a way that only magnifies how great is our God!







That when you were prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray for me and the women and girls at House of Hope you were connected to God in deep ways that you can't fully explain.







This is our God!

Oh how great He is!



Thank you all for your support...whatever form it took...the seen and the unseen. My words will never express the depths of how grateful I am to each and every one of you.

.Thank.You.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

.short.days.long.worms.

.ten.days.left.


(Thanksgiving hike up a mountain!)

.So. it is hard to believe that I only have ten days left. Wow. Only ten days to love these precious little girls and the women that are surrounding me.














.No. regrets kind of lovin'.


(This is Rosa...from last post...she said she's been sober since we prayed!)

.My. prayer for just these past few weeks is that I would finish this leg of my Jesus walk well...honoring God. What that looks like exactly I am not so sure just yet. I don't think I will really know what that looks like until I am on my plan from Managua looking back at these past couple weeks.



.Day. to day it looks like staying sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading and leaning into where he wants me to move moment by moment. It means taking the extra five minutes to talk with a girl in the morning...it means giving up my daily runs to spend that hour with the women...it means just sitting on my porch and being available to my neighbors...having a sleep over with a fun movie...taking a woman or two to get coffee and talk about God...savoring every moment.



.It. means not pulling away and being here but absent...which for me is honestly the easiest thing to do by far!



.These. past two weeks have been...to say the least...interesting.

.Ranging. from a woman pulling a knife on another woman in an argument to getting diagnosed with a worm parasite that is growing up my leg. (The worm has sprouted and there are three others that are smaller...so a total of 4 worms.) No post last Sunday because I was in the ER getting blood work done because I was having some weird symptoms which all went back to my worm. Monday I was at the infectious disease doctor who diagnosed my worm and put me on some serious meds. I am on a three 10 day cycle of anti-parasite meds. They have super not so fun side effects so this week I have been battling those. I guess it's my souvenir from Nicaragua. A friend told me that I may possibly have to get it a passport which I have shared that with the residents at HOH and they all think that is hilarious. Haha. They have given the largest one the name of Anaconda...just in case you all wanted to know. For those curious of how one gets rid of worms...well...there are a couple ways. One is trying to take the meds that I am currently on. Hopefully that will be the only thing I will have to do. The other way is to wait until the worm causes an sore on your skin then...nasty warning...you can pull it out from your body. Cool right? Anyone wanna sign up to pull my worm out? Haha. Just kidding...I totally have dibs on that.


(This is my biggest worm. He...Anaconda...starts a little lower than the middle of my shin and goes about an inch before the hem line of the shorts in the picture. :) )

.This. week I have been thinking over the past six months...all the ups and downs and middle grounds...and to sum it all up...I am extremely thankful for my Jesus family. Through all of this you all have been my support in every way possible. Listening to the Holy Spirit when to pray or text me or send an email.



.You. will never fully know how truly thankful I am for your support and encouragement and ultimately showing me Jesus through you following him.



.I. covet your prayers as I desire to honor God in finishing my last 10 days here in Nicaragua. As I say my good-byes or c'ya laters. As I push through  my side-effects from the meds I am on.



.God. has been amazing in teaching me so much about himself through these women and girls it is honestly hard for me to focus in on one main lesson from these last two weeks. The thing that I have come out of these two weeks with is that God is who he says he is...even more so I am learning everyday.



.He's. just SO good to us!

.Here's. to ten more days of glorifying God in Nicaragua with me my friends and Jesus family!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

.where's.waldo.

.You. remember that childhood past time of trying to find that pesky little Waldo right?



.Well...for me...here in Nica...life is sometimes like that. Be it me personally feeling like I don't know where I am or be it me forgetting where I put my keys or water bottle. It has ranged from me feeling a little lost in where I stand in my relationship with God or where my thinking is going...good or bad. What I mean by being a little lost in where I stand with my relationship with God is simply a question I ask myself regularly.."am I following Him or what other people tell me about Him?" I can recognize quickly where I am based on how "soft" I feel or don't feel. For those of you who know me well you will know exactly what I mean by that. Haha. For those of you who don't know me quiet so well...here's my two stages of fellowship with God: soft and hard. I don't really have any good middle ground there..but for me that's ok.



.My. constant prayer is that I would stay soft before Him...soft to his voice...his leading.

.Staying. soft is often difficult for me especially when I don't have my Jesus family super close to call me to the rug when they see my walls.



.Being. soft last Friday was exactly what I needed!

.I. drove to cell groups with Vilma (the co-director of House of Hope) last Friday. It is a neat time to get to see the women meeting in their home groups, praying and encouraging each other to follow God. At the last cell group I noticed a woman who I have come to know from Tuesday production. She is fairly new to the program and I did not see her at her table last Tuesday. Her name is Rosa. She was across the street in a park and even from a far distance I could tell something was not right. She was with some men and laughing and stumbling around...highly intoxicated. I felt the Holy Spirit say "Go to her!" ... I went up to the group leader and asked if she was in this group. The leader confirmed that she was and that Rosa was not doing well with staying away from alcohol and men. I quickly walked across the street as Rosa was walking towards a small store with a slot machine. I said hello and asked if she knew who I was. Stumbling through her words she said yes and that I was the gringa who worked at House of Hope. As she played her slots we stood hand in hand talking about why she was not in her small group. She explained how she didn't want to go to small group because she was drunk and she was ashamed.



.With. tears in her eyes she stopped playing slots and turned to face me and said she couldn't do life like she is anymore.

.I. told her about my story and how I had problems with alcohol as well and how I did not want to show my face around the church or "those people" while I was at my worst. I was able to express to her my need for community as a Christ follower and her need as well.

.Arm. in arm we walked back to the small group. She sat in my chair that was now vacant and immediately broke down in tears. We were able to pray over her and encourage her that this is exactly where she needed to be.

.As. I left that small group she walked out with me and asked me why I had come over to her. I turned to look straight into her eyes and I told her "Because God loves you and he told me to come show you that he loves you." She sunk to the ground and as I held her crying and praying for her I was swept up in God's love for his children.



.His. love goes beyond the walls we put up. Goes beyond how many "too many" drinks we had to cover our pain. Goes beyond our "good deeds". Goes beyond everything.

.It. never ceases to amaze me just how much he loves us and at what cost he purchased us.



.This. right here is why I am no longer my own but HIS.

.Here. am I Lord.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

.thankful.

.I. have nothing to say that would or could express my thankfulness to God appropriately.



.Today. at church I was overcome with my thankfulness towards him and just how unappreciative at times I can be. How I go on living and forget how kind and full of wonder he is.



.He. is the essence of amazing.

.Worship.

.When. I think about just how incredibly amazing he is I am drawn to him...drawn to worship him more.



You revive me
You revive me Lord
And all my deserts are rivers of joy
You are the treasure I could not afford
So I'll spend myself till I'm empty and poor
All for You
You revive me Lord

Lord I have seen Your goodness
And I know the way You are
Give me eyes to see You in the dark
And Your face shines a glory
That i only know in part
And there is still a longing 
A longing in my heart

My soul is thirsty
Only You can satisfy
You are the well that never will run dry
And i'll praise You for the blessing
For calling me Your friend
And in Your name I'm lifting
I'm lifting up my hands 

I'm alive
I'm alive
You breathe on me
You revive me