Sunday, October 28, 2012

.grace.

.The.deep.deep.meaning.of.the.word.grace.



.This. week has been a good week of just "getting back to normal" at House of Hope. The week was fairly busy with a team of women from the states here. Counting beads and getting production ready for the next few Tuesday's that we are going to be doing production until the end of the year. There is always a lot to do here...that's a certain constant...there is always work to be done.



.Last. week I wrote about 5 dorm girls running away and not wanting to live at House of Hope anymore. One of those girls returned with her grandmother on Tuesday. Upon her return she refused to talk to anyone or even look at us. She was being a teenager who was angry at the world...which we all understand right? There were obvious frustrations with the staff on campus with an unruly teenager that was at risk of jetting away at her first opportunity. Talking with the dorm mom, Brittany, she was expressing that she was frustrated with the girl not talking to her and just totally ignoring everything she said.



.I. thought for a little while before responding...looking at the girl who was standing arms crossed and looking intently at the ground. I had a flashback to when I was younger...and could see myself in her shoes.



.Knowing. that I had really messed up. Knowing that I had truly hurt someone that I deeply loved.

.Coming. from a super broken background I always felt like when I messed up or hurt someone's feelings that was the end of the world. Not to be dramatic...but it was just a deep belief that I had...that once I screwed it up...whatever "it" was all was lost and I would never again be invited back into the heart of my friend (or whoever it was). I remember living that way for so many years...elementary school...middle school...high school...college..and beyond. Just living in that broken thinking that even if I messed up once I was toast.



.This. is how I often approached God. I spent about 10 years playing the "religion game" and trying my best to please God and then doing something and feeling as though all was lost. This left me bitter and angry and eventually I walked away from religion and who I thought God was.



.Looking. at what I have learned about who God is and who is creating me to be all of those misbeliefs and wrong thing has changed or is at least in the process of continually changing in DRAMATIC ways. About a years and a couple months ago...after I had been walking with God for almost a year...I messed up...like REALLY messed up. One of those mess ups that you just would really rather forget and hide and never talk about again. I was wearing shame and guilt like it was a heavy wet jacket...clinging desperately to it because it was what I thought I deserved to wear. The first few days after what me and my friends now call "the incident" I walked through face-to-face confession and all the really messy parts of getting your junk out in the open so that you can deal with it with God and allow community to walk alongside you. (Yuck!) After a few days of just feeling such grief and despair I felt God speak to my heart and just led me to himself in such a kind and loving way. I felt God whisper to my heart to just sit in his presence and spend time in his word and with him. I did. I spent hours with him in my room in his word and on my face before him.



.Confessing. Repenting. Being filled. Being loved on.



.In. those hours I realized what one of the main differences of religion vs. relationship with Jesus was and is. Instead of getting all cleaned up and then going to God to ask for forgiveness once I felt that I had "paid the price" for  my sin...I went all dirty and honestly a wreak...and I came out of my time with God a different person. A child of the King wearing forgiveness, grace, and mercy. Realizing that for me to continue to walk in condemnation (now that it was confessed sin) would be to continue to sin and deny the very nature of who God is.



.After. my time with Jesus I brought two of my close friends into what God had shown me. Telling them that I needed their help to continue to walk in freedom. To correct me if I say things that display that I am allowing myself to live in condemnation and not in the freedom and grace that God has lavished on me.



.This. was a pivotal point in my relationship with Jesus.



.To. think that this was just over a year ago and now to see where God has me and what he is doing in and through me. Me! a mess of a sinner. As Paul says I'd be the queen of sinners...but God! Oh how I love how he works. How he works. I love who I am continuing to discover God to be.



.My. prayer for the girl that has returned would be that she would feel loved, forgiven, and accepted just as much, if not more, than she ever was. That she would see that just because she made a bad choice and ran away from those who love her dearly...that our love for her has not changed...but it has increased. That this precious girl would see that is how God is! His love for her...for us...for you...is absolutely perfect. It has nothing to do with what we do or do not do....but everything to do with our heart and us following him.



.That's. grace. That's love.

P.S. So just the other night I had this giant..and I seriously mean GIANT..caterpillar in my room the other night. One of the women, Erika, who lives on the other side of the wall from me came to my rescue and we had a blast getting  it out of my house and then she literally stoned it to death. Yep that's right friends..she threw stones at it until it exploded. Kinda gross..but there was a lot of screaming and laughing at the gringa screaming going on. Poor little guy though.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

.oh.how.great.

.I. have been in awe of God and who he is displaying himself to be this past week.



.Life. at House of Hope has changed tremendously over the past few weeks but God is still who he is and he is the one in charge. There has been a bit of un-steadiness on campus which has caused some of the women and a lot of the dorm girls to be a little less stable than usual.



.This. past week I was on dorm duty...waking up with the girls at 4:30am and helping them get ready for school. I am so thankful that it was me who had this week because of the events that took place on Friday morning. This Friday five of the dorm girls had decided to run away from House of Hope. They packed their bags and left campus around 3:40...just before wake up call. Three of the girls were found by our on campus director, Oscar Jr., and brought back to campus. They refused to go back into the dorm and eventually called their parents in order to make arrangements to return to their homes. During the chaos of the five girls leaving a mom and her three children also decided to leave campus. She had been struggling with life at House of Hope and was becoming ever increasingly unsatisfied. Earlier in the week three other women had left as well. In a matter of 48 hours 4 women and 5 dorm girls have left House of Hope. All the while we have a team visiting campus this week and lots of work to do.



.This. week has taken a toll on me emotionally and physically that I didn't really see until Friday evening when it was 11:30pm and I would have given anything to sleep. I had been up for almost 24 hours at that point and I was pleading with myself to just go to sleep...yes..arguing with myself is the height of insanity. It was one of those moments when you have just run yourself ragged and all your body/mind needs is a good night's sleep but you've pushed yourself too far and you can't sleep. Tossing and turning and getting more and more frustrated as the minutes and hours ticked by which by the way only causes sleep to come more slowly.



.Still. in these moments I feel God ever present and close...and teaching my heart to just breathe. These moments when I am at the end of myself I get to see God move and work way more than anything I could ever do. It's these moments of being so desperate for him that I am overcome with his presence. It's these moments that I hear God most clearly and feel the Holy Spirit flow through me to love on the women and girls on campus just one more time. It's only Him that I want the girls and women to see when I give them a hug or pray over them or correct them for misbehaving. It's him and only him that I desire to show them.  I have nothing but God to give so in the moments that I am literally brought to the end of myself emotionally, physically, and spiritually that God is displayed greatly. I know that I would love to just go hide and pull the sheets over my head and hide until the girls stop yelling or demanding things from me...that's me and what I want to do...but God. God desires to be present and love on them and that's what he does through me. He loves on his daughters through me...and in giving them his love I get to experience that amazing love and grace deeply for myself.



.He. is just that good.



.I. have been feeling this week that the past four months of emotions are catching up to me. Now...when I say emotions I mean the sad and the happy. I think that I have just been a little be on "day-to-day" mode and haven't really allowed myself a lot of processing time or "cry it out" time for myself. Well..it's coming out on it's own now which makes for really fun times of crying at random and seemingly un-emotional times. For example...we went to the beach last Sunday (AMAZING!) and there was some beautiful scenery and mountains and fields...and who started crying? Yep..you guessed it me. Me the one who was a rough and tough girl...not anymore...God is changing me. Why was I crying you ask? I was crying just because of how big and majestic our God really is...he made those beautiful mountains and they bow to him...they are under his power! (and no I'm not tearing up now) :)



.It. just is amazing to see a display of how big our God is. Of how great he is. I think I had gotten emotional over the mountains mainly because of being in awe of God but also I think I've had my head down and just pushing through the tough times that I was not experiencing God deeply as I want to. I think that when I saw those mountains God was romancing my heart and calling me back to himself in a way that only he would know how to do. It would be like if you who are married or dating...if you both had been busy that week and didn't get to spend a whole lot of time together and he/she came home from work at the end of the week with your favorite movie and popcorn just to reconnect. That's what God did for me that day last Sunday and this week. Showering me with his presence bringing my heart back into deep intimacy with him. Causing me to fall in love with him and who he is all the more.



.With. that said. I am looking forward to this week of being drawn in by a God who loves me beyond my understanding. Being drawn into himself only to display him to the women and girls I am surrounded by. I have the privilege to love on his girls. Oh I just love that I get to serve him and be a part of his love story for the world. My hearts cry as I have about 7 weeks left on this journey is that I would stay soft so that I can hear the Spirits whispers and direction as I walk the campus of House of Hope. That I would be directed fully by him in ways that it would display his glory even more.



.It. will only be God that carries me through to December excellently. Only God working through me in every situation and circumstance is going to allow me to go through these next 7 weeks with excellence.



.Here's. to seven weeks of seeing God move in even more amazing ways that we could have ever imagined.






.Thank. you to my friends and family who have supported me by sending an email, Facebook posts, prayers, and financial support. With out you and you allowing God to work in and through you I would not have been able to be here getting to tell you about all that God is doing. I love you so very much and I have a couple hundred giant hugs to give out in a few weeks. So get ready!



.With.love.

P.S. Ok so I have officially decided that I am hands down the absolute most clumsy 27 year old ever in the history of the world! I was leaving my most favorite cafe last week and tripped over air and fell landing first on a BMW suv (the driver sitting in the front) and then hit my knees like a two-year-old. I got up laughing hysterically bloody knees and twisted ankle. That is the third time I have fallen hard here in Nica and gotten up with bloody knees like a kid. Yep..so here's to more falling and laughing.




Sunday, October 14, 2012

.sigh.

.ok.go.

.To. say the least these past two weeks have been the most difficult spiritually and mentally.

.Personally. these past couple weeks have been amazing in feeling God super close and present.

.I. have seen and been a part of God revealing His truth...moving and uprooting things...to allow Truth to grow. I have been able to worship Him in ways that only pain and confusion can bring up. God is moving in such huge ways that I just want to shout at the top of the mountain "Look at what my God is doing! Look at Him move!"

.To. recount a conversation I had with a dear dear friend "I am just really proud of God and who he is and what he is doing. I feel like I want to make him cookies for being so good!" Yep...I actually said that. That's how I am with God. Just real and honest...it's who I am...I can't help it.

.I. know that in my own personal life I have had God rip out things that I was believing and clinging on to and living in to replace with himself and HIS truth. As painful and destructive as it is to have those things removed...what comes up and out of the destruction is absolutely beautiful and amazing...and causes my heart to worship.

.Over. this past week the song that best explains how I feel is the song by Chris Tomlin. "How Great is Our God".

The splendor of a King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice

He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
It trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Age to age, He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the end
Beginning and the end

The Godhead Three in One
Father, Spirit, Son
Lion and the Lamb
Lion and the Lamb

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God and all will see
How great, how great is our God



.This. brings tears to my eyes just typing those lyrics.

.Oh. how GREAT is our God!