.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.