Thursday, May 16, 2013

Vindicated.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

Mother-daughter walks. I love these. Sharing. Solving. Scheming.

We pass stately pines interrupted by the occasional aspen while deep in a discussion about various struggles and trials. Suddenly, however, my mind bumps into a tree-sized thought.

This man. Why hadn't I thought of him before? He certainly experienced trials dished out with a giant serving spoon.

Our conversation becomes rather one-sided as I cogitate upon the ramifications of this century-old story.

His name was Job.

Grabbing my Bible immediately upon returning inside, I flip to the book with the same name. My attention is riveted as I read through chapter one and reach the last verses. Wait a second here. Re-read.

What's this that Job does? What's this that he says? Hasn't he just been stripped of family, fame and fortune in a matter of hours?

He falls down, worships and blesses the Lord.

Immediate shame. Is this life of gratitude my automatic response to suffering and trial?

But that's not all. I read on into the second chapter.

Another meeting in heaven is underway, and Satan appears with devilish insatisfaction written all over his face.

I can just hear the fatherly pride in the voice of God as he mentions the faithfulness of Job.

"Skin for skin," Satan declares. "Touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!"

Permission granted.

Did God just give assent to suffering? It's hard to read it otherwise. Sometimes He allows trials and pain to obscure our pathway, yet always for a reason—that we may vindicate His character.


Job's trials are painfully personal now. Health challenges. Interesting.

Yet how does God's servant respond once again? He simply does his best to alleviate the problem and gives thanks for God's gifts regardless of whether they appear as such.

Suddenly I see this story in a different light. I see my own life, my own trials in a different way…

These things that I face are not just trials.

This is a controversy. God's reputation is at stake.

Could it be that my struggles are actually part of a test to vindicate God's character?

And if I fail to trust, if I allow faith to falter, isn't His name immediately shamed?

I want His character to be vindicated.

What will my life testify? 






Thursday, May 9, 2013

He Always Endures More

I climb part of the hill behind our house to my special place of communion. Rugged boulders wait serenely as though they were the thrones of majesties themselves. A cloudless blue sky envelops the world with brilliant rays of sunlight. In the distance I hear cheerful bird melodies while I watch a silvery-blue butterfly rest gently upon my bare toes. It's time to be still…

There are few things I cherish more than peace. 

My mind has travelled thousands of pathways in the last few weeks. Big decisions to make. Places to minister. People to love. 

Yet atop my mountain top perch with a birds-eye view, my mind wanders. 


--

A heavy groan pierces the silence of midnight. The stark moonlight shining through the olive branches seems to cut the blackness like a sharp knife. Huddled beneath their cloaks a few hundred feet away can be seen a few drowsy figures. The entire atmosphere seems triggered, waiting with cold tenseness.

Stillness is broken by a movement in the shadows. A pallid form raises from the hard ground shaking in sobs of anguish. Following the silent path of gravity, blood stains red the place of conflict. With faint but determined voice come the words, "Not My will, but Thy will be done. I choose to surrender. I will give all."

Suddenly His haggard form crumbles to meet the earth. This struggle has drained from Him every ounce of strength. He has made the choice.

--

I review this scene while gazing silently across the pined landscape and my mind returns to the cause of this remembering.

Upon the cross and in the garden over two thousand years ago He shouldered the sins for an entire world of ungrateful creatures.

He took them all. He bore it all. He chose it all.

And yet when everything is said and done, Satan will only suffer for the sins of the righteous.

Christ always endures more. 
His love encompasses, His heart throbs as one in our sorrow, in our agony, in our joy.

He has been through it all, and He understands.

Trust Him.



Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's a Mystery to Me…

Wispy clouds sail past my window as I watch my home of three months fade away. Palm trees wave their gentle farewell while the shimmer of tropical summer reflects the heat along with all its side-affects that has kept me close company recently. Crazy traffic-crowded streets indicate a country where every driver is a law unto his own. Trash-covered roadsides, vibrant green mountains, people who have melted their way into my heart—it is all indelibly engraved upon memory’s hallways, paint still fresh. Shortly my mind is ensconced by cloud trails to match those outside. It's a mystery to me…

I walk at a brisk pace towards the immigration hall lugging my partially incapacitated suitcase behind me while endeavoring to maintain intestinal peace. My eaves dropping capabilities have majorly improved since I first encountered this airport in January. I laugh later as I bump into someone and catch myself automatically responding with perdón or permiso despite the fact I’m now surrounded by English speakers. Other curious habits cause me to smile. Has this language, this culture, really become so much a part of me in so short a time? My mind is still whirling. It's a mystery to me…

It’s my last flight. The flickering lights of city night-life hold me captivated. They always have. Soon the view out my window evolves into complete blackness. I try to see the stars while attempting to avoid the draft coming from the exit row window. I’ve never been known to sleep easily on planes, yet at least I have an empty seat beside me this time. I curl up as comfortably as possible, heavy eyelids descending slowly. True to history, sleep eludes me while once again the inner recesses of my brain step into high gear. It’s a mystery to me…

My eyes cast a bleary gaze around my room. I'm frozen, standing in tired delirium at the doorway despite the fact that it is two o'clock in the morning and I'm incredibly sleep deprived. This room, this house, this country. How could I have become so comfortable as to count them normal? It's a mystery to me…

This enigma, this mystery has fastened its iron-fisted grip upon my heart. And in the silence of quiet morning broken only by occasional flame crackles, I find an answer.

It’s not the poverty, the necessity or even the simplicity of life, it's the contentment. 

These people accept their surroundings and day-to-day realities with a smile. They are satisfied to continue making tortillas and cultivating coffee on the mountainsides like their grandparents. 

If perfect contentment to accept with joy every situation God places in my life can make even a full life simple, that is true living. I can still dream, but I am satisfied that where He has me right now is the absolutely most beautiful place in the world to be.

It is no mystery…

Fun at the river…
Lettuce harvesting day!
Lost… :)
A weekend at the coast…

A friend in the nearby little mountain village of Cero del Torro
Promoting lettuce in San Pedro Sula


Now these are lemons!
Friday is craft day—my turn to teach… :)
The verdant garden
A caving adventure…


Mi amigas en el restaurante! 
A first-time mom, younger than myself, who I was privileged to assist through labor and birth


Monday, March 11, 2013

Hungering for Sacrifice

Sometimes I want to post. Sometimes I could care less. But if anyone has been wondering why so much silence, it's because there is too much happening. My journal is basically full, and it has only been two months. I had to go hunting in town for a new one (not quite my fancy, but at least it doesn´t have disney characters on the front). :)

I'm across the mountain now. Dividing time between La Zona and Santa Barbara. Time at the restaurant. Time at the school. Time at the hospital. My days are full...

Yet deep inside, I feel myself growing in new ways, discovering parts of myself I never knew before. And I'm glad for that…

Learning to take sacrifice to a new level.
Learning more perfectly the inexpressible joy of service.
Learning to create stillness and calm regardless of circumstances.

But the more I learn, the more I hunger. For one thing...

To see the sacrifice of my Savior played out in my life.

Because my life is not my own. All to Him I owe.

I love these mountains…
Gavi and Waleska, my friends and roommates :)
René teaching school
Picking delicious organic lettuce
Seedlings
The restaurant, La Canasta de Vida
Mouthwatering…
A batch of cookies I made…
This specialty, called Torta Fria, is absolutely delicious! I had the privileged of making and decorating it this time…
A friend in the cesarean ward
Cleaning off a cute little newborn
One of the nurses, Damaris, who has become a good friend. :)


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Do You Realize?

I lie on my bed, the sun shining in its brilliant splendor outdoors, yet my eyes closed and curtains drawn indoors. My head pounds like hammer on anvil. Yes, I have plenty of time to think today. Plenty of time to be still…

Sometimes God gives me the gift of a different solution to my questions than I intended. Yet beneath my thin sheet, mask and earplugs, I am smiling. I am counting my blessings. 

I laugh sometimes at His sense of humor. Perhaps I shouldn't, but if you knew all the circumstance you might just laugh too. :)

It's been three weeks since I landed on this soil. Three weeks to the day. They have come and gone like sand through a sieve. And as I lie in complete consciousness amidst the muted childlike activity beyond my open window, I can't help but review them. 

Humid mornings attending preschool. Soccer games in black of night. Unexpected hugs at anytime of the day from anyplace on campus. Surprises not to be forgotten. Finger-feeding blended beans and non-sticky rice to one-year-olds. An aching arm from pushing kids on swings over one hundred times some days. The struggle to communicate in a language unfamiliar. A muddy yet exciting hike up the mountain. Honduran noises. (I'm convinced these people must be half deaf). Baleada (among other authentic food) experiments in the kitchen. The early morning bird chorus. Coloring, creating, making activities for the kids. Purchasing school supplies when you don't know what half the things are. A hefty stalk of perhaps 60 medium-sized bananas for a dollar. Continual prayers to show Jesus. Time in La Zona with friends old and new alike. Emails from friends that challenge and encourage me. The realization of my abundance once again. A sick day. The opportunity to simply be here

Yes, I'm thankful for all these things and so much more. 

Wiping one tear. Creating one smile. Holding one child. Changing one diaper. Pushing one swing. Hearing "Glesy" dozens of times a day. Doing one thing to bless one person, to touch one life

Do you realize how blessed you are? There are thousands of children who would prize just your worn pillow as their greatest treasure. There are thousands of children who would do anything for just one bowl of food from your table. There are thousands of children who want nothing more than someone to care. 

Do you realize how much you owe?

Sisters
Camera happy? :)
Just like Migel…
Happiness
Can't get over those eyes…
Little friends
Nicole
This swing is the favorite
Cuteness
Watching
I love Arturo's smile…
Ramon and Yeferson
Joy
Genesis… :)
Jump!
Don't ask… :)