Saturday, July 30, 2011

brickyard lessons

These past three weeks at the brickyard have been such a joy. The time we spend out there is amazing. The people are so hungry for the Word and are soaking up new truths like sponges. Each day is simply exhausting, but so worth it. Children are hiding the Word in their hearts. Women are learning how to walk with Jesus. Men are learning how to lead their families.

Everyone knows it isn't manly to smile in pictures.
I am so grateful for the time I had at the brickyard this summer. With each week came a different theme, and as I have prepared to teach, the Lord has showed me how I, too, need to remember the basics. Do I really believe that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient? Do I really believe that God is sovereign and in control? Do I truly believe that I do not have to do anything to earn my salvation, but instead just have to trust that Jesus went to the cross for my sins and rose again three days later?

A typical day of class
The Tarahumara and mestizo people with whom we have been working live simple lives. They have rich traditions and beliefs. Many of the girls are married with a child at fourteen or fifteen years old. Little children run around barefoot on ground littered by nails, scraps of wood, and trash. The men labor all day making bricks that they sell for almost nothing. Their means of life are primitive compared to ours; they have no running water or electricity. Instead of a toilet, they use an outhouse. Forget Maytag or Whirlpool, little children scrub clothes with a rock in a bucket of water.

Two volunteers from a team with two of our faithful women.
The government allows the people to live and work at the brickyard, and each family is somewhat like an independent contractor, selling bricks to whoever they can whenever they can. However, with the growth of the city, there are neighborhoods encroaching on the brickyard. These neighborhoods will continue to grow as Chihuahua grows, which means that the brickyard might be moved. If or when the government moves the brickyard, it may be moved as far as 40 kilometers away, meaning that the current ministry there may cease to exist.

A stack of bricks is proof of backbreaking work.
And yet God is doing something miraculous in the hearts and minds of these people. They are learning about what God did for us and how that truth can truly change a life. Please pray for these dear people--that their hearts would continue to soak up truth, and that they would be able to see God work in mighty ways.

Friday, July 29, 2011

still

This morning, one of the blog posts on my (in)courage email challenged the readers to write for five uninterrupted minutes on a writing prompt. The prompt was the word still. Here is my five minutes on still. 

When I think about the word still, I think about not moving. I think of the verse in Psalms that says, "Be still and know that I am God." One year at BCM, a fellow student spoke about that verse. I distinctly remember him saying that the words for "Be still" meant "SHUT UP!" in Hebrew.

Wow. "Shut up and know that I am God" just has a bit of a stronger tone to it, don't you think? I really struggle with this. I love words. I love to talk. I love to read. And I love to write. Hence, for me to "Shut up and know that I am God" takes a lot out of me. It takes a bit of humbling. I always want to be doing something. If I am reading, writing, cleaning the house, lesson planning, whatever, I want to have some background music on. In our American culture, I think we are afraid of silence. I find it hard to just sit and be still before the Lord. To shut up and just know that He is God. But that is what He wants. And that is where He can really speak--when everything else that could distract me is turned off and it is just me and Him.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

perfect timing

I subscribe to a blog called (in)courage where several women writers submit posts each month. Each woman then, is featured one day in the email that they send out in the morning. The second post in the email was so specifically encouraging to my heart. I love it when the Lord does that. You can read the post here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

unity

Do you ever have one of those days where you just don't feel like yourself? Where you are frustrated with, well, everything? Where daily routines seem like enormous tasks, and you are just overcome by the temptation to be lazy and allow the enemy to steal your joy?

Today is one of those days for me. Somehow, I have allowed myself to have a little pity party and forget the amazing promises and blessings given to me by my Lord through His word and His track record. I think about the past few days and wonder how this happened, or how I let it happen. I think that sometimes as Christians, we buy into the lie that since we are in Christ, we are no longer going to have any problems. Life should be easy. Or at least everything should be enjoyable. But that is not true. Sometimes life is hard. Not everything is enjoyable.

Being a somewhat independent person, I pride myself on when I can do things without asking for help from anyone else. I don't want anyone to think I am incompetent or that I am too young or green to know what I am doing. But the thing is, we all need help sometimes. And no matter how old we are, we don't know everything. There is always an opportunity to learn from someone with more experience, and there is also opportunity to teach someone who is in the same situation you found yourself in years (or maybe even weeks) ago.

When I find myself frustrated and overwhelmed, I am often tempted (and go ahead and give in) to feel weak. The word weak is a four-letter word in our American culture. We pride ourselves on being strong, pick yourself up by the bootstraps kind of people. Unfortunately, this structure is completely unbiblical. Over and over again, Jesus challenged and implored his disciples and followers to be one. He said to them, "The world will know you are mine by your love for one another." [John 13:34-35] Wow. If it were something that was easy to do, Jesus would not have commanded us to do it. To love your neighbor as yourself is the second commandment. When we love someone as we love ourselves, we better spend a whole lot of time thinking about them and doting on them, because we are pretty self-centered. At least I am.

This week, our mission has been in the midst of a conference about unity. The title is something about working cross-culturally. I must admit, when I first read that and realized it would be the driving theme for four days, I was less than thrilled. Four days talking about different cultures and how we are supposed to get along? Really? But I have to tell you that these sessions have been quite helpful and insightful. Coming here to Mexico was an obvious culture and paradigm shift. But there are culture and paradigm shifts when moving to the next county or state. I found that in working within my school and in this mission, there are many cultures represented. There is the missionary/missionary kid culture, private school/Christian education culture, and the conservative vs. liberal culture. Not to mention people from various regions of the United States (and we all know how I love the South), Ireland, Colombia, England; there are people who speak English, Spanish, Spanglish-- I could go on. And then there is the fact that the majority of my colleagues could be my parents (or even grandparents).

When I look at all of these differences, I am so tempted to just muddle through and expect the least out of my experiences because there are "too many differences." And that is exactly what the enemy wants me to do. But the Lord has given me a higher calling. During a session, someone pointed out today that in the early church, Hebrews, Greeks, and Gentiles all had to work together, so why shouldn't we? And the thing is, we are called to work together and show the world that Jesus Christ is real and worthy of all praise. But we can't do that if we are so prideful that we can't see past our own faults and misgivings.

In the past couple days (and really through the past year being here) the Lord has shown me that I have a conception about how things should be done, and my conception is what I think is right. But there are myriad ways of doing things, and while some may be efficient vs. inefficient, enjoyable vs. monotonous, or well-liked vs. hated, I can still learn from others and take from their experiences. The enemy would love for me to think that because my background is distinct from that of others and that my life experience is not much compared to others, I am inadequate. Inadequate I am not. Weak and in need of a Savior to hold and redeem me each minute of each day, yes. But inadequate I am not. Every single thing that I have gone through and witnessed in my life up to this point has a purpose. And that, my friends, is something worth celebrating and using for the furthering of His kingdom.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

things I miss from the States, volume II

While I was at home, many people asked me what I miss from the States and what I might need while I am down here that is not easily accessible. I confess that I had a hard time answering the question right away, but now that I have had some time to think, here are some answers for you friends who are so kind and generous to send me care packages. Notice that most of these are food items. I might have an issue...

  1. cheap and yummy scented candles
  2. Chick-fil-A sweet tea
  3. Sour Patch Kids
  4. grits (can you believe Mexicans do not eat them?!)
  5. brownie/muffin mix
  6. Kashi cereal and granola bars
  7. canned diced tomatoes
  8. Clif bars
  9. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  10. Jif natural peanut butter
  11. $5 movie finds at Target
  12. Country Time lemonade

Friday, July 22, 2011

repost

I have been following the blog Kisses from Katie for about a year and a half now, and I am always challenged by her posts. This girl is only 22 years old, yet she is mother to 13 girls and caregiver to countless others in her town. This post especially challenged me to think about how the Lord can and will use anyone to love the least of these.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
 -Matthew 25:35-36

Thursday, July 21, 2011

i. choose. JOY.

Today was a prime example of what I wrote about last night in my post. The enemy loves to steal joy. This morning I woke up tired and unmotivated. I just wanted to sit around all day and read online or piddle around the house. But I knew I also had a task at hand; I needed to prepare for my teaching at the brickyard this afternoon. When I finally got around to beginning to prepare, I was distracted. I stopped a couple times during my preparation to pray out loud against the attacks of the enemy and tried to keep pushing through. On a little facebook break, I received a message from a friend asking how she could pray for me this week, to which I responded, "Pray for supernatural energy." 

Upon my arrival at the brickyard, I was still tired and just begging that the Lord give me supernatural energy and the words to say so that His word could go forth and not my glory. During teaching, I was still feeling inadequate, until the Lord reminded me that newsflash: It is not about me. I am not here to serve the people at the brickyard. I am here to serve my King. He is the One who gives me the intellect and strength to do anything worthwhile, and I cannot take any of the glory. He graciously brought to mind the verse that says, "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name be the glory." When I was singing on praise team in high school, I would constantly repeat this verse to myself so that I would remember that I was to be on stage as a lead worshipper, ie. someone who was also worshipping the Lord, not as a performer. Thus, today I realized again (because I have learned this lesson many times in many ways) that the Lord does not want to make me look awesome or have the people marvel at my lessons. He simply wants to use me as a vessel to plant seeds in their hearts so that they might grow in His word and come to know Him who saves.

After class, we lingered a while so that the Tarahumaran ladies could sell some of their artisan work to the team members who are only here for this week. Thus, after eating, I was able to play with the kids for a longer time than usual and just be silly with them. And that, my friends, was pure joy. 

One of the Tarahumara ladies with the purest and sweetest smile. She smiles with her eyes, too.

abundant life

Habakkuk 3:18-19

New Living Translation (NLT)

 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
      I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
      He makes me as surefooted as a deer,[a]
      able to tread upon the heights.

I read these verses this morning, and I reread and reread them. Lately it has become so clear to me that yes, Satan truly is out to steal, kill, and destroy. And the thing that he loves to steal, kill, and destroy is our joy. The Lord has been good to me. I have much to be grateful for here in Mexico and in life in general. And yet the enemy loves to point out to me what I do not have. He wants me to focus on the things that I still long for and then wants me to become dissatisfied with my Lord. And my Lord is the Creator of the universe. The Alpha and Omega. He is the only One who was, is, and is to come. His grace is sufficient for me, and His love never fails. And yet, the enemy quite often attempts (with much success, to my chagrin) to convince me to doubt the perfect love that drives out fear. He wants me to believe the worst possible scenario for everything instead of trusting in the One who knit me together in my mother's womb and continues to hold me in His hands-the same hands that hung the stars in the sky.  Sometimes I wake up in the morning or go to bed at night with a heavy heart, and I do not know where the heaviness comes from or why I feel overcome with emotion. Yet the Lord continues to show me just how good and faithful and true He is. And then I have to remember that joy is a choice. I have to consciously choose joy and fight the lies of the enemy by claiming the truth and allowing my mind to be renewed. And that, my friends, is so worth it. To claim joy and know that the Creator of the universe is on your side-how can I doubt when I have that truth to guide me each day?

If you know me at all, you know that I have a slight obsession with music. When Lyndsey came to visit me in April, she saw that obsession manifested in my daily life. I play music while my kids work, while I read, while I sleep, while I clean...I've got a playlist for just about everything. As we all know, music is powerful; it can change your mindset and mood by uplifting you or bringing you down. So these days I am trying to be intentional about what music I listen to and when. Let me tell you that Kirk Franklin's new album has proven to be just right in my little ruts these days. He has me dancing in my kitchen. Take a listen and choose joy today. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Check out my best friend, Kristen Hines!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Nahum and Chihuahua

A view of Chihuahua from Cerro Grande, the tallest mountain in the city.
This summer, two of my best friends and I are reading through the minor prophets together. This week, we finished Micah and moved on to Nahum. In reading Nahum, my heart was truly burdened for the city in which I live and will continue to call home for the next year. Nahum is about God's judgment on the city of Nineveh. Jonah had been sent to prophesy over and warn Nineveh by encouraging the city to repentance years before, and now the city has returned to her sin. There are murderers and liars lurking through the streets, plotting and then executing evil.

The thought of the drug cartels that are controlling this city and instilling fear amongst the people through manipulation and extortion is unsettling and hurts to think about. You see, there are so many precious Mexicans who remember a peaceful time without worries of shootings and uncertainty. One good thing that comes from the oppression felt by many Mexican people here is that it creates many open doors for ministry. Many people who feel lost and without hope are willing to hear about Someone who can give them peace beyond all understanding when they feel as though they have no where else to turn.

In reading through commentary on Nahum 3 this morning, I came across this quote by Matthew Henry: "He is a strong-hold for every believer in time of trouble, that cannot be stormed or taken; and he knoweth those that trust in Him." I can be completely honest in telling you that I am not afraid to live here. My life here is normal; I do not have to be a hermit because of security issues. I just have to be smart and trust that the Lord has me in His hands. He alone is my stronghold, and there is nothing that can separate me from His love. This week at the brickyard, our memory verse is Romans 8:38-39. We are learning it in Spanish, of course, which is a new challenge for me. This morning, the Lord reminded me of the promises He gives me and all other believers through the words of the apostle Paul in these verses:

  38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing on earth can separate me from His love. There is nothing that anyone can do to me or against me that has not come through His hands first. He is omnipotent [all powerful], omnipresent [in all things], and omniscient [all-knowing]. When I hear sirens, I do not freeze in fear and wonder what happened and if someone is coming to get me, too. I pray. There is power in prayer. Yes, there is corruption and evil lurking in the streets of Chihuahua. But there is also hope. Hope in Jesus Christ, who makes all things new.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

truth

 
Growing up Southern is a privilege, really.  It's more than where you're born, it's an idea and state of mind that seems imparted at birth.  It's more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, football, and country music.  It's being hospitable, devoted to front porches, magnolias, moon pies and Coca-Cola... and each other.  We don't become Southern - we're born that way.

-anonymous 


photocred

Monday, July 11, 2011

Psalm 34

A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.

 1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
      I will constantly speak his praises.
 2 I will boast only in the Lord;
      let all who are helpless take heart.
 3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
      let us exalt his name together. 4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
      He freed me from all my fears.
 5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
      no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
 6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
      he saved me from all my troubles.
 7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
      he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good.
      Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
 9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
      for those who fear him will have all they need.
 10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
      but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
 11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
      and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
 12 Does anyone want to live a life
      that is long and prosperous?
 13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
      and your lips from telling lies!
 14 Turn away from evil and do good.
      Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
 15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
      his ears are open to their cries for help.
 16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
      he will erase their memory from the earth.
 17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
      He rescues them from all their troubles.
 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
      he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
 19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
      but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
 20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
      not one of them is broken!
 21 Calamity will surely overtake the wicked,
      and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
 22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
      No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Perfume a Tus Pies

This song is one of my favorite Spanish praise songs, and we sang it this morning in church. Since we are a bilingual church, we usually sing songs in both Spanish and English. However, our praise team never translates this song, and I am so glad for that. The words are fluid and perfect just the way they are in Spanish. I know most of you do not speak Spanish and will not understand the video, so I translated it for you, but listen to how beautiful the song is in Spanish and allow the truth of the words to challenge you and sink into your heart.


Perfume a Tus Pies/Perfume at Your Feet

Verse 1:
When I think of your love
and your faithfulness
I can not do anything else
Than bow down and worship
When I think of how I have been
and how far you have brought me
I wonder at You

Bridge:
And I do not want to conform,
I have tried and I want more

Chorus:
I want to fall more in love with you,
Teach me to love You and live
According to Your justice and Your truth,
I want to worship with my life
With everything I have and what I am,
everything I've been give it to you
May my life be for you
Like perfume at your feet

Verse 2:
When I think of your cross
and everything you have given
Your blood for me by carrying my sin
When I think of your hand
And how far we have come
Because of your faithfulness

Bridge 2x

Chorus

Verse 2

Bridge 2x

Chorus 2x

Saturday, July 9, 2011

affirmation

So I was a little scared apprehensive about my return to Mexico. Many people had questioned why I was returning after only one month a thome and what I would be doing before school starts. Would anyone be in town? Would I be lonely? Would I have anything to do? As soon as I stepped into my new little house, (pictures coming soon; still a work in progress) I knew that it was good to be back. As previously stated, my time at home was so pleasant. I thoroughly enjoyed being with my family, friends, and church homes. However, spending time at home would have only intensified the anxious feelings I had about returning. It would have been quite easy (easier than I thought) to stay in Marietta under the comfort of my loving parents and in my little East Cobb bubble. But I knew that the Lord had things for me to do here in Chiwas. And so I returned.

I've only been back for a couple days, but let me tell you, it was worth it to return. Getting my first place organized and ready has been such a thrill. To have a place that is just mine and that reflects who I am and what I love is a huge blessing. Working at the brickyard with the kids each afternoon has been so much fun, too. They remember me, and we have had a blast playing and learning about the attributes of God this week. On Friday afternoon, I taught for the first time in Spanish. I can't say that it was the most inspiring thing and that there was this amazing movement of the Holy Spirit, but I will tell you that once I began talking, the room all of sudden got 20 degrees hotter. The opportunity that I have to be with the kids and ladies there is wonderful, though, and I am so grateful that the Lord is allowing me to a be a part of it.

This morning, Wendy (my thoughtful neighbor) and I went grocery shopping, and after a productive trip to Soriana, (one of the main grocery stores here) we went to Super Amigo for some cheap produce. This place has friendly employees (hence the name, Super Amigo) and unbeatably low prices on produce. I had been to Super Amigo one other time when I first arrived in Chiwas, but had not returned since my first visit. When I went, I was with my colleague and friend Chris, who faithfully shops at Super Amigo each Saturday morning and knows the employees well. I remembered meeting a certain friend of hers and wondered if I would see him today. After running into and catching up with my friend Alma from church, I saw my old friend. He remembered me, too, and wondered why I had not come in so long. He said, "Oh, yes, I remember you; I always call you pretty girl! Why you not come here in so long? You been going to Wal-mart and S-Mart, haven't you? Those places are too expensive. I never go there."

In the midst of talking about what I do here, he asked about whether my school gives English classes, and then he said, "Oh, can you give classes to my son? He need to learn English. He don't speak no English." I know from the first time we met that Fidel (like Castro but not) knows English because he spent a few years in the States. And of course, I said yes, and saved his number in my phone. Don't worry folks, he doesn't have my number and I won't be calling him, even though he assured me that his son, who is a taxi driver, is a good boy who does not do drugs or drink alcohol. However, I appreciated catching up with him; it is hard to believe that it has been 11 months since we last saw one another. While Fidel and I primarily spoke in English, to think that I could not have sustained a conversation in Spanish without constant questions for clarification 11 months ago is so funny to me. I love being able to converse comfortably in Spanish now. Praise the Lord for all of those determined years of Spanish study.

This afternoon, I visited with my friend Melissa and her family. Melissa will be a junior at Binimea next year, and tomorrow she is getting baptized! I am so grateful that I get to witness her bold declaration of faith before her church family. I am so proud of her, and I love her so much. 

All in all, I am grateful to be here. I woke up this morning and took a look at my new surroundings and thought to myself, "I love this little house." And each day since my return has been like that, full of little affirmations that I am exactly where I need to be for this season. For that, I am assuredly grateful.

Yes, there are still many questions left unanswered as to my future post-Mexico. But I do not need to know those answers right now, and that is okay. The Lord will reveal Himself in due time. For now, I want to enjoy living right where I am.

Friday, July 8, 2011

friends

You know the old adage that says, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other, gold." Well, I have made some wonderful friends while living here in Chiwas. I love them dearly. But the love I have for my friends back home is different. We are connected in a way that is unlike my connections with my friends here in Chiwas. My friends from home have known me for years and seen me through some interesting times. And for that, I love them. Oh so very much. Here are a few pictures from some sweet reunions.

I love you, Mrs. Martin!

Not quite sure what I would do without these two.

My twin just finished her first year of MED SCHOOL!

My 7th grade babies are now going to high school. I shudder.

I'm really grateful for senior psych, friend. :)

Soon-to-be Mrs. Barnes! :D

My fearless nurse friend. She's amazing.

The Neese sisters. Can't wait until 9.1.12!

Charleston

This morning I woke up at 5:48 AM to do yoga. Why, you ask? I love waking up while it is still dark! Not. Okay so I really am a morning person, and I love to start the day off with some kind of purpose. I have been alert and ready for the day and whatever challenges it may bring...

What does this have to do with Charleston, you ask? Absolutely nothing. I am just in a productive, blogging mood right now, so I am catching up and posting about some wonderful memories from my time at home. For Father's Day weekend, my family traveled to Charleston, South Carolina for a quick getaway. It was hot and humid, but nevertheless beautiful in all of its rich Southern stature. Here are some of my favorite pictures from that weekend:

The Market

I couldn't agree more.

No words needed here.

How couldn't I?

Me and my sissy.

Folly Beach Pier

I love that painting murals on the sides of building walls is completely acceptable at the beach.

Looking like tourists.

I heart cobblestone streets.

29 years of marriage 8.21.11

So picturesque.

Rainbow Row with my dream car sitting in front of the pink house.

She's pretty much the best mom in the world.

Beautiful church downtown.

Blythe and Kia


I've been babysitting Julia Blythe Reilly since she was two years old. That's eight years, folks. Quite some time. When I was fifteen, I worked as a preschool teacher's assistant at my church during the summer. Blythe was in my class. She was my favorite child that summer (yes, I know you aren't supposed to have favorites, but let's get real, okay?). Since she could not say Jessica at age 2, she called me "Kia," and still does. 

This past week, I went to her house to hang out with her and her sweet friend Hannah for a couple hours. Upon my arrival at the house, Kasi, Blythe's mom, greeted me and told me she had been given specific instructions and lines to say to me: "Hello, Kia! Follow the signs downstairs to the basement and pick up the flashlight. Make sure you don't turn on the lights, or it won't be fun!"

So I followed the path laid out for me by Hannah and Blythe. This path was well-marked, and when I found them in the playroom downstairs, they broke into song with, "Kia, Kia...you are the best babysitter, Kia...you never pitch a fit, no, no, no..." And after the song came the speeches. Here is what they wrote to me. I'll let their words tell you about our relationship. (All spelling errors kept intact for the sake of cuteness.)

Kia you are the best! You mean a lot to me. I think you have an awsome name. I missed you so so so so so much. You are so pretty! You are an incredible, unbilevable generus cool babbysitter/person. I love you with all my heart. Your a flower. You have a sparkle in your eye. You laugh britens my day. I am so happy that you are my babbysitter.
But in all things honor the lord. For he is the way to heaven. He will shine your the right path. He is always with you where ever you go. 
Since a was a babby you made my day. You are my queen. Kia thank you for evrey thing. Were giving you this party to tell you the you ment a lot to us and you care so much about us. I have new you for a long time but when I was a babby I new you where going to be a great babbysitter. 

Love, 
Blythe

Jessica what a beautiful name. I missed you sooooo much. You are an Awesome, Incredible, Unbilevable + Generous person/babysitter. You are a rainbow in my eyes. Your a light in my path. Your smile brightens my day. But all things honor the Lord. For he is the way to heaven. He will shine you the right path. He is always with you where every you go. Whatever you do + He will always Love you No matter what. Trust in Jesus always. and do what he says is right. You are my friend. Even Though I haven't known you for a long time, I think you are the best babysitter in the world. You mean alot to me. Be who God wants you to be. We have made this celibration for you only. 

Love, 
Hannah

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

1 Thessalonians 5:24



So things are going to be different when I return to Chiwas. So I won't be in my protective bubble at home. So I won't be able to hug and kiss my mom, dad, and Lauren good night each night anymore. So I won't be able to run 4 miles unaccompanied. So I won't have a car. So I won't be able to eat Chick-fil-A whenever I want.

But here's what I will have. Peace like a river. My dog Socks by my side. Children to love on at the brickyard. High school girls with whom to reunite. A new little house to decorate and call my own. A church community whom I love. POP Pilates videos awaiting me. People with whom I can speak Spanish. Books to read.

It is well with my soul.

He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.

photo cred

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Obadiah

I was reading a commentary on Obadiah by Matthew Henry, and this quote really struck me:

"As none that exalt themselves against the Lord shall prosper, and all shall be brought down; so none that wait upon the Lord, and put their trust in him, shall ever be dismayed. Blessed be the Divine Saviour and Judge on Mount Zion! His word shall be a savour of life unto life unto numbers, while it judges and condemns obstinate unbelievers."

Amen.

stream of consciousness

Being home has been wonderful. It has been so nice to relax and do nothing. I have read for pleasure. I had the opportunity to go to the beach twice. My family has had some down time together. Many reunions happened with friends, and lots of hugs have been given and received. Life has been pretty sweet.

Coming back to Mexico this time is going to be bittersweet. I have really been enjoying my time at home, because there are some things I miss about being home, such as running and the lush green landscape of the Southeast. I am ready for the opportunity to be a part of ministry that I have wanted to be a part of all school year at the brickyard. It will be wonderful to not set an alarm for 6:00 AM. Having my own space will be nice, and getting to know some friends better will be good, too. But to have been home for such a long time and then to go back to Chihuahua again will be difficult. I know that there is nothing for me in East Cobb. The Lord has not called me there, and I am completely fine with that fact. But on the other hand, I do miss the comfort and familiarity of home. Things in Chihuahua have become familiar and are like the new norm. Not much surprises me and gives me complete culture shock anymore. My church family is unique. My friends are sweet. My house is quaint. My dog is...crazy. But I love my life there.

In this new season, I am hoping that the Lord teaches me something new about Himself. I hope that I come to depend on Him in a way unlike any other season in my life. Isaiah 43:19 has been on my heart and mind for the past few months. It says, "Behold, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert." The Lord is definitely doing a new thing in my heart. He has already begun to plant new dreams and desires in my heart for whatever comes after Mexico, which is exciting but nervewracking, too.

Although I have one year left, I do not want to hold back just because I know I will have to say goodbye sooner rather than later. I want to do the best that I can and put forth excellence in my work for my kids and also because everything I do should be for the glory of God and no one else. I want to truly love my neighbors and the colleagues with whom I am blessed to work. I want to take chances, and I want to make lots of memories. After all, we have all only been given this one life to live, right?

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