:: Update Seventeen ::

I am going to be honest…these 3 months of being home have been the hardest to connect with God.

I’ve allowed myself to become lazy in my pursuit of His heart and His will in my life. And deep in my heart, I know that’s not really where I want to be. I know it’s not where I should be.

And the thing is….even when I’ve been unfaithful to spend that time seeking His will and way, He’s never in one moment been unfaithful to me. In any way. Sometimes we feel ‘far away from God’. I honestly think it’s Him hiding a little bit so our souls that were made for intimacy with Him will become thirsty for Him again.

“O True God, You are my God, the One whom I trust. I seek You with every fiber of my being. In this dry and thirsty land with no water in sight, my soul is dry and longs for You. My body aches for You, for your presence.” Psalm 63:1

He keeps calling me in little whispers to come with Him. To just let Him take my fears. But sometimes those fears are comfortable to hold onto…because we know them so well. Inside and out. We hate these fears, but are afraid to let go of them because what’s outside of them is unknown to us.

“And I’ll be your lighthouse when you’re lost at sea
And I will illuminate everything
No need to be frightened by intimacy
Just throw off your fear and come running to me”

“Out of hiding” by Steffany Gretzinger

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“I’m wide awake, drawing closer by grace, and all my heart is yours; All fear removed, I breathe you in I lean into your love.”

“Sinking deep” by Hillsong United

He keeps washing me over and over in His goodness and grace…

“You set your treasure, in jars of clay. so take this heart Lord, I’ll be your vessel, the world to see, your life in me. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

“Amazing Grace” by Hillsong United

 

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I have been so confused at life lately. Just barely getting in and out of each day. Trying so hard to get through this hard season. But 2 things different people in my life have said.

What in this situation is God wanting to grown in me? Why not instead of just dragging through it, look for the areas he wants me to grow in for the next level of life.

and second, to enjoy the journey. The pain, the busy, the mundane, what ever it is we don’t like, ENJOY IT! Because it is teaching us and growing us for something far greater we can ever imagine!

And when I remember that, it excites me and even though it may still be difficult, my heart and attitude are in alignment with what God is wanting to do!

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And it all starts, with me willing to sit at the feet of Jesus, even if I don’t think I have time, and letting His word wash it’s radiance over my thirsty soul…!

” Your grace abounds in deepest waters, your sovereign hand will be my guide…when oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace.”

“Oceans” by Hillsong United
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:: Update Sixteen ::

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Breaks inbetween….the hallway…the wait of unkowns…

I honestly keep trying to plan my life out and every single time, God has different ideas. And as frustrating it is for God to bust all my organized boxes, He knows the right path for me to walk.

But then again, what would life be if God gave us a checklist for the whole adventure? It’s not an adventure anymore, and we wouldn’t need God. We wouldn’t have those opportunities to grow our character and faith, as well as build a relationship with our Creator!

“But you…my servant…I have reached to wherever you are in the farthest corners of earth, and the most hidden places therein. I have called to you and said, “You are my servant. I have chosen you, not thrown you away!”

So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you’ don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up.”

More and more I am coming to the realization that no matter how much we try to go our own way, Jesus always ends up gently bringing us back to His plan for our life…He always wins. Plus, His way always ends up working a whole lot better. We have peace about life and with him.

Even when we are confused, and don’t understand Him, we can still say, in the midst of our confusion….”Jesus…I really don’t understand any of this. at. all. I know you know, and you’ve promised me that your planes for my life are ones for good and not evil. One of hope. I place this in your hands.”

I had to do that the other night. It hurt my pride to give up my way to His. I wanted to understand everything right there and then. But  I ended up surrendering to His goodness…

I was recently reminded how small and insignificant I am to Him.  To the world and others. How I keep trying to be the man in charge. How He doesn’t need me at all…but He chose me and keeps choosing me! But I was reading in Isaiah when he is questioning us…”who advises God? How do we think we can gather all we have and try to have enough for God? What could we possibly compare to God? We are a smidgen spot on the scales.

This God who breathes stars into place…

“The Holy One asks, “Do you really think you can find someone or something to compare to Me? My equal?” Look at the myriad of stars and constellations above you. Who set them to burning, each in its place? Who knows those countless lights each by name? They obediently shine, each in its place, because God has the great strength and strong power to make it so.

Why, then, do you, inheritors of God’s promise, chosen of God, Why do you say, “My troubled path is hidden from the Eternal; God has lost all interest in my cause”?

And after reading that I went out to star gaze, the whole sky burned so crisp and clear with those lights He knows by name. With those lights He breathed in one whisper…and  I felt so tiny. But so privileged…I get to sit here, and gaze on a tiny part of His glory! I get to worship this maker who has such a divine imagination!!

He took the time to name each of those lights…not just in the Milky Way galaxy…but in the whole solar system…and He takes the gentlest time in preparing each path for each of us! On knowing all the paths…on knowing we are but mere mortals, subject to fade like a vapor, and He factors that into each step…

Who are we to say He isn’t interested in our lives..? That our way is better?

He cares so much more than we can ever imagine! He is so much more interested in our lives, way more than we could ever imagine, and His way is always, always better!

 

 

 

 

 

 

:: Update Fifteen ::

I’v been throwing it around in my head for awhile. Why? Why am I in a place…culture that is so blessed we don’t even realize it, we own so much. We have so much food on our tables. Why do I have all this, when they have nothing?

Life is more than collecting nice things I want, eating nice food, and doing whatever pleases me. ( Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against nice things, and I’m definitely not judging those who have them!)

But for me, for my life. That’s not it. I don’t want to sit in a ‘safe’ little place the rest of my life. No, my heart and soul burns to be out of that comfort and safety zone. Longs to see all those little faces, little hands holding mine, big smiles and bright eyes. All the little arms wrapped around my neck. To be stretched and grown in so many ways I never knew to be possible. But God knows!

And then to be there to see the other side of it. To watch the sorrow and sadness, to see the struggles lived out and worked through. To see those little characters and personalities bloom and come out. To rejoice with them, and to cry with them. To have my heart broken time after time with them, to pray for them and to share in those joyful moments of laughter and dancing!

 

 

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I recently read this verse from another blog post and it clicked. It made so much more since to me….

Luke 12:48

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much will be asked.”

I have been given much, because God demands much from me. I have been entrusted with much because God is asking me to give that back to Him.

To give it back into the hands of the Maker who then places it to bless a soul. Then we are blessed because Jesus said that it is more Blessed to GIVE, than to Receive. That is when we find our greatest fulfillment is when we are doing the will of God.

Can I ask from you to partner and pray with me? It is so important we bring it before the Throne of God, and we can boldly do so!

Hebrews 4:16 says

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Pray that God would open the hearts and minds of these people to receive His love like they’ve never experienced before!

Also,

As I am considering and seriously praying about going back for an extended amount of time. That He would grow my Faith even larger! That He would give me wisdom, and open doors that He wants open, and close those that aren’t right. That His will would be done. Not my own.

There is so much that needs to happen if I go back for this amount of time, but I truly believe this is where God wants me, and He has told us that when we ask and believe that we have it, then we have it!

Mark 9:23

“Anything is possible if a person believes.”

Matthew 21:22

“You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”

That is, if it lines up with the will of His plans.

I know I serve a God who with Him, all things are possible.

Mark 10:27

“…Everything is possible with God.”

 

What are you believing our Gracious and Generous Maker for today?!

 

:: Update Fourteen ::

I’ve officially been home for 1 week. It seems like it’s been 3 months! Been doing a lot of thinking lately back on my trip. I’m here in the United States, but my heart, my brain….it’s still back home.

And I’ll be honest, it’s been hard for me to get back into life here. I’ll never fully ‘get  back’ into it. I’ve changed, and coming back into America, I have had culture shock. How can we have culture shock in our own culture we grew up in?

This past week as been aimless walking and honestly I’m done with that. I’ve got to do something to work towards going back. So in a way, I’m finally starting to ‘get back’ into life. (in a way.)

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Endurance. That is the first word that was grown into me. Learned over and over and almost instilled in me. I am so thankful for all those times and opportunities for growth and how over the past 5 months, that’s what God has been establishing in my life.

“And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, which shapes our characters.” Romans 5:3

“Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing.” James 1:2-4

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Trust. Trusting God knew what He was doing (which He always does) that He had me right where He wanted me for a very specific reason. In the beginning I didn’t see it at all. I wondered why God would bring me to Guatemala to change poopy diapers. Haha, I did more than just that;) But not until much time later is when I realized that it’s not just changing diapers…it’s being able to love them and give them the care they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Trusting He was going to help me with the language. Trusting His planes and coming back. I know He has something for me to learn here in the United States and I’m excited to see what it is. All of life is learning. We know that. But how often do we embrace it? A friend has encouraged me in so many times to take that situation and learn from it. Be excited because you get to grow from it! Not all of life is down and hard. But we have the privilege to keep learning and growing!

“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

 I have reached to wherever you are in the farthest corners of earth,
        and the most hidden places therein.
    I have called to you and said, “You are my servant.
        I have chosen you, not thrown you away!” Isaiah 41:9

 

Joy.

Finding my true deep joy from Jesus. Because when our joy and happiness is based off our circumstances, be ready for a roller coaster ride. You’ll be up and down because our circumstances change so fast. And I tried so many times to base it off of what was happening. It didn’t end well. But we can find our joy in the Lord and who He is. What He’s done for us. Just being able to KNOW His heart makes my heart so joyful!!

“The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me.
    When I learn to rest and truly trust Him,
He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing!
    I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as song.” psalm 28:7

I am filled with joy and my soul vibrates with exuberant hope,
    because of the Eternal my God;
For He has dressed me with the garment of salvation,
    wrapped me with the robe of righteousness.
It’s as though I’m dressed for my wedding day,
    in the very best: a bridegroom’s garland and a bride’s jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

 

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Patience. I’m am (ok, used to be) a fast paced person. I loved my to do lists and having things to do every single minute. To sit and do nothing was like…”what? who even does that?”

Then I left home and went to a culture that is slow paced. And I lived a life for 5 1/2 months that was a full force of patience. It drove me crazy at first, but I’m so, so thankful He taught me to be patient. It is one of the most valuable lessons in life. With it you’ll go far.

 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” Romans 8:28

 Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs”

 Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love.”

 

And I must say…having your flight delayed almost 4 1/2 hours, sitting in the airport for that long takes patience haha! We didn’t actually fly out until 2 am.

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It was so sweet, my family made signs when they came to pick me up. They patiently waited as my flight got changed several different times. Stayed up super early into the morning even tho they had to work the next day. Bought me flowers, and have been very kind to listen to me constantly talk about Guatemala ^_^

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And all of this that I am saying…I am not perfect at ALL. These are just things He’s been growing in my life. I still have so much to learn. And even now, I’m still learning to trust Him as I plan on going back, aiming for the beginning of next year.

As I look into furthering my education online so I can still travel and study.

As I just live life here.

As much as I miss it, and almost every dream I have, I’m in Guatemala, it is so good to be back with family for this little season of being home. To refresh and rest before heading back home! 🙂

 

 

:: Update Thirteen ::

Sitting here in the airport right now, my flight out of Guatemala was delayed, all of Delta is delayed and while everyone is not happy about it, i’m happy because it gives me more time not to have to enter the outside American world.

Honestly it’s been so hard. Coming in for landing in Atlanta, and the ‘culture shock’ from the air just hit so bad and I told God “God, I can’t do America. Honestly I can’t” I miss Guatemala and it’s ways so much. I miss the people and the atmosphere. I miss my home.

I am excited to see my family. Don’t get me wrong lol! It’s just so hard to leave someplace you know full well you belong. But God knows. His planes are perfect and I know He has some great things in store. I am also excited to see what else He has to show me while I’m home. Time to think and process this trip and start to prepare for the next:)

 

 

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Wednesday was my last day in the orphanage and in the school, and all 4 grades that i’ve been with these past months got together and almost all the kids gave me a little message. my heart just melted.

How is it one person can be so loved? It overwhelms my heart how much love these kids give.

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These past 6 months have been the hardest of my life. So much stripping of self and filling of who God is. So much growth in my faith. Trust. Patience. But not only that, He has grown my heart and mind. The ways I think and process life.

I’m still in the airport. And honestly afraid to leave it. I’m afraid for it to be daytime again where I can see America again in the light. I’m so afraid.

But God is good. All the time. Even when I don’t think I can handle something, He knows.

Joshua 1:9 keeps coming up. Have courage. Be strong. Don’t be afraid because I AM WITH YOU!!! What other promise do I need in life other than the promise that the maker of the universe, of galaxies to tiny plants that nobody sees, is with me, and He won’t abandon me.

While today technically ‘ends’ my trip, I still have a lot of processing to do. and I’m asking if you could please pray for me to:

. Be able to deal with culture shock.

. That I’d not get depressed to where I just quit learning.

. And as I’m praying about returning for a longer amount of time!

 

:: Update Twelve ::

“I’m still in your hands, this is my confidence and you’ve never failed me yet. Great is your faithfulness!”

He keeps reminding me that He is faithful. That He hasn’t abandoned me yet, and He won’t start now either.

A verse I read in Psalm 145 recently (and I’ll put in in English too, but I love the Spanish. I feel as tho it’s more rich!)

“El senor es bueno con todos; desborda compasion sobre toda su creacion.”

“The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.”

He is so so good, and I feel like i won’t ever be able to grasp just how good He is with us.

Surrender. A word that sums up my life recently. Things come up in life that you have to surrender them to God. I’m leaving my home in 18 days. And I really feel like this is where God has called me to be for much longer than 51/2 months. But I have to surrender my desire to come back to Him. I have to surrender it to Him or I’ll end up trying to do it in my own time, in my own way. And God’s way is always better.

Surrender is such a scary thing. So many unknowns. But something that came up the other day about surrender, is so so true…

“You can have it all, Lord
Every part of my world
Take this life and breathe on
This heart that is now Yours

Oh the joy I’ve found
Surrendering my crowns
At the feet of the King
Who surrendered everything

Oh the peace that comes
When I’m broken and undone
By Your unfailing grace.”

 “Oh the joy I found, surrendering my crowns, at the feet of the King, who surrendered everything!”

And so as I prepare to go back home for a bit, my one prayer is that it would be my joy to surrender my ‘crowns’ at the feet of the one who gave everything. To the One who knows my future. To the One who tells me worrying doesn’t do any good, so don’t worry about my future. To the One who has taken me through these 51/2 months and I fully believe He will take me through this next season of preparing to come back for a longer term!!

 

 

 

: Update Eleven:

Honestly…its so hard to put this into words.

Jesus has promised…

I will not leave you as orpans; I am coming to you.

My heart breaks when I see these little lives…seemingly abandoned. Seemingly just left. But no. Jesus has promised He won’t abandon them. He’s promised to come to them. He IS coming to them even know. To bring beauty out of ashes and joy out of sadness. And I’ve seen Him do it over and over.

And getting to spend more one on one time (ok. More like one on seven time!) With these kids, whether it’s chasing a soccer ball, jump roping until your sides hurt, hanging out with them on the playground or just taking a little extra patience for that one or two kids in school who pester you with any and every question! Or taking the time to remember each name. I’ve come to know most of the kids on a more personal level, to a place where I’ll walk by them and a bunch of “hola ana!” are said followed by a bunch of little arms around my waist. And it’s this that I’ve come to love. Getting to know each of them on a more personal level.

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And I love watching their personalities blossom and bloom. Watching them grow and learn. Watching as something gives them joy. watching them laugh and smile.

Last Friday I taught Prepa with the school director, and in the morning we have prayer, and listening to this little boy, who doesn’t have much himself, pray for those kids who don’t have food. Who don’t have anything. Truly a humbling moment, and I honestly started to cry. Seeing their tender hearts come out for others.

1 1/2 months left. And having a terrible time with it. I don’t want to be another person to walk out of their lives. I don’t want to leave what’s become my life. I don’t want to not be able to walk up the stairs and have a good laugh with all my little friends. I don’t want to not be able to see them in church, singing and praising their hearts out to the King of kings. I don’t want to stop holding little hands and getting little hugs and kisses. I don’t want to stop all of this that has come to mean so so much to me.

It’s tearing me apart to leave. And maybe I’m just a mess but randomly crying is becoming kinda normal.

I’ve been asking God to let me come back. And have honestly prayed about coming back for a lot longer of a time.

I honestly believe this is where I am to be! And all I can do is to look back at these past months and say “thank you.” Thank you for the person you’ve changed me into. Thank you for these tough opportunities to lay my selfishness down and love others. Thank you for all these lives I’ve come to know. Thank you for your goodness in what ever comes to be. Even when I don’t understand any of it. Thank you that you are good and faithful through it all! Thank you, thank you that you ARE coming to these young lives!

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