Saturday, March 31, 2018

Saturday: The most confusing day in history

Saturday. The day between Good Friday and Easter Morning. One of the most confusing day in history.

When we read the Gospels, WE are not surprised that  Jesus was captured, beaten, and crucified but his poor disciples were. They had no clue where this was coming from. Palm Sunday was JUST last week where it seemed as if the whole world was chasing after him crying "Hosanna!" Now, all of the sudden, He's dead and buried? Did we miss something? Didn't He say he was the Messiah? The Son of God? But now He's gone. We gave up EVERYTHING to follow... follow who? A dead carpenter. Now what? Where do we even go from here?

Talk about confusion.

Have you ever had one of these moments? You were SO convinced of something only to feel like you hit the brick wall of reality and began to doubt that you were ever right to begin with.

I remember clear as day when this happened to me - almost 10 years ago. I had given up a stable job working with the youth at Prince of Peace and was embarking into the world of missions. I was so excited knowing this this was the time the Lord had set for me to pursue my heart for foreign missions... until I'd spent months looking and looking for the right place to go with nothing in sight.

I began to doubt and wallow in my confusion. I clearly remember telling the women's group I was a part of, "I think God's going to take me home. He must just be done with me and doesn't have a purpose for my life anymore!" Yes, I know that is a bit dramatic, but that's how I felt. Confused that the Lord would bring me to this point only to keep all the door closed.

In those times of confusion we have two choices: fall head-long into hopelessness OR trust the One who called us in the first-place.

As I've heard so many times before and must remind myself often: Don't doubt in the darkness what God revealed to you in the light.

The end to my story was good: my dad found a position with SIM working at a coffee shop outreach to high school and university students in Loja, Ecuador... my absolute dream job.

And the end to the disciple's story was Easter morning.

But we can't read into the future... and some days we feel like we are just sitting in the confusion of Saturday doubting the goodness, faithfulness or purpose of God.

"So be careful how you make sense of your life. What looks like a disaster may in fact be grace. What looks like the end may be the beginning. What looks like hopeless may be God's instrument to give you real and lasting hope. Your Father is committed to taking what seems so b ad and turning it into something that is very, very good." - Paul David Tripp

Can I remind you? Sunday is coming.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Be secure in my Love

I am constantly telling Andrew to be secure in my love.

The other day he was crawling all over me while I was talking to my mom, desperately wanting any and all attention, whether good or bad. After a few frustrated "Stop it!" comments from me, I hung up the phone and looked him in the eye and said, "Do you know that I love you?"  He nodded his head. So I added, "Can you be secure in my love?" More nodding. "When I'm talking to your sister, do you know I love you?" A nod. "When I'm on the phone do you know I love you?" A little smile and a nod. "When you're on the couch and I'm in the kitchen, do you know that I love you?" A laugh and a nod. "Then be secure in my love for you. I can do other things and STILL love you fully."

Jesus speaks to me a lot through illustrations and in more recent years, through my children. This was, again one of those moments. I doubt the Lord's best intentions for me when I can't see Him right in front of my face. When I pray in these insecure moments, it's like I'm jumping around saying, "JESUS!? Do you really love me? Do you really have my best intentions? Will you truly come through for me when I need you?"

My loving Father gently (and without frustration, I might add) says to me, "Can you be secure in my love? Be secure in who I AM and who I have made you to be. Trust me."

He brought me back to his Word, "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." - Romans 8:38

He whispers to this doubt-filled, insecure child, "Be secure in my love."

Friday, March 2, 2018

We love a good story...

This fundraising journey has included a lot of food and friends. I find that there is nothing like talking about our hearts and future over a shared meal. Not that I don't like going out to eat, but there is just something relaxing about having people in our home. There is no rush and feeling like I'm cheating a waitress out of another table. We don't have to wrangle kids or try to get them to be quiet for the other patrons. Nope. It's just us and you sitting down for some good food and good conversation in my little house. 

Part of good conversation to me always includes story. Yesterday I got to retell one of my all-time favorite stories from my time in Ecuador. It's been a good decade since it happened, so I figured it was time to retell this story on the blog too. 

But just know, Steven and I are full of stories... from the past, the present and what we are hoping to do in the future. We'd love to have you over to hear more of your stories or share with you a few of ours! 
In the meantime, hope you enjoy a good laugh on me...

I spent 2 years as a missionary in Ecuador working at a coffee shop outreach to High School and University students. I was learned spanish while I was there so as you can imagine there were lots of opportunities for things to get lost in translation. I learned the hard way that you don’t just answer “” when you don’t understand the question.

I had plans to hang out with my friend. We were going to go swimming in the afternoon, but she called me to tell me she had to cancel the swimming, but she wanted me to accompany her to ____________ (a bunch of words I didn’t know). I asked her to repeat it, but to be honest, if you don’t know a word, it doesn’t matter how SLOW someone says something or how many TIMES they say it, you’re just not going to get it. So, I just say “” and asked her when she was going to come by my house.

When she got to my house, it was raining like mad so I thought we might not go and just postpone it to another day, but she was insistent on going. She was also a bit dressed up which I found rather strange due to the fact that she’s never dressed up. I asked her if I should change and she said I was fine. So I grabbed my chaccos, my rain jacket and rolled up my jeans a bit because it was pouring. When the taxi driver asked her where we were going, she said a church. I was a little taken aback because she’s not the church going type. And I said, "I didn't know you went to church." And she said, "I don't. Only when I go to (a bunch of words I didn't know)." We arrived at the church and everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was dressed up. As I looked at the bulletin that we received when we walked in, I realized that everyone was wearing black…

I quickly realized that we weren’t just in ANY mass. We were at a funeral. Yep, those words I didn't know... they meant “funeral”… actually burial which was a word I learned very quickly after that moment. 

Once the funeral finished, I breathed a sigh of relief and asked if we were leaving and she said yes, we were off to the cemetery. After about fifteen minute, we arrived at the cemetery where they attempted to put the casket into the ground. In the States, you lower the casket it… in Ecuador they put it in at an angle.  So now you have a bunch of women yelling at a bunch of men as to HOW to best put this casket in the ground. All I could think was: sweet Jesus if this man falls out of the casket, I don’t know what I’m going to do. 

Thankfully they got him in place and then they put all the flowers that were at the funeral all over his gravesite. My friend had a flower in her hand, but she decided last minute she didn’t want to step up and put in on his grave, so she gave it to me. So here I am, a gringa wearing sandals and a rain jacket holding a funeral flower.

Needless to say, God does not do things like this to me for nothing because on the way home my friend began to disclose to me her family and their “religious” ties. The obvious question was, “What are you?” And she said she didn’t know… she was nothing. She began to ask me about me, “Are you religious?” And I got the joy of sharing with her that I didn’t like religion. That what I have is a relationship with God because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. 

As we walked back toward town she asked me if I wanted to get some lunch and I said, "Where?" To which she responded: ca efe ce. And I thought, well, I guess if I’ve been saying yes to all these other words I don’t know, it can’t get any worse. 

As we turned the corner I breathed a sign of relief as we walked up to KFC.

A few days later I felt like the Lord was asking me an open ended question… would you do anything for me? I think that He will be the only person I answer “” to even if I don’t know what he’s really asking.