Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Price

A major part of my purpose, if not my sole purpose, is to help others admit their wounds so they can fully cry out to God and therefore begin to truly heal. I've endured my share of pain as I've walked this earth and I share my stories so that together we can grow and learn and love better and fuller. I share because I want others to know and feel the love that I know and feel from the One who made us. But sharing comes with a price.

My cousin just had her first baby. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of her and the journey she's carving out. I held that baby on Wednesday, a day after crying out to God that I need a break from pressure I was feeling, and for that moment God said "here, catch your breath by holding my daughter; catch your breath by remembering I am in control; catch your breath by seeing what I create" and in that moment all was right in the world. I handed her back to my cousin and had flashes of when my children were born. Parenting is the best feeling I shall ever have and I am not sure a parent can ever express how grateful they are to hear the sound of "I love you" from the lips of their child, but parenting comes with a price.

The Bible is clear that Christ existed before the world began, before we were created. That means He knew when He made us we would reach a point of needing Him to come die for us. I am still healing from wounds of my past, I am still learning how to be a better mom and yet all that pales when compared to knowing God loved us enough to not only create us but to save us. Creation comes with a price.

Today as I sit and ponder over the last week and all that has gone on, God has brought me back to the basics, reminded me of what really truly matters...the price is always worth it. We endure our vulnerability because we love, we parent because we love, we sacrifice because we love and none of it goes without notice because all of it is through the heart the very One who breathed us into existence. So yes, this week sucked on multiple levels and some of those storms are far from over, but as I watch the light begin to rise outside I know crappy weeks only go so far because my God is way bigger than crappy weeks and some prices are just worth it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Dominican

Just realized I didn't post this on here...sorry friends!!!

I've been home now four days and am still trying to process all that I saw and felt in the seven days I was gone. People keep asking how the trip was with a sound in their voice of expectation that it was wonderful, life changing, God was all of that, just not like they expect.

You see, growing up my mom would say my aunt and uncle (who were missionaries in Africa) were Christians and she would say we believed in God so I thought if I became a Christian I'd be shipped to Africa. Well, the Dominican Republic isn't Africa, but in my book it's pretty darn close...after all, it's NOT the U.S. Being asked to go on this trip was a moment that caught me off guard, but I suppose it was a moment I prayed for..after all, I'm always asking God to show up in out loud and outrageous ways...leaving the country as a single mom without a "real job" is pretty outrageous. Going on a mission trip is the very heart of what I tried all those years to avoid!

Before we got off the plane Nancy gave us instructions about how to maneuver through customs and what to expect when we're done. By the time we left the airport I was shaking...we were really in another country, I was really away from my children, there was no going back now. A lot has happened to get me to this point but it came down to obedience, I went simply because I believed deep in my being that it was what God wanted me to do. So I took a deep breath and stepped off the plane with 18 other people just wanting to make a difference.

I tagged along with a team of nurses, one dentist, and four ladies who were along to help however needed. It seemed that everyone knew their role, knew others, and fit in the clinic nicely. Then there was me. I had no idea what I was to be doing and felt most of the time like I was in the way. Many days I asked God why I was there and the first three nights I cried myself to sleep because I was so homesick. I had been dropped into a foreign country and cut off from my friends and family, literally. I couldn't speak the language, I couldn't share with the people on the trip because I didn't "know" them...all I could do was turn to God...which turned out to be EXACTLY why I was there.

I met many wonderful people while on this amazes me how we don't speak the same language yet with just a look we know exactly what was said. God showed up continuously, seven straight days, in ways I could have never expected let alone asked for. Babies were held, wounds were dressed, fears outside the dentist office were calmed, food was eaten, stories were told, and God was moving. A few times I had to escape from everyone because I couldn't control the interrupter asked if I was ok and I wanted to shout "NO! I'm not ok! I want to help you all, to take you back home with me so you can see a better life!" Instead I smiled and said "I'm fine" in Spanish. That night I went to my room to write because I didn't know what else to do...through tears I wrote five pages, trying to process all I'd seen, trying to process what God was speaking to was only day two.

I could write and write about all that I encountered those seven days but I believe it all boils down to this...God made each person on this earth that takes breath, each person that is brought into this world through their mother's womb. In His eyes we are all equal, yet while on this Earth we are not all in equal conditions. We do not all endure equal lifestyles, yet we all endure equal feelings, equal longings, equal moments alone. As I walked the streets of the Dominican, as I looked into the eyes of orphans what I heard over and over was "and the truth will set you free" this life we may feel we can't make a difference, but mark my words in this life we most certainly make a difference when we remember the life that follows.

I found my reason for being there, more than one actually. I had my one major moment of clarity in a room full of women, full of tears, full of the plane left to head back to the U.S. I felt stronger inside, I felt calmer inside and I felt a reassurance that I will be back. My purpose has not changed..I'm here to empower women, to share God's purpose just got a little bigger.

Thank you all for your support through this new adventure in my life, thank you for your prayers over my children and myself. Thank you for loving me enough. And please, please, please go on a mission trip outside of our country! It might not be life changing for you, but it will most certainly be life impacting to them.