Saturday, June 27, 2009


I am so proud of my son, Jake. He was amazing on this trip. This was his second time out of the country. The first was a little over 2 years ago when he met Isabella for the first time. He was a sight to behold in Guatemala. The first day we were in Pueblo Nuevo with Pastor Marco and his family, Jake spent the morning playing with Pastor Marco's son. They threw the tennis ball to each other for over 2hours. Jake taught him how to throw different kinds of pitches. All with a language barrier.

The second day we interacted with the children of the village. We did their children's program with them. This included an arts and crafts project, serving them food and then playing with them. Jake and Cassie (Bobby's daughter) taught them how to make origami stars. Now, keep in mind that Cassie had to teach Jake (with him having no prior knowledge) how to do this the night before. Cassie is a very good teacher! The children loved it and I cannot express what it did to me to see my son doing this with these children.

He was able to transcend the language barrier between them and show them the love of God. On the third day, while we were passing out the food to the children, Jake passed me on his way to bring more plates and looked up at me. He said, "I just love doing this. I could do this for the rest of my life." Needless to say, I dissolved into an emotional puddle. I mean, how many 9 1/2 year old boys (and I mean full out BOY) do you know of that would make a statement like this on their own? Not many... I taught a class of them last year and I don't know of another one in there that would have gone on this trip without complaining at some point. Jake did NOT complain one time. We went some days without eating between breakfast and supper. If you know Jake, you know this is miraculous in itself! :) But seriously, my son walked in an anointing this week and it was a privilege to see.

I know God has BIG things in store for him and I pray daily that I am able to lead him in the way, with the help of my Saviour.

"I love you, Jake and am so proud to call you my son and to hear you call me Mom."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Not What I Expected From This Trip

The title of this post says it all. We leave tomorrow to come back home. We left a week ago today for what was to be my family's first missions trip. I had alot of expectations. I had an agenda. It was MY agenda. How many of you can attest to the fact that your agenda hardly ever happens on trips like this one? My last post had a funny spin to it, but all kidding aside, the events of that Sunday will forever be ingrained in my heart and mind.

I left the U.S. thinking that I was going to get to Guatemala and love and minister to the people there- to show them the love of God. We did that to the best of our ability, I believe. But God had another plan. One that included doing a work on the inside of me. Actually, starting a work in my heart. I am somewhat of a perfectionist. I struggle with grace-- giving and receiving it. I have high expectations of myself and that bleeds into high expectations of others. That can wreak havoc on relationships. Not just earthly ones, but my relationship with my Saviour. I struggle with having to have it all together before I can go to God. Now, I know in my head that goes against the Bible and everything I have learned about the character of God. But that is just the truth of my struggles. What I am about to write is going to be hard for me to admit, but I feel it is necessary.

God's agenda was to show me how little I love people. I mean actually LOVE people. It is one thing to say "I love you" to someone. It is another thing to DO IT. We met with a very wise missionary today. (I will have to share the story of how our pathes crossed at another time, but it was truly God-ordained.) In talking with him, God began to show me that I needed to re-evaluate my life as a Christian. He began to show me that I am somewhat of a Pharisee. Actually, He began to show me this earlier in the trip than today, but today just sealed the deal, if you will. As I watched the children of Pueblo Nuevo and their families earlier this week, I realized that they were easy to fall in love with. You see, they have very little, yet they have so much. That may sound a bit clicheish (my made-up word), but it is the truth. The children loved each other. They watched out for each other. They were giving to each other. They even tried to give their things to my children. The families had such a strong sense of community. What was not to love?

Then God began to speak to my heart. He reminded me that it is easy to love people like these people. But then He reminded me that I can't just love people that it is easy to love. He began to remind me of the harshness I sometimes judge others with. He began to remind me of verses in James about extending mercy and grace and love to everyone... not just those who 'deserve' it. Because in actuality, grace and mercy only need to be extended to people because they have done something that warrants it. Not to perfect people. Let's face it (here comes another cliche), there are no perfect people! Therefore, logic suggests that we should be showing grace and mercy to eveyone that is breathing. Then, a situation happened where I had an opportunity to either get angry or show that love and mercy, and yet again, I failed miserably. But this time, instead of condeming myself, I just repented and asked Him to help me react differently next time. He tenderly (once I calmed down) reminded me that I "don't sin by letting anger contol me" Ephesians 4:26 and I "must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don't just listen to God's words. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. If you claim to be righteous but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless." James 1:19-26

Then, as we sat talking with this missionary, he began to share some of his struggles. How many of you reading this know that one of the biggest lies we can believe is that 'I am the only one that struggles with this or that. I am the only one that feels this way. I am the only one that reacts this way.'? Well, I tend to fall for this one hook, line and sinker. As we talked, I began to see that he struggles with the same things I do. I am not alone in this. He made the comment that he believes there are 2 types of people- ones that are totally in love with Jesus and ones that aren't.

Here is where this gets hard for me to write. I fall into the group that is not. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Jesus. But, I am not totally IN love with Him. I have allowed the cares of this world, the things of this world, bitterness, unforgivness, and other things to come between me and my Saviour. At first, I got offended by this thought. I couldn't even admit it to myself. I did not want the light of His Spirit to shine on that closed up part of the deepest part of my heart. But let's fact it, you can't change until you admit what needs to be changed.

I. Am. Ready. To. Change. I am ready to fall in love with Him all over again. In order to do this, I have to lay aside EVERYTHING else. In my realtionship with my husband, we sometimes have realize that we have allowed life to happen to us... to let the every day mundane things we have do, to wedge between us, we have to stop and regroup. We have to begin to get rid of everything that is absolutely not necessary and begin to spend time together. That is what I have to do when I get back home. I must begin to rid my life of the things that have wedged between me and my God. I must fall in love with Him- not just love him. There is a big difference between the two.

Another thing that we talked about, was putting on this front and hiding things about us because if others see that in me or know I struggle with this or have this burden, they may not like me. Instead, we must do as the Word of God says and 'bear one another's burdens'. We cannot do this for each other if we judge one another. It is time for us to get real and stay real and live real. I don't want to be a Pharisee anymore. I want to be a disciple. I want to love people. I want to, as Tom Davis says in the book Red Letters, live the red letters of the Bible. I MUST begin to live this way. In the past, I have tried to do this on my own, only to fail and end up having to write a post like this one. This time, I am going to do it His way.

So, as you can see, He had a different agenda. One that has been hard to accept and hard to admit. But one that I know is going to be life changing for me. So, I am returning home and returning to the basic "Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, sould, mind and strength and love your neighbor as thyself." Instead of it just being a Bible verse I learned in Christian school, it will become something I strive, through Him, to LIVE daily.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Today started off with lots of rain and my bad attitude. I did not want to go walk the streets of Antigua in the rain. It had to be done with either a fanny pack on my waist or a baby girl in her "pocket", as she calls it. Add to it that Bella did not get much sleep last night and woke up in whinny mode. We prepared to get ready for a good hour or so and that just gave me more time to get an even bigger attitude. I had to go back in the house to change because I realized that once I got wet from the rain, my light-colored capris would expose my behind. At that point, my attitude got even worse.

Now... some of you reading are thinking how petty I was being and I admit (at least, I will admit it now)that I was. But no one had the courage to tell me. Until... we were standing in the rain and Terry flags down a tuk-tuk driver and before I know it, I am being shoved into one by my husband for my 9 1/2 year old son and half of my daughter in a back pack sitting on my lap. Halfway through the ride, Jake turns around and looks at me and says these words... "you know, this trip IS all about Jesus. Not you." WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, Jake... you have been used by God to set me straight and to do it quickly and with the blutness I needed at that time. I then realized I had 2 choices. Either I could reprimand him (but for what- stating the truth?) or I could humble myself and realize that I was wrong and did have a bad attitude and had momentarily forgotten why I am here. I decided on the latter and immediately repented. My attitude was fixed.

"Thank you, lord for using my own child to get me back on track!"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We are here!!!

Well, I am a little late in posting (are you surprised? I have lost lots of readers because of my failure to post). We made it here yesterday afternoon. The flight here went very well. Bella was a trooper. She loved it. She periodically tells me "I had fun on the airpane, Mommy." Jake, of course, is a pro and loves flying. He fell asleep from the hum of the plane before we took off in Houston. We spent yesterday unpacking and doing a little walking around Antigua. We ate supper at Rainbow Cafe'. I love the atmosphere and the food was quite good, also. The children of the families here with us have really taken well to each other and they spend all day playing soccer or hide and seek throughout the house. It's as though they have known each other forever!

I must admit, it is a little strange, but not too much, to be back here. During our adoption, as well as after, I had no desire to return. In fact, I swore never to come back. I had bad feelings because of the problems we had, but have sinced realized that Guatemala should not have to "answer" because of what Susana did. It is really neat to see the country and the people with different eyes and a different heart.

Today we spent the morning eating, going to the arch and the market. The streets are made of cobblestone and while it is really neat, it is doing a number on my hips. Bella is enjoying being close to me in the sling. She calls it her pocket and I am enjoying it immensely. She has been really affectionate (more than usual) and spends alot of the time smoothing me with kisses and hugs. She has started a few new things since we arrived. She is telling me "I wub you, Mommy" without any prompting from me. And today, we went to a store called Nim Pot. As soon as we walked in, Bella screamed and came to life like I have never seen before. She saw a table filled with VERY colorful ceramic boxes. She proceeds to use her newest sentence: "Me needs that, Mommy" with the most serious sassy-girl attitude possible. Need you ask if she got one. :)

Jake is holding out for a drum set thingy he wants at the market we are going to tomorrow. He wanted to buy everything from all of the children that approached us with the things they were trying to sell. It broke his heart, he told me, to tell them no. In fact, he didn't. He would tell them "no, gracias" with the most sad look on his little face. He is having a blast and keeps saying that he can't wait to play with the children we are visiting this week in Pueblo Neuve and in the chilren's home we will be hanging out in on Friday.

Tomorrow we are going to Santa Domingo, the arteisan's market and San Fransico (not Calaifornia... its a monastary that was destroyed in an earthquake). We are taking the dads to El Arca for steaks for supper. We may even take a ride in a tuk-tuk. It should be a very eventful day. Here are some pictures from our time her so far. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jeremiah 29: 11-14

The message in church on Sunday was about finding God's will for your life. The pastor made a statement that really made me start thinking about waking up every day. He said that when you get to a place where you wake up asking God: "Why are you allowing me to breathe Your air today?", you know you are on the path to finding God's will. Think about it. This is really getting down to the nitty gritty, as we say in the south. The only reason we open our eyes every morning is because He allows it!

Well, lately, that is what I do; except I have not been that exact and have not asked it that passionately. He read Jeremiah 29:11-14 (which are my FAVORITE verses in the Bible) from the Message. I just thought I loved it before. Hearing this version, put a whole new twist on it.

"... I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out-- plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call to Me, when you come and pray to Me, I'll listen. When you come looking for Me, you'll find Me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed."

WOW!!!!!!!!! Notice the words in italics. 'When you GET SERIOUS', ' ...want it MORE than ANYTHING else', 'I'LL MAKE sure you WON'T be DISAPPOINTED'. This show me that He is longing for serious seekers and promising BIG things for their lives. I want BIG things for my life.

We are going to Guatemala on a missions trip Friday. God has already orchestrated some major things for us. It is no secret that our ultimate desire is to be living full time out there and working with orphans and families in need. We have both had this desire and felt the pull for many years. It was in our hearts even before we met. We are unsure of what the future holds for our family, but these verses assure me that 'when we get serious about finding Him", He won't disappointed us. He won't leave us hanging. We won't have to wander and wonder. He WILL give us clear direction and that is what I am resting in these days.

I won't lie to you. Part of me doesn't want to board that plane on Friday. But it isn't for the reasons you may think. Granted, I am not a big fan of airplanes, nor do I like depending on them to get me where I need to go. But that is not why. I am not nervous about bringing my children with me. I am not anxious about being gone for a while. The reason that I don't want to go is because I already know that I won't want to come home. CRAZY!! That is what some (most) of you are thinking. How do I know that I won't want to come home if I haven't even left yet??!! Well, that is an easy question for me to answer. My heart is with the children... already.

I looked at a picture last night on our AAB website that shows where we will be working. The pastor and the children of the village. Tears began to well up in my eyes. I don't even know them, but yet I feel as though I do. I see them when I look into the eyes of my daughter. I feel them when I hug her tight and kiss her cheek. Jeff and I have always known that the ministry the Lord has for us was going to begin when we started this journey of adoption. THIS much we knew and still do, even more now than ever before. The rest... well, that is up to Him...

I will leave you with this verse that I am taking with me to Guatemala. It is burning in my heart tonight...
"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He's the one who will keep you on track." Proverbs 3:5&6 ~ The Message

This is all that I have. And surprisingly, it is enough.