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Friday, September 21, 2018

Pity problems

I've been complaining a lot this season. Over little stresses and mess ups and problems that in the light of things, aren't really a big deal. But in my conceited head, the world falls apart when all these little stresses come, and the pity party starts when I have to deal with them alone in a 3rd world with no one to vent to. Then God puts it all into prospective for me. He sends me little reminders to find joy in the mist of pain. To find happiness in the mist of gloom. To find the light when all around me is darkness. I'm trying to learn to "suck it up,buttercup" and continue serving my neighbors. Because you see, where I live, my little stresses are nothing compared to theirs.------------------------------------------------------------------ My security guard yelled through my bedroom window that he needs to leave. Someone was driving his motorcycle as a taxi service and accidently hit a 4 year old girl in the road. She suffered a broken leg but will be ok. The law of the land over here is whoever owns the vehicle, or a motorcycle in this case, is responsible. Not the driver. Responsibility over here means paying for everything. The repairs if you hit another car, the hospital fees, the medicine. Everything. And there is no such thing as insurance for these people in my village so they are completely on their own to find a way to pay when its already hard to make ends meet. Ends that are completely different than ours. On top of that, it's September. Several employees have asked for their paychecks early so they have the money to send their children to school. So last week my almost finished being built house flooded. A pvc broke and the house flooded. All over my huge (2 bedroom) house with ceramic floor tiles. All around the fridge where I open it and am reminded that I get 24/7 electricity most days. All around the actual toilets, not just a hole in the ground and a sink where when you turn the faucet, water comes out so I don't have to walk a mile to pump water manually then carry the 40lb bucket on my head to return to my house. A pvc broke that I could easily buy a new one without double checking the wallet but I didn't have to because I even had some stored in my storage room. Stuff. I have lots of it. And instead of being thankful that I at least have stuff, I complain when my stuff breaks or falls apart. And then my security guard tells me he hasn't been sleeping. He's stressed. The hospital bill is already at $130 and that is a lot of money over here. He has a beautiful wife and two boys and works 48 hours a week to feed them and clothe them and he's still considered very poor. No electricity. No indoor plumbing. No juice boxes and ice cream for after school snacks. He's struggling. And it puts into perspective my problems. I can't tell him God is with him and it'll all be ok as I walk back into my fancy house where my kids are fed 3 times a day and I can sleep with fans all night because I have solar panels that give me electricity and I have a fridge where I can keep clean cold drinking water and then I get to lie on my mattress at night alone. Not with the entire family like some people do because one mattress is all they could scrounge up for the whole family. Sometimes this country messes me up. If I lived in the states, I could be completely blinded to the poor and their problems. I could go on venting about my own "problems" and people would run to help and assist me because God forbid we live a hard life. That wouldn't be fair if our middle class selves had to battle.(rolling my eyes) I could throw a pity party and not feel guilty. I could ignore the cries of the poor and go on with my happy go lucky self. because sadly thats the norm sometimes to some people. But I'm here. In Haiti. With reality. Smart enough to know the American dream isn't really a dream and to be blinded by the world's hurt is worse than being surrounded with their problems. I'm here so God can continue to teach me. And I wouldn't want it any other way. I'm still blinded at times. I'm human. I'll still complain and stress. That's ok. But you see, living amongst these people teaches me a lot about what's really important in life. Struggles. We all have them. Stress. Itl'l always be lurking around the corner. But if we have our hearts open to God and what he's wanting to teach us, all those stresses will start to become pity. And we can go on loving our neighbors and that self-focus will soon fade away. And in that, God will get all the glory. That's the ultimate aim of life anyway. That God gets all the glory. No matter what is thrown our way.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Releasing the reins

School. This is how it is suppose to be, right? More lonely than ever before? Separation anxiety? Having to let go of the reins? I sent 5 of my girls to school last week. 3 went for the very first time. 3 that I've raised since they were little babies. 3 that only I know how to tend to when one refuses to eat and the other throws a tantrum. Yet I'm suppose to hand them off to a stranger. A teacher. For 6 hours a day while I stay home and twiddle my thumbs. It has been a few months since I really felt the Lord trying to teach me "let go and let God". Trying to remind me these are His children and I am just to borrow them on earth while planting seeds in their hearts yet still allow Him to do as He pleases. Yet I have this motherly bond. Like I can't let them go because I know the world they go into. I can't let that happen. Yet I have too. I have no choice and so the pain hits my heart like never before as I release my reins into His hands and try to wake up each morning letting Him be in control of these children. Elizabeth Elliot writes "through the transforming power of the cross, even loneliness is a gift." He comes to meet us, He gives us himself. He will never let us go." "The Love that calls us into being, woos us to Himself, makes us His bride, lays down His life for us, and daily crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercy, will not, no matter how it may appear in our loneliness, abandon us" Elizabeth writes. So this life, gives us new marching orders through each season. Sending your baby to school and learning to accept that change. Sending your child to college, it comes again. Giving your daughter away to marriage, there it pops up again. Loosing a loved one, going to the mission field. New marching orders. On and on we all experience that tug at the heartstrings yet it's just a new marching order. And we ought to do it gladly and happily because we know who goes before us and after us and right next to us through it all.
I arrive to school early every afternoon to pick up the girls. I sit in my car twiddling my thumbs waiting for that door to open so I can scoop up my girls. I eye that door like a kid in a candy shop eager to see them again. And then I smile as I know I'm about to get brownie points because I could afford juice boxes this week for an afternoon snack! So then we take the ride back down that gravel dirt road. Reunited. Together. At home at last. Motherhood. It's a beautiful thing. It's a gift. An offering I may make to God.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Molding clay

Let us rationalize. The hardships of missionary life: Heat. Hurricanes. Leadership problems. Change in structure. Government corruption. Hassled at road check points. Workload. No a/c. no hot water. Isolation. Loneliness. Communication challenges. Language learning. Overcrowded rooms. Long lines with no ending. Constant interruptions. Thieves. Not being one of them. Beggars. Single parent problems. Changing plans. Everything takes longer. Shopping an hour away for milk. Car and house repairs with no maintained man. Male dominated culture. Perfectionism. Living up to expectations. Questions about singleness. Working alone. Control freak. Near fatal accidents. Seeing fatal accidents. Poverty everywhere. Feeling non-supported. Not good enough. Death of babies. Coping alone. Protecting children from riots. All expectations on my shoulders. No help in decisions. Guilt from saying no. can't afford a special treat. Orphans needing homes. Neighbor passing away. Girl down the street beat up by her boyfriend. Friend dying of disease. Illnesses. Changing friendships. Poor medical care. Misunderstandings. Dealing with the village peoples problems. Running a nonprofit. No time for dating. Foreigner taxes. Missing births of siblings kids. Missing weddings. Missing funerals. Friends moving on. Adjusting to a new culture. Dodging bullets. Being cheated, lied to, threatened, abandoned, used. Overwhelmed. Tiredness. Burnout. Anxiety from being stared at. Worry from the darkness at night. Frustration from fumbling through the 2nd language. Panic from something breaking and no one to help fix it. Sorrow from missing out on family get-togethers. Disappointment from trying to voice the realities to the comfortable and being tossed aside. --------------------------------------------------------------- "missionary lives are lived in a state of urgency, importance, precedence. You do not retreat, pause to cry, you do not stop. Yet it is a must. We indeed go, abandoning everything to be sent and I would never trade this life. But when the water rises, and we feel like we are sinking, we have to let the anchor descent and lodge. We must draw back. De-stress. Grieve." -Girlrelentlessblogspot. ----------------------------------------------------- So here I am. Trying to articulate my feelings. Trying to overcome the guilt and shame and heartache of not doing enough, helping enough, working enough. Yet I've never had a week completely off from work in 5 years. Why the people pleasing? Why the stress of trying and trying? I'm learning that Jesus wants me. Just me. Not my actions, not my duties, not my achievements, just me. Devotion with me. Time with me. Stillness with me. To come to His feet and cling. To leave all the worries and anxieties in His hands and accept the grace that He freely gives. --------------------------------------------------- "The only way to enter into joy is surrender. Letting go of my need to control it all. Save everyone. Have all the answers. Understand the suffering. Just curl into Jesus's arms and let the rest slip away." -Sarita Hertz ---------------------------------------------------- "So, in the days and months and years to come, when you feel misunderstood, remember that no one understands your foreignness like Jesus, the One who came to the most foreign land to show his beloved creatures Truth and Light. He will understand your sorrow like no other. You have seen so much change in your years here. Change in the people around you, change in yourself. And you are tired. So tired. Remember Christ is your rest. Circumstances change, and communities change and, in the end, He is all we have to hold onto. So, don't lose hope. He is our hope. His love never fails. It will never fail you. Though organizations may fail you, though supporters may fail you, though cultural acquisition may fail you, though people you love and invested in may fail you, though you may even feel like you've failed yourself, still one thing will not fail you: the love of the Great Three in One will never fail. And one day, this squeezing in your heart and this aching in your bones from all these years and all these travels and all the years and travels to come, it will all be undone. Everything will be made new."-a life overseas ------------------------------------------------- "God did not create the world and then abandon it to run itself. He is not sitting in a heavenly throne room passively overseeing the activity on earth. God is orchestrating history. He is present and in the middle of human activity. God is actively at work redeeming a lost world, and He chooses to involve His servants in carrying out His redemptive plans." - Henry Blackaby ------------------------------------------------- And oh, I am grateful. So grateful to be a part of it. To be the daughter he wants to use. No not because I am good enough. Not because I'm strong enough. Only because I'm willing. Because I love Him more than anything this world has to offer. Because he chooses the weak, the outcasts, the lonely, the humble. He has been my stable rock through this eventful year. I've put up many walls after giving my heart away and that road leading me to carrying my lifeless child in my arms. He is starting to break those walls down. I'm trying to allow him at least. To making friends on misson teams to having to say goodbye and never hearing from them after day 7. He's trying to tell me community is good and healthy and I won't be alone forever. He's helping me destroy the walls of fear and selfishness and blocking out the world to not get hurt anymore. He has shown me strength and grace and mercy and has grown me and shown me and taught me. Though the water rises and though the future is unclear, to Him I will cling. --------------------------------------------- "yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with him depends on faith. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead." - Philippians 3:8-11

Monday, March 19, 2018

Molanda

My sweet Mo Mo! You came to live with me shortly after Sophia did and then with doctor visits and hospital stays, you were waiting patiently for your spotlight. So now, here it is! You are my only little baby now. Everyone else is growing up so fast. Stay sweet, little one. You are a gift from God and He has big big plans for your life. Thank you for those big brown eyes that remind me you look like The King. Thank you for that big wide smile that reminds me all is going to be ok. You make every day worth it.

Monday, February 26, 2018

An angel in heaven

On February 15th 2018 at 3:50am, my sweet Sophia was scooped up by the arms of Jesus and carried through the gates of heaven. I awoke to a phone call and immediately took the hour drive to the hospital. I went alone, in complete shock, almost in denial that my baby was gone. I swung open the door to her room and saw her laying there all wrapped in a taped up towel. Cords, feeding tubes, heart monitors, they were already put back in storage. I carried her body to my car, put her on my back seat, and drove home. My nannies said they don’t put babies in morgues here in Haiti, nor do they do funerals, so she went home with me. My security guard built her a box while my neighbor dug a hole. I carried her body from my car to my back piece of property where she is now surrounded by beautiful sunflowers. I am still in utter disbelief. It doesn’t seem real. Her staying in the hospital for 36 days did not prepare me. I fell into the thinking that if she’s made it this long, she will recover. That she will come home. I work hard to hold it together and put a smile on my face but deep down I’m drowning but I still thank God everyday that she got a ticket to go home early and didn’t have to endure this messed up world for too long. I thank God that He decided it is better she go home now than live a life full of pain and illnesses. Lucky duck she is. She has now joined my sweet Melody and the joy I find is in the vision of those two running, laughing, pain free, praising Abba every day in perfect harmony. “The same hand that unwraps firmaments of winging stars wraps liniments around the wounded heart; the One whose breath births galaxies into being births healing into the heart of the broken.” - Ann Voskamp “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” Psalm 147:3-5 My God is good. So so good. To him I cling.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A change of Scenery

A few days ago, Sophia’s heart stopped. CPR was accomplished but not without brain damage being done. She went 24 hours breathing on her own but her little body was tired, so she is now back on the machine. The doctors asked for me to come to the hospital immediately. They were not sure if this would happen again and if CPR wouldn’t be effective the next time because of her inflammation. I took the hour and a half drive to the hospital when I received the call. Her temperature was dropping, her blood pressure wasn’t great, and we thought we were starting to count down the hours. Well, my little warrior is still fighting like a champ. But that night was long. I didn’t know what would happen. After arriving to the hospital around 4pm, I decided I needed to stay the night, even though I hadn’t brought anything with me. Time past slowly as I stood next to her bed, without chairs available, in a crowded room with other sick ones, and a lot of beeping machines. She can’t see me and I don’t believe she can hear me, but I would still get right up in her face, lay my hand on her head, and sing to her. I would watch as her heart beats per minute would get pretty good to scary bad as I kept eying the monitor. Watching those lines go across the screen just like the roller coaster we’ve been on. That night I sat outside, under the stars, on a cold, cement bench above the sewage drain and tried desperately not to breathe in the smell. I sat in my lonely corner praying that it didn’t rain and hoping the stars would come out from around the clouds so I could start counting. I was too upset to try to start a conversation with all the other moms who seemed just as exhausted as I am. I loved when God asked Abraham in Genesis to count the stars. One look into the sky and I was reminded just how big my God is. One look into the sky and I was reminded I wasn’t sitting in the corner alone. He was right there with me. With a big sigh, I tried to hold it all together. I watched as the other moms and dads who had children in the hospital flatten out their card board boxes, lay down a sheet on the dirty ground and fall off to sleep. I watched as they would squat down to get some water from their bucket to brush their teeth in front of everyone as roaches were flicked off from the pile of clothes. I watched as the morning sun rose, they sat on the concrete ground with their two little gallons of water and washed clothes with their hands for their sick little children. I think of the stark differences in the country I came from to this one. Water fountains, everywhere, any time of the day or night… and it is free. Here I had to buy a bottle outside before the gate got locked and that was it for the night. I thought of having a chair in an air conditioned room to sit next to my baby girl, just the two of us, under the safety of a roof…not the back aching cement bench outside next to the ditch with 15 other people. I think of the bathrooms with their white tile, free toilet paper and running water. Here was a line of broken toilets that don’t flush, toilet paper was in your purse, and the color of the water was questionable. If anything, this life has made me grateful. We have no idea how good we have it. We have no idea how some people survive the way they do. And one thing I’ve learned, Haitians won’t complain about it. They are thankful for the healthcare with or without the luxuries. Today, I want to be grateful. I don’t want to complain. My princess is getting healthcare. That is all that matters. Not the comforts that we want. God is a good God and He makes it all worth it. Ill fight with you, Sophia. God is holding your right hand and I your left.