Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcoming another year...

It's 45 minutes until 2011 begins. As i drove around town today i began asking myself what a new year means to me. I came up with lots of things!

Opportunity
-to EXPERIENCE God's grace and faithfulness
-to LOVE others well
-to SERVE
-to FELLOWSHIP
-to make new FRIENDS
-to GROW
-to ENCOURAGE
-to LEARN.....and the list goes on!

Growth
-SPIRITUALLY
-RELATIONALLY
-in WISDOM
-in KNOWLEDGE

I don't remember ever being so excited to enter another year. This will be a huge year of transition, change, and trust as I transfer to a different school this semester. I believe this move was totally ordained by God as I watched Him open doors and move mountains. While this year will be met with the unknown and challenges that will require the strength and grace of the Lord, I am praising Him with anticipation for the things He has yet to do this year. He was faithful and good in 2010, and our unchanging God will do the same in 2011. 365 more days of praising God, relying on His grace, and seeking His face. What will 2011 mean to you?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My cup overflows...

"You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows."
Psalm 23:5

My cup overflows. I have written this post in my head multiple times today and could never quite find the words until I remembered this phrase from Psalm 23. My cup overflows. This sums me up right now. This sums up life with Christ always, yet so often I fail to see the overflow of His grace due to my selfish heart. The past month, though, has given me the chance to take the blinders from my eyes and seen the abundance of Christ in a new way. I have seen God's hand so clearly in my life, seen His power, seen His beautiful grace. With abundance, my cup overflows.

Today I sat down and updated the last year of all the poetry I have written into my poetry scrapbook. I dug through old journals, finding those words that blend together as the Lord gives them to me in those sweet times of prayer or fellowship. I found myself completely overwhelmed by God's faithfulness and His grace. I have been given second chances that were not deserved, salvation despite my sin. And I just wanted to go and tell anyone who would listen! I don't want people to go another day without knowing Him and His goodness. I have been reminded this past month of my tendency to limit my definition of God's faithfulness. So many times, when life goes MY way, I respond with, "God is so faithful!" And He IS! But part of our Christian walk is learning to say, "God is so faithful!" in the midst of a painful storm. As I read through years of poetry inspired by the Spirit, I saw myself write through trials and triumphs and every single time God proved Himself faithful. This month has been full of awe-inspiring answers to prayer, learning to trust God and people with the unknown, and seeing God's faithful hand over my past, present, and future. My cup overflows.

Today, seek His face with me. Be reminded of His faithfulness. May we be drawn even more in love with our Savior, and even more in awe of His abundant grace.

"Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep his commandments."
Deuteronomy 7:9

My cup overflows.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Highlights from the day :)

My sweet daddy had to work today so...we made our own fun around the house today and we're pretending Christmas is tommorow! Since he couldn't be here with us, I took pictures of our day so he wouldn't miss anything! :) And well, I know all of you really just couldn't make it without seeing every detail either haha ;) So here, in all my weirdness, is our Christmas day.

Starting the day with chocolate chip pancakes :)

While listening to the afore-mentioned Andrew Peterson and pondering the wonder of this day...

We opened one present- new sleds! And plenty of snow to use them with!

And...ridiculous pictures at the theater where we saw the fabulous Chronicles of Narnia movie!

Not forgetting the reason for this day...

"For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government shall be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:5-6

Praise our God for this incredible gift of love!

Merry Christmas!




Voyage of the Dawn Treader


We went to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader today. And I have 3 words. Amazing. Profound. Beautiful.


I almost cried several times throughout the movie, and others in my family had tears streaming down their faces at the end. Lewis' story is so beautiful when you look at in light of Christ. This movie portrayed that profound beauty so well. I wish that I had written down some of the lines so I could share them with all of you!


The plot of the movie (which you MUST discover for yourself!) is another journey to Narnia in which each of the characters are tested with fear and temptation. The depravity of man emerged as you saw human's innate tendency to turn to selfishness in each character's heart.


Lucy was my favorite character. She is now a blossoming teenage girl who is longing to be seen as beautiful, longing to be loved. Her desire for physical beauty becomes an idol to her, until Aslan gently shows her what it means to embrace the beauty given to you. God so gently does this with His children as well. He is so patient to remind us over and over again that He formed us and fashioned us. We need not do anything to change who we are.


Eustace, a new character introduced in this film, is a nasty boy until he is transformed by Aslan. When asked by Edmund and Lucy how it felt to be changed by Aslan he remarked, "It hurt, and I couldn't do it alone. But He helped me, and it was a good pain." Is that not how it feels to let God grip our hearts too? It hurts to let him in, let him scrape away the sinful parts but it's a good, freeing pain. It's beautiful.


Perhaps the most moving part of the movie, though, was when the characters are presented with an opportunity to see "Aslan's land." Once you go to this land, you may never come back. Reepecheep, the mouse, says, "My longing for that place can never be quenched. I could go on countless adventures in this place and never find my desire for Aslan's land fulfilled." Oh how that reflects a Christian's desire for heaven. That beautiful ache in our heart that reminds us that we are merely nomads, wanderers on this earth. Regardless of how many material possessions we aquire, that longing will not be fulfilled until we see God's face in Heaven. It will be beautiful!


So I left the theater feeling refreshed and encouraged. This movie is definitely worth seeing this Christmas break! :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Behold

This Christmas CD is by far the most powerful, worshipful album I have ever heard. Andrew Peterson wrote all the songs himself, as you listen to him tell the "old, old story of the power of death undone by an infant born of glory." POWERFUL lyrics. I went the concert last year and cried all the way through it was just so beautiful.

Thought I'd share one of my favorites with you: Go down to the right and pause the music player!!


Lyrics:
Gather round, ye children come
Listen to the old, old story
Of the power of death undone
By an infant born of glory,
Son of God, Son of Man

Gather round remember now
How creation held its breath
How it let out a sigh and filled
Up the sky with the angels
Son of God, son of man

So sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God and He made himself nothing
Well he gave up his pride and he came here to die like a man

Therefore god exalted him
To the place of highest praises
And He gave Him a name above every name
That the very name of Jesus
Son of God, Son of Man

So in heaven and earth and below every knee would bow in worship every tongue would proclaim Jesus He reigns with the angels


Jesus came here to this earth for US, His children. So amazing!
Be blessed!
Molly

Remembering "Emma"


While home from college, I've done some rearranging and organizing in my bedroom. Tonight I was going through my keepsake boxes and I found these words written on it. That label on the box took me back nearly 5 years ago when I was in 6-7th grade. I was praying from the depths of my young heart for a little sister. We would name her Emma, my mom's next favorite girl name. She would be adopted from Guatemala, China, Ethiopia, I really didn't care. But with childlike faith I called out to God for this little girl who was out there somewhere waiting for her big sister to fly on a plane and come get her. The only problem is, the Lord's plan and mine didn't quite match up.

And so, 5 years later, this box sits in the top shelf on my closet, still etched with the name "Emma's clothes." Some of the clothes have been taken out, but there are still some there. The handmade blankets I made for dolls (or my baby sister) are still neatly folded in that box. Any other time, I would have pulled down that box, peered inside, and felt heartbroken. But tonight was different. I realize now, after all these years of waiting, that the Lord did answer my prayers. He said no. He saw my aching heart, longing to pour out my love on a little child. 5 years later, I can open that box with complete joy and peace, knowing that "Emma" was just another piece that God used to draw me closer to Himself and to the orphan. He used the disappointment of never having a sister to make me fall in love with Him, for He sustained me and filled the empty hole in my heart until one day, Lord willing, I will fill that hole with the love of my own daughter who will come from one of those countries. And maybe I will name her Emma.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Under the shadow...

I had a beautiful God moment 2 nights ago when I recieved a text from an unfamiliar number. I opened it to see that it was from a sweet, wise, caring, and very Godly woman from our church. I have met with her several times and she always offers a wise word from the Lord. She follows and hears the Lord's prompting more than anyone I've ever met, and I so respect her for it. She is definitely one of my role models and heros in Christ :)

Anyway, she texted just to say Merry Christmas and that she was praying Psalm 91 for me everyday. I was having a very rough day and was seeking the Lord asking Him to guard me from the enemy's lies that night. I immediately went to read what this psalm had to say and it was BEAUTIFUL. My soul was refreshed, and I have it hanging right by my mirror so I can look at it every morning as I get ready.

I'm praying it brings encouragement to someone else's soul as well.

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
Surely He will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the dakness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
you will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, "The Lord is my refuge, and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra, you will ttrample the great lion and the serpent.
"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

Amen. Amen. Amen. We rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Love this scripture, and I love you, Jesus!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Remembering


Dear Ornoria, Claudia, Ani, and Maria,


All I really wanted to do today was buy you and your sweet Guatemalan sisters Christmas presents. I could just hear your squeals of delight at the darling pink clothes, glittery lip gloss, and baby dolls. But I can't get those to you, sweethearts.


I'm praying the mammas are handing out extra hugs for me today because my arms are aching to do that right now. I'm praying someone is there to whisper "Te amo, preciosa," in your ears because you need to be reminded of that. I'm praying He sends someone to remind you of your beauty, ornoria. Inside and out you are a gorgeous princess. I'm praying someone is there to tickle you, Ani and Maria. You couldn't get enough of that last summer.


But most of all, my heart is crying out to the Lord for you. For you, and for every last child who sits today without a family. I am claiming Isaiah 61:1-3 for you:


The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the Year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-

to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,

the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

Isaiah 61:1-3


I will not relent in praying and seeking the Lord's face until justice is found for the orphans.
Keep your eyes on Him, sweet ones.


All my love,
Molly

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Snapshot

In Bible study yesterday we did an excercise that I've never done before. We all took out paper and we're supposed to draw a picture or diagram of what our life with Christ looked like right now. In a little corner of the room, I attempted to draw my walk with the Lord. I prayed, asking Him to give me some insight into what He wanted me to learn through this.

The first thing I learned is that my artistic skills (or lack thereof) are incredibly frustrating haha.

The second thing I learned is that it's nearly impossible to put such an incredible thing such as the salvation into a picture.

Thankfully, words were able to flow better than a picture, so a poem is what developed instead. God really gave me a clear vision of my walk with Him as I wrote, and it was really neat to be reminded of where I've been, and His faithfulness to me. So here it is!

Snapshot
Never tried to put a picture to the seasons of my life
Put a mental image to the joy, victories, strife
But if I were an artist, I'd make the canvas be
A reflection of God's faitfulness displayed for all to see.
For even in disobedience, my Father was seated there.
Waiting for repentance, waiting for me to care.
And when I could barely trust Him, still He would guide my feet,
Waiting for me to surrender to a love I could not meet.
He has led, sustained, protected, my Redeemer, Savior, Lord
He has captivated my heart, drawn me to Himself and to His word.
12/7/10
If you're looking for a good excercise, try this one. Just sit down and pray and ask God to give you a picture (literally) of your walk with Him- both the past and the present. It's a wonderful reminder of His faithfulness.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Ponderings


Every year I find myself in awe of Christ. In awe of His sacrifice. And absolutely blown away by how beautiful the story of Christ's coming is. God could have sent Jesus to earth in so many ways, but He chose 2 simple people to parent this baby, the Savior of the world. I love thinking about Mary and Joseph. How great the call God had on them as the parents of Christ. How amazing that He grew up just as we do, yet He never sinned. I cannot even fathom what that must be like to have pure actions, pure thoughts, pure words, all the time. He grew up, had a thriving ministry in which He poured himself into the 12 disciples. And then the time came. He moved from the manger scene, from Bethlehem, from Nazareth, and onto a cross with a crown of thorns upon His head. This baby became a man who paid the price for the sins of His people. It is so beautiful. And I am so undeserving of His sacrifice. Yet He did it anyways because He LOVES us more than anything.


Act of Love


He left His home, His heavenly crown

To live upon the earth


This sacrifice when Love came down

To the manger for a lowly birth


His mother feared and trembled

In the midst of labor pains


His father wiped his temple,

A son and a Savior he was to gain.


Under the clear and starry sky

this precious babe was born


A night of sweet serenity,

A calm before the storm.


This tiny child would grow to be

The Christ, the King of Kings


In 30 years you'd find him,

hanging on a tree,


Paying for the sins of man,

Suffering for me.


How can I ever thank Him

For coming to earth that night.


His act of love has changed me

Giving grace, hope, forgiveness, light.


-12/6/10

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Traditions


Our family has so many fun and special Christmas traditions. Being away at school has been so hard because I know that we would be doing all of our usual Christmas preparations at home together if I were there.
But instead of wishing I were home doing them, I am instead looking AHEAD to when I do get to go home! And I thought I'd share some of the things we like to do!
1. Watching Christmas movies together
2. Making Christmas cookies
3. Annual gingerbread house making with my brothers- it gets more professional looking every year in my opinion :)
4. Decorating the house
5. Decorating the tree (we did that before I left!)
6. Going to local Christmas music performances
7. Listening to Christmas music and drinking hot cocoa/cider and eating cookies.
8. Going to my aunt and uncle's house to celebrate
9. Having my other aunt and uncle in from New York.
10. Christmas Eve service at our church- my personal favorite event of the whole season!
11. Making gifts for friends and family- I am on a huge time crunch this year for this one!
12. Recieving Christmas cards from everybody
13. Shopping
I'm sure there are more but there's just a few of my favorites :)
What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Depraved Indifference

This is the most powerful video I have seen in a very long time. Please watch it.

Again and again my heart grieves for the needy. For the orphan. And while I do some things, i'm not living radically. I have depraved indifference. I don't have reckless faith.

"We must go, live to feed the hungry, stand beside the broken, we must go.

Stepping forward, keep us from just singing, move us into action. We must go."

-Tim Hughes

Fellowship

It's amazing how God wired us to crave fellowship.

Connecting with other humans, family and friends, other forgiven sinners, brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Today, however, I find it amazing that I can find "fellowship" in so many ways but never even see a person.

Email.
Facebook.
Blogs.
YouTube.
IM/Chat.
Texting.

How our world has transformed our social lives.

I will even venture to say that we are lonelier because of it. Hurting hearts are crying out to be heard, and instead, they are sucked into a virtual world of friends. Not that these things can't be good. Reading blogs has been a huge way that God has grown my passion for orphans, and drawn me closer to him. I have LOVED getting to meet all of you as well (so keep commenting)! :) Emails keep me connected to people. Texting is wonderful for keeping up with friends and family.

But in the onslaught of technological social outlets, I feel like we have lost sight of the fellowship God intended us to have. Listening to eachother talk about life. Real life stuff. Laughing and rejoicing together. Crying together. Praying for eachother. Digging into the word together. Growing closer to God together and falling more in love with Him in the process.

I'm craving a good ole' conversation over a cup of hot cocoa (since I don't drink coffee!) :)

Yes i would probably cry. But there'd be lots to laugh about too. Lots to praise God about. Lots of things to ponder, pray, and brainstorm about. God put us on this earth because it was not good for man to be alone. So why are we turning to our computers to fill this need for friendship and fellowship?

Perhaps it is because we have lost trust in people. We live in a fallen world and so disappointment and hurt are bound to happen. Perhaps we know we will be faced with dissapointment and so we don't even try. Or maybe we're scared to love in case we get hurt. Our heavenly home is the place that we will find perfect fellowship. We will never lose trust in people, never be hurt, never be talked to behind our backs. We will never be lonely, never be searching for fellow believers in which to call "friend." We will be living life together in perfect unison, all for the same purpose of glorifying the Father! Imagine how many people we will meet?! Day after day there will be someone new, a new story to hear. I get so excited thinking about that.

For today, though, we have been called to this earth. A sinful earth, yes. A place where fellowship will be made up of sinners who are guarenteed to mess up along the way. But today, I am praying that God would enable me to be an instigator of Christian fellowship here where I'm at. To rejoice, cry, pray, learn, and grow with others that we may reflect the Church, the body of Christ well.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reckless Faith

I read this book over Thanksgiving break and I definitely recommend adding it to a "to-read" list. It's written by Beth Guckenberger, an American wife and mom who did missions with her family in Mexico (and maybe still does?). This book doesn't have alot of profound statements or revolutionary ideas. It's simple stories of life in a foreign country living out James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in distress..." It's simple stories of living out this verse everyday in real life. They weren't missionaries associated with a huge organization. They started out with a couple mission trips to orphanages and felt God's call to care for the fatherless. So they did. One step at a time, one child at a time, one heart at a time.

And along the way, they saw God's hand work in amazing ways. Small? Sometimes. But amazing nonetheless. They learned lessons, cried tears, and rejoiced in the victories of those who they helped.

Reading her story was a breath of fresh air, and encouragement to see the life of someone who didn't change the world but changed the world of one child/person at a time. As I was reading I thought to myself how I hope one day I'll have a book like this. Little lessons along the journey of serving the least of these- the most precious in the eyes of the Father.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ponderings....

I'm nestled in bed at my wonderful aunt and uncles' house but not quite ready to sleep yet.

My mind is going so fast and I'm remembering my post not that long ago about being still...need to remember that.

So because of my many jumbled thoughts, this will be a very random post. Because as of now this post has become a place to put them all so I can sleep and wake up and watch the wonderful Macy's day parade tommorow with my Daddy (and the rest of the family, of course, but it's always kind of been our tradition to watch it together even after everyone else gets bored!) AND eat way too much food.

I guess I'll start out with a funny story. I went to this Cardio Kick class at our gym today. I love going to work out when I'm home, especially going to different classes. I don't have alot of time for that at school. Anyways, I'd never been to that class before and well...I didn't know what I was getting myself into! By the end of the class we were wearing those big red mitts and practicing kicks and punches on eachother! Um, excuse me, but I don't kick and punch people. Even for pretend. Or even for excercise. I can find other ways to burn calories. But it was an experience, and now I can say I know how to properly kickbox. Just in case I ever decide I need to exert some energy.

God is doing some pretty big things in people's lives.

I read this post this morning on the Blocks' blog. They announced today that they're moving with 6 of their kids down to Guatemala to work with an organization that provides holistic care to the orphans of Guatemala. They currently have 3 schools and orphanages. I have read this family's blog for over a year now and am inspired, challenged, and encouraged by everyone. Amy asks questions all the time about how to live radically, her posts often resemble the thoughts of my heart. Her family has taken steps to live a life of reckless faith, resulting in 5 adoptions, numerous fundraisers for other adoptions, sacrifices, and now a move to Guatemala. They are really an inspiration to me and an example of how I would like to live my life. And, I'm not gonna lie, I would love to move down there with them lol.

This verse has been running through my mind today...
"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5
A verse we all memorized as little kids. I know I still think of the tune that goes with it. But I think as we grow older, those scriptures we memorized as children begin to take root. It's more than a verse to me now. It's peace, comfort, hope, and encouragement. The Word is so sweet. I'm so thankful for that gift God has given us.

I feel overwhelmed as we go into Thanksgiving tommorow. I am so blessed. I keep telling my family, "I'm so glad I'm home. I'm so glad I get to be with you." Because I am. I am truly so grateful to have this time with them. Being away from home makes me appreciate the simple yet most precious blessings of life so much more.

Sorry for the random post. I respect you if you made it all the way through! :-)
I pray that each and every one of you has a blessed Thanksgiving tommorow. Stop and ponder all that He has done for us- we have a marvelous Savior.
Be blessed!
Molly

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Genuinely Thankful

So I have this problem about keeping surprises a secret.....

I CAN'T DO IT! And this is really an issue when Christmas is so close.

I wrote this poem today for my parents and was going to save it for Christmas but I can't! So i figured it'd be a little surprise if it came from my blog? Just tell me yes so I feel justified in revealing this early. And now I get to come up with another Christmas idea for them! :)

Anyways! That was just the introduction to the real post :)
(photography by Becky Anderson)


God has brought me on quite a journey in multiple areas of my life the past 4 months. One of them, though, has been bringing my heart to a place of true and genuine gratitude for my family. I have never ever been so thankful and dependent on my family as I have been recently. Without God and my parents, I wouldn't be doing life. The encouraging phone calls with them are often God's gift to keep my head up.


I have also never missed my family so much as i do now (which makes sense considering I've never lived away from home). And while this ache to be with my family hurts, it has been beautiful in growing in me a greater love and appreciation for them.



So today, as i ponder Thanksgiving, and the incredible blessings that God has gifted me with, my family is at the top of the list this year right next to God's faithfulness. Because He has been faithful to me. Oh so faithful. And one of the results of His faithfulness is allowing me to be born in the family that I'm in. I'm so thankful.



Dad, Mom, Noah, and Caleb- I love you guys!! See you in 52 hours :)

Genuinely Thankful

Never appreciated that goodnight kiss

So many things I didn't expect to miss.

Yet now that I'm gone I see just how blessed

I was to grow up in our safe, loving nest.

You gave me everything I could ever need.

Always so careful to guide and to teach

Now I have a safe place on a hard or bad day

To call and to cry and know I can reach

The familiar voice of my mom or my dad

My brother's funny antics that make me feel not so sad

This incredible gift of my family

Was one I've always had but just didn't see

Because sometimes you have to move away from it all

To appreciat the ones always there when you call.

11/20/10

Friday, November 19, 2010

Be Still

"He said, Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in all the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress."
Psalm 46:10-11

I don't really have any profound thoughts or remarks (not that anything i say fits that category anyways haha), but i feel that these words speak for themselves. The Lord has just been impressing them on my heart. I was journaling yesterday and asking God how I could hear His voice. I've been trying so hard to read the word, seek wisdom, and in that moment I did hear His answer through the Word. Be still, daughter. And that's what I did. I just sat. Answers didn't fall from the sky, revelations didn't occur to me, but I just sat and basked in the presence and peace of the Lord.

Be still and know that I am God.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

China's Lost Girls

I watched a fantastic National Geographic documentary called China's Lost Girls. It's only 43 minutes long and I learned more about China, the population problem, and China adoption that I have in a long time.

I feel like learning and gaining knowledge is the first step in anything. Before you create a solution to a problem you first must learn about the problem and how best to solve it. So...this was my effort to learn a little bit more.

The documentary is available on Netflix, if you have access to that. Otherwise, I think you can access it on the internet. It is time well-spent, you'll learn a little more, and who doesn't love seeing hundres of chubby China baby cheeks? :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blog Makeover!


So in honor of this new season of blogging (where i'm actually blogging consistently- let's hope it lasts!) AND in celebration of the school internet connection finally letting me upload photos again...


drum roll please...


my new blog makeover! :)


I have a new background and a new header, made by my very talented blog friend Melinda over at A Thankful Family! Thank you again so much!! :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A SMILE on his face

This was just too important not to share before i go to bed.

Today I taught my first piano lesson.

I had agreed to teaching at the beginning of the year when I first visited the after-school program at the local community center here. Someone had donated 2 mini pianos and they needed a teacher. God tapped me on the shoulder and I said yes.

It took awhile to get things running, but the director and I finally were able to work out a day and time, and she picked out a particular child from the program. I was envisioning the sweet little 5 year old girl who can't stop smiling. Or the little Hispanic girl who I can barely keep from hugging. Or the darling African-American boy with the chubby cheeks and beautiful skin. But God had other plans.

He had picked an older boy for me, a 5th grader. A boy who comes from a rough family, a boy who has anger built up from all these years. The boy who yells at all of us everytime we play a game. The boy who has us all wondering how to handle him. This is the boy God had for me.

And so I went in today with my Walmart bag full of books, unsure of what to expect but knowing God had something good planned. And GOOD it was! The 30 minutes with this boy absolutely flew by. He tackled each note that I gave him, and insisted on trying it over and over again until he had it perfect. He was SO proud of himself. At the end of every step, I would praise him and he SMILED. SO BIG. It made my heart absolutely leap.

I can't wait for next Tuesday now. We're going to learn even more notes, and I trust that God will use his fingers on the piano to lead His people in worship someday.

Glory be to God.

Rethinking Short-term Missions

I read this post yesterday and was very challenged which has brought me to alot of thought.

I remember flying home from Guatemala this past summer with my dad just trying to debrief everything that God had shown me. Alot of my visions for the future and opinions i'd once supported strongly were being swayed and it was alot to take in. We were talking about the kids at Eagle's Nest, and how while we were there, 5 different missions groups came in. 5. In one week. That was like 100 different people coming into these kids lives. And 100 people leaving these kids lives on the same day. They all came in, hugged them, kissed them, told them how much they were loved. But then they left.

I watched Claudia attach to different people everyday. I wasn't her favorite anymore and it broke my heart. This was by far the most painful part of the trip, but it was also the most influential. I realized that while each and every one of those people (including my dad and I) were there out of the desire of our hearts to love the orphans and show Christ's love to the people of Guatemala, damage was being done to the hearts of these precious kids. They were being taught to attach and then pull away everyday, and that's just not healthy. They identify themselves with one "community" and then when they're gone they find another one.

Now- I am NOT saying that short-term mission trips are bad. Not at all. God uses mission trips to grow in our hearts a passion for His people, and Lord-willing this will manifest itself into lifelong service, not just a week. Will I still go on a short-term mission trip? Yes. Even back to Eagle's Nest? Yes. I am not advocating the Church to completely eradicate short-term missions. They're a pivotal part of furthering the Kingdom.

However, I think that this post just reminded me of the need for us to evaluate our mindset in missions. It is WAY more fun to go travel to a country and hold babies. Trust me, my arms ache to go back. BUT, when we think of these kids...would it be better to put the money towards another native nanny that could become a "mommy" to the orphans instead of us Americans coming in for a week and playing that role?

My dad and I were still discussing this on the airplane back home from Guatemala. Finally, I said, "We don't need people on mission trips. We need people to come in and adopt these children and give them forever families!" This would completely take care of the attachment issues with mission trips- there wouldn't be children to go get attached to because they'd be living right in your own town! Granted, there are some countries that don't allow adoption. But if the Church would join together and make it our goal to adopt these children then we wouldn't have orphans to visit after all. We could support eachother in our adoptions and the care of these children.

Sighh...i'll get off my soapbox now! Aren't you glad I have Spanish class in 10 minutes?! :) But...this is definitely something to ponder. And I'm excited to read the book mentioned in the post (When Helping Hurts: How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor and yourself)

Blessings,
Molly

Friday, November 12, 2010

Confident

God is creating a stirring. My heart has experienced a great awakening, a great longing, a great ache for more of Him. I long for it on my campus, and finding others who feel the same is proving to be incredibly difficult.

As I drove back to school last weekend I listened to a Beth Moore sermon (love her!) on Hebrews 10:35. It says:
"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you recieve what He has promised."

She talked about how as soon as we lose confidence, be it the power of God, who we are in Christ, the hope that we have, we are essentially making room for the enemy. And as soon as we start losing confidence, this is a response to a lack of trust.

So as I drove I had been praying that the Lord would help me to trust Him for a revival. And that if a revival on my campus isn't in His will that He would show me how to live in a way that is radical and shows the light of Christ.

Since then, I have read the rest of Hebrews 10. The last verses talk about Christ's coming, and how there will be the faithful few who will be saved. The earlier portion of Hebrews 10 talks about the persecution the Christians experienced because of their faith.

I've been reading Radical by David Platt and have been very challenged so far. He really makes you ponder the American church, and how we are living our lives of complacency.

There's so much to think, question, and wonder when it comes to living the Christian life. Today i can't seem to express it all in a blog post. Maybe I should change the title from Confidence to confusion haha.

But nevertheless will I end this jumble of thoughts with confidence, trusting that God will manifest His Spirit among us. And that He will show us how we are to live in light of His glorious grace and mercy as we demonstrate His love to others.

Precious

From Heeding the Call

If there was a way that I could have college and these 4 sweet girls at the same time I would do it in a second.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fall Beauty



I have been enjoying the last few moments of fall. The warm sun on the crisp day, the gorgeous leaves all point to His glorious splendor.

P.S.- I am having MAJOR photo uploading issues. So frustrating! But if you click on "view all images" it should take you to the album of photos.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sufficient

I have a new blog topic that I've never written about before but for some reason feel the Lord leading me to write about it this afternoon. So perhaps someone out there in cyberspace will be encouraged by it. Or maybe it's just that I need it!

For the past year and a half I have battled some sort of low blood sugar condition. It is not a constant struggle but it is a daily part of my life. Some days I don't even notice it, other days I lean on God to carry me through and give me the energy to press on!

Early on I didn't respond very well to this trial. I still don't respond very well alot, just ask my family. BUT, I have learned alot this past year and have discovered if I combat it with Scripture the Lord will bless it. And so, I have meditated and pondered 2 Corinthians 12:9 and repeat it to myself constantly when my body reminds me of its brokenness. On an off-day my body feels very weak, but the these precious words state that in my weakness God will give me power!

"But he said to me, 'my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so Christ's power may rest on me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Paul speaks in His scriptures about the "thorn in his side." He suffered from some ailment, though it's not exactly clear what it was. Regardless, you see in his letters that he accepted it as a thorn that God had placed there. I'm sure he prayed that God would release him from it, but he also realized that it was an instrument God was using to grow him and bring him closer to Christ.

As I look back over the past year I see that much of the change in me has been through this thorn in my side. I am learning an utter reliance on Christ, a surrender to His will, a reminder of the fallen world we live in, and an appreciation for the utter grace and mercy He gives so we can make it through each day.

So while it would make this day much easier to have a body that runs perfectly, that is not what God has for me today, and by His grace and the Word I have decided to say that this is His day and there is joy in that. I am here to glorify the One who made me, and Lord willing through my weakness, He will be made known and His power will rest on me.

Whether the thorn in your side today is a health problem like mine, a broken family, or a draining job may you find power in these words of truth as you let the Spirit rest upon you in the midst of your weakness.

Blessings!
Molly

Friday, October 29, 2010

Some food for thought...

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships - so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people - so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war - so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world - so that you can do what others claim cannot be done, to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.
Amen.

Franciscan Benediction

I don't need to say anything else. This sums up my heart right now!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We must go

Everyday that I'm here I learn more about the Savior. I learn more about myself. I learn more about my sin. And I've learned more about His grace that covers over it.

This past week the Lord has been showing me the selfish bubble I'm in. I am selfish. Self-centered and self-seeking. When I'm hungry, I want to eat. When I'm tired, I want to sleep. I have a plan to graduate and I want the people in charge to make my schedule work for ME and MY preferences. When I'm having a bad day, I want people to listen to ME. How does life become so self-absorbed?!
But there have been stop-me-in-my-tracks moments where God puts something in front of me and says, "Daughter. Stop for a second and ponder this. I have given you this LIFE! I have given you this SALVATION! I have given you this HOPE! I have pulled you out of the pit and into a place where you've discovered friendship, laughter, joy, and peace. Look to my face. I am going to point you where my heart is at.... to where I want yours to be also. For this is my call to you."
And so this week I have stopped. And I have pondered. And I wanted to share some of these moments with you, that we might come together in the name of our precious Jesus and bring hope to those who have none.

Our school offers a trip to East Africa and last week they held a chapel on it. I listened to testimonies of people who had gone. One guy touched my heart in particular. He spoke of the broken relationship he had with his father. When he went to Africa and worked with the orphans, he met a little boy who was "his" all week long. I cried as I remembered all the sweet moments I shared with Claudia. I remembered there is life outside these campus walls. My love for that little girl welled up anew in my heart and I wanted to jump on a plane right then.

The entire freshman class is reading the book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (an excellent book, by the way). During a lecture hall for that class 2 students from my college spoke about their time in Zambia working at an orphanage. My eyes stayed glued on every picture they showed as I listened to them talk. I was reminded. There is life outside these campus walls. I have seen it myself. Held the children myself. Seen the brokenness.
Last night was the first meeting for a small group Bible study- a gift from God. I truly believe each student that was there has been hand-picked by God to be apart of this group that is striving to live radically on this campus. To live like Jesus. It was an entire hour to stop and focus on living the Christian life. What does it look like? How can we make a difference right here where we are... and around the world? As we prayed, one girl was acknowledging her conviction of selfishness. my heart could not have agreed more. I take MY plans and make them priority over God's. I go to Him, asking that He make a trial easier, a burden less painful. That He fix things in my life to make it "better." "Better" according to who?! Me?! I want HIS version of "better." And if a trial is what will make me more into the woman He wants me to be, then I will take it. My heart is aching like it never has before to become the person He wants me to be, and fulfill the call that He has on my life. This is a new season in so many ways, and He's teaching me to stop and listen.
Today, I read Anna's blog post today about her precious sponsor child from Haiti. He died. An innocent, beloved, beautiful 7 year old. He was a sick little boy. But his smile? It showed no signs of his fragile body- it was happy. I stopped when I read it and asked myself why? WHY WHY WHY Lord?! But I know that it is children like these that He is preparing THIS generation to go out and serve. I just know it. I have met people here who are passionate and I am watching their every move because I want to learn. I want to learn how to live radically. I want to learn how to live "not of this world but in it."
And so this thought brings me to the end of my pondering for this post. I'm afraid if I don't write this out, that I will never change. I need to be pushed. If the Lord is showing me this things, and if I KNOW there is brokenness and need out in the world, why am I waiting to change? I am EXCITED to see what our faithful God has done. I am THANKFUL to be in a place with people who are encouraging and challenging me. I pray that they continue to do so. Because God has BIG plans. Whether we go and rescue orphans or just live a life of Godly love here on campus His purpose will be done!
"Look at the nations and watch- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your day that you would not believe, even if you were told." Habakkuk 1:5

"We must go, live to feed the hungry, stand besides the broken, we must go. Stepping forward, keep us from just singing, move us into action. We must go." Tim Hughes (video of his song below)
"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows famine and poverty. But I'm afraid He might ask me the same thing."

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of God is not in him. For everything in the world- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does- comes not from the father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:15-17


Friday, October 15, 2010

No Limits

I have learned incredible lessons since going to college. It has been one of the most stretching, challenging, awe-inspiring, faith-strengthening, and joyful seasons of my life so far. I feel so incredibly blessed that sometimes all I can do is cry tears of gratitude to the Lord for being so gracious and generous.



One of the biggest themes of the past 2 months has been learning what true faith is. God has shown me that I had put limits on Him. I knew that He was capable and willing but I was willing to settle for less, pray for less.

But He surpassed all my expectations and desires for college and left me standing absolutely in awe of His greatness.

I have had the sweetest times of prayer and reading the Word with my sweet Savior. He has been slowly making me examine my heart. As I take classes and plan for the next few years of school a vision for my future is slowly forming and it is exciting.

The following is a poem I wrote not too long ago as I pondered what God's calling on my life is and how I am to prepare for it here at school:


Calling
I feel a calling and a purpose, a hope for something great.
I have a hope and a desire, an ache to find a place.
Where my passions and my time will serve a hurting world.
I know, I trust, I believe that God has something good.
I want to see a hurting people turn to Jesus' face
I want to see the orphan child wrapped in a warm embrace
I want to serve while speaking Spanish, talk of hope and faith and love
I will go where God will send me, serve by strength from above
I pray I'll find a Godly husband, who I can love, help, and serve
We can embark on this together, this call to orphans on the earth.
I have a vision of a picture, a group underneath a tree.
They are white, black, brown, and yellow, from near and across the seas.
They've had sorrow, pain, and sadness but Christ has set them free.
Together they are healing to become a family.
Someday I hope this picture hangs right inside my home.
I trust in God's plan fully as He leads into the unknown.
10/06/10
Something I've spent alot of time thinking and praying through is how to merge my passion for orphans and adoption into the college life. it is so easy to get frustrated with the use of time and money, the skewed priorities, and lack of concern for anything outside of college. I am NOT saying this is true of every college student. BUT, in general, it is just natural for us college tsudents to get wrapped up in our classes, social lives, and activities. And it is hard to focus on huge ministry things like the orphan crisis. I still haven't figured out great ways to do this. But I think what the Lord has shown me is to seek His face. Growing in my relationship with Him is going to be the first step to hearing, knowing, and following the call He has on my life for after college.
As you can tell from my poem, my heart's greatest desire is to someday be "mommy" to lots of kiddos. From all around the world :) I don't know how and when and where but I truly believe that's ultimately what the Lord is calling me to. However, I know that He has given me this season in order to prepare me for what's ahead- and I am thankful! Because I still have so much to learn!
So I am rejoicing in this time. Thoroughly enjoying in new Christ-centered friendships. Learning more and more about my Savior. Delighting in the little ways He "romances" me everyday (another post on that to come soon hopefully! Our bible study has been on how the Lord romances us and it has been so good for me!). Studying hard and learning all I can. Looking forward to what He has ahead for me. Living by faith, trusting that our LIMITLESS God will do miracles!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Passion and Purpose



I saw these pictures on Eagle's Nest website today. Those are the very same floors I walked on just 3 short months ago. It feels like a year ago.
They're slowly beginning to take in more precious ones. This little sweetheart arrived yesterday. Her name is Lydia. She hasn't recieved any schooling, and she doesn't even speak Spanish. Only her native dialect.
My heart cries out how? why Lord? why?
Perhaps I will never know.
But these pictures are going up right above my desk to remind me of why I'm here. I am here to study and learn so that I can go back and with God's grace and provision make a future for these children. these children without a family, without an education. To grow in others a passion for adoption and the orphan.
This is why I'm here. To learn and study with passion and purpose.

Wisdom

Wow it's been a longggg time since I've blogged. Life has been crazy busy with college. But this afternoon, the window is open, it's quiet in my dorm, and I feel like writing. I've been doing alot of writing in my journal just to keep up with what God is doing everyday but today I just want to ponder and muse. So this will probably be scattered and random but for now, that's ok.

Today my fabulous math teacher surprised me yet again with another side of him- his deep, wise, and Godly heart. So instead of delving right into linear equations he opened his Bible and gave a short lesson on wisdom, and how at the end of the year it matters more that we have grown in Christ and not math (though that would be a good thing to). because at the end, it's Christ that matters, not whether or not we can figure out complex math problems. So, the scripture he read to us was

James 1:5:
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

Wow. It was like the teacher knew right where I was at. It just hit me.

Never in my life have I felt insufficient and incompotent for life. There are so many decisions, and i'm at a point where every turn has another fork in the road.Yet at the very same time, I have never felt my every need so supplied. It is as though the Lord is letting me see my need and my helplessness but then turning right around and binding the gap, filling the holes for me. He is teaching me to ask and recieve with humility. When I feel homesick or miss my family so much I just want to drive home, He is teaching me to turn my face to Him and letting Him fill that void in my heart. In the past couple weeks since coming to school I have been presented with several big decisions I need to make, and I have spent alot of time thinking about what to do or where to go or what to choose. Today when he read that verse, I was just filled with peace that I don't need to know these things. God does, and all I need to do is ask Him to reveal it to me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lasts

The past couple weeks have been full of lasts.

My brothers and I drove over to my aunt and uncle's house yesterday for one more overnight visit before I go off to school. It has been so bittersweet as we've repeated all of our favorite traditions that have been formed throughout the years over many many visits.

We went to the same Monical's we've been to year after year.We watched Pink Panther, a movie whose quotes we've managed to merge into nearly every conversation lol. We drank root beer from frozen mugs. We laughed, swam, and still have today to make memories as well.

These traditions become so precious when you're about to move on and leave them behind. I've mentally prepared myself for this week for forever, but you just don't know until you get here.

I've smiled so much, and had lots of tears too. While the "lasts" make my heart ache, I can't wait to see what "firsts" God has in store for me next week.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Transition

This summer has been one of transition.

Coming and going. Strengthening relationships and saying goodbye. Leaving the family that I love so dearly, the town I was born in, the church I grew up in.

It is a bittersweet season. Painful to say goodbye to sweet friends, precious family. Yet so much hope for an amazing year away at college.

Fear about homesickness, making friends. Excitement about all that God has to teach me, learning and growing in classes, and meeting all of the people God has called to be in the class of 2014 with me.

It's a summer of transition, but the Lord does not change. When the shadows of doubt or the moment of sadness when I think of leaving, He brings me back to HIS GRACE, GOODNESS, and FAITHFULNESS.

This summer of transition is the first step of an exciting journey.

Lead me on, Lord.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Familiar


No two mission trips are the same. Every experience is different. Different challenges, different lessons, different emotions.
But at least for me, there's always that familiar ache. Every trip, every week, every time. That ache deep in my heart.

It misses Guatemala, misses the people, misses seeing everything in Spanish. Aches to hear the sweet voices and giggles and feel the little hands around my neck again.
No matter how much you prepare yourself the ache is there. And I think it's a part of serving our brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a deep connection and devotion that is established when serving the Church abroad.
It's beautiful. And as my heart aches, I will praise Him for the sweet time I was given and focus what is to come.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lead Me On

YOu lead me very far away
Into this hurting place
You take me far away from home
Though I'm never alone

You show me hurt, pain, despair
Needy people everywhere
You show me orphans without care
Hungry children everywhere

And so I question as I see
Just what you want from me
How can I go back there,
back to comfort, luxury, not a care.

I need a vision somehow,
I need a word from You right now.
There is silence in the air
And questions everywhere.

Now that I have seen
I have to take responsibility
To act and love and care
For the people left back here

It doesn't fit with the American Dream
Doesn't follow a movie or a magazne
it's gonna' take a step of faith
To get me to this place

I just want my life to be
A lovely, fragrant offering
But I know that this will mean
Alot of sacrificing.

6/27/10

From my journal on 6/27:
Searching out my calling here. My role. I don't knowhow this passionand burden fits into my life back home. Shopping malls, restaurants, dorm shopping, vacations. All good things, yet how to balance priorities. Search my heart, Lord.

Beautiful Words

We went across the lake to San Juan yesterday to work in the clinic of our friend Mary who we met a couple years ago on a previous trip here.

There is a fabulous group from North carolina here as well and they have befriended us, fed us, and filled gaps in our trip never would have anticipated. It has been wonderful. They had 2 nursing students and so we brought them with us on our little trip...which turned into a wet, freezing adventure haha.
They have a full-time nurse, Timoteo, at the clinic but they wanted my dad to work for one day and have the nurse watch. Some of the people spoke Spanish, but the majority spoke Tz-utujil which meant Timoteo translated into Spanish, me into English and back to Spanish with my dad's response, which would then be translated back to Tz-utujil by Timoteo. We saw probably 15 patients, and God graciously gave me incredible understanding of medical terminology. I knew VERY FEW medical words going into this and I was almost always able to understand what they were saying. It was a gift.






My heart reached out to these people. I smiled as I was reminded of their constant friendliness and gratitude. I laughed at the silly antics of the darling children. I so enjoyed talking in Spanish for a full 5 hours, unlocking the mystery of words, using my vocabulary to communicate dialogue in order to help someone. My heart broke for the 38 year old mother with arthritis who can do nothing but sit in her home while her children and husband cook and clean for her. I winced with the malnourished child as she had her blood drawn. My heart loves these people.
I feel as though all of these years of working so hard at Spanish were culminated in these 5 hours of translating. I am finally able to communicate and serve a purpose with my language, and it was beautiful.

Pure cuteness.

On my hip. All day long. :)

Mission Eyes


Eyes wide open, brimming with tears
So full of hope, yet full of fear.


These eyes have gazed on the fields ripe for harvest.
A week-long look at this place of promise.


But alas they return to the American Dream
Where everyone wants the newest fad or thing


They're expected to blend in as part of the culture
But these mission eyes are different than they were.


They're a blessing, a reminder of all that I've seen
And a promse to remember where I have been.
-6/29/10


Half the battle of a mission trip is wrestling with God over What now? I'm not even home yet and I've been asking this question since day 1. Now that I have seen, I am responsible. But what does that mean? What does that mean for my life? These eyes have seen hurt, pain, and a field ripe for harvest. Oh so many opportunitiesfor service and growth. But what now? How do you return to the states with these mission eyes that have gazed on the fields ripe for harvest? I cannot go back and forget.


On all of my previous trips the Lord has completely broken me over the orphans and the people here in Guatemala. This trip, though, I feel like He is showing me what He needs to change in ME. He's showing me places of my heart and pieces of me that are not honoring to Him, things I need to surrender, lessons I need to learn. It has been very humbling.


And it leaves me wondering just how these mission eyes are going to go home and try to merge the 2 lives I have today- my Guatemala life and my US life.


The fields are ripe for harvest, and the laborers are few. I have seen and heard and know that I must act. Lord, show me what is in Your will for my heart, my time, my talents, my gifts, my life.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Precious Gifts

We had the most precious time with the 4 girls Friday night. It was like time stood still for 12 hours and it was just me, my dad, and these giggly, beautiful little girls.
We had 4 little mattresses with pillows and sleeping bags set up for them. I had laid out their gifts for them on their beds and they squealed with delight as they opened and thoroughly examined every package. They all came out for their morning walk today wearing their new clothes. And, the twins were carrying their lunchboxes STILL haha. That was their favorite gift I think. It was so cute.
I had brought lots of things to do with them in anticipation of the sleepover, so we colored, played with PlayDoh, ate snacks, made necklaces, watched a little of Finding Nemo on YouTube, and skyped with my mom and brothers.
It took me about 40 minutes to get them all in their beds. And when they finally fell asleep, they all snored, coughed, and moaned! And I woke up to every single sound. The mama in me was so afraid they were having a bad dream, or scared, or crying. So suffice it to say, I got maybe 4 hours of sleep last night, but it was worth every single minute we got with those girls. We're going to try and do it again before we leave on Friday.

Yesterday, the girls and I went outside for a quick photoshoot in their new clothes and hair bows. I told them I wanted to send pictures to my mom and my aunt who helped me buy the clothes for them. They were SO excited to pose, and continually reminded me these were for "Tu mama!" So aunt diane and mom, these are for you! :)

These girls are so incredibly beautiful, I am blown away by their personalities and adorable faces.

Dios es fiel

Dios es fiel- God is faithful
Before I left, my mom asked me if there were any specific prayer requests I had that weren't obvious or that I'd talked about already. I told her that I was really praying that God would bring about many opportunities to utilize my Spanish. Well, our first work day here, and God certainly has provided.
I stood with my dad and the head workman here at the orphanage talking yesterday. He is a short little man, but I have always felt as though he towers over me. He gives directions, isn't afraid to give constructive criticism and instruction, and he has always pushed me to speak more spanish (which was a blessing in disguise as it made me get out of my comfort zone and speak).
This year, he and I have really conversed alot, and my dad had called me over to help translate. They had started talking about this man's family and how many children he had. This burly man opened up to us and showed him his broken and tattered heart. He shared of his 3 children, 2 who died years ago. They lived in a dangerous, underground home with no sunlight for years, working hard to provide for their one remaining son. Eventually, they were able to move out of the city and here to this smaller town to work here at the orphanage in construction.
I was holding back tears as my heart broke for this man. How many of the other people I've seen and talked to have a story like his? We are all so bruised.
The story didn't end there, though. His son is very intelligent, and works with electrical, technology, and computers. Because they moved here, he's been able to work during the weeks and attend a university to be trained in computers.
This man couldn't stop listing off all the good things he has. All the good things God has done.
He continued to speak of how God graciously provided. This man's heart is loyal to His God, and it was so beautiful to see.
I looked out at the mountains, remembering all God has done thus far and at the end, all I could say was Dios es fiel.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Estamos aqui!

We are here in beautiful Guatemala! It has been a very full 24 hours already, and we have been so blessed.

This will be a boring post with no pictures- i'm so sorry! I have a few minutes over lunch to write this so it has to be quick. We are having the 4 big girls stay in our room tonight and the camara is going to be ON the whole time! :)

Traveling was great yesterday. I got sick from the hotel breakfast (in Chicago go figure haha) but I quickly recovered. All of our flights were nearly on time and everything went very smoothly.

Today they have us on ladders (YIKES!) painting a building that will become a bus stop. Our hands are covered in green paint.

We have had precious time with the managers of the orphanage both yesterday and today, and I think it was God's hand on this trip that we would arrive yesterday so we could have this time with them before the big teams come. Both my dad and I are so thankful we've been able to sit down and talk with them about what God is doing at the orphanage, with the church, and adoptions (or lack thereof in this case).

I am still trying to process all that I've seen and heard so far, and right now I just feel like I'm taking it all in. My prayer this morning was that God would refine me this week, and continue to break my heart for what breaks His, and give me a vision for how my life should look in response.

I think the week is going to jam-packed and I'm so excited to see what God will do in these busy days.

Please pray that my energy levels continue to be stable with my hypoglycemia, and that things would work out still for the girls to spend time with us tonight. They are all craving our attention and it's been overwhelming trying to listen to all of their sweet voices, give them all hugs, and make sure everyone is getting enough loving.

Thank you sweet prayer warriors. I'll post again soon hopefully with pictures!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My heart, my all

In just 2 short days a plane will whisk me away
To a land whose beauty seems more glorious each passing day

This children have grown to fill my heart, thoughts, and dreams
This country, this people, it is my everything

Until it hurt to remember, and I slowly turned away
Too hard to remember that bitterly painful day

But now i"m returning, a trip fresh and new
Believing every word, that God's promise is true.

In my weakness His power is perfect and right
In my hurting He turns what is dark into light.

So I give my week, my heart, my all
Trusting He's there to catch every fall

6/21/10

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest in me.
2 Corinthinas 12:9

To some, this poem will not make sense. To others, those who have been to a foreign country or been passionately involved with a certain ministry and people, this will resonate with your heart. I am so in love with this country and people, have had so many sweet memories in Guatemala. Yet coming back from these trips is always absolutely heart-wrenching for me. Last summer after returning I finally just had to block out everything, all my deep emotions and love for my heart country because it just hurt too much. As I've prepared to go back, I've prayed through all of this, and have opened my heart back up to this place and people I love so very much. It's easy for me to go into the trip already fearing what I will see, the things that will break my heart. But I do not want this. I WANT to be beautifully broken, broken by what makes the very heart of God break. And so with this poem last night I gave my week to the Lord, trusting that the hurt and tears will be used for my good. My weakness and incompetence will be made perfect by His grace. And the immense joy and laughter I get to partake in for an entire 8 days with the most beautiful children I know is making me incredibly impatient to get there.
I am ready, Lord, please do a good work in my heart and in the hearts of Your people!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

7 Days

I was cleaning my room today and realized that in 7 days I will be in Guatemala. Like a wave in the ocean comes over you, all of the things I will see and do in 7 days washed over me and I broke into tears.

In 7 days I'll get to speak and hear Spanish. In 7 days I'll get to hear the beautiful laughter of children in the orphanage, hear the delightful squeals, and feel their pudgy hands around my neck as I scoop them into my arms for hugs long over-due. I'll get to see the precious girl who stole my heart the very first time I walked into the orphanage. See how beautiful she has become, hear her "grown-up" voice, see the little girl she's grown to be.

This is a gift. And it is so overwhelming to me that I get to be the one to go to this country and be the hands, feet, and mouth of Jesus.

God has already been on the move in this adventure. Our airlines went on strike last week and He graciously brought the company to peace and we will fly out as planned next Thursday. Thank you Jesus!

I'll post with some specific prayer requests here in the next few days as well as my vision and hope for this trip (that is already known and planned-out by God anyway!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

365 days


365 days ago, I recieved word that this little girl would be transferred to a government orphanage in Guatemala.


I recieved word that her case had been terminated. A judge had deemed her unadoptable.


I was crushed. I was angry. I was bitter. How could one person completely take away a child's chances of having a family? And quite honestly, I still don't understand.


I've been pondering her journey this week. Pondering just how great the gift she has been to me. Pondering just how much Guatemala has changed me. Pondering just how faithful God has been.


And so 365 days later, June 24, 2010 (i'm writing this a day early because I won't have time tommorow!), Claudia is still at the private, Christian orphanage where she is dearly loved. Thanks be to God! He SAVED her from a judge's ruling.


That month prior to her case being terminated, I really thought that we were going to be able to adopt this little girl. I wrote her a few letters, a journal of sorts, more for my sake than hers. Looking back over them this week, I was reminded again of how much I clung to the song Mighty to Save. That has always been my song for her, and whenever I sing or hear it, I pray for her. I always feel a twinge of disappointment when I hear it, though, because I had been praying that song for her that she might be saved from the bonds of paperworks and court cases and into our home. And I felt that the Lord had answered no. However, I now realize He answered my prayers IN FULL. He saved her from the government orphanage. He placed His wings over her and kept her in a place where she is hearing words of Truth and recieving Christian care. He may not have saved her in a way that I wanted, but He definitely came through, just as our God does.


In 31 days, my dad and I will be getting on a plane to fly down to Guatemala to work at her orphanage. My heart is a mess of emotions. As we've approached this one year mark of Claudia staying at the orphanage I have been absolutely gripped with fear. I am so scared that we will get down there and she will not be there. And I'm not sure that I could handle it. As of right now, we are sure that she has not been moved. But the orphanage just lost a little boy back to his birth family last week, so court cases are still moving regardless of the adoption status in Guatemala.


So I write this with a humble and anxious heart asking that you would join me in prayer. Would you please pray with me that this precious girl stays at the privately-run orphanage she's at now? And, though I feel selfish asking, would you please pray that the Lord would calm my heart and give me strength for whatever we face on this upcoming trip. I know that the Enemy is just whispering lies in my ears. Going to a foreign country and serving the orphan is a POWERFUL experience, and he would love for fear of the unknown to grip my heart. I know, though, that with HIS power and strength, I can overcome.


Thank you all for your prayers and for reading! :)


Thank you Jesus for a full year of care for this little girl, and for an opportunity to go to my favorite place in the world and hug her again!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

On my heart..on my mind..


I love you, beautiful blossoming girl. I'll be there to hold you soon, I promise.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Visions of dorm rooms...

A pics of what my dorm room will hold in just 4 short months! :)
I LOVE these colors! :)

So very very blessed.


Mom giving her sweet 'graduation ceremony speech':
The whole group at the restaurant for dinner:
Views of our beautifully decorated dining room by my Mommy :)

Last night's graduation dinner and ceremony was better than I ever thought it could be.
I went to sleep last night feeling oh so very blessed.
I was knocked over by love. So loved by my incredible family, so loved by my Savior.
I was overwhelmed by generosity. I recieved so many beautiful things for my room next year, a backpack, luggage. So many gestures of their love.
I have no explanation for why. WHY me? I just don't know. I don't know why I get a wonderful high school education, an incredible support system of people who have helped me through this far, and a future ahead of me that exceeds all that I thought I would ever recieve. I feel very undeserving of all the Lord has chosen to give me. He is gracious and good!