Monday, May 30, 2011

A Day in the Life

Life here is going to be very, very busy. I already feel this lifestyle of new school, home, and finding food to eat is going to be very exhausting. But through His strength I can do all things :)

We have the best host mom. She's a single mom with an 11 year old son. There's 7 of us living in the flat, and trust me, it's cozy. The one rule is NO English. Ever. And that one rule, Mama Clara definitely keeps us accountable for! Besides that, we're completely independent. Of course, every day she reminds us that she wants to be here for us. Any question or problem we have she wants to help. She wants to help us study, learn, speak. She's wonderful.

There's a fruteria right down the street and a pasteleria (bakery) next door to our apartment building. The best part? They sell sugar-free cookies :) Nothing here is sugar-free, so this is a HUGE blessing.

So for those who are wanting to hear a little bit more about my life here in Salamanca, here's a day in my life!

9:15- Leave for school
9:30- Grammar class
11:20- Break
11:30- Conversation class
1:00- Break/Go home
1:15- Class with our professor on T/W/Th
6:00- History Lecture
7:00- Art Lecture or Salsa lessons

Occasionally tours at 1 or 4.
Traveling on most weekends
(my daddy's visiting this weekend- I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself!) :)
Lunch is usually at 2, and dinner is anywhere from 8-10.
Different schedule, different culture!

Me siento agradable

Me siento agradable- I feel thankful.

So thankful.

The first day of class went better than I could have imagined.

I fell in love with Spanish again today.

I had the most encouraging teachers.

I'm excited to take each day here and live it to the fullest (see below post).

God is so good :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The here, the now, and the in-between

So often, we (myself included!) talk about how we just can't wait for this or that to be over so we can move on in life. It could be that summer before college, a pregnancy before the arrival of the baby, the waiting time before an adoption, the month before a big move. In any case, we are waiting for an uncomfortable, stretching period of our lives to be over so we can start that exciting, long-awaited next phase. I often think of those seasons as "in-betweens." I tend to fall into the attitude that these periods of life are less important, less influential. The real lessons I'm going to learn are going to be once I graduate, finish this adoption, have the baby, go to college, get married, move to our new house, etc. You fill in the blank.

I'd like to propose that there are no "in-betweens" in life. The Lord is a God of perfection, of completion, of wholeness. How then could He put us in an in-between season of life? Each and every day is a demonstration of His grace and His mercy. Each and every day is an opportunity to live out our call as Christians- to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven....He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:1,11

This does not mean that every day will be full of "exciting" things. But there will never be a day wasted. It is only in our discontent and impatience that we waste time thinking about where we'd rather be. Dwelling on the future zaps all joy and purpose from today.

I've been in Spain for 12 days now, and I'll be the first to admit that while I have loved the experience, I really want to be home. I miss people. I miss feeling secure. I miss a lot of things. Even before I left, I kind of went into this trip thinking of it as an "in-between." It's 6 weeks in between a fantastic semester of college and a month at home with my family before going back to college in the fall.

And it still is 6 weeks in between my summer. But it’s 6 weeks of walking each day in the Lord’s strength, completely dependent on Him. It’s 6 weeks of learning Spanish, in preparation for some type of ministry in my future. It’s 6 weeks of being the hands and feet of Christ to a home, a city, a country who has absolutely everything yet hearts that have nothing. It’s 6 weeks of watching the Lord mold, grow, and shape me. He had to take me across the ocean to get me to let go and let Him work. These 6 weeks are not in-between. They’re a season all their own with struggle and triumphs. Lots of smiling with a fair share of tears mixed in. Lots of learning and growing. Lots of chances to apologize and accept forgiveness. Lots of chances to seek out God and His will for me, for Spain, for His kingdom come.

My days are beginning now with a whispered prayer of thanks, and a request for grace and strength to live to the fullest. When I long for home and familiarity, I think of James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I long more for a heart so in love with Jesus that I can rest in His will, knowing that He has placed me exactly where I should be- with purpose, with love, and for the furthering of His kingdom.

If you are in the in-between, look to His face. In the midst of fear, doubt, loneliness, or pain, rest in His sovereignty. Find joy in the day. Look for simple things, sweet kisses from Heaven that remind you of grace abounding. Sit back and watch the Lord move even as you wait for what seems like a better phase of life. Look for opportunities to love.

We serve a faithful God who longs to show Himself to us. In the here, the now, and even the in-betweens.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


O Lord, Our Sovereign, How majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,

to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

The moon and the stars that you have established;

What are human beings that you are mindful of them, Mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God, And crowned them with glory and honor.

You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;

You have put all things under their feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field,

The birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, Our Sovereign, How majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8

I am in a bus on my way to Seville, using the time to edit the hundreds of pictures that I’ve taken, and hopefully attempting to collect my thoughts into a coherent post. Warning: This is a word explosion post. I’m sorry it’s so long. But I hope that it’s worth it!

The past week has been B-U-S-Y. Like get up 15 minutes before breakfast, sit on your suitcase to make it zip, eat breakfast, and then walk around for miles, get back to the room around 10, study for vocab tests, and fall into bed around 12:45 to get up the next day by 7. So this would explain my empty journal, unedited and yet-to-be-shared pictures, and lack of blog posts. At the moment, I’m feeling a little traveled-out!

BUT- let me tell you about the other part of my week. I have now been in Spain for a full 7 days. It feels like a month. I really like our group of 20. We’ve hiked around Spain, and had awesome conversations together. I have seen so many things that I can’t even believe it.

I’d say the theme of this week has been awe. Awe of Spain? Well, yes it’s amazing. But really- awe of God. I have been knocked over by a complete, utter, and humbling awe of God. I have been amazed over and over and over again. That first day in Madrid I didn’t think I was going to make it through this trip (and it’s not over yet, folks, so keep those prayers comin’!). But as we began touring that city, I was overcome by the busyness, the beauty, the history. The thought of walking down the same grand staircase as the kings and queens of Spain did centuries ago. Then we moved on to Benalmádena and I stepped foot in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time. I sat on the beach with a friend for hours and talked about life, God, and His goodness. I made new friends as we all went on walks on the beach and talked. I ran my hands through the sand and marveled at how God knows about every grain. Each itty-bitty grain He has counted. I looked out on the ocean and was reminded that as far as the east is from the west, so He has taken my sin. And that as deep and wide as the ocean is, His love surpasses even that. In the midst of frustration at the lack of Spanish in this touristy beach town, I listened to Russian, Polish, German, English (with a sweet British accent), being spoken all around me. And I knew that God is God of each of those people, and He created every aspect of their language and culture.

On Monday, a small group of us went to Mijas, a quaint little town in the mountains . It cost .86 Euro to hop on the bus and experience one of the most beautiful things in my entire life so far. I would have paid 20. The picturesque white buildings with flower pots everywhere reflected humans’ love of beauty. The group of laughing school kids, the woman sweeping her front porch gave me a picture of real life in Spain. A frozen yogurt place made for my first dessert here, and I could honestly tell my friends that I have felt GREAT since coming here. Hallelujah. The Great Provider is doing just that for my health here. And as though that wasn’t enough, God gave us the view. Oh the view from Mijas was incredible. There was a ½ mile of fencing with beautiful flowers, benches, pathways. We sat for 45 minutes. Just sitting. Gazing, pondering, looking at the vastness. I felt so small in that moment, and God felt so very big. The view from my eyes was merely a dot on the map. The people that were living on that land are merely a handful. And His name? His power? His love? Is even bigger. The songs God of Wonders and Beautiful were running through my head and it was all I could do to keep my hands from lifting to the Heavens in praise of our glorious God. And yet my heart was breaking that there were those sitting right next to me who did not praise His name. The city I overlooked? Thousands of people who are lost. It was a mixture of aching and pure joy and awe in the presence of God.

Tuesday brought an early morning departure to Granada. The bus ride suddenly turned into a majestic view of the snow-covered Sierra Nevada. My first time seeing mountains, and I again felt the huge-ness of God. Granada is another bustling city full of rich culture and history. I have found that every city we’ve gone to makes me feel as though we’ve gone to a different country. Our first stop was La Capilla Real, the Royal Chapel. This Chapel has the tomb of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel along with breathtaking works of art. The Catholic influence here has definitely been unexpected, and at times challenging. We then went to an Artisan Market and were “transported” into the Arabic world. The Moorish influence in Granada is still very strong, and I was amazed yet again of a different culture. La Alhambra took up the rest of our day, and I can’t even sum it up into words. The gardens were stunning. The beauty was overwhelming. My first step into the palace took my breath away, and I could hardly believe the masterpieces of man. The creativity and talent that the Lord put into His creation is truly astounding. Each inch of the building had been carved out with tiny tools, hundreds of years ago. Carefully painted and decorated to perfection, it was like something out of a movie.

Today was an exhausting and very hot day in Cordóva, touring the mosque that later had an elaborate cathedral built inside of it. The Moors, Catholics, and jews lived together in that city for several centuries. The original buildings from the Jewish community and the synagogue are still standing. The mosque was bigger than I had ever imagined, and my heart broke to imagine the thousands of faithful worshipers on their mats praying to ala, their god who doesn’t exist. Yet their faith was so strong, so devoted, that they put the equivalent of millions of dollars, and millions of hours of man power in order to build a place of worship that they felt would be worthy. But our God is bigger and HE deserves that glory! Why oh why can’t the people of this world turn their faces to Him and stop seeking after other gods?

So here I am, in awe. Humbled. Amazed that He brought me across the ocean. It has been strange being a foreign country and not doing missions. I’m accustomed to traveling to Guatemala and speaking Spanish, yet having my full focus be on the orphan and the poor. My mind is consumed with that while I’m there, and my heart is always broken and moved. This trip though, I have been almost entirely removed from poverty. We’ve stayed in lovely hotels, gone to touristy towns, and eaten in nice restaurants. We’re instructed to watch out for the pickpockets, and stay far away from the beggars. Amidst my awe of God, I want Him to be breaking me. And He is, but in other ways that I’m used to or that I expected.

My devotional time summed up this week very well. I read a devotional entitled “The Highest Form of Prayer” by Julian of Norwich. She talked about how God creates, loves, and protects. When she ponders these 3 things, she is reminded of the goodness of God. He made us, He is our perfect lover, and He protects/provides for us. She says of man, “It is thinking upon God’s goodness that pleases Him most.” I believe that this is true. Focusing on the supremacy of Christ, of the eternal gift of life that we’ve been given, of His love, and of His provision, we are reminded of His goodness. And that goodness brings joy. And through God’s grace, this joy is able to withstand all of life’s trials. Our feelings of loneliness, weakness, frustration, incompetency, illness. All of these things are overshadowed by God’s goodness. So in the midst of my worship of our God while adventuring across Spain, I sit here humbled. We serve a God who created this Earth, who made each person unique, who has been faithful throughout the generations, who protected those who lived in castles, who lived through wars, who kept their faith in times of oppression. I feel so blessed to be seeing some of these things with my own eyes. I feel so blessed to be seeing parts of nature that I never thought I would see. I am in awe of His goodness.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


"Como" is similar to "What?" in English. And in the midst of infinite miscommunication, misunderstandings, and drastic cultural differences, I find myself asking "COMO?!" quite frequently. Here are some examples that give you a taste of Spain.
(me at the Royal Palace in Madrid)
1. I walked into our hotel room in Madrid (mind you, I've just been up for 24 hours) and I cannot get the lights to go on. No matter what I do, the lights will not go on. I try a combination of switches, putting one up, one down, etc. There's a panel with a little light on it situated right next to the door but it doesn't have a button. Frustrated and tired, I decide to go down to the front desk to ask for help. Maybe a fuse was blown. As I walk down the hallway, I see una camerera (cleaning lady) in one of the rooms. And somehow her lights are on. So I peek around the doorway and see that she has put the key card into the little panel with the light. All of the hotels so far have been like that. You must put your key card into the little panel in order for the electricity to work. Europe conserves, America wastes.

2. This morning, I was walking down the hall coming back from breakfast and saw that the cleaning lady was in my friends' room, with the door open, mopping the floor in the dark. Huh. Oh, and let's not forget to say that my friends are still in their beds sleeping. I say hello and keep walking, wondering what on earth is going on! I walk into my room and Alyssa, my roommate says she has a story to tell! Apparently, shortly after I left for breakfast, the cleaning lady came into the room and began mopping the floors. Alyssa is still fast asleep but wakes up when she hears the lady moving my bed to make it. She sleepily greets her and lays there, completely unsure of what to do! After finishing my bed, the lady comes and stands over Alyssa until she got out of bed. Our room was going to be cleaned then and there! What a wake-up call.

3. You hardly see any kids in Madrid, but today at the park there were families with strollers. Half the babies I saw were twins! Just thought that was interesting.

4. Madrid has a large cleaning crew. Every night, they mop the sidewalks! What's America doing with OUR tax dollars?! Don't answer that. :)

5. While riding on the tour bus through Madrid, I saw this little screen thing. It has the air quality posted on it 24/7. You can't see very clearly, but the screen is in the picture below. It shows CO2, NO2, SO2, O levels. Pretty crazy! Just wait for one of these to pop up in your local city.
6. I'd say one of the top 2 foods in Spain is paella. It's a rice and meat/fish dish that EVERYBODY gets. They sell it like french fries in the US. Below is a picture of the "Paellador" sign, which shows that the vendor is one that sells Paella.

7. This will come as no surprise to you all. But little kids speaking Spanish are the CUTEST ever. I just sit here and listen to them. If I can figure out a way for my kids to come out speaking Spanish in those little raspy voices I'll do it! Maybe they'll be able to roll their r's since I can't :)

Hope you enjoyed your little tour of Spain! :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011


We have been RELAXING on La Costa del Sol en Benalmadena. Laying out on the beach, taking long walks as the Mediterranean Sea rolls up over our feet. Eating long meals in outdoor cafes. Getting to know each other. Studying together for our lovely vocab quizzes (which are actually very applicable!).

I'm having trouble finding time to blog. I don't like blogging without my heart in it, and it takes some time for me to sit and think about what i'd like to say. So, hopefully tonight I'll have some time to sit down and really tell you all about this incredible trip so far. For now, though, a few short thoughts will have to do until I can expound on them.

1. I'm ALMOST done with editing my pictures from Madrid (ha I'm a little bit behind).
2. God loves providing before we even see the need. He has done this so many times.
3. Speaking of the Lord, I had not had the energy or time to sit down and spend time in the Word. These past couple of days have made for some sweet quiet times on the balcony of our hotel room. So thankful for times to rest, and already seeing Him teach me things.
4. Tonight we go to a flamenco dance! Ahh so excited! Will hopefully get to take some pictures.

Ok must go and get "all dolled up" )as our professor says) for the Flamenco dance. It's a fancy event apparently!

More posts to come tonight and tomorrow!
Love you all!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Loving Spain

The past 48 hours has been a whirlwind. We had hardly arrived in Madrid when we started our tour. Jetlag caught up with me by lunch and I spent the rest of the day feeling nauseous. I fell into bed last night and didn't wake up until this morning. I'd prayed as I went to bed that the Lord would give me energy for today, and He certainly delivered. I am so thankful.

Today was a great day, and we toured this gorgeous city from 9AM-8PM! The Royal Palace, El Museo del Prado, La Plaza Mayor, La Puerta del Sol, a large park, and a bus tour were all today. Our feet are aching, but it was well worth it!! I don't even know how to sum up everything into words.

It was a full day of just soaking in culture, sights, beauty. The art in the Prada was absolutely incredible. I kept forgetting that these were REAL. The artists' hands actually touched this canvas with paint and made it come to life. The pieces had the power to stir emotions. Somehow, their hands created faces full of sorrow and joy. The hands of our Creator instilled in them a gift and ability to create beautiful expressions with paint and a paintbrush. It was really a cool experience to just walk and marvel in the beauty of our God displayed through works of man. This was also true of the buildings, and of this city. You just can't really capture the essence of the history and intricacy in a picture. It's amazing to be seeing these buildings and monuments with my own eyes, knowing that men toiled over these for years, working every detail into a masterpiece. And it's only my second day here.

We're off to Malaga (the beach) tomorrow by bullet train. If we keep up the same schedule, I definitely won't have time to find an internet cafe. But when we get to Salamanca to start classes, I will definitely be uploading pictures.

Thank you so much for all the prayers!
Love you all from across the sea :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

He goes before me

I'm sitting in the Charlotte, NC airport right now waiting to board our long flight to Spain. Already, I have seen the Lord's faithfulness, and I know that this is only the beginning of 7 weeks full of seeing His faithfulness, and leaning hard on the strength of our God.

Psalm 139:5 has been going through my head this morning, "You(E) hem me in, behind and before, and(F) lay your hand upon me." Psalm 139:5

The Lord went before me to lay this trip out. He knew every detail before I was born. And yet He also goes before me to prepare a way. Not only that, but He also has laid His hand upon me. This is such a beautiful blanket of peace on my soul. By God's grace, I can honestly say that I am completely without fear or anxiety. This is not my natural response to things, so I know that this is simply the Lord's hand upon me.

Behind us.
Before us.
With us.
Always for us.
How great is our God.

Monday, May 16, 2011

About to embark...

After an insanely busy week of packing and spending sweet time with family and friends...

a lovely dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory (YUM!) with the parents...

and an emergency trip to Target (I forgot luggage tags of all things!)...
I fly out in 12 hours!

So join me as this blog goes around the world to Spain.

Lots of stories, pictures, and hopefully poems to come about my adventures!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A baby and a blanket..

A baby and a blanket

I pulled her off the bookshelf,

This sweet “real-life” baby of mine

I’d ‘adopted’ her from Guatemala

A ‘mother’ when I was but nine.

I could dress her in clothes from garage sales

And take her on walks on the trail

They would ask, “Oh, she’s your sister?”

Just a doll, and my heart let out a wail.

She’s been sitting on a powder-pink blanket,

Just right for a toddler to hold.

Each stitch I’d sewed for my sister,

But my dreams were much too bold.

So I packed them away for a daughter,

Trusting someday there will be,

A sweet baby girl to swaddle,

In that pink blanket made by 13-year old me.

While filled with bittersweet memories of dreams unfulfilled,

This trip down memory lane had a purpose.

For through the sorrow I see such growth, such glory,

In the Lord and His ever-lasting goodness.


Since coming home from school, I've rearranged my room and decided to take some of my old decorations down. I had too many pictures of Claudia up, old crafts that I still had displayed, my first toe shoes still hanging on the wall. All sweet memories of the past, yet I felt like it was time for my room to grow up with me. I didn't expect it to be so hard to take some of those things off the walls. A frame of Claudia and I with the words "hope" and "dream" on it. Oh how those definitions have changed in the past few years. My girlhood dreams of having a sister and adopting went unfulfilled. All bitterness is gone, yet the sting of those years is still fresh. Those nights that I laid in bed asking God why dust was collecting on my top bunk instead of a little sister sleeping there. The nights that I wondered why we couldn't just adopt one orphan.

All of those memories flooded back as I took that baby doll and quilt off the shelf. That doll was as close to a real baby as I could make her. I played for hours and hours with Mariana (the doll's name). When I got her for my birthday, I wrote a story about how her parents were killed in a mudslide in Guatemala and how I got to adopt her. So funny when I look back on it, yet so beautiful to see the Lord working in my young heart already. I went to garage sales and paid for baby clothes with quarters. She had several outfits, diaper bag, and stroller. I was a mama to that little baby and was proud of it. My heart still longed for a real baby sister though, and I nagged and nagged and prayed and prayed. I met Claudia, who I was sure would be my sister. I sewed a pink and purple quilt but a child never came. I thought the Lord didn't hear.

John 12:24 says, "Truly, truly, I say to you,(A) unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." I experienced some of the most painful yet beautiful times with the Lord as I surrendered this longing of my heart to Him. It was a slow process, and I can think of several particular moments where He really worked on my heart as I gave a little more up to Him. The seed had to die. The dream of my family adopting had to die so that the Lord could grow that passion in me to bear fruit. The Lord plants desires in our hearts that He might further the kingdom through them. I have no doubt that He gave me this burden for the orphan, even at the age of 8. But just as He molds our hearts, He must mold our vision. His intent was not for me to be a big sister to the orphan. I still don't entirely know what my role is for the orphan. But now (by God's grace alone!) I hold that "seed" with hands wide open. He may do with it what He pleases. Lord willing, it will be through advocating for the orphan, working at an adoption agency, and adopting my own precious ones. But it is HIS seed, HIS purpose for my life. Mariana and that simple blanket were all just a part of growing the plant. It is the most powerful experience to see the Lord do this in Your heart. All glory goes to Him, and He is so faithful.

So it was with a heavy heart that I folded up that blanket. I prayed that someday I'll see a little girl from another country dragging it around my house, worn from lots of snuggling in a rocking chair with her mama (me). :) That would make my heart so happy. I wait with eager expectation to see where the Lord takes this journey. I was reminded tonight that my roots are settled in His mercy and grace, and I am ready to spread the branches out and serve. And all thanks to a baby and a blanket.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Packing away...

I've been slowly packing away clothes, books, food, everything I will need for 7 weeks in Spain. Yet having a suitcase full of things does not ease the unknown, the feeling that I can't really prepare myself for all that I will see and do there! It's an elated excitement and an anxiousness for the mystery of the summer to be unveiled. I idolize security. I thrive on the feeling that I am safe, that finances are set, that I know what [my plan] for the future holds, that I will succeed. But safety, money, the future, success are all in God's hands! They are not mine but HIS!

I could pack 10 suitcases with all of my possessions and never be truly ready for this journey of life that the Lord takes on us. It is His Word, His Spirit that will sustain us. It is His peace that will bring us security. It is under the shadow of His wings that we find protection. It is in the daily manna that we are provided for.

So as I continue to pack away a suitcase for the summer and step on a plane to explore a world so different and foreign to the one I know, I will be walking in HIS grace, HIS strength, HIS mercy, HIS love. And that will be all I'll ever need.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


She's a....
Shoulder to cry on.
Prayer Warrior.
Faithful to our family.
Servant heart.
Always has sugar-free treats for me :)
Woman of the Lord.
And I'm blessed to call her my momma :)

Thank you for loving, teaching, and caring for me these past 19 years, mommy! I'm so thankful for you!
Love, Your Little Bear :)


I went to have my quiet time at a local park today. I needed the solitude, the beauty, the quiet.
I walked around taking pictures of the flowers first but found myself increasingly frustrated at my inability to capture the beauty! I was seeing the hands of my Maker in every petal. The warm sun on my skin, the cool breeze across my face, the bright colors that caught my eye as I walked along the path left me awe-struck. Our God is so great! His intricate works in creation, to His intricate work in our lives as He weaves it together. I feel humbled at my tiny self. I feel inadequate in my worship. No words, no pictures can completely express the wonder of our God. But that's why He is God and we are not. We are His children, and forever I will stand in awe of the beauty.

Good to be back...

At the sewing machine, that is!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


If I ever....
...get to pile 9 kids into the car to go to church.
...have 50 dirty socks to wash on a given day.
...have 9 mouths to cook for (10 with a hubby). :)
...have 9 faces to kiss, 18 hands to hold, 9 little (or big) voices to listen to.
...sing 9 goodnight songs.
....get to hang a family picture on the wall like this one with children from my tummy, Guatemala, Ethiopia, around the world....
...I will be the most fortunate and blessed woman alive.

I will go to bed exhausted, I will stress out, I will worry about how to pay the bills. I will worry about those 9 (or however many) little lives and the 147 million more.

But I will still be so blessed.

I am so thankful that the Lord has placed families like the Blocks in my life, even if only to watch and learn from. Their simple blog posts that share honesty through the hard and scary times, through the joy and triumph. I'm learning what it means to LOVE. Love in marriage, love as a mom, love the orphan, the widow, the hurting, the poor. The Lord is shaping a vision, a dream, a hope for the future. It's easy to dwell on the future too much, but sometimes, it's okay to think of all that God could do. And I think He probably gets pretty excited when we're excited about serving Him.

So someday....if the Lord wills for me to be that mom of many, I'll post that family picture. And all the glory will be HIS, for He is the rescuer of orphans, and the Father of us all.

Monday, May 2, 2011

An adventure

I leave for Spain in 15 days.
It finally hit me today when my professor told me, "The next time I see you will be in the Madrid airport!!"

This trip has been another huge journey of trusting the Lord. I have felt so much anxiety, stress, and fear about traveling halfway around the world for 7 weeks. Yet through my fear, the Lord has so graciously covered me in peace, and even brought an excitement and anticipation for what this summer has to bring.

I have a feeling that the next few months are going to be pretty big. I'll be studying abroad in Spain, speaking the language that the Lord has obviously placed in my life for a reason. My boyfriend will be studying abroad in China. Many of my friends here are traveling to other places as well, doing mission trips, or working at summer camps. God is putting us in faraway places. I can't help but think it is to teach us, to shape us, to make clear His call on our lives, define His vision for our future ministry.

It's exciting and scary and overwhelming. But the Lord will be holding my hand on every step of the adventure. In the loneliness, in the homesickness, in the weaknesses. In the joys, in the excitement, in the awe. He will be there. The same God we worship here at home is the same one half-way across the world. The God of Nations, the Ancient of Days. Hallelujah!


I have delighted in getting to know The Hendrick family in the past year since all of the disasters in Haiti. They are a missionary family that packed up their 4 kiddos and moved to Haiti last year. They work with an organization called Heartline. They minister to women, specifically pregnant mothers and moms with new babies. Their ministry ranges from prenatal care, nutrition classes, newborn care, and nursing classes. They have trained midwives and a doctor, and Heather is actually training to become a midwife there. I have LOVED getting to see this ministry grow, and see their family fall in love with Haiti amidst the trials and challenges. Ministry and missions is NEVER easy. But the Lord never said that taking up our cross would be painless. She does a great job of being real through her blogging, and finding hope through the hurt.

I started reading their blog just out of curiosity, and an interest in seeing a missionary family who has adopted and taken their family out on the mission field. However, as the months went by, I slowly grew to love these women with radiant smiles and huge bellies. My heart began to go out to the young girls who were hardly out of high school yet were already mothers. I grew to love the tiny babies with twig-like arms and legs, malnourished and sickly. My compassion grew for the women who tried so hard to give their babies LIFE, but whose children died out of their lack of knowledge in caring for them.

The hendricks posted last week about their need for a postpartum unit so Heartline can monitor the babies' health. Many mothers in Haiti bring their babies back weeks later, having fed their tiny newborns beans, rice, and 7up. These precious moms simply don't know. A day or two in a postpartum unit could be the difference between life and death for a mom or baby who needs extra attention.

The past year has brought an expansion of my vision. In some ways, the Lord has only increased my burden for the orphan and adoption. In other ways, He has opened my eyes to other needs as well. I saw this first happen when I translated for my dad at the medical clinic in Guatemala. It was while I was there that I first felt the Lord calling me to do Spanish, and using that to do medical translation and maybe nutrition classes. Then, I read about how Heather was training to become a midwife and I thought, "Hmm...well I don't think I'd ever do that. But maybe I could teach Lamaze classes." Then, last week, I had a very vivid dream after reading Heather's post "If They Could Only Stay." about the plight of many newborns in Haiti. It was one of those where I wake up and feel like the Lord wants me to pray because He has just put something on my heart. Ever since, I have just had this huge burden for these women. Not necessarily women in Haiti. Or maybe it is. I'm not really sure at this point. But my heart was so heavy and during some quiet time with the Lord this poem flowed.

I really honestly don't know what the Lord is doing. But He is definitely impressing things on my heart. New things. Maybe it is just so I can be aware. So that I can be praying for people like the Hendricks who are doing everything they can to save the next generation, and bring the love of Jesus to a country of despair. Maybe someday I'll have the chance to work with pregnant women or newborns in some sort of ministry. Or maybe...I'll be delivering babies, teaching Lamaze classes, or teaching moms how to care for their new babies. The best part is- I don't have to know. There are so many many possibilities for the next few years. But I can stand here with open hands, raised to the sky. Because my life is not my own. If the Lord's plan for my future never involves using my Spanish, never teaching a nutrition class, never do anything I just mentioned in this post then it is His will! I may have dreams and hopes for my future but the Lord widens our view of the mosaic as time passes. These things too will be made clear. Maybe someday I'll understand this burden I'm feeling for Heartline and the Hendricks and the women they serve. Maybe I won't. What a beautiful thing that I can go to bed knowing He has my tomorrow, my year, my next 10 years planned out. There is no reason to stress. His plans are for a hope and a future AMEN!

If you made it all the way through this post- you have won the dedicated blog reader award :) The poem that I wrote is below.....let the words sink into your heart as seeds fall into soil. I think that the Lord wants to grow compassion and love.

New Mother

With puffy feet, tired eyes, aching back, swollen belly

The mother-to-be works all day for little money

To buy food for herself, her unborn baby to feed

A roof for her head, maybe clean water to drink.

The time’s drawing near for the babe to arrive

But she’s doubting whether either of them will survive.

She’s already so weak but has learned not to cry

With inner courage and strength, she’s determined to try

As the labor pains come, her heart fills with fear

She cries out for help, hopes that someone will hear.

She longs to hold the strong, firm hand of a man,

Or feel the gentle encouragement of a mother, sister, friend

But instead she’s alone, as she hears the wails

Of a tiny precious baby, weak and pale

As she holds her new child tight to her breast,

For a moment there’s peace, and both are at rest.

But the babe is still hungry, and neighbors have come

Overwhelming the new mother with advice for her son.

“Feed him 7up, rice and beans, or some bread.

You must get back to work, for you both must be fed!”

As the days go by, the boy’s health changes quickly

His body so tiny, he is weak and so sickly

She hears of a place with free doctors and nurses

So she gets on a bus, reciting childhood memory verses

She arrives just in time for a class of new mothers

She learns about nursing and nutrition with others

They had never been taught how to care for an infant

They didn’t even know what to do with their health while they were pregnant.

But this knowledge brings freedom, a key to success

Their newborns can be healthy, strong at last

They will learn about the Spirit, the Father, and Son

For He gives eternal life to all who come.