Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Everything we need

In this life, we are faced with feelings of incompetency daily. We're not strong enough, smart enough, talented, or gifted for the task at hand. But you know what? That's ok.

One of my favorite quotes is from John Piper:
"God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called."

We have no need to despair because He knows better than anyone that we don't have what it takes to do this life. Without Him, that is! Our lack of wisdom, strength, or talent gives Him an opportunity to give us what we need. He can qualify us for the call- and this brings Him glory.

"And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it forth to completion at the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

He has a plan and a purpose, and He has promised to bring it forth to completion. When we mess up, He will cover us with His grace. What we are lacking, He will give.

We have everything we need for today, tomorrow, and a lifetime of heeding the call of the Kingdom.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Trust Completely

I have been really struggling with trust the past couple of weeks. I have come to realize that trust is one of the major themes of the Christian life. You never stop having to trust God, and it seems as though the things He asks you to trust Him with get bigger and bigger. The thing that the Lord has deeply convicted me about this weekend is how I trust. There are 2 aspects of trusting the Lord. One is first trusting with the knowledge that He is trustworthy. In your mind and heart, you know that He is sovereign and worthy of trust. But there is also a second part. This is the action of trusting. This means that when you lay your life down at His feet in an act of surrender, you allow His peace, joy, and hope to fill you. This is not to say that Christians do not feel fear, insecurity, and doubt. In this world, we are not capable of trusting the Lord perfectly. That perfect trust was found only in Eden, and will be found again in Heaven. But the hope and joy of the Lord should reign in the heart of a Christian who trusts. Because if you truly believe God, if you truly trust His promises, then there is no reason why you should go around with a heart full of insecurity, fear, doubt, and anxiety. The presence of these things is a direct result of disbelief, of not trusting God.

That was me this week. I said I believed Him, but my countenance, my attitude, and my behavior did not reflect it. I was discouraged and negative. I was not reflecting a peaceful attitude of trust, of rest in the Savior. I was holding tight to everything I told God I trusted Him with. It was like in some way, I liked carrying around those burdens, because it meant that i had some control over my life. But as the Lord showed me this weekend, I cannot fully trust Him while holding the reins. It doesn't work like that. When I say I trust God, I have to DO it. I have to hand over my life, my heart, my future and trust the Lord's sovereign plan!

"For You, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, since youth. " Psalm 71:5

"O taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" Psalm 34:8

"Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult! Psalm 64:10

"But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation." Psalm 13:5

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

Through putting our trust in Him completely, we are blessed, filled with joy, overcome with hope. We cannot, and should not, live our lives in fear and anxiety. It is not glorifying to the Lord, and it does not show others that He is a God to be trusted- in all things.

This poem came from some journaling this weekend. I was writing and asking the Lord to teach me how to trust more fully. I was really hoping He would show me something practical. You know, like go read this Scripture, or go read this book. But instead, I got this picture in my head of God sitting next to me. He takes my face in His hands, looks me in the eyes, and says simply, "Trust me, Daughter."

Trust me.

My hands hold tight the doubt and fear, the worries of my day
They push away the joy and peace, destructive in every way.

They tell me keep trying, their whispers enticing as they leadeth me astray
As I sink to the bottom I know my heart's gotten tricked by the nasty prey

Jesus knelt in the Garden, a night of surrender, in anguish his sweat thick with blood
Father if you are willing, please take this cup from me; yet not my will but your will be done.

He faced fear unimaginable, pain without measure, yet He trusted the plan of the One
Whose power and glory shape each of our stories, in this race in which we run.

I long to open my hands in surrender, to quiet my heart in His truth
To trust my God, my tender Love, the Father of me and of you.

I look for a book to help me, a "how-to-trust" hint, tip, or two
But when he looks in my eyes, He says TRUST. You are mine. Trust, and let hope rise anew.


Friday, June 24, 2011


I'm a visual girl. I wonder sometimes if half my brain isn't on lists, post-its notes, and planners. I like to see things in front of me, cross it off, and see organization and progress! So my study break today ended up being a little art project with old papers, scissors, and a stapler :)

Do you know what it is??
It's a countdown!!
17 little links on a chain.
Mexican food, my own bed, movies, family- it's coming soon!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

16 years

These 2 brothers of mine are 16 years old today. Can you believe it?! I can't.

My earliest memories of childhood are during my mom's pregnancy with the boys. She was on bed rest for a lot of it, but it gave us some sweet mommy-daughter time before 2 little baby boys rocked my world. I remember feeling very frustrated when they first came home. Everybody came to see the little babies. Which I can't blame them- it's not their fault they were so darn cute. However, regardless of the decrease in attention, I was a very proud big sister.

We played Barbies and G.I. Joes for hours. Playmobile. House. (Can you tell they had an older sister?). I bossed them around like nobody's business and earned the nickname "Mommy Molly" or "Little Mother." I'm so sorry, brothers, for ruining that part of your childhood! Nobody needs 2 moms in their life!

As we got older, they found their own friends, and I found mine. Our time together was limited, and I really did miss them. A couple summers ago, however, the Lord did a huge work in our family. And that was the summer that my brothers and I became friends. :)

When I left for school, I truly missed them so much. Occasional texts, facebook, and phone calls occur but it's just not the same. Now, they're going to climb into a car for the first time by themselves and drive down the street with license in hand- and I don't get to see it! But I couldn't be more proud of these 2 boys.

Happy birthday, Noah. You have become such a sweet, gentle, and caring young man. You've gone from being the little one in the family to leaving me as the shortest! Your mind and heart have grown right along with your height. Your motivation for school is so encouraging to see, and I promise that it will take you far. Your sharp mind and aptitude for fixing things with patience is going to be used by God. You're going to love college, and you'll find just the right place in His timing. Some lucky girl is going to fall in love with your quick heart of service and attentiveness. Thank you for making me feel loved and welcome when I'm home. Thank you for bringing so much laughter and joy to our family. Your 16th year is a special one, a year with a lot of independence and freedom. Stay close to Jesus, and let Him grow you even more into the man He wants you to be. I love you so much, lil' bro. Happy birthday!
To my dearest Caleb. I love your name, by the way. Did I ever tell you that? As I've watched you tower over me this past year, I have seen a strength develop in you. I feel so safe standing next to you, and I can only imagine what you will be for your family some day in the future. But for now, those strong muscles are working so hard. I'm so proud of you! You are doing just as the Lord called man to do- to move the soil and be productive. Work can be done in joy- and you have allowed God to tune your heart to that attitude. Your sensitive spirit has always been such an incredible aspect of who you are. Continue to be sensitive, Caleb. Be sensitive to the Spirit, keep your heart so soft towards others. I cannot wait to see what the Lord has for your future, brother. He has GREAT plans for you. It will be such a delight to gather together in the future (just like Dad does with Diane and Steve) and see all that the Lord is doing in each of our lives. May your 16th birthday mark the beginning of a year of growth, hope, and service as you press on after our God. I love you so much!

So from across the ocean, happy birthday to the twins who make our family complete :) Cumpleanos feliz!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On Spain and the like...Parenthood!

One of my favorite aspects of culture so far has been watching the way that Spaniards parent. Just like any of these posts, I'm merely an observer, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

1. Parenting is a family affair here in Spain. The grandparents are extremely involved, and I see as many grandparents pushing strollers as I do parents. Many of my group's host moms watch their grandchildren on a daily basis while the parents work. It's a sweet circle of family connection, and I love that the kids are not going to daycare as often.

2. In general, parenting seems a very equal role in the home. Every morning, I watch the dads walk their children to school. It is also not at all unusual to see dads out pushing babies in strollers. I feel like this especially is not seen in the U.S. I always get a sarcastic attitude from American moms that, "Oh my husband just can't do the diaper thing. Or he just can't handle it when she cries. Yada yada yada." Personally, I have so much respect for dads here who have an active role with their kiddos. Definitely something from this culture that I would love to instill into my future family :)

3. I have seen only 4 families that have more than 3 kids. 2 is very typical, and of course there's the typical twins. I can definitely say that I like the South American big family perspective better :)

4. Spaniards are very concerned about their outward appearance. Americans are too, I'll be the first to admit it. But the level of formality here is so much higher than in the United States. So being a mom in Spain has a whole load of "qualities." First, you have to have a really nice stroller. Like super nice. They have fancy wheels, storage compartments, umbrellas, and all of this padding and fabric. After watching thousands of strollers the past month, I have come to the conclusion that this is not for convenience but for appearance. Because every mom pushing these fancy strollers is stick-skinny, wearing platform shoes, trendy clothes, gorgeous hair, and perfect make-up. Being a mom means alot more than having a baby. It means keeping up to the stereotype here. No "mom jeans" allowed EVER!

5. The last, and possibly most fascinating thing that I've yet to see one mom nursing. I also have yet to see one baby sling or carrier. The baby is ALWAYS in the stroller, never in the mother's arms, even in a restaurant. In public, it seems to be a very distant parenting style, and the complete opposite of the newer "bonding" parenting methods that are popular in the United States right now.

After a month here, I can safely say that I have fallen in love with Spanish families. Despite the rather distant parenting style or the "chick-mom-look," I have witnessed sooo many precious moments between these kids and their parents. Love is love is love- no matter what country you're in. Whether you have a $500 stroller in Spain, a comfy wrap-around sling in the US, or a simple piece of fabric in Guatemala, these mamas love their children.

While I'll definitely take back some aspects of the family culture, I like to keep my dream of lots of little ones from different countries, wearing my yoga pants and adoption t-shirts :)

Suit of Armor

We saw these suits of armor in El Alcazar in Segovia a couple of weekends ago. For some reason, this image of a real coat of armor was extremely profound to me, and it was much more than just a historical artifact. I attribute this to 2 things. First, being here in Spain by myself really raised my awareness of my own vulnerability, specifically as a woman. The guys could walk all over Spain and never have to worry about getting back to their apartment safely. They can go out to a discoteca with friends and never have to worry about a twisted man going after them. They can walk through the streets without guys whistling at them, or saying "Guapa chica!" as though they were an object to look at and covet. This vulnerability was really scary to me, especially when we were traveling in so many different places. Now that we're "at home" in Salamanca, it's a bit less scary, but there are still moments I wish that I could crawl into this armor and hide from all of the "bad guys" (literally...and figuratively).

This morning, I was really battling frustration and discouragement. I was thinking about how I just wanted to go somewhere away from all of the school drama, away from the exhaustion of this program- and the Lord brought this suit of armor to mind, and used it to show me a really beautiful picture. My fearful, faithless self wants to hide from the world. I want to use the armor to hide from the evil that I see, to shield my eyes from the orphans down the street, to block out the noise of hurting people, to forget about everything. But that is NOT what the Lord has for me, and it is not what He has for any believer. Instead, He has called us to PUT ON this armor and FIGHT.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Ephesians 6:10-18

We are in a battle. I can really feel the battle right now where I'm at and it's hard. But He has not called us to hide in our armor. He has called us to stand firm, pray, keep alert.

The second part of the word picture the Lord gave me today was the image of a knight in shining armor coming to save us. That knight is Jesus. He is the perfect Warrior, and He has already been victorious over all. So when we are tired of the fight, when we are bruised and wounded, when we want to give up, we are promised that our fight is not in vain. For not a moment too late, Jesus is going to come again to fight for us. And when that time comes, we will be given the beautiful gift of perfect eternal rest in His arms. Is that not encouraging? Can I hear an amen? I know that I'm preaching to myself here in the middle of Spain, giving myself a "pep talk." But I know that I am not alone in this army, and I know that I am not the only one feeling weary. So dear brothers and sisters, stand firm with me. Take up your cross, whatever it is, and move forward one step at a time. In Christ Jesus, through His grace, and through His strength alone, may we be victorious. Amen.

Here's a poem I wrote after recieiving that encouragement from the Lord this morning:
Suit of Armor

I want to climb in that suit of armor,

It offers me safety, shelter, peace

I want to get away from this evil world

That threatens to crush a part of me

But we cannot hide from what’s broken

For on the cross Christ set us free

That I may live my life in total surrender,

Knowing He has a plan for me.

So I lift up my eyes to the heavens,

For His face alone will I seek.

As I give of myself to others,

Who have not this hope and this peace.

I await the Knight in shining armor,

To gather us close to His breast.

Where we’ll cease our striving and trying,

And be ushered into eternal rest.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's safe to jump

"Your daddy is standing in a swimming pool out a little bit from the edge. You are, let’s say, three years old and standing on the edge of the pool. Daddy holds out his arms to you and says, “Jump, I’ll catch you. I promise.” Now, how do you make your daddy look good at that moment? Answer: trust him and jump. Have faith in him and jump. That makes him look strong and wise and loving. But if you won’t jump, if you shake your head and run away from the edge, you make your daddy look bad. It looks like you are saying, “he can’t catch me” or “he won’t catch me” or “it’s not a good idea to do what he tells me to do.” And all three of those make your dad look bad.

But you don’t want to make God look bad. So you trust him. Then you make him look good–which he really is. And that is what we mean when we say, “Faith glorifies God” or “Faith gives God glory.” It makes him look as good as he really is. So trusting God is really important.

And the harder it seems for him to fulfill his promise, the better he looks when you trust him. Suppose that you are at the deep end of a pool by the diving board. You are four years old and can’t swim, and your daddy is at the other end of the pool. Suddenly a big, mean dog crawls under the fence and shows his teeth and growls at you and starts coming toward you to bite you. You crawl up on the diving board and walk toward the end to get away from him. The dog puts his front paws up on the diving board. Just then, your daddy sees what’s happening and calls out, “Johnny, jump in the water. I’ll get you.”

Now, you have never jumped from one meter high and you can’t swim and your daddy is not underneath you and this water is way over your head. How do you make your daddy look good in that moment? You jump. And almost as soon as you hit the water, you feel his hands under your arms and he treads water holding you safely while someone chases the dog away. Then he takes you to the side of the pool.

We give glory to God when we trust him to do what he has promised to do–especially when all human possibilities are exhausted. Faith glorifies God. That is why God planned for faith to be the way we are justified."
John Piper

I read this on Shonni's blog today, and while she intended it for Father's Day, it really hit my heart.

I feel like right now I'm doing a lot of treading water. As I start to lose faith, I feel myself start to sink. It is then that through prayer, the Word, or other's encouragement that I remember those strong arms holding me up.

Faith glorifies God. Through our struggling, through our forgetfulness in His promises, our faith brings glory to the One who saves us.

Whether you're contemplating the jump, treading water, or getting out from the other side, keep in mind His promises. He will never leave you or forsake you, and He is faithful to deliver.

Happy Father's Day!

I'm going to call this post my Father's Day post.

But just for the record....
I love my...
Tom McCann/Vans/Converse-wearing, computer-fixing, chocolate-eating, joke-making, book-reading, Jesus-following, Family-loving, best-ever dad!
Happy Father's Day daddy!
May you feel my hug from across the ocean!
Love you!
Always your little bear,
Molly :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Orphanage Update

As the time got close to 1:30 today (the time I'd decided to go to the orphanage) I got more and more nervous. Maybe I should write just one more paragraph of this composition, or maybe I should study just a little more of my vocabulary. No, it is 1:33 and it is time for you to go and do this. So me and my trusty map head out on a very short walk to the orphanage.

As I approach the building it looks rather...official. It has the Spanish and Salamanca flag in the front, and the entire area is gated off, with a sign on the front that translates to: Salamanca Government Social Services. It looked so official that I thought maybe I'd misunderstood that it was an office building for social workers. So I walked around the building, which is located right next to a small "park" and found that inside the gated area in the back is a play area with a slide. This has to be it. This has to be the building. It was so different than Eagle's Nest. The second I got out of the car there I could hear the kids' shouts and babies crying. But this building radiated nothing but silence. As I rounded the corner I knew that nobody was going to come out and invite me in. I had to be brave, and I had to go up, ring the bell, go through the gate, and introduce myself. What if they didn't let me in? What if I couldn't speak in Spanish?

I walked around one last time, praying for confidence and strength. All certainty in my Spanish had all but disappeared. Before I knew it, I was back in front of the main gate. I timidly pushed the bell, half-hoping that maybe it was broken so I would have an excuse not to go in. But, within a second I heard the click of the lock, and I pushed the gate open. A young woman opened the door of the building and I could see a small child hiding behind her leg. As I reached the door I found my voice, and in very broken Spanish introduced myself and said that I would like to help if they would need me. I watched as the little boy came out from behind the woman, and I saw a beautiful brown-skinned 3-year old with dark brown hair and beautiful deep eyes. He had a cute little name tag necklace on, showing all signs of a typical toddler's crayon scribbling. The woman, who was obviously very busy, explained that I could come back on Monday at 11 or 12. The children were eating lunch at the moment and she needed to get back to them. I gave a quick thank you as the little boy yelled, "Adios!" and I walked back down the sidewalk. At this point, I had realized that it was not a good idea to leave without telling her that I have class until 1 on weekdays. But in the moment, I was so nervous and flustered that I couldn't even think of how to say that.

I sank down onto a bench in the park and fought back tears of joy, sorrow, everything (girls can cry for no particular reason, right?!) :) That sweet boy could have come right out of Guatemala (and he no doubt was born to Central/South American immigrants). Now that I've seen a face, there's no way that I can't go back, no way that I won't go over to that park and pray for the children who are in that building. I couldn't wait to go back and see all the other little ones in there. Resolved to return on Monday afternoon I headed back to my apartment. My host mom was eager to hear how it went and without hesitation said that she wants to go back with me! She went from telling me that she didn't want to think about it anymore to asking if she could go with me! So on Monday afternoon my Spanish mama and I are going to go see if we can have a tour of the building and maybe set up a time for me to help out. I'm eager to see what comes of my time at the orphanage but even more so, I'm excited at the thought of my Spanish mom being broken for the orphan along with me. I'm praying that through our experience, and through our talks, that the Lord will draw her closer to Himself.

I have 24 more days here, and I'm not going to let any of them go to waste!

Can't wait...

To see these faces :)

To hear all about my brothers' drivers license experiences. They turn 16 in 5 days!
To look UP to my brothers- I've been told I'm now the shortest in the family!
To eat normal food with them in our cozy kitchen.
To worship with them in our church.
To enjoy family time on vacation.
This guy is in China right now!
Can't wait to hear all his stories, compare cultures, and hear what God did during our trips.

Can't wait to see these faces!
24 more days...not that I'm counting or anything :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

On Spain and the like #2...Relationships!!

Spaniards are very relational people. As I mentioned in my previous post, they really don't idolize their time like Americans do. Therefore, they have an almost endless amount of time to go out walking, sit at a cafe, go for tapas, or drink a glass of wine with people. Their culture is extremely social, and from what I've seen, people are definitely a higher priority than their work. I'd venture to say that perhaps Americans could learn a little bit from this perspective.

Another interesting aspect of their relational culture is physical touch. Now, this can obviously be a very shocking thing to see. Many couples take the "European liberty" and have quite the public display of affection. But I'm just talking about the ordinary everyday life. When I'm walking down the street, 90% of every couple- young, old, married, not married- are either holding hands, the man's arm around the woman's shoulder, or the woman has her hand tucked into the man's arm. 90%. I really think it's sweet. For the younger couples, I feel like it's a symbol of the man protecting the woman. For the older couples, it's also a symbol of protection, but also of support. They will physically support each other as they make it down the long, cobblestone roads without tripping. I realized the other day that I unconsciously wonder if a couple's relationship must not be very good if they're not somehow touching as they walk. The moment I get back to the States that thought will be gone, but it's such the norm here!

Unfortunately, because of the heavy party scene here, one-night stands are quite frequent. One of my teachers asked us how American boys "flirt." We were so confused, because typically you meet a girl, you get to know her as friends, and then maybe you'll start dating eventually. This concept was completely foreign to her. She said, "Well here, you meet a girl at the discoteca and take her home with you." A sad but true reality that I know happens in the United States just as much, it's just not considered the social norm for starting relationships??

Marriage is much less common here than in the States. It is extremely normal for couples to live together and never officially marry. And if they do make it official, it is normal for a woman to get married around 30, 32, or even 35. After all, when you have all the time in the world, why hurry?! That being said, I have several observations:
1. I don't sense the strong desire from women to get married and have a family. Me, my friends, and the majority of young women in America have their wedding all planned out, and they don't want to wait until they're 30 to get married. But there's not any rush here.
2. I have seen more sets of twins in the past month than I've ever seen in the United States, and I really am not exaggerating. I haven't asked about this, but my guess is that these couples are getting married late, and due to the decrease in fertility, having to turn to modern methods such as IVF, which frequently result in multiples.

The couples here are solid (at least they appear to be). I have never seen so many older couples together, holding hands, out walking. That beautiful sign of mutual respect and love that is only present after years of living life together- the good, the bad, and the ugly. My heart melts every time I walk through the park and see them together. A sweet sight that you see only occasionally in the United States.

Alright, well that's probably more than you wanted to know, so I'll sign off for now!
Until next time,
Your faithful Spain reporter :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just when you least expect it...

Hope has a way of turning *its* face to you
just when you least expect it
you walk in a room you look out a window
and something there leaves you breathless
you say to yourself it's been a while since I felt this
but it feels like it might be hope
Sarah Groves "It Might Be Hope"
I've been running on empty this week, after several draining days of school and home life here.
After another long day, I'd started to get used to frustrating and disappointing moments, and to be honest, I was just expecting more of them.

But tonight was different.

I had a dream 2 nights ago about Eagle's Nest. It was extremely vivid, especially with Claudia and Ornoria. And it broke my heart. Ever since I've been here, I've of course had my ears perked up for any talk of foster care, adoption, orphans. I had heard of 2 Chinese adoptions, and a comment about foster care but that was it. My heart has really been heavy for the orphan ever since that dream, and so I decided to ask my host mom about it tonight. She's used to typical questions about food and culture, but I don't think she's ever had a conversation about adoption and orphans in Spain.

She turns around from the stove, and with a somber face tells me that there's an orphanage down the street. Down the street. Down the street. Down the street. I could have been placed in ANY part of Salamanca. Miles away. But the Lord placed me HERE. In this crazy, dramatic, and somewhat stressful home that is right next to an orphanage.

I was planning on just walking by it this weekend, but she said that they would surely let me inside. My heart is breaking and my mind is racing. Just a block away is an entire building of the fatherless. Just a block away are people who are giving their lives to care for these children day in and day out. Even if I don't get to go in, it makes this trip seem so much more real, and so much more purposeful.

My host mom kept saying how she had goose bumps on her arms all night thinking about me going there. She doesn't even like to talk or think about orphans in her country because it breaks her heart and makes her so sad. She said she doesn't have the strength to go there. So in 15 minutes of conversation I had the chance to tell her about the hope that I have. That without this hope in God, I would not be able to see the face of another orphan. I told her my heart has indeed been broken many times, but I lean on the strength of God, and look to His hope. This passion is not on my strength. I focus on one orphan at a time, praise the Lord for every family that brings home just one more. One less orphan. One more family.

In the midst of a week when all hope was gone, and where I felt my purpose being drained out of me, the Lord moves. Just when I least expect it.

I so appreciate your prayers as I start on this completely unexpected journey to minister to the orphan here in Spain. I really don't know what the next few weeks will hold. I'm not sure that I'm ready to be broken again. I'm not sure I really want to be reminded of what their little voices sound like, speaking Spanish and giggling. But I am learning Spanish for these precious ones. I am memorizing Spanish verbs for those who are forgotten. And while I don't know how the pieces of the mosaic are all going to fit together, I know that this piece in Spain is going to be a part of it.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
and(P) what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,[b]
and to(Q) walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:10

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:(C)to visit(D) orphans and widows in their affliction, and(E) to keep oneself(F) unstained from the world.
James 1:27

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Standing on the Promise

So i'm going to take a quick intermission from my On Spain and the Like posts to talk about life.

Standing on the Promises
Standing on the promises of Christ my King,

Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.

I've been standing on the promises this week, reminding myself of what the Lord has done, what He has said. The lyrics of this hymn popped into my head yesterday and when I looked them up I found them so encouraging. "When the storms of doubt and fear the Living Word of God I shall prevail.." That is so where my heart is at right now. There is some definite spiritual warfare going on here in Spain and it is really putting me to the test.

Yet the Lord has put practical encouragement and truth right in my path, and even when it feels like everything's kind of falling apart I know that my feet are standing on truth. And that truth is stronger, more powerful, and more secure than any type of academic or earthly success.

So I share with you these promises, that your heart may grasp hold of them along with me. My prayer for this blog is for it to be a ministry and blessing to others. If you're in the storm of fear and doubt, take hold of the Truth that our God has given. He promises to equip us with strength for the trial, and He will never give us more than we can bear. His plans are for a hope and future, and He is good, even when life doesn't seem to be going the way we wanted it to.

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for(A) he who is in you is greater than(B)he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.(H) The Lord is at hand; 6(I) do not be anxious about anything,(J) but in everything by prayer and supplication(K) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And(L) the peace of God,(M) which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:5-7

You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
4Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

Do not fear for I am with you, Do not anxiously look about you... (I Peter 5:7)

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for(E) he who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23

Stand firm on His promises- for the one who called you is FAITHFUL!

Monday, June 13, 2011

On Spain and the like...Time

Welcome to the first edition of On Spain and the Like! :)

Time. Such an abstract concept. Yet one that we manage to weave into every aspect of our lives.

I had been to Central America, so I knew the "manana, manana" attitude. But here in Spain, I really don't even think they plan tomorrow. There is just no concept of time here unless you're at a train station or an airport. This aspect of European culture absolutely shapes their society.

I went running today and as usual, the benches were full of people. The playground was packed with families, sidewalks full of strollers, the dog park full of happy dogs (more on them later).

The cafes always have people sitting and enjoying wine, beer, or some tapas.

You've heard of the siesta, right? Well it's for real. They have a siesta here EVERY day. I seriously think that the majority of the stores are closed more often than they're open. They typically don't open until after 9. Then they have their siesta from 2-4:30. Then they may re-open again, only to close around 7. So frustrating for the 24-7 Walmart, Walgreens American!

The other day, we were walking to the Plaza and people were just standing on their balconies. Just standing there, doing nothing, just watching.

I asked my teacher if we would be having a test this week. Her response? Oh....we'll see. If we need more time, we'll just take it next week! No syllabus, no plan, no schedule.

An average meal here at a restaurant easily takes over an hour. And when you're done? You just get to sit some more! When I asked for the check several weeks ago the waitress looked at me in shock and said, "What's wrong?! Is something the matter?!" Nope. I'm just done eating and i'm ready to get on with my day!

The concept of to-do lists, planners, and schedules is non-existent here, and while it completely goes against my nature, I kind of like it!

On Spain and the like....

So, if you haven't figured it out yet, I'm living in Spain right now! The past week I've found myself falling into a little bit of a rhythm here. And anyone who has spent any time with me knows that I am a schedule girl. If I have a routine, then I can manage life. If everything's chaotic, let's just say that Molly gets a little crabby. :) Anyways, a really fascinating part about getting to know the area has been the opportunity to see cultural norms here. Analyze families, gender roles, lifestyles, marriage, relationships. I have always loved reading about other cultures or time periods and seeing what a typical "day in the life" was like.

So, I decided that while I'm here, I'll start a sort of series entitled On Spain and the Like. It'll be a chance for me to put into writing what I'm seeing (so I won't forget), and hopefully a chance for you to get a little taste of Spain. So stay tuned! :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Santo, Santo

santo 1 -ta adjetivo
  1. ( Relig )
    1. lugar/mujer/vidaholy;


[hoh-lee] Show IPAadjective, -li·er, -li·est, noun, plural -lies.
specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use orauthority; consecrated: holy ground.
dedicated or devoted to the service of god, the church, or religion: a holy man.
saintly; godly; pious; devout: a holy life.

"Holy, holy, Lord God almighty.
Worthy is the lamb who was slain.
Highest praises, honor, and glory;
Be unto Your name."

We went to church today for the first time. It's a little church tucked away in a corner. It's not a giant cathedral and it doesn't look like much from the outside. But I've never been so excited to walk into a simple building. Once inside, I knew that we had found a second family. For the beautiful thing about being a child of God is that you have millions of brothers and sisters, all around the world.

When we entered the main room, there were people everywhere. Hugging, laughing, talking, greeting eachother. Children ran up and down the aisles, burning off energy before the service. Elderly people sat clustered together, greeting newcomers, or just waiting for the service to start.

This was more of an informal worship service, and following the pastor's greeting, they alternated between music and sharing Scripture. The men of the church would stand and encourage the body. It was beautiful. The Lord created men to lead the Church, to teach, to admonish, and this particular body is following that example so well.

Most of the songs were unfamiliar until "Be Unto Your Name." The congregation sang so loudly, as one body. "Santo, Santo, Dios Todoperderoso." Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.

He is HOLY. I can't even grasp holy, or find words to describe a sacred God. My heart tightens when I remember church in Guatemala. Singing those very same words, with the little hands of orphans in mine as we sang together. Here in Spain, again with brothers and sisters in Christ. There is something about me that absolutely bows before the Lord when I hear praises in this tongue. It's so beautiful. Our God is holy, the God of the nations, of every tribe and tongue.


The faithful, they gather, to worship to pray

Share the hope of Christ Jesus returning someday

To come save this world from the hurt and the pain

To come and trade sunshine for the thunder and rain.

They sing of His holiness, sing of His grace,

They commune together and seek His face.

The tears fill my ears as their voices lift higher,

I imagine the Kingdom with an international choir.

When the jumble of voices with one tongue will sing,

Holy, Holy, Holy, is our Lord, God, and King.