Friday, August 22, 2014

I haven't been completely honest with you...

I've been home from Nicaragua for what... 5? 6? 7? weeks now? I'm afraid to even look.
I should be over it, right? I should be recovered. I should be back into the groove of real life.
I'm not.
I secretly look through hundreds of Nicaragua photos on my computer.

We've taken 2 family vacations. We've had a wedding. The kids are back in school.
And still all I can think of approximately 5,672 times a day is Nicaragua.
I think of bumpy cobblestone streets.
I think of thick humidity.

I think of language barriers and I laugh.
I think of Angel, a big tough Army guy, joking with Ruth about her son. Saying her son hadn't behaved and so Angel tasted him.
Ruth said, "TASTED him?" ... "yes, I tasted him."
"You tasted him?" ... "si."
Ruth: "TASTED HIM? Like, you were licking my son?! Why were you licking my kid?" ... "No, I tazded him. Like bzzzz, bzzzz, with a taser."

I think of Carlos telling me the men on our team had eaten sneakers for lunch.
"Sneakers?" .... "yes, sneakers."
Me: "SNEAKERS?" ... "yes, sneakers."
Me: "SNEAKERS?! Like shoes?? Zapatos?!" ... "No, sneakers! Like chocolate, caramel..."

I think of dirty feet.
I think of big brown eyes.
I think of hope and happiness.
I think of going into a bat cave at the bottom of a volcano, even though caves are terrifying to me. I think of the panic attack I had and yet, I'd do it all again right now if I could.

The truth is, it all makes my heart hurt.
I miss it terribly. I'm trying desperately to merge 2 distinct parts of myself that are competing.

Friday, August 08, 2014

It's not my time.

Have you ever had a moment where God spoke to you so clearly it was like He was in the room with you?
I have. It's overwhelming. Tear inducing. You know what you have been told and you know there's no way to unhear that. It's only happened a few times in my life and it's heart stopping.

Other times, however, it's not as obvious.
Sometimes it seems like God is completely silent, even though we desperately beg for answers.

And still at other times, you know He's speaking, but it's a mumble. A jumble. You don't know exactly what's being said or what you're supposed to do about it.
It's the Charlie Brown teacher.
That's where I currently am. I hear messages coming at me loud and clear.
Verses hit me squarely between the eyes.
Sermons are clearly written just for me.
Songs are played on the radio with lyrics that are obviously intended for me at this very moment. (my narcissism is kicking in...)
But... what does it all mean???

I was asked to be on the launch team for Jen Hatmaker's book Interrupted.
And yes, it is wrecking me. (in real life my fingers aren't blue...) It's no coincidence I received this book when I did.
How long have I been squeaky clean and comfortable?
Sure, I will announce to anyone and everyone that I love Jesus but am I living it?
Have I reflected God enough with my life?
When was the last time I loved until it hurts?

This book is not fluff. Don't get me wrong, I like happy clappy fluffy fun books.
But this one is meaty. Thick. Deep. It's a lot to chew on. But it is oh so good.
Here's a little secret: Jen Hatmaker is not all that special. (*gasp*!) She's actually pretty normal, just like you and I. But she's willing to dig deep, ask God tough questions, and hear even tougher answers.

I'm scrambling to put all pieces of a puzzle together with a sense of urgency. I'm not even sure I have all the pieces yet, but I'm sure as heck willing to try to start creating something.  I'm ready to start slapping them together hoping a picture emerges.
I'll admit to being frustrated.
And it's becoming apparent that it's just not my time. It's God's timing that matters.
I want all the answers and I want them now. I want to understand these messages, weave them into a beautiful blanket, and begin using it, nice and cozy-like.
But it's not time yet. If I were meant to understand, it would be clear by now.
It's not my time. It's God's time.
Imagine that...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Time flies!

when you're busy... Ha!
The last 2 weeks have been a little nutso. We've had jewelry orders like crazy (yay!), a couple of weddings at the Barn (yay!), and I've had pneumonia (boo.).

This recent wedding was just so so lovely!
It was perfectly pulled together and elegant in every way.
They got married next to the silo. Whiskey barrels with peach roses set off the center aisle.

The bride and groom chose not to see each other before the ceremony so we grabbed this photo.
She was in the bottom of the barn with the groomsmen, the Groom was in the hayloft window with the bridesmaids.

Guests mingled, laughed, enjoyed the scenery. It was an absolutely gorgeous evening!

There's really never enough time in the day to do all the things I want and need to do... but Gosh, I love my job(s)!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Home is where the heart is... sort of.

I've been home from Nicaragua for just over a week.
My brain, my heart, my thoughts... they're all still a wreck.

This re-entry stuff is no joke!
As much as I love my home and my family, I bawled when I had to leave Nicaragua. I mean, full on ugly cry.
I can usually compose myself and not go there. But I did. In public. I went into the ugly cry.

I'd read that re-entry after a mission trip can be hard.
The rest of our team has each other in Texas. They attend church together, live in the same community, go to Sunday school classes together.
They can talk and share and commiserate.
Meanwhile over here in Kansas I'm flying solo. Trying to process. Trying to comprehend what I saw. Reliving what I tasted, heard, felt, and smelled.
Trying to understand why I was sent. (I'm certainly not whining or complaining about it. Just sharing my heart. I can text and email with my team members easily enough, thankfully.)

Nicaragua is the second poorest country, falling only behind Haiti.
Nicaragua is second in human trafficking, falling only behind Thailand.
These are not badges of honor.
It is Goliath. And I'm a little David.
What can I do? Other than pick up tiny pebbles and start to have faith.

I'm not even sure I was sent to do anything. What if God was really just working on me?
Changing me, stretching me, growing me? Showing me to fear less?
What if it was not about the beautiful people of Nicaragua at all?

Those people are no longer just pretty faces on a missionary's slide show.
They're suddenly very real. Real people with adorable laughs, dirty fingernails, names that I can sometimes pronounce and sometimes not. People who give the warmest hugs.
People that will give you a plastic bracelet off their wrist because they want to share love with you and have nothing else to give.
People that I want to love and nurture. People that I want to help understand that there is a Hope and a future.

I'm trying to slip back into life, work, and a bit of normalcy. But it's surprisingly difficult.
I'm busying myself. If left alone with my thoughts, the tears come again.

I'm so happy to be home. Home really is where my heart is.
But a part of my heart will always be in Nicaragua as well.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Well... that was awkward. (part 3)

Last week I spent time in Nicaragua.
If you missed previous blog posts about it, click here for part 1, click here for part 2.

Today I just want to show you some of the beauty, some of the colors and textures I saw in Nicaragua.

This was the day we took the orphans to the resort.
I honestly didn't lay around like this all day... Just sat down for a moment and shot a picture "resting" then got up and back to loving on some babies.

There was talk about needing to repaint the desks at the school.
I love them! Chippy turquoise paint for the win.

Cups are sometimes hard to find. But baggies are not. So you get "Coke in a bag".
You bite the corner off and drink it that way.

When you go into the bathroom, a lady will chase you in there and demand money.
Ask me how I know...

"And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him."

There is such a stark juxtaposition of beauty and grime. Hardships and determination. Despair and hope.