Friday, June 29, 2012

In the year of drought

The other day I read

Jeremiah 17:7-8
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
     whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

I couldn't really put my finger on why these verses grasped me so.  At first I thought it because they remind me of Isaiah 61:1-3 (beloved verses):

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
     and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
     to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lordthat he may be glorified.

But I knew there was something more.  I re-read it a few times.

And, then it hit me.

Not anxious in the year of drought, for it continues to bear fruit.

I have been feeling spiritually dry lately.  My relationship with God ebbs and flows.  During the dry periods, it is easy for me to feel like the Lord would/will never use me.  That He's not at work in my life or the world around me.  It's easy to slip into a bit of despair.  

So, I need this reminder: even in times of drought, if we belong to the Lord, He will work and we will continue to grow and bear fruit.  It might not look glorious for a while -- but the buds are never as pretty as flowers that bloom.  In this time of drought, I want to focus on the fruit, but even more so, focus on the Lord that is working it all out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


(Mostly written Monday)  As I cruised through my Google Reader this morning, Kelly's words stood out to me:

He said "Don't ever let your past stop you from your future ministry".  That is so true. I think so many people think because of something they did in their past - that they aren't good enough for God to love them or to use them. That is simply not true.  God can use you BECAUSE of your past. I love the saying "God never calls the equipped. He equips those He calls".  No matter where you are in your life or what talents you have or think you don't have - God can use you for mighty things if you are just willing.

Past.  For some reason it easily has a negative connotation.  It can easily feel like a burden we carry with us.  Today, I've been listening to Josh Garrels' Farther Along.  If you don't know it, I suggest to listen to it on repeat for at least a few hours.  I haven't listened to it in a while and it seemed perfect for this rainy Monday. These words stood out to me:

That deadweight burden weighs a ton
Go down into the river and let it run
Wash away all the things you've done
Forgiveness alright

Wash away all the things you've done.  The truth is, some of us have pasts full of pain and misery, things we are ashamed of, things we wish we could erase, things that make mercy and grace and the cross that much sweeter.  And some of us have pasts that appear quite tame, or even wonderful.  Perhaps most of us have pasts filled with good and bad, things we're proud of others we're ashamed of.

Regardless, they are over.  Yesterday is just that: over.  We can't edit it, but we can steer the course for today and tomorrow.  If we have lived pasts either shameful or glorious, we are in danger of being defined by them.  We are in danger of not trusting the Lord for the here and now and the future.  Looking back can help us see the hand of God at work, and can encourage us and challenge us.  But aren't called to be stuck there, rather to live ever present in the moment...

To be frank, I'm not even sure why these words effected me so much today...I'm not struggling with my past, per se.  Though, there's always things I would change if I could.  And, it's been rainy which tends to make me more introspective.  Perhaps I just needed to be reminded that 1. God uses me (and you)  2. to be engaged with the Lord today  3. renewed hope for the future.

There's something so freeing and so exciting about not having any burdens (of the past) and being washed clean.

Titillating debate

I got in a debate the other day with a few friends: which is the better, classier food establishment: Hardee's or Burger King?

Between those two, I'm a Hardee's gal all the way!  You?!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Food for thought this morning.

On my drive to work this morning I was trying to be silent and let the Lord speak to me.  My mind started rambling, as it tends to do.  Somehow I landed on pre-nups and how one of my friends was asked to sign one.  Then I heard the Lord say to me, "with me there is no need for a pre-nup because I have given you full access to everything that is mine.  All that I have is yours.  Yet, you still hold tightly to things...why?"

Then I read Jeremiah 7.  Verse 11 stood out to me, "Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord."

I couldn't shake the phrase "den of robbers."  In Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46, Jesus says, "My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers."

Then I went here...

Isaiah 56:6-7
“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
    to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
    and to be his servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
    and holds fast my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
    and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
    will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
    for all peoples.”

I took a theology class at church last year and this NT story came up.  It is most likely that Jesus was mad that people were selling things (for sacrifices) because that was of the custom.  But they were selling things at too high of a rate/too harsh exchange rates.  Therefore, those traveling far and wide got the short end of the stick financially so that a few could prosper.  Jesus  got angry over it.

All of this to say, I have been reminded today of how often I want to charge others too much so that I might gain.  I do this with God, too.  The Lord's house is to be a house of prayer.  Our relationship is to be a prayerful one, an engaging one, a relationship constantly in communion.  Yet, I want to take all that I can.  I seek the Lord's hands more than his very presence.  I am selfish.  

So, today I am challenged.  Am I a house of prayer or a den of robbers?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A few things

It hasn't been a month since I've been home from Nicaragua and am already anxious to be back there.  One month from today, I will be!  Super excited!

I started reading Love Does today.  I think it's going to be a good one.

I've been helping Krissie a smidge plan a trip to NYC.  I'm a bit sad I can't tag along in her suitcase.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vicarious Living

A friend of mine, Chops, quit his job and left a life behind in Boston for a while.  He's touring the world; a few months in, he's been to Costa Rica, South Africa, Australia, and Thailand.  I've been enamored with his travel blog and thought I'd pass it along:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Life and death.

My cousin Virginia got married this past weekend in Charlotte.  She was beautiful.  We all love her groom, Jordan.  We laughed, we danced, we told stories.  The food was delicious, including an amazing spread of Chinese food.  It was just one of those weddings where everything, especially the reception, was done right.  They're 22 and green: full of life and not yet burdened by adult affairs.

Driving home yesterday, I found out my friend Beth's mom passed away.  Years of fighting came to an end.

The juxtaposition of new life and death in one weekend.

I don't remember the episode, but I kept hearing Meredith Grey's voice in my head saying, "life isn't supposed to be like this."  And, it isn't.  God created us to live in harmony with him, but we wanted to do what we wanted to do.  It started with a piece of fruit in the garden and turned into one messy place...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waiting rooms

I've spent more time than I would have liked in hospital waiting rooms this week.  It's a luxury of working for a medical university: when people are here, you get to be there, too.  It's an interesting place filled with lots of emotion, family dynamics, friends, spoken words and the things left unsaid.  And, if you're blessed, it is filled with love. That's what has impressed me the most this week: love.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 cor 13.13

Monday, June 11, 2012

Today's thoughts.

It's my plan to continue talking about my recent time in Nicaragua.  If for nothing else, I love the record of it.  But today, I am reminded at how very precious life is.

My sweet friend Beth's mom has been fiercely battling cancer for some time now.  She's in the ICU now and as I prepare to go see Beth after work, I just want to make things better.  But, I can't.

Our dear family friend is in a brain rehab center in Greenville.  Ideally, she'll re-learn how to eat and walk by herself.  Typing those words doesn't seem real.

I noted on my calendar that yesterday marked the 13th anniversary of me coming to know Jesus as my Savior. There have been many ups and downs in our relationship.  I am utterly undeserving and utterly grateful that he saved a wretched sinner like me.

As I've contemplated life today -- the joys of being born again and the brevity of it in the flesh -- I can't escape thinking how precious it is.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it."  Matthew 13:45-46

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Come ye sinners.

This was the sermon I gave:

Good morning, friends.  I am beyond blessed to be here.  I had the privilege of coming to Nicaragua for the first time in March and I fell in love with your country, your people, you.  It is an honor that the Lord has brought me back.  I’m going to speak from my heart, about what the Lord has been teaching me over the past month or so.  It is my prayer that this will resonate with at least one of you.  That God will use these words to pierce someone’s hearts as they come from Him and not me.  

Let us pray.

You don’t have to raise your hands, but answer for yourself:  do you have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus?  What does it mean to KNOW Jesus?  Sometimes it is easy to think knowing Jesus means being “good enough.”  

Yet I don’t always feel good enough.  Do you?  Friends, sometimes I feel like I can’t move forward.  Sometimes I feel like I keep getting stuck doing the same old things over and over again even though I know Jesus.  Do you ever feel that way?  Do you ever wonder if you’ve really been changed by the blood shed on the cross?

A lot of things that we do one day look different when we wake up the next morning.  I shouldn’t have slept with my girlfriend.  I shouldn’t have said that nasty thing to my friend.  I shouldn’t have been mean to my mother.  I shouldn’t have gotten drunk.  I shouldn’t have stolen. I shouldn’t have gotten pregnant.  I shouldn’t have walked out.  I shouldn’t have stayed.  There are so many “I shouldn’t haves...” out there...

How many of you just want to “get it together?”  How many of your fight the battle in your head that you can fix yourself?  I know I have.  

What I want you to hear today...what I need to hear today is that Jesus offers GRACE.  

John 1:14-17
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ( John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Verse 16, “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has given us grace.  BUT do you accept it?

John 20:30-31
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Jesus is the Son of God the Father.  He gave His life for our lives -- that we might have eternal life in heaven and abundant life on earth.  If we are living with Jesus, shouldn’t we be living abundantly?  

Romans 6:12-15
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13  Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!

It is one of me beautiful mysteries of being a Christian, of knowing and loving Jesus.  That, yes, we are to fight our sin.  But we don’t have to fight alone!  We have been given a helper!  We have been given the Holy Spirit!

Romans 5:5-6
and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

And, when we listen to the Spirit, when we walk with Him, we are able to be more obedient.  Yet, we will fall down.  And when we do, there is grace.  Christianity does NOT tell us we have to be perfect.  It does NOT tell us we have to get it together, that we cannot make mistakes.  Quite opposite really.  God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit tell us to come as we are.  

Romans 6:20-23
20  For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21  But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Friends, as you know, life is not always easy.  We face money problems.  We face people problems.  We get heart broken.  We do things we wish we could take back.  We are sick.  We lose loved ones.  We wonder how we will survive.  

And, yet, we have been promised life.  Those who know and love Jesus have been promised abundant life.  Jesus does NOT promise that our lives will be easy.  We will endure hardships and troubles and pain.  But we will endure those things.  Because He has promised NEVER to leave us and NEVER to forsake us.  He has promised to provide for all of our needs out of His glorious riches.  He loves us.  He loves us more than we can understand.

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

So, yes, there are times when we make bad choices.  Times when we do things we know are wrong and are not glorifying to the Lord Jesus Christ.  However, we are NO LONGER slaves to those things.  No, we have been bought by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  We are His.  We are chosen!  We are royalty!  We are holy!  

Is this how you perceive yourselves?  If you’re a believer in Jesus, then you are royalty!  It doesn’t mean that you will be perfect.  It means something so much greater!  It means that God sees you.  He knows you.  He thinks you are special.  He loves you.  It means that no matter what you do, He loves you.  It means that there is nothing you can do to separate you from His love.  

The Lord has spent the past year reminding me that I am royalty.  He has patiently been telling me and showing me that I belong to Him.  That I am his daughter, beautiful and beloved and anointed.  He wants me to know those things; I want to live out of that truth -- to live a life that reflects the inheritance one can only receive through the cross.  Living a life out of the love I have so greatly been given.  

You don’t have to do enough.  You don’t have to try to make yourself good enough.  You don’t have to keep trying -- only to feel burdened from doing so.  Someone told me a few weeks ago, “this is your identity; you can accept it or reject it.”  So, I ask you: how do you see yourselves?  Do you know who you are?  Are you living like royalty?  Are you accepting the identity that can ONLY be given to you by God?  

Our earthly fathers are sinful just like each of us is.  But our father in Heaven is perfect and he loves us perfectly.   Because when we live as God’s children, we see God more clearly.  We see Him providing for us and blessing us.  We know that we can go to Him with anything.  We know that He loves us.  We know that He cares for us.  We know that He delights in us.  We know that we belong to Him.

And when we live out of that truth, when we know who we are and who we belong to, we are able to trust God.  We are able to be thankful and grateful, even when life is not easy.  We are able to live full and abundant lives.  We come as we are, we come messy and dirty, and full of mistakes.  We come and we let God love us and make us into the children He created us to be.

I am reminded of the hymn, “Come ye Sinners,” with the following words:

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus, ready, stands to save you,
Full of pity, joined with power.
He is able, He is able;
He is willing; doubt no more.

Come ye needy, come, and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.
Without money, without money
Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry 'til you're better,
You will never come at all.
Not the righteous, not the righteous;
Sinners Jesus came to call.

Amen.  Let’s pray.

Nicaragua: Sunday

I woke up in the middle of the night disoriented by the time in change.  I thought it was 6:30 in the morning.  And it was, in South Carolina.  Yet, it was only 4:30 in Chinandega.  Hazel was up stirring around; I told her Feliz Cumpleanos! and she told me to go back to bed.  I woke up again at a normal hour and showered and dressed for church.  Oh, I found my tooth brush!

We ate rice and beans for breakfast and I scored a Coke Zero at the tienda across the street.  Hazel and I went to El Shaddai (Osvaldo's church) to help set up for the day, but then we went to the other church for service.  About a month ago I heard the Lord urging me to prepare a sermon in case it was needed while in Nica...I finished write before I left and had it just in case.  Osvaldo asked if I would preach and so I did; I was so glad to have had something!  I was happy to return the same church I attended last time -- it was cool to see familiar faces and hear how things were going in their lives since March.  Carlos didn't sell his farm.  The red headed guy broke up with his girlfriend, etc...  There was a great time of praying over church members for various needs.

After the service, we went back to El Shaddai for the Mother's Day celebration.  This country celebrates Mother's Day like we celebrate Christmas...well, all most.  I celebrated it 5 days while I was there!  There was the huge cake from Sams Price Smart and soup for everyone.  The soup wasn't my favorite, so I let someone else enjoy it.

One cool thing is that Hazel's mom comes to her church every Sunday so they can hang out.  After church, we went home for naps.  There was a great rain storm and I slept like a baby.  Hazel's mom offered to find me a Nicaraguan to marry.  And she and her mom were both concerned that my jeans were too big.  "Why is this SO big?!"  Because, Hazel, that is the size of my thigh.  Truly, you can't make this up.

It was told to me that Hazel would be celebrating her birthday with her family over pizza.  My heart stopped; what would I do?  I felt so lonely all of a sudden.  She said the boys were going to play sports and she told them I was joining in.  I put on shorts and bounced downstairs grateful for some exercise.  But, it's Nica, and I ended up peeling chayote instead.


The thing is, this veggie produces a sap that turns your hands green.  For more than 24 hours because it is SO hard to get it off!  After about 30 minutes or so, I was told to get in the car.  I obliged and had a delightful conversation with Anna.  A cute 24 year old, engaged to Bill.  She seemed quite taken aback that I was 29 and still single.  Aren't we all, Anna?  Aren't we all?  Haha.

Alas, we pulled into a barrio (neighborhood) and bounded out of the truck.  At some point, I got confused.  Where were the sports?  I asked my old pal Norman, and he told me we were doing a campaign.  What?  I thought we were playing soccer??  He laughed at me and told his friends.  (I would have too!)  So, sports were tabled, and an evangelistic church meeting was to be partook of instead.  I couldn't grasp most of the talk, but the worship was great!

We left and took people home -- took quite a bit.  Then we eventually pulled into a gas station where I told Crispen I was going to buy a water.  He told me to wait a bit because we were waiting on a few others and eating supper there; apparently they had good fried chicken!  Next thing I know, we are leaving and going to park the car.  Then, we're waiting for hot dogs at a food truck of sorts, sans the truck.  While thinking about what kind of meat might I be eating, I asked for a hamburger instead.  Meat and cheese only would have been my preference, but I was never asked.  I was starving as it was 10:30 (12:30 am EST).  After picking off all the condiments, I ate 1/2 the burger and treated Norman to the rest.  I guess you could say their meat to bread ratio is a bit different than ours -- just in case you're curious.  We're heavy on the meat, they, the bread.  I collapsed into bed and yet again, slept like a rock.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Leveling the mountains

Dad's out of town, so I hit up Melvin's with mom for supper.  She asked about my trip to Nicaragua and less than a minute in we had this conversation:

Mom: ...ok...I have to ask.  Do you have a honey down there?
Me:  What? ... No!  Hahaha.  No.
Mom:  Would you even tell me if you did?  No...haha.
Me:  Yes, if it was serious.  But I don't.  Ha.  That's totally what dad thinks isn't it?!
Mom:  Well...yes.  Haha.

(How hilarious is that?!)

Me: Ok, I'm also going back.
Mom: When?
Me:  July.  With a team...similar to March.
Mom: Ok.  How do you have time and money for this?
Me: This is how I want to spend my time and money... I never thought I'd care about missions, but the Lord's given me a passion for it.
Mom: Oh, it doesn't surprise me... ok... I have to ask.  Would you...
Me: Move there?
Mom: Yes.
Me: Yes.  Likely not in 2012.  But don't be shocked if I do one day...
Mom: Ok...but it's dangerous...but, ok...
Me: Mom, everywhere...
Mom: Oh, I know, even downtown Mt. Pleasant...
Me: Mom, Mt. Pleasant doesn't have a downtown!

(More hilarity!)

Y'all, this conversation was hilarious!  But more than that, it was a huge blessing.  It's true.  I bought a ticket last night to go back with a team from my church in July.  I am busting at the seams excited!  But I was nervous to tell my mom and more nervous to tell her I would love to move there one day.  And you know what?  The Lord took care of it.

Before I left, Courtney gave me this verse

Isaiah 45:2-3 ESV
“I will go before you
    and level the exalted places {NIV says level the mountains},
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
    and cut through the bars of iron,
I will give you the treasures of darkness
    and the hoards in secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who call you by your name.

It was perfect for me before this trip.  To know that he would smooth out the rough places ahead of me.  To know that he would give me treasures of darkness.  He would take me to the secret places.  He calls me by name!  

And it continued to be perfect for me tonight...the Lord totally and completely leveled out that conversation!  

Nicaragua: Saturday

I woke up pretty early and was taken to the airport by my awesome roommate.  I sat on the plane alone from Charleston to Miami and then cruised through the Miami airport to my next gate.  I was feeling pretty bored and had a good bit of time.  The kid sitting across the aisle from me offered some of his Starbursts; you know I took them with joy.  Then I struck up a conversation with his dad.  Their family has been in Florida for quite a long time, but he's originally from Masaya, Nicaragua.  I told him about my love for his country and that the translator for our trip in March was from Masaya.  He asked me the name of the translator.  Melvin.  Oh, yeah, I know him.  In my head: yeah, sure you do.  Turns out, he did!  He pulled up his picture on Facebook -- same Melvin!  They grew up playing basketball together and were going to hang out Monday night.  How cool is that?!

I hopped on the plane and was seated next to Steve.  He works for Tretorn and fell in love with Nicaragua about a year and a half ago.  He and a buddy bought a house there and he heads out of Manhattan and into Nica as much as he can.  If anyone's interested in renting a house down there, let me know; the house and development sound awesome.  After a steady two plus hour conversation, I realized I should have been practicing my Spanish with him (he's fluent).  Ah!

We landed and of course while in line to start the customs process I realize I left my customs forms in the plane.  Yikes!  They would NOT let me back on the plane but the airport dude retrieved them for me.  Then I cruised through customs and met Rosy at the door!  It was SO good to see her!  (She's the pastor's wife.)  Then I saw Osvaldo (pastor), Carlos the drive, and Carlos "Mayorga" my buddy, and little seven year old Joshua.  I grabbed lunch in the airport (rice/beans and two taquitos).

We loaded into the van and headed off for Chinandega.  Or, so I thought.  A few minutes out of the airport and the van broke down.  We were near an auto shop so the driver went and grabbed a mechanic.  He fiddled around for a while; keep in mind we're just hanging out in the midst of a highway.  Eventually we get moving again...until we park at the mechanic's that "fixes" the van.  We hang out there -- even a serious rain storm blows throw.  Then Osvaldo Jr. and Jose Louise come with the truck for us.  We all pile in (literally) and then...well...the next few hours are kind of a blur...but I know we did the following:

  • Went to the grocery store.  Of course Rosy came back with Oreos and ice creams.  I had the ability to decline the Oreos, but not the ice cream.  Ha.
  • Went to a market where they bought vegetables by the truckload.  Literally.  Haha.  The entire bed of the truck was filled with produce.
  • Stopped for dinner.  Carne asada in a bag and various sundry of items I declined on (too full from all the other food).  Let me talk to you about food in a bag real quick.  The first time I saw this was in Haiti, with water in a bag.  Water, fruit juices, foods are all readily purchased and eaten out of bags.  A smidge different than your typical to-go boxes in America.  I found these pics that are similar to what I saw/used:

  • Sams in Nicaragua.  It is called Price Smart, but it is the exact same.  There we bought a full size sheet cake, amongst other things, so that joined us in the truck.  
  • I fell asleep on the way to Leon.
  • An hour long trip in Maxi Pali.  Think: super Wal Mart, Nica style.  In fact, it is owned by Wal Mart.
  • I fell asleep on the way to Chinandega -- me waking up at 4:30 EST was 2:30 am Nica time.  
We arrived home somewhere around 11:30 pm I think.  I headed upstairs to bed, exhausted.  Put on my pj's, went to the bathroom, couldn't find my toothbrush in the dark so I gargled some toothpaste.  Classy.  I excitedly went to pull back the covers of my bed and realized they don't do it the same way.  There's a comforter of sorts on top, but no sheets.  Ok.  You sleep on top; so, I did.  After a long day, I slept like a champion.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The potter and the clay

The house I stayed in in Nicaragua has a prayer room upstairs.  Some chairs, Bibles, books, stereo for praise and worship music.  Oh, and a replica of the arc of the covenant.  Theirs looked very similar to this one:

I went there most mornings to start my day in prayer and praise.  One morning a buddy, Claudio, was in there; I asked what he was reading and he took me to Jeremiah 18.

Verse 6, "“O house of Israel,can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LordBehold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel."

I kept thinking about that throughout the remainder of my trip.  How so often I think that I am the potter -- making my own plans and an overall attitude of doing what I want to do.  I like being in control.  I like molding my life the way I want it it to be.  But sometimes I need to be reminded that rather than being the potter, I am the clay.  I have been created by Lord and I am His.  That might be frustrating once in a while, but I believe it is best.  

Then yesterday I read Isaiah 29.  Verse 16, "You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?"

How sweet it is to be reminded that I have a potter, forever molding me into the vessel he wants me to be.  When I forget, he reminds me.  I know that His hands have shaped me and changed me over the years.  I am exceedingly grateful that I am not the person I once was and I am increasingly excited about the person I am becoming.  How great is the love of the potter for his clay?!  How he delights in his creations?!

It hit me last night

That it was June 4.  Just a year ago, I was heading to Haiti.

Home on June 11.

Since that time, there has been a trip to Honduras, and two trips to Nicaragua.  All in a year.  This, from the gal who didn't have a passport prior to Haiti.  This, from a gal who wasn't very interested in missions all that long ago.  This, from a gal who has changed a lot in a year.

Monday, June 4, 2012


This gringa is back in America.  The week was exactly what I needed it to be.  I wanted to see normal life there and that is just what I did.  There were highs and lows.  There was good food and bad.  There were times of loneliness and times filled with laughter.

Two words to describe my trip to Nicaragua in March: emotional and Utopian.    This time around: grounded and realistic.

I love how the Lord knows me.  I needed the trip in March to look one way, and this trip to look another.

One thing I know: I can't wait to go back.