Sunday, January 29, 2012

Behind the scenes.

Awhile back I went to Walmart. Living in Searcy, AR I can only imagine I went there looking for something to do. Well I found the CD Paper Hearts by Francesca Battistelli instead. Now, at the time the only song I knew by her was Free to be Me. Not enough to convince me to buy the CD. But, when I saw it was $5 for 17 songs, I decided it was probably a good investment, and if not, it was only $5.

Well, I listened to the other songs and quickly found I hit gold. Nearly every song affected me in some way. She had a song for every situation. Recently, Behind the Scenes has been my song of choice. On campus, I work a job that can be best described as tedious. Last night while working I found myself listening to Behind the Scenes on repeat at least ten times.

The storyline of the song is simple. What you see is not what you get. Don't ever confuse what you hear about someone and what you think you know about someone as being everything there is to know. Everyone has problems. Everyone has a past. Everyone has a story.

It's easy for us to take one look at someone and think we've got it all figured out. But the truth is, we don't. How would it be if God took one look at our outward appearance, our worldly facade and decided he had seen enough? I'll answer that for you. It'd be awful. We are children of God and we are called to live like God. Give people a chance. Give people hope. Give people love.

I'm incomplete and I'm undone
But I suppose like everyone
There's so much more that's going on
Behind the scenes

*this video is a little...well, animated. but it has all the right lyrics
& it really is Francesca singing, so it's the best bet.

thirty-four days.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

You can't beat happy.

down pouring rain.
surprise phone calls from my sister & best friend.
honduras meetings with my team.
sleeping in.
getting ahead on homework.
disney movies.
painfully long laughing fits.
a warm bed to crawl into.
packages from home.
a clean apartment.

If I had one of those little face magnets things, which conveniently I do, 
I'd pick "happy" for today, which conveniently I did.

thirty-six days.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Live without expectations.

Last week my mission team for Honduras spent Monday together. Eating, watching a movie and playing games. The purpose of this day was to bond as a team. Personally I'm a big fan of bonding, and laughing, and talking. So basically it was a perfect day for me. Plus, I got to do my laundry. One of the perks of being a college student is how much your appreciation for free laundry increases once you've been away at school.

Part way through we did a little get to know you game and then we had sharing time. The question, "What do you want to personally gain from going on this trip to Honduras?". After being on the mission team that went to Honduras last year, my life changed. I think of my babies every single day. When Honduras is mentioned, my body reacts. I get butterflies, my heart starts beating a little faster and I grin like a fool. So what did I want to personally gain from going to Honduras? Easy. I wanted to experience love in it's most plain and simple form. I wanted to experience God in his purest form. I wanted to be with my babies. As we went around the circle everyone's answer rang true with me in some way. As a group we want to help the Honduran people in any way we can. As a group we want to love on all of the babies at Por Los Ninos. As a group we want to see God in the bright blue skies and the dirty green mountains, in the chocolate brown faces of the people, in the easy going attitude of a country that understands simplicity.
 But then it was Dirks turn to speak. Naturally he said something that made us think. If you know Dirk, you know what I mean. He said, "Don't go in with any expectations. Many of you have been there before and have seen God in ways that you could have never imagined. And that's good. But this time, don't go in expecting to see God in the exact ways you saw him last time. Don't go in with any expectations. Often times when we go in expecting to see God in certain ways, we miss him in other things." I sat there for a minute just taking in his words. Anyone that I've talked to about Honduras knows that I saw God. I saw God specifically in my baby Jose Armando. And I'm so thankful for that. So thankful. And if I'm being honest, he has been one of the biggest reasons I've wanted to go back to Honduras. 
Not the only reason. But one of the strongest reasons.
 So I started thinking. And in that moment I "took my blinders off". I knew I'd see God in Jose again. But I also knew that God was not just living in Jose Armando. God was living in Honduras. In every single one of those children, in my mission team, in the Honduran people and in me. The opportunities I'm going to have to see him are far greater than anything I can expect.

My God is bigger than my expectations.

forty-one days

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Slow abandonment.

I'm sitting in a class full of students, two minutes to the bell, bags packed and ready to go, when my teacher says something that catches all of our attention.

Everything, from the minute you're born, is slowly abandoning you.

Wait, what did he say? Either he can read minds or he anticipated our confused reaction, because he repeated the sentence.

Everything, from the minute you're born, is slowly abandoning you.

I needed him to elaborate because I was pretty sure that sounded about as dismal as it comes. But the elaboration wasn't any prettier. He meant exactly what he said. Everything is going to abandon you. You'll grow up, get married and have kids. Your kids will grow up and they'll leave to start their own lives. Abandonment. At some point, your spouse or you, will die. Abandonment. Then many, many years down the road, your organs and your body will fail you. Abandonment.

People come and people go. Material things come and material things go. Life is full of revolving doors, things coming and things going. Except one thing. Jesus. Jesus is the one thing, the one person in our lives that will never, ever abandon us. At our weakest, at our poorest, at our lowest points. Jesus is not going anywhere. Abandonment isn't an option.

If Jesus promises never to abandon us, then what do we have to fear? Well first of all, we're human. We need tangible, physical things in our lives. So we fill our lives with people we think will never leave and possessions that we're promised will bring us happiness. And everything is fine. Until the possessions fail us and the people let us down. Abandonment. We're crushed. We tell ourselves we'll never let that happen again, all we need is Jesus. But we're human. Time and time again, we fail. We fill our lives with things that we think will bring us happiness, things that can bring us happiness, while all along our foundation is missing. Jesus. Where abandonment isn't an option. When our foundation is strong, the ceiling can collapse and the walls can fall, while the opportunity for rebuilding and regrowth is still available. Abandonment is a cruel, necessary part of this worldly life. But for Jesus, abandonment isn't an option.