What was the best part of your trip to Mexico? They say. Oh, dear, I say.
Was it the all-night New Years Eve fiesta with confetti and balloons and dancing?
Was it standing on a dirt roof looking out over Cabo San Lucas as fireworks went off to illuminate a new year?
Perhaps it was napping lightly in the bright yellow sun on New Years Day.
There was also whale watching from the beach of the Pacific, sprawled on a blanket, the aftertaste of sweet white wine on my tongue. A new friend welcomed me by caressing my face and declaring severe jealousy for my eye color and skin tone.
Flying through the air and splashing hard into blue, chilly water, watching the fish flee: that may have been it.
There is, however, no blessing as real as sitting quietly before the Lord, praying, reading, and listening without the interruption of responsibilities.
The greatest blessing of the trip, truly, was being with people who are on the same road as I, only 30 years farther down it. Hanging our legs off the back of a truck, parked to overlook the city of La Paz (The Peace), they prayed and I received gifts beyond value. I was warmed by prayers for my renewal, my growth, and my future relationships. People who care on a deep level, for the yearnings and groanings of my spirit, are people whose feet I love to sit at and learn.
With a banished ego, (oh that it were deflated for good!)
With a greater love for my city,
With a corrected understanding of God’s grace,
With a deeper desire to know, rely on, and follow God,
Was the biggest blessing.
God uproots my heart time and again, for the sake of replanting it more deeply in Him.
For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.~Micah 4:5
I rang in the new year below the border. My 2014 was greeted with pops of confetti, 12 grapes, and music all in Spanish.
January 2nd: I’m grateful to the point of tears for this moment. For Your peace. I look out of the window and I see rolling hills, arid ground clothed in dusty shrubs. Baja, Mexico. I look inside myself and I see darkness being rolled away, even as old habits fight to stay. I see You making Your home in me. My story is such a great one. Lord, I am unworthy to have you near me.
We will this year gather celestial fruits on earthly ground, where faith and hope have made the desert like the garden of the Lord~Charles Spurgeon
Thank You for challenging me
Hold my feet to the fire
Put the right heart in me
Search the depths of my soul and know me
As no man ever could
Reveal my sin-the immensity of my depraved nature-
And comfort me with knowledge of Yourself
When I search the Scriptures
Seeking to find You
Let my heart be open and raw
Give me sight to see and understand the whole message
Answer me out of Your loving kindness
Or my whole life will be in vain.
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you~Hosea 12:6
(Still January 3rd:) The weight of what God is calling me to do starts to sink in…My understanding of the cross-cultural life starts to be fleshed out. How immense the bridges to be crossed are. How alone I shall feel in a culture 100% different from my own. I ask God to strengthen me for the coming challenges and support me as my heart is heavy for the unreached, and for what I have to do. I ask Him not to let me turn tail and run, as is my first instinct.
The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down~Psalm 145:14
January 4th: The world is too big. People are too blind, corrupt, selfish. And I am one of them.
January 6th: I want to move into another culture. I want to make my (small, concrete, dirt) home there. I want to marry the culture and have its children. I want to surmount the difficulties of living in another culture by time and trial. I want to die there. None of this because that culture is better, or because I grew tired of the U.S. I will be there because that is where God wants me. I will sew seeds of the Gospel where none have sown before. It will be the most difficult initiative of my life but God will guide me through all the tears, discouragement, and frustration. I will love people as my own family, and they will become my own.