Remembering When...

So, I am really thankful for those of you out there that read my blog. It is fun having a blog...sharing thoughts, ideas, prayer is like an open journal for everyone to read. I enjoy it, but of course, it is way more fun when people actual READ your blog. I mean that is kind of the point, right?

I got off to a slow blogging start...really slow actually. 2 whole posts for the whole year of 2008 and 4 whole posts for the year of 2009...yikers! It is no wonder there weren't too many of you out there reading back then. I decided it might be fun to join the Goodwin Family as they have a Lazy Wednesday Walk down memory lane. Basically I just need to re-post old posts so that my new readers can read them! Fun huh? Here's the link if you are thinking you would like to join too.

Lazy Wednesday's Walk

I decided to start with my very first post "My Testimony." It isn't too exciting but it will tell you a little bit more about me and how we became missionaries here in Guatemala. Of course, some things have changed since I wrote that post [like having a baby!] but you will get the jist! Enjoy! I am looking forward to sharing some of "oldies but goodies" with you over the next month! :)


Holy Place

"Llevame al lugar Santisimo
Por la sangre del Cordero redentor
Llevame al lugar Santisimo
Tocame, limpiame, heme aqui"

No, you don't need your eyes checked. Those lyrics are in Spanish. They are from one of my new favorite songs. There may already be a similar song in English. I haven't really done that much research on it. We just sang it in church a couple of weeks ago, and it totally touched me and caused me to really evaluate some things. Basically the rough translation is this:

Take me to the Holy of Holies
By the Blood of the Lamb
Take me to the Holy of Holies
Touch me, Clean me, Here I am

I was totally broken the other day while I sang these words to my Lord. I do desperately long to go to His Holy be touched by Him, cleansed by Him. But, I was broken because I remembered that in the same way that Moses had to remove his shoes to enter we also must be totally cleansed and stripped. We can't ask God, beg God to take us to new new places of intimacy exactly as we are now. He must prune us. He must purify us. He must take us through the oven of fire so that He can refine us. We can't expect to just walk into the Holy of Holies as if we are walking into Target. Doesn't work that way.

For a while now, I have been asking the Lord to purify me and to clean take me into greater intimacy with Him. I recognize my inadequacies and my desperate need to be touched by the Lamb. But it isn't easy. In fact, it down right hurts sometimes. There are days I want to throw myself on the floor like a two-year old and have myself a little temper tantrum complete with arms flailing and feet kicking. I am so thankful,though, that in the same way the patient mom scoops up her sweet child (to give him/her a proper reprimand in the car), my Father scoops me up as well...sometimes with a discipline and sometimes with the sweet whisper, "I know you Sara. I know you by name. You are mine. I love you. I have not forgotten about you. This may hurt now but I have waiting for you something beyond your wildest dreams."

A lot of what is making this season particularly difficult is that I feel rather alone in it. Even though the Lord has blessed me with a whole slew of wonderful friends and family, due to time, distance, internet problems, etc. it makes it hard to be in constant communication with them. Even with my hubby who sleeps in the same bed with me, it is hard for us to find the time with two kiddos to have real heart talks. So much of this season I have had to just go at it alone. For a girl used to externalizing everything, it has been hard. I want to talk about it. I want someone to help me, to encourage me, to walk with me. But, I believe God needed me to Himself. I don't know about you all but sometimes I can be hearing so many voices all around me that it makes it next to impossible to listen to the Lords. I read this today in my trusty "My Utmost for His Highest" (never gets old no matter how many years in a row I have read it). It is kind of long but take the time to read it, I think it will bless you too...

"It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us...If you are rightly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the sublime height where no one ever thinks of noticing you, all that is noticed is that the power of God comes through you all the time...It takes God's Spirit in us to make us so absolutely humanly His that we are utterly unnoticeable. The test of the life of a saint is not success but faithfulness in human life as it actually is..."


Run, Baby, Run

So, I want to be a runner...

No you did not misread that last statement.

I want to be a runner.

Sounds simple enough...but oh it is so HARD!

You all remember that episode of Friends where Rachel and Phoebe go running together? I have never been an avid watcher of Friends, but I do remember being in college and watching this particular episode with my friends. Rachel goes to the park to run. Phoebe asks to join her. Rachel says yes. When they get there, though, Rachel starts to run like runners do at the park...all serious and with good form, etc. Phoebe, on the other hand, runs like a wild kid playing tag. Her arms are flailing and her legs are crazy. She is running all over the place. Rachel is totally embarrassed and eventually asks Phoebe why she runs like that...her answer: because it is fun that way! My kind of girl I tell you!

Hubby loves running...seriously, loves it. He wakes up before the sun every day and runs. When we are in the states and it is the dead of winter and there is snow on the ground, he is still running. He loves it. I want to love it too. I remember before we got married and we were just "good friends" getting to know each other, he would talk about his dream of running with his wife someday. I also remember thinking that with time maybe I could be that runner.

The truth is though, that in the three years that we have been married, we have never gone running once with each other...NEVER. And, lately, I have been feeling a little disappointed about that. Of course, my sweet man of a hubby has never said anything to me about it...but I know deep down that he wishes we could do it.

It isn't that I don't exercise. Jillian Micheals kicks my butt on a regular basis with her "30 day Shred" video. I also play basketball and soccer with the girls a couple of times a week now that they are out of school, and if you have ever been here to visit me, you know that there are over 100 steps uphill from my house to get to any other area of the orphanage. All that being said...I am not too out of shape.

But, when I run, I feel like I am going to joke. I am not being over-dramatic. I can't breathe, I pee my pants, and I feel like I am going to pass out at any moment. So NOT FUN.

So, my question is...what is a girl to do? How can I be a runner like my hubby? I really want to do it...even if I am never that great, I would love to be able to run with him. I know he wouldn't care if he had to run slow...just having me with him, would be enough. Can you help me? Have you been there before? How did you learn to run...and not die...and not pee your pants...and not pass out from not being able to catch a breath???


A Case of Blues

So, I have been feeling a little BLUE lately...Eeyore would be a good name for me.

Do you know Eeyore?

Winnie the Pooh's official website describes little Eeyore like this:
"Eeyore is everyone's favorite delightfully dismal donkey. But Eeyore doesn't see himself as gloomy -- he just has low expectations. He expects nothing from anybody, so whenever his friends do come to his aid his expectations of the worst are overthrown, and he is sincerely grateful. Eeyore's tiny bright pink bow on his tail, the one hint of color against his gray, is a perfect symbol of the kernel of joy that occasionally surfaces in Eeyore. Though he may pretend he's helping because there's nothing better to do -- make no mistake, Eeyore is always there for his friends."

I have a bit of a melancholic personality as it is, which is not one of my best attributes. I had someone very near to me recently (lovingly) tell me that I am also a bit pessimistic. I suppose that is true...mostly because I don't like disappointment very much. I hate that feeling when you get super excited about something and then it doesn't work out. It kind of stinks. So somewhere or at some point, I just decided it was easier to think that things are going to happen instead of hoping that they would and then being disappointed when they don't.

Not very biblical I know.
Also can make me a bit of a downer.
Sounds a little bit like Eeyore huh?

Well, as I alluded to in my last blog post, this has been kind of tough season for my family and for me lately. My kids have been so sick. As a parent that is a hard thing to watch. It is such a helpless and overwhelming feeling not knowing how to fix the "ouchies." It is also very tiring. We went to the doctor today with Miss B., and she has an ear infection in both ears, strep throat, lots of congestion, and is cutting two teeth. I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry with sadness at all my baby was enduring. I also wanted to cry because I just felt so dang tired I didn't feel like I could do much else.

I am just flat exhausted all the time, and instead of using this complete state of weariness as a chance to draw nearer to my Lord and as an opportunity for His strength to be made perfect in my weakness, I am allowing it to steal my joy and make me weepy...not sure if that is even a word but I am using it anyway.

Lots of the ugliness in my character is finding its way to the outside world as well...jealousy, insecurity, selfishness, impatience, vanity. Not good stuff, I know. Sunday before church I totally broke down over something so body. I felt discouraged that so many of my clothes still didn't fit 10 months post-baby. I felt fat and ugly and just yucky. I tried on like 6 different outfits and none of them looked right (or fit). I felt frustrated that because with all of the hard stuff going on with my kids that I hadn't had time to work out and cook, so I couldn't keep losing weight. Thankfully church was amazing and God reminded me once again that really this just isn't about me. I am so glad God takes the time to give us those friendly reminders.

But, today I felt it come back in full swing. Hubby and I were talking about our finances and just what we had money for and didn't right now. I got frustrated all over again when after talking through all of the things that we needed to purchase or save for that it didn't leave a lot extra for other stuff...aka new clothes. As superficial as it may sound, I just really have wanted to be able to get a couple of new things. I am a girl...what can I say. I like looking pretty...especially for my hubby. And, since I have a very limited amount of clothing that actually fits this post-baby body even after the weight loss, I sort of convinced my self that this could be considered a NEED rather than a WANT. Not gonna lie...I totally cried people. I am not sure why I cried, but I did.

Then, when I got home and I was checking my Facebook, I found some pictures of one of my beautiful friends post three babies (one of them she just had pretty recently). She was absolutely radiant. At first, I just admired the pictures and thought her and her kids are just gorgeous and that I was so happy that she looked so happy, but then that ugly green monster called jealousy took over and I started thinking, "I wish I was pretty like her. Her skin is flawless. Her haircut is so cute. Those clothes are awesome. I wonder if they are reasonably priced. How did she get that body after all those kids and so quick after her last one? Why don't I look like that? Why is my body still so flabby and my clothes look so worn out and discolored...some with holes in them? Why? Why? Why?"

I am on the verge of tears again right now. But, not for the same reason as earlier. I am broken by my yucky, disgusting sin and how I am letting Satan get this small win instead of stamping him out like I should be doing, claiming victory. God's Word is clear though, "Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."

Ouch. I guess the question really is in Who's sight do I really want to be found man's? my own? or in God's?

I chose God's.


Castaway Kid

Have you read this book???

Well, if you haven't read it yet...BUY IT TODAY AND READ IT!!!! [if you are related to me, you don't have a must read it if you love me! :) ]

Seriously this book is amazing. The author recounts his life growing up in one of the last orphanages in the U.S. He was dropped off by his alcoholic, drug-addicted mother at the age of 3 and handed a blazer and one way bus ticket to leave at the age of 17. His father had already attempted to commit suicide 3 months earlier before being dropped off at the orphanage but was unsuccessful and was lying brain-dead in a hospital. Thankfully, there were some good people at this orphanage that helped him on his journey...but his journey was not complete without lots and lots of heartbreak along the way. I won't say much more about this book because well that would take away from you all reading it yourselves, but please do won't be sorry.

Of course, for me, this book was even more impacting because I am currently working in an orphanage and walking beside young men and women who are also "lifers" so to speak. Parts of the book literally took my breath away as I thought by name of some of the kids I have known in my time here...and their stories. These stories include abuse (all kinds of abuse) at the hands of mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, neighbors, neglect, murder, drugs, prostitution, and whole slew of other things. Some of them haven't necessarily seen the "worst of the worst" but they struggle everyday to understand why Mommy and Daddy didn't love them or want them or why they were never picked to be adopted or why they never have any visitors or why they aren't smart or why, why, why???? The list really could go on. It really is heartbreaking...devastating.

At one point the Mr. Mitchell writes,
"But even at the age of seven I could see that kids preferred poverty if they were loved, rags if they were cared for, and homelessness if someone wanted them. We were willing to suffer much if we could only be part of our own families."

I have heard those words before...maybe not quite as eloquently, but I have heard them before. I also have wept on the floor with a girl as she screams, "Where was God when that man was abusing me over and over and over again...stealing my childhood and my innocence?"
We can close our eyes or avoid the news and newspapers or the bad area downtown. We can pretend that this stuff doesn't exist....


So my question is, what are we going to do about it? I can guarantee you that there is a child, teenager, or even adult very near to you that is probably suffering through more than you could ever imagine...feeling like a "castaway kid" that no one wants and that will never fit in and that will never be enough. I can promise you that they are there. They aren't all hidden away in orphanages. They are in our churches, our schools, our workplaces, our neighborhoods, and maybe even in our own families. So what are we going do it about it?

I can tell you God really convicted me hard while reading this book.. It is easy for me to just hold my head high and say "Well I work at an orphanage...I am helping this kids...what greater sacrifice is there than that?" Sure I could say those words, but if in my heart, I am not really 100% about investing into these kids and showing them God's truth and love, then I am doing it all in vain. It is worth nothing.

This month of October has been kind of hard month for my family. My kids keep getting sickness after sickness after sickness...which means this Mama is averaging as little as 4 hours of sleep a night....a lot of times even less. As the year is coming to a close, Hubby and I's administration jobs are sending us in opposite yet super busy directions making it very difficult for us to have time together, and well frankly I miss him. The girls are also out of school, so I have been trying to stay on top of them to make sure they are busy and not feeling neglected.

Basically all of that has caused a tension headache that seems to never go away, and it is making me really run down and tired. It has even made me at times question if I am doing the right thing and if all of this craziness was really worth it.

Well, just in case you were wondering.... IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT!

One of the workers that made the most impact on the author while growing up was his house mother, Nola. She loved her "little Robby" as she so often called him. As I read, I just kept thinking, "I want to be like Nola!"

I am so blessed and privileged to get to do what I do everyday. It is tiring...down right exhausting at times. But, I wouldn't change it. I want my girls to have a future. I don't want their past to be the thing that defines them. I want to them to know and love Jesus and to know what it means to be a part of God's family and to know that they have a forever home they can look towards that beats any home here on this earth. I want them for as long as I have them in my care to know a mother's have an example they can look to for what it means to be godly woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.

"Oh Jesus help me be that for them. And, help us all to have eyes like yours so we can see those that are in desperate need right beside us. Thank You for this beautiful family that You have woven me a part of..."

For more information on the book Castaway Kid or its author R.B. Mitchell you can go to either of these websites...


A Day in the City...

Hello dear friends! I hope today you are feeling blessed, loved, and joyful...I know I am! Today was one of Hubby and I's days off (here at the orphanage we get every other weekend off...or every 15 days). We always start our Sundays with church, but today we had to take one of our girls into the city early in the morning for a meeting that she had. Since we don't really know any churches in the city, we decided to just take advantage of the BEAUTIFUL day God gave us and celebrate as a family of 4. It isn't often that we get to just be the four of us, so we were really excited.

We decide to celebrate by going to the zoo. Mr. A. LOVES animals. He thinks he is Diego, the animal rescuer, so he was all about the zoo. Miss B. loved it too. She was so fascinated by all the animals and people and sunshine. We had SO MUCH fun. Seriously, my heart was just so full getting to be with my sweet hubby and watching my precious children enjoy nature and animals and just life. I love those kids of moments. Here are some pics to mark our day...

Then after all of that fun and excitement we went to this restaurant called "Fanaticos", which means fanatics in English. It is an all sports restaurant known for the big televisions showing BIG soccer, however, there were no soccer games. So what kinds of games were they showing instead you might ask??? FOOTBALL GAMES!!! Those of you that know me know that I LOVE KC Chiefs football...yes I do love them. And, today, in this wonderful restaurant they showed the KC vs Indy Colts game. It was so exciting. I am pretty sure the people there thought I was a lunatic instead of a fanatic with all the screaming and jumping up and down, I did, but it was worth it....even though we did lose. It was just nice to do something "homey" with my sweet family of 4.

Thank you Jesus for an AMAZING day in the city!


What we miss most...

I have like three blog posts stashed away that may or may not make an appearance, but I decided to move ahead with some other thoughts I had rolling around in my head.

I have already noted many times either on my Facebook page or in emails or even on this blog that I get really homesick this time of year. I LOVE autumn. It is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it...the smells, the colors, the sounds, the pumpkin spiced lattes from Starbucks, the cooler weather, KC Chiefs football...the list really could go on endlessly. As much as I love living in the land of the "eternal spring," I miss the changing seasons...and most especially fall.

Being a missionary, though, is filled with lots of waves of homesickness and loneliness. There are times that I am sure all of us would say that life is wonderful and great and we love the work we are doing. We are feeling inspired, and we are seeing God change lives all around us. We always miss our family and friends back home, but we are focused wholly on the cross, so we are able to rejoice that we were counted worthy enough to do whatever mighty work God has called us to do. But, there are other times that we just ache with longing for our "homes" back in whatever country we come from. We miss our family and our friends and our church and our language and our country, etc. Then, on top of that, we start to miss the little things autumn or libraries or Target or pumpkin spice candles or shopping for school supplies. It could be anything, really. The point is we miss those little things that others back at our "homes" often take for granted.

Well, this weekend I was riding one of those waves. I was feeling rather homesick for my family and my friends. I was feeling like December was forever away (next trip to visit the fam.), and I was starting to stress that we may not be able to get a visa for my sweet son to go with us again...which in turn was making me feel like I deserved the right to throw myself a pity party. I was longing for some fellowship, and mostly I was just missing my mama and Saturdays at home with her. We would drink some coffee and if I was lucky eat some pumpkin bars with the windows open and fragrant candles burning in the living room. It was a sweet picture, and I missed her dearly.

So, when my hubby came down on Saturday afternoon with a small package from my sweet friend Laura, I was so excited. I then opened the package and wept. I really and truly wept. There were no little tears clouding my eyes. No folks. I wept...big, fat, blubbery kind of tears streamed down my face. Before I tell you what she sent me, let me tell you that this sweet friend just had a baby 7 weeks ago. Her hubby is in seminary, and they both have to work part time. Now, I have a 9 month old baby, so I remember how hard those first few weeks are and how tired you are and how completely consumed you are with your new life and your new baby. So, the fact that she took the time to go to the post office and fill out that silly little custom form and then pay to send me this package, totally blessed my socks off. I am pretty sure it could have been a fraction of what it actually was, and I still would have cried. However, all of this information along with the contents is what brought on the hard-core weeping.

So what was in it, you ask?

Well she sent me a book by my most favorite author, John Piper called A Sweet and Bitter Providence. Books in English are hard to come by for me as there aren't many of them here, and when I do find them, they are usually pretty pricey. Trying to bring them from the states when I come is also hard because they are heavy, and I usually am needing every extra pound for all the necessities. So, this was such a wonderful blessing for me.

She also sent me some fall decorations and some PUMPKIN SPICE candles as well as some other fall fragrances. They are burning in my room as we speak....or or I type! ;)

Hence, the weeping.

Okay so maybe some of you aren't quite as mushy as I am and are wondering why I took the time to write all of this. First of all, I did it to once again thank this precious friend of mine. I already wrote her personally, but I felt she needed another shout out for her thoughtfulness and all around awesomeness! :)

Secondly, I just wanted to encourage all of you out there that know other missionaries or even friends that for their jobs or school or whatever are living far away from their homes to take the time to look for small ways to bless and encourage them. I know life is busy and stressful and really a lot of you already have more on your plate than you can handle as it is. But, just stop and imagine having all of those stresses and busyness without close family or friends living nearby or at the very least a church family. Imagine doing all of that without all the small little conveniences that we grow so accustomed to having.

Please hear me correctly. This isn't to say that missionaries have harder lives than "normal" people (what are normal people anyway...aren't we all called to be missionaries??...another topic for another day) or to compare "sob stories" so to speak. I am so blessed to be doing what I am doing, and I am sure that every missionary on this planet would probably say the same thing. All I am trying to say is that sometimes we just need those little reminders that the folks we love at home so much haven't forgotten about us and that even the small little sacrifices we are making haven't escaped their notice. God used my dear friend Laura this weekend to remind me that He cares for me and for my family. After over a month of battling illness after illness with my children and watching more and more money being spent on doctor's appointments, medicine, special food, etc., I was just feeling a little discouraged and "needing my mommy" so to speak. I felt like Laura kind of sent me my Mommy in that little package. Of course, it wasn't the same as hugging her or my sweet Daddy, but she sent me a little piece of home, and it sure blessed me.

I am done with my little soapbox now. Sorry I was so long winded today. For those of you that know or support other missionaries, there is a really great article about ways you can bless them without even having to send them anything in the mail. Check this out from the Desiring God blog. Just click HERE.

I so appreciate each and every one of you...those that I know and those that I don't know. Thank you for your prayers for my family and for me. Thank you for your sweet emails and Facebook posts and comments on here. You have no idea how each of those things truly do bless me.


Raising Little Women (and Men!)

So those of you that know me well, know that I LOVE to read...really and truly, it is one of my very favoritest things in the whole wide world. I love books and my house is filled with lots of them now and I still have plenty that I left behind (sorry Mom and Dad). I am not really sure when this love affair with books began, but I know it has been there since I was quite young.

Short anecdote: When I was about 4 and my sister was 2, we were playing in our little playroom. I was an "organized player" and my sister not quite so much. Anyway, she dragged all of my wonderful books out onto the floor, but then moved on to play with something else. When my dad came up and saw the mess, he said in his loving but gruff papa bear voice, "You girls clean all this stuff up before you come down for lunch or I am going to throw it all in the trashcan." So, what does my sister do, she gets the trashcan and starts THROWING AWAY MY BEAUTIFUL BOOKS...sorry didn't mean to yell, but seriously, she started throwing them away. I, of course, went into hysterics over the loss, and my dad learned a very valuable lesson about my sister that day. She would rather throw it all away than clean it up! :) Thankfully she has grown up quite a bit since then...right Ames?

Well, unfortunately, my life these days doesn't make reading a very easy task. My days are just too busy. Some have suggested that I use books on tape...but no offense to those of you that love books on tapes, but they are very blaahhhh to me! I love the smell of books and the sound of the page turning and just how the letters look on the page and well, I just love my books, so as long as God grants me the gift of sight, I will choose my big ole' bulky books. Thankfully, I am a very good multi-tasker, so I have figured out how to squeeze short minutes of reading in during activities like loading the washer, cutting vegetables, curling my hair, nursing the baby, etc. I am sure there are a lot of other things I could also be doing during those moments, but I do so enjoy getting to go on all kinds of adventures and meet all kinds of friends while caught up in the pages of my latest read...or sometimes my latest reads as I have been known to be reading several books at a time.

My latest book is an old favorite, Little Women. I say it is an old favorite, but really I don't think I have really read the book in its entirety. I think when I was younger, it just wasn't quite exciting enough for me. However, as a Mama, I having been finding lots of little gems as of late buried in this classic. I love how God does that too. He uses something very normal and He uses it to teach us more about Him or about serving Him or loving Him or in my case, He has used it to show me areas that I can be a better Mama to my littles (and not so littles in the form of my teenage girls).

The next few excerpts are taken from my latest readings, and I think they quite speak for themselves. I do thank you all for your encouragement after my last post. Your words really helped, and I must say God has used this little book to help as well. I hope you are encouraged...

All of these excerpts are taken from Marmee (Mama March) talking to Jo (the second daughter) about how she is learning to overcome her sin of anger.

"Your father, Jo...helped and comforted me, and showed me that I must try to practise all the virtues I would have my little girls possess, for I was their example. I was easier to try for your sakes than for my own; a startled or surprised look from one of you, when I spoke sharply, rebuked me more than any words could have done; and the love, respect, and confidence of my children was the sweetest reward I could receive for my efforts to be the woman I would have them copy."

"If I don't seem to need help, it is because I have a better friend, even than father, to comfort and sustain me. My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning, and may be many; but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of life-long peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother."


Things Mamas really should know...

Confession: I can be a bit of a know it all. I have a tendency to sometimes think I am smarter than I really am. Pride in my life often takes the ugly form of judging others and their inability to do something that I think I can do (even if I really have never tried.)

Confession: It is really hard for me to adapt to new situations. I don't like change. It hurts deeply when things don't go as planned.

Confession: This is an ugly truth.

Why in the world did I decide to confess all of these things on the internet, where any number of people could read this and change their opinion of me? Well, for starters,I share it because it is in fact an ugly truth about my character. I also share it in hopes that what I am about to share may help some of you out there and that maybe some of you might be able to help me.

Today in the car, I told my sweet hubby, "You know what I think other mothers should give new mothers? A huge sign saying, 'you are stupid.'" He just kind of looked at me like I lost my mind and asked why I thought that. I then proceeded to explain to him that with the exception of a few non ignorant mothers out there, the majority of women feel like they are totally ready for motherhood. Sure there may be a few fears here or there but most of them have babysat or have younger nieces or nephews or worked in childcare or something else similar. All of those experiences give them a false sense of their abilities and their knowledge of child-rearing. I was no exception to this rule. I had done all of those things... PLUS I was an early childhood major and I had taken care of 16 babies in an orphanage for a whole year of my life. Try and top those apples!

Oh but how far we can fall from that dreaded peek of pride. These last 8 months I have discovered how stupid I really am. I am sure some of you may think that stupid sounds a little too harsh, but I think in my current state it applies. I really was stupid, clueless, and a whole mess of other things prior to becoming a mama to a little baby.

Let me give you a bit of a back story though. I pretty much became a mama as soon as I became a wife. Hubby and I took a month long honeymoon/vacation (we went to the states for Christmas to be with my family), but as soon as we returned at the end of December 2007, we took over as the house parents for 14 adolescent girls. Then, after about 8 months of marriage we became parents when we adopted our sweet son (technically the process is not fully finished so you can keep praying about that too). He had just turned 3 when we moved in with us. I will admit that all of these things were challenging, but we really had rather smooth sailing. I was used to teenagers and especially girls, so that was a good fit. We had already been a part of my son's life since he was 5 days old (I cared for him when I worked in the baby house a couple of years earlier), and well he was already on a schedule, already potty trained, and pretty much was just stoked to be with us. All was good.

So, when I became pregnant only a few months after celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary, I was totally pumped and not at all worried..except about the actual birthing a baby part. I knew about getting babies on schedules. I knew about diapers and baths and teething and all sorts of other things mamas are supposed to know about taking care of babies. I was set! In fact, I was so set that I was even a little judgmental of mamas whose babies weren't sleeping through the night or who were even still sleeping in their beds or who were having temper tantrums over "nothing"...and a whole slew of other things. Again, lots of ugly truths coming out here but I hope they won't make you love me less! :)

Maybe if you had seen the tears I cried this past week, it would make you feel slightly bad for me...or at the very least a little tenderhearted. I cried it all out this past week. It all just became too much, and I realized just how weak and unable I very much in need of a Savior I am and how very much in need of God's strength I am EVERY SINGLE DAY.

My job as team/missionary coordinator was becoming completely overwhelming for me. I was so burdened with the heart and desire to offer them the care and support they need while working in a foreign country, but between all of our sicknesses, I was lucky to give them more than a "hello and welcome." I was totally behind (and still am) in all my correspondence for the job. I think people were/are wondering if I am even still here.

I was also feeling the weight and responsibility of being a mama to 14 teenage girls on the verge of going out on their own...wondering if I had prepared them enough, had done enough, taught them enough, etc. I forgot my sweet son at school twice...twice in a 5 day period. I was so busy with meetings or feedings or cleaning or laundry, that I just plain forgot him! The great thing about being a 5 year old though is that he was totally excited about this and enjoyed the extra play time on the playground. I, of course, felt horrible and wondered how in the world I was ever going to manage all that is currently on my plate plus homeschooling next year! eeekkkk!!!!

Then on top of everything else, my sweet, darling, beautiful 8 month old baby is going through quite the season of change. All "apparent" experience with babies really hasn't worked out so well for me. I have done LOTS of things that I said I would NEVER do...really never good to use the word never...but again, still learning here. I have let little Miss fall asleep many times nursing, I let her sleep with us twice when she was so sick and it was FREEZING here. I usually rock her to sleep. She loves her pacifier. Yeah, I know, I know...lots of things I shouldn't have done. She is not a great napper and she still wakes up twice a night...once in a while only one time, but she has never slept through the night. Oh and did I mention that she still sleeps in our room! SOOO...all of that to say, I am REALLY tired, overwhelmed, feeling completely incapable, and really just at a loss....and most of all feeling like I was failing at being a Mama.

On the very bright side, though, God loves showing His strength in our weakness. So, this is going to be His time to shine, and I am hoping that this at a loss Mommy can open her life up so that He shines so bright and His strength is seen in spite of all my weakness and humanness. But, advice is wanted from all you experienced Mamas. I know there is ALOT I should have, could have, would have done, but I would like to concentrate more on what I can do right now and how I can help my little Ladybug grow and thrive.


Why do I do what I do?

Part 2 is coming I promise! I have lots of thoughts, lots of stories, and lots of fun pictures to share on the subject. But, God put this post on my heart today so I thought I would share these words with you instead...

I am often asked why I do what I do...or how I do what I do. I am not always exactly sure what they are referring to, because to me, this is my life so it doesn't really feel like I am "doing" anything. That being said though, I know that what they are trying to ask is, "Why did I leave my family, my friends, my church, my home, my job, my security, my culture, my country, my language, really my life to come here to a country that is poverty and crime ridden, a country that sees more than one natural disaster every year (and often times has major ones like the volcanic eruption that happened just over a month ago), a country that still struggles to have a stable government and to overcome all the boundaries that were put up over their 36 year long civil war, a country that battles to convince their youth that gangs, drugs, etc. are not the answers to their problems...yeah why did you do that?" Forgive my incredibly long run on sentence, but really that is what is at the heart of the question "Why do you do what you do?"

Well, some of you probably know why I did it and why I am doing it. But, maybe some of you are still wondering. I am not going to lie...I sometimes even ask myself that question after a hard day here. But, the answer is simple...God called me to do it and there is no where else on earth I would rather be. Sure all the aforementioned things are hard. Sure, I have cried lots of tears over all that my kids and I are missing out on. Sure, I am scared sometimes. But, I do this because God called me to do it and because I love it.

Last night the youth group had an "Oscar's Night." They all had to dress up like they were really going to the Oscars. 11 out of my 14 girls are in youth group, so this house was a little on the crazy side yesterday afternoon as 11 teenage girls were trying to get beautified! I loved every second of it. I was the official stylist for the day, and I loved being able to love on them in that way. Before they left, Hubby whipped out our little Flip video camera and we had them "walk the runaway." Then, he drove them upstairs to the event in a limo "aka a 15 passenger van." Not gonna lie...I was super misty eyed as I watched them all go. How proud I was (and am) to be their Mama. What a blessed woman I am! It is why I do what I do!

One of our awesome missionaries here made a short video featuring some of our kiddos beautiful faces. I cried as I watched it, so be prepared! Anyway, I am sharing it here with you. Please watch it, and think...

This is why Sara is doing what she is doing.

And then pray for these beautiful children...for their future...for their families...for their hearts...for healing...and for God to show Himself in such a mighty and powerful way to these beautiful children of the King and that their lives may make a mark on their country for eternity.

So in case you were wondering, this is why I do what I do!


Hmmm...World Cup, Famous people, and Prayer?

I want to start by saying that I am back in the "land of the eternal spring" aka Guatemala. It feels good to be home. I was so sad to say goodbye to so many that I love and especially hard to leave my family, but it is nice to be back. I missed by boys and I missed the girls and I just missed my work here at the orphanage. I did NOT miss the rain though...and, my friends, that is all that it has been doing here lately. Thanks to Hurricane Alex, we have had nothing but rain and cold dreary weather. The cold I can is my excuse to break my only one cup of coffee a day rule and indulge, but I am in fact, tired of the rain. I was so looking forward to lots of time in the sun and the pool while I was stateside, and unfortunately it rained most of the time I was in keeps following me! But, God wants it to rain to thank you for the rain, Lord!

Anyway, enough about that. I seriously think that I need some sort of machine that I can just hook up to my head so that all of my random thoughts can magically be turned into blogs. I love blogging...seriously, I love getting my thoughts all out. (I also really love blog stalking...shhh though!) Even if there aren't a whole lot of people out there actually reading this, I enjoy looking back on times before and remembering the lessons God was teaching me or even the hard times I have passed through. It blesses me and it is my prayer, that some of my ramblings bless others. However, these days time to actually blog is eluding me...I just can't seem to find it. So sad, I know...for me anyway. How do you all do it???

Well, living here in Latin America, it is pretty much a sin to not LOVE soccer. Seriously, you have to love it...if you don't, you are going to find yourself very bored at the endless matches, pickup games, talks of soccer, and well just all hype that is forever surrounding the sport. Thankfully, I have always enjoyed soccer. I never loved it quite as much as I did football, but I liked it. Times have changed though and the hubby and all the other soccer lovers around here have converted me...and I too now LOVE soccer. Seriously, I get so excited at the kids games (I literally peed my pants at one of their games when it got down to penalty kicks and we won...oh and P.S. that was before pregnancy! eek!)

Needless to say, most of work and fun has revolved around soccer these last few weeks and the World Cup games. All of the girls have a different favorite team and get all decked out in their colors when the games are on. Hubby has converted me into an Argentina fan...all of us have our gear and I must admit it is fun to get all dressed up to cheer for our team. Well as the girls are out of school this week, we have been trying to do lots of other fun things together as a family that we normally wouldn't have time to do. It has been great. On Tuesday, we took them into the city to see one of the games at the movie theater. That is right folks. Here in good ole' Guatemala, you can actually watch World Cup soccer matches on the big screen at the movie theater...awesomeness abounds people. It was great fun and even more fun because it was a nail-biting game between Spain and Portugal. Being honest, I don't really care about Spain one way or another...I like them but I have had other favorites in this Cup. However, I seriously, do NOT like Portugal....due to the famous Cristiano Ronaldo. Here is a picture of him...

Do you recognize him? Well, most faithful soccer followers probably do. He is pretty famous in the soccer world...partly due to his actual playing skills and mostly due to his looks. Other females seem to think he is pretty good looking...not so much me. Well, I can't stand the guy to be honest. I think I actual used the word hate at one point...very disappointing of me I know. But seriously, he drives me nuts. He is very arrogant, prideful, a sore loser, not a team player, and there are rumors he has abused past girlfriends. Not my kind of guy for sure.

Those of you following the Cup know that Portugal got defeated 1-0 by Spain...great news. Portugal gone and most importantly Ronaldo gone. However, that night as I was laying in bed and thinking about it all (the girls had just got done talking about it again...that is why it was fresh in my mind), I started thinking about how so often we think about sports figures or actors or singers or other famous people as bigger than life. Sometimes it is because they become idols and sometimes it is just because we think we can say or think or talk about them however we want...with no consequences. I started thinking about how I would feel about this young soccer player if I actually knew him. Maybe he is all those things that I think he is...maybe every one of those things is true about him. But, what if I had watched him grow up or I had been his babysitter or maybe if he was my own relative. Would I use such words such as "distain" or "hate" with such freedom? I kind of doubt it. Maybe if he was my brother or neighbor or classmate, I would still see the same things I see in him now, but I am sure I would also see that he is lost...he is lost and is probably using all of those things to try and fill the void that Jesus isn't filling. Hmmm...that really got me thinking. Have I ever prayed for him? I can definitely say no I have not...nor have I ever really prayed for many other public or famous people (outside of the President and other politic leaders...I do try to pray for them).

My "no" really humbled me. I have been judging this young man...hoping for his defeat. I have been wanting him "to go down" so to speak...I wanted him out of the competition so that others that I thought were more worthy could keep playing. Shame on me...shame on me for spending more time rooting for him to fail than praying for him to change...praying for him to find Jesus. This goes beyond just Cristiano Ronaldo. How many of you all have been watching some sort of program on T.V. and said "Oh she isn't even pretty" or "Look at how he is dressed" or "What in the world were they thinking."? Granted there is a certain amount of criticism that those seeking fame and fortune know is coming their way...but who am I to be giving it? Am I the Judge?

In general, I think that my prayer life lately has been seriously lacking. I know I have not been interceding on the behalf of many like I know I should and like I would like. There are many others I want to be spending time on my knees praying for...not just this soccer player. But, it did get me thinking about how loose my tongue is and how it really is important that we are praying for all these young men and women out there in the spotlight...whether or not they asked for the criticism doesn't change the fact that ultimately they will be standing before the Judge as all of us will someday. They are just as in need as Jesus as those I am here trying to serve. Just something to think about...

On a lighter note though, my very dear, dear friend Mims is here with another one of her friends (who is quickly becoming a dearie as well). It is SO FUN getting to work alongside of her again and just getting to see her smiley face each day. I love how with good friends, it doesn't matter how much time has passed since you last saw each can just pick right up where you left off. I will be posting more pictures of our current adventure. But for now, here is a blast from the past. Love you Mims and I am so glad you and Ashley are here serving alongside me these next few weeks!


I choose YOU, Lord!

So I must admit that I am in a bit of a funk today...disappointment is trying to get the best of me. Thankfully I have a beautiful brown-eyed (or gray-eyed depending on the day) girl playing on the floor, offering me big cheeky grins. It is hard not to smile with that sweetness!

But, I am bummed out, friends...just bummed. I was supposed to be on a plane early Wednesday morning to fly to my wonderful hometown for a three week vacation...a time to share with my very dear family and blessed friends...a time to relax and maybe actually get a little bit of sleep...a time to be spoiled and to spoil...a time to not have so many people trying to get a piece of my time and attention...a time to let my guard down a little (or maybe even a lot) and just unwind. It was going to be a marvelous time...and really what I am I saying. It still will be a marvelous time. I just won't be leaving until next week thanks to all the natural disasters happening here in Guatemala. My flight was canceled for this week and moved until next week. Hence, the sour spirit...

I know you are probably thinking..."Seriously, is just a few isn't a big deal." And, well you are right. But, my flesh says, "You paid DOUBLE for this ticket than what you usually pay...and now you aren't even going to get to be there for as long as you normally would be. That is NOT FAIR." (For those of you wondering why I would choose to pay double for a ticket, it is because Miss B. and I have to leave the country by the beginning of July to renew her visa while we finish up here paperwork here...SO I can't postpone the trip until another time.) How many times has your flesh said that to you? It just isn't isn't fair...this isn't fair.

But, I am choosing the Lord today...not listening to my flesh. Because you know isn't fair. It is the truth. Life isn't fair. Sometimes stinky stuff happens. I could extend my ticket as well and stay longer so that I could get the full amount of time as I usually do and then maybe feel a little bit better about the absolutely outrageous price I had to pay for our ticket. However, one of my sweet girls is having her big 15th birthday celebration the week I am supposed to come back. 15th birthdays are big deal here in Guatemala...a really BIG deal, and for now at least, I am her mama. Her mama has to be here with celebrate her beautiful life and to fix her hair and help her with her fancy dress and put on her make-up and just make her feel like the princess that she is. There is no choice for me. I will be here for her birthday.(barring no other natural disasters or airport closures).

You want to know what is really not fair though...92 people have died over the last 5 days here in Guatemala...and that number is rising daily. Many are still lost or buried beneath pounds of mud or lying lifeless and flat at the bottom of a river. Thousands are homeless and without a place to go for their basic necessities. Thousands have lost every material possession they owned. One of our brothers here in Guate. had to pull a family out of the rumble...a couple and their baby. The couple was dead and the baby was alive. Please let this all sink in...not to make you sad or depressed but so that you and your family and your friends and your church can realize the realities of what is happening in the world...what others are suffering while life goes on as normal. And, this is all in a country that already has one of the largest number of orphans in the world...a country that has the lowest literacy rate in Central America and is at the bottom of the list world-wide as well. This is a country that has one of the highest crime rates in the world...a country that has miles and miles of metal/wood/mud houses lining every mountainside. That is what I call "NOT FAIR."

{Side note: For those of you unaware of what I am referring to, the last five days have brought a volcanic eruption, an earthquake, and a hurricane here to Guatemala}

My poor parents were quite worried about us over the weekend. We lost electricity so I was unable to communicate with them to let them know that sparing a few fallen trees and the lack of power and water, we were doing okay. But, I told them the same thing I will say today...there is no where in the world I would rather be. As we all sat around the table with only a few small candles burning, I was thanking Jesus that He counted me worthy enough to work with these amazing children, in this amazing country, at this amazing orphanage. Sure things are scary here sometimes. Sure I miss the calm and just the normality of life back in the states. Sure I hate living so far away from my family and friends. Sure there are days I get tired of having to constantly modify or even completely alter my old way of doing things. But, I love life my life here in Guatemala. I love it for many reasons, but most of all I love it because I know that I am exactly where God wants me to be, doing exactly what God wants me to do.

So, yes I may be a bit bummed...a bit sour over the change in my plans. But, really that is not that big of a deal....especially not compared to what so many others are suffering. So, I plead with you dear friends...pray for my beloved country Guatemala. Pray for the people suffering here...suffering and asking the Lord "Why me...why is just not fair." Pray that their hearts turn to the Lord in this hard time and that His face shines upon them. Pray for revival here and for the people to rise up in the face of adversity a stronger, mightier "Pueblo de Dios."


Home.Volcanic Eruptions.Baby Weight

So, I am not sure if all you other Mamas out there can relate or not, but I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with my blog. It isn't for a lack of interesting thoughts or ideas either. I think I am spending a good part of each day writing new blog posts in my head. Now in those particular moments, it is probably just a lot of mumbo jumbo; however, with a little bit of time, most of those thoughts could probably make for interesting posts.

Recently, I have been processing what the word "home" means...and what kind of thoughts the word illicit. Whenever I hear the word, my mind quickly races to memories of a nice, breezy autumn afternoon with the windows open and the smell of my mama's fragrant candles wafting through the house. I also think about dinners around the kitchen table (all of us in our usual spots) and conversations about the superficial and the super complex and profound. I smile at the memory of my whole family sleeping on the floor in the living room, with no lights beyond the glow of the fireplace as the snow storm knocked out all the power....and me lying there thinking this was the best night of my whole life. I remember the security I felt as each night after my parents went to bed, I could hear them whispering to each other in the dark. I don't know what they were saying but I do know the joy I felt inside my heart knowing how much they still enjoyed each others company.

Anyway, I have been pondering the word because I have been thinking about how the Bible talks about how our home is not here on earth but in heaven. For me that is a concept I can grasp...a picture I can grab a hold of. I know what "home" feels like, smells like, even tastes like. I have seen it and experienced it, and I know that I know that I know it is one of the best things in the world. So, when my circumstances here on earth seem bleak or I worry about what a life as an MK means for my children or I start to get scared about the future of this world, etc., I can take heart and rest in my Father's promise that a better home awaits my family and me in heaven. As I look at my sweet 14 princesses and as I continue to hear more of their stories and see first hand the scars that their "homes" have left on them...forever earthly scars, my heart breaks. When I share with them God's promise of a heavenly home awaiting them, really it isn't much different than promising a child a trip to the greatest amusement park when that child has no concept of what an amusement park even is.

All this to say, I have been treating my "work" a little bit differently since these thoughts started running through my head. Am I making a "home" for my girls...a place filled with beautiful memories that they will take with them long after they leave this physical house. This is not meant to be mistaken for more material goods...a better house or better clothes or more trips to fun a home isn't about any of those things (as I am sure any rich kid with distant parents would tell you). A home cannot be purchased. It cannot be decorated. It can only be felt...and it is felt through the depths of one's soul. Although my darling "daughters" real homes await them in heaven one day. I want this home...this home that God has placed my precious husband and I to lead to be a home that is so special and wonderful that it only causes a great stir, anticipation and eagerness for God's great home in heaven. But, how can I expect them to eagerly await something they have never seen. "Oh God please help us to make this least home for now until they can meet You in their forever home..."

How does all of this relate to "Baby Weight" and "Volcanic Eruptions" you may ask?? Well, the fact of that matter is, I am only 10 pounds away from being at my pre baby weight size and only 18 (the aforementioned 10 pounds and the 8 additional happy marriage pounds!) more pounds away from being exactly where I want to ideal weight for my size and height... Super exciting I know...well for me at least! Jillian Michaels has been helping me rip those last pounds off...I say rip because I am SO sore. Anywhoo...back to the topic at hand. This all goes together because God has just been totally convicting me on the fact that part of having a wonderful home here on earth is having wonderful parents leading that home. I think that often times we superficialize (is that even a word??? if not, just roll with it...I make words up ALL the time in Spanish and it totally works!) body image or weight loss or the importance of healthy living. We take Peter's command to women to "not let our adorning be external..." to mean "don't spend time worrying about how I look", and I am going to just flat out say I don't think that is what Peter meant. Yes, my adorning should be "the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit." I say amen to that, sister! However, I also think that part of being a virtuous woman is to care for my temple. Hear me out though. I am not saying obsess about our weight and our bodies and our clothes and our hair,etc. I am saying to care about and care for our temples. This means I need to eat right, exercise, and just in general live a healthy life so that my one and only earthly temple can keep up with all this wonderful "homemaking" God has given me to do.

So in short..because well frankly this is already one ever said I was a woman of a few words....anyways, IN SHORT, I am feeling good about this weight loss and in the general direction I am headed as far as healthy living goes. I think that helps to make me a better wife, a better mama, and a better teacher for these precious kiddos. So all I have to say about that is "To God be the glory!"

I will conclude with a few pictures of our snow...I mean ASH covered campus today. A volcano erupted last night about 40 km away, and as a result, it literally rained volcanic ash last night. It was kind of cool, I must say, but also super sad as three for sure died and several more are missing. Not to mention that some lost all their houses, etc. So please pray...

With that, I will go...Already SO LONG!


I am one blessed WIFE!

Well, friends, I decided to link up once again with my K.S. on her McLinky Monday and share all the reasons why I love my hubby! I REALLY wanted to do this one since she announced it, and I was so afraid I wouldn't have time as Mondays are always SUPER busy around here. But, I always like a chance to brag about my sweet man, so even though I really should go to bed right now, I am going to give it a whirl! Now, of course these aren't ALL the reasons. I am pretty sure everyday I discover new reasons why I love him, but these are a few. I really love doing stuff like this because it makes me stop and just APPRECIATE all these wonderful attributes of his. I think all marriages would be a lot healthier and better if all wives and husbands took just a couple of minutes everyday to be thankful for all the reasons that makes his/her spouse the BEST!

I love mi amado (my beloved) because....

* He always calls me "my lady." He uses it when he talks about me to others as well as when he speaks to me. It truly makes me feel like his Queenie (which is his other pet name for me)

* He loves bathing our kiddos...really and truly. I could count on one hand the amount of times I have given baths to either of our kids. He just loves that time to play with them and just spend time with them since he is usually gone working all day.

* He is the BEST Daddy ever. He loves our children with a love that is pure and truly from the Lord. He is their best friend, their biggest cheerleader, their leader, their protector, and a wonderful example of a disciple of Jesus.

*He knows me SOOOO well. It is almost annoying sometimes because it is like he knows what am I thinking before I even say it. He notices little patterns in my behavior that I am sometimes completely oblivious to.

* He is my very best friend in the world. He was my best friend the day I married him and he has only become more so since we have grown together as husband and wife. He is my favorite person to spend time with and I never tire of his company.

* He has NEVER yelled or even raised his voice to anyone (with the exception of soccer games! hehe). He knows how to correct our children or even me sometimes with only a few wise words.

* He is so hard to be mad at! Seriously, I can get so worked up but he makes me laugh so much that I never make it too long before I am rolling with laughter with him...this is especially true when he does impressions of me using his best "Sara voice" while saying my favorite phrases

*I have a vase that always has fresh flowers in it...and he always tries to find new ones that I have never seen.

* He loves hanging out with my family, and when we are in the states, he stops by my grandparent's house and my great-grandma's house every time he goes running. He encourages my time with them and loves that we are so close. Best of all, he wants to be close to them as well.

* He always pushes me to do my best and doesn't let me settle for mediocrity.

* He is probably the HARDEST working man that I have ever met. Even when he is supposed to be resting, he finds little ways to help.

* He has cleaned up poop and vomit from every member of my family and never said one word of complaint!

* He always gives people the benefit of the doubt and never has an unkind word to say about another person.

* He is totally honest and a man of his word. If he tells he is going to do something, it is because he really is going to do it! You can take his word to the bank.

* His eyes are fixed on the eternal always. He doesn't get caught up on things here on earth and he is continually reminding me to keep my eyes firmly fixed there as well. He doesn't worry and fret over things...ever.

* He cares about my opinion and always asks me what I think...whether work related, family related, spiritual, or even about his clothing.

* He truly doesn't mind shopping with me and even likes to help me pick out clothes!

* He is 100% faithful to me and our family. I have never even seen his eyes wander to a pretty girl. He is all mine and always will be! :)

Okay seriously, I could go ON and ON and ON...but eventually you all are going to stop reading. But, this was super fun! I will end with this one, though.

I love my husband because he loves the Lord more than he loves me or our kiddos or anyone else in this world. He is a man after the heart of Jesus and is striving to live a life completely surrendered to him. I trust him with my life and the life of our family and wherever he goes, I will go because I trust he is always following after our Lord!


What is a "missionary" anyway???

Every once a while, I will be with a group of people or another person from the states, and they want to introduce me to some of their fellow friends. They always introduce me by saying, “This is Sara. She and her husband are missionaries here in Guatemala.” I don’t know why I always want to giggle inside when I hear the world missionary. Maybe because I always had this idea of what I thought a “missionary” was and really I am so far from that ideal! I still feel like the same Sara I always was before I moved to another country and started serving in ministry full time. I still struggle with sin. I still battle with selfishness. I still have trouble keeping my eyes fixed on the eternal instead of what is here on earth.

In fact, if I am totally honest, I think I struggle more now as a “missionary” than I ever did before I moved here to Guatemala. It isn’t to say that I was perfect before…far from it, but life was pretty easy honestly, and I had loads of time to read my bible, attend prayer meetings and bible studies, listen to preachers in my own language my church and others online, sing along to my favorite worship songs, buy the latest John Piper book at Mardels, pass hours at a coffee shop with friends discussing God and His word, etc. I was surrounded by people that loved Jesus and that loved me. I was living a passionate life for Christ…I believe that whole-heartedly. But, it was a pretty easy life…sure there were bumps along the road and I stumbled quite frequently, but I was able to recover pretty quickly. I already shared my testimony in my very first blog post, so I won’t go into the great details of how I became a missionary all over again. You can go HERE and read for yourself. However, I will say that when I did become a full-fledged, full-time missionary, I did feel like I had counted the cost. I knew I was leaving behind all the aforementioned things (plus the hardest of all…my dear family and friends), and I was barreling ahead on a new adventure…excited and nervous all at the same time. But, I felt mostly blessed to have been chosen by God to be entrusted with the precious children of Guatemala.

Now that I am here in the trenches though, I so struggle with being like Lot’s wife and looking back. Thankfully, I haven’t been turned into a pillar of salt yet, but I do think it does cause me to stand still…to become a frozen statue in my place. I look back longing for all that I left behind but yet knowing that I am where I need to be…I want to move forward with this life and embrace all God has in front of me but yet I want what I left too. What a place that is! And, the saddest part of it all is that God can’t use me in that place. I am immobile…my boots are stuck in the mud so to speak. God convicted me of this last night as my sweet hubby asked what I wanted to do for my birthday this weekend. I will spare you all the details but in the end I once again was face to face with this great struggle…this battle of the mind…battle of the flesh…one could say battle of the superficial. My problem last night was the same that it usually is…I long for things of this earth. I get frustrated with having to live with such a tight budget. I stress about not having the freedom I once had to just hop in my car and run to the store or have coffee with a friend. I tense up every time I have to take a cold shower (or I even cry like I did last week when the handles of the shower actually came off and my bathroom flooded). I still scream when bats are flying through my house or I found more bug bites on my kiddos or me from who knows where. I clench my teeth every time I have to keep moving the screen on my laptop because really it just doesn’t work anymore and the screen goes fuzzy every few minutes. I could go on and on but you get the idea. As I drifted off to sleep though last night, I was meditating on one of my favorite passages in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Of course, I really cannot complain about anything. As my sweet hubby told me last night, “I will be happy eating beans and tortillas for the rest of my life as long as it means I get to spend my life with you and my two beautiful children.” Our life is good. It is beautiful, and I am so blessed. I am not wasting away, and I am really not even undergoing a serious affliction. But, man how I struggle with letting the superficial take over…with looking back with longing on all that I left behind or even all that I am continually having to give up.

I love though when God speaks truth to my heart and He uses several different avenues to tell me the same thing. After all of that thinking and talking with my hubby last night, God gave me another soft reminder this morning just in case I didn’t hear Him clearly the first time. The whisper came through my Beth Moore bible study on Esther. (Side note: how I wish I could be participating in her simulcast today…well I haven’t even read the book yet. I am hoping to get a copy soon, but even so, I so wish I could have heard her today!) Anyways back to the other subject at hand, oh how her words went straight to the depths of my heart. She wrote, “As painful as the process may be, that which shatters our superficiality also shatters the fetters of our fragility and frees us to walk with dignity and might to our destinies. We are not the fragile flowers we’ve considered ourselves to be. We, like Esther, are the warrior princesses of God.” My heart screamed a resounding, “YES!” Although it is because of pure selfishness, the process has been hard…hard letting go of so much I held dear (and didn’t even realize).

Well, this post was a tad long and really it was just a little bit of me rambling or talking aloud to whoever is actually listening. But, I do pray that my words can encourage you as they really aren’t my words but just lessons from my dear Father! I pray that we are not pillars of salt or statues stuck in the mud or even fragile flowers but we are instead strong, mighty, warrior princesses of God! Amen!!

P.S. My mama is coming to visit this week!!! Woo hoo!!!


Returning to Normal...

First I would like to thank you all for your prayers for my sweet little boy and our family during this last week. It was a little traumatic for all of us...most especially for Mr. A. He was able to come home on Thursday which was a huge blessing as I was desperate to have him home with me. He was still in lots of pain and it was so hard seeing him so sad. He has such a sweet and bright smile and really his joy is just contagious to all those around him. The first few days were hard for everyone as he was just so unsure of everything and was just scared that something would happen to his arm again. Sunday he started coming around a little bit and by Monday morning when he woke up, he was just like his old self...smiling, happy, and ready for a new day. What a blessing that was for this Mommy's heart. This was especially true since we were going to have to leave all day to a conference on Character and he would be staying behind with my friend Megan, who is also the nurse, and his best friend Cheste (not his real name but Mr. A's nickname for him). He ended up having a great day and we did as well. I won't go into a lot of detail because my posts always seem to be rather long as it is...but feel free to check out Character First for more information.

The conference though was at a beautiful hotel here in Guatemala called the Vista Real. Hubby and I actually spent our first night in that hotel as husband and wife. It was a beautiful hotel then, and it still was Monday when we went back. But, if I am honest with you all, it was a little bit hard for me. I have really been having a battle of the mind lately as things just keep happening lately in our family...thankfully nothing earth shattering or even family shattering but there have been a lot of little things that have made the days a little bit longer and a little bit less joyful. As I was sitting in that beautiful hotel, I just kept thinking about how I longed for some carefree days for this family. Days of just pure bliss for my family of 4...days to enjoy one another and enjoy this wonderful life we get to share together. Lately, though, it seems we are just getting by...and I hate living a life of just getting by. There is way too much to be experienced and enjoyed to just scoot by. However, as the husband and wife team was sharing with us about character, the wife took out a tube of tooth paste. She started squeezing it in the middle and of course tooth paste started leaking out. She used it as an example of how our true character usually comes out when life seems to be squeezing in around us. It hit home. Also, as I was walking the other day, one of my favorite songs came on by Chris Tomlin, "The Way I was Made." I will post the lyrics at the end of this post for you to reflect on, but it resounded with me as I was walking and even though I have a terrible singing voice (even worse with ear phones in my ears), I started belting out the words...not caring who could hear.

Sometimes life isn't always fun honestly...sometimes things just seem to keep squeezing in around us when all we want is "normalcy." I know that I often long for days of just drinking lemonade on a porch swing with my hubby and watching the sun set over the horizon as my children laugh and play together in the yard. But, really, most of life is made up of moments and situations that are hard and sometimes exhausting. However, if one looks closely, he could still find those moments of beauty and serenity...knowing that he has a God who loves him and that he can trust with his whole heart....a God who is good and loves us. So, I will leave you with the lyrics to one of my favorite songs as well as some pictures I snapped in the midst of all the "pressure" of the last week. My children are so beautiful...and I am so blessed!

My sweet boy with a smile even as they wheeled him out of the hospital and another one of him showing that even with a cast he can still strut his stuff!

My sweet girl proves that even if you don't have hair, you can still have style! So precious!

I love how much my children love each other!

"The Way I Was Made"
by Chris Tomlin

Caught in the half-light, I'm caught alone
Waking up to the sunrise and the radio
Feels like I'm tied up, what's holding me?
Just praying today will be the day I go free

I want to live like there's no tomorrow
I want to dance like no one's around
I want to sing like nobody's listening
Before I lay my body down
I want to give like I have plenty
I want to love like I'm not afraid
I want to be the man I was meant to be
I want to be the way I was made

Made in Your likeness, made with Your hands
Made to discover who You are and who I am
All I've forgotten help me to find
All that You've promised let it be in my life


Total Pageviews

Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP