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


Horrible.No Good.Very.VERY.very.BAD.Day

Today was a really rough day...maybe one of the hardest days I have ever had. For sure the hardest parenting day I have ever had.

It started small in that Miss B. was just VERY fussy today because of her little teeth. They haven't popped through yet but I can definitely feel them under her gum. Anyway, she was so, so fussy. I couldn't even stop to go to the bathroom or eat or anything. She just wanted to cuddle and be held and be with Mommy really. I love loving on my baby, but I also have been having a few problems with my milk supply, so I have to be sure to make sure I am always getting lots and lots of water and enough to eat...which I often don't do, so then I started just stressing out about that and wondering if she was getting enough to eat...and to make a long story short I just was worrying and stressing about everything under the sun related to Miss. B. It was starting to wear on me a bit though by mid afternoon as I was just really tired and really just needing a moment to even eat a meal and I was starting to let my imagination run wild with all my fears and worries.

My sweet little boy though was being really patient and just trying to help Mommy in whatever he could, but he really wanted to go out to jump on the trampoline for a little while. I have never been a huge fan of him using the trampoline as I have always been scared of all the "what if's" but I have been trying to let go of my "hypochondriacism" and just not worry so much. Today though for some reason when he asked, I just had this "feeling." No words can really describe it... it was just like something wasn't right. I can see the trampoline from the bedroom where I was with Miss B. and I usually keep a very close eye on him when he is out there, but she soon started fussing again so I wasn't really watching as close...and of course that is when it happened. I am still not sure on all the details but all I know is that he fell while on the trampoline...not off of the trampoline. He fell on it. One of my girls was outside with them and shortly after they called me after they had carried him inside to his bed. But it was just.horrible.terrible.awful. He was screaming so loud...and I mean really screaming and crying and just begging me to make it stop hurting. I quickly called the nurse here on campus to take a look, and I was trying my best to figure out where the pain was mostly coming from. At that point though, it was hard to tell where the pain was coming from because everything was hurting. I knew though that it was his left arm and more specifically something with his elbow. The nurse felt like something was off also and said we should take him to the hospital. My husband and mother-in-law came with us quickly, and took him the hospital. I was so sad I couldn't go, but I knew my responsibility in that moment was to stay and be with my baby as she was also crying through most of this whole situation.

To make a long story a little bit shorter though, Mr. A. dislocated his elbow from the lower two bones as well as another piece of the elbow broke off and into pieces. He had to have surgery tonight to put some pins in and put the shattered pieces back together with the elbow...horrible. I have cried so much for him today...and of course done lots of praying...and I am so thankful to those of you that found out tonight that were praying also for us. As a mother, I just want to be there with him and I want to make it all better. That is how I also felt with Miss B. today...I just wanted to take away her pain. I hate that my sweet boy is having to suffer so...and I hate that he will still have to suffer some even though the surgery is over and went well. I want to take it all away. I want everything to be good and okay. But, through it all, the Lord has made me once again come face to face with my sin of worry and fear. I can worry and fear for my kids all I want...and worry about all that could happen to them or to our family. But, ultimately God is still in control. I am so thankful my son is okay and it wasn't worse than it was...although it still seems like a lot for my sweet boy. But, I know other children have suffered worse. More than that, I know that I serve a God that is still always good and still always faithful and still always worth my offerings of praise and thanksgiving. He is in control. He knew when Mr. A. woke up this morning what was going to happen...He knew and I know He never left him for one moment today.

My body is exhausted this late night...my eyes hurt from crying...my head feels like jello...and my heart is heavy. But, I serve a God who loves my family and loves me. He is with my sweet boy and my dear husband on this night and I am believing in Him to restore my precious little boy to complete health. Please keep praying for him and our family in this time...thank you sweet friends...


His Death and Resurrection

Hello dear blogging friends! Happy Easter to you! What a glorious day we celebrate today...the day our Savior, Jesus Christ rose once again. The tomb was empty...the stone was rolled away...and our Savior broke the chains of death and rose again! Hallelujah! It makes me want to break out in song...He is risen! He is risen!

Those of you that have spent much time in Latin America may have experienced how crazy the people get this time of year with all their parades and ceremonies. Most of Guatemala shuts down. Semana Santa or Holy Week is a much bigger deal than Christmas around here. Some would say...well that is great. We should celebrate Jesus' birth but we should celebrate more His resurrection. I would agree, but unfortunately that isn't really the case. Friday and even in some places on Saturday, everything was completely closed and shut down. There were tons of ceremonies and processionals....to remember Christ's death. But, today...today where the victory lives...in His resurrection, life has gone on normally (not here at the orphanage of course but out there in the rest of the country). Yesterday, as we were driving through one small town, all the people were gathered in the street, and we could see smoke. I asked my friend what was going on, and she told me that they were burning Judas! I said, "What???" Yes, they are burning Judas. They apparently make a doll and the doll hangs himself from a tree like Judas did. They cut him down and burn him! I couldn't believe it....yet today...today, nothing!!! It all seems most absurd to me, but I must say that as I have been thinking, I have been wondering if I have given this day and really not the day but Jesus, His just dues. Do I celebrate this day as I ought...and really celebrate everyday that Jesus rose again. He conquered death. We have victory and eternal life because He broke the chains of death. His birth and his death and his miracles wouldn't matter if He had never risen...if His lifeless body still lay in that grave. It wouldn't matter. It matters...today matters because Jesus won...He conquered all. Even though sin still exists today, Jesus is coming back...He is coming back and unlike an action movie when we get to the climatic scene, we know who wins this battle. Jesus!!! He is the victor. Now don't get me wrong here. We have to talk about His death. We have to teach our children about what Jesus suffered...how He took our sin so that we could be washed clean by His pure blood. He was the ultimate sacrifice. What He did matters and we need to talk about it and remember it and thank Him for it...over and over and over again. But, His resurrection matters too and as far as I am concerned today is the day to party...to party with Jesus that He is alive. He is alive in my heart and the hearts of all those who have committed their lives to Him. He will reclaim what is rightly His. What a sight that empty grave must have been!

So today I say...come on celebrate, come on and celebrate, come on and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord! Here is the song I am busting my move to today! (Of course there are many other amazing and beautiful songs but this is the one Miss B. and I have been singing and the one I am teaching my little man!)

Celebrate Jesus Celebrate

Celebrate Jesus Celebrate
Celebrate Jesus Celebrate
Celebrate Jesus Celebrate
Celebrate Jesus Celebrate

He is risen, He is risen
And He lives forevermore
He is risen, He is risen
Come on and celebrate
The resurrection of our Lord


Life lately

So this post is just going to be a little bit of this and a little bit of that...some of the randomness happening with our family as of late...

Found a new fruit...

Well, I didn't actually find a new fruit. I guess you could say I discovered an old one but figured out I liked it. Everyone was always telling me how good papaya was for me and my digestion and how great it was for the baby too as I am nursing. I am a good fruits and veggies eater but I just wasn't down with the papaya. However, I had never tried it with salt, lime juice, and pepita...I have no idea what pepita is in English but it is good stuff. Yummy stuff!

Like mother like daughter...

So we got a trampoline as a donation here at the orphanage and it is super fun. I was all ready to show off all my stuff and show the girls that I am not an old lady. We were all laughing and having a great time when it happened...all those years after laughing at my Mama for the same thing, it happened to me...that's right folks, I peed my pants! I am tellin' ya, no bladder control post babies. Woo...I was quite the sight!

Sunburns affect more than just the burned area...

So my dear little boy got a bit of a sunburn last week after playing outside so many days in a row. I forget that even their naturally tanned skin can still burn. Anyways, he walks in the kitchen after his bath and asks me what is for dinner. I inform him that it is some delicious potato soup. His response?? "Mommy, I can't eat soup. Soup is hot and it will hurt my sunburn!" He really doesn't like soup.

Babies change so fast...

My little pumpkin is changing so much and growing so fast! She is now a pro at rolling over (only from stomach to back so far but she can get half way from back to front). She also is "talking" up a storm. She has been saying things like "goo" and "ah goo" for several weeks now but usually only with prompting by others. Now she just lays in her bed and just talks and makes lots of noises. It is so fun. She has also started laughing at loud which is so great to hear. Her favorite song right now is surprising the "abc" song! It is hilarious. I am not a great singer but I love singing her lots of little songs here and there, but she loves when I sing her "abc!" So fun!

Last but not least...

So my dear friend Kara has challenged some of her friends to the 30 day challenge, and I am taking her up on it. I think it is going to be a big blessing to my hubby and my family! Here is the link to learn more. Let me know if you decide to do it with us, and I will be praying for you along your 30 day journey as well. Here is the link... http://www.reviveourhearts.com/pdf/30DayChallenge.pdf

That is all from me for today folks...nightie night!


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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 over...so 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

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