I’m back “home” for a couple of weeks.  I’m a week in and have a week more to go.  I put the home in quotation marks because really for more than a decade now, I have a new home. 

But something about this home…the home I grew up in.  Well, it’s just different.  This is the home that when I was 6, I wrote all over the basement walls and promptly blamed my sister.  It didn’t work, though, because well I could write and she was not yet in school, so let’s just say I didn’t get far with that lie. 

This is the home I played school with my dolls. 

This is the home that I learned to ride a bike and played catch with my dad in the backyard. 

This is the home that I spent almost every evening eating dinner with my family and all of the other surprise guests that would show up on any given night. 

This is my home.  This is my place of comfort and refuge.  It is the place where I come to find rest and recovery.  It’s the place that I receive so much love and grace.  It’s the place that just makes me remember the Sara that first fell in love with Jesus.  It brings me inspiration, and it provides me a place to lay my weary head.

And let’s just say that when I got off that airplane a little over a week ago, my head, my body, my entire being was feeling more than just a little weary.  I spent the first 4 days here just holding back tears at every turn.  I would be in the passenger seat in my Mom’s car and a song would come on or we would pass a certain tree, and the next thing I know, my eyes are filled to the brim and a few tears trickling down my cheek. 

One evening while I was changing my daughter after her bath, she pointedly asked me, “Why did you marry someone from a different country?”

I was taken off guard so I asked her to explain what she meant.

“Mommy, I mean why do you and Papi have to be from 2 different places.  It makes me so sad sometimes.  Because when I am here, I miss everyone in Guatemala, but when I am Guatemala, I miss everyone here.  And I don’t like it.  It is very hard for me, and it makes me really sad.”

This all came from a 7 year old, but I basically could have asked the same thing. Of course, I am so thankful for her Papi and that he is my husband, and I tried to explain the best I could in a way she could understand.  But the truth was, I sometimes still struggle understanding it all too.

All these years later, and I am still amazed at how hard this is.  I am amazed at how difficult it is to passionately and fiercely love two sets of people and places separated by thousands of miles. 

And if truth really be told, these last few months, I was starting to wonder if it wasn’t all a big mistake.  It all just felt plain HARD.  There were no highs and lows.  There were no real breakthroughs. There were no moments of “oh yes this all makes sense.”  No it was just plain, old HARD! I felt lonely and confused and scared and tired…so very, very tired. 

For so many years, I admired many women that had stood on large platforms or were leading large ministries.  I admired them and secretly probably even envied them too.  It seemed like the pinnacle of Christian Ministry.  I feel embarrassed and slightly ashamed to admit that, but I do it because I am certain that I am not the only one to have ever had those thoughts.  As Christians and especially as Christians in full-time ministry, deep down we struggle with the desire to also be recognized for our obedience.  We want God’s glory, but we kind of want our own too.  It may not be a very pretty truth but deep down for many, it is the truth all the same.

Nevertheless, I didn’t realize we were going to be thrust into that kind of platform and leadership so soon.  I wasn’t prepared.  I had a plan.  I had a timeline.  We weren’t ready.  There was still other stuff we needed to do first.  Yet, there we were like 2 doe-eyed kids trying to do what we were being asked yet feeling so completely incapable and unprepared. 

And the real ugly truth for me was that I didn’t like it one bit.  Don’t get me wrong; I was thankful for a fresh opportunity to use some gifts and abilities that I hadn’t been able to use in a very long time.  So much of what we were being asked to do was right up my alley as far as what makes me passionate.  But it was really, stinking hard.  It was pressing us on all sides, and I was not enjoying feeling flattened out at every turn.  

“God this is not what I signed up for.  This is not what I had in mind.  I am having trouble trusting You with this.  This is just too dang hard.  I think I just don’t want to do this anymore.  Pick someone else.  Choose a different one.  I AM OUT!”

These are just a few of the thoughts I had rolling around in my head.  I never said them to anyone, but I felt them deep in my heart, and my 7 year old’s confession just made them bubble right back up to surface.  Suddenly I was seeing everything through this one lens; this lens that was convinced that God was holding out on me.  He wasn’t providing when we desperately needed provision.  He wasn’t carrying a burden that I felt was crushing me underneath its weight.  He wasn’t answering when I was crying out.  He wasn’t defending us when we were feeling defeated. 

What a beautiful gift it is to know that we have a God that is big enough to handle these crises of faith.  He is mighty enough to handle my anger.  He is merciful enough to gently handle my fears.  He carefully and patiently removed the lens.  He wiped my tears.  He whispered His truths to my often deaf ears once again.

Today one of my dearest mentors and teachers reminded me of some of my very favorite verses.  I memorized this passage when I was only 19 years old and I clung to these verses as I walked through what it meant to be surrendering to be a missionary someday.  I didn’t want to do it, but I knew clearly that was what He was asking me to do.  So, for some reason, I knew someday I would need these verses and desperately tried to seal them into my heart. And today as we discussed some of what has been going on in life, she spoke these verses over me once again.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed, always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies…So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.  For this slight 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 to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” -2 Corinthians 4:9-10, 16-18

With the commotion of 2 impatient children, I couldn’t really express in the moment what I felt when she reminded me of these verses. However, I can say that as I have continued to reflect on that moment today, I feel overwhelmed at the way God continues to deal with me.  I knew these verses as well as I did my own address and phone number.  I repeated them. I shared them.  I wrote them.  I prayed them.  And yet somehow, in the moment that I needed them the most, I had forgotten all about them.  But God didn’t.  He saw those moments over 15 years ago.  He saw me.  And He knew that nothing was going to speak to my heart today like the reminder of those verses and the promise that they hold. 

Oh how my God knows me.  Oh how He loves me so.

Yesterday, I had the great privilege of sharing about our ministry with one of the Sunday School classes in our church.  This group is made up of the older generation of the church, and it may have been one of my favorite times of sharing yet.  They were enthusiastic and generous and kind with their words and hugs.  But, it was one lady in particular that I will probably never forget.  At the end of class, she shared about her desire to support my husband and I personally as missionaries.  She said it wouldn’t be much, but that one of her greatest privileges is being able to support several different missionaries each month.  I told her how much I admired her faithfulness to the Lord in this way and almost instantly she burst into tears.  

Through her tears, she whispered, “I always wanted to be a missionary.  I begged God to let me be a missionary someday.”

I wanted to scoop her into my arms.  This sweet lady, who was probably a grandmother and great-grandmother tenderly and vulnerably shared one of her deepest regrets.  I don’t know the rest of her story.  I don’t know why she never was able to be a missionary, but it doesn’t really matter. I know God knows her and loves her so much.  I know He will bless her and honor her and care for this very tender and loving woman of Him.

And she probably will never know how that one moment reminded me of the great privilege I have in living this crazy, hard, sometimes lonely life.   It isn’t easy, and there is a very real possibility that it may never really be comfortable or easy. 

But, it is good.  It is rich.  It is wonderful.

“He who has prepared us for THIS VERY THING is God, who as given us the Spirit as a guarantee.  So we are ALWAYS of good COURAGE.  We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by FAITH, not by sight.” -2 Corinthians 5:5-7

I don’t know what “this very thing” is that God has prepared you for. I don’t know what He is asking of you. I don’t know your portion.  But I do know this. 

It will take courage. It will take faith.  It will take more than just a few good intentions.  But we FIX our eyes on Jesus.  We fix them.  That means that they are glued on Him…not on us, not on those around us, not on our circumstances, not on our mistakes, not on our successes…just on Him.  We fix our eyes on HIM.  And we know that whatever He is asking of us is preparing a weight of glory that far outweighs anything this earth could ever hope to give us. 

And then we thank Him.  We thank Him for all that pressing in and even for that affliction because we know that it is taking out some that ugly that still resides in those dark corners of our hearts.  We thank God for loving us enough to take the time to transform us and renew us.  We thank Him for wanting more for us than we often want for ourselves.  We thank Him for giving us more than we deserve and keeping from us what we often do deserve.

How sweet it is to be loved by You, Jesus.


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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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