A Few Journal Snippets

Here are a few of the things that I wrote in my journal during our US visit...   I feel a prompting to share a bit of it with you.  

*March 6, 2012 - "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial;   for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."  James ...   So, this verse implies that if I love God, I will persevere under trial, be approved by God and receive the crown of life.   Which comes first, the love or the perseverance?  Does perseverance produce love?  Does one's love for God allow a person the ability to endure?  Or are the two somehow grown simultaneously?     Perseverance, endurance - what if I barely make it to the finish line?  What if I run across bloodied and scarred by the trials of life?

*March 9, 2012 - I can do this, I can do this!  Culture shock, reverse culture shock - whatever it is, I have it.   But, if I hope to enjoy even a sliver of this trip, I have to get over it and move on.  Alex is doing so well, picking up all of the slack where I am frozen.

*March 12, 2012 - Tension... between who I know I am in Christ and the challenges of what He has asked of me.  It makes no sense to most people here, our choice to raise our family as missionaries in a remote corner of Honduras.   And yet, the tension between pleasing people and pleasing God makes me seek God every time.   All Christians must feel this - a tension between the life they are currently living and the life that God offers when we live fully defined by His purposes.    Maybe it is a holy tension... an opportunity to choose God over and over again when the lure of this world presents itself repeatedly.

*March 12, 2012 - There are a few close friends that allow me to be completely breathing in their presence as opposed to holding my breath to await the next discussion and what it might bring.   Honest, open, quiet or talkative - impatient, frustrated, giddy or devastated.    Friends.

*March 16, 2012 - Lavish givers... what do they look like?

*March 16, 2012 - "One of the great hinderances to Christian growth, healthy relationships and strong communities is a life of pretense - pretending we don't struggle with a multitude of sins, self-righteous attitudes, foul tempers, nagging anxieties, lustful looks, controlling and critical hearts and a general belief that I am better than people."   Jerry Bridges Respectable Sins.     I must realize that when I am weak - I stand in God's strength, which is much more than I can conjure up on my best day.    This leads to freedom... knowing that I don't have enough, but God absolutely does.

*March 24, 2012 - People feel the need to justify things around me... justifying their cars, clothes, etc.   Perhaps they think I'm judging them.   I'm not.    Each person has to be comfortable in their own skin and before God with the use of their money.    It is not me you have to explain your spending to...  and believe me, I understand the lure of the material.   I understand more than most.   I feel myself in a feeding frenzy in most US stores.  

*March 25, 2012 - More on 'living in tension'  - pulled by God's Word, pulled by my love for Jesus, pulled by the ways of the Holy Spirit living in me;  pushed by the cute shoes I desperately want, pushed by the reality that I am odd, pushed by the subtle disapproval of people.   Sometimes the tension itself is the confirmation that I'm on the right path, doing the hard thing that God has asked.    Sometimes the tension itself is the teacher.

*March 25, 2012 - Back to the beginning of this missionary call - "All I have asked you to be is a voice;  a voice for My Son with hands and feet, a huge heart and a brain."   I can do that, Lord.

*March 26, 2012 -  A spiritual morning - several really in-tune people shared with us at Heath UMC... open, wise.   The Pastor was tender and perceptive and almost poetic.   A good shepherd to his flock.

*March 27, 2012 - Time - a cultural concept, not a right or wrong.  A difference without moral meaning.  In the US, we see people's tardiness as an affront to our person.  Time is money.    In Latin American cultures, time is fluid.    Tardiness is not personal or disrespectful, just part of life.    Relationships are more important than the tick-tock of a clock.  People take priority over planners.   People matter more than minutes.

*March 27, 2012 - Faith & Works- 2 pillars of living grace.   Because of faith, I want to walk in a manner that bears fruit.  Faith always comes first or the fruit is man-made and synthetic.

*April 4, 2012 - There is no moodiness or disconnect in relation to God.  I love that.  He is not moody and He doesn't have bad days.  I am variable;  God is not.

*April 4, 2012 - Forgive quickly and completely.  Forget when people offend me.  Move on - don't remain caught up in bitterness over little offenses.  Assume the best of people.   (Motivation from my husband and Priscilla Shirer).

*April 6, 2012 - Good Friday - when my Jesus suffered and died on a splintered, wooden cross so that I could one day come to Him, kneel down at that cross and lay every bit of me at His feet.

*April 7, 2012 - What I've learned about 11 year olds - full of contradiction, excited about a multitude of things, life-giving, confident, yet desiring the approval of someone.   I am as honest as I can be with Aidan about the pros and cons of how his life might look different in the US in public school.  He would have more friends, opportunities in sports, academic and music experiences.  He would be pushed and pulled by the opinions of others - seeds of peer pressure planting themselves.   Aidan has freedom in our environment to grow and explore who he is with very little regard to what others think.   We try to push him to ask every question he has...  his choices are his choices.   His life is his.

*April 7, 2012 - "He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered."  Proverbs 21:13

*April 9, 2012 - Still thinking through Easter morning service.  Arlee's baptism - beautiful.   Service - touching deep.   My tears were constant - tears of deep thankfulness that Jesus died for my sins and ROSE on that day long ago so that I might live!   I've known life at its fullest this trip - feeling the love of friends in a way that only Christ gives; meeting new faces and finding that the term brothers and sisters in Christ has new meaning;   watching over and over as God provides and pours out His gifts, showers us with His goodness.   Love.

*April 19, 2012 - Back in Honduras.    Warm air, humidity - my skin is smiling.    I'm glad to be back and ready to live simple again.  


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