Simply Love

Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (‭Acts‬ ‭7‬:‭54-60‬ ESV)

Where does love like this come from? To be able to be in the midst of pain, and hurt, and still look and ask that the people that are or have caused so much pain to still be saved? It’s truly love when it goes to the extent of forgiving the inexcusable.

It’s 12:30 am here in Virginia and I have seen my dad a total of 3 times in the last 2 days. To say it has been good is an understatement. God has truly done so much. When I left home I saw on my facebook page this song called This Love. that has set the tone of this trip. On the way here I kept thinking love covers a multitude of sins. When we got to Virginia I was reminded that the slogan for Virginia is Virginia is for lovers.By this time I got the picture fully. I was being sent here to simply love. Regardless of the past I was sent to love.

When we drove up to the hotel I looked up and there was a tiny little piece of a rainbow right above our hotel. It was amazing.

I never have experienced what Stephen in the Bible did with getting stoned but sometimes the enemy tries to throw those guilts of wasted time and past hurt at you and I never knew that I would be able to still stand and ask God to not hold anything against those who have hurt me. Needless to say I have experienced so much love, peace and promises from God.

My dad is doing great. Right now the focus is on his healing before they do chemo but he is in a really positive mindset.

Through this journey a HUGE thing I have seen is that God answers prayers. One example is that for years I have prayed for my dad. One of my main prayers is that God would send him people that would take care of him especially in the hard hopeless times. One thing I’ve seen is that my dad has an amazing family around him. Also my dad was telling me about when he was in the hospital and had been sleep from post surgery and woke up to one of his super good friends from his childhood standing over him. His friend is an anesthesiologist at the hospital and saw my dad’s name in the chart and told them he would take care of him while he is there. Every time he’s had anesthesia his friend has been there which is super comforting for my dad. His surgeries have gone well and hopefully they will be treating the cancer soon.

Another cool story of God’s faithfulness is that since my dad doesn’t have insurance and hasn’t done anything really with the government aide he really hasn’t had the money to take care of the in home care he had to have or the medical bills. Well because of the severity and the compassion of the people hear he hasn’t had to worry about bills and all.

God has definitely had His hand on him.

We have had an incredible time. From seeing lighthouses, Dolphins, and King Neptune it’s been great.

I’ll leave you with this… God’s love can get you through storms you never imagined. His forgiveness can cover the deepest wounds. And His future for you is greater than the past. He is faithful friends. Love covers sins and it casts out all fear. I know that for a fact.

I love you guys. I’ll update you soon.

Mo Go

  

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Be Not Quick to Wonder

So you’re single and have been desiring to be in a relationship for a long time. You try not to focus on it and choose to look at the things God has given you to focus on instead of future things but you find yourself wondering. Wondering at Bible Study when that new attractive individual starts coming around. Wondering if the person the friend of yours brought to hang out could be the one you’ve been waiting for. The wondering even spills into the random trips to the store when you make eye contact. The wondering doesn’t just stop at maybe they are it but as you continue your mind goes from meeting to being married and having 2.5 kids in a matter of minutes.

Yeah I get you. Being quick to wonder has been a constant battle but I am starting find myself silencing those thoughts.

One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.” Naomi replied, “All right, my daughter, go ahead.” So Ruth went out to gather grain behind the harvesters. And as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech. (‭Ruth‬ ‭2‬:‭2-3‬ NLT)

Ruth wasted no time in doing what she was called to do. She put aside the fact that she was once married and desired to be married once again and focused on what God had placed in front of her. Her motive in going out to the fields was to provide for the ones God called her to. I like how the Bible says, “as it happened she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz” she didn’t seek it. Her sole purpose was providing and fulfilling the duty she felt God had called her to.

and that’s when she was noticed

The foreman said, “Why, that’s the Moabite girl, the one who came with Naomi from the country of Moab. She asked permission. ‘Let me glean,’ she said, ‘and gather among the sheaves following after your harvesters.’ She’s been at it steady ever since, from early morning until now, without so much as a break.” (‭Ruth‬ ‭2‬:‭6-7‬ MSG)

Boaz saw Ruth as a hard worker and so that sparked curiosity. I imagine that if Boaz saw something different in Ruth she must have been more serious or diligent in the way she worked. This curiosity allowed Boaz to question who she was. We see that he immediately finds out her past, “that’s the Moabite woman…” He knows right away the culture she comes from but more than her past the foreman also tells Boaz of her character she came with Naomi. She hasn’t taken a break.

she’s different.

He responds in pursuit. As you continue to read you see that Boaz invites Ruth to eat with him and shows her favor because her focus was her character and her character proved that she was trusting God.

These words be not quick to wonder have been bouncing around my head for the past few weeks. I realized that in those moments of looking at an individual and spending time wondering what I’m truly doing is turning that wonder into worry.

When we accept worry we must understand that saying yes to the wonder is saying no to the trust. It’s saying,”God you obviously don’t have plans so I’m going to think and mull over what I can do to take my life in control.” Not attractive huh?

We must choose instead to say no to the worry and say yes to the trust. Like proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭5-6‬ NLT)

When He is our focus the trust in Him is easier. In that trust we find that worry falls wonder isn’t a necessity and the paths to take are lightened because we’ve made Him our guide.

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Chipped Tooth and Confidence

Beauty

My mom just got us these super high tech tooth brushes. Over the past few days I’ve had to relearn how to brush my teeth because what I did before would no longer work with these high tech things. I have this spot on my front tooth from when I busted my lip near the flamingos at the zoo when I was five. This morning the spot seemed to be super noticeable. I always wonder if it will ever go back to being white because white straight teeth are good

Perfection

Beauty is something that our world craves. The definition of beauty and the definition of perfection have become parallel. I have had a hard time believing that I am beautiful because I don’t fit the definition of perfection. Perfect skin, perfect nails, perfect body type the list goes on and every girl has felt that pressure.

While I was in Guatemala a lot of the things I believed before were shaken and removed. It started with beauty.

And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (‭Romans‬ ‭10‬:‭15‬ ESV)

My mentor sent this verse with me. One of the most freeing conversations I had while on that trip was one I had with Grant about a scratch I got on my leg. I’ll tell the story another time because so much happened in that moment but that night I realized that I was beautiful. Not because I matched up to perfection. Not because of anything on the outside but because I deal with fear but I have a hope and faith that even in the most scary moments my Daddy is with me and He has great plans for me.

Confidence

When I returned back from Guatemala Amanda (Grant’s wife) told me that I look more confident. She could tell that I believed something different about myself and about God and she is definitely right; I just didn’t realize how different my beliefs were until this afternoon.

Believe

Today I chipped my front tooth. Yes the same one with the spot that I had noticed earlier today I chipped it. No I cannot go to the dentist to get it fixed at least not yet. To my surprise though it is noticeable but I did not get emotional. Before guatemala I would’ve had a complete meltdown. I would’ve wanted to hide in my room not tell anyone and fall off the grid until it was fixed. Today it was frustrating and I wasn’t happy but meltdowns were in the negative. No tears were shed. No depression set it. No thoughts of being ugly. But instead I was surrounded by people that spoke truth to me and reminded me that I’m okay. It reminded me that I have a confidence buried in my heart and it’s GROWN!

Earlier this year a friend of mine saw that I was getting close to the end of my journal. She asked me if she could pick out the next one. When she came back to me a few weeks later she pulled out a blue old fashioned journal that was covered in sparrows and flowers. Inside she wrote me a letter. Part of it said, ” Beauty is going to start on the inside and radiate outward because you will begin to believe you are beautiful”

I say all of this to inspire you to know that you’re beautiful. Allow your self to do scary things that God is calling you to. Allow yourself to find the confidence along the journey God has placed you on. He’s with you and as you continue to trust and want more confidence you will start to find yourself as a beautiful person chipped tooth or not.

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Julio

We arrived the in the mountains of Guatemala on Sunday night. As we unpacked I couldn’t help but focus on the dirty floor and bugs that buzzed around what would be my “home” for the next week. A giant lump formed in my throat as I asked God “Why would you have me do this?” Tears came but I then realized I needed to stop and pray instead of wallow in fear.

The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. (‭Job‬ ‭1‬:‭7-12‬ ESV)

Within the next five minutes Pastor Joe asked that we all stopped doing whatever we were doing because we needed to have an emergency meeting. That’s when the tears really came. Pastor joe informed us that while Julio, our fantastic Guatemalan bus driver, was driving us up the mountain someone in Guatemala City where he lived had shot and killed his wife…

I have never felt so broken over someone I didn’t know.

We immediately crowded around Julio and prayed over him and his family. We were 16 hours away from Guatemala City where he left his now dead wife and 9, yes N I N E kids, one of them being in the hospital.

I was later told two huge things about Julio. Julio had been working with this team of missionaries for the past two trips that they had went on in Guatemala. When this trip was being set up Pastor Joe and Mike wanted Julio to drive them again. The missionary that lives in Guatemala informed them that he hadn’t seen Julio in a while and he had turned back to alcohol. He told them they needed to find someone else. Pastor Joe let the missionary know that he wasn’t using someone else and told him to find Julio. After a while the missionary was able to find him and asked him if he would be willing to be our driver. Julio agreed and then went to let his boss know that he was taking this job. His boss informed him that he couldn’t but Julio took this commitment very seriously. He told his boss that he couldn’t dishonor his commitment to God to take care of us. His boss said ok but let him know that when he returned the bus after our trip he would no longer has a job.

Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (‭Job‬ ‭2‬:‭4-10‬ ESV)

After praying, crying, and thinking I realized that I was in Guatemala because God needed me to simply love people. People like Julio that’s world was so dark they needed a light.

We were told that Julio had to make a decision to either stay with us or go back to Guatemala City to be with his family and take care of things. No one would have been mad or disappointed if he had left but the next morning when we woke up, Julio was at breakfast. Through out the morning I saw the man that just lost the love of his life sweeping up the floor, talking to people, directing patients to the different doctors and frankly working harder than I I was.

Humbling.

I believe this is an important story to tell because it puts life into perspective. This man chose to make a commitment to God a and nothing stopped him from breaking it. He was told that if he drove us he’d lose his job, his wife was shot and killed and before all of that he was looked at as a man that had turned to the world and was deemed hopeless yet he kept his commitment to the Father that gave everything for him.

He does not keep the wicked alive, but gives the afflicted their right. He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous, but with kings on the throne he sets them forever, and they are exalted. (‭Job‬ ‭36‬:‭6-7‬ ESV)

From that moment forward I knew that I was supposed to be on that trip. Thank you Julio for changing my life. I don’t know that I could have been that strong. You’re beautiful for going and loving people when your world was the darkest. I am so grateful that I got to meet such an amazing man of God and I know that he will restore everything that was taken from you just like he did with Job.

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May I have a…

Today I completed my first thing on my bucket list for this year. It sounds silly but I really wanted to let someone else order food for me at a restaurant. The reason why this is a item on my bucket list is because I am a very routine person. I order the same stuff over and over again but I absolutely love to try new things. ironic right? I’m just weird like that.

Well tonight a dear friend of mine was in town and we went out and she got to order for me. I had an amazing flatbread and now when I go to BJ’s I know another thing that I like besides their pizzookies!

So thank you Hillary for helping me cross something off my 24 before 24 list. As silly as it may be it was a great memory!