Celebrations of the Ordinary

They happen every day.  Sometimes I miss them, my eyes focused on the road ahead of me, the to-do list on my shoulders.  But when I catch a glimpse, and stop my busyness, my spirit looks up to share a smiling gaze with the Almighty.  A butterfly outside my window, a sweet moment with the children, a miracle unmerited.  I am leaning into the Lord’s heart in the celebrations He gives our family, both large and small.

  • Snowmen painted on my toes Tica-style in honor of the winter white stuff we miss on the prairie.
  • The little dear who eyed Matt with caution and shied away from his hand while we prayed over her entry into the Hogar de Vida family, running to give him a hug a week later.  Hearing the kids call out, “(Ma)Teo!” when he goes by.
  •  2014-11-28-0686-color-cdoc.jpgRealizing the soft blues and greens of the quilt I pieced before we launched to the mission field coordinate perfectly with the view of trees, mountains, and sky out our balcony.
  • The verification that our second language is taking root.  Yelling, “¿Qué está haciendo? / What are you doing?” without thinking when awakened from a dead sleep at 3:30 a.m. by someone’s loud footsteps on the neighbor’s tin roof next to our bedroom windows.
  • Sharing hospitality and life with friends around our table.  Cracking jokes and being real in Spanish and English.
  • Discovering the High School Musicals with my kids and savoring this season when singing the songs with their mom is still cool.
  • Laughing nonstop with House Tias on a 3-hour bus ride.  Hearing my name called out in the verbal melee, “Krease!”
  • 2014-11-29-0729 leaves edit cdocSeeing Ezekiel charm team members, Eliana in her element helping out in the houses, and Elijah playing alongside boys his own age.
  • Feeling the Holy Spirit show up in a unique way each time I share my testimony with a team.
  • God’s mercy and my husband’s ingenuity saving my laptop after a baptism by pumpkin spice tea.
  • Celebrating our Elijah’s arrival into double digits and his growth into a tender warrior.
  • Sips of coffee and birdsong in the presence of the Lord each morning.  A basket ready on my dresser with bible, journal, candle, and everything else I might be tempted to leave my chair for.
  • The tiny infant who fussed night and day against some unknown anxiety, calming into peaceful smiles and trusting cuddles through Hogar’s united intercession before the throne of our good Father.
  • Standing here, humbled on holy ground, filled with gratitude for the provision, prayer, and affection poured out on us.  

2014-11-29-0875-edit-cdoc.jpgWe would not be here without all of you.  It is an incredible privilege to be your hands and feet, serving in this land.  Often I ask, like David, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” 2 Samuel 7:18.

Thank you for every way that you have joined with us in this journey.  May the Lord of the harvest multiply each seed sown and return to you a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, poured into your lap this holiday season.  Merry Christmas from the Gnuses in Costa Rica.  A savior has been born.  May His light illuminate your 2015.

May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.  Colossians 1:11b-12 NLT


Linking up with VelvetAshes.com/the Grove/ Remembering.

 

Change in the Air

We can all feel it.  A desire to put away the grammar books and draw out conversation instead.  A focus on the new home to be settled into, and release of that forever-ambition to clean the light fixture in this one.  Heartstrings tug as we do life alongside language school friends, knowing there are only a few more runs to catch together, only a few more cups of tea shared face to face.  We have four weeks left of walking the same sidewalks, shopping the same Saturday morning farmer’s market.  Being newbies together in a foreign language/culture/country has forged some beautiful connections.

And yet, this was never the end goal.  The common thread of learning Spanish has woven us together for a time, but different expressions of Christ’s love in different countries form the ultimate tapestry.  As Aragorn said to Arwen in the movie version of The Two Towers, “This is a dream.”   “Then it is a good dream,” she answered.  That is just what this time has been.

2014-04-18 Atenas House 009 colorIt’s hard to leave.  All of the questions we set aside to embrace Spanish have risen in a new tide.  Will we like our new home?  How long will it take to learn the ropes there?  Will we be good at our area of ministry?  How will our kids adjust?  All of the now-familiar paths and places will make way for another round of breaking trails—marking out the way to the grocery store, orienting to new unmarked streets, learning how to pay bills, finding the bank/doctor/dentist/hospital/pharmacy.  The structure of our days will change again.  For our family, school will move back home as most of Matt’s work transfers out of it.  This season of having my best friend by my side all day as study partner, navigator, and negotiator will come to a close.

I have felt the stress, had it nudge me out of bed to be prayed over and sorted through.  And to be honest, I have it easy.  I have a house already rented and most of its furnishings gathered.  We’re heading to a town I’m familiar with, where we already have relationships and a working knowledge of our ministry home.  My heart goes out to braver friends leaving for new countries and ministries that they’ve barely met.  If my transition is difficult, theirs is heroic.

Being a missionary doesn’t necessarily mean you are good at change, it means you keep taking steps forward until the Lord brings you out on the other side.

Breaking break for the first time in our rental house.

First lunch in our rental house.  With PB&J, who needs furniture?

Each change has a price tag, some easy, some dearly bought.  But this path of following Jesus is also blessed with celebrations along the way.  Friendships made that will last a lifetime.  Our sweet little kitchen, waiting to be filled with the smell of baking bread and meals for mission teams.  The 12 gallons of paint in our laundry room, ready to color a house into home.  Fun Spanish conversations like we had with the paint reps, explaining the English names of the colors–“What is bisque anyway?”   Little fingers and toes to hold during morning devotions.  Smiles to charm out of shy faces, laughter to share with outgoing ones.  Connecting with people from around the world with a common heart to live for the Lord.

This transition is both tender and exciting.  We are about to step into the dream that the Lord gave us at the very beginning of this journey.  Language school has been a challenging, yet beautiful time of preparation.  May the Lord bless us all as we go forward to serve, wherever He may lead us.