Tuesday, November 6, 2012

God Speaks.

Well yesterday was one of those days.. one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.
Yes, I said it and yes, I am about to be real but we will get back to yesterday in a minute.

Nicaragua and the blessings that come from it really do give me joy. The 100's of children and families we have the privilege to work with give me nothing but pure, real, amazing Joy.  But not every day feels of sunshine and there are many days where we must fight questions and frustrations of being in this third-world country. There are days when we come home and feel like we have lost and we question why we are here.

As much as I love doing mission work and I love living near people that I cherish so much, it is hard and sometimes I just want to be able to hug my daddy. I want to drink a Mountain Dew or eat a Chic-fil-a chicken sandwich. I want to sit in a room surrounded by my best friends. I want to sit on the back porch with my mama. I want a reason to wear a scarf or sit by a fire. I want free refills. I want to go to a basketball game. I want to be able to cook my husband dinner and turn work off for a night. I want to get an "I voted" sticker. I want to have consistent water and electricity. I want to hear my church family sing about how awesome our God is in English. But though all of these things are great blessings, God has other plans. Bigger plans. Eternal plans. And while I complain about needing an extra pillow or wanting to be able to set up a Christmas tree for our first married Christmas and all those other things, my neighbors are wishing they could have running water or a mattress to sleep on.

Like I said, there are bad days and yesterday was one of them. One where I woke up ready to take on the world and then one frustrating thing after another and all the sudden we were both a defeated mess. Ryan spent the day angry and I spent the day taking tums trying to calm my anxious stomach (TMI). But you know, it is absolutely amazing to me how God works. We felt defeated and worn down and honestly, just flat out ready to be back in the states for a break. Then comes God swooping in as the hero He is to save the day. After tears shed, frustrations shared, and honestly not feeling like doing much of anything, Ryan and I decided we needed to spend some time reading the Bible together and praying. We decided to start on this past weekends reading in Psalms (137-138) from Project 51 (because we were behind). So we turned to Psalm 137 (NOT by coincidence) and would you believe that through all of our frustrations God spoke directly to us (Of course you would, because our God is awesome, right? :)
 It was actually like we were screaming to God in Psalm 137.. 

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
 when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
 we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
 our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
 they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How can we sing the songs of the Lord
 while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
 may my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
 if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem
 my highest joy.
Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
 on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
 “tear it down to its foundations!”
Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
 happy is the one who repays you
 according to what you have done to us.
Happy is the one who seizes your infants
 and dashes them against the rocks.

And he responded to us in Psalm 138.. 

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
 before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
 and will praise your name
 for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
 for you have so exalted your solemn decree
 that it surpasses your fame.
When I called, you answered me;
 you greatly emboldened me.
May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
 when they hear what you have decreed.
May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
 for the glory of the Lord is great.
Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
 though lofty, he sees them from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
 you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
 with your right hand you save me.
The Lord will vindicate me;
 your love, Lord, endures forever—
 do not abandon the works of your hands.

God spoke. He said, "Child, I am here, I see you no matter where you are, I am WITH you, DO NOT ABANDON THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS."

We are not alone. Ryan and I needed encouragement. We needed a reminder. We needed something familiar. Why should we ever look to anything else? Yes, worshipping in English is a blessing but God's family comes from every tribe and every nation. We have been given the opportunity to worship, praise, and adore our Lord with God's people. Whether it is in our earthly home town or not. This is OUR family and God's people.

I can't share Psalm 137 and 138 without sharing one of my favorite Psalms especially since moving here, Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
 and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
 you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
 you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
 and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
 too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
 Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
 if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
 if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
 your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
 and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
 the night will shine like the day,
 for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
 you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
 your works are wonderful,
 I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
 when I was made in the secret place,
 when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
 all the days ordained for me were written in your book
 before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
 How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
 they would outnumber the grains of sand—
 when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
 Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
 your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
 and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
 I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
 and lead me in the way everlasting.

Thank you, Father, for loving us. For wrapping your arms around us and for speaking when our faith is no bigger than a mustard seed. Thank you for constantly reminding us of what your Son did for us and for giving us the opportunity to receive the gift of eternal life. Please help us as we all seek to share this gift you give with others. We thank you for the work you have put before us. Forgive us when we doubt you and forgive us for seeking earthly approval. Help us to always seek you first and grant us grace and peace as we strive to serve you. Amen.