Monday, March 31, 2014

Ebenezers. Places where the Lord shows up. I like to mark them. Sometimes with actual rocks like Samuel, sometimes with screenshots of text messages, sometimes with pictures, sometimes in blog form. This past week was full of provision and I am so grateful.

I have been in Brasil ten weeks so far and have not gotten sick yet at all. My diet still does not consist of sugar so and I am very active here so it’s been good. Over a week ago though my neck swelled up for the first time. I spent the day in my apartment resting and felt better by that night. The following two days I felt good, went to a sleepover with 12 tiny girls and life was good. Woke up the next Monday with a headache, fever, and a neck the size of China. It was so swollen and painful I could not talk. Provision 1-one of the workers here had a microwave in his house and I asked him if I could borrow it to heat up a washcloth to create a hot compress. He immediately went to his house and walked his microwave over to mine and let me use it all day long. Provision 2-All day long I had house moms knocking on my windows asking me if I was okay or if they could do anything for me or if I needed anything. Provision 3-My friend who speaks English just happened to be spending 3 days at the orphanage this week--something that rarely happens but the timing was perfect! So she took care of me and I didn’t have to struggle to speak Portuguese to her. Provision 4-One of my favorite workers here came to my house to check on me and laid her hands on me and prayed for me over and over beautiful prayers in Portuguese. Provision 5-The couple that runs the orphanage had been in the States until now and came back this week...PERFECT timing. I am so grateful. They know doctors and the right hospitals and speak English and as much comfort as I felt from the workers here there was something good about being with Americans. Provision 6-I went to the hospital reluctantly but I was not getting better and was so tired of feeling so sick and in so much pain and not talking. Provision 7-I didn’t die in a Brasilian hospital! Doctors were great, there were great nurses, the doctor who did an ultrasound on my neck happened to be an infectious disease doctor who specializes in necks so he knew what he was looking at and looking for. Provision 8-after 10 days of feeling like total crap I finally feel better due to a very large amount of medicine I have been given. I am so grateful. Life is good. I go home in 7 days (get home in 8) and I have never been so excited for anything in all my little life. Here is good though. The right now is good. I have been writing a lot because I'm doing this pretentious thing called writing a book (memoir--which sounds more pretentious) and I wote an entry on www.dearstranger.org so I feel a bit written out and I'm still recoveing but I wanted to mark this significant place. and Called Me Highe by All Sons and Daughters is playing and I can't ignoe that song or not blog to it so here it came.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Joy snuck up on me. I'm not sure when, maybe this past weekend, but it did. I am so grateful. Last week was hard and bad. I attribute it mostly to my bad attitude. Somewhat to the tarantulas, but mostly to myself. But this week is real good. Sunshine, waking up at 7 to write until 8, trying to have a quiet time and then thrown into the day. I'm not sure when things changed here but I just noticed that they have dramaticaly. Kids come to me asking me for help with their homework, ask to sit on my porch with me, ask me to eat lunch and dinner with them, ask me to play basketball and soccer, ask me for band-aids, ask me to perform minor surgery on them when they do stupid things, ask to borrow my clothes. The Tia's ask me to help in the kitchen, ask me to make facebook pages for them, ask me for advice on how to love these kids better, ask me to go to church with them. I have a place. I belong. I have office tasks but I also have life tasks. Sarah Thomas reminded me that to live here is ministry and that is enough. Ministry isn't solely office work, art work, teaching english. It is all. You think that since I blogged about that back in January I would have learned that lesson by now but apparently I am slow. I think I have learned it for the moment. I think this comfortable feeling I have in my skin and my bones and my days is an indicator of that.

life is just good people.

Friday, March 14, 2014

On Fridays we have hope. The kids don't have school on the weekends but the office is still running because someone has to be in charge in case a kid breaks their arm or runs away or osmething. I tend to have no desire to work on the weekends though and instead lounge around watching movies with the kids and hiding behind my house tanning in a plastic chair. Tanning is frowned upon here so I do my tanning in secret. The sun is shining and I am grateful and embracing it. This week has not been great. Lots of rain means lots of bugs and spiders seeking shelter from the bad weather. They must of all heard that I am a great host and a really fun girl because they are all seeking shelter in my house. This hs led to a shockingly high murder rate of spiders in Brasil. I only sometimes feel bad about it. I have written a lot of blogs over the past 24 hours of how bad this week has been. I could tell you these things so you will feel bad for the missionary with no power in the middle of the summer in Brasil. Or I could tell you the things God is teaching me instead-because I think that is much more long lasting than several bad days in a row. And because chances are if you read my blog I have already at length told you of all the bad things that have happened this week and there is no sense in re-hashing them.

I have friends who have a hard time trusting God during the good happy parts of their lives. They find it easy to seek him and rely on him fully when things are rough and the world is beating them down. I am the opposite I am learning. I have a pretty joyful disposition that I have cultivated over the years. since the concept of gratitude entered my life circa 2009 with the reading of One Thousand Gifts my life has dramatically improved. I find it easy to seek God and his grace and love in the good things because I have come to acknowledge the good gifts that He has given me. I can sing a thousand praises of his love and see His hand in the good. When things get hard it is so much harder for me to see Him. For me to rely on Him. Even when I make my daily list of gratitude. The smaller the list is the harder it is to see Him. I hate this about myself. I hate that I am not content with the smallest of daily gifts. I desire more. Sometimes it is just hard to see the much more though. I have not sought the much more this week. I have thrown up 911 prayers of Seriously God, I don't want to live here. This is hard. If I see one more spider I will lose it. If I have to sleep one more night with no power resulting in no fan resulting in hot restless sleep I will maybe seriously die. As I have been writing this and thinking about this I realize maybe I have a pretty crappy view of God. If I only see Him in the good and in the abundance. I don't want to cheapen his grace or Jesus' surrender on the cross. In Utmost this week Chambers has been talking about total surrender. God didn't spare anything-nor did Jesus- on the cross. He didn't halfway die for our sins. Or die for half our sins. He totally surrendered it all on the cross and we are called to do the same. We can't accept the cross and the sacrifice it was and then only surrender half of ourselves in return. The sacfirice must be equal. I can't just surrender and acknowledge the good. I've got to figure out how to surrender the bad. I eventually get there and get over the pouting and talking to 5000 friends before I talk to the Lord. I remember to journal and remember to pray and sometimes I feel better.

During this Lenten season I have decided to pray for 7 areas of my life daily. Those areas are family,friends, the Lar, grad school, relationships, ministry in RVA, and dreams/the future. I have 7 people, areas, thoughts within those 7 categories so I pray for one aspect of each area a day. I am learning to sit before the Lord more. Praying for 7 people or areas takes time of sitting and being quiet. I'm not too good at either of those things. It is good though. I am finding comfort and having a calmer heart after doing that. It has been good this week to at least have that 20-30 minutes daily of quieting my heart before the Lord and bringing things and people I love to the alter of God. I have prayed for myself a lot this week too. I'm never really good at that. I think it is all connected though. I am grateful that my practice of prayer during Lent is happening now and that I am learning to surrender it all in my life. I didn't see the connections until right now. Maybe you don't in this muddled post but I do and that is good. I am learning. Learning about surrender. Learning about the all. Still learning about the much more that I am promised and am invited to live in. Learning to have hope in more than just sunny friday mornings.  

i think life is a little hard right now. i have felt more materialistic than i maybe ever have. pretty much daily i am buying something, or ...