Monday, November 26, 2012

Mr Right

So, I started this blog while I was out of the country, and it was supposed to be a mission blog. It will be again some day, but, right now, HIPPA laws keep me from blogging much about my current mission. Therefore, today you get something else that's been on my heart lately. I remember in college when a lot of the females (and not too few of the males) had one major goal: finding Mr./Mrs. Right. I wouldn't have been opposed to such a thing, but, after the initial oh-my-goodness-there-are-more-than-8-guys-here-and-most-of-them-are-actually-nice reaction, I settled into my high school routine of studying more than was probably good for me and did my best to be content. Not to mention, I'd known for a long time that I was only going to date one man, and he would be my husband, so I was holding out for the best from the get-go. Four years later, I graduated college with a nursing degree, a Spanish minor, and a heart for the nations, but no man...and I was okay with that. I was ready to lose my heart to Central America, South America, Africa, India, and anywhere with a slum or an entire community of people living in the city dump. So, after graduating and procuring my nursing license, I took the step that made the most sense: I bought a plane ticket to Tanzania. And it did steal my heart...the thing is, so did Kyle. Fast forward to now when I've been back from Tanzania for nearly 2 years and married (to Kyle, obviously) for nearly seven months. And it's been the best seven months I could have ever imagined. He never lets me doubt that he loves me, and I do my best to make coming home after work the highlight of his day. Yesterday morning he made me breakfast in bed, and yesterday evening he took me to the farmers' market to buy our Christmas tree. I'm just so.... happy! My husband isn't my source of joy or happiness, but he certainly enriches my life. Loving and being loved by him has taught me so much about God's love and acceptance, and, I've realized at least a trillion different times these last seven months that, when I said that I was holding out for the best, that's exactly what God sent me. I know life won't always be easy, but I'm not afraid of anything when he's holding my hand because I know the Hand that is really holding us together, who orchestrated this thing from the beginning of time. So, when it seems like Mr. Right will never come along, and you're tempted to settle for Mr. Right Now...don't. Wait for the man who will bring you breakfast in bed, who is willing to drive you to work at 0600 in the morning because there's a crazy man with a knife in the parking garage, who lets you bring him breakfast in bed and makes a big deal out of it when you surprise him with cookies at work, who brags about you to his friends, who takes you to the mall even though you both hate shopping just because he wants you to try on a fancy dress for him (that you both know you'll never buy), who's willing to spend a Saturday night hanging out with your sisters, nieces, and nephews and who makes you a part of his family, too, who prays over you when you're sick and asks you to pray for him, too, who is honest and strong and courageous and Godly as well as incredibly handsome, and who is worthy of your best (after all, he's giving you his).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


We've been married four months. Sometimes I'm amazed that it's only been four feels like we've been married forever!! I can't sleep if he's not there, and I know that's not supposed to develop until you've been married at least 25 years. At the same time, I can't believe it's only been four months! It seems like it was just yesterday that I woke up at 5am wide awake and simply could not go back to sleep because I was too excited to marry the man of my dreams that afternoon. It's crazy how incredible marriage is. I'm completely convinced that my husband is the very best husband and the absolute most amazing person in the universe not to mention the most handsome, smartest, funniest, etc. :) And there is no one who will succeed in changing my mind about that. It's also crazy how hard marriage is. I know I've only been married 4 months, so what do I really know about anything, but the hardest lesson for me to learn so far is that we need each other, and it's okay. I never wanted to need anyone. I wanted to do it on my own and figure it out on my own. That way, if I failed, or if someone failed me, they wouldn't have enough power over me for it to hurt. It didn't take me long, however, to realize that God clearly made marriage to show us that we're supposed to need each other for the direct purpose of learning that, really, we just need God. It's scary needing someone and knowing that they need you, too. Needing people can result in a lot of hurt. That's where needing God comes in. No matter what people do, God is always perfectly there. We need Him. We can't do it without Him. And, for me, He's using how much I need my husband's love and attention and presence and just my husband in general to teach me how much more I need Him.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Thing That Amazes Me Most

Now THAT was an amazing ten days.

We landed in Liberia, Costa Rica on January 5th and from there ventured to Playa Sámara where we spent a day and two nights playing, relaxing, and preparing (and, in Kyle's and my case, getting engaged!). And, crazily enough, the trip was already being met with some resistance. Jon's passport was going to expire in 2 months, so, while he was okay to take the domestic flight to Miami, they would not let him get on the international flight to Costa Rica. So, he got an extra day in Miami and a new passport and, thankfully, joined us the next evening. Meanwhile, our Nicaraguan friends were experiencing similar troubles at the Costa Rica/Nicaragua border. We'll just suffice it to say that we spent a couple days hanging out in Costa Rica con el Pastor Ilegal! Through all the checkpoints and then crossing back into Nicaragua, none of the border cops ever even noticed that one of the passports had not been stamped on the way out two days before. The Thing That Amazes Me Most? God's grace.

From Costa Rica we traveled to Nicaragua, experiencing only a few glitches (flat tires, night-time border crossings, and unpaved roads being relatively minor glitches in the grand scheme of things...and they make for great stories now!). We stayed a night with Pastor Victor Benitez before leaving early Sunday morning to visit a church in Los Límites. As it turned out, we were to be in charge of the entire service, so we jumped right in. After the service, we divided into teams of two and prayed for each person there which was very powerful. But, The Thing That Amazes Me Most was the opportunity I had after the prayer ministry. There was a group of 5-15 year olds sitting in a circle with one empty chair amongst them. I sat down and got to have a really fun conversation with those girls during which they told me their dreams and about their lives.

After church we headed to Darío where we went to another church service that evening at Rey de Reyes (King of Kings). Several of us shared brief messages and then did more prayer ministry. But, The Thing That Amazes Me Most was how one simple comment can make a little girl's day. I told one little girl that she was wearing a pretty dress, and we were best friends from that moment on. She showed me the pictures she had drawn during the service.

The next day we set out for Matagalpa. We dropped our stuff off at a hotel which is being run by a missionary family from the USA and then Bobby, one half of the missionary couple, took us on an adventure to visit a small village in the mountains. On the way to the village, we stopped at a home for young pregnant girls where I got to hang out with and pray for some new moms and coming babies. After a rather treacherous drive on muddy roads and a quick walk into the village we were greeted by a large guitar and a swarm of small children. Neither of the visits to these two places were nearly long enough, and, as we were leaving, one little girl yelled after me, "When are you coming back?!"; the team could've left me at either place, and I would've been delighted to catch babies or play with children in a mud hut for the rest of our time in Nicaragua. Needless to say, this was my favorite day, and the Thing That Amazes Me Most is how wonderful, made-to-order opportunities like this sometimes drop right onto our laps in the most unexpected ways and at the most unexpected times.

The Thing That Amazed Me Most on Tuesday was, once again, God's grace. We were tired when we went to the church that evening, so it was pretty great when the Lord took over and blessed us just as much as He used us to bless them.

Wednesday was travel day. We arrived at Piñas de Paz around 8:30 or 9 that night and ate dinner and just enjoyed the beauty of an almost full moon, tropical mountains, and millions of stars. Thursday kicked off the Youth Pastors' Retreat, and folks started showing up pretty early that morning. The event officially began with lunch, a silly relay-race (that left me sore for at least a day), and a tour of the farm. Over the course of the weekend we had 6 sessions, worship times, a bonfire, a jungle adventure to see monkeys, parrots, and a waterfall, and time for personal ministry. All of this was awesome, but, the Thing That Amazes Me Most was how, even in the midst of this busy schedule and larger group of people, I was able to make meaningful individual connections. People shared with me their stories and wanted to hear mine; they asked for advice and offered their own wisdom; we laughed, prayed, and sang together and became friends.

This was a short trip, but it was more than long enough for Nicaragua to steal a piece of my heart. Now I can't not return.