So Thirsty – Day 19

I am so thirsty for the things that are of You, Lord!! I woke up this morning and You were not the first thing on my mind. Why is it that I so desperately want to be a woman who longs and yearns for You, day and night, yet my flesh wants otherwise?? 

 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
they shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

Psalm 63 was written by David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. Oh, David! I couldn’t have written it better myself…Oh, Lord, hear my cry!!!

Free to Dance – Day 16

She stood mesmerized by the lightning storm that filled the night sky. No rain. No streetlights. No car lights. Just lightning. Flashing continuously without a care. No rhythm. Just flashes of light.

As she gazed out, she felt His strong and warm arms pull her close to Him from behind. She loved His embrace. The lightning storm seemed brighter, stronger. Slightly more frightened, she drew deeper into His arms.

You seem so far away. More distant with each flash of lightning. Are you okay?

“I wonder if I could ever be as free as lightning? Free to dance wherever I pleased. Filling the dark sky with my brightness without a care of who I would disturb.” She replied.

The things that flow from that sweet mind of yours. So unique. Do you know that is why I love you?

She couldn’t see His face, but she could feel His smile through His words. She let out a small giggle and said, “only You could!’

You still believe that?

She didn’t reply. Both still amazed by the light show on display, He continued.

Your heart was never whole. The pain you are now feeling are the cracks being filled. The love you never felt, you are now feeling. The loss you never knew is now real. It was never my intention to hurt you.

But she was hurt…a strong ray of light flashed, filling the sky and penetrating her heart.

You may have held on too tight this time, but you will learn to hold with a looser grip. 

He could feel her trying to pull away, but He had to let her know how much He loved her.

Only I know the pain and scars you carry. I know it makes it difficult to trust, but you can trust Me.

Once He felt her struggle lessen, He pulled her close once again.

You can trust Me. Believe Me. I will never allow anything that would tear you down. Even if it hurts horribly, you will grow from it.

You question my motives, but I see the larger picture and the war down the road. The battles you will fight, will require you to fully trust in Me. You will need a full armor of what only I can give. Your life is a constant battle, but you are one of the few I can trust to handle such things.

I see your strength and perseverance. You are far better than you were yesterday. And tomorrow you will be better than you were today. Lean on Me. Trust in Me. Love on Me, but most importantly, let Me love on you! Be free to receive. Be free to let go. Be free in all you do…knowing if the joys of today are not the joys of tomorrow, it does not make them less joyful. There are new joys everyday!

Protect your heart, sweet one. The actions of today may prolong unnecessary pain. Pain I only intended for a short while. Please don’t extend it any longer than it needs to be. You know what to do to guard your heart. Just trust your heart because I live there. I will give you the wisdom you need. Just remain in Me and I will remain in you.

She no longer felt His arms around her, but she knew He hadn’t left her. She continued to stare at the flashing night sky. Now smiling because somehow she knew, the lightning wished it was as free to dance and to shine as bright as her heart did tonight!

Lord Strengthen Me – Day 15

Yesterday, I didn’t even want to blog because I felt like my uncertainty and depressed attitude would cause people to judge me and say the infamous “I told you so”. However, after reading Habakkuk with Jake, I felt compelled to share my discouragement in hopes to not further entertain those deceptive thoughts.

Well, the Lord surely came through and Blessed Jake and I with encouragement! We had a flow of encouraging words and we enjoyed a great afternoon out with Debora and her mom. We laughed so much! Laughter truly mends the heart! In addition to the encouragement, this morning, He also provided a call to arms through my morning devotion. So, I share this call to arms with you…

Lord, Strengthen Me to Stand Against the Enemy

We are all involved in a spiritual battle with an enemy who will never let up. Even though it is people who do evil things to us, we have to keep in mind that it is our ultimate enemy, the devil, who is behind it. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12). Even when we are being attacked by a person, recognizing who our real enemy is will be the first step in standing strong against him.

Just as God has a plan for you, so does Satan. Satan’s plan is to steal from you and destroy your life. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10).  He disguises himself so that he doesn’t look threatening, and he lulls you into thinking that you are not in any danger (2 Corinthians 11:14). But he never takes a day off. He is constantly trying to see his plan for your life fulfilled. That’s why you have to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Don’t be deceived! Read carefully…

Keep in mind that the greater your commitment is to the Lord, the more the devil will try to harass you. That’s why if you are moving into a deeper level of commitment to God, or coming into a new time of deliverance and freedom, entering into a new ministry or work God is opening up for you, you can depend on your enemy trying to stop it. He will do all he can to wear you down with discouragement, sickness, confusion, guilt, strife, fear, depression, or defeat.  He may try to threaten your mind, your emotions, your health, your work, your family, or your relationships. He will try to get you to give up. Even though he is not close to being as powerful as God, he attempts to make you think otherwise. He will try to gain a point of rule in your life through deception. He will try to blind you to the truth and get you to believe his lies. He will try to convince you he is winning the battle, but the truth is that he has already lost. HALLELUJAH!!!!

When I read this next part, it was like a power surge…

This is the deal. The devil has come to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus has come to give you life abundantly. Hmm. Let’s see. Death and destruction from Satan. Life and abundance from Jesus. Does that mean if you’re not living a life of abundance then the devil must be robbing you? I think that’s a good possibility, especially since this is his life goal. The only other possibility is that you have not truly aligned yourself with God and are not living His way. Ask God to show you the truth about your situation. Don’t let the enemy of your soul talk you into accepting anything less than what God has for you.

God’s Promises to Us

The Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.
2 Thessalonians 3:3

When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation.
Proverbs 10:25

Be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIs might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Ephesians 6:10-11

– Excerpt from Power of Praying Woman – Stormie Omartian

On to Week 3…

This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.
Habakkuk 2:3

In many seasons of our lives, we reach a  point of depression and of uncertainty. We don’t like where we are and feel like there is no end in sight to the uncertainty of our future. However, as the Lord promised Habakkuk, the end “seems slow in coming” but we are to “wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” Meaning it will not happen a moment out of place. It will be right at God’s perfect timing.

Side note which led to our reading today: Jake doesn’t understand the sermons on Sundays, so he has been reading the Bible during the sermon. Last Sunday, he read about Jesus’ crucifixion and yesterday he read Matthew chapters 1-10 (yes, it was a long sermon. :)) Prior to the service starting, I asked Jake what he was going to read and he jokingly said “I should read this ‘haybikeck’ book”. I said “Habakkuk. Yes, that is a good book to read.” He chose to read Matthew instead which was the book that Pastor Ronny was preaching on.

Today, is our first day of school vacation and for 2 extremely homesick people, being in a hot house with no plans is quite difficult. So, in an attempt to keep busy, I mentioned to Jake we should do his laundry and then read Habakkuk. He wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but he agreed. After hanging his laundry out to dry (no dryer, here), we cleaned up our room some and proceeded to read.

I opened us in prayer and only tears came out with some words mixed in. I confessed my desire to be home with familiar and comfortable (temperature wise) surroundings and my desire to be a vessel yet struggling because of all the uncertainty in my life. Jake read Habakkuk’s parts and I read the Lord’s. We read all 3 chapters. I was familiar it was a good book, but I had never read it for myself, so verse 2:3 gave me some comfort knowing that all the uncertainty facing both Jake and I (and maybe you) is not uncertainty to the Lord. His plan will surely take place and there will be no delay!

Prayer Request: I guess it goes without saying, huh?

Men in my Life – Day 12

I am not sure if you could tell from yesterday’s post, but I was having somewhat of a bad day. Well, my bad day got much worse…

Yesterday, was the last day of school before a week off and no one really wanted to be there. We were all already on vacation mode. The difference between the U.S. and Guatemala is that everything is so laid back here, they decided to dismiss everyone a half an hour early. This should’ve made me happy, but I was feeling a sore throat coming on, so I wasn’t as cheerful as I could have been.

When we got back home, we ate lunch (well I didn’t because my throat was really sore by then and food wasn’t all that appealing to me). I don’t recall most of the happenings of the following few hours, but I can recall the discouragement that was consuming me; I felt like I had no right being in a different country when my life back home is in such a disarray (meaning no place to call home or stable job). I felt like coming to Guatemala was a huge mistake. I felt myself sinking deeper. Then, the lights went out…

Jake had gone with Debora to pick up one of her classmates because they were going to do some homework here at the house. I wasn’t feeling well, so I stayed behind. By the time, they got back, the lights were still out and Debora suggested she drop us off at local gas station/restaurant where Jake and I could be in air conditioning, could eat and be on the internet while she finished up her homework at her friend’s house. Sounded like a good idea, except the food was not good, the WiFi wasn’t working on my laptop and there wasn’t a bathroom. We had no choice but to sit and wait for Debora to come get us. While sitting there, Jake asked “would this be considered a problem God can turn into a Blessing?” Boy, I sure was praying that was the case.

What I forgot to mention was that before the lights went out, I was online chatting with Brian. He was trying to encourage me and let me know that God would take care of us and that we were doing what He had asked us to do. I was able to be online on my phone while we were at the gas station, so I was able to continue chatting with Brian. He was so sweet and continued to be the voice of calm and reason I needed because I was on a downward spiral.

We finally got home (the lights were back on by this time) and all I wanted to do was go to bed, but I knew that despite my mood and my discouragement this was an opportunity to show Jake that no matter what we are feeling, God is still in control. I asked Brian what he suggested we read in the Bible and he mentioned Joshua. I remembered the “sun stand still” story and decided it would be perfect to read to encourage Jake.

Since my throat was still hurting, I asked Jake to read Joshua 10:1-15 out loud for us. As he read, I was praying that the words would encourage him and let him know that God was in control. When he finished, I tried to summarize and say that as the Lord said to Joshua in verse 8; “ Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.” We shouldn’t fear because anything that comes our way, He will take care of.

My boy proceeds to say, “I thought tonight was a hoot!” A hoot? I’m here freaking out, all discouraged and trying to figure out how to encourage him and he says it was a “hoot”? My response in disbelief, “I am glad you thought it to be that way”. He was like “Mother, we were safe, in air conditioning and we had food. It wasn’t that bad.” Not knowing how to respond, we closed in prayer. Jake opened and began to thank God for keeping us safe, letting us “get out of the house”, giving us food, air conditioning while at the gas station and soft comfy beds to come home to. Through tears and a completely humbled heart, I closed. I thanked God for my son for being the tangible encouragement I needed and for reminding me that I don’t have to have it all together or even pretend that I do because He always does.

So, today, I still have my sore throat and am still wondering what life will be like when we return home, but what I do know is that as long as I have my men (all 3 of them), I will be just fine! As I type this, I am also reminded that in my weakness, not only is God stronger, but it allows Brian and Jake to be the leaders and encouragers God called them to be.

Father God, thank You for always being with me and providing encouragement and love through Brian and Jake.  Help me never to lose hope or sight that You hold each of us in the palm of Your Precious and Almighty hand!

No Other Gods – Day 11

I’m hot. I’m tired. I am ready to go home. However, what I have already learned in these 11 days is that we (I) need this time away. We need this time to grow as individuals in the Lord and as a Godly mother and son. We need this!

I am just going to jump into the prayer requests, if it’s okay:

1. Jake: That he places no other god before Him. Namely pride, greed, selfishness and laziness.

2. Jennifer: That I place no other gods before Him. Namely pride, greed, selfishness and laziness.

The Lord has great plans for both Jake and I. Not even here in Guatemala, but in  the bigger picture and I will  no longer be shy about it. Actually, I am claiming them in the Name and Beautiful Blood of Jesus! He has brought me this far, but there is still much farther to go.

Over the past several months, I have learned that my biggest vice is idolatry. Examples: I place my value or the need to be valued above God Himself; I place my child and his comfort above God Himself; I place my own will and desires above God Himself. I have too many gods and in my arrogance and ignorance, I have taught my son to worship those same gods.

Am I being too hard on myself? Probably, but I am tired of living, and in turn teaching my son, a mediocre life, when the God of all creation is only in the business of Excellence!

Wow! 1 Week Down!

Can you believe it has been 1 week since we got to Guatemala? I keep thinking that even though Jake and I are still quite homesick and miss the comforts of home…namely A/C (It is so stinkin’ hot here! I thought Jake was going to pass out from heat stroke today!), before we know it, we will be back home amazed how fast the time went!!!

While on the topic of Jake…the word for today is LOVESICK!! Not Jake, but most of the girls in 7th and 8th grade! He actually has a following…more like groupies! There are a group of girls who are dying for him to go into their class (7th grade), but Jake is enjoying being with the 6th graders and doesn’t like all that attention from the girls. Now, I am not blind and dumb to think he doesn’t enjoy it a little, but for the most part, it annoys him how hovering they are. I must also mention how much it is bothering me!

I know my boy is cute! He knows he is cute! But when all these girls are like continue to “just so happen” to walk by his class several times a day,  ask me during my lesson why he doesn’t wan to be in his own grade and hover outside the office while we are waiting for Ms. Lucita to leave, it gets quite annoying!!

In my 7th grade class today (which by the way, went SUPER great considering they were the ones I was dreading going back to), I had to clarify to these particular girls that my boy (nor I) are interested in him finding a girlfriend nor being distracted my any of “their kind”. Yes, I said “their kind”! They were all quite shocked and said that I was super jealous! I made it clear he is my baby and only the one the Lord has for him will be good enough…no, not even her!! I hope I made myself clear! Now, being home, I find it so funny how upset it made me…I feel SO BAD for the girl he brings home to meet me!!

Okay, prayer request time…

1. Girls: that they STOP hovering over my boy or they will have to answer to me!

2. Me: That I don’t kill any little girls.

3. Jake: That all of the attention from these girls will not go to his head and He continues to lean on the Lord. He is not as expressive as I am when it comes to the Lord, so I don’t know if there are any changes and/or breakthroughs happening.

Shallow Walking – Day 5

Today has been an uneventful day on the Guatemala front. However,  I had lots of time to start a new devotion today, The Power of a Praying Woman, and came across this I just had to share…

Five Good Ways To Tell if Your Walk with God is Shallow

  1. If you follow the Lord for only what He can do for you, your walk with Him is shallow. If you love Him enough to ask Him what you can do for Him, then your relationship is growing deep.
  2. If you only pray to God when things are tough or you need something, then your walk is shallow. If you find yourself praying to Him many times a day just because you love to be in is presence, then your relationship is growing deep.
  3. If you get mad at God or disappointed in Him when He doesn’t do what you want, then your walk is shallow. If you can praise God no matter what is going on in your life, then your relationship with Him is growing deep.
  4. If you love God only because of what He does, then your walk with Him is shallow. If you love and reverence Him for who He is, then your relationship with Him is growing deep.
  5. If you think you have to beg God or twist His arm to get Him to answer your prayers, then your walk with Him is shallow. If you believe that God wants to answer the prayers you pray in line with His will, then your relationship with Him is growing deep.

The study guide to this booked asked the question, in which of these ways would you most like to see your walk with the Lord grow deeper? For me, it was the last one. I often believe God to answer prayers for everyone else, but I struggle with believing that for myself. How would you answer that question?

Prayer requests…just 1 today!

That we may ALL grow in a deeper walk with God recognizing who He is, how much He loves us and finds joy in Blessing in us!

God Bless Teachers – Day 4

When I was a junior or senior in high school, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, so I spent a semester as a teacher’s aide in a first grade class. About a week into it, I discovered teaching was not for me. There were too many kids and being the control freak that I am, the chaos was way too much for me! Fast forward 15+ years and here I am in a different country, teaching English to K through 9th graders! You are so funny, Lord!!

Before going into the details of the day, I want to share how great it has been to share a room with Jake. Being so close, we can’t hide our emotions which has made it easier to share our feelings. Not that I am ready to get a 1-bedroom apartment when we get back, though! We have also, after my devotion, been praying together. He definitely gets a bit frustrated when I ask him if he wants to pray, but he knows saying no to prayer is pretty bad, so he does. Hey, whatever works, right?

So, back to our day at school. Beginning with Jake’s day. He was with the 6th graders all day without me and he had a blast!! He played, laughed and participated in all the events. Everyone was telling me how shocked they were not see the shy kid that they saw yesterday! PRAISE THE LORD!!

All students have a composition book for each class, but Jake only has one. It’s his everything journal. He writes down the words he learns everyday in it and also does some of the classwork in it. Today, was math. He did the math lesson with the class, but his great accomplishment is he can now count up to 15 in Spanish! 🙂 (He only could count to 10 before.)

I can only praise the Lord for His continued faithfulness and work in Jake! He is so good!

On to me…(I’m sorry these posts have been so long. There’s just so much to share!) Today, I was “Meess Jenneefer” (try to say that in your best Spanish accent! LOL!). I received my schedule and the lessons for each class; K through 9th grade. Yes, that is 10 grades and each class has English at least twice a week with some double periods. Whew! I am tired just thinking about it.

Today, I taught Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 7th grade. The kids stay in their classrooms, so I travel around to them! There is NO A/C in any of the rooms except for the computer room which I will probably never get to see by looking at my schedule. So, I was sweating, which I hardly ever do and, honestly, hate doing it!!

The smaller kids were really great! They were so eager to learn. The older kids were a different story. The strict “Meess Jenneefer” was present for them. Pray for me, especially on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays when I have them! Today, in each class, I mainly taught “Good morning. My name is”, the alphabet, numbers and colors. I wanted to get a feel for what they all knew before jumping into the curriculum. Needless to say, it was long day and when 12:30 rolled around, I was quite happy!!

The rest of the day will be pretty relaxing. I am helping Debora with some of her homework that is due tomorrow, so I should be getting to that! But before I do, prayer request time…

1. Jake: God is so faithful and so wonderful to hear our prayers! Today was a huge success for Jake and I pray that each day builds off of today and Jake’s relationship with his classmates, friends and the Lord grows much deeper.

2. Me: Patience. For the record, I don’t believe I ever asked the Lord for patience because I know the only way to gain patience is to be tried. However, I get the feeling, He wants me to learn it even if I didn’t ask for it.

3. Our skin: When at school, we have not gotten bit by mosquitoes, but in the house, we are getting chewed up. Jake’s theory is because we are so sweaty at the school that it’s acts as a repellent. Either way, bites can sometimes cause infections, so please pray that is not the case with either of us.

Please note: Even though I don’t mention them each time, please continue to keep our host family, the Medinas, and the staff and students at the Colegio Elim in your prayers!

School is in session – Day 3

Jake and I headed to school, Colegio Cristiano Elim, today! We were welcomed in such a huge way! There was a sign right when you walked in that welcomed us and each class also made signs to welcome us.

Thursday mornings they have chapel. It consists of praise and worship, but for those of you who have been to Guatemala, this is not your ordinary sing songs and hear a preacher preach type of chapel. This was an all out invitation for the Holy Spirit to come and fill hearts.

The music was nothing crazy. It was quite “normal”, but the heart behind it was amazing. At one point, the worship leader said he felt like he needed to call on anyone who needed prayer; anyone who currently has issues at home or school. He asked them to lift their hands so someone could pray with them. It soon became an amazing prayer time with teachers and students praying and crying to the Lord! Please note: These are kids from Pre-K to seniors, so to have kids who are outwardly asking for prayer was truly amazing and humbling. (Sorry, the common word I use to refer to Guatemala is “amazing”!)

The praise and prayer time was followed by a short sermon from Pastor Ronny (our host and Debora’s dad). He preached on how God is a God of provision. He referred to Exodus 4 where the Israelites left Egypt. One point that Ronny made that hit home was that although the Israelites may have been comfortable in Egypt, they were slaves and God’s people are not meant to be slaves. He then noted that it may have looked bleak or even like a punishment when they went into the desert. Even though they were slaves in Egypt, they were not used to the heat nor food or water not being readily available. In other words, they were not used to fully relying on the Lord. God knew they were not used to being so “uncomfortable” so He provided everything they needed; a cloud for shade, daily manna and the pillar of fire at night to protect them from the dangers of the desert. Lesson learned: Sometimes the place God calls us to go may not be as comfortable as where we were, but He will provide all we need as we need it!!

The English teacher was not there today, so I sat in with Jake in the 6th grade class. I had warned Jake that we would be the center of attention since I know he can overwhelmed easily and I didn’t want it to go bad. He handled it pretty well. Most of the day, we were surrounded by kids asking tons of questions or just staring at us. We felt like we were on display. Jake put it nicely. He said we are like rockstars! LOL!

It was a great day followed by some food shopping for some things that would make us more comfortable like cereal, milk, orange juice, etc. We are now home relaxing for the rest of the evening.

Prayer Requests:

1. Colegio Elim: Today’s chapel really showed me that God is moving in this school. It is a school with several underprivileged children who would have not gotten an education higher than the 6th grade if it weren’t for the scholarships provided by people in the U.S. They are several more in need, if you are interested in sponsoring a child, please let me know and I can provide details.

2. The Medinas: Our host family, Pastor Ronny (dad), Lucita (mom and principal of Colegio Elim), Debora (sister) and Isaac (brother). They have been so gracious to us and continue to try to make us (a picky eater and her extremely shy teenager) as comfortable as possible. May God continue to Bless them and use them as Ronny pastors a small church and Lucita administers the children at the school.

3. Jake: First day of school was great. Pray it continues to become comfortable and he finds someone who will befriend him so he isn’t so alone! Also, that he feels inspired to seek the Lord in everything!

4. Me: That I teach the children as the Lord would have me teach them. This morning I had a good devotion time and felt like I needed to pray with Jake (yes, I know I should be doing that at all times!), so I did and it was great to hear Jake’s heart. Pray that I continue to lead him to the Lord so he will soon seek Him on his own!