Yesterday morning I woke up early and looked out the window at the sun peeking over the lush Honduran hills. I moved my snuggly baby gently over in between two pillows, got up, and got ready to leave for the airport.
It was time to say goodbye to Honduras for now, and head back to our home in California.
For our full day of travel, I packed LOTS of snacks. Cheese, crackers, apples, and for a treat a big thing of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles.
Oh, how I was looking forward to that.
The first flight Wilder was a very busy boy and I was so thankful I had Lukas to help with all his energy!
For the second flight he had worn himself (and us) out pretty well. I was so happy when I saw his eyes starting to glaze over, and he went to sleep.
My baby was asleep?! You mean I get some time to myself?! I might even get to watch a movie?!
After entertaining him for hours the first flight, this thought was amazing. Am I the only one who really builds stuff up in their head? I was SO excited to sit there on the plane, eat my Pringles, and watch movies!
Time to myself! Junk food! Movies!
Too many Pringles later, and two action movies watched, my mind felt glazed over, and my tummy didn’t feel so good.
I had a sluggish-I-can’t-think-my-brain-hurts feeling.
After we got picked up from the airport, and we were riding in our friend’s car on the way to our house – I was thinking about how I had been SO excited to just sit there, eat my Pringles and watch movies.
I really thought it would “satisfy me”.
But at the end I didn’t feel satisfied.
Something I had looked forward to in anticipation and built up in my mind, quite frankly didn’t deliver.
Instead of feeling refreshed, rested, and rejuvenated, I kind of felt like an overstuffed slug on a log with my brain glazed over.
Have you ever indulged maybe too much in something and it didn’t really satisfy?
Have you ever thought, “If only _________” – and then you get it, and some time later realize it didn’t solve all your problems?
This might seem like a pretty random post, but as I was sitting in the car feeling gross, wishing I hadn’t eaten so many Pringles, and wishing I hadn’t fried my brain on too many movies, it struck me:
Sometimes we look forward to something and think it will satisfy, but after we get it, we realize it didn’t.
And sometimes we do the opposite, too.
Sometimes we build something up in our heads as too hard, when in reality if we just do it, it always delivers and satisfies.
And then as I was thinking these thoughts, I thought how I sometimes do that with my relationship with God.
I go in cycles. I’ll be on a roll where I wake up every morning, and the first thing I do is spend time reading God’s Word and talking to Him.
I’m refreshed each day with God’s promises and truths; walking in His love, thinking of Him throughout the day.
But then a period of time later, I’ve dropped out of the habit of daily time with God, convincing myself in the moment what I really need is more sleep – and then my perspective on life slowly shifts back to autopilot.
Which isn’t pretty – trusting in my own strength. Getting easily irritated. Being prone to anxiety instead of trust in the Lord.
Sometimes we think something is going to really fill our need, and it doesn’t.
And sometimes we avoid the One who really will fill all our needs.
How’s your daily time with God? How is your relationship with Him? Are you feeling satisfied or running on empty?
It’s so helpful for me to remember that my relationship with God is just that – a relationship – so how can it thrive if I’m not talking to Him all the time and spending time with Him?
I mean I wouldn’t go a week without talking or spending time with my hubby Lukas and expect everything to be all right!
Jesus says, in Matthew 11:28,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
I’m so thankful Jesus gives me rest.
And I feel like there is someone else out there who needed to be gently nudged and reminded of this with me:
When I was 12 years old, I lived in a tiny town in the south. Kentucky to be exact. Almost everyone in this town was white. I had never heard of anyone adopting, much less from another country.
But then a neighbor down the street adopted a beautiful little baby girl from China. I remember seeing her, holding her. And I remember thinking, this is awesome!!! This little girl didn’t have a mommy and daddy and now she does!!!
I quickly went home and tried to talk my parents into adopting. My parents, who already had 5 kids, and were in their fifties at that point. Needless to say I didn’t convince them, but that is when God put adoption on my heart.
When I was 12.
God put adoption on my heart so strongly, that in the same conversation that Lukas asked me to be his girlfriend, I asked him what he thought about adoption. He probably wondered where that came from. “So, what do you think about, you know, us…” He says shyly. And I respond with, “Yeaaa, so what do you think about adoption?” Something like that. Pretty funny when I think about it.
But to me it was a deal breaker.
Three years ago, we almost started the adoption process ourselves from Nicaragua. But then… God led our hearts another way, and soon after, I was pregnant.
I used to always wonder what people meant when they told me they were working on adopting.
But now I know.
It’s such a complicated process. Where you and your family are in life, the house you live in, your age and health, there are so many factors to take into account to get the process going. There are so many decisions to make before you even technically START the process.
Lukas and I are in our own journey right now hoping to start the adoption process this year. We are still praying about whether it will be from the states or another country. But we are so excited and are trusting God to lead us.
Which brings me to…
I have always wanted to visit an orphanage… to have the opportunity to just love on the kids, love on the ones who have been left, who have been hurt, to show them in just some small way that they are seen, that they are important. That they are loved.
So last week was a big deal.
I finally got to visit an orphanage that I have been praying for for months. My Little Lambs, in Siguatepeque, Honduras. You can check out their website here.
I walked up to the abandoned gate with a friend, and her kiddo started shouting out. A few minutes later, the kids started running up to us, so excited to see us. They wanted hugs, they wanted to play ball, they wanted to hold my hand. These 10 precious kiddos who just need alot of love, and need to know about God’s love.
It breaks my heart to think that these kids don’t have parents. No hugs and kisses from mom and dad. No tucking into bed at night. Most of these kids have suffered from physical or sexual abuse. Most of these kids arrived at the orphanage only with the ragged clothes on their back, scared, confused.
I look at them, and I think about how God loved us even when we were orphans, alienated from Him because of sin. How He adopts us into His kingdom through His Son Jesus.
How He made a way for us to be a part of His family.
And it makes me rejoice in my own adoption into God’s family. And it also makes me want these kids to know how much God loves them.
Marcus and his wife Martha have been with the kids on site for 6 years. I am so thankful for their faithful ministry.
They seriously cracked me up!
This kitchen was just built by a missions team. It is so much better for the kids and their needs! Bigger, more functional.
The Living Room, two flat couches. A friend just brought in a home made ping pong table the kids quickly moved into this space!!
The Boys room. Beds lined up in a row.
The Girls room.
Sadly, almost all the swings and tee totter are broken now, but that doesn’t keep the kids from having a great time!
Each kiddo had such a sweet personality. I can’t wait to go back.
One of their favorite games!
Would you commit to pray for the kids of My Little Lambs Orphanage? Pray they get to hear the gospel and would know the Lord. Pray that their physical needs are met. Pray for parents for them. Pray the adoption process in Honduras would get easier for them.
If you feel led to donate money, they have a Youcaring account set up here. If you would like to help in some other way, please shoot me an email! (contact info in the speaking tab)
Three weeks ago, I was in the lush, beautiful country of Honduras, living in my tiny little house, traveling into the wilderness every Sunday to teach children in a tiny village church, hanging out with different friends, and living a slower paced life.
I’ve been back in Los Angeles for less than three weeks, and it has been a huge whirlwind. Photoshoots, meetings, catching up with people. And in just a week the travels start again as we have decided to go back to Honduras for another month to pursue some exciting business ventures.
This is my first blog post for 2016… I purposefully took some time off to just REST. To get out from under my own deadlines and demands and just be still.
To say no to the pressure I put on myself to quickly get another blog post up for the New Year, and instead choose to think about the past year and really soak in to the life lessons learned.
2015 was a year of change for me. New businesses. New baby. New tasks I work on everyday, new roles. New countries.
LOTS of travel.
In 2015 we traveled to South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Washington, British Columbia, the Yukon, Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, and Honduras. All with a baby.
From August through December of last year I wasn’t home for more than 2 weeks at a time… that’s 5 months of travel.
Add to that having my sweet little baby go through all the changes that come with the first 6 through 12 months of life.
With all the travel, with all the adventure, with all the beautiful places I’ve been in in the past year, I think my life might look like “the other side of the fence” to many people.
But I’ve definitely had my share of struggles and challenges, and things God taught me through them.
I was in a Bible Study group a few weeks ago, and one of the moms was sharing how it could be a struggle for her with contentment when she sees people traveling abroad. She has two tiny ones at home and is in a season where she needs to be home.
Later that day I was chatting with Lukas and telling him how I was craving to be home more, to not travel so much, to have a little time to “nest” with Wilder. And then I realized I could have been the one that my friend had been talking about, and here I was, wanting HER life!
Each and every season has its pros and cons. The best thing we can do is ask ourselves how we can serve God BEST in the situation we are currently in, and choose to be purposeful with our time and tasks.
The important thing is to live on purpose wherever we are and in whatever season of life we find ourselves in.
Whether that’s being a mom to three little ones under 5. A busy business owner. Or a caretaker to an older parent. God has you where you are right now for a reason and you can trust that, and be purposeful in it.
So in the midst of having a new baby, learning how to be a mommy, and traveling for half the year, here are some of the life lessons God taught me along the way (and oh how thankful I am for them!)
1.I learned that God is my refuge.
The word refuge means “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble, something providing shelter”
I struggled this year trying to learn how to rest (emotionally, physically, spiritually) in unfamiliar places. Especially with keeping pace with the constant demand of having a little one to take care of, change, nurse, and train.
I was used to resting in my comfortable home in the familiar surrounding, but I didn’t have that option much of the time. I didn’t have my comfy couch, coffee table, and pretty window view to sit and decompress during his nap times.
So I asked myself some hard and helpful questions. How important is my house to me? Would I be ok without it? Am I really dependent on “stuff”? Are there other ways I can learn to rest and recharge?
Getting out of my comfort zone really stretched me. It helped me to truly believe – not just have the head knowledge – that through the power of the Holy Spirit I can be content in ANY situation knowing this one thing…
God alone is my refuge.
Not my comfortable home. Not my husband. Not the everyday familiarity of tasks and check marks on a to do list.
I knew this truth in my head but it became much more real to me last year.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. -Psalm 73:25-26
He is the only One in my life who never changes. He is faithful to me every single day, no matter what happens. No matter what I do.
2. I learned to have more endurance for this fleeting time I have on earth.
The word endurance means “the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.”
There were times last year where I wondered how I could get through the week I had planned in front of me. How I could be so drained emotionally with little recharge time and yet still pour into others.
I learned I definitely couldn’t do that in my own strength. I learned that many times living life purposefully is hard. Loving and serving others when you’re tired is difficult.
But I’m reminded that I have one life to live, and one life to give.
Our life here on earth is a race, and not an easy one.
Scripture calls us to run the race so as to win.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. -Hebrews 12:1-3
But how amazing is it that we don’t have to run in our own strength? God promises to use our weakness for His strength, and use us as we run to Him each day.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -1 Corinthians 12: 9-10
A few months ago my friend Teresa wrote this blog that encouraged me to wake up early even on my most busy day – ESPECIALLY on my most busy day – to spend time with the Lord.
It’s like arming yourself for battle. Spending time with the commander of the army before you get out there and fight.
This idea has helped me really look at each day and the tasks I have to do with more purpose. Which brings me to –
3. I learned to be more purposeful.
What am I really doing? What am I doing with my time? Life? Resources? Talents? What am I spending time thinking about?
We only have ______ days to live here on earth. Whatever that unknown number is, it’s a set number, and we only get one life to live.
When I stop and consider how fleeting my life really is, it motivates me to live purposefully, to make a difference. To seek satisfaction in my relationship with Jesus. To love others like He did. And to serve Him with my whole life out of love for Him giving His life for me.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will thenrepay every man according to hisdeeds. -Matthew 16:24-27
As I’ve been seeking to think that through practically, I remember that we live in a culture that exalts busy.
There are many things we could do but that does not mean that we should.
Saying a purposeful no can be more powerful than saying yes.
Are the little things I’m choosing to fill up my day with pushing me to the bigger goals we have for ourselves as a family?
Am I utilizing the conversations I have with people to encourage and love on them and point them to the One who loves their soul?
I think it’s easy to look at the New Year and make resolutions, but it just might be even more helpful to look at the old year and see what you learned. After all…
The situations you encounter and the choices you make in them day after day is what shapes who you are and who you are becoming.
Farewell, 2015. It’s been a good, hard, filled year.
Thank you for teaching me through your 365 days that God alone is my refuge. I can live each day with endurance in His power, even when I feel weak. And I can choose to use my time purposefully for His glory and to make a difference in this world.
What did you learn in 2015? How are those Life Lessons going to help you in 2016? Maybe you didn’t travel, and maybe you don’t have a baby, but we all have challenging circumstances we live through and I would love to hear what you’re learning!
I hope this little post encourages you to PRESS ON being purposeful. Stop, take a breath. What you’re doing for eternity matters.
My prayers are with you, dear friends. I would love to hear from you in the comments below.