Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Adventure // Keep Making Me

One of my new favorite places to write is the airport. I arrive early so I can get all of the logistics taken care of (to know me well is to know that TSA has a fondness for spending extra time with me #bless ) before my flight.

I settle in at the gate with all of my stuff around me, everything charging, put on my earbuds, and just like that a song finds me like a gift from God (because IT is), and the words come....like magic...God-type magic.

Today I arrived at the airport extra early - even with a detour to pick up something for my friend Amy who lives full-time in Haiti - with the hopes of catching the Sutherlin Family before they boarded their first of a few flights to France. That is right....after months and weeks of intense prayer, spiritual warfare like I have NEVER seen, and a rollercoaster with real estate closings and Visas.....the Sutherlin Family is GOING back to France permanently. How about that!?!?!?! {I missed them due to a parking snafu.}

My friend Sherri and I already have our plans mapped out (for the most part) to join them for a spell in late September/first of October for their Open House event to kick off the Restored & Renewed Ministry officially this October. I am going to be sharing, writing, and documenting their work and the subsequent journey because many of you will be inclined to USE their FREE services as you serve overseas in the mission field via a church and/or NGO. Others may want to help support their ministry with a donation. Finally, some of you may want to simply plan a visit to them while you are in France. All of those things are AWESOME, and I want you to have all of the details so you can pray and GO as you feel led.

That said, I have written so much this past 6-9 months about my personal struggle with #envy as I have watched dear friend after dear friend step out in faith, in ministry, in love to GO and do and serve and walk wherever God leads. I am in awe of my friends across the miles, cities, states, countries, globe that are doing the HARD things....but more, the faithful things. Living a life submissive to the will of God is hard, and I am deeply honored to lift them up in prayer, write and share their work with others, give financial support, or simply cheer them wildly from the stands. Let me pass from this world and others remember me as an encourager and a door holder for others; my daily prayer.


So....the Sutherlins are flying back to France today, and I am flying to Haiti via an overnight detour in Miami because #logistics and I am in awe of God - you are AMAZING and true and dear and faithful. Six months ago Heather S. and I were wondering if she would ever get back to France and I was bemoaning if I would ever make it back to Haiti. To see us today, you would never know the tears and prayers and shouting at God (or for that matter, whoever was in shouting distance) that has gone on with us two. I mean #seriously - God loves us and is beyond faithful; more than either of us deserves.

So....that was a MAJOR digression, but we are a couple of women who back in June 2012 wondered what in the world could or would God ever do with us.....and these days, well....WOW.

The song.

I am in the car on the way to the airport with SiriusXM radio on and "Keep Making Me" by Sidewalk Prophets comes on; I know this because suddenly it hit me that I was singing it at the top of my lungs. Around the final verse I knew that this was THE song for the trip. Have I ever mentioned my Haiti Playlist on my iPod? Maybe not in awhile because Apple erased it during one of their upgrades, and I am still bitter (clearly). Well the playlist was all of the songs that God gave me on or during my Haiti trips so that when I came home, I could meet Him....THERE in worship. So I had wondered what song he would give me this trip, and he didn't even wait for me to get to the airport. Listen to the song and let the words wash over you.

Keep Making Me

 
Make me broken
So I can be healed
‘Cause I’m so calloused
And now I can’t feel
I want to run to You
With heart wide open
Make me broken
 
Make me empty
So I can be filled
‘Cause I’m still holding
Onto my will
And I’m completed
When you are with me
Make me empty
 
‘Til you are my one desire
‘Til you are my one true love
‘Til you are my breath, my everything
Lord, please keep making me
 
Make me lonely
So I can be yours
‘Til I want no one
More than You, lord
‘Cause in the darkness
I know you will hold me
Make me lonely
 
‘Til you are my one desire
‘Til you are my one true love
‘Til you are my breath, my everything
Lord, please keep making me
 
‘Til you are my one desire
‘Til you are my one true love
‘Til you are my breath, my everything
Lord, please keep making
I know you keep making
Lord, please keep making me
 
Songwriters: SAM MIZELL, DAVID FREY, BEN MCDONALD
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., MUSIC SERVICES, INC.
 
 
Let me tell you that I have lived every word of this song. I have lived EVERY word. I have prayed every word to God. I have felt the heartbreak that comes from living these words out. I still hold the desire to LIVE them out.
 
While I was in Israel last Oct/Nov 2016, I purchased a ring in Jerusalem that on the outside has "where you go I will go" in Hebrew, and on the inside I had engraved the date I was (re)baptized in the Jordan River and the words "Jesus + Heather" because I felt called in my heart to do it. I have worn it every day since. There is a lot more to that story, but....fast forward to my flight to Colorado in April for Captivating...I am re-reading my Captivating 2012 journal and I stop cold when I read the words I heard God say to me that final day "....where you go I will go....." and with that, I die (in a good way) inside. You have to remember that this was before I had ever heard of Global Orphan Project, Haiti, Israel, or any of the number of adventures he has taken me on since 2012. I could NOT have imagined what God had in store for me when I heard those words. NOT by any stretch of the imagination.
 
To hear those words today....."....'til you are my one desire, 'til you are my one true love, 'til you are my breath, my everything, Lord, please keep making me..." causes chills to run COMPLETELY over me.
 
THAT is the adventure I have been on since 2012. That is the heart of all of the letting go, taking up, purging (#threeyearpurgefest ), adventures in foreign lands to foreign circumstances next door, counseling, entrepreneurship, writing, IF, Captivating, and on and on.
 
Lord, please keep making me.
 
....until you are my one desire.
 
I don't know why I had a run of bad luck in getting back to Haiti this past two years. I don't know why it worked out THIS time. The timing odd as it is the four year anniversary of my first trip to Haiti. I don't know why God has blessed me with work that I love (though it makes me INSANE at times). I don't know why he has given me so many heart adventures these past four years or has rolled out so many for the upcoming months. I don't know why any of the challenges, blessings, or adventures have come to me and my one life.....BUT I do know that I want to live out my one true desire, and I want that one true desire to be God. I want to trust him with my everything - whatever everything might be. I want to leave it all on the field so that when I take my last breath, I know that I did all I could for him....and that on the other side of that breath I will be standing before him. I say that ironically sitting here on a hard chair in the airport with my back suddenly aching, and I can almost hear God ask, "Even if there is pain?" *pause* "Yes Lord. Even if there is pain."
 
Phew.
 
I needed to take a minute and let that sink in. That last few sentences took my breath.
 
*deep breath*
 
There it is.
 
Whatever IT is....I need to be willing to give THAT up.
 
Am I? Are you?
 
What I know....keep making the next first step and trusting God with it and everything that comes as a result.
 
The next first step.
 
Haiti here I come.
 
*Four years ago yesterday I flew to Haiti for the first time. It came after a year of being prodded by two different friends; I finally relented and three reschedules later I hopped on a plane. The rest is history. Of all of the things that have changed me this past 4-5 years, Haiti is in the top three, if not the top; difficult choice. Someday there is going to be a book and in that book there will be a chapter about Haiti because it has changed my relationship with God, with people, my work, and mostly it changed my heart. In the same way people talk about the change after a heart-bypass surgery, I talk about Haiti. In counseling, as part of prep for doing EMDR, your counselor will discover your "happy place" so that when things go askew, they can "normalize" (not the official term) you/bring you back to center. My happy place: the third story balcony overlooking the next door orphanage at sunrise (the most spectacular vision you have ever witnessed....the sun softly rising behind the mountains and then as the sun crests it becomes a FIREBALL in the sky) listening to the kids singing as they rise and get ready for the day. OMG.....you cannot EVEN imagine it. Tears come as I even TYPE the words; time machine it is. Friday morning at sunrise I will be in my happy place, and I am breathless even typing the words. There are places and people that embed so deeply into you that they become part of your very DNA. I am here to tell you that Haiti is that for me. It is in my very DNA. I love it with a passion I don't even understand myself. I add this footnote because somewhere out there a place like this exists for each and every one of us, and when you find it - whatever age or reason or circumstance - God will use it to make you or remake you - and you will never be the same....and don't worry about it.....it isn't about anybody but you and God...so relax and let God keeping making you....and enjoy the ADVENTURE.
 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Haiti. My Heart Breaks A Little More.

My heart has a HUGE capacity for love.

I know that.

Now. Certainly now. More than ever.

It is still guarded though....and easily confused or caused to flutter....it still can mislead me....and sometimes it goes MIA for awhile. My heart is a strange thing, and I am still learning how to understand it, let it be, and protect it...in a healthy, not harmful, way.

With Haiti, all bets are off for my heart. The closer I get to my trip, the more undone I feel. Let me correct myself...how undone my heart feels. I almost afraid, I am going to step off that plane in Port-au-Prince, smell the air, and start weeping. My emotions are just THAT close to the surface.

*deep breath*

Tacura // May 2017 {photo by Amy}

Last week my friend Amy in Haiti posted a photo of Tacura and tagged me with a "this is for you" and I am just staring at it - her thoughtfulness touches my heart and then there is this beautiful boy staring at me, this boy who is growing up, and I am missing it. My heart breaks a little more.

I am at a luncheon this week and I see an old love across the room and I am surprised, yet not, and last time we spoke was all wonky because he got weird, and then I got weird....and I am learning to love someone and yet let them go. Counseling and God have (and continue) to teach me how to "go"...and how to "let go." My heart breaks a little more.

We had a partner meeting last night and my heart came undone, and I wasn't sure why. It had gotten all weird in the discussions, and I got weird...and change makes us all a little wonky. My heart breaks a little more.

I am scrolling along on a social media app and see someone that once loved me so deeply that their love changed me AND changed how I love others, but time moves on as only time can and circumstances and geography change....and it all gets weird. My heart breaks a little more.

....and I could keep going.

My heart breaks a little more...and a little more....and a little more. What I am learning though is that all pain is not catastrophic, and that to love BIG is not the end of the world. In some respects, my big heart is my superpower. *insert laughter* Just like any superpower, you have to learn how to wield it....and also what is it's "kryptonite," and so it goes.

I didn't realize this as I was planning this trip to Haiti, but it is going to land four years to the week of my very first trip four years ago. Let me tell you those posts before and after that June 2013 trip are worth the read (you can search on the right hand side of my blog). My heart was contracting and stretching so much, I am surprised I didn't have an actual heart attack. Our bodies are AMAZING!

Here is what I know now that I didn't know then.....I was never ever going to recover from experiencing Haiti. I was going to meet people there who would change how I see the world, myself, God, family....everything. That God's plans for our lives - the things he wants us to experience with him - are so much grander than our minds can imagine. Mostly, that even when I couldn't breathe from crying so hard and thought I would surely die - that I would breathe normally again...and that what God broke open that day was a canyon worth of scar tissue on my heart...and it was ALL for my own good. He loved me enough to let me hurt.

Think about that.

My heart breaks a little more.

God is ridiculously good to us...and for us. Even in the dark days. Even.

Here is what I want for you....find the thing that you cannot imagine....and do that. THAT. God is in the BIG things, the little things, the scary things, and the beauty.

Hang on Haiti. I am coming. So...my heart can break a little more.