Monday, June 30, 2014

The Apple Tree

Just yesterday as I listened to some CDs that had been stored away for some time. And I was filled with joy and peace as I heard an old gospel song that has meant so much to me over the years. A song of invitation and reconciliation. A song of surrender to the Lord. A song that the Lord used to speak to me to prompt me to "come home"  and into His arms of love.

Coming home means so much to an individual. Maybe having spent time away on a trip, studying away from home. Coming home has a feeling of comfort and a sense of being. A place where one can be just who they are meant to be. 

In a spiritual sense, coming home is a feeling of joy and peace. A feeling of being completely surrendered to Jesus and His will for my life. No matter what I may have done, He is standing there with open arms, waiting for me. Waiting for you. 

Day after day I would listen to this song and I sensed a feeling of conviction. The Spirit continued to nudge my soul until one Sunday morning, the Lord called and I answered. I came home! Oh, the feeling of peace and joy that flooded my soul that morning, as I recognized the love of God for a soul such as mine. 

Four years later as I dealt with issues and struggles in my personal life, inwardly I slipped away from serving God and being completely surrendered to Him. At a meeting, the Lord used the song leader to lead this invitational song at the close of revivals, calling me back to Him.

And just as He saved my soul that first day, He was waiting for me with open arms, willing me back to Him. And He is waiting with arms outstretched for you! He loves you with an immeasurable love! 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Just like Ma and Pa were waiting for their son with open arms, Jesus is waiting for you. His arms are wide open, calling you home to Him, fully surrendered to Him, filled with peace and joy that only He can give.

Daily seek Him! Daily surrender your life to Him! Lord, I'm coming home to the peace and joy that only you can give!

Come home my child, come home! Find rest in the arms of Jesus. He is waiting for you!

Finding rest. Part of a series of "Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour." Find more out here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finding Spiritual Whitespace - A Book Review

Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Several months ago, I came across an email invitation to be part of a book launch team. The name of the book was what really caught my attention - Finding Spiritual Whitespace: awakening your soul to rest. I accepted the invitation to be part of this exclusive group and embark on this journey of rest. 

To be honest, I really wasn't sure what to expect as I opened the book. Not even past the introduction, I was struck by the vulnerability that Bonnie Gray expressed. In allowing her vulnerable moments to be penned out and shared publicly, she expressed her need for rest and gently coaxed others on this journey with her. Each story gave yet another glimpse into a soul seeking rest, followed by thought-provoking questions that opened the reader to find rest. 

The more I spent time using her experiences as a guide to rest, I identified with questions that she penned. Bonnie Gray, also known as the Faith Barista took life experiences, creating "whitespaces" and applied them to a simple, yet complex concept known as rest. 

Bonnie is not asking us to do something extraordinary; no, not at all. Rather she is prompting us to do something that even our Lord and Savior, in all His perfectness, yet fleshly body, needed to do as He walked this earth - REST! 
"And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into
a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening had come,
he was there alone." Matt 14:23 KJV
If Christ as a Supreme Being needed to rest, how much more do we as sinful creatures, saved by grace, need to step apart and find rest?

I encourage you to join us on this journey of finding spiritual whitespace, seeking rest!

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Reviewed by 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I Love to Steal Awhile Away

As I have shared this Spiritual Whitespace journey with many individuals, one of my favorite songs of calling me to rest is the following song:
Just to steal awhile away, amidst the hustle and bustle of life to seek rest and spend time with the Master of rest - we all need such moments. Take time today, how little or how big to just steal away and rest!

Join us on this journey!
21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Trip to Malpaisillo

The long-awaited day arrived on May 28th. The day had come for my sister and I to travel back to Nicaragua - it had been 2.5 years since I had seen many of these dear people. At 5:30am began the long day of travel for us, but we were excited and looking forward to the final destination. We flew out of Harrisburg at 10:38am, flying to Washington-Dulles, then to Houston, with the final destination being Managua, Nicaragua at approximately 9:30pm (CST). 
It was so great to see these familiar faces after a long day of travel. We headed to Malpaisillo, located about 1 hr 45 minutes. We arrived shortly after 12am, tired from a long day, but excited to finally be there. The next day started off with a bang. 
A Mother's Day party was planned for the mothers of the students who attended Colegio Cristiano Ezperanza Viva. A neighbor lady made a big pot of Arroz Relleno and the VS girls prepared a cake for everyone. Games were planned for the start of the party and  the fun was topped of with a piƱata. 
The mothers and their students.
At the current time, there are four Nicaraguan students, as well 3 American students(children of the pastor serving in Nicaragua). The mothers all had a great time seeing the environment that surrounds their children 5 days a week, as well as relating to the other mothers there. For me, it was great to be there and meet the new people that are involved with the mission and church there.

Friday evening the local youth-age young people came to the church for an evening of soccer. They played several games as it thundered in the distance. The lightning was so bright and was flashing all around. After the games were over, we all gathered around for a time of singing, before passing out sandwiches, snack, and a drink. After eating, they played for a little longer before heading to their respective homes.  

Saturday morning the VS girls and all of the visiting girls headed to Leon. After dropping Virginia off at Richard's, the rest of us headed to Poneloya for a morning on the beach. It was great to walk along the shore and spend some time in the water. We headed back just before lunch, stopping at San Juan Market to buy fruit for smoothies. 
Saturday evening we had another youth event, this time with the church youth and the single staff. Christine made a large pot of rice and sweet-n-sour chicken & vegetables. Wendy and I agreed to take care of the dessert/snack. We decided to attempt to make kettle corn, which actually went pretty good once we got the propane heat adjusted properly and the youth seemed to enjoy it.
The church sign
Sunday there was two church services. In the morning service, Wendy & I taught the children's Sunday School class, which I enjoyed thoroughly. In  the evening, we had a song service. It was so wonderful to be singing in Spanish again, united with other church people.
When we arrived in Nicaragua, it was very dry. Dark clouds would form from time to time, but often times it would not rain. However, there was a few heavy thunderstorms before our trip ended. The one storm we managed to capture the beauty of a rainbow as we watched the approaching storm - a reminder of how God promised to not destroy the earth with a flood again. 
Not only do the humans appreciate the appearance of rain, but also the animals gladly receive the rain. This little pig was running back and forth on the road, enjoying the pouring rain that was refreshing the earth and making a mud puddle for him. 

Tuesday afternoon was yet another afternoon of classes. This time it was children's classes. There were little ones and big ones all around. I agreed to teach the little children's class, which was great fun to be with the little ones who had tons of energy.
Wednesday morning, Wendy & I helped Christine make a batch of doughnuts before walking to Terminal to do some final shopping. Christine walks around Malpaisillo selling her donuts one morning a week and meeting new people each time. She walks around calling "las donuts, lleva las donuts." She found it to be a great opportunity to spend with other ladies.
Thursday morning at 3am, we headed to Managua to board a plane to bring us back to United States. Our time in Nicaragua had flown by, but I was challenged and blessed as I saw the work of God continuing there in Nicaragua. Seeing the potential of the many individuals that they relate to from day to day has challenged me again to let me light shine bright as I serve here in PA
The sun setting over Chicago
Blessings to you as you serve where God has called you. I will leave you with a parting reminder. A favorite song in Spanish. The translation is below:

The Apple of My Eye by Daniel Calveti
You saw me when nobody saw me
You loved me, I love
You saw me when nobody saw me
You loved me when nobody loved me

And you gave me a name
I am your child
Apple of your eye
Because you loved me
And gave me a name
I am your child
The apple of your eye

Because you loved me
You loved me

I love you more than my life
And you gave me a name
I am your child
The apple of your eye because you love me
And you gave me a name
I am your child
The Apple of your eye

Because you loved me
You loved me