Thursday, August 28, 2014

Baja & Beyond…[the ones that I've met along the way]

Dear Baja, Goodwill, Reynosa and the many homes that have held my heart, 

Loving you has always been easy. Yes, you might think it has been quite some time since my feet have graced the gravel roads, the red dirt pathways, the bustling sidewalks and the many racks of clothing. You might think the absence of years or maybe just mere days means that your significance has faded, that loving you has stopped. 

My cheeks have lost the flushed, rosy gleam of learning you and seeing you as something new. And sure, maybe my feet haven't stepped afoot on your home turf, but in the grand scheme of loving, that means nothing. 

My faith has indeed been tested a time or two, but you will see after I lose myself to my words, that there's always, there's always been you. 

You've been tucked away in the suitcases of the past-nudging me forward on into uncertainty. 

And well the truth is, there you will always be. 

I'm a different bird, a girl wounded by the pangs of rejection and weariness from worry, a girl that finds more peace in moving to a foreign country that meeting a new soul. And you might think that this means I am lonely, but I beg to differ...

You all graced me with your presence and your people and those people, they waited patiently me for me to find my voice. 

And with my voice, comes my story…people often peg my life as perfection, but oh I'm only human and so is my life. It's plagued with doubts and failures. It is full of questions and crazy risk-taking. It is ravaged with hard times and wondering where is HIS promised provision, but oh how He always comes through. 

But that is the ease that comes with this life of ours- we refuse to see the invisible tears, we refuse to dig deeper and realize that someone, someone sitting next to you needs love. Oh they need love and they deserve it. Look a little closer, will you. The woman with swollen eyes in the store, she needs you. The man looking for a hot meal, he needs you. There's invisible pain. There are invisible tears. 

And thanks to you the ones that really saw me, most days, I am 27 and fearless. Fearless, because God used you all to teach me that my heart was always meant to break the mold, my hands were always meant to hold and my feet were always trained to run a path, different and out of the ordinary for most. 

This doesn't mean I'm brave. I'm not looking for accolades, nor are they deserved. 
He on the other hand is my bravery. 

The more I have found in life, well, those sweet findings have always been among the times that were less about me. 

That's the key that was long ago spoken over our hearts, now forever bleeding red among His beautiful, perfect Word. Wasn't it? More of HIM, less of me. 

Joy has come from giving all of you more than I really had. And the beauty is that I have always had enough. 

Love never runs out. 

And faith, comes like the rushing tide and wanes like a dimming candle, but asking for Him to enter in-always assures a soul that all is well. All truly is well. 

Since I have last seen you, I've had moments of darkness winning, but light always wins and with Jesus, there is always victory. 

My hands sure have been empty, but my heart has always been full. And oh how I have seen love in you all, I've felt love to the tips of my fingers on the beaches of Baja taken over by seven children trying to sit in my lap at one time. I've felt love to the overflowing with customers showing up and adopting me, retelling their precious, beautiful stories. I've felt love in all of you and I've never stopped loving you. 

I couldn't be the woman I am, today, if it weren't for you. You have all impacted this heart of mine and people will tell me that I am the one leaving the impact, but friends when life has taken your breath away, when you have been adopted by strangers both Stateside and in a foreign country, you are the impacted one. I have been taught by the chocolate-candy eyes screaming Cristina from down the street, the women whose lives have been altered by so much pain, but who still tend the fields for twelve hours a day so that their babies don't have to go hungry, the family that I walked into among a million racks of clothing and the students both Stateside and those that call Mexico home. I have been taught by the hundreds of people that have walked into my life and some of those that have walked out. 

Four years ago, I thought I was walking into my dream. A few months later, my bags were packed and I was told that I was running away from God, that I was walking out of HIS will. And oh the pain I was stricken with as I stared the judgments from others in the face, but you know what? The ones that I loved, the ones that loved me- they never questioned me. They held me, instead. 

Look for those people. Look for the people that hold you. Look for the ones that listen to you dream with misty eyes. Look for the people that hold your hand and your heart and keep it for safe-keeping while you are away. 

You will have people that tell you to settle, to step backwards, because you don't deserve to move forward. You will have those people that do nothing but cause you to deem life to be nothing more than a pile of rejection letters and unrequited love, but dear one, you know there is something more. 

Listen, be still your heart. 
And just breathe. 

Look for the people that run behind and before you, the ones that enter your mess, and let them. Don't just stand there in your silence with the key in your hand. Unlock your heart to the ones that make your heart sing with joy and refuse to settle for the fear of life being nothing more. 

Four years ago, I stood on the other side of the door at five o'clock in the morning. Tears stood in my eyes as I acknowledged that the dream I had perfectly drawn was nothing more than a sketch. It was a reckoning of sorts and my, how it took time to get over that voice telling me I would regret my decision. Four years ago, and the sweet sanity I left behind is still going strong; she still carries out the mission. And I have managed to find my own…

But Oasis, Baja, you are with me every single day. 

You helped me stumble blindly into confidence and He used you to help make me brave. Without you, I would have lived off the assumptions that life was all it could ever be. 

Thank you, Jesus, for being more than a dream. Thank you, Jesus, for being the author and perfecter of my faith. Thank you for being the confidence I need to run my race. Thank you, Jesus, my heart has never been the same. And oh all praises to you, because it never will be! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

shared hurt among hearts.

i want to erase the hurt that bevels beneath the eyes of the ones i love.

i want to chase away the phantoms of guilt and shame that throw aways the keys to the hearts i hold dear.

and i find myself here.

it's a reckoning, because Lord knows, I don't know how to mend, i don't know how to fix what life has left behind as wreckage.

what i do know is that God didn't choose this.

he didn't choose cancer to latch onto my grandfathers.

he didn't choose to place souls into the pits of depression.

he didn't choose heartbreak of two, too young souls.

and that is where some people think wrongly…

they think that God chose pain and hurt and death for some.

but He chose grace, victory, and love for all.

He chose saving and healing, rather than walking away and leaving.

but i'm at a loss, here.

there are words that beg to be said and to be written, but all i can say is that i hurt.

i hurt for the boy who has always held quite a big chunk of my heart. the one that has been brave enough to ask every last question, the one that challenges and admires, the one that criticizes and loves me at the same time and never once left. the one that deserves to dream and doesn't need to settle. the one that has been in my every prayer for so many years. the one that i pray one day finds that love isn't overrated, that it does exist, that maybe what he is searching for is the one thing that he has always fled from.

i hurt for the one who is a piece of me, the one who doesn't deserve heartbreak, the one that is too bold and too good to settle, the man that will always be a boy to me, the one that needs someone to love every last ounce of him, to chase the adventure and love the spontaneous. i hurt that he has to feel this pain, that i've known all to well, i hurt that i can't just take an eraser and ease away the presence of pain.

i hurt for the superhero that holds all things together, that doesn't bend nor break, the one that faces life with feet built to run and a heart to love many. i hurt for the shoulders that bear the world over again. i hurt that i can't change things. i hurt that i have to love from faraway sometimes. i hurt that sometimes all i can give her thoughts is silence, that sometimes i can just be and that's all i know to do.

i hurt for the one the superhero that deals with shame and more pain than i could ever see in a lifetime, because he shouldn't have to feel it. i hurt that i can't just pick him and put him back together. that i can't hold out my hands and just carry him over into the light. i hurt that this eats him away into silence and that at times i don't even know how to act, but cower.

i hurt for the sister that needs and deserves the beautiful and the best, the one that is brave enough to speak up and fight for her heart, but needs someone to start fighting for her. i hurt that there is always someone holding her back and telling her big dreams are impossible and that she is meant to bandage every wound and hold things together in perfection, when really she deserves her every dream and to break free on the open road.

i hurt for my second grandfather falling into cancer, the man who stole my heart hanging clothes in a store eight or nine years ago, that graced my birthdays with cards and flowers, that left me with tears standing in his eyes, i hate to see him in pain and the thought of losing him.

i hurt for the sweet little woman who has the story of JOB, the one who tries to find an answer to every problem and strives to be the mother of her grandchildren. i hurt that her love never gets returned. i hurt that she doesn't remember what it is like to feel love.

i hurt for the beautiful young mother who needs a man to provide and love her to pieces. the one who tends to her children with the eyes of love, and has more needs than i know. i hurt that she feels alone and that no one bears the pain with her. i hurt that just a few miles make the seeing her harder, and the fact that maybe just maybe, she thinks i have walked away, too.

i hurt for the free-spirited woman that stole my heart reteaching me the art of a credit card machine, the woman that chased her dreams and came back with questions and with love and a readiness to care for the ones so close to her heart, i hurt that she spends day to day working and fighting the nudge in her that there is something more to this life. i hurt that she hasn't found what her heart is looking for.

i hurt for the blunt, tender-spirited mother-hen that took me in her arms that january, i hurt that drama is never far off and just when she thinks she has found respite something else catches her heart off guard and causes her to question if there will ever be enough grace to get a break. i hurt that i can't ease the lines of tiredness that are underneath her eyes.

i hurt for my sweet students that have lost parents and friends too soon, the ones that have pain and hurt hiding and cowering in the corners of their hearts and are too afraid to speak up, i hurt for the ones that hurt, that are overlooked, the ones that need someone to hear them out. i hurt for the ones that haven't known the love of a Father and the ones that are searching and searching for Him in all the wrong places.

i hurt for the shipmate that begs to be heard, even in silence, the one whose tender heart feels things all the more deeply than most and longs for reprieve. i hurt that i can't take away his pain and hold his heart close to mine, i hurt that sometimes my assurance of prayers don't offer much ease from the heartache, and that my feeble being there is often not enough.

i hurt for the brilliant blonde that stole my heart with one walk into her room with pictures of the mission field, the kindred spirit that begs to be heard and loved and that has walked down the roads with little light, i hurt that sometimes my words aren't enough and my love seems weak from afar.

i hurt for the best friend that questions what to do without having a clear answer and that is just fighting to bring God the glory in all things, i hurt that i can't just tell her right from wrong and that sometimes my speaking truth might seem a little callous in text, i hurt that i can't figure out things for her or make sense of life when it gets messy.

i hurt for the unnamed and the overlooked, the ones that i've met and yet to meet, and on nights like this the hurt is near, it surrounds me, and words fail me.

i want to take up the hurting and hold them in my heart until the hurting, the pain stops overwhelming their souls. i want to keep them all close...