Two Words

Today I was over at La Casa hanging out with the girls for a little bit. I have to admit, it’s pretty frustrating not being able to really communicate properly. I want so much to be able to jump in and start building trust with them, but when you can’t understand their 1000 mile/hour Spanish, it can be a little tough.

So today I was “talking” with one of the teens who speaks absolutely no English. I mean none, and we decided that we are going to help each other out with our languages. She is fourteen and pretty new to La Casa, so I am excited about getting to know her better. So I taught her how to say “cool” because it’s pretty useful. And then she said asked me what the word “cake” meant (she said “cake” in English), so I told her, and then she said “cool.” I said (in Spanish) “two words in English!” and we high fived.

Let the connection begin.

No Failure Is Final

I am currently studying the book of Joshua (one of my favs!) and today I finished working through chapters 9 and 10. If you read my blog much, you know that the story in chapter 9 is one of my favorites because it is such a great warning to remember. But as I paired that chapter that I am so familiar with to the one after it, I realized what and incredible story of forgiveness and redemption they are together. If you haven’t read them recently, I highly recommend it, but here is a little recap.

Joshua and the Israelites were commanded by the Lord to take the land that was set before them.  Taking the land pretty much meant wiping out all of the other people in it and taking their cities. Not super fun for the people already in the land. Earlier chapters in Joshua describe the battle of Ai and how successful, with the help of the Lord, the Israelites had been in defeating that city. As you can imagine, news of that battle spread throughout the land and the people were afraid.

The Gibeonites were getting pretty close to next on the list, so they started making a plan. Their plan was actually pretty genius. They put on old, dirty clothes, gathered up some moldy bread, found some old, cracked wineskins, and set out towards the Israelites. When they got to them they told the Israelites that they were from a distant land and that they had travelled a great distance to see them (afterall, look at all of the old nasty stuff they brought with them!). Joshua listened to what they said, surveyed their old nasty supplies, and decided they must be from a distant land. So they made a peace treaty with them.

This is a problem because they weren’t from a distant land, they were from next door, and the Israelites had been commanded to take their land. In fact, there is a great verse, Joshua 9:14, that says “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.”  Woops. They looked at what could be seen, decided that their reasoning was enough to make the decision, and they totally messed up the plan.

But, a treaty is a treaty, so they had to stick with it.

So moving into chapter 10 we find the Gibeonites getting attacked by all of the other people in the land because of their stupid treaty that never should have happened, and Israel now has to go help these people that they were actually supposed to destroy. I can just imagine what was going through Joshua’s head as he and his armies were heading back to Gibeon. He had to be thinking that it was going to be a disaster. If he had only inquired of the Lord…if only…if only…if only….

And God could have said to Joshua, “You know, you got yourself into this mess.” But instead He says, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.” (vs 10:8) No mention of the previous blunder. No mention of I told you so. Just, don’t be afraid, I’ve got this.

And not only did Joshua and the Israelites go in and defeat these guys, but as soon as the other armies started fleeing down the road, God knocked them out with hail. The Bible says that more of them died from hail than from the sword!

The Bible also says that in order to properly defeat these guys, Joshua ordered the sun to stand still…and it actually did! It stayed in place about a full day. Joshua 10:14 says “There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel.”

So yeah, Joshua totally messed up by making that treaty. And yeah, he ended up having to back track and fight an intense battle because of it, but his failure wasn’t final.  He was still usable. In fact, God even thought he was worthy enough to listen to.

What failure are you hiding under today? I can guarantee you it’s not final.

High Tide

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

– Brutus (Julius Caesar)

It’s that time. It’s high tide. On such full sea I am now afloat. Today I leave for El Salvador, to take the current when it serves. I couldn’t be more excited! No looking back…no regrets…no wondering what could have been.

It’s time to go!

2013 Reading List

I just realized that it’s February and I never posted my reading list for this year!  I also have not started reading these yet, so I need to get on it! Here it is for those of you that look forward to this every year (I think that’s just my Dad…)! Oh and some of these are repeats from last year that I didn’t get to.  Also, I really love Stephen Ambrose.

  1. Tribes – Seth Godin
  2. Five Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter – Vicky Courtney
  3. The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief – James Speigel
  4. Washington: A Life – Ron Chernow
  5. No Way Down: Life and Death on K2 – Graham Bowley
  6. The History of Love: A Novel – Nicole Krauss
  7. Uncensored Grace: Stories of Hope from the Streets of Vegas – Jud Wilhite
  8. The Long Run – Mishka Shubulay
  9. Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany – Stephen Ambrose
  10. Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors – Stephen Ambrose
  11. The Mormonizing of America: How the Mormon Religion Became a Dominant Force in Politics, Entertainment, and Pop Culture – Stephen Mansfield
  12. Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions – Lysa Tyrkeurst
  13. How the Irish Saved Civilization – Thomas Cahill
  14. Families Where Grace is in Place –  Jeff VanVonderen
  15. Run With the Horses: The Quest for Life at its Best – Eugene Peterson
  16. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
  17. Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever – Bill O’Reilly
  18. We Sinners: A Novel – Hanna Pylväinen
  19. Detroit: A Biography – Scott Martelle
  20. Ike’s Spies: Eisenhower and the Espionage Establishment – Stephen Ambrose
  21. The Supreme Commander – Stephen Ambrose
  22. Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are – Kevin Leman
  23. Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times – H.W. Brands
  24. Wild (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail) – Cheryl Strayed
  25. Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing – Pete Wilson
  26. Room: A Novel –  Emma Donoghue
  27. Torn: Trusting God When Life Leaves You In Pieces – Jud Wilhite
  28. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church…and Rethinking Faith – David Kinnaman
  29. D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climatic Battle of WWII – Stephen Ambrose

Going Is Great! Leaving Is Hard…

This time of “in between” has been surprisingly difficult for me.  It’s kind of hard to explain because the excitement of moving to El Salvador and getting to see the kids of La Casa everyday is still very much there, but each day my sadness increases.

Going is great! I really can’t wait to be there! For so many reasons, but mostly because I know this is exactly where God wants me to be. I genuinely feel like my life has built up to this moment. I am prepared, I am called, I am ready. I am so ready!

But I will tell you what, leaving is hard. I didn’t think it would be easy, but I didn’t expect the huge sadness that I feel right now. I am grieving…and that’s ok. I was in the car yesterday and an old Rich Mullins song came on with the lyrics “hold me Jesus, cause I’m shaking like a leaf. You have been King of my glory, won’t you be my Prince of Peace?” Oh man, those lyrics hit me hard.  I had no idea how much I was shaking.  How much my soul is longing for my Prince of Peace. I am so accustomed to going at things alone. I’m a fighter, so I was fighting alone. But I so desperately need my Prince of Peace now more than ever.

My friend, Christine, describes this time as a paradox.  She would know because she is going through the same thing right now. She told me yesterday that she is praying 2 Corinthians 4 for me, so I went and read that today. I think the last paragraph of that passage is the best way to describe what I am feeling right now.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.