Friday, July 3, 2009

The Hardest Post to Write

As I was on my way to the grocery store today, I popped a Third Day CD in the CD player and turned up the volume. Tommy loves Third Day so he was happily "singing" in the backseat when "Cry Out to Jesus" came on. I have always liked the song, but for the first time ever today, hearing it made me cry. The verse that says, "He'll meet you wherever you are", is what got me the most as thoughts from our trip and of the people we have grown to love as if they are family came rushing to my mind. For a week I have put off writing this post because it will be the hardest for me to write and because I'm still not sure exactly how much I should share here. I started this blog with the intent of sharing as many details as I could about AAB and all that goes with it, but there are people that love to twist my words and use them against me. It hasn't stopped me from posting yet, nor will it ever. But there are things that happen to me, personally, as we go along this path that God has chosen for us and I know that so much of it could help someone else that is in or nearing the same place in life. How much of "me" is safe to share here? That is the question I ask myself often. Tonight I do not care about being "safe" and I do not care if any thing that I say is taken and twisted into something that it was never meant to be. Right now, I just want to be me...not co-founder and executive director of AAB, not Danny's wife or Tommy's mom....just me. So for a moment, if you know me, forget that you do. If you love me, pretend that you don't. If you dislike or hate me for any reason, lay those feelings aside. This is going deep into our time in Guatemala and deep into me.

"He'll meet you wherever you are."

Three very different families traveled to Guatemala together. None of us knew exactly what to expect and we all were bound to have different agendas on top of being there to assess for Across All Borders. One family was there so that they could show their children their brother's birth country and so that they could learn more about the country in order to be able to tell their son about it when he is old enough to understand. One family was there to try to figure out exactly what God is calling them to do in the field of orphan care and how to go about doing it. One family was there strictly because they are founders of AAB so it kind of makes sense that they would be there. All were there because they love Guatemala and it's people. All want to help in some way. Without going in to a lot of detail about these families that we love with our entire hearts, I will say that He will meet us wherever we are and I am certain that He met each one of us in Guatemala.

He met one of us in a tuk-tuk through a child that reminded us all that the trip wasn't about us, but about Jesus. A woman got into a tuk-tuk with a bad attitude and got out a few minutes later knowing that God had just used her son to speak directly to her.

He met one of us in an orphanage through the faces of precious children with special needs. Through her tears, it was easy to see that He was at work.

He met one of us in Pueblo Nuevo as we toured the village. For months there had been resistance and for days before his heels had been dug deep in it, but there was nothing that could keep him from being shaken that day.

He met one of us that was determined to talk to the children. As she kneeled to ask children their names and ages in a language that she could not understand, we all could see that this child has been called to do big things for the Kingdom of God.

He met one of us in an empty field while playing soccer with the children.

He met one of us each time a stray dog passed by.

He met one of us on a rainy Sunday morning and He gave him the courage to speak on His behalf.

And He met me...every night when everyone in the house was asleep. Sometimes it was midnight on the floor of the bathroom I found myself in in 2007 because it was raining and there was nowhere else to really get away. Sometimes it was in the middle of the night on the rooftop terrace after waking me up from a peaceful sleep.

I've learned this week, after blogging through each day of our trip, thinking about what all transpired and praying about too much to go in to, that for each one of us what happened to our hearts went far beyond what we had planned for AAB, our personal agendas and our expectations. God must have been laughing again as each stepped off of the plane with our plans and left Guatemala (again) knowing that our plans simply do not matter. I cannot speak for everyone, though I do believe that every single person there was in some way touched by the hand of God and I am certain that things were made a little more clear to us than they were before we arrived, but for me, as JUST me with no titles attached, my soul was rocked...again.

You would think by now that I would be used to this. That I would learn to set aside my plans and go along willingly with His. You would think that each time He speaks, I would listen the first time. And you would think that every time I'm given a revelation about something that should have been so obvious, but wasn't and every time I have what some people in our group call a "Terry moment" that I wouldn't be shocked...but each time, I am.

Oh, this is hard for me to write. Lord, be near me....

While we were in Guatemala I gave the impression to some people that the trip wasn't going well. I will never say that the trip was bad because it wasn't. In most ways it was a wonderful trip and I could not have asked for it to go any better. The purpose of it was served. We did exactly what we needed to do and are now prepared to start our true mission in Pueblo Nuevo. But I was not myself and while I regret that, it is something that I am trying to let go of. I do not know when it started, possibly when we first arrived in Guatemala, but I truly was not "me" during most of our trip. Add to that that I became sick on the second or third day (or was it the fourth?) and felt horrible for the remainder of the trip and I was FAR from being me. Who knew that I would return to Guatemala and end up being sad, a little upset and somewhat bitter...and that was not just while we were getting ready to leave. If you would have asked me before we left for Guatemala what first impression did I want to leave with people and what one thing I wanted people to think of me, I would have answered that I would want people to know, without a doubt, after first meeting me and spending a little time with me that I am a true Christian that is striving to live the life He gave me according to His purpose. Sadly, I do not think that is what people saw. I am sure that they saw someone that loves the Lord, but I am also certain that some people saw the very flawed and broken side of me...the side that I would rather hide from the rest of the world. They probably saw someone that can be too judgemental and too hard on people that do things a little differently. And they may have even seen someone that isn't as big hearted and generous as she would like to be.

So what went wrong with our time in Guatemala was more of a personal thing than anything related to AAB. I beat myself up so badly after realizations like this....that is something else I am working on since I know that my Saviour has already forgotten whatever it is that I did wrong that week. But it still hurts to know that I may have hurt someone's feelings and I may have given the wrong impression.

He still met me every night and every day, even though I was too busy trying to hear His words for AAB instead of listening to what He was actually saying to "me". AAB is not my Saving Grace. Whatever we do means nothing if we lose sight of Him along the way. His grasp is so tight and He is not leaving our side, but for a moment (actually, for a week) in Guatemala I became someone that I am not proud of and someone that I do not want to be and I am praying, always, that the lessons learned on this trip will last throughout my lifetime and that I will forever remember that when all else is gone and I am down to my final breath, it will be just me and God.....only me...the real me. Regardless of what anyone thinks and regardless of what I think, that's all it is anyway...every day of my life....every day of OUR lives.

He is constantly meeting us wherever we are...we just have to learn to listen and truly follow. I am so thankful tonight and always that no matter how many times He meets me in whatever place I am in, He never gives up on my stubborn, sometimes deaf, frequently blind, resistant self.


Bobbi said...

I knew you were not yourself, yes really from the moment in the airport, but this was a trip about learning. Learning about what you want, don't want, can do,and can't do. You are being hard on yourself.

Let's talk about this soon---when I am home and my mind is cleared!
I miss you, and love you and your family deeply!! And, remember, you didn't do anything COMMY DID!!!

Katie said...

WOW amazing .. thanks for sharing :)

Vanessa said...

Terry, Don't be so hard on yourself!! Following through with the Lord's work is never an easy task but there are those out there who will always give you some resistance! But for each of them there are numerous others who will forever be grateful for the acts of kindness!! Learning is what this trip was about and by reading your post you have learned and now you can move on! I continue to pray for your efforts in Guatemala because the needs are numerous and they really do need AS MANY mission teams down there as possible!! HUGS! I'm here if you ever need to chat!