Monday, August 30, 2010


I so want to remember as many details as possible about last week's trip. This doesn't surprise those that know me and know that I am all about the details. I love to share details and love to hear details from others. So I'm going to have to spread posts about this trip out over the next few weeks, in between other posts. That is how much of an effect this trip had on me. I have so many things written down that I want to remember. Even if it is only for me, compiling it all here makes sense. Some of it is all about Guatemala, families in Pueblo Nuevo, what took place there during the trip and plans that have been made for the next one. Some of it is just me sharing my heart and how God used this short trip to say so much to me.

I can't begin writing about the trip without telling you about the days leading up to it.

Several months ago I leaned about a women's conference (the Beautiful conference) that would be at our church the day I was scheduled to leave. Angela Thomas was the speaker; Kari Jobe was leading worship. I love Kari Jobe's music. LOVE. IT. So much so that I delayed traveling by a day so that I could attend the conference.

To be honest, I was more interested in the worship part than sitting through the speaking part. I was excited about both, but I could not wait for the "concert" part.

By the beginning of the conference Friday night, I was in full trip mode. Pumped up, prayed up and ready to go, or so I thought. And as always, constantly on the verge of tears, but refusing to let them fall. I have not hidden the fact that I do not like leaving Danny and Tommy here while I work in Guatemala. Only God is strong enough to make me leave them for Guatemala, even for a couple of days. So I am super emotional any time I have to travel without them. Even being away from them for a few hours right before the trip was hard, but for some reason I felt like I really needed to be at this particular conference so I reluctantly went through with it.

Kari Jobe opened with a few minutes of praise and worship. Wonderful. I couldn't wait until after Angela Thomas spoke for a while because then I would get to spend an hour worshipping with some of my favorite songs. Angela spoke for an hour. As I sat there listening to her testimony of how she got to where she is, I realized that I was going to hear something specific from her that I needed to hear and could not wait until the next day to find out what it was. Kari returned and spent an hour leading us in worship. It was an amazing experience. I do not think that anyone there could deny the powerful presence of God and in some way be touched by Him. A friend and I left refreshed and excited about the next day.

We returned the next morning anxious to find out what God had in store for us. Kari opened with another few minutes of worship. I had to work even harder to keep the tears in for fear that if I started to cry I would be unable to stop. Then Angela began speaking.

This conference was about how much God loves us. Simple enough, right? All Christians would say that we know God loves us. But I think we, as women, are often so hard on ourselves and sometimes we need a verbal reminder that the Creator of all loves us each individually. He thinks we are beautiful. And His loves for us goes far beyond just basic love. The God that brought us into being is so deeply in love with us that we cannot comprehend the depth of it. Sure, we say we know it, but He wants us to feel it. I was enjoying Angela's time with us, but it wasn't until close to the end that she said something that struck me.

"Picture God's arms as being huge blankets. He has you wrapped up so tightly in those arms. You are totally surrounded by Him, safe in His arms. Only your eyes are peeking out over the top. Nothing can harm you because you are His baby girl and He is protecting you and all the while screaming, "I LOVE YOU! You are beautiful! As long as you are wrapped in my arms, you have nothing to fear!"

Mental image. Me. Physically wrapped up in the arms of God. Peeking out over the top, confident that in Him, I am safe.

Very few people know the anxiety that I have been battling over the past few months. I won't go into detail. Only those closest to me know all about it. Intense is the best way to describe it. I have spent so much time begging for deliverance from it all. But I was too busy holding on to the wrong thing while crying out for help. I learned that my life long battle with fear had a stronger hold on me than I realized and it was totally consuming me. For a while I felt as if things were spiraling out of control. I know that I was in a spiritual battle and giving in to Satan's whispers...his lies and deceit. It was not the first time I have experienced this and it will not be the last, but I spent a lot of time trying to stand firm in my own strength while feeling like I was in a constant earthquake. All of my anxiety stemmed from fear and questions that I do not need the answers to. And I was terrified (TERRIFIED!) of this trip. So many people call me brave. I am not. A lot of people tell me that I am strong. Wrong again. I am just another person that believes following hard after God means walking through a lot and for me, it has meant often dodging big fears to get closer to Him.

As I listened to Angela paint this picture, I wondered what the enemy must be thinking. Surely he was not at all happy with the fact that the image of God's protection around us was taking the place of the images of fear that he had planted in our minds. It is so simple, but have you really ever pictured yourself physically wrapped up in the arms of God? If you haven't, I would encourage you to stop reading right now and take a few minutes to picture what that looks like for you.

At the time I had no idea how important this mental image would become over the next few days.

Kari returned to lead our final hour of praise and worship. By that time there was no way to stop the flow of tears, nor did I want to keep them in any longer. Two of her songs struck me in a different way. I will post them below because they say so much. I have been singing them for so long, but sometimes God shines a new light on old things. What had become just words coming out of my mouth and emotionless s0-called worship became new. I spent the hour in all out worship and prayer and rarely did the tears stop. By the time we left, my spirit had been so refreshed and the Lord used every part of the conference to fully prepare me for the week ahead.

Looking back I know that had I not had some very specific moments with Him during the conference, the trip would have been much different. It was an amazing way to start a 4 day journey back to Guatemala.

Below are two of my favorite Kari Jobe songs. (If you are reading this on Facebook, you can find them here and here.) Enjoy! :)

1 comment:

Heather said...

The conference WAS great, so glad we got to experience that together.