Rejection

Do you ever struggle with walking with the shadows of yesterday? Something happens that brings back to your memory something from your past; a past hurt you thought was long forgotten. That time when you were a child and were the last picked on a team, or the only one not invited to a birthday party. Or perhaps you are talking with someone and you know they really aren’t listening to you because their attention is elsewhere.

When I was a child I was very overweight. Because of that I suffered from self esteem issues. The hardest years were in grades 7 and 8. My parents moved us to a new town and my brother and I started a new school. The memories I have there are some of the most painful in my life. It took me years to get over the pain of being ostracized and rejected. To this day I remember their faces, their names. Yet, God has healed those memories and they no longer hurt. I have forgiven those who wounded me with their words and actions. But because of those years, I struggled with an eating disorder in my teens and twenties. Desperate to fit in, to be thin enough, good enough. That too God set me free from.

However, recently certain things have happened where I am reminded of events in the past. Take shopping for clothes for instance. While my weight has remained the same, sizing here is different. Having to go up two whole sizes is discouraging even though it is just a number and I am not a number. That is not what or who I am to Him. I am a daughter of the king…the most high God!
PS 139:17,18
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up you are still with me!

Recently I went through a horrible time with my daughter. Horrible is putting it mildly. It was hell on earth. I felt hopeless and overwhelmed. I could feel myself sinking into depression. I felt like a failure; like I was drowning. I was at a loss as to what to do and my stress level was at an all time high. Literally I just wanted to pack it all in. I tried reaching out to someone who had apparently been there, but was brushed off. I was told she was too busy and did not have the time to talk. Call someone else. Really? Really. I didn’t call anyone else for fear of putting my heart on the line only to be rejected.

Rejection. Reminded of the past. But this one truth I know. People will fail us, they will hurt us, disappoint us and let us down. But God is faithful. he will never let us down.
Ps 119:90
Your faithfulness extends to every generation as enduring as the earth you created.
Heb. 13:5b I will never fail you or abandon you.
Is 43:1-3
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Isreal, the one who formed you says , “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name, you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you go through walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up, the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy one of Isreal, your saviour.
2 Corinthians 4:9
We are hunted down but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

And Elisa? Things are improving. I have to remember that I was her age too once. I remember what it was like to move to a new town, new school. She has had to do that but also a new country where EVERYTHING is new. All the while her body is changing and emotions are coming into play. Unfortunately I have getting the brunt of it. “Hormotional” is a new word I recently learned and it fittingly describes the situation. God is giving me grace. Some days are worse than others but she will be ok. We will be ok. As long as we continue in his word, and seeking his presence, he will see us through and we will come out of it alive and stronger than ever before.

Our first Christmas in Honduras

Last night was amazing. Possibly the best Christmas eve ever that we have had with our family. We dragged our mattresses out to the terrace along with a small Christmas tree and tv. On each pillow I placed a wrapped gift…the traditional new pajamas on Christmas eve that are normally placed under the pillow.
We sipped hot chocolate, ate Christmas goodies and nachos with salsa, while watching Polar Express under the starry night sky. In the background we could hear fire crackers every few seconds.
The weather was perfect…not too cold and not too hot. The kind of weather you would have while camping in September back home. It was a very cozy setting.
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Just before midnight the fireworks began over the valley below. It was like one big giant celebration; the likes of which I have never seen before. It was incredible! So beautiful! They continued for a long while afterwards followed by more firecrackers that went off well into the wee hours of the morning.
Reuben our puppy slept through it all. Unbelievable. While the amazing display lit up the sky he slept the night away; not the least bit phased by the loud booms.

Today has been very different. While we have talked to our families on Skype (and we are so thankful to have that) there is still an ache and a loneliness in our hearts today because we are missing our friends and families.
Our first Christmas in Honduras is much harder than we thought it would be. It’s bittersweet because our hearts long to be home …but the new memories that are being made are sweet and we wouldn’t trade them for anything! Our kids will always remember the Christmas eve we slept under the stars!

There are some things I personally am thankful for this Christmas.
1. We did not lose power this week; unlike many of our friends back home who lost theirs for hours…many lost power for more than 24 hours!
2.No snow, ice or freezing weather to contend with. It’s comfortable here.
3. While I may be feeling the ache of loneliness today; I am right where I am suppose to be; right where God wants our family to be….there is no better place than that, right?
4.Fireworks on Christmas eve!
5. My three children, my husband and my puppy.
6. We didn’t eat Christmas dinner alone…we celebrated with new friends!
7.Most importantly I am thankful God sent his son Jesus. A king who humbled himself and came to earth as a baby, born in a cold, dark stable because there was no room for Him anywhere else. A humble beginning. The hope of the world. Born so that we could know peace, joy and life. Without Him there would be no (Christ)mas. There would be no hope.
8. I am thankful that I have that hope in my heart.

Luke 2:10-12
“do not be afraid!” he said. ” I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The saviour- yes the messiah has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign. You will find the baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth and lying in a manger”

The Miracle

Tuesday mornings are a highlight of my week.  The lady who leads the bible study I go to is very gifted at bringing out truths in the Word that I had never thought of before and  bringing the Word to life.  This past week we studied the 2 Kings chapter 4. There are two woman mentioned in these verses who received amazing miracles from God. We talked about them and were asked to ponder them throughout the week.  So having done that, I wanted to share my thoughts on the first woman below.

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Have you ever been at a place in your life where you feel completely empty?  Perhaps you are at that place now and feel like your energies are spent and you can’t go on.  Maybe you feel like you have nothing more to give. Broken. Poured  out.

That is how we find the widow in a passage of scripture in 2 Kings  4.  I can picture her in my mind. She is an emotional wreck, frantic, desperate, afraid and alone.  Her husband is gone. Dead. Her heart longs for him. She misses him.  But now he is gone.   He died leaving her destitute, leaving behind a debt she couldn’t possibly pay. He owed people money and they want to collect.  So after just having lost her husband, she is about to lose her sons too.  The creditors are threatening that they will take them as slaves as payment for the debt that was left owing.  How can she possibly survive?

This widow cried out to Elisha for help.  Elisha knew this man; her husband.  He  had served with him, walked along side him.  Perhaps they had even been  friends.   Elisha has compassion on this woman and  asked how he could help. He asked her what she had in the house, to which she replies “Nothing… except for a flask of olive oil.”

His request to her might have sounded bizarre but she did as he asked without asking, without hesitating.   It would have taken a lot of faith to believe that something good could happen from this act of obedience.

 

  3-4“Here’s what you do,” said Elisha. “Go up and down the street and borrow jugs and bowls from all your neighbors. And not just a few—all you can get. Then come home and lock the door behind you, you and your sons. Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside.”

 This widow  and her sons borrowed many jars from their neighbours and friends until there were no more empty jars to be found.  Then as she was told, she shut the door behind her, and begin pouring oil into the collected jars.

  Then a miracle happened! The oil continued to flow until all the jars were full!  She was able to sell all the oil, pay off the debt that was owing and there was enough left over  for her and her sons to live on. God showed up in a real way to this woman and came through for her at a time in her life when she was desperate for a miracle!  She had the faith. She believed and then acted in obedience.

 Do we sometimes limit God’s blessing by our lack of faith or disobedience?  Is He asking us to do something we don’t think we can do because maybe we think that we don’t have anything to give or to offer? What does He want us to trust Him with?  There are those times when we feel empty and alone that we need to just shut ourselves in so to speak with God.  Shut the door. Find that place alone with Him and allow him to fill us up….fill those empty places in our lives and hearts.  Sometimes we have to be empty before we can be filled and He will fill us to overflowing!

The most wonderful time of the year

Acts 20:35b  “It is more blessed to give than to receive”

What fun we had choosing the gifts for everyone; grade by grade.  By the time we were all finished selecting everything at the one store, we had filled seven carts. Seven carts full of toys for the children sponsored through Child Care Plus.  That didn’t include the trip to Walmart for the Christmas gifts for the older children where soccer balls were purchased for the boys and pretty scarves for the girls. All in all over one hundred and twenty gifts! A few extra were picked up just in case someone accidently got forgotten.

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Then a few days afterwards we all got together at the office and began to wrap everything. For amount of gifts we had, it did not take long a all. Everything was organized by grade and by boy/girl.

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Then came the day we were all waiting for! The day we got to hand out the gifts to these precious kids. They were all organized by their grade, lined up in rows. Less confusion and chaos that way. Not only that; but they were not allowed to open their gift when they received it.  We waited until each child had their gift and they listened to the Christmas story that Demaris read from the bible. You could literally feel the excitement in the air. The anticipation. The joy.  I don’t know who was more excited; the children or those of us handing out the gifts to each child.  For some of these children, this will be the only gift they receive this Christmas.

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Then…finally after we counted to three; everyone all simultaneously got to open their gifts! You can watch here…a short video posted on facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=556822024401657&set=vb.348296368587558&type=2&theater

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What a day that was. The joy that filled our hearts as we watched these young ones open the gifts that were chosen with them in mind….nothing can take that away.

 To the least of these

 

Psalm 72:3,4

May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful. Help him to defend the poor, to rescue  the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors.

Psalm 72:12-14

He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and needy and he will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him.

Last week our family along with Randy, Judy and some of the other staff members made our way up the mountains to hand deliver bins of food to families in the community we minister in. Twenty Eight bins were handed out that day. Twenty eight destitute families who’s stories and the way they live would break your heart.  We prayed for each and every one of them. Even my children took turns praying for families. It did the Momma’s heart good to see them minister in this way.

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Many of these families had lost their husbands or their dad’s due to murder or abandonment. And recently…within the last two years.  In fact one of our staff members who actually lives in that community also lost her husband a couple years ago. He left her her alone with two young children;  murdered for his bike.  Oh, how this young mom wept with other widows as she prayed for them.  Even while her own heart was breaking.

I won’t forget the young man that asked us to pray for his dad; then learning that his dad had taken off to the USA and they never heard from him. He left them to fend for themselves, never once sending a dime.  Abandoned.

Then there was sweet Milady and her family. What a precious young girl; the oldest of three. Her home made me want to weep. Run down, made of wood slats, not air tight because you can see the outside between the gaps in each slat.  Dirt for a floor. And oh so cold. Shortly after we arrived at her home, Milady ran off and put on her best dress. A pink oversized gown that hung on her,  ripped and falling apart at the seams. Her very best dress for her guests. She wanted to be beautiful. It was a precious moment.

Here is a photo of Milady and I taken way back when we brought the team down from Stratford….over a year and a half ago.

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Twenty eight bins of food were handed out that will help these families for a little while anyway.  It was a real eye opener especially to my children. To see so many living with little or nothing in such poor conditions…how can one not weep over this?  To see how they struggle everyday just to survive..

My son Ben noticed that even though they had nothing they still seemed happy.  Jacob said his world view has changed since moving here. Seeing for himself how others live here made him realize how greedy we as North Americans can be. “The more we have the more we want, and yet they are happy and grateful for the little they have”
Elisa felt heart broken and wanted to cry after visiting each home.

Psalm 67:5

Father to the fatherless, defender of the widows- this is God , who’s dwelling is holy.