This thing called life…

I am fairy certain that nothing stresses me out more than traveling. Rushing around at the airport from point A to B to C and so on with heavy bags and carry-ons , all the security check points, (some of them quite invasive), the courtesy phone to the free shuttle service that fails to work and so on. All of it really sets me on edge and I hate who I am in the heat of those moments. Cranky, anxious and stressed. At least my kids are older now and I don’t need to have them by the hand so they don’t run off. And, I really need to learn the art of packing light so the baggage is not so cumbersome to lug along.

I was ever so thankful for the other day when an actual person finally showed up at the courtesy desk at the airport and was able to connect us to where we needed to go. He seemed to sense how stressed we were and before he did anything he offered us chocolate! By being calm, cool and understanding, this man brought peace to a moment where I thought I was going to lose my mind at any second. And in talking to him, the stress seemed to diminish like the air going out of a balloon. I knew it was going to be ok. We were not going to be stranded at the airport after all! I could finally breathe and exhale. You know… I could really use one of those Keep Calm shirts…Keep calm and eat chocolate…or even better …Keep Calm and trust God. Because in those tense moments, it feels like trust kind of goes out the window and I temporarily forget that it’s all going to be ok, because God has it and he is in control, even if the situation makes me feel out of control. I forget in these overwhelming times that He is my peace, the one who can calm any storm.

thKW70H3MM

Lately I’ve been thinking about life and how fleeting it is. Not one of us is promised tomorrow. There are no guarantees when it comes to life.

Just this past summer my precious Mother in law got a diagnosis of Cancer. It’s the dreaded word that no one wants to hear. It seems so final. And it is the one word that puts everything into perspective. It makes you stop and think just how short this life really is. I won’t forget the moment she sat us down at Braeside camp when we were home in the summer and gently told us the bad news. It shook us up. “Dear, Lord, let it not be true!”

Then about three weeks ago, we learned that the Dr’s have given her a short amount of time to live. That news came as a shock. I guess deep down I believed she would pull through and be just fine. She just found out in the summer, so how can her time on earth be ending so quickly? There was no time to prepare for such devastating news. More time. We want more time.

But here is the thing. Only God knows the number of our years, months or days. Unthinkable things can and do happen. A bad diagnosis from the Dr. A car accident. A terrorist attack. One never knows. There are no guarantees. We are only given one shot at this life and the number of our days is ultimately up to Him.

The older I get the more I am realizing just how fast time flies. Years pass by, seemingly in the blink of an eye, and I can hardly believe I am already a middle aged woman. I really don’t feel that “old” or a lot different than when I was a teenager. I am basically the same on the inside. Though I do have a little more confidence than I did back then,and I am not as nervous talking infront of crowds. (Missions has helped with that.) But, I still have a lot of the same insecurities that I had when I was young. Oh, I see a bit of a difference when I look in the mirror. I see a lot of grey hair and a few lines on the face that were not there before, and I am thinner. But deep down, I am still the same me that I was umpteen years ago.

I want my life to count for something . I know my faults. I know I need to work on staying calm. It’s so easy to give things that we struggle with over to the Lord and then try to take them back again. But, if we have given it to Him, do we seriously think that He will give it back to us? Life is far too short to get upset or stressed over things that really don’t matter or to fly off the handle over silly things. It’s too short not to do the things that we feel God is calling us to do…or say the things he is calling us to say. Why do we put things off until tomorrow, when tomorrow may never come? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to die having regrets of things I wish I would have said, or things I wish I would have done, regretting missed opportunities. Just like I don’t want to die having regrets of things I have said or the way I embarrassed myself by the way I behaved when placed in a pressure cooker.

I think about my wonderful mother in law. Unless God intervenes, and he still could; she will soon be going home to be with her Lord that she has served all these years. My heart aches at the thought of losing her. The loss will be great for all of us who love her. We know that it will not really be goodbye…but see you later. Although we realize this, we will feel her loss deeply while we have to do life on earth without her. Things won’t be the same…it’s going to leave a huge hole in our hearts. There will be a lot of tears and broken hearts. My heart is aching for my husband who talks to her almost daily. What will he do without his mom? She has always been one of our greatest cheerleaders and encouragers and someone who was so easy to talk to. My children adore her! She has made a positive difference in the lives of many people. She is a prayer warrior and those prayers have made a difference. So many have told us recently how much of an impact she had on their lives when they were young, and still even today. She has poured into the life of many people who are serving the Lord because of the godly influence she had on their life. Her life has made a difference.

12316263_10156219120550125_1648101036676202692_n

So, how about you? Are there things that cause you to stress you out? Are there any changes you want to make in your life? Anything you need to let go of and give over to God? How do you want to make a difference? Are there unspoken words you need to say to someone? Is there something God is calling you to do? Have there been opportunities that you have let pass you by? Can I just encourage you not to let fear and insecurities stand in the way of what could be something great? If God is putting something on your heart….act on it. God will reward your obedience. Keep calm , trust God.

And a little chocolate never hurt anyone.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

keep calm

A blessing to give!

What a busy couple of weeks we at Schools of Hope have had. It has been a time of Giving!

Last week Pastor Chuck Price from Reapers in the rain and Pastor Steve Heathcock came down to Honduras to host a pastor’s retreat. But they brought with them another couple from Tennessee. Nick And Maria Maciuck. They pastor a latino church of Christ in Nashville. What a wonderful, sweet couple they are. I miss them and I hope that they return someday to Honduras. Their church raised money this past year to purchase gifts for ALL of the kids in our Tegucigalpa schools. Over 1600 gifts!

12294737_10153642071996049_3975227254085079400_n

We knew that Maria wanted to do all the shopping for it, and at first we thought that there is no way to shop for that many kids in one day. But never say never because the impossible was possible. All the gifts were purchased within a few hours! We were amazed. She was very organized and knew exactly what she was doing, as she has done this in other countries as well.

Once the truck load of gifts arrived at the church we were holding the gifts at, we immediately got to work organizing them by school and by grade. It was a fairly quick process all in all.

Day 1 of the gift give away, we were at Moises Starkman school. All the students and teachers were in the festive spirit all dressed in red! Surprisingly it went very smooth and was not chaotic! I wish you could have seen the kids faces and hear their cheers when we announced ALL kids would be receiving a gift! Dale also did a twenty minute program on the story of the three trees…and we had some of the children dress up. They were so cute!

11053068_10153642073296049_6039083100773901168_o

12339194_10153639931616049_6657756405322112312_o

After Moises we headed to Mary Flakes School which is about a block away. Things went well there too. I was impressed with how well behaved the children were.

 

Day 2. We went to Maria Elena. This is our largest school with over 600 students. So we had the children arrive by grades rather than arrive all at once.

12308304_10153642071551049_6186878599365762046_n

One of the teachers, Daisy, brought her young granddaughter, Angie. She was the sweetest little thing ever! She was given a toy too…a baby doll with blue hair, and how she loved her baby!! Watching her take care of her dolly so tenderly really made my day.

12289730_10153642070656049_3867406059124984562_n

Day 3 …The gift give away at Jose Cecilio. This is our smallest school…but the gift give away went really well here as well. The children loved their gifts! Their smiles were so huge! Even the grade six boys were excited!

12314115_10153642069776049_3157115193596696798_n

 

One can´t help be happy when you give. When you see the joy your giving brings to someone else…there is nothing like it! It fills you with joy! It is more blessed to give than to receive!

Then after all the give aways at the schools, there was a Pastor’s retreat on the weekend that was held in near by Vallle de Angeles. This is the retreat that Chuck Price hosts for all the Pastor’s in the area. Chuck has been dedicating the last 5 years to coming down here to Honduras and pouring into the lives of the men and women in leadership here. He has an amazing heart! He brought along Pastor Steve and the two of them took turns preaching in the services.

 

One final thing; the grocery stores here in our area of Honduras make up these bins full of food. They stock it with practical items like coffee, rice, beans, maseca, cereal,pasta, toilet paper…to name a few. People are then able to purchase them as gifts for Christmas. Food boxes were ordered and purchased for all the sponsored kids families this year. 170! The store packed everything in boxes and sent along the bins separately.

On Wednesday the  boxes were delivered and handed out to the sponsored children. I was sad because I was not able to be a part of that due to being sick at home and I had been looking forward to it….But from what I hear it went very well. Most children showed up to receive their boxes that will be a great blessing to their families.

12311271_10156246786225125_2431312397926363311_n

So, this Christmas season has got off to a great start!  I so loved seeing the joy and excitement on each childs face…it was beautiful!!