Quarantine thoughts on privilege vs blessing

This is yet another post that is extremely difficult to write and at this point I don’t know if I will actually publish it. I have been ruminating about these things for days now, trying to process everything and I am really struggling with it all. Writing is for me a way to process and sort through my thoughts…so for what it is worth….

This past Friday was my day out. The day I was allowed out of the house based on my ID number.  As usual I walked. This was going to be the year I finally got over my fear of driving in this country. But with our car being so unreliable, we never know when it will break down especially if it has to idle for too long while waiting in line to get into Walmart for example. A friend has kindly offered me her car…but again fear gets in the way…even though this would be the perfect time to start.

I have mentioned before that we live about a twenty minute walk to the Walmart and Pricesmart. We have to pass under a bridge where there is a police checkpoint, where the police check your ID and make sure you are following the rules. However as I neared the bridge I saw something new. Families holding large cardboard signs asking for help because they are hungry.  My heart! I didn’t feel right about giving them cash…and at the same time if I did have food on me at the time, how does a person give to one family and not the other? So even though I saw them, I continued walking, but my heart was in pieces.

I continued on to Pricesmart. I didn’t have a lot of cash on me. Only enough to purchase what I thought we needed. Only what I thought I could carry home. I knew I would need to make another trip out later on, because unlike the week before, there were no produce stands that day on the sidewalks.

As I neared the entrance to my neighborhood there was a family that I am aquainted with standing there by the road with their cardboard signs asking for help.  They live in the small wooden structures on the hill beside our neighborhood.  I have talked with a few of them while out for my walk. I have joked with some of the women about being super strong while they carry large buckets on their heads with no hands, to collect water because they have no running water in their homes. I sadly do not know any of their names but any of our communication has always been friendly. Recently I asked  one young mom how many people live on that hill, and she told me there are actually twenty five people who live there. All family. Dale and I have given them food when we felt in our hearts to do so. Even so, seeing some of them standing there, asking for help…how could I just walk past when I have relationship with them? How could I simply smile and acknowledge them, wish them a good morning and then do nothing while my arms are loaded down with healthy food? I thought of that verse in James.

James 2;14-16 What good is it dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t  show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ” Good-bye and have a good day! Stay warm and eat well,” but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

So, I shared with them some of my groceries. Although honestly with twenty five people I am not sure how much it actually would have helped.  Yet they were so grateful.

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Then with a heavy heart, I  began the walk up the hill home and literally cried the whole way.  I felt so broken. I couldn’t stop crying for a long time after.  It just felt unbearable.  I felt challenged in so many ways. There is so much need all around us. People who normally work to feed their families who can work no longer, because the virus shut everything down…people’s livelihood, their only means of supporting their families. I don’t believe that people would be out there asking for help if they didn’t need it. Can you imagine how humbling it must be? And yes there have always been those who have asked for help in this city…but not in our area and times are different now..there is way more need. More hunger.

We have been able to help out at different times when we have been made aware of specific needs…but in a way I guess it is different when you are face to face with it, when you are standing but a few feet away and looking into their eyes.

Later on I asked one of the guards about that family on the hill. I told him I worried about them having enough food.  He did tell me that they are receiving help from the military…but that there were 11 children that live there. Eleven little kids!

I felt challenged because I have posted or blogged about the ways that God has blessed us. Like the neighbour dropping off machateadas a couple times, or the fruit truck showing up at just the right time when we didn’t know how we were going to get food, or Dale being offered a ride home after the car broke down and the ice cream not melting. Or Dale finding the instant coffee so I could make a fancy whipped coffee drink.

Dale and I live in a safe neighborhood. Our home is comfortable. And even though there are times when things have been tight, we have never lacked for anything. We do feel blessed. And there is nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves. But in a way it feels a bit like privilege because I happened to be born in a different country. I have never known what it is like to stand on a street corner asking for food, I have never gone without food for days on end unless I was intentionally fasting. So I have felt a little guilty or frivalous posting about such things that may seem like a luxury when there are people who are desperately hungry. People who don’t even have beans and rice….

Psalm 9:18 But the needy will not be ignored forever; the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed.

Quarantine thoughts on peace and brokenness

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.

I just want to encourage you with this verse. To not focus so much on the storm that is going on in the world.  There are so many what ifs, so much uncertainty. And if that is where our focus lies, if our eyes are only on the storm and only on what the media is saying, and their predictions, we will quickly spiral into anxiety, fear and despair.  The voices in the storm will drown out the voice of God.  They will speak louder. Because this is something that we have never faced before, there are so many unknowns.  Things  change every day.  But these things are not unknown to God.  He is in control. He is the only sure thing in all this. Unchanging. The same yesterday, today and forever.  He will see us through. He will fill us with his peace if we cry out to Him, if we trust in Him.  If we fix our thoughts on Him, and His goodness, and all that we know to be true about Him, He will keep us in perfect peace.  Meaning He will attend to us, take care of us, hold us and sustain us. No matter what the future holds, we can rest in knowing we are held by Him during this storm. It doesn’t mean that we will no longer have times where we feel afraid or moments of sadness….but we will be able to bring it back in again and just rest in Him and the inner peace and joy that only he can give.

Psalm 94:19 When anxiety was great within me, your comfort brings me joy.

So let’s dig deep and get into the Word. We have the time now. Now that we are all isolated in our homes.  Memorize scripture and say them out loud. I have talked about this in another post a couple months ago or so. And I hesitate to share this but I feel like maybe God was preparing me for this time at the beginning of the year.  I felt led to memorize a lot more of the Word..not just the verses and in return say them out loud. (Faith comes by hearing) I remember asking God at the time…why now?  I heard very clearly from Him at the time and it kind of shook me up.  It was not an audible voice but just that sense in my Spirit and I just knew it was Him. He told me that I would need them in the days ahead.  I remember asking the Lord “what does that even mean?” I didn’t hear an answer back. Not long afterwards, Dale and I went through a trial where  we both felt wounded by the actions of others. Broken. It was so difficult. I thought that was what the Lord had been talking about. Now I realize it was this storm…(or maybe for what yet lies ahead) that he was trying to prepare me for.  We draw strength from his Word. His Word brings comfort,  life and peace to whatever situation we face.  So find verses that speak to your situation and memorize them so that they settle deep in your heart. I encourage you to read Psalm 91 every day and declare it over your homes, your family and your life.

Honestly I feel like the last few months or even year has been a season of brokeness in my life. It’s been months of the Holy Spirit showing me areas in my life that I need to work on. Usually through a devotional or a sermon that was so on point that there was no other explanation but it had to be God.  I remember one Sunday morning sitting in church the week of our trial I mentioned above. We were both feeling so broken by the events of that week and Dale commented afterwards he felt like that sermon was one we needed to hear.  It was on stewarding your thoughts, or I guess taking control of your thoughts. It was so timely. It also kind of wrecked me. I knew that God saw us. He heard our cries, but he didn’t want us to hang onto it or it woud destroy us.  I remember coming home and weeping afterwards and just leaving it with the Lord and trusting  him to mend the broken pieces and change the attitudes of our hearts, that we would be able to let things go when the memories came up. All that being said, I think it’s safe to say all of us feel a little broken by life right now.  May we not all allow the brokeness to make us bitter. May we allow him to heal those broken places and change us to be more like Him. From the inside out.

Romans 12 :2 Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. 

Also we may not be able to worship in our churches anymore…and that is probably the thing I miss the most.  However, there is nothing preventing us from worshiping in our homes. I have begun doing this and let me tell you that those times have been so rich. There is something about worship music that makes me feel close to the Father and strengthened.  And then there is prayer. Talk to God. Praise him for all he has done. Pour out your heart to him. He hears us when we cry out to Him. We can be real with him. Vulnerable. He wants us to draw close to him, to his heart. He wants to have a relationship with us. Oh how He loves us.

Zephaniah 3:17 For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. 

Psalm 91

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord. He alone is my refuge, my place of safety, he is my God and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrows that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in the darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand may fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you, no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands, so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample on lions and cobras, you will crush fierce lions and corbras under your feet! The Lord says I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I wil answer. I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honour them.  I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.

Ice cream and an angel in a blue truck…

Many know of our car issues for last number of months. The night the country was put in lockdown… I forget how many days ago now…our car broke down on the hwy on the way home from church. We called a friend whose boyfriend came to the rescue and towed us home. Our mechanic came sometime later and determined it was the belt and he gave us a temporary fix.

So, anytime we have needed to go anywhere we have walked. Last week when it was my day to be out, (based on the last digit of my ID number) I walked back and forth twice to get our groceries. One way is twenty minutes. I normally love to walk, love to get my steps in, so normally it’s not an issue, but it has been sooo hot now for a while now.. and groceries are heavy.

Then today….it was Dale’s day out. He needed to go a couple places that were too far to walk so he had no choice but to take the car.. And he bought ice cream! Something we have been craving since this all started. But guess what happened? On the way home..the car broke down. He had to just leave it and begin the thirty five minute walk home…with the ice cream and a few other items he had bought.

But then God sent an angel in a blue pick up truck who pulled over and kindly offered Dale a ride to our neighbourhood.  Meaning Dale didn’t pass out from the heat and the ice cream didn’t melt.

A short while later our friend’s boyfriend was able to tow our car back to the house.  Our mechanic is able to come on Friday when it is the day he is allowed to be out.  Also the hardware stores are now open again so if he needs any parts he could most likely find them there.

There is one other thing.  One of those extra things he brought home was instant coffee.  I have really been wanting to try making Dalgona Coffee. I keep seeing it on my instagram feed and I was not able to to find it at the grocery store when I was out a few days ago.  I honestly didn’t think you could even buy instant coffee in Honduras. I figured I would have to wait til we went to Canada at Christmas…if we can even go at that time. Dale is not a coffee person at all yet surprisingly he found it…and I was able to whip up the delicious iced coffee drink.

So even in the midst of all this, where things go wrong and not like we plan.. there is always something to be thankful for! There is always hope…even in a pandemic.  God shows us that he sees us and that He cares. Even about the little things like ice cream and dalgona coffee.   He is faithful and He is always good.

Numbers 6:24-26 May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show his favor and give you his peace. 

Dios Inagotable…

Dios Inagotable..

Last night I saw a post on Social Media that really resonated with me.

En medio de esta pandemia hay un lugar por el inagotable armor se nuestro Señor Jesuscristo que nos provee esperanza, paz, y salvación….Pastora Marta Lanza

To translate it is saying that in the middle of this pandemic there is place for the inexhaustible love of our Lord who provides us with hope, love and salvation.

Inexhaustible. I love that word.  I don’t know that in the English language I have ever heard that exact word as an attribute of the Lord and yet how true it is.

Definition of inexhaustible… An amount or supply of something that is unable to be used up because existing in abundance.

Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall down in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will sour high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

I’m thankful today that even though we may be weary, feel exhausted, filled with cares or concerns about today or our unknown future, that God never tires. Not even during this pandemic when it seems our entire world has been turned upside down and there doesn’t seem to be a near end in site.

I admit I have really struggled this week with keeping myself composed. I’ve done a lot of weeping. Not so much out of fear…but just a deep sadness. Brokeness. And yet I know I am not alone in this. The whole world is going through this at the same time…where all that we have known  and trusted in has been stripped away.  I do believe that God is using this time though…for us to lean into Him. To draw closer to Him. To give us his strength so that we would depend and trust only on Him when everything else has fallen apart.

He never grows weary or tired  like we do. He never, ever “runs out of steam.” His love and faithfulness to us is inexhaustible.  Inagotable. It never runs out and never ends. Always gives us strength.  Always gives us peace. There is always hope. So may we learn to trust. May we look to him. May we find salvation through Him. May we learn to find our rest in Him.

Psalm 62:2  TPT He alone is my safe place; his wrap around presence always protects me. For he is my champion defender; there’s no risk of failure with God. So why would I let worry paralyze me, even when troubles multiply around me.

Provison..

I wrote about this on Facebook a couple weeks or so ago but wanted to share it here as well so that one day I can look back and remember and look back on this season and see how faithful the Lord was and is and will forever be..

I need to just take a moment here and brag on our God. Tonight Dale and I were praying that when we leave our home tomorrow to hunt for produce..(on foot due to car issues) that He would keep us safe and that we would be able to find what we needed and that we wouldn’t be questioned by police as to why we were leaving our house during the 24/7 curfew. We finished up our dinner and evening devotions and began to walk our dog around our neighborhood. One of our neighbors came out of his gate and gifted us with a bunch of minimos. I just about lost it and had to keep my emotions in check. And THEN a pick up truck pulls up and he’s selling produce! So I was able to purchase tomatoes, peppers and limones…for just under $2 CDN. Now tomorrow we don’t really need to leave our community. We have enough. We don’t need to break the curfew to hunt for food. Blown away at how God keeps looking after us so abundantly.

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