Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Where thou art, that is home.

So I am sitting here, in one of those moments, when my heart and my head have caught up to each other in the art of retrospection. One of those moments, when my heart and my head realize the day is within reach, where I will move on. . . and into my story, that was long ago written.

It's a place where peace collides with nervous energy, where passion and dreams meet reality, where amazement gathers alongside the knowledge of where I am going, and where I once was.


fraj-uhl; Brit. fraj-ahyl]
easily broken, shattered, or damaged; delicate; brittle; frail:a fragile ceramic container; a very fragile alliance.
vulnerably delicate, as in appearance: She has a fragile beauty.
lacking in substance or force; flimsy: a fragile excuse.

Fragile. I have experienced this word first-hand. I have seen it in the eyes of my beautiful family, time and again. The fleeting moments of wondering when we'll have our hearts put together again. I know that my God has used this time at home to bring us closer, tend to each of our hearts-while gently reminding us of the importance of family. It's beautiful to have friendships, and I am not out to claim that they don't hold any meaning. Yet, God has taught me to open my eyes to home, instead of always running to and fro, to be constantly in the state of doing something.

The sweetest moments, in these, two years, have been sitting around the table, venturing to a much deserved Sonic or Starbuck's, the sweetest moments have been the state of just being, being with my family.

I encourage you to take a moment, look around at your home-it your's. God chose it for you. He chose the people for you. He knew what you would need, He knew who you would need.

Please don't ever discount it.

I have lost and almost lost family, suddenly. Life is fragile, as is your family. Tell them you love them. You need them.. Friendships may fade, but you will always have your family, you will always have home.

"But I wanted to say something about pain. Because even though I had absolutely no use for it at the time. . . pain turned out to be instructive later in a way that would change the lives of everyone. Not everyone-everyone, of course, but my everyone, the people I've been given...,
the ones who are mine to love.

Yes, pain is abominable, a nightmare, but pain reveals, when we've had to throw all else overboard, what is left in our personal sinking boat." Marisa de los Santos

All of our hearts have known pain, a pain-leaving you gasping for breath, a pain-learned slowly, accumulating over time.

The semblance of pain is real. It's in the invisible tracks of tears falling at random, the melancholic weariness found resting. . .just beneath the eyes. We've all known it. Haven't we?

Those moments when we are struck with doubt and fear, that we can't move any further. That surely, our Lord has walked on, only to leave us behind-to gather our pieces, fight the battle alone.

But you see, God is in those moments, when the pain is too real. Those moments when you have lost love, been awakened to the reality-that you finally had to let go, give it up. Those moments when a parent that has carried you, can't seem to carry themselves anymore. Those moments when everything you had planned, seemed altogether right, but just wasn't. I could go on and on. . .

Your wounds. Your pain. It all matters to Him. In light of it all, He is making all things, even broken things, new. He is making you new.

And maybe, that one you had to let go of, maybe you'll see the good in it, instead of the pain-someday soon. I pray you do. I believe it is a journey towards healing, but one day, I know that you will see why you couldn't hold him/her any longer.

Perhaps, your story might mirror mine, love lost-only to find a best friend in your mother. Love lost, only to fully see, that God truly, is enough. My heart doesn't feel it all the time, but it's so much easier to say it, now that I am putting my Maker in His rightful place.

The wound is still there, in that regard. In a way, I think that will be the case for our heartache, our pain-we'll always have a reminder, a scar-to tell us to look upward, to keep clinging to hope.

Won't you take a moment and rest in the hope that is rightfully your's? A moment to love your family, with all that you are. A moment to see that in light of it all, your wounds, your pain, you matter to Him.

The Author of your story is just waiting for your heart to see- He is enough- for the moments stricken with utter sadness and loss, the moments brimming with peace and joy.

He is enough for you, and all of your pain.

There's healing, I pray that you will begin to feel it,


Friday, March 4, 2011

In light of it all, I belong.

Part One:

So I have reached the goodbye state again, it's a state that I have known all too well in my life. And as always, it gives brings a new perspective to light- about what I am leaving behind and what I am venturing toward.

Today was my last day at the Goodwill...and yes, I have said that over and over, so many times that I can't even count the times that I have quit, only to come back. In fact, this time I just said: "I am not saying I won't be back, just in case."

Although, I have to tell you that today will be stowed away as one of my most beautiful memories, whether it is the last time I will grace the Goodwill as home again, or become an outsider, merely a visiter.

I was graced with a beautiful last day at my beloved Goodwill: cards, hugs, a chocolate cake, sweet company, love and much laughter.

God opened my eyes to see that He has used me. I have been broached with many questioning eyes, as to why I have returned in the past. People that just assume since you graduate, surely you will move on from the life of retail. I'll admit with those questions, my heart has been taken a back, every single time. I have felt not good enough. I have felt weak and helpless.

Yet, all of those saddening thoughts were gently replenished, with all things good. Today, God picked me up from those falls, He graced those wounds with His healing presence. He brought to light that I was doing something good, I was doing something for Him. The smallest of things were noticed, and I received an abundant amount of love to send me off.

I was able to eat cake and reminisce. I was able to trade Bible stories for Eminem lyrics. I was able to enjoy the people, that I was given to love. I was able to be love and feel loved. I was reminded that I will always have a home. I was given the chance to see that there was a purpose in this time of waiting, spent hanging clothes, calling the Goodwill home.

So with this, I remind you, that wherever you are, God is using you. You might not see it until you leave, but just trust it. Believe it. Otherwise it's easy to choose misery, to claim you aren't good enough, because you haven't made it in their judging eyes. With this being said, it's my prayer, that you will experience this kind of love often, because it, in itself, is truly healing.

Part Two:

I am beginning to see the crossroads, that awaits me. With the help of my friends, I was able to rid myself of the "accumulating addiction of things." Useless things. I garnered the courage to truly begin to hold all things loosely, in light of the kingdom.

Empty hangers, a floor completely covered in clothing, bags, hats, shoes and jewelry. I was able to release them. My heart has finally come to the realization that they don't have a hold on me anymore. My heart has finally realized that with God I am brave enough to release-not just tangible things, but people. Because it's all out of my hands.

I haven't reached the destination, I won't until I am sitting side by side with my Beautiful Maker, but I can truly sing with all of my heart- "take my heart, take all that I am." Whatever He needs me to rid myself of, I am full of readiness to give it all, to go.

"I mean, yeah, it's big. It's colossal. But I get it. I belong right where I am. That's an amazing feeling."

I smiled. "But you always seem that way. You always have. Like wherever you are, you're at home."

Monday, February 28, 2011

"it is only with the heart that one can see rightly."

What makes the desert beautiful," said the little prince, "is that it hides a well somewhere..."

I have been living in the desert for awhile. I have been walking alone for awhile. Hope has been lost some, along the way, but no matter how much pain I was bearing...I've kept moving. I've faintly kept searching. . .

These past couple of weeks, God has brought my friends to my home, not once, but twice. Not just one, but five in just a matter of weeks. I can't rightly find the words to depict the gratitude that rests upon my heart for receiving the gift of being, with people I love the most, people who know the real me. People who see my tears, before they even begin to fall.

It's a beautiful reminder, it's the hidden well-that my heart has been longing to stumble upon. It's the place of rest, refuge, my soul needed-was crying out to find. My God knew that this time of my life would be one of reckoning, unthinkable heartache, dire weakness. My God knew that my heart would be spent with tears, before their arrival and on after. My God knew that this would be a time of acknowledging the wound, and fighting to move forward, to one day, soon... to get there... where my heart needs to be. He knew that being with those I love would replenish the lost hope, speak life into my weakening spirit, would be more than enough.

Days were spent in laughter and nearing tears, a searched car, Goodwills, all-nighters, Oscars, imitations, a jam-packed car, weeding out the temporal belongings, mastering the art of packing, discovering music, local eateries, taking pictures, sitting in company over coffee, talking of the deeper and simpler.

I'll always remember seeing four faces and hearing their screams of joy at my door. I'll always remember what God has done for me, and thank Him for what He has yet to do. In the coming days, changes will be occurring, but even still, I will carry you with me.

I wouldn't have been able to stay at CBC- had you not been in my life. I wouldn't have been able to venture past this fresh heartache, begun the walk into healing- had you not been in my life. I wouldn't have 58+ empty hangers, the ability to release everything material, hold things loosely- had you not been here.

It's such a blessing. Friendship. I often forget how much so. Cause I allot myself the excuse of hiding out, more often that not. So with these two visits God has shown me that it's okay to need friendship. He has shown me that I need friendship.

Thank you for being used by Him, traveling all this way to keep me company-preparing my heart for what soon awaits me.
Sure, things may not be the same. We don't call the dorm home anymore, we aren't walking distance away. We have work keeping us occupied, we have countries on our hearts, love in our hands. We have surpassed those glory days of staying up late and the many bouts of Gilmore. We have nations to reach, families to keep, passions to find.
Yet, we have each other. We can look forward with hope, without living in the past. We can hold all things loosely, because He holds everything together. We can be still, because He is with us.
So when phone calls are few and far between, when hope seems to hard to hold onto, when you are standing in the desert-in search of your hidden well. Remember that I am here for you, that I keep you in my prayers, carry you with me. When the strength is lacking and weakness is robbing your heart of any peace, look up to Your Maker, with your honest heart. Tell yourself, that He is all you need. He is your hiding place, your single rose, a little water, your ray of light. Because He is faithful. His love never fails, and you, you are His beloved.
"People where you live," the little prince said, "grow five thousand roses in one garden... yet they don't find what they're looking for..."

"They don't find it," I answered.

"And yet what they're looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water..."

"Of course," I answered.

And the little prince added, "But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

There's a girl who lost herself in hopes and dreams, and likes to think that there is more to life, than it seems.
There's a girl who would give anything to pack her things and go, to the home, You have always known.

She's fought the stares of many, and faced rejection, time and again.
She's pondered the worth of her life, when all was too hard to understand.

She's fallen to pieces and picked herself up off the ground.
She's been lost and she's been found.

There's a girl that has lost things, she will always miss.
There's a girl who questions herself, as to why of love, she always been dismissed.

She's battled life in rhymes, immature to some, she's certain.
But that's okay, because she has always strayed from spoken word, to hide behind the curtain.

Each moment has been more than she could ask for,
and she knows, all of her knows, You have something great in store.

And, all of her knows, that it's time she come clean.
The valley of shadows, is where she stands, and she waits for You to become seen.

She's fragile, needs to be mended,
and have her heart tended.

Somewhere, along the way, hope became hard to hold onto...
and she no longer knew-

where to go. what to do.

Tears kept, hand held,
by her Maker, her Beautiful Saviour.

You, You, alone know.
What her heart feels too afraid to show.

You know much it hurts, to be told to let go of the one You love.

You know the pain of being of told to wait,
that You can't go, others will go in your place, and You know the hurt feelings that will cease to abate.

You know much it hurts her, to be without the knowledge of the someday-
she'll get to venture to the Baja, be there, to stay.

You know that this is somewhere, she's wanted to be for so long,
You know that this, this beautiful place, is truly, where she belongs.

So hard to sit here, and be told it's not time;
Two years have passed and in the eyes of most, she's in the same place,
that waiting state, with just another rhyme.

Her heart can't bear to let another two years pass,
in all reality, she doesn't feel that she could truly last.

A dire need to proceed,
A call she must heed.

Years, have come, and years, have gone.
She will hold out for hope, of a new dawn.

She's clinging to the belief that there is healing, yet.
Thankfully, You won't leave her, nor forget.

Cause without You, her life could no longer be revived.
She'd be dry bones, without the breath of life.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

it's here, where you find your heart. . .

I have been waiting for the perfect words to come. Ready to welcome them, with open arms, a pen to meet paper, an attempt to portray every emotion felt within the past week or so. The time hasn’t come and even as I am typing now, it doesn’t seem like that “perfect time” to write. Yet, there is a fear that life and the routine will get the best of me. That the words, the emotions felt- will all retreat before they are ever written, that they will soon fade from my memory.

Even now, although days have fallen in between my sweet time in the Baja- tears are falling because it feels as though I just left, moments ago. It was a short trip with a clustered few of people, most of whom were experiencing my home for the very first time.

I actually set out to be open to putting myself out there, reckoning with my shyness for once, rather than keeping hidden from all, but the children. It wasn’t easy, but a lot of this trip was a challenge for me. I was placed in a position where my language skills were needed, even with all of the mistakes.

I taught the children’s class every night, and Beatriz made sure I knew that she was there to help, if need be. Although deep down, I knew that I needed to try it, by myself. So the children and I embarked on the journey with Daniel and the lion’s den. . . A few mishaps along the way, but all in all, the verse was whispered and shouted, laughter and joy were evident in their twinkling eyes, surely at my mistakes, but that was okay. To be with them, was enough. Between teaching the children’s class and tarring roofs the days seem to have passed too swiftly, only to be rudely awakened to our last full day, Sunday.

Church was held and benevolence runs were soon after, another challenge awaited me. I went with Mark, Beatriz and company, I was the only one in my group with the ability to translate.. Beatriz encouraged me every step of the way and twice we were both left to falling into a heap of tears at the plight of the women we were visiting. It was though I was bearing Beatriz’ pain and she was bearing that of the women we were visiting. I can’t begin to even describe what that felt like. Nor what it meant, to sure, struggle with translating the prayers and stories, but to be able to understand nearly everything they said and to feel, truly feel their pain.

All of my dear boys and sweet Aurelia were noticeably distant from the church the entire time we were there, yet thankfully Saturday night, the Lord opened the door for me to visit their house with Mark, Monte and Misha. I was able to see Jose for the first time in a couple years, and though not much was spoken of worth meaning- it was such a joy to be with all of my dear boys at the same time, to laugh, with an ongoing chattering of Spanglish in the background, such a joy. Jose remembered our “bufanda” joke from years ago and gave me a beautiful scarf and Aurelia graced me with a blanket as we were leaving. Two items, I will forever cherish for the rest of my life.

Monday came swiftly after, and yes, I do realize that my story is mere rambling at this point, lacking any chronology, whatsoever, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. These are moments that mean the world to me, moments that I will never forget. And if no one finds any worth to them, that is okay. I know that in the days ahead, my eyes will fall upon this myriad of thoughts and find hope in them.

Monday was a day of picture taking and time spent relishing the company of beautiful children for a few hours, passing too quickly for me to get my bearings, before I realized it, the inevitable goodbye had come again. We gathered in a circle with some people from the church, held hands and spoke with our Maker, no tears had fallen until I found Aurelia in the circle afterwards, and then I couldn’t hold them in any longer… After a few moments with Aurelia, I turned to say my goodbyes to Beatriz, and she could fully see that I was a complete mess. She reached out to me and took me in her arms, proclaiming how special I was to her and God, how grateful she was for my work, and over and over, “No, te llores, Cristina…” The tears were unrelenting, because after these short couple of days an answer to prayer had taken place before my eyes, the closeness, the friendship, I had desired with Betty was a reality. Just knowing that, probably was cause for a great deal of my tears…

Tuesday we arrived at the airport, my flight was canceled- what should have been an arrival of 10:30 that night into Evansville, became a 10:45 pm departure out of San Diego, with a 10:15 arrival time the next day into Evansville. A good 9.5 hours I had the company of myself and the bakery that sat directly across from me, so with that time I curled up under the rainbow colored blanket Aurelia gave me and listened to the song, “Bones,” by Hillsong…and the tears returned to be my company, because I can say with an utmost certainty this was the hardest goodbye, yet.

I went to the Baja, this time, in need of a great deal of healing, in need of a date-foreseeable in the future of when I could return without fearing goodbyes, in need of close-knit community. I went to the Baja, [my sixteenth trip to Mexico, perhaps?] empty, heartbroken, in dire need to begin to feel again, unbeknown to all those around me.

And what can I say, but God surely knew my need. He knew that this trip would do wonders for my heart, and my dry bones spent, from traveling in the desert. He knew that a reunion with my beautiful people would reawaken what I feared had been lost with time, and that being able to share my story, tell of my passion would leave my heart encouraged to keep up the pursuit-even when it seems that I’ll never get there.

So it is with this trip I have found a little bit more hope, the strength to keep moving towards the day of when the Baja will truly, become my home- even among the constant prodding to reconsider my placement, give it all a little more thought until everything is completely figured out.

I can tell you with a certainty that God has aligned my heart with the people of the Baja for reasons known only to Him. Cause my life was all but planned to be spent close to home, in the shadows of my teaching mother, with a hidden voice- until God reached out and fastened my heart to a place, foreign to everything I knew, and bid me to come and die to everything I had planned . . . And learn to find my voice and begin to speak, to love and live fully in the heart of the Baja, among those I so dearly love.

Your answer is where you find your heart.

“Jesus is wild, amazing, unpredictable. He touches people He shouldn’t; He weeps with whores and dances with poor people. He heals what is broken. And he doesn’t talk an awful lot about doctrine. Instead, He talks a lot about faith-the kind that means you step out into the unknown. You are willing to try to love, to give up some of your power, to let go of control. To trust something. To even begin to believe down in your guts somewhere what God seems to be saying over and over. It’s your willingness to trust something that makes you well. You are enough. It is enough.”

“For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like the wife of a man’s youth when she is cast off, says your God, “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you…” Isaiah 54

Sunday, January 23, 2011

to be known

I went to meet those venturing with me on the Baja trip today for breakfast. I'm not one to enjoy social outings, it's hard for me to put myself out there in groups of people, even those I am closest to. I am often lonelier in groups of people, than when I am by myself, lost in a book surrounded by the comforts of home.

Yet today, was somehow different. It's as though God knew I needed to be reminded that He is taking care of me, even in the moments when I feel the most alone. He knew that this morning, especially, I would need to find joy, find enough hope so I could make it through the day. And He came through for me.

I was able to speak up about how much love I have for a place so foreign to me. I was able to listen of this coming week's plans and dream about that moment when I step out of the van and into home. I was able to forget the pain that has been ravaging my heart for quite some time and remember that in the midst of it all, God is still God. God sees me, He knows me. He is my refuge. When I am weak, thankfully He is strong.

I am returning to the Baja in six days.

Thankfully, there is still hope for me, because I am second. . .


Tonight I will set my heart out to be joyful on the smaller things:

  • Mom's text to me while at work: "OMG I just got a bag full of clothing from Old Navy for 12 dollars!"
  • Mom's spontaneous decision to venture back to Old Navy, just so I could go take a peek at the clearance.

Tonight I am grateful for my sweet, beautiful mother, because I am surely convinced I couldn't live this life without her.

Tonight I am grateful for my family, that never leaves me.

Tonight I am grateful for my family and my God, because life would be unlivable without them.

It's such a beautiful consolation to have a shelter of people around you, when you seem too fragile to walk any further. Thanks be to God, who knows just what I need, before I can begin to acknowledge it myself.