Wednesday, November 27, 2013

a letter to you.

I feel like I should start out by saying sorry. I have ignored you at so many instances. I have passed you by like you were not there. But so many times  I have felt your presence, seen your handiwork, and even heard you whisper your sweet promises in my ear- even while I was ignoring you. You would gracefully offer your hand- wanting me to take it with confidence- but so many times I would turn my back on you and find myself trying to save myself.

I remember the day we met like it was yesterday, but it was so long ago. I was in second grade and it was the beginning of December. We had been out to recess- I remember the cold wind and playing on the monkey bars with my very best friends. It was Bible time after we came in and it was about the birth of your son. That day my teacher asked if anyone wanted Jesus to be their personal Savior. As my head was on my desk, my eyes squintily closed, and my heart beating fast- my hand went up. My feet were heavy as I walked towards the desk- but I was so excited. I had made a decision, one for myself, one that would literally change my entire life. I held my breath and you filled me with new life. You filled me with dreams and passions and visions that I was far too young to understand. But I remember you confidently telling me that you would be there all my life, that you would help me understand these things as I grew older and grew more into you. And you didn't lie. You never do.

Each year I grew in you. Each year you taught me more. Each year the dreams and passions became bigger and deeper.

I remember you standing with me as I watched Jamie have seizures. I was so young and didn't understand it all- but somehow you whispered to me that it was about glory. I really do remember you saying glory over and over one night as I layed in my bed waiting for her crying and seizures to stop. And now- I fully understand that phrase glory. It was and IS for your glory. To make you famous- to show others that you are good no matter what. But as I got older- I turned in defiance. I was mad that my sister could not walk or talk. I wanted her to be able to shop with me. I wanted my sister to talk about school with me. But YOU made her this way. Why is the question that was happening in my years as a teenager. It wasn't fair is what my heart screamed but you were right there beside me even then.

I remember you holding my head and wiping my tears as I felt like a failure. Kneeling beside my bed alone in my house- crying out to you. Wanting you to make yourself clear. And you did. You spoke tenderly to a heart that was confused. I had to tell my parents that I would not be a nurse. The dream I thought I had since I was little wasn't really a deep rooted dream in you, but instead one that seemed to make sense. I had learned that nursing was not what my heart desired. And as I kneeled down praying out to you, you reminded me that my heart desired you and only you. I remember you being my strength as I sat on our couch and with tear stained cheeks told my parents that I really had no idea what you wanted me to do but that it was not to be a nurse. They held me as you hold me. They assured me that they were proud and would stand beside me.

Years passed by so fast. And the next step was that application. The one that you told me to fill out. One that would wreck my life. Because I had noticed you changing my heart in Peru many years before in 2005. You had showed me things I never saw. You were opening my heart, opening my eyes, and screaming things to my heart but ever so tenderly. As I filled in every blank- I could feel your assurance. "Yes, Ivy, this is what I am telling you to do." And I did it. I finished it. Because over these years I had learned to trust you. You deserved my trust. I had seen you provide time after time. I had watched you help the pastor in Lima find Zaida in the slums with only a small photo of her. I had watched you wreck my life and rearrange things. And my favorite thing you did? You birthed a homeless ministry out of that 1997 Mitsubishi Galant. You showed me how to love people so well. And even though I am still learning- I want to take this opportunity to say thank you.

I got an email about some obscure place that I would be serving for six months. And that day I got the confirmation that I was denied entry, I felt you more than ever before. You literally held me. Sang me to sleep in your way only Daddys know how to do. It was such a hard day. I questioned if I had really heard from you. But you reminded me that I was not crazy.

And then you sent me to an even smaller, obscure place that I learned to love. And you did so many things there with me. You loved the people through me. You showed me how to serve when I was really sick. And you healed me from a fever that should have killed me. That is something I will never stop talking about.

For years I ignored your love letters. The ones you wrote to me hundreds of years ago knowing exactly what I would need to hear. But it was hard to see that you meant them for ME. I didn't really believe that those words on the pages of that book were to me personally. I acted as if I was not worth it. Not worth those words. Not worth your sacrifice. And to be honest- I am not. But through your grace, mercy, and redemption I have become one of your own.

I learned to turn to you when my friends have abandoned me. I have watched you provide things that seemed impossible. I watched you hold my heart as boys trampled over it. I have witnessed your grace as friends walked away after time overseas- because well, they cannot deal with the emotional difference. I have seen you confidently walk before me, preparing the way that I cannot see yet. You have been a friend that never left. You have been a Daddy who babies me when I need it but shows me where I mess up.

Thank you for helping me sail my ship, even when like a stubborn sailor I wanted to do it myself. I am so sure of your trustworthiness. And proud to call you a very dear friend of mine. More than that I am proud to call you Savior and will live every day of my life proclaiming that to the world. Wherever you may send me, I know you are there. Thank you.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I had been in DJ for a few days. Had adjusted and my jet lag had finally subsided. I learned my schedule for teaching and realized I would have my mornings free. 

so with a little research online and directions for the "bus"- that term is used loosely because a small van full of sweating people and goats on top of people isn't what I picture when I hear bus. I went on my way. 

I put on a veil, threw a water bottle in my bag, and grabbed some baby wipes before I left my apartment. I walked around our building. And started through the market. One of my first times alone there. People grabbed my arms- wanting me to buy their stuff. But I was focused. A goal in sight. 

I got to the bus. Said hospital with a French accent and they sent me to a van a few feet ahead of me. I sat by a sweet lady and her baby. Making eyes with the baby- I prayed for English speakers to be there when I arrived. 

The bus stopped and the driver motioned for me to get off. I did and made my way to the little alley way. And I walked through a big iron gate. 

It was beautiful. And I immediately heard crying babies. I walked up the steps, hopped a gate, and was greeted with babies grabbing my legs. 

An orphanage run by nuns and filled with babies that parents literally threw away. I picked a baby girl up and found a place on the floor. And my eyes found him. 

His name was Abdurmon. He was swinging in an infant swing. Legs hanging down. A huge smile. And I immediately knew. He had cerebral palsy. I knew the signs- and I saw seizures come and go. His sweet mouth gaping open with flies surrounding it. And I cried as I lifted him up. His seven year old body being the weight of an infant. I fed him his bottle. Prayed over him before I left. And cried all the way home. 

I spent many hours in prayer over that boy. Many google searches over how to do things for him. And many dances showing the nuns what I meant- because my French was non existent. 

My heart aches not seeing him. Not knowing if he's okay. Not being able to bring him home.

And y'all, He's there. He's present. He sees, He cares, and He created him perfectly. As my anxious thoughts come over me about Abdurmon and the other babies I loved so much- I have to trust Him. 

They traced the lines of my face, played with my hair, and stared into my eyes as I fed them. They didn't have a mommy ever love them- but I did. And I'm confident if my future children are alive in orphanages - God is placing some girl who doesn't know anything but to rock, pray, and love them right in their path til I can get to them. 

Y'all, pray for the orphans. Consider adoption. Sponsor a child. He demands it and it's a perfect picture of grace.