esperanza (hope)

{colored links will take you to my documented back story.}

I was wide awake and writing…

~~~~~~~

In complete awe of all that God has put on my family’s heart and so excited to see all that he does in the next few months (years)!!!

Already I can see (and absolutely love) that it’s completely out of my hands and in the capable hands of God.

He’s keeping me up tonight for a reason, suddenly I’m realizing that.

How easily we revert back to our old ways…as was made apparent to me today.

Today became about me.
Today became about having control.
And all throughout the day, I just felt totally off.
Grumpy, short, tired, impatient…

And while it is my 7 days this month.…STILL.

It’s just not okay.

And so the moment the kids were asleep….I heard Him again,

When I hear those words now, I listen.
I immediately grabbed my prayer journal, and got myself busy talking to Jesus.

He than began to direct my thoughts a different direction, away from my self-centeredness.
And I began remembering the unexpected miracle of my sudden change of heart and desire to homeschool.

He had a plan.

I was then reminded of the strong desire I had for my family to learn Spanish as soon as that change took place in our life.

He shows me…
He’s always had a plan.

It’s the little things He’s bringing to mind, and I hear him say….


“If you thought those little things were something, you just wait.  Be faithful and see.  Just obey and continue to say yes.”

And when I hear that, He reminds me of these last few months.
And because of what He allowed me to struggle with in all the questioning of my faith, it would seem that I have quite a bit of experience in obedience lately.

I can clearly see his Hand all throughout my life.
When you’re focused only on Him, I suppose that happens.

And then He continued to remind me….

..of the foster son we had and loved, and still love.
But knowing it wasn’t time, he wasn’t meant to be ours, and letting him go…
And yet that desire to adopt lingered still.

…of that need inside me to do more, to be used more, to step outside of my comfort zone but not knowing even what that could mean or where to start.

…of the conversations between Jimmy and I over the years, dreaming and hoping to take our children with us one day to do missions work again, only having no idea when, where or how.

And He allows me to see that where I have been then, in all those moments, needed to happen to be where I am now.

And all the moments I experience now, must also happen to be where God wants me for whatever else He has planned later.

And so I pray….again and again.
Releasing the burden of it all, handing it easily now, completely over to Him.

And then tonight, there came to mind a new word.

Esperanza.
Hope.
I heard it mentioned so often by the young girls of the DR, and it tugged at my heart.

I have that hope, and all I yearn for now, is to bring it those without any.
I want them to know that even though we aren’t perfect…

…with messy pasts.
…and a confusing present,
our future is ultimately with HIM…
the God of comfort and peace.
He fills us with Esperanza.

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It’s the same hope I now have for my family.
Hope that they will love more than anything serving God, obeying God, and even being uncomfortable for God, and finding it to truly be the greatest joy of their lives.

~~~~~~

And with that final thought, my eyelids began to feel their weight, and it was then understood just why He had kept me so wide awake.

I needed to be redirected.
I needed to be reminded, again, that this is NOT about me.

And slowly and peacefully…finally I drifted off to sleep,

Focused only on Him.

It really is so simple.

© 2013 “Le Musings of Moi”

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the orphanage prayer

I sent this email to all my family and friends last night
and then I woke up this morning and it hit me.
You all have become my family and friends too. 
You have blessed me with more love and support more than I ever expected. 
You have been with me on this journey, and so you need this letter too.
So here it is.
From my family’s heart to yours:
~~~~~~~
Since being home from the DR there have been a lot of tears and so much unrest within me.
I’ve laid in bed at night and looked at Jimmy with tears in my eyes crying,  
“It can’t stop here.  There has to be more for us….”  
And he promises me that there is.  
We are both well aware that this is our family’s purpose.  
We just didn’t and still don’t know exactly what that looks like.
I’ve been doing this 40 day prayer challenge….and with it, I’ve been keeping a prayer journal daily listing out my gratitude along with my hearts desires and prayer requests.  
I love this prayer journal…and already it’s allowing me to see God at work…in crazy ways..in giant God ways.
When I was called to go on this trip and bring Taylor, I mentioned in previous letters that it was perhaps just the beginning.  
And I was right.
When I left the DR, I knew I wasn’t done.
And so I prayed.
And journaled, and made clear my desires, but leaving it fully open to God’s ultimate plan.
One of the hardest things about leaving the DR, was leaving behind the beginnings of relationships being formed, and the trust that had just begun to be built. 
I never wanted to let a single one of those babies, children, or teens go.  
I wanted to stay and pour into their lives, seek to know their stories, and promise them I would be with them every step of their journey.  
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I continued to think of my most favorite child of all, Hendenson, who was being raised by his grandparents, and I wanted to know…should something happen to them, that I could play a part in keeping him safe.
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And so I wrote in my journal day in and day out: “Missions work, focused purpose” as well as “Orphanage.” 
Those were my two most consistent and strongest requests and desires. 
And yet with both I wondered, “Really, could He use me???  How???”
And then I was reminded of the quote from the book, The Circle Maker, where the author says: 

“God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.”  
And I know without a doubt, my family is called.
Then yesterday, Robert from Children’s Heritage Foundation asked if I’d could meet with him.  After an hour of talking, we realized God had put on both our hearts the same desire:  
“Orphanage.”  
Little did I know, he had already spoken with a local DR pastor about the need and ability to start one, and the answer he received on both was, “Yes, it’s a need.  Yes, it can happen.”
I can’t begin to tell you the passion and joy that welled up inside me.  
God was calling us to begin something.  
It may end up looking different than what we discussed in that meeting, but that’s okay.  

Robert said it best, “It’s easier to turn around a moving truck than to turn one that isn’t moving.”  
And so we begin the driving process.
My family is on board.  
It looks like I’ll be going back in June, hopefully with a team God’s designed, to begin the process.
And again, we hope to go back in December with another team to continue that process….
And then again and again, until prayerfully we have it up and going with people from the DR running it, and teams from Children’s Heritage continually going back to help.
My prayer is to be a part of this, and possibly spend several weeks/months at a time building and forming a community.  
We want to invest time into bonding with the children, and disciplining and building relationships the staff and potential house parents.
Who knows what God really has planned (thankfully He does!), but what I do know, is my family is being called.
We don’t know how it all will work, but I don’t doubt for a moment that it will.
And so with this email I simply ask you to search your hearts on where and how God wants you to be a part of this.

And above all things, we need PRAYER.


Right now CHF is scheduling two trips before the end of 2013.
  

One the end of June, and another the end of December.  

I’ll be going on the June one, and bringing Jimmy & (maybe) Taylor on the one in December (finances providing).

We’re excited to build and leave a legacy in Jesus’ name with all of you right there with us by our side!


We can do this together!!!
Love to you all.

© 2013 “Le Musings of Moi”

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here i am, send me

the last journal entry from my missions trip to the DR with Childrens Heritage Foundation

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Sometimes there is no running water.

And when there is, it sprays the coldest water my body has ever met.

Sometimes there are bugs and mosquitoes and heat that feels hotter than any sauna I’ve ever been in.
I never knew I could sleep so little, sweat so much and feel so filthy and dirty.
And yet, cold water, no water, sweaty and dirty….I am home.

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I have found that joy and peace I’ve so longed for. 
And I get to experience that with my son by my side.
I long to experience it with my entire family one day as well.

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{taylor sharing the resurrection story all on his own.}

Simply by setting aside the comforts and busyness and selfishness of my life, and taking the time to remember,
“It’s not about me….” 
I found peace.

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I was not created to serve myself and my own needs and desires. 

I have been living that life, and I haven’t been fulfilled. 
I have that life, and still I’ve longed for joy.
And yet here I am.  
Dirty.  
Sticky.  
Uncomfortable.  
And in the midst of all that, I am at peace.  
The tears they fall, but I am content. 
I can live without hot showers and the latest makeup trends…because I am at peace. 

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I am living out exactly what God has called me to be.  
I am walking in His perfect will, and it feels incredibly right. 
I am home.

So, where do I go from here, Lord?
Which of all these swirling feelings and plans are from you, and how will You use me?
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I desire to travel wherever you call me and hear the stories.
Experience the stories…
And then share the stories through my writing, so they too can know…
so they too can go and make a change in whatever way you are calling them.

I know, without a doubt, you have called me.

And yet I feel so inadequate.
But, this has to be my life.
I can’t go back and be comfortable knowing what I know, having seen what I’ve seen.
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So, here I am Lord.
Unworthy.
Unequipped.
Yet willing.
Send me.

© 2013 “Le Musings of Moi”

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whatever you do for the least of these

Another journal entry from our missions trip to the Dominican…the place that will forever hold my heart.

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I walked in and saw cribs filled with children older than my own, and I knew things would never be the same for me. 

There laid before me was my greatest fear….that because of my struggles, I would one day become one like these. 
One deemed unlovable.  
Unworthy.  
Untouchable. 

I never thought I could face a place like this without absolute fear and panic.  
And yet, instead I found myself, within seconds, running to the arms of a boy whose parents would never again come to see him. 
And he smiled, oh how big he smiled!
And I cried. 
Oh, how hard I cried!
If this was to ever be me, if this was what I had become or would ever become, this is just what I would need. 
I would need to experience a hug that felt as though it had no end. 
I then found myself at the crib of another boy, unable to speak or walk or care for himself in any way.  He wore a superman shirt, and I whispered to him,
“One day, sweet boy, you will be with the greatest superhero of all.”  
And he will.  

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His blank stare and open mouth captivated me, and as I laid my hand on his chest, his breathing slowed and his eyes softened.  
I couldn’t leave him.  
There was so much I needed him to know through my eyes, prayers, and touch.  
He had to know that he was lovable.  
That he was worthy.  
And that one day, he would be made whole again.  
He would.  
And I would hug him as he was now, and I will hug as he will be then.

Then there was the boy whose legs were twisted and contorted, and he’d grip a big red rubber ball outside the rails of his crib as though it was his only lifeline.  
I could relate to the grip of a false lifeline.
He writhed and twisted and gripped and pounded at the ball, and I could feel his unrest and discomfort.
“…if it were me…”
So as I bent down, and looked into his eyes, I told him out loud, that he was beautiful and perfect.  
And that one day he would be healed, running down the streets of heaven, and I couldn’t wait to run beside him.  
Then I reached through those bars to the writhing head of this hurting boy and I began to simply and softly touch his cheek.  
Gently I traced his lips, his cheeks, his eyes and ears, over and over again. 

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If this had been me, if this is where I had ended up, this is just what I would need. 
I would crave these soft touches, and whispered promises of love…unconditional love, even though they’d know I’d never be able to give it back. 
His body calmed, his grip released allowing his hands to rest on my lap, and I held his gaze for the next 20 minutes while I softly tickled, sang and prayed that God would show his face to this sweet abandoned beautiful boy.
Their faces and smiles and eyes will forever be etched in my memory, as I can simply close my eyes and see them just as they were that “accidental day” we discovered them.

I share this because this “accidental day” was a miracle of God.
Because of Him…

There was no panic. 
No fear. 
I became someone I never thought I could be.
I did things I never thought I could do.

I just simply heard the voice of God say over and over again,
“Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me.” 

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And that day, I saw Jesus face to face. 
I touched his chest. 
I caressed his cheek. 
I sang to him, and whispered words of adoration and love. 
And He was beautiful and perfect. 
And there was no fear.
Because there never is in the presence of God.

© 2013 “Le Musings of Moi”

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when your lifelines are gone

While on this missions trip to the Dominican, I’ve found that I’ve learned the best lessons through my nightly reflections and journaling.  Today, and through next week, I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of exactly what my heart has experienced…

~~~~~~~
Tomorrow I need to be still.  
I need to stop and pray more.  
I am far more broken on this trip than I ever expected to be. 
I was going to be strong.  
I was going to bond with my son, and show him how to serve.  
I would show him strength, and maturity in our faith, and he would learn.  
He would see.  
He would be better for what I showed him.

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And yet, here I am, broken.  
So incredibly broken.  
Especially without my medicine I rely on for strength, as I’ve found, far more than I have ever relied on God.  
As each day goes on, my symptoms show more, and I can’t stop the thoughts, as wrong as they are….”Why did God leave me?  Why is Satan having his way?  Why me, God, why me?”
That strength I hoped to have?  
That example of faith?  
That bonding?  
Seems to be a distant hope.
I haven’t been as patient with Taylor as I had hoped.  
I wanted to be his example.  
Instead I’ve been an example of failure.  
Of imperfection.  
Of exactly what not to be.  
Of exactly how weak a person can be.
And yet, in the very moment I write that, I hear the Holy Spirit whispering to my soul….
“You are the example he needs of an incredibly imperfect person who is depending totally and completely on a perfect Savior.  You are the exact example I have called you to be.  You are not perfect.  You never will be.  And neither will he.  He knows that, he feels that, he says that.  Show him how to fall on your knees seeking only after the Lord in these moments.  It’s not about showing him your example, but simply about showing him Me.  Look only at me.”
As I write that, I feel a calm. 
The symptoms I have been battling are suddenly gone, and I am at ease, settling into the comforting arms of Jesus, as His spirit bring a comfort only He can provide.  
I feel His strength, as I no longer have any of my own.
I remember His word on my sweet sweet Good Friday….
“I love you Summer.  Look only at me.”
The two things I thought I needed to get me through this trip are gone, my medicine and my phone which was accidentally broken by one of the kids in the center.  
I now have only my bible, my prayers, my son, and the support of my team that has come to serve as well.
More importantly, and truly, I am left ultimately with Him.
Looking only at Him
I should have known, with the words He told me only days before….
I don’t understand God, sometimes.
Especially when I am feeling the stinging pains of discomfort.
But I understand now the desperate need to cling to Him.
Without the “comforts” of my life, He has made that clear.

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reading the spanish bible taylor brought to the center….looking only at Him.
© 2013 “Le Musings of Moi”
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dominican republic update!

Before anything, I need to find the words to express how blown away I have been by your guys’ support since I posted about where I’ve been spiritually, and especially in regards to our upcoming missions trip.
Some of you have even sent donations, which was completely unexpected, and meant more to me and Taylor then you will ever ever know.
I was told I’d be surprised at who gives and who doesn’t, and you have absolutely proven that.
So, thank you.
It’s just “thank you” doesn’t even begin to feel BIG enough to express my gratitude.
Maybe I’ll make a video of Taylor and me doing our HAPPY DANCE each time we get a donation, just so you can see how blessed we truly feel.
Now on to less mushy stuff.

Since I got so many emails from you guys wanting to be kept in the loop, I decided to just post it all here on the blog so it’s all in one place for everyone who wants to know. 

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For those of you that asked, YES!!!  Most people (apparently, not me!) plan missions trips well in advance….this one so happens to be a little last minute, but was one that needed to happen.  
I chose to go for it, despite the short time frame, because I really did feel that Taylor and I were meant to be on this particular trip.  
That decision has been completely confirmed simply by seeing Taylors excitement and willingness to do anything he can to help make the trip happen.  
He’s been praying harder and more then ever, and he’s even working extra hard on Rosetta Stone with me so we can talk to the kids about Jesus in their language.  I have truly fallen more in love with him in just this last week planning the trip.
As for me, truthfully…I’ve been wavering on my decision all week long.
  
I struggle with wanting to play it safe and just stay home where I know what to expect with my days.  
Taking this HUGE step of faith does not come easily to me in any way.  
But, just like I shared before, my struggle is not only in a believing God to do big things in my life, but also in being obedient to do the things He’s asked.  
So, it seems this situation most definitely forces me to work both of those issues out!!!  
Don’t worry about anything; Instead pray about everything. 
Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. 
Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. 
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  
Philippians 4:6
So, with this weeks update we just wanted to let you know what we’ve been up to, so you can please continue to pray!  
Monday: Jimmy took the day off so we could order Taylors passport (both parents have to be present. no kidnapping allowed! ha ha).  We were told that we should be receiving it within a week.  PRAYERS NEEDEDThat we would actually GET it within that time frame.
Tues-Wed: Investigated and read up on Maleria meds, as well as made and passed out flyers for our upcoming Fundraising Events.  Taylor took the lead on this, but folding all the flyers as well on passing them out around the neighborhood and at church.  
Thurs:  We had our first official Missions Trip team meeting where we prayed, discussed details, and brainstormed ideas.  Taylor had his hand raised half the meeting and had so many awesome ideas, that I couldn’t help but want to smother him with kisses.  We also found out which orphanage we’re working with, which made my heart leap, and I may or may not have asked if I could adopt a child or two while I was there.  Weird thing was, I totally wasn’t kidding.  
Sunday: Our first Fundraising Event! We’re going to be offering Child Care from 2-5pm at the park by our house, where we’re setting up games, races, play stations, snack and a story.  For this event there is a $20 minimum donation per child, and all proceeds go directly to the cost of our trip. 
(If you’re local, you’re invited! And please share with your friends!!!)
NEXT WEEK:  

MORE Fundraisers!!!  (if you have other ideas for us, we are ALL ears!!!)
Taylor will be setting up a bake sale, selling a ton of treats at his school.  He’s super excited about this.
We’ve also been asking for donations for a Garage Sale, where again, all proceeds will go directly to the Children’s Heritage Foundation to pay for our trip. 
(If you’re local and you have stuff to get rid of, feel free to let us take it off you’re hands!  You can drop it off anytime or Jimmy will even be happy to come and pick it up!!!)

And I think that’s about it for now!  
We are SUPER excited and ready to get moving forward!!!  
Between track practice 4 days a week, meets every Saturday, 2-3 articles due each week, and planning for this God given trip….It’ll be ONE BUSY month!!!
And I absolutely LOVE it.

I also better start working on Jimmy about this adoption thing….

© 2013 “Le Musings of Moi”

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the obedience of serving: my trip to the dominican

Speaking of obedience….

I just wanted to share something MAJOR coming up in my life in the very near future, that is going to take all the faith I have left in me.
Because it’s happening in less than a month, and we have A LOT of money to raise and a passport that needs expediting.

Not to mention a questioning anxious heart that needs a calming peace only God can bring.

But I can’t deny the stirring that I can only assume is from God, especially in light of where I’ve been spiritually, so here I am just jumping in with both feet.
Scared shaking feet.

I wanted to share some of the details, because so many of you have become like family to me.
More supportive than I could ever have expected.
And I truly need all the prayers I can get…

I may be conflicted with things, but there are some things I just know.
I know God has placed this desire on my heart to do missions work WITH my family and my children. It’s a desire that was placed on my heart long ago, and it’s one that just has never gone away.

God used a broken David.
I have to believe God can use a broken me.

So here’s the details….

Summer & Taylors Dominican Republic Mission Trip Spring Break 2013

Where
Dominican Republic 

Who: 

A team of adults and teens (and kid!) will be partnering with Children’s Heritage Foundation. Their mission is: “Securing a future for disadvantaged children around the world.” Check out their website at www.childrensheritagefoundation.org.

Mission

We will be running a sports camp for disadvantaged kids from San Pedro, as well as teaming with local church partners to share Christ with these kids and their families.  We believe God will use this experience to create change in our lives and the people we serve!

Why does Taylor want to go? 
“I want to go because I want to teach people about God if they don’t know about Him.  And I want to help poor kids so that they feel safe.  I also think it would fun to teach them about running! (he’s in track).”

He later told me he wanted to sell his roller blades and all of his rock collection so he could use that money to ensure we could go…I fell so in love with him.

Why I want to go? 
“It has always been my heart for missions work.  I first got a taste of it long before I was married when I went to Queretaro Mexico, and then a couple years later when I spent two weeks in the Dominican with Children of the Nations.

Recently, when the kids and I were choosing children to sponsor through Compassion, Taylor spent hours looking through each of the childrens profiles.  After a bit, he turned to me and asked, ‘Mom, why can’t we just help all of them??’  It was that moment that I knew I wanted nothing more than to experience sharing Gods love on a missions trip with my kids.  I even looked at future trips to Uganda after getting to know the girls from 31Bits.  But those were all in the FAR future with lots of planning time.
 
Little did I know that a month later we would actually have the opportunity to make it happen WITHIN a month…which is a bit tough for me being such a planner and all.

But, I know if it’s meant to be, God will be busy working on our behalf to make it happen.  It’s a lesson I’ve been in the trenches of learning lately.
Just obey, despite my feelings.
My feelings my include being nervous, but this letter is my obedience.” 

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{dominican trip 2001}
~~~~~~~
Prayer support:

The greatest gift you can give to us is your prayers. 
Would you consider committing to praying for us daily or weekly between now and the end of our trip? 
We will need the Lord to go ahead of us in this venture; preparing our hearts and the hearts of the people we will be reaching out to.

Specifically you can pray that we would raise the money needed, that we can get Taylors passport expedited, that our team would bond together, that we would prepare wisely and effectively, for safety, and that we would remain flexible throughout this process. 
If you would like to be a part of our Prayer Team please send me an email and I’ll routinely send out emails informing you of our progress and our needs.

Email– summer@lemusingsofmoi.com stating your wish to be a part of our prayer team and to receive our updates.
2 Corinthians 1:11 Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayer of many.
Financial Support:

I’m no good at asking for money.  It makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable and kind of makes me feel the need to poop.  (what doesn’t though, right?)  But we do have a lot of money to raise in such a short amount of time.

To me it feels impossible.

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So ya….that’s where I am right now, and that’s what’s happening VERY soon.

I am trying my best to trust God’s calling to this…
And I can’t help but believe there will be many more trips and many more countries coming up over the years as well, which excites my soul.

God used a broken David.
I have to believe God can use a broken me.

© 2013 “Le Musings of Moi”

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