Monday, June 29, 2015

My Discovery...

My experience:

Physically, I see that my countenance has changed.  When I see myself in the mirror a light has come into my eyes that wasn't there before.  Literally, they are brighter and more full of life.  I feel myself holding my head up higher and looking at people directly in the face more often.  My smile comes more readily to my lips. I feel myself walking with my posture straighter.  I see people looking at me differently and I look at them differently.  When I smile at them, they physically can't help but smile back...  

Spiritually, I had a revelation. You see, before this conference began, I believed the gospel applied to the inside of me, but not the outside.  Jesus was my righteousness, my strength, and my salvation, and He had made the inside of me beautiful through His work on the cross.  I knew my worth in Him on the inside.  But on the outside, I wasn't good enough.  The love of Jesus had not pervaded how I felt about my appearance....I felt that He had not made me beautiful on the outside.  But Christ, through this conference, has helped me connect both TRUTHS about the gospel.  Jesus has made me beautiful on the outside as well as in.  He made me, He intricately crafted every feature of the way that I look, He said "This woman will have exactly the features and the face and the body that I will use for MY purposes. I have created a thing of beauty."  And I have realized that I am beautiful.  Not in a conceited way, not in a self centered way, but in a very tangible understanding about what the gospel says about me....about who I am in Christ on the outside.  And just like on the inside, on the outside He treasures me for just the way that I am.  He not only accepts my outer beauty, He loves it.  He made it... ^_^   

I am still being transformed.  Different things are happening to me as we speak that I am not sure about yet, but I know one thing. I am not stopping here. I am taking this newfound freedom to its fullest extent.  I am a beautiful, secure woman. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Girls, it occurred to me last night as I lay down to go to sleep that a lot of us are in deep trials and suffering right now in our lives.  Joblessness, anxiety, health issues, family issues, and deep heartache from divorce or death are only a few of the things I can name off the top of my head.  These are heavy burdens…

 I want to thank you earnestly from the bottom of my heart for y’all being willing to share those things with the group. I also wanted to send you this email to encourage you.  I want to share with you some thoughts on Romans 8:28-29.

You have probably heard the first verse, 28, as it is often said, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  But people often misinterpret this verse to mean that God works in all things so that your life will be good, and that is His purpose.  Like, God works in all things so you can have a “good” and happy life.  The problem with that is, where is the happiness in divorce?  Where is the good in sickness and suffering and lack of peace?  Where is the good in death?  How is that for our “good,” God?

Well, it’s not.  None of those things are for our “good” in the common way we think of that word. Those things are heartbreaking and gut wrenching and awful, in fact.  But we have to read the verse in context to understand, that is not what God through Paul was trying to say.  What God defines as “good,” what the real definition of good is, comes right after, in verse 29"For those who God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."  

God’s meaning for “good,” and His primary purpose for you and your life, is for you to be made more like Christ.  Your happiness and contentment and fulfillment and joy and peace will likely result, but that is secondary to His “good” purpose.  When you become more and more like Christ, which is the “good,” you will be able to shine His character and love/live like He did, helping others understand and receive salvation.  You becoming more like Christ will ALWAYS be for your good because it is for God’s glory.

But sometimes the process of becoming more like Christ can be extremely difficult.  When you think about it, it makes sense.  How else do we grow in our patience if not to experience things that make us have to wait?  We would have no way of learning patience otherwise!!  Waiting is hard, but patience is the “good” and Godly quality that comes out of it. Suffering and heartache are awful, but receiving deep comfort and peace from Christ is the “good” that comes out of it. And there is something about suffering that connects us to Him in a profound way…we get to experience a tiny taste of what He went through on the cross.  If there is anyone who has been through immense suffering and heartache and physical pain, it’s Jesus. We tore his heart AND his body in two.   

Also, it’s not as though God enjoys you suffering; rather, the Bible says He hates the suffering of His children and He suffers with us. Remember, it was never His design for us to experience suffering in the first place-- we ruined perfection and His good plan for us when we sinned in the Garden of Eden.  We brought sin and suffering and even death into this world.  But…being the redeemer that He is, He longs to bring “good” even through our trials, even through our sin and self destruction; that we might be made into the image of Christ in the process.  He longs for you to live out the peace and hope and love that is Him in You. 

So, if you are hurting, if you are suffering, instead of saying, “Why me?” or “When will this end?” or “Why are you doing this to me, God?” A better question to ask yourself would be this: “How is God trying to make me more like Christ through all of this?” or “What lesson is God trying to teach me through all of this?”  Even if you can’t see it yet, those questions will lead you to the “good.” J

Love you all,

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Genesis, the Beginning of Something Beautiful

In 2013, I had a moment with a mother in the streets of Mogote, a tiny village in Honduras.  I was singing "La NiƱa de Tus Ojos" in the street with the little girls.  It translates, quite literally, into "The Little Girl of Your Eyes." His eyes.

As I played the guitar and sang with these little girls, the meaning of the song and how God sees us as His precious children, along with these little voices singing, overwhelmed me.   The tears poured out and I couldn’t sing anymore, but the little girls, with their sweet voices, carried the song.  One of the moms and I met eyes and she was bawling, too.  We embraced each other and praised God.

This mom’s name was Haydee, and her daughter's name was Genesis.  Genesis was such a pretty little girl…she had the most beautiful, expressive brown eyes.

I may have met her the year before, but in 2013, she really made an impression on me. She was only 4, but she acted much older.  She was one of the quiet kids, reserved and behaved. Her hands were always folded inside of each other and in her lap in front of her.  As the other kids romped around and tickled and tumbled, she sat and observed, taking it all in. 

When I sat down to play the guitar, she was enchanted by it, captivated by it.  As I strummed or picked the notes of a chord slowly, her face turned to me and those big brown eyes lit up with wonder and joy.  She smiled with her whole face as she watched and listened to me play!! 

She was shy.  When I moved in to let her see and hear the guitar more closely, she nervously looked away, but then found the courage to look back at me and break into a big beaming smile.  I coaxed her into taking the pick from my hand and let her strum while I changed chords, so that she could hear the different sounds.  She strummed so delicately and beamed when the sounds changed. :-)

When Billy and I got back home from the 2013 trip, I did some digging to find out who this little girl was, and what family she belonged to.  I found out that Genesis’ mom was Haydee, the same mom in the streets when the little girls were singing us, the one who cried and praised God with me!!  That was it.  Billy and I decided to give the family some monthly support.  We began sending $50 a month, each month. 

When we went back to Honduras the next year, I was excited to see Genesis and her mom.  Out in the street the first day, I saw them both and ran up to greet them. Genesis was a little shy at first, but she did hug me at her mother’s coaxing. 

The next day, Genesis had found her courage.  When she saw me come outside, she marched right up to me and proudly stuck out an envelope.  I took it, opened it up, and my eyes began flooding with tears as I read the letter.

You see, all Billy and I did was to start sending a small gift of 50 dollars a month to Genesis and her family.  But what God did, with His incredibly personal touch, was to have that gift arrive for the first time on Genesis’ birthday.

A little girl turned 5, and what God did was provide for her the shoes and clothes that she really needed on a special day.  A birthday gift from the Lord Himself.  How precious He is to us...
I stood there reading the family's letter of thankfulness and awe, and I saw the pictures Genesis had drawn for me in magic marker, flowers and whatnot. :-)  She had also written a scripture in her 4-year old-handwriting, a Psalm of thanks that acknowledged the Lord's blessing.  It was clear there was a special connection between us and this family.

From the left: Me, Genesis' sister Katy, Haydee.  Genesis is up front. The father, Cristino, was working during the time of the picture. 

So, what we are doing now is sending sweet, shy Genesis to “Hope Academy.”  It is a program run by the organization we volunteer with on our mission trips every year-- “Hope for Honduras, Inc.”  Genesis will be starting in the bilingual school for pre-K and Kindergartners, but as we continue to provide sponsorship, she will continue on through grade school.  We have seen these programs in the flesh and know how valuable they are to feed children both spiritually and physically.  The mission is Christ, but physical needs are provided for as well.  And the education is also top notch. We feel blessed beyond measure to be able to give Genesis and her family this gift. We thank the Lord for what he has done and can't wait to see what He will continue to do!!

P.S. If you are interested in changing a child's life and spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth, consider sponsoring a child through Hope Academy, or donating to this mission:!contributions/c1avz  There is nothing better than allowing God to use you in blessing others.  Nothing.