Amar a pesar del dolor

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
“How do I love thee” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Love is a peculiar thing. It can make you feel as if you can fly as if you had wings. Love can win a heart and overwhelm your soul. Love can crush your spirit into the valley of shadows unknown.

But would we choose to love if we knew that pain could accompany the bliss? Pain that can cause your heart to sever wishing you could go on although you feel amiss..

Knowingly, we choose to love and tie our hearts together with a string. Love so heavenly we abandon our previous memories&feelings of grief.

How do I love thee? I love you better after loss. To know that love is forgiveness no matter the cost. Love never fails, and always finds the end. Love means admitting our defeats and always coming up as friends. Love is a battle that I’ll fight ’til the end. I love you forever no matter which way the road bends.
Love is an uphill battle that one cannot face on our own; we need to fight together to conquer or we’ll end up alone.

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Reloj del Tiempo

Rewind.
Twist turn back the clocks of time.
If you could go back and change the details that ails your mind, would it really alleviate the pain you feel?
Would your character endure?
Would your perseverance prevail?
A conscience all bottled.
Wishing for a solution derail.
If you could change the details, would it make the difference?
Would it be of any consequence?
Are we all just oars beating against the current of the wind?
The wind will how, and the wind will blow. Will it not take us back to the shore?
The current is against us.
It wills stronger that ours.
Yet in this heap, we find our selves overriding that the current seems the easiest way down the stream.

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Oveja Perdida

I am a sheep treading looking for still waters
You carry me away when my hoofs want to tread no longer
Blistering cracking stammering away
A sheep who has been broken down day by day

The grass seemed never greener
When I am shepherded by Your side
The grass is always withered
When I tread afar from You, my Guide

You know what I long for
You supply all my needs
Under your wings, I can walk through any valley
Your directions I will heed

Through any danger, I have nothing to fear
For You are there to comfort me
You always draw me near
Any discomfort I will face
Is nothing but a shadow in light of Your grace

Though storms may howl
Though trials may come
I will love You forever
My ever blazing Sun

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Quien soy?

I must admit it’s been quite a while since I’ve written, online at least. I’ve journaled, but there have been no posts here because you wouldn’t like what I have to say. I could say that I haven’t felt myself in the past however long, but the truth of the matter is that human character is always transforming. We, as humans, discover what it is to live and who we are day to day, and consequently I’ve been becoming more and more aware of the struggle it is to define one’s character. The closer you are to defining what you want to be the harder it is, for me at least, is to distinguish that from others.

I recently began a job at a hospital where I meet people from all different scopes of life.. The more I work the more I begin to realize the impact we can have on a person’s day, and it has got me thinking: “What is the message I give to people? What would they say about me if they were to describe me? Would they know that I am Christian by my words and the way I act?”.  In the constant hurried atmosphere, I have to stop myself from getting stressed out and turning into a “Negative Nancy”.. and think “Smile. It may be the only smile this patient/person sees today. Who knows if the person who came in before me gave them bad news or if anyone came in the room at all. You may be the closest thing to a visitor this person has. You never know what makes someone’s day.”

I’ve realized more and more how cold I can come across from closing people out.. I don’t want to let hurt or struggles or any situation be what hinders me from being the best person I can be or from smiling and experiencing true joy. I want to live more. Live the way life was intended to be, by God’s standards.

I recently became acquainted with this elderly Jewish woman whom I get the pleasure to talk to every weekend. I’ve realized in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we should never be too busy for a conversation… If you think you are, you might miss the most important wisdom of your life. This woman, let’s call her Flossy, is the greatest reminder to me of what it is to have a servant’s heart.  Flossy reminded me of what it is to live.. In our conversation, she reminded me:

Cherish your youth. I cherish youth and young people because I was a youth like you once. Young people these days don’t realize what a gift it is and waste it being lazy and let time go by. Then when they are my age, they’ll know what it is to appreciate it if they’re lucky enough to live that long[92]. True living is to look out for yourself because you are the person who can help yourself the most. But what is better, is not only living for yourself but living with another. Having people in your life that you can help and share the exciting moments with. And that’s what is important, that you’re learning and striving to learn because life is full of lessons, and if you’re not looking out, you might miss out on something important.

So I sit here thinking, what does it mean to be me? Well day by day I will figure that out more and more, but I know one thing for sure as I’ve been reminded through the “Sent” series at church,that  the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. [Romans 8:26] I know that with the Spirit, I can overcome and strive to live on… As Stevenson perfectly states it in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this battle to establish our character is not uncommon, for “In each of us, two natures are at war — the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose – what we want most to be, we are.

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Una dama de la vertud

So I sort of took a hiatus from writing…well not really. I’ve written several posts, but I ended up with no desire to post them. But here’s a little snippet of a letter I found in my family ancestry between my relatives Elizabeth Shipton Giles and her son George Washington Giles. In return, Elisabeth Shipton Giles sums up what I aspire to be in relation to the virtues of a Proverbs 31 woman.

” ‘Honor, love and glory’ you say is your motto- add to it one more virtue, and henceforth let it be Truth, honor, glory and love, and as I never think a sheet half filled worth the postage, I will copy for your benefit and amusement a page on the first important subject, and some other occasion will notice the others. Don’t call me a moralist, I know your integrity of heart and principal needs no admonition from me, but as in almost every letter I have written to you, I have given some moral fragments, I cannot easily get over the habit ( I must buy another pen).

Truth is the  bond of union, and the basis of human happiness. Without this virtue, there is no reliance upon language, no  confidence in friendship, and no security in promises or oaths. Truth is always consistent with itself and needs nothing to help out, it is always at hand, sits upon our lips, and is ready to drop out before we are– where a lie is troublesome, and sits ones—-and one trick needs a great many more of the same kind to make it good.

‘Sincerity is the parent of Truth, and characteristic of an honest heart, she is the surety of her words, and has no occasion for any —to her protestations. She contains in herself several virtues, for she abhors a lie, and is no flatterer. Her promises are sure, and there is not the least room to doubt the veracity of what she advances. She is never in the wrong, and nothing but purest truth comes out of her mouth.She is soon brought to the light, for the clouds of dissimulation are her opposite extremes. She fears no enemies, for virtue is her steadfast friend. She is vanished from courts, and unknown to the great. Her chief habitation is the Cottage. She springs from the heart, and dwells on the lips. But since malice has found the means to brand her with the epithets of weakness, dullness and heaviness of mind, she seems to have abandoned the world, and left falsehood and deceit behind to triumph.’ ”

This is not her, but this is what I imagine her to look like.

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Convertirse un profeta

A  little snapshot of what my devotions looks like sometimes thanks to Hebrew and Greek dictionaries. And a little preview of things to come from studying Jeremiah and possibly a foreshadowing of what I could learn if I take the opportunity of going to the Jeremiah Project (http://www.thejeremiahproject.net/index.html)

Jeremiah 1:5-10
[1:5] “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
[1:6] Then I said, ” Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am a youth.”
[1:7] But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
[1:8] Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”
[1:9] Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, ‘Behold I have put my words in your mouth.
[1:10] See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Steps to hearing His call for you as ambassadors of Christ:

1. He had a plan for you to be a messenger of Christ before you were born. He consecrated you.

  •  Consecrated in Hebrew: to sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate: to be clean
  • In other words, God set you apart as a believer to a life that is pure and holy. Before you were born, God prepared you for His purpose and fashioned you just the way you needed to be.

2.  To be a prophet doesn’t only mean having visions from God to proclaim God’s words.

  • The word “prophet” seen in verse one means to be: a spokesperson, speaker, an inspired being.
  • A prophet is a person inspired by God to spread His word and speak on God’s behalf.
  • In Jeremiah 1, He is specifically calling Jeremiah to be a prophet for Him, but I believe we can practically apply this to what God has planned for us: to be worthy of His calling, to be witnesses of Christ.
  • In other words through this Hebrew definition, any Christian can proclaim God’s words.

3. Age doesn’t matter.

  • In verse 6-7, God and Jeremiah are speaking about how old to be worthy of God’s calling. Out of fear Jeremiah pleads God that he is only a youth and therefore too young to be a spokesperson of God. Looking at the Hebrew definition of youth, Jeremiah is talking about a person anywhere in the range of childhood to emerging adulthood. As a youth, he fears speaking to others on God’s behalf in part because prophets were traditionally older in age.

4. Don’t be afraid.

  • The Lord begins to explain to Jeremiah that he is capable of doing whatever the Lord says that Jeremiah can do. Everything is possible with God.
  • When the Lord says, “for to all whom I send you, you shall go”, He is talking about a manner of living, and a departure to whom that He will send Jeremiah to.  The Lord confirms to Jeremiah that he will say what God wants him to and in this manner of living he will declare, command, promise, warn, threaten and sing, all in God’s name, the exact definition of what a spokesperson for God and teaching looks like in verse seven.

5. God will be there with you every step of the way.

  • God urges Jeremiah one more step forward saying there is no reason to be afraid of public speaking: “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you.”
  • By “them”, God is talking about the people’s faces, being in the presence of people in order to be before them, or in other words to speak before a crowd. Isn’t that cool that even in the Bible God highlights man’s natural tendency to be fearful of speaking to people? But the Lord reminds us, ” I am with you to deliver you”.
  • Not only is the Lord talking about delivering us from our fears and fear of man, but He is also there to defend us, deliver us from ourselves, preserve us, recover/rescue us and most importantly He will not fail us.  All this meaning from one word “deliver”.  If one word can have such a depth in meaning, how much more can a multitude of words spoken on behalf of God have to unbelievers? It makes me think about the value of our words. Women use around 20,000 words a day and men use anywhere from 7,000-15,000 words, yet how many of those words in our daily speech do we actually use to bring glory to His Kingdom?
  • When the time arises, the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say. [Luke 12:12] In Jeremiah 1:9, the Lord put His hand on Jeremiah’s mouth and said, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.” In this case, the Lord lay hand upon Jeremiah’s mouth; the word also suggests in Hebrew “to defeat, bring down”. From Jeremiah’s fear of his lack of eloquence from his age, God has defeated the lack of words and brought down his pattern of youthful speaking as the Lord called Jeremiah apart to His purpose.

6. Commit today

  • As the Lord committed that day for Jeremiah’s calling, so also should you heed to His calling in your life. The Lord has appointed “this day”  as a charge and commitment to deliver and keep as it states in verse 10.
  • The Lord charged Jeremiah “over the nations and over the kingdoms” to be a prophet, an overseer in their walk.
  • Also to “pluck up” or in the Hebrew to: pull up, expel, root out, pluck by the roots. God calls us to be set apart from our former ways and the ways of the world. We are to expel and root out anything that hinder, to get it at the roots, the core of the issue. Therefore, search within, look to see that we is rooted inside of your heart: is it Christ’s word or is it the world’s ways? Commit to the Lord being at your core. The same applies to “break down”; we are to overthrow, destroy those things, and beat down God’s truth into our lives in order for it to be our automatic reflex. Just as in Paul’s day, we are to reiterate to ourselves the truth that we were missing apart from Christ and so forth constantly remind ourselves to share the news that we are saved to.
  • Through this commitment, God calls Jeremiah to “destroy and overthrow”, and again God is calling us to “lose oneself” and perish to our old ways and to break into pieces our old habits.
  • Lastly God reminds Jeremiah that there is prosperity to being His messenger: that God will use him to “build and to plant”. Likewise we are to rebuild, establish in the faith, cause to continue not only our faith but to help plant, fasten and fix others to be rooted in Christ.

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La Llave de Alegría

Whenever I am discouraged about my walk, I always find myself looking back to my journals about my missions trips.  The past two years I have felt like have progressed but digressed in my walk with God. But then without a shadow of a doubt, it is nothing of what I feel when I look at my journals. I know exactly how I felt on the trips  and how God met me, but my journals reflect nothing of the sort. All I see is a childish representation of the glorious experiences that I was blessed to see.

I think back to Colombia, waking up to the crisp air in the morning on the dew filled grass of the Andes. I walk outside, and all around me I am surrounded by lush green mountains, that are home to flowers, cows and other wandering creatures of the earth. Everywhere you look there is beauty among poverty.  And everyone you find is happy, loving and welcoming.

Maybe that is it,  beauty amongst poverty, happiness lies within. Maybe Christ truly gave us the key to happiness in the temple that day and by the side of the Jordan River. One day, a man came up to Jesus and asked what good thing he must do to have eternal life. Jesus replied questioning why he asked of what is good, for there is only One who is good. If he wanted to enter life, he must keep all of the commands. Confused the rich man said, I have kept these commands, yet what do I still lack? And Jesus replied, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” [Mt.19:21] When the man heard these words, he became increasingly sad and devastated, for he was a very rich man.

Yet in the temple one day, Jesus watched others giving and those who were more than able giving sparingly. And then walks up a poor widow&places two small coins in the treasury and is commended by Christ.”Truly I say to you, this poor woman has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” [Luke 21:3-4]

The man in all of his wealth could not find it in his heart to give his all, yet this woman who had nothing found it in her heart to give all she had left to live. In comparison, it is the woman who became perfect in the sense of the word in Matthew 19. She was essence 0f the word’s definition in Greek: ” wanting nothing necessary to completeness”.  If then she could give all she had out of nothing to be happy, how much more in our abundance could we give to our King? Why is it so hard for us to let go of our grip on our wallet and give all to God? I think that is the key to their happiness, that a simple life produces much peace. And a perfect peace in Christ produces a perfect joy and completeness in Him.

Every time I go on one of these trips, it is always the lack of possessions in harmony with happiness and love that astounds me and leads me to doubletake on reality: what do I really treasure? What do I really place my hope? Do I cling to my wallet for security or will I be willing to be complete and have total faith to trust God in all areas? Will I love strangers as these strangers have love and accepted me so easily? Yet how frequently is frequent enough to remind myself of how easy it is to be complete? There isn’t a day when I don’t think about those days and somehow I still fail to remember not to take all of God’s blessings for granted. Therefore, I must always remind myself daily to live in light of Him who has given me life and has saved it time after time.

Sincerely,
Just one big run-on of a thought of mine
P.S. 64 days to go and only $100 left on my plane ticket [sort of]

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