Saturday, August 1, 2015

Simplicity South of the Border

(First things first. You can all thank my dear friend Susanita (that's not her actual name by the way but I will go on calling her that...) that I am putting a blog up at all. I, in fact, did not even know that it was Friday. I fit into the culture here well already you can see. Losing track of time and getting lost in life. Alas, she asked if I was blogging today...Thank you Susanita for keeping me together always!)

When you move to a foreign country, a lot changes.

Pretty much everything is new.

New language. New food. New culture. New address. New phone number. New transportation. New navigation. New money....

There is a LOT to take in.

It is true that a lot gets left behind. But I have come to find in my short 26 and 3/4 years on this planet and of doing life with Jesus, that it is always better to take the risk than to stay safe. If you feel even a little bit that He is asking you to do something crazy, do it! Trust me when I say that the moment your feet leave the ledge, you will begin to see His generous, kind, faithful character in action. That is what I LOVE about taking God risks. That is what I love about doing the crazy things. That is why I will keep on leaping, jumping, diving....because the more leaps and jumps and dives I take, the deeper I go into the heart of my Jesus. The more my faith grows and strengthens as I see Him continually provide and bless and care for my every need and desire.

Remember. Leaps and jumps and dives look different for everyone. They may be next door, down the street, or across an international border. The point is responding to Jesus and His Spirit as He leads and watching in amazement what He will do with our obedient, active responses.

I have taken more than a couple crazy risks for Jesus. Honestly, the thrill of the whole thing always overwhelms all of the fears and doubts and rough moments. I have seen Him work so wonderfully before, that I dove into this Mexican adventure fully expecting to see Him at work yet again. And just as I expected, I already have in so many ways!

Today I would LOVE to share with you just a few of these things, and encourage you to open your eyes and your heart to see how Jesus is at work wherever He might have you for today.

There is a little blurb in scripture that I have always loved. It repeats itself a few times in the Gospels (which says something) but I love most the way it is put in the Gospel of Luke...

"So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had said." (Luke 19:32)

When He calls us out, sends us, leads us into something new, we must be certain to remember through all of the worries and concerns and fears and doubts that He has already gone before us. Before He calls us or asks us to take the crazy leap, He has already gone up ahead and planned the path for us to travel. We can trust that when He calls He is also faithful to lead and provide and protect. It may be a surprise to us, but He is a faithful trip advisor. Rest assured of that fact.

Now, as I think back to all of those sleepless nights in my bedroom in Ohio...telling Jesus over and over and over again that I was afraid but that I trusted Him....the heaviness in my heart as I squeezed Lincoln tight wondering if he would be able to make the trip with me. Worried that even if He did come along He wouldn't make it through customs... I remember staring at piles of books and clothes and things wondering what in the world to do with them all and how I could possibly fit the necessities into just two or three bags. How would I even begin to decide what the necessities were?

Now as I lie here in my bed in Guadalajara, Mexico, I am so thankful once again that God gave me the strength and the courage to leap.

Because once again I have found that He went ahead and provided perfected every detail and I have found things just as He promised they would be. Once again I see that His wisdom and timing and planning and dreaming far supersedes my own attention to detail and well laid plans and endless piles of folders and lists and all of my best attempts to imagine how things would be. Simply trust and obey. That is really all that He ever asks or requires or wants from us really. He would prefer we leave the rest to Him and just enjoy the ride.
 I am telling you. Living life on the edge with Jesus is just so much fun!

1. The lovely school I will be teaching at has been so wonderful and generous towards me already! They provided some major pieces of furniture which saved me financially in a big way and allowed me to enjoy purchasing some thinngs for my place that make it feel like home. I have so enjoyed being able to splurge on handcrafted pieces that make it warm and cozy and that help me feel settled in order to focus on the teaching part of this...coming soon! God is so good and so kind and so gracious...beyond what we attempt to imagine!

2. I am LOVING that I can be frugal and have a beautifully decorated home filled with local artisan work. I love that part of being a missionary is not recreating your home life in a new place, but that it is about embracing life in a new land....all of it and living life as it is lived here. That is something that I have observed this past year and come to love. The truth is that if I find myself lacking here, it is not because I do not make enough or have enough, it is because I am trying to live a life that is not meant to be lived here. Here people are content with much less. Here life seems simpler and slower and more authentic. Here is colorful and lively and loud and's vivid. I want to be a part of here in every single way that I can. I want to embrace it all. I want to be all here! I am thrilled and honored and humbled to share life with my Mexican brothers and sisters for a while...thankful that they are so gracious to let me do so.

3. The lovely windows in my apartment. Lincoln loves joining in with the chorus of neighborhood dogs and laying in the patch of sunlight. I only wonder if he can make out what they are saying... He has his own toy basket and has marked his territory in our little park and at least a three block radius from our place. I so enjoy watching him sniff and explore all of his new surroundings. He loves our patio. Also I laugh every single time I watch him walk up our stairs....he is so nervous and thus waddles up them like an old man. I don't think that will ever get old for me. Having him here has been challenging in some ways, but I am so thankful to have my little adventure buddy to come home to and to practice Spanish with. It just wouldn't be the same without him here.

4. I am blessed to live between my sweet land lady and my mentor from the school. Not to mention I live about a 15 minute walk from my dear, long time friend, Suzy! So nice to be surrounded and supported by loving people. Makes falling asleep at night, alone in a foreign country a little less terrifying.

5. I have mosaic, stone stairs leading up to my place and a bay window....basically my dream. Talking to my best friend today, I realized something. I have so many ideas and dreams for a home...but I realize I may never settle down in the sense that I stay in one home for a long time...but perhaps that in itself is a gift from Jesus. He knows how much I enjoy creating spaces that I love and He also knows how many ideas I He is allowing me many different spaces to experiment and make my dream home for a while! Always blank canvases and challenges to make new spaces feel like home.

6. I somehow managed to find a paint store, purchase yellow paint, and all of the necessary accessories needed to paint some crates for building furniture for my new place. I wish I could describe to you how entertaining that process really was. Me and about six employees that spoke NO English except "hello." Of course this is the best way to learn. You can't imagine how much motion and how many hand gestures were happening to assist our poor language communication. Regardless, we made it work and I managed to leave with a brush, my yellow paint, and a drop cloth. (Side note, I need to learn the metric system ASAP!)

7. I love eating lunch here. Well every meal really. I love my dishes, I love the fresh colorful food.

8. I love the very fun but very surreal feeling of living within walking distance of my dear friend Susanita. We could have never known that we would end up here, but it is so fun to be able to hang out whenever we like after so many years of living so far apart. I think we are going to get used to the idea very quickly!

9. Loving city life again. I have so missed walking everywhere and being outside and exploring. I love being in the action and close to so many fun things! Hoping to have enough time to try all of the fun little places I have been passing! Not to mention, it's a pretty incredible feeling when I manage to take a bus in this crazy, chaotic, HUGE city and end up where I mean to go...did I mention there is very fast Spanish involved also!? Ah. LOVE the city.

10. Love the freshness of food here! Also the prices...I won't make you jealous with what I spent for delicious red cherries the other day...okay...I will. A HUGE bulging bag of Washington red cherries for 45 pesos...less than $3! Mmmmmm

11. I love that I can wear my favorite article of clothing here every single day! Sundresses. This is my happy place. And  the best part is...I don't have to feel guilty about buying more because it's simply the practical thing to do here.

12. I am living on solar heat. I love it! The hippie/Seattle part of my heart is all about embracing that! Haven't had a less than warm shower yet!

13. The apartment has all of the charm that I prayed for. Lovely tile and brick ceilings, an antique bay window and a lovely little stairway leading up to it. I even live in a little section of the city called Paseo del Sol (the way of the sun) Jesus is so kind to speak to the tiniest desires of our hearts. He knows how much I adore the charming things in life and so even here He has saw to it to include a bit of story book charm. He speaks my love language best.

14. I am thrilled and pleasantly surprised that my three pack of Walmart knives are the best I have ever owned! And they are bright green at that! For once I did not sacrifice quality for cheap and pretty!

15. I am suddenly inspired to cook. I think as my friend Susanita puts it, it is all of the fresh, brightly colored produce that makes you want to create! Nonetheless, taking the time to think through my meals as to properly wash the food and such has made me more conscious of what I am eating and such and lends to much less snacking. Mexico will be good for my waste line I think. I hope....but elite....churros....fresh tortillas...AYE! Say a prayer for me!

16. Being immersed in a language I fell in love with long ago is a dream come true. Learning and conversation is going slowly, but thankfully the kind, gracious people of Guadalajara are so very patient with me (also they know enough English to switch when necessary...which is half the battle in itself..) Anyways. Finally I can focus on using and learning and becoming fluent in another language. Always I have dreamed of being bilingual and by golly I am finally on my way!

Well. Those are some simple/not so simple and small/huge ways that God is working in my life and all around me. Love to see His goodness and faithfulness and kindness and generosity in action. Give Him a chance to do the same in your life and then watch with joyful, trusting anticipation and trust and with open eyes and an open heart as He leaves you speechless and in awe of who He is!

Here is to the simple things.
To embracing life.
Here is to my Jesus.

Hasta Luego for now, amigos!

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