As you may have noticed, I have yet to blog this summer because I’ve been doing more important things like playing in the pool with my girls, sipping coffee in the backyard in the mornings, and generally being lazy. I just love summer.
But over the last couple of weeks, my life picked up it’s pace quite a bit, and I wanted to share a few exciting moments, as well as little lessons that the Lord has taught me.
First, can I just tell you that I love traveling to new places in the world! I’ve had the opportunity to enter many cultures and lands, and just when I think I’ve found my favorite place or met the most delightful people, I travel somewhere new and immediately have a new favorite.
I encountered the beautiful people of Nicaragua at the end of June, and their smiles and gentle demeanor are still imprinted in my heart. I think what I loved the most about the precious men and women that I met, was that although they exuded a gentle grace and joy they were equally passionate and fiery!
Just look at these ladies! Can you say GORGEOUS?! But can you also see the passion in their eyes - LOVE IT!!!
|These ladies dressed in gold were dancers who truly worshipped with their whole being. I was mesmerized by these lovely girls!|
And you should meet their fearless leaders, Rony & Mayra Coffer. Rony is a quiet giant of the faith. His impact is far reaching in this country (literally reaching into church plants, clinics, and feeding programs throughout villages all over this nation), and his wife Mayra is a ball of energy and zeal! She loves her people and is leading these women into truth!
|The lovely Mayra...this girl can PREACH!|
|And she was a fabulous translator...she seriously worked non-stop this week!|
|Rony & Mayra were serving as my illustration...and as you can see...I was a little excited about what I was saying - ha!|
And now for the lesson that I learned from the Lord while I was in Nicaragua:
I’ve heard it said before that the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will. And although I agree with the general feelings of this idea, I’ve witnessed over the last couple of years that safety is never really a guarantee when you are where God wants you. Just ask my friend Matt who was imprisoned while serving in an African nation as a missionary, or ask me to recount my stories from Israel when I entered the country in the middle of a conflict and one day had to take shelter as the incoming missile sirens began to sound.
Safety...not so much.
Comfort...not a chance.
But peace...yes, I do think there is a promise from God that He will grant us His unexplainable peace when we are in the middle of His will.
I got to put this truth to the test as I sat on the plane in Houston awaiting my take-off for Nicaragua. My dad was scheduled for a heart cath that morning and when he had called to tell me about it he had calmly explained that the doctors were just doing this exploratory procedure to make sure all was well with his heart. At the most he might need a stint that they would do during the procedure, but he assured me that it was no big deal and to go with confidence...after all, speaking in other nations is my dad's heartbeat and he was excited for me to go to Nicaragua - a nation already deep within his heart. So imagine my surprise as I texted my sister to find out the verdict of the procedure and received this text in response:
And with these words, I was told to put away all electronic devices and sit back and enjoy my trip to Nicaragua. I battled in my mind for that entire 3 hour flight.
How was my dad, really?
What were the doctors telling my family?
Why did God orchestrate this trip NOW?
Would I be back in time for the surgery?
And how would I focus on ministering to people in Nicaragua when I wanted to be home?
If I'm honest, this battle went on for the rest of the day and late into the night. I knew all of the right answers to tell myself:
He would be fine
People have this kind of surgery all the time
What a blessing that they caught it before he had a heart attack
Focus Paige - you are where you need to be
But I could not get my feelings to line up with these thoughts that I tried to convince myself were the truth. I tossed and turned that night, and finally awoke at 6am wide awake! The team was going to meet at 8:30 to prepare for the first day of the conference, so I slipped out of bed and went outside where the Lord and I had it out for the next hour and a half.
I asked quite a few questions with few answers; I vented my frustrations and fears; and then I simply asked that He help. I needed Him to help my dad. I needed Him to help my mom. I needed Him to help me. I needed Him to help these ladies here in Nicaragua.
Sometimes, the best prayers we can pray are a simple help!
And as my mind began to calm, I opened my Bible and I started to write out Scriptures and prayer. I wrote Scriptures of faith over my dad's heart and I wrote Scriptures of truth over the women I would soon meet. I wrote at first unsure if my emotions could believe, but as the time progressed, I discovered that I was writing and praying with a genuine faith. My emotions were lining up with these Scriptures and the frantic thoughts that had consumed my mind just hours before were now serene and certain.
My dad would live. He would live a long and fruitful life. His heart would beat with a new rhythm that would take him beyond what he has known thus far.
And I was EXACTLY where I should be. I would speak truth and love and grace and hopefully some revelation to the men and women of Nicaragua. And I would be more aware than ever before that those words were not from my intellect or greatness because I was truly undone & just clinging to Him.
And as I sat outside in tropical Nicaragua, a peace that truly surpasses all understanding washed over me & reminded me that I was not alone. I was able to walk confidently in that peace over the next few days.
I landed back on the tarmac at home, just as my dad was wheeled out of surgery. I went straight to the hospital & into his room. He was just beginning to awake from anesthesia, and when I said, "Dad, it's Paige. I made it home," his eyes fluttered with recognition and KNEW that peace was not just an emotion...it was a reality. My dad was going to be stronger than ever, and I was going to know that although it's a battle sometimes - you CAN fight for peace. And you can ask a simple help from the One who is ready to give it.
I'm happy to report that my dad is recovering really well. He ended up having a quadruple bypass which is pretty major so his recovery will take some time, but he is up and walking (he walked his block a couple days ago)! Thank you to everyone who has prayed and is praying for our family. Your prayers have been felt...even across the ocean.