I have so much to share with you about my time in Guatemala … and the more I process, the more I want to share!
I wanted so badly to express some of what the Lord did in and through this trip last week, but I ended up sick promptly upon my return home and just didn’t have it in me to do much more than work and then plant myself on the couch before crashing for the night and pushing through the next day. Forming coherent thoughts that captured the trip or the Lord’s hand at work with any sort of justice seemed near impossible.
My energy level has been slow to return, and I’m still processing, but I couldn’t let another day pass without entering into this space to say thank you. For praying, for encouraging, for supporting … both me and the team I was privileged to serve alongside.
But really, how do you begin to express or explain something that you can’t quite even label or name yet? I know the Lord did something, and is still DOING something, in and through this trip and this heart He’s given me for Guatemala. But putting that something into words?
Well, it’s challenging … almost as if it’s still partially veiled. As if I’m not even supposed to be able to put it into words just yet. As if there’s something still being formed.
And while my eyes have been opened to it and I’ve been given a front row seat to it, I’m still watching the first act. There’s still some ground to cover before the characters fully develop or the plot begins to make some sense.
But oh, I saw the Lord move on this trip. I never expected not to, but I also want to intentionally stop and take the time to say it, to praise Him for it, to acknowledge that those prayers I prayed, those requests that had been on my heart for weeks, if not months – that I asked you to pray along with me – He answered! Not necessarily how I would have expected. But He answered.
God is so faithful.
And He so graciously honored the step I took in obedience and faith to go.
Because that’s this God we serve!
Before I left, I knew I needed to let go of the expectations I was bringing along, which in and of itself was hard since the last trip in February had been so powerful.
And this trip was certain to be different.
But I also knew that the door had been so obviously and creatively opened for me to go back that this trip needed to be all His.
For whatever reason, He wanted me there. And even though that reason was unknown to me, there was freedom in knowing that I could follow Him back to Guatemala, be fully present in each moment, and trust Him to do the rest.
But honestly? That is still not my default. And that was not easy.
I didn’t want this trip to be about me, but at so many points, I found myself desperately seeking and searching for a reason, for an emotional connection, for an obvious and out-loud purpose for being back in this country that I have come to love so dearly.
As a result, the Lord and I had an ongoing conversation – a sort of internal wrestling and crying out on my part and truth-filled, yet gentle and loving replies on His – for the majority of this trip. I wanted a reason. I wanted to understand my place and my purpose. And I wanted to not react so negatively to the uncertainty around and within me.
I felt emotionally disconnected. The culture shock was gone this time, and as I walked around Antigua on the first day, everything seemed so familiar. Even the smell at the Guatemala City dump the next day didn’t overwhelm all of my senses in the same way as before.
While part of that was okay, I didn’t expect to feel quite so detached. I watched as my team reacted to all of it as I had before, as I would have expected to react again. I watched the tears and the brokenness and the feelings of helplessness come over them, and I couldn’t help but think something was terribly wrong with me. How could I not react with the same level of emotion? How could I not feel more?
I didn’t want to come across as uncaring or lacking in compassion … because that’s not what was going on, either … but nothing was coming out in the way of obvious emotion or reaction and it could not be forced.
So I found myself getting quiet and still before the Lord. I found myself hanging around the edges of the group at times to process the lack of emotion and to continue this conversation with the only One who knew my heart and thoughts even better than I did. The only One who could really see and speak truth into what was going on inside of me.
And as we continued this conversation that literally lasted for days, as I talked and as I listened, I sensed the Lord saying,
“Am I not enough?”
Even in the way I heard it, in the negative form, had to be Him. Because only He would know that’s what would best get my attention in that moment.
Because I wasn’t acting like He was enough. I was so focused on figuring out why I was there that I was missing the part about just being obedient in following and being with Him, in His presence, in Guatemala.
That’s all He ever asked. He never promised an obvious reason or that I would know another specific purpose … or that there would even BE another specific purpose.
And no matter what story (or straight up lies!) my emotions tried to tell, I could rest in that. Knowing that following Him to the place where He leads is always the right place.
Jesus was already in Guatemala.
He didn’t need me this time any more than He needed me the first time, but He invited me to join Him there again. To join Him in doing the work, to be His hands and feet, to partner with ministries who had established and long-term relationships in their respective communities, to humbly enter into the lives of others – if only for a brief moment – to love and serve them well and to be fully present in each opportunity.
And in that place, I saw Jesus move in blue paint, in blowing bubbles, in big brown eyes that held your gaze, in smiles and much laughter, and in holding hands. I saw Jesus in small moments that somehow weren’t small at all.
Because He was and is enough.
And those are the stories I will be sharing with you here over the next few weeks.
Because those stories matter. Entering into the lives of others, even for the briefest of moments, makes a difference … to you AND to them. And the small moments that make up our everyday realities are never wasted when they are fully surrendered to Jesus.