I must confess that recently I’ve been so caught up in the routine and “busy work” here, that I’ve neglected to seek God with my whole heart and look for His movement and guidance in my life. Sometimes He moves in big undeniable ways, throwing things at me until I cannot deny that it is GOD and not merely coincidental. Other times it’s in the subtly of the mundane and with whispers. It takes a heart attuned to the Spirit to recognize this movement, and to wait for Him to whisper. I have been so caught up in the busyness of this season, I haven’t been still or truly listened for His whispers.
Truthfully, I don’t do this well anyway. I struggle to still myself and my mind before the Lord to listen. I like to be moving and doing, and the sitting and waiting isn’t easy for me as my task-oriented side starts making a mental checklist of my “to-do” list for the day. For much of my life, I waited for the “big undeniable” movement of God before doing anything. Thankfully, when I needed those most God would make His will very clear. It wasn’t until my move to Guatemala that I had to be still and listen, and then move forward in faith. The first few weeks of October, I really struggled to be still. I recognized how my heart grew discouraged as I got caught up in the mundane things like making sure the kids were doing their homework, administrative tasks, making sure Yenifer and Virginia take their nap, and giving out cough medicine (It’s difficult to nip a simple cold in the bud when 25 kids are sharing it! As we speak little Yaser David has come into the office asking for medicine for his throat.).
Recently I read about an interaction between Elijah and God in 1 Kings that really spoke to my heart. It occurred shortly after Elijah’s standoff with the priests of Baal and King Ahab. He was at the top of his game, gets a threatening message from Queen Jezebel, and high tails it out of there fearing for his life. He asks God to end his life, but instead after providing food and drink for sustenance, God leads Elijah out on a forty day journey to Mount Horeb. God asks him, “What are you doing here Elijah?” (I think this was one of those moments where God asks a question, all while knowing the answer.) Elijah replies with blunt honesty and states his discouragement and fear. And then:
And He said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind and earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire, the sound of a low whisper. (1 Kings 19:11-12)
I have to wonder, how many times do I see God moving in my life in incredible ways, and then feel the urge to turn and run afterwards in fear when those little “threats” weave their way into my heart? I’m not physically running (my relationship status with exercise is currently “complicated”), but running manifests itself through distractions and staying busy. Are you running? Too busy to wade through the chaos to hear his low whisper in the stillness that follows?
I know I have been. Therefore, the last couple of weeks I’ve really focused on stilling my heart and waiting for that “low whisper”. And the Lord has been faithful to provide!
He whispers in the subtle changes in the children’s lives. Virginia really struggles with focusing and following direction. Not because she’s rebellious, because she wants so desperately to please. She’s just young, energetic, and has never learned the benefits of obedience. She and I have been working on a little ditty with hand motions, and I’ve really seen her mature in listening and obeying. I’ll say, “What do you do when an adult is talking to you?” And she says “Stop. Look. Listen.”, while using her tiny hands to remember each step (it’s really pretty precious, watch this video!)
Little changes like this show me that the Lord is actively bringing peace to what used to be chaos for her.
Also, the Lord has been working actively in the hearts of Jeshua and Andres. I wrote briefly last time about Jeshua and Andres’ court case. I spoke of Andres’ anguish at leaving his mother again, but how Jeshua was calm and logical. I later learned that he told his grandmother at the hearing, “Grandma, I’ve changed. Jesus has changed my heart, and I’m a better person.” She told Shane (Director and Founder of Casa de mi Padre) this in wonderment, and also stated that his eyes were no longer filled with anxiety and darting around the room. He had peace and clarity in them instead. When I first met Jeshua, my initial thought was that he could be a lost cause. But the Lord whispered, “I’m working on this one. He’s important to me. Be patient with him, and love him as I have loved you.” And WOW! Has that kid blossomed! He has an incredible servant’s heart, and is often looking for ways to be a help around the house. I’m so impressed with him!
I hear His whispers in messages from other people giving encouragement, or pledging financial support.
I hear His whispers when I’m sitting alone on my couch, and feeling the emptiness.
I hear His whispers when Virginia crawls into my lap and says, “I love you.” without prompting.
I hear His whispers when a child tearfully expresses their fears about returning home to their abuser, and I’m needed for comfort and support.
He is always moving, always whispering. I pray that my heart would never be satisfied in the busyness and distractions, and that I would always thirst for more of Him. I will not be content with apathy or lethargic faith.
- The kids are out of school for “summer break”, which here in Guatemala is October-December. Please pray that they would be rested and ready to learn again in January, and that we would be safe on our “summer break” fun activities.
- The Lord has also been moving in our transition program. When our kids “age out”, we do everything we can to help them succeed as they continue to grow into adulthood. We help them find a Guatemalan family to live with, and we pay for the next step of education. This is a new venture for our ministry, as the kids who were with us from the beginning just began turning 18 within the last year or so. We had four young adults needing a stable Christian Guatemalan family to live with. Two of them had already been in transition, and needed to change families for varying reasons. The other two will be transitioning out this year, one in December and the other in March. The Lord has provided three of the four homes needed within the last few weeks! Wow! Please pray that the Lord would point us in the right direction for that fourth home we so desperately need for Gerson!
- I’m creating a proposal for our local judge to implement a 12-week transition process for kids currently living in our home who the court decides to give custody to another. This will ideally help us (and the powers that be) weed out families that would be potentially harmful or abusive to the kids. With this transitional process, we will have opportunities to interview the children after several visits varying in length to see how it went. This will help the child make an informed decision (if the judge chooses to accept it), and also will allow us to pull a child out before it’s permanent if the family is abusive. Please pray that the Lord would be opening this new judge’s heart to this idea already, and that we would be able to build a good rapport with him quickly.