Hope Through Unity

Several years ago my oldest daughter and I had the opportunity to travel to Acuña, Mexico with my husband’s aunt and uncle. We were joining up with men, women, and children of all ages from all over America as part of a missionary group with an organization by the name of Casas Por Cristo (Houses for Christ). Their main goal is to share Jesus’ love by blessing and serving a family in need through a house building project in one of their designated building-locations.

When we all arrived in Acuña we had a large group of around 100 volunteers with a gymnasium that served as our gathering hub for sleep, food, cold showers, and devotions. We were split into even groups on the first day so a total of five homes would be built in Acuña over a four day period.Our team of twenty-ish made an immediate connection with the same like-minded purpose — to mesh work and Jesus’ love through building a house for a sweet Hispanic family…and goodness the family was precious.

The father and son worked on what would become their new home right along side our team, while the mother and grandmother made it a priority to fill us up everyday on authentic local dishes and Mexican hot cocoa and donuts. Side note: If you’ve never had Mexican hot cocoa you’re missing out! It’s actually available in Walmart stores so make sure to treat yourself!As we came to the end of our mission trip, with the house nearly completed, there was a moment where we all gathered for a dedication ceremony.

David, our Casas Por Christo team leader, translated what the Hispanic father wanted so desperately for our team to know. He shared that in the time before our arrival he and his wife had been struggling with their son’s emotions and depression. This eleven year old boy had been contemplating thoughts of suicide, which unfortunately in that area is quite common for that age group. But when our team arrived to help build them a home his young son’s happiness had finally returned.

Both the father and son had been given a chance to truly experience self-worth by visually seeing how their hands and a remarkable end-goal could help create something of great value for their family.And then David translated something I’ll never forget—

The dad had noticed something within our group that struck him.

Unity.

Our group of twenty, meeting for the first time — some from D.C. to California, others from North Dakota and Kansas, and a mama and her little girl from Nebraska — had come together with evidence of unity to spur us along. Even this native man could sense and had witnessed the unity that had formed in our group without at all understanding our language.

It was finally clear to me that while building that house in Mexico, a structure wasn’t the only thing being made…

I share this story with you because we’re living in a time where uncertainty is prevalent.

In our world things are messy right now…things feel unstable to some, meanwhile others are firmly gripping fear.

And I think deep down many of us have this yearning to be understood…to express our feelings, to be heard…to feel unified…whether we are politicians, doctors or nurses, students, working fathers, stay at home moms, elderly, laid-off or working from home people — we desire connection.

Unity can be described as oneness, one in spirit and like-mindedness. It’s not something that just happens, but it’s something that can be learned when we communicate well with one another to know and understand our hopes and expectations.

The unity that took place amongst two by fours, homemade stucco, and a group of Jesus lovers during my time in Acuña is the same type of unity that our nation and world need to strive for in the midst of the current chaos; even if it can only happen emotionally and spiritually right now.

Unity was formed in the book of Nehemiah thousands of years ago with the rebuilding of the walls in Jerusalem, such a motivational and powerful story. This would be a great place to start reading your Bible if you’ve never done so before, or even if you just need a refresher on this story.

We also see unity throughout the book of Acts when the first church is established. In Acts 2 verse 44 we read, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”

Unity.

With Easter among us it’s such an amazing time to remember perfect unity is truly a gift from God. He longs for us to be united with Him, pouring out His love for sinners through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus. Sweet victory proclaimed, when up from the grave Jesus arose giving us prime unity with His Father as we make the choice to believe, trust, and follow while receiving the Holy Spirit. May our example of faith in Him be a true example of unity to those watching in a way that points to God…For His Purpose.

That daughter of mine that I shared a trip to Mexico with still talks about that experience and begs to go back again one day…in due time…when finances and plans make sense…she’s fourteen now and last week with a fire in her soul said, “mom wouldn’t it be awesome if this coronavirus brought about a spiritual revival!?”

“Ya it would Baby Girl…ya it would”…I responded with a longing hope of unity swelling within.

I pray unity through understanding, relationships, and God would bring us to a lasting celebration of that sort sooner than later.

The One Thing We Need…

This is gonna be a short and simple post and I’m not sure I’ll post again for a while.

I think so much has become overcomplicated and overwhelming lately in America and all over that I honestly just desire some basic, surefooted instructions…anyone else?

As I sat down this morning to do my Bible study I thought about how I had a choice to make. I could choose to whine around for the umpteenth day in a row and be irritated with the circumstances of our world given the mess of the Coronavirus or I could focus on God’s faithfulness and change my perspective to a positive one. In that moment the words ‘He will renew your strength’ came to mind…I flipped my Bible open to Isaiah 40:31 which says, ‘but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’ Continue reading “The One Thing We Need…”

The Matthew Project

…Where to even begin this post?…I’m currently taking a class by the name of Perspectives, some of you may be familiar with the name. It’s probably one of the most challenging (yet spiritually rewarding) classes I’ve ever taken — lots of reading, extra studying, and gobs of extensive vocabulary that I’m not always familiar with. This class thoroughly drives home the point of seeing Matthew 24:15 and Matthew 28:19 come to fruition as Christians literally live out these scriptures by fulfilling the calling in each of our lives.

Matthew 24:14 And the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

When our lives follow Jesus and we have a healthy relationship and right standing with Him, we as Christians know how incredibly important Matthew 24:14 truly is. And we longingly look forward to the day of Jesus’ return. In the meantime however Matthew 28:19 absolutely has to be happening and requires our obedience!

As I’ve studied in Perspectives, my little self-focused world has been rocked in a huge way as I gain a new “perspective” on my role in helping to spread God’s word to the ends of the earth…even if it’s just right in my own community — which brings me to the idea of this very post.

K stay with me!! Continue reading “The Matthew Project”

Keeping the Christmas Spirit Going

It seems like once the New Year arrives people have often times moved beyond the Christmas spirit or season and are now fixated on new beginnings, keeping trendy resolutions, and sometimes creating outlandish goals for the upcoming year.

It’s almost as if the New Year pours in and Christmas is drowned out, right?

I’m seriously as guilty as they come with quickly moving on to my New Year resolutions.

In fact, a few weeks ago my husband commented that he wanted to start running to help get in shape. But then nothing came of it. Oddly enough some of our good friends contacted us the other day asking if we’d like to participate in a half marathon happening at the beginning of May. With the idea of motivation to spur us along in our new goal of running this year, we reluctantly committed…so now we’re signed up to compete in this half marathon that we’re absolutely (equally) unprepared for and clueless about.😂 Continue reading “Keeping the Christmas Spirit Going”

I’m So Glad You’re The One Taking Care Of Me Today (PART 1)

Warning: Sensitive material for some

It’s been eighteen years (today) since my dad died. It’s hard to even put those words together. He’s someone who hasn’t made it easy to ‘just get over.’

When you love someone so much and then lose them, it changes everything.

I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts the story of my dad, but for new blog followers and my own thought process (and anyone else) here we go…. Continue reading “I’m So Glad You’re The One Taking Care Of Me Today (PART 1)”

When Our Head and Heart Just Don’t Feel It

This isn’t the post I intended on writing this week, but when I see God working it prompts me to write and share!

My younger daughter, McKenzie, had been sick the past few weeks off and on…headaches, fevers, tummy aches…

The first time it happened I chalked it up to nothing other than the flu and when it showed up a few weeks later I thought ‘ok here we go again.’ After a few days though, when no other family members were getting sick, I began to worry. I loaded my girl up Friday morning and took her into the clinic and asked to have blood work done.

Poor girl, but a mama just knows.248B519C-E29A-4D80-AA81-DAD2BE5532DE

The blood tests came back with abnormal results and the physician grew concerned and referred us to a pediatrician a few hours away…the biggest concerns were weight loss and iron-deficiency anemia. They needed to know what was causing this. Our appointment with the pediatrician was set up for Monday afternoon.

Goodness, I don’t do well with waiting and wondering but I’m fantastic at worrying!! It was an incredibly looooong weekend and the anticipation of that appointment was killing me. Honestly I bet I gained a hundred new gray hairs over worrying and would probably be a perfect candidate to join the “Golden Girls” if they were still casting members, not only because of the gray hair but my dramatic flair too!!

While my girl was experiencing flu-like symptoms I was sick with my own: panic attacks, trouble breathing, pacing…I was a big, hot mess! I think that’s what my husband was getting at when he finally said, ‘Alicia, I don’t understand you; you’re such a strong person, but the minute trouble comes you let Satan right in and you don’t trust God!’ 

Ouch!

He didn’t say it with any sympathy either, it was just short, not sweet, to the point, and just what I needed to hear! But it didn’t change my frame of mind at the time either. Continue reading “When Our Head and Heart Just Don’t Feel It”

Be Strong and Courageous

My husband and I are adding to our family…

again…

in August! 

And I’m having mixed feelings.

Just to clear the record, I should mention, this won’t be our very own child…instead we’ve accepted the offer of hosting a foreign exchange student next school year. When this was first planned I was fairly excited, but then I quickly determined I’d rather bury my face until June of 2020…

March has been a rough month for our family and maybe that’s the reason for my recent, negative approach about this whole thing.

It was a long and cold Winter, and Spring hasn’t really sprung in the midwest (even though the technical date is here)…so we wait in anticipation of warmer temperatures and lively shades of green to make their grand entry into our part of the world.

With that, I’ve had stir-crazy kids with wild attitudes, who are seriously overdue for some outdoor play time.

The end of the month brought sad news as we lost my husband’s grandpa. He was such a sweet man—thirteen children he and Grandma Beverly have so you can imagine their numerous grandchildren as well. He always knew each of the grandkids by name and wanted to take them home as his own whenever he saw them at family gatherings. Grandpa Witt will definitely be missed by all of us.

During his last days he was really suffering, but we all knew he was Heaven-bound whenever God would call him home—now he’s pain free and with Jesus, which makes it so much easier to grieve.

So why am I bent out of shape about this new (and hopefully sweet) young gal coming to live with us for a whole school year??? Well it has nothing to do with her and everything to do with me, and my family, and our sass-tudes!!!

Selfish sounding, I know, but…

Here I am, not even four weeks past my “lemur-post”, which included that little lesson on self-control and ‘gently’ handling one another’s differences..and umm, I’ve already failed in following that lesson more times than I can count since hitting publish on that particular post!😔

As my kids’ attitudes have flared this past month, with arguing and competing against one another, so has Mama’s. I’m exhausted. I’d like to say I can just Martha Stewart everything and deal calmly and rationally with their disagreements but I’ve carried an unruly tone in my voice when lecturing them.

I get disappointed by their behavior, then more disappointed by my response in dealing with it, and honestly I’m afraid we’re going to frighten this poor Russian girl off…I have it all mapped out in my mind—she’ll spend a few weeks here, determine we’re nuts, we’ll fail to show her an amazing Jesus, she’ll secretly pack her bags and then drag them across a few corn fields to the nearby rural airport and take the first little puddle jumper over to DIA, heading back to Russia in a mess of tears and an extra baggage fee of regret!!

So there you have it, I’m worried that we’re gonna scare her off before she even gets a chance to know us. Continue reading “Be Strong and Courageous”