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.

Be Alert and of Sober Mind

Note: All of this is written with the respect of prayer for those who are suffering firsthand with sickness or loss of a loved one due to Coronavirus. My hope is that this is all quickly resolved to alleviate the added stress that has impacted many.

With amusement parks shut down due to Covid-19 I’ve been thinking who needs Disneyland anyway when there’s a wave of roller coaster emotions right in my own home!?

After I hit publish on last week’s post I was bound and determined to keep my positive upbeat vibe going that I was feeling, but Satan came in quick like a wrecking ball…man I get tired of him. I’ve intended to enjoy this downtime, making the most of it by spending time creating memories of healthy bonding with my family.

A far cry from reality…

Since that last post I’ve dealt with lots of unexpected..a mess of canceling travel plans through Expedia, transitioning my grandma from her home into a nursing home, and trying to figure out and set up my kids new elearning school schedule…holy moly that last challenge has brought full assurance that I am absolutely not tech savvy at all! Surprised I can even maintain this blog!

Overall I have the choice to keep a positive attitude regardless, but sometimes I get overwhelmed with change and forget to take my stress to the Lord immediately. On the other hand I neglect to remain aware that Satan is always on the prowl, even when (actually especially when) I’m at my highest points.

The other day I was thinking how in the world did my household dramatically go from happy, silly, and dancing like no one was watching last week (see last post with video) to whining, bickering, and a lack of mercy and grace with one another in a matter of one day…??

With perfect timing the words “he prowls around…looking for someone to devour” quickly swept in over my thoughts so I pulled out my trusty and faithful “Thought-navigator” and turned to 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” This was exactly what I needed reminded of — to consciously stay alert of Satan’s scheme-filled tactics 24-7.

I couldn’t just cut that idea off right there, I had to read the entire context of the passage.

The words surrounding 1 Peter 5:8 are so encouraging and applicable to what we’re all dealing with that I’m super excited to share them with you: Continue reading “Be Alert and of Sober Mind”

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…”

He❤️rt Lessons

This is my son Warren’s first year in public school and he’s loving it! In fact the other day I casually asked him if he wanted to be in public school or homeschooled again and he informed me that no way was he doing school at home again… “sorry mom,” he said, “but I can actually understand math now!” …well okay then son!

This past week they had to make Valentine boxes. I wish I had thought to take a picture of it for the sake of this post but I wasn’t that organized and it’s at school now, so no picture at the moment. He made a shoebox to look like a Pokeball (Pokémon) by painting it with red, white, and black. It turned out nice and was super simple. I bought him a large bag of individually packaged Skittles candies with Valentine cards to attach and pass out for their class party.

The evening that he made out the Valentine cards he happened to have his homeschooled sister help with the job. I didn’t think anything of it and heard the two of them spouting out his classmate’s names along with teacher’s names as they wrote them out. Continue reading “He❤️rt Lessons”

A Solid Foundation

Last Saturday my husband and I ventured out to his great grandparent’s retired farmstead to cut firewood. Since I’m no Paul Bunyan I let Nate do the wood cutting and in the meantime I went and explored, (no worries I helped carry and load the wood later). This is probably my third time throughout the past ten years nosing around this particular property…but for me it never gets old. I feel like there’s always some new little nook or cranny just waiting to be stumbled upon or observed. And safety precautions….well out there you just have to enter at your own risk…

Seeing all the antiqued equipment and many dilapidated structures is proof enough that the work in those days was no doubt extensive yet the idea of it creates such a desirable nostalgic feeling deep within me.

Continue reading “A Solid Foundation”

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”

Quiet Time Necessity

Sometimes when I substitute teach, my job assignment stretches beyond the classroom.

Recently I ended up in the school’s lunchroom to supervise bubbly elementary students. An extended squirming hand raised high let’s the adults know when attention is needed—usually indicating milk cartons are being stubborn and extra help is needed in opening them, maybe a kiddo wants permission to pass on their veggies, or he or she is ready to dump their tray once they’ve finished eating.

While I helped a few weeks ago, a hand went up and I walked over.

A little girl, probably second grade, looked up at me with sad eyes and I knew we weren’t dealing with regular lunch issues. I knelt down beside her and asked what was wrong. With tears welled in the corners of her eyes she spoke through pouty lips, “I want to sit alone right now.”

“Well why? What’s going on?” I asked with concern. Continue reading “Quiet Time Necessity”