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The God who Gives Good Gifts
Many of you know that I was able to make a two week trip back to Nicaragua in order to be present for the end of the year field trip with our top students and to celebrate my kids’ graduations (pictured below). These two weeks were such an incredible gift to my heart in more ways than I can count!
Yes, it was a time of immense celebration! I loved getting to see all of these precious ones reach their goals and celebrate their graduations. We laughed, we cheered, we celebrated with joyous hearts. And it was so good! Each of these students has faced their own struggles this year. They have pushed through every barrier and they deserve to be commended and celebrated. And my heart rejoiced greatly to be there with them in that moment.
But honestly these weeks were so much more deeply beautiful than only that. That would have been enough, but God is a good Father and He gives really good gifts to His children and He had so many more gifts for me in the two weeks in Chichigalpa and Leon than I ever could have imagined.
I wanted to be really focused in those two weeks. Outside of graduations, I was really seeking focused, intentionally relational time with some people that I love and have missed deeply in this season. It was a time of heartfelt conversations, peace and confirmation, and seeing incredible growth in the ministries that I stepped out of.
One gift was being able to sit down with two of my youth (separately) and to just hear their hearts. I was blown away by how much they have grown and matured in their faith in the last six months. I was asking one of the teenagers how he had grown by such leaps and bounds in these months and he looked at me, smiled, and said, “Lisa honestly it’s mostly been through my time alone with God every day.” His life had taken some unexpected turns this year, but he is now able to recognize the beauty in those twists in the road because this is the year that he really found the Lord.
I sat and talked with my other teen and I was sharing with her how proud I am of her and the other Sunday school teachers. She told me: “Lisa if I’m being honest it was really difficult when you first left. I, and the rest of the teachers, had learned so much from you and we weren’t really sure what to do without you there. But then we just started stepping forward into it and realized that we could do it on our own. And, not only that, but we could continue to grow the program beyond where you had left it. I’m really proud of us too because we learned a lot from you, but we’ve learned even more from stepping out on our own.” Yes!! It was such an incredible gift to my heart to see them thriving both in ministry and in their walks with the Lord. These teenagers have made their faith journey their own and will arrive far beyond where I could ever lead them. It’s amazingly beautiful and freeing to realize that you are not needed.
Jesus also gave me gifts of connection with beautiful kids, families, and friends that mean the world to me. My sweet hijas, Yessica and Juanita, (pictured above) stayed after Sunday school to just spend time laughing and talking with me. I got to visit precious Yubelkis at her house and meet a beautiful, chunky little love born to one of our Santa Matilde families. I also had a ton of time with Cadence and the Ruiz family. These incredible friends of mine have been such a support system for me in Nicaragua and it was such a gift to just do life with them again. In these two weeks my heart felt so incredibly full.
As if all of those precious gifts weren’t enough, Jesus poured out His peace in abundance as He confirmed over and over again the things that he has been speaking to my heart the last few months in regards to the Abide Home. I wanted to sit down and talk with people from Chichigalpa that I trust and respect to hear their thoughts on what I’ve been thinking for Abide next steps (I promise that blog post is coming next…). I was able to meet and pray with two of our Pastors: Walther and Daniel. I also had lunch with Claudia and Cele, two of the women who have served with Cadence and me in ministry more closely than anyone else. (Cele and I pictured above) And I was able to share my heart with two of my youth, Gisselle and Leo. Over and over, in each of these conversations, Jesus poured His peace upon my heart as each of these precious, powerful men and women of God spoke life over Abide, spoke grace and peace to my heart, and confirmed that what the Lord has been whispering to my heart is possible. In these conversations, I felt seen, encouraged, loved and upheld. Our God is the God of all peace and His peace was abundantly felt in this time in Nicaragua.
Yes, it was a time of joy, laughter and celebration. But it was also a time of grace, peace and confirmation. I am immensely grateful to the beautiful folks that I call family in Nicaragua. And to the God who is the Giver of all good gifts.
Beautiful Lisa. You have me eagerly waiting to hear what God is doing with Abide. Be blessed.
“It’s amazingly beautiful and freeing to realize that you are not needed.” Ugh! So true & so good!
Wow, how wonderful, Lisa!!
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