My Cracks are Showing

Today’s Blog by Yvonne

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I have a confession to make. I am a closet perfectionist. OK, maybe not even a closet one but a full-blown perfectionist. Couple that trait along with some tendencies to be a people pleaser as well. One of those characteristics alone can cause lots of stress but when you put them together, look out. I have tried to work on these flaws for many years now. I am getting better about them, but sometimes one or both of these will still show up in my life. My family is usually the ones that suffer the most when I let my perfectionism run wild. My family often forgives me for my imperfections, once I realize what I am doing and ask for their forgiveness. Perfection is not attainable. We deceive ourselves into thinking that if we just try harder, we will become perfect. In all of the world’s history, there has only been one perfect person, Jesus Christ.

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My tendencies towards perfection show up any time I plan a mission trip. I make most of the travel arrangements for the trip. I enjoy searching for the best deals on flights and the best routes. I love to plan. Unfortunately, when I plan a trip, I begin to imagine all the details coming together. I form a picture in my mind of how everything will turn out during the trip. Unfortunately, things go wrong when traveling. Flights get delayed, people get sick, luggage gets lost and a million other things that can go wrong on a mission trip to destroy that perfect trip I had imagined.

I remember one trip in particular. It was one of the trips to Kenya. The team was about to purchase our tickets. It was about six weeks before our departure date when we received the news of a terrorist incident at a Kenyan airport. The next report told us all airlines had canceled their flights into Kenya. Mrs. Perfection went into overdrive trying to figure out what to do. The team gathered to pray about what God wanted us to do. I felt stressed, and my cracks were showing once again.

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God quickly provided another option for us to do. Our help was needed to build a daycare center in Argentina. God provided for us. This new trip could happen during the same period, and the cost would be the same. God answered our prayers. In fact, more people decided to join the team for our new adventure. God had a better idea of this trip than my plans. It was a beautiful trip, and I am so grateful for the opportunities that God provided. God taught me a lot during the new journey. He showed me that His ways are perfect, but mine is not. Slowly, I am learning to rely on Him and not on my plans. God even provided a verse to remind me of my new lesson.

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I try to recall this verse anytime I feel myself battling for control of a situation. I remind myself God knows a better way for everything in my life. I still have times where I slip back into old habits, but I am learning, and I continue to try. I trust God to continue to work on me. I am not perfect. The God I serve is the perfect one, and I can believe in Him to work out all the details.

Blessing,
Yvonne, author and blogger.

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

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Lost But Not Forgotten

Today’s Blog by Yvonne

Local churches or local governments refer orphaned children to our facilities in Nepal and Myanmar. Some of these youngsters lost their entire families in disasters or wars. Worse yet, some of the kids get abandoned on street corners. These children come to us when they are very young, so we do not always know the entire story of their life before we found them. James, for example, was found living on the streets of Nepal when he was just five years old, alone and forgotten. James shook with fear when he arrived at the home, thin from malnutrition. I find it very hard to understand or imagine such severe poverty that would cause me to abandon my children in such ways.

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Recently, I read another account of other lost children in a book called “No Longer a Slumdog” by K.P. Yohannan. The book told a story of two young sisters who traveled by train to Bombay with their mother. At one of the train stops, their mother asked them to wait while she ran to get a drink. She never returned. The train continued with the sisters still aboard. Scared and alone, they stayed together until the train reached a large city. Then they got off and sat down in the train station, confused and desperately alone. My heart breaks to think of these young girls. Finally, after several hours sitting by themselves in the train station, an elderly woman spotted them and offered help. She took them to a home for lost children. The shelter took them in and cared for them. Unfortunately, stories of abandonment are commonplace across Southeast Asia and other areas in our world.

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God granted us the opportunity to care for children like the ones in the above stories. We opened orphanages in Myanmar and Nepal. Between both locations, we house and care for about 45 children. Little ones abandoned and lost in this big world. They came to us scared and forgotten, searching for someone to love them. We feel blessed by serving these beautiful children.

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The stories of these children also remind me of our own stories. We are lost and abandoned in a big, scary world. All of us are looking for someone to love us and to care for us. Our orphans found shelter and love in our orphanages. We too can find refuge and love. Jesus waits for us with His loving arms open to welcome us home. John 14:18 tells us, “No, I will not abandon you as orphans–I will come to you.” God is our shelter as shown in Psalms 31:20 “You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues.” Seek God, and He will find you and bring you into His loving shelter, and you will be safe forever.

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Blessing,
Yvonne, author and blogger.

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

The Happiest Place on Earth

Today’s blog by Yvonne

Disney World claims to be the “Happiest Place on Earth, ” and I don’t think too many people would disagree with their proclamation. I love Disney World. Standing in the parks makes me feel like a child once again. Ears firmly attached to my head, I run between attractions and giggle like a school girl as I wait to see Mickey Mouse. I am not alone in these feelings as I watch hundreds of other adults descend back into their childhoods. Laughter fills the air around me and smiles stretch from one ear to the other. Disney is a magical place.

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Sadness and heartache darken the souls across our world and Disney World is not immune to some of these problems. I remember bouncing around Epcot one day recently when my cell phone rang unexpectedly. The hospital, where my mother was recouping from an infection, called to inform me her condition was deteriorating quickly. Hospice was needed and the outlook bleak. I stood by the Mexican area of Epcot and cried. Not gentle tears, but sobs of anguish that flowed in torrents down my cheeks. My heart, torn asunder, as a thousand miles separated me from my mom’s bedside. Disney World was no longer the happiest place on earth for me, and they could do nothing to change my circumstances at that moment.

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Happiness does not last. Happiness is a fleeting emotion, one that is blown by the winds of turmoil. Even though I believe Disney is one of the happiest places, my experience with my mom showed me that even their signature happiness is temporary. Before you sink into despair under the weight of the world’s problems, know there is hope for something better.

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Joy, for a Christian heart, provides a different feeling than happiness. A definition of joy from John Piper states “Christian joy is a feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.” We can experience this feeling even in the midst of an emotional breakdown in the middle of Epcot. My mom knew Jesus as her savior, so my joy during the pain came from knowing I will see her again one day. The joy feeling resides deep and overcomes any other emotions from the world. The joy Christ plants within us is never temporary like the happiness of Disney.

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Where does this joy come from in our troubled world? The joy comes from the knowledge and fellowship of Jesus. When we know Jesus on a personal level, we know His joy. No matter what happens to us, the joy remains. We still cry and experience sadness in our lives, but Christ provides a hope for better things to come. Even if we struggle with pain or heartache throughout our entire life, we know that in the end, we will spend eternity with our Lord and Savior. I would even go so far as to proclaim that Heaven will be the happiest place in the universe. The joy planted in our hearts prepares us for the joy that will last for all eternity with Jesus and all the saints who have gone before us.

Blessing,
Yvonne, author and blogger.

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