Sunday, June 8, 2014

On Going With My Eyes Wide Open...

Just 13 sleeps away...
Yes, we are going back! To that place where, three years ago, God broke our hearts for the things that break His.

The slums of Manila {Philippines}

This trip wasn't in our summer plans... or even at all. We had no plans to return to the Philippines. The trip just sort of came together because of a few different circumstances we couldn't have foreseen.

The summer initially looked very different in my eyes...

My girl was going to spend one month in Guatemala with Mennonite Central Committee. We were going to join her for a week at the tail-end so we could visit and meet Esperanza.

Then hubby's dad, our beloved Papa, who had last-stage lung cancer, got even more ill.

Then my Dad's retirement event got scheduled on a summer date which is now suddenly feasible for us to attend.

Then my girl's Guatemala trip got cancelled.

All of a sudden, our summer looked entirely different.

We mulled over the huge expense that a trip to the Philippines would entail... especially since it is still so soon after our previous trip there. But, everything seems to be pointing us towards taking the trip.

We could spend some precious time with our beloved Papa.

We could attend my Dad's retirement event.

We could visit our Filipino Compassion children and we could go see the classrooms that we raised funds for to help build!

Oh, the excitement! So, we swallowed the big lumps in our throats and purchased our plane tickets.

And then, 10 days later, on Resurrection Sunday, our beloved Papa passed from this world into the everlasting arms of our Heavenly Father. Hubby flew over, on his own, to attend the funeral.

Yet, our plane tickets aren't refundable, so we are going ahead with the trip. 

It is going to be a bittersweet time... because we won't be seeing our beloved Papa... but it will be a sweet time of remembering a man who was always good-natured, joyful and happy, content to live a simple life, was radically generous, who understood and lived this truth... “So the last will be first, and the first will be last. (Matthew 20:16)

Phew... that was a long-winded intro as to why we are going on this trip!

All that is to say...
Because this trip came about so suddenly and unexpectedly, I am not prepared for it. Not in terms of packing... but more so, not emotionally.

Overlooking Taal Volcano during our previous trip to the Philippines. 

Because stepping out of comfort zone scares me.

Hubby and I were chatting the other day and I told him, "Perhaps, I will just keep the eyes of my heart shut for the entire trip... so that I won't see anything."

I thought back to the start of our previous trip there... we were only sponsoring Florianlyn and Bell Bradley at that time... hardly being stretched at all.

My girl and our LDP student, Rechelle. We met Rechelle during our last trip.
We left that meeting feeling that God was asking us to sponsor her.

In the three years that has passed since the trip, we have added Rechelle, a Compassion Leadership Development Student and four other sponsor children to our family, plus helped raised funds to build a 6-classroom structure in the remote island of Masbate, Philippines.

It has been an intense three years of God breaking our family's heart for the things that break His.

I am not sure I am capable of being stretched some more...
I am not sure I am ready to be face-to-face with extreme poverty again so soon... 
I am not sure my heart can be broken any more than it already is!

Yet I also fully know that...
God isn't done with me and that broken is the most blessed you can be and that beauty is always most beautiful in the most broken places.

This past Friday, Claire Diaz-Ortiz guest-blogged at A Holy Experience. I have never heard of her before but the blog post title caught my eye... When God Changes All Your Plans. The blog post content gripped me even more. Claire wrote:
And it was in that moment that God spoke to me in His way. With a feeling I had never had before and have never had since I was convinced He was with me.
With the certainty of that knowledge, I gave my plea.
“If you have put this place in the road to change me, open my eyes so I can see.”
Hmmm... didn't God just change all our summer plans? And didn't I just say to hubby that I am going to keep my eyes shut this trip?!?

Our sweet Florianlyn, playing on the beach with my kids.

Claire's blog post challenged me. 

To go with my eyes wide open. To see with my heart. To allow God to change me.

Because "the God who started this great work in you (me) would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. (Philippians 1:6)"

Today is a special day...

Surprise BIG SCREEN birthday greeting at church this morning! 

And I am offering up endless thanks for God's grace in my life... for the gift of yet another year to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with the One whose love for me is so relentless that He is willing to start a great work, plus bring it to a flourishing finish, with and through this life!
"A-I-M-E-E." Loved one.
God is always good and I am always loved and eucharisteo has made me my truest self, "full of grace." Doesn't eucharisteo rename all God's children their truest name:
"Loved one."
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
Yes, it's just 13 sleeps away now...
We have started packing and the anticipation is starting to build. We are getting excited. And yes... though not easy to do, I will be going with my eyes wide open! :)

Because... broken is the most blessed you can be!

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!


  1. This post is so timely for me. Yesterday was our Compassion Sunday at church - the day we shared about our trip to Thailand with our church family. My husband was able to preach and his whole message was about keeping our hearts soft and open to what is happening around us. So often we see a homeless person and look the other way - not wanting to look into that person's eyes. Or we see a person who is crazy about their particular ministry (like Compassion) and we try to avoid a conversation or eye contact so we don't have to hear about the misery of poverty. But as Christians we should run to that stuff like a firefighter runs to a fire. We should ask others and listen to them as a way of encouragement. We don't have to jump in and support them financially - unless God prompts us to - but we can support them by listening and being aware.

    We had an evening event at our church that was geared toward sponsor development, but was open to anyone to attend. Several friends who do not sponsor through Compassion came...they supported us with their presence, with their help and with their interest.

    Eyes and hearts wide open...being available and aware to what is going on in the world and around us.

    Praying for your family as you embark on this journey.

    1. Thank you, Jill... your prayers are much appreciated & much needed.

  2. thank you for this. Praying you through. Excited for you. Wow. Thinking of all of you....