As I walked over to get my lunch at the window, there was something that caught the corner of my eye. I looked at the mango tree in the courtyard and mangoes were down on the ground. And for some reason, I felt prompted to take a picture. It was as if God wanted me to capture the photo, because within it, there was something that He was wanting me to see. I didn’t know exactly why at the time but I knew He was going to reveal something soon.
September has actually been a very trying month. Our kids adjusting with online school, Rick and I continuing to alternate our work days at home and the office, having another tween in the family again, continuing in language and culture learning, the work itself within our ministry and then even having family matters back home. (Most recently we’ve had a family member in the hospital, please keep that in your prayers). Life almost always brings on burdens and trials but sadly, I made a weight of it all and it was starting to create anxiety. Which to be honest…anxiety had finally reached a level, to such a degree, that it started to create some concerning physical problems. It had been something that I experienced for a short time in the beginning of the pandemic but this time around, it was physically affecting my heart.
My heart was getting more and more heavy-laden. I was allowing everything that was going on in my world, my childrens world, sometimes the entire world…well, it was all beginning to fill up inside of me like pressure in a cooking pot and I continued going on each day without releasing some steam. And what I mean by that is, releasing through prayer. To be honest, prayer for me is definitely something that I want to give more of my time in but I use the excuse of everything going on and just casually pray. You know, I go about here and there and pray when need be but I never REALLY devote myself to spending time with God as much as I want or should. Especially in solitude, as Christ did. Finding the time and space to have little distractions, it’s just a setting that I don’t get much of being a mom of six year old twins. My struggles- commitment, consistency and lack of energy. My vision of what I can see physically was the only thing I was focusing on.
2 Corinthians 5:7“For we live by faith, not by sight.”
So one evening, I think my body had met it’s breaking point. A constant, pinching pain was occurring in my chest and it wouldn’t go away. The more I tried to relax, the more I felt the pain was possibly increasing. The only thing that I knew that could help, especially so I wouldn’t suffer from a panic attack (or even worse, something else) I knew that I just had to drop to my knees in prayer. There the floodgates opened, all the concern and feelings were released and as I cried out to my Father and asked for His hand to take the pain away (only if it was what He would want for me) my prayer then shifted into the reality of remembering just who exactly I was talking with…my God, the great I AM.
1 Peter 4:11“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
It was then that my prayers turned into praises and the heaviness was literally breaking away. I quickly realized how I was losing my focus and I was running thin on believing in Him, all that He is and all that He can do. My position was once again to myself and my own efforts. He knows all, knew all and all I have to remember is that I live for Him, giving everything that I do for His glory alone and that the mistakes that I make along the way, Jesus placed everything with Him on the cross. I can rest in the truth, I can rest in Him. So you can say, that’s what I did. Yes, on my bathroom floor is where the prayer took place.
But it was amazing. Shortly after, the pain and weight in my heart had been lifted and the next few days God began to reveal more and more all that He is capable of providing and all that He was wanting me to remember. I have to trust in Him and walk by faith. Temptations, distractions and lies will come along from Satan and just as Rick had even shared within our church here and our staff devotions (ironically in this same month that I really needed to hear it) we have to remain rooted in Gods word, the only truth that’s out there. Again for myself personally, especially in this month alone, I was certainly getting tested and my faith was getting stretched, mostly because of my own sin. But it’s beautiful how in a relationship with God and once we can recognize and admit the opposition that we choose, He still pulls us right back together with Him.
With my Spanish learning, He reminded me to put myself out there and continue investing time with those that He has called for us to work alongside. I have to put aside the fears and doubts of being ridiculed or ashamed and remember to keep ourselves in the position to talk and listen in Spanish as much as we can. (Even in Spanish class, trust me, I had some days this month and my brain was hurting.) So one morning I was able to take a friend out to coffee, she spoke in Spanish with so much patience and understanding and we had such a wonderful time. Another instance was when out in my office in the community, a coworker had bought for me a Dominican favorite to try and since I found out that it was made by a daughter of one of our nutrition cooks, we planned some time for a cooking lesson! We had so much fun learning, laughing and spending time with one another, again, not perfectly in Spanish but we were able to understand as much as we could.
Another beautiful blessing, our ministry celebrated our 10 year anniversary! Looking back and ahead, with Project Mañana, we can see so much that God provides. Our amazing directors that stepped out in obedience and love, our staff of majority Dominican nationals, the missionary families that felt led to come alongside, all of our partners from all around the globe and all the families that we serve. We remember, each of us working together, we want to remain committed to the mission of sharing the love of God, pointing the way to His son Jesus, again, giving God the glory!
We give praises for in this month alone- God has provided children to receive new sponsors, partners of Project Mañana continue in love and support stateside and for our family specifically, an incredible gift was delivered through financial support! Which by the way, that support arrived above and beyond around the same time that we had lost some support….so, coincidence? We don’t believe so, we believe it was fruit. The mango tree was a lesson. If we believe that Jesus is the son of God, we know that He is the vine. If we can remember to live for His glory and not our own, it can help us to recognize our sin. And as we walk by faith, then we can really grow to be more like Jesus, producing fruit (mangoes;)) that only come from Him, being useful to bless another.
And once again, no coincidence, God provided a song that fits perfectly to the praise that I can only give to Him! Magnify His name with us today and forever, amen!