Monthly Archives

May 2017

Journey Life Women

7 children. 1 egg.

May 13, 2017

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her story since I sat across the table from a woman earlier this week as she recounted the days of hardship and hunger she and her seven children had to endure.

Forced into a relationship she naively thought would save her from childhood abuse became the worse nightmare she could have possibly imagined. Then children came into the picture. Ultimately still a child herself, she did what she had to do. She tried to be the best mom she could despite the horrific circumstances.

She found herself shackled to a man who could care less about “his woman” or his children.

He drank. He womanized. He beat. 

He did not love.

He did nothing to help provide for the seven children he fathered. Even though he sold fruit and vegetables, the most (though still rarely) he did was throw a rotten tomato or cabbage head on the table. 

His children suffered from hunger pains constantly and were severely malnourished. 

“His woman” did the best she could. She’d use the little she could scavenge to feed her children, which included using one egg to feed her seven children.

7 children. 1 egg.

Can you imagine?

I’m not yet a mom but my heart cannot comprehend how difficult it must have been to look her sweet little ones in the eye, seeing the hunger pains and knowing all I could give them was not just an egg but 1/7 of an egg.

What kind of heart-break, shame, guilt, depression and deep sadness must this mom have felt? How did she survive living beneath such a heavy load?

She loved.

Her children, all grown now, recognize though often she could not give them a table full of food, she gave them a heart full of love.

She was the best mom in the world to them because she LOVED them.

Here in Honduras, Mother’s Day is like a New Year’s party! They celebrate BIG just like the rest of world will tomorrow as well.

Moms around the world face difficulties and challenges most of us living in the USA cannot begin to fathom.

They fight for food. They fight for education. They fight for shelter. They fight for the very best that they can for their children.

Moms, other moms need you.

Women, other women need you.

You can wear jewelry that supports other moms. You can decorate your home with home goods made by vulnerable women. You can donate your time and resources in organizations like SoloHope that work to empower and give hope and share Jesus with women and their families so we don’t continue hearing stories of seven children sharing one egg.

If moms and women around the world unite this Mother’s Day to say “we are for each other,” what a force to be reckoned with we will be! 

To moms everywhere, we love you. We are inspired by you and we wish you the happiest of Mother’s Days! 

Growth Journey Life

I ain’t no pioneer woman.

May 5, 2017

Growing up every Saturday night at 8 pm, you could find me seated in front television watching my favorite show—Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Oh it was my favorite! I remember one Saturday the electricity had gone out due to a storm and I pleaded and prayed to God that Grady EMC would be successful in correcting the problem in time for Dr. Quinn. 

She was my hero. I already had a fascination with the “olden days” and had always said I wanted to live “back then.” Dr. Quinn just fueled that desire.

When I started going to Honduras, I felt like I had found my frontier world I had always longed for. Sometimes it meant washing clothes by hand or fixing a barbed wire fence or collecting eggs from the chickens and I loved it! 

But you know, our fantasies and dreams are usually seen through rose-colored glasses. After a while, washing clothes by hand isn’t as exciting as we thought was. It’s just hard work. 

As my dream world has become my own, I have realized once again our dreams don’t always go exactly like we think they should…

All the years I asked God why He didn’t have me live in the “olden days,” I wasn’t seeing all the hardships those pioneer women faced. 

Heck, just saying good-bye to my mama until the end of the year and I about can’t stand it. Imagine these pioneer women saying good-bye to their mamas knowing they would most likely never see them again. I don’t think I could have done it. I can tell you this:

I ain’t no pioneer woman!

But isn’t that like anything we put on a peddlestool in our mind’s eye. 

“Oh, if I could just do this, I would be happy.”

“If I just lived in a different place, I’d be content.”

“When [you fill in the blank] finally happens, life will be good.”

Oh, how foolish we are. 

If we are not finding contentment right where God has us planted for that season, we won’t find in the next either. Because the next season we anticipated so will hold its own struggles and disillusionments. 

Paul said “I have found the secret to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

My frontier world I for so long anticipated being my own is not glamorous. It’s life. It’s hard work. Over the last few months, I’ve learned the truth of this Dr. Quinn quote:

“I came to the Colorado territory to be a pioneer doctor but was quickly becoming just a pioneer.”

I know, I know—you’re sick of the Dr. Quinn analogies but I could totally relate to this quote just as most of us probably can.

“I came to the Honduras frontier to be a pioneer missionary but was quickly becoming just a pioneer.”

Maybe yours goes something like this…

“I came to be a Godly wife but quickly was becoming just a wife (and not a good one at that.)”

Okay, that one was mine too!

Every new season brings with it a time of disillusionment and even disappointment as we realize it didn’t match what we always dreamt it would. It is in those times when the disillusionment begins to fall away, that then more than ever we need to know our foundation is in Jesus. Our identity in Christ alone. Because it is through Christ’s strength we find contentment in every season.

I have realized I ain’t no pioneer woman but I am woman who wants to forge ahead in knowing Christ more deeply and intimately. I do want to blaze the trails that lead me back to the truths in His Word. 

Sometimes realizing what we are not reveals to us who we are—our true identity. An identity rooted in Him and who He says we are. Sometimes realizing what do not need reveals to us the foundation we need. A foundation firm in Christ. Sometimes realizing the disillusionments of our dreams allows to us to see the very One who will never disappoint but instead draw us near and show us the way in which He would have us walk. 

And that is in Him.

Growth Journey

This is not reality.

May 1, 2017

We’ve been in the States long enough that it’s almost time to return to Honduras. In 3 weeks time, we have spoken at 4 churches, met with 3 pastors (with 2 more to go this week), had 1 board meeting, 2 reception/parties to celebrate our marriage, 2 days a week at the office in Albany, 1 SoloHope fundraiser event and more lunch meetings than we can count. It’s been a crazy, busy and exhausting time but oh how my heart has loved being in Georgia, eating Chick-fil-A, playing with my nephews, seeing green foliage on all sides and watching my hubby experience the US for the first time.

Granted it has not been the funnest first trip to the US. I mean, honestly I feel bad that basically all we’ve done is work and we haven’t gotten a chance to do any real touristy fun things on Ever’s first trip to the US but I’ve still learned a lot from seeing his first encounter with the States and it’s shown me something…

This is not reality.

The way Americans live is not the reality for the majority of the world and nothing confirms that more than seeing those two worlds collide.

When we landed in Atlanta a little over two weeks ago, the first thing that came to mind was I wanted Ever to see the gold dome on the capitol. As the airport is slightly south of downtown Atlanta, we didn’t get to see it (that day). As we drove further south to my hometown of Cairo, I could not stop myself from thinking that I wanted my husband to see the gold dome on the capitol—y’all, a gold dome! I know it’s not a lot of gold but regardless it is a gold dome. I couldn’t help but think what a strange land this is. A place where we have such wealth that we paint a layer of gold on the capitol building. While so many people around the globe grapple for what few cents they can earn, we have a gold dome.

This is not reality.

As we’ve done lots of driving from one meeting to another all over South GA, Ever has had lots of time to observe. One day, he pointed to a passing vehicle and asked “What was that?” I looked over and saw a RV. How would you explain an RV? I described it as a house on wheels. As soon as the words escaped my mouth, I thought about our friends in Honduras who live in shacks that barely serve to keep out the cold. Our friends who do not even have a place to call home, and yet here we have houses we just take with us wherever we go.

This is not reality.

A few days ago as we went to speak at a church, I had to go to the bathroom before we got started. As I sat down (I know—TMI!), a trash can was directly in front of me. Without even thinking, I threw the toilet paper into the trash can because in Honduras, we can’t flush the toilet paper. If a trash can is even near me when I’m using the restroom, the toilet paper ends up in the trash can and not the toilet. I know it sounds totally disgusting to our hyper-sanitary American selves but the septic systems that can maintain toilet paper is not the norm for the majority of world. While much of the world uses an outhouse (or a bush), we put fresh flowers in our bathrooms with those wonderful toilets that flush toilet paper.

This is not reality.

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to accompany different friends on their first trip to the US and it’s always so revealing of the different world we live in. It may be our reality but for most of the world it is not their reality. After over 2 weeks in the US, my husband is still struggling to drink the water from the facet. He keeps saying how counter-intuitive it is for him to drink water from the facet when his entire life, he’s been taught not to drink the water straight from the facet because it’s not clean and could cause him to get sick. As we drive from city to city, he is amazed by the smooth roads and the sedated driving habits of Americans.

Our reality is NOT the reality of the majority of the world.

As Americans, we live in a world foreign to the rest of world. We have luxuries that most the world would not even think to dream of. I say these things not to make ourselves ashamed of what we have but to be aware of it. I think so often most Americans truly believe the rest of the world lives like we do or at least very similarly but that is very far from the truth. If we do not realize what we hold in our hands, we’ll never realize what we have to offer others around the world.

You may think you have nothing in your hands to offer the world but let me assure you, you absolutely do. As Americans, we live in a reality not known to the majority of the world. We can selfishly continue to live ignorant to that fact or we can choose to recognize this fact and ask God how we can more compassionately and effectively use what is in our hands to serve others.

How is God calling you to use what is in your hands to minister His love to our brothers and sisters around the globe? Can I challenge you to use what is your hands to partner with us in our work with SoloHope? To purchase a product made by a woman overcoming poverty in Honduras? Or to become a monthly financial partner with SoloHope as the Lord begins to expand our work and ministry to partner with a community to bring vocational training, literacy classes and education to its people? Or maybe even to come to Honduras on a team to join hands with a woman fighting for way to give her child a brighter future than she had and say “I see you.”?

We need you. We need what God has put in your hands. We cannot do the ministry God is calling us to without hands—YOUR hands. Will you join your hands with our hands and tell our friends in Honduras “we are standing with you.”? Will you be willing to see another reality and be moved into action? I believe you will.

“To whom much is given, much is required.” —Luke 12:48

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