Every trip to Nicaragua is challenging in some way or another. God uses this week to chip away at my core and continuously mold me into the child he desires to see. Sometimes I get so busy in the schedule and details that it’s easy to focus on how God is changing lives of my team members, and forget to look into the crevasses of my own heart. But oh, how he is changing us all. He wrecks me here.
There is a sense of clarity here that’s hard to reach in the states. I think maybe it’s because something’s missing —- clutter. We aren’t checking our cell phones, we aren’t reading the gossip magazines, we aren’t watching the news.. we are present. We are fully aware of what God is doing and constantly looking for needs to meet. Our eyes are taken off of our inner self, and are focused outwards. We stop thinking of ME, and start thinking of – THEM.
So what am I learning this year? ha! Too many to type. But so far one of the major ways God is working on my character, is by making me learn to write in pencil.
You see, I’m a Planner. Yes, that was a capital P. I love sitting down and planning a schedule.. for ANYTHING! This is one of the reasons why wedding planning was so fun for me. And one of the reasons why I love working on the Nicaragua week. I love starting from scratch and working, working, working, until something magnificent comes from it. I love starting from a blank piece of paper and watching it become full of dreams for the week. I try so hard to make sure the schedule flows smoothly. Juan Carlos and I spent months planning, talking, shifting dates and talking through every detail until we got here. He has been such a huge help. My desire is that the schedule won’t be inspired by Laura’s plans, but by Gods.
And that means I have to write in pencil.
Because plans change. God moves. God shows you opportunities for service. And when that happens .. you can’t pass it up. You don’t have the option to say “oh! Sorry! Not in the schedule!”
You just do it. You stop what you’re doing, you move around the events, and you just make it work.
This is the 2012 trip schedule:
Ignore my disgusting fingernails. Turns out tie dye doesn’t wash out…
This is schedule #1239859.5. There is no way to track how many times the plans have changed — before Nica, and even once we’ve been here. I started out typing the the schedule on my computer. This was around spring or summer 2012. Pretty sure I was only able to get the dates on that. Then I moved to pen… that handled a few revisions. But eventually the page was so full of mark outs and scratches, that I couldn’t see what the actual plan was.
So I decided to move to pencil. I haaaate writing schedules in pencil. News Flash: Laura is a control freak. (*Insert Jeff Holderfield sarcastic chuckle – “no, really???”*) I have to let go of some control to be able to do this. Things become less definite and it makes me uneasy. I can literally feel it in my stomach. I feel like if I let a little of the control go, eventually the entire week will spin out of control.
HA! Who was I kidding???? This week would have been a DISASTER without that schedule in pencil. We’ve had to change plans and be flexible just about every day.
And what’s the result?? Joy. Lives are being changed. Not because of my ideas, but because of Gods. Because every morning I wake up and he says “Okay Laura. Remember when you thought we should do this?? False. We’re going to do this.” And it ends up working better than anything I could have concocted in my teeny tiny little brain.
So we leave room for God.
And we end up getting pictures like this:
And smiles like this:
People are forced out of their comfort zone and lives are changed.
Instead of planning in our own strength, we rely on God to be in charge.
When I write in pen, I’ve made a conscious decision that my plans won’t change. I’ve decided that whatever I came up with, is what will be.. and no one can suggest other plans. I’ve taken away room for God.. I’ve ultimately sent a signal to him that says “I got this. No need, pops” But that is sooooo far from the truth.
When I get back from Nicaragua I need to leave room for God to move. I’m going to write my life in pencil. I’m going to stop trusting in my own abilities and let God write my plans for me.
Much love to everyone,
Thank you for your fervent prayers and support.
We could not do this without you.
I am blown away by each and every one of you. Bless you all..