Monday, August 29, 2011

Let My People Return To Me

I feel as though I've written about this over and over again, and I'm sure that I have, so if I'm sounding like a broken record to you, I apologize. In June 2010, after my big conversion and call to missions, I feel as though I was on the highest of highs because of the things the Lord was doing for me and in me. For the remainder of 2010, the Lord was so close, I could literally feel Him walking with me some days. Lately and actually for most of this year, it hasn't been like that, and I know that we don't always feel the Lord close. I know that this walk of life isn't about feelings, but something much more. I must admit that one of the reasons I haven't felt the Lord close is my own fault. I haven't been as committed to Him as He deserves. I know some of you might be thinking, "Well Sarah, you left everything you knew to follow the Lord. You moved to Mexico. You are working closely with the people there and serving the Lord." Well if you are thinking that, those things are true, but it isn't about what I'm doing, it's about my heart.

Somewhere during this year I subconsciously decided that my heart didn't fully belong to the Lord, and because of this I've become divided. I go into my prayer time, most of the time, completely distracted and sort of go through the motions. I feel as though my heart isn't in it. About a month and a half ago, the Lord started giving me scriptures about returning to Him, and I thought, "Lord, I'm right here, what do you mean???" Still the scriptures came. I started asking Him a month and a half ago, "Lord, show me what you mean by return to you, show me how you want me to return." I've known pretty much the whole time how He wants me to return to Him, but remember I'm stubborn, so I'm going to fight until I hit some kind of bottom. Well, the bottom has come.

In the middle of August I was privileged to spend two weeks with my family. I don't think words could express how good it was to see my own family and to just spend time with them. It was much needed. My last night in the States I was praying and just opened my bible. I opened to Isaiah 57:14 where it says, "The Lord says, 'Let my people return to me. Remove every obstacle from their path! Build the road and make it ready.'" I knew that He was speaking directly to me and asking me to return to Him. This time I also knew and decided it was time to surrender my stubborness.

The following morning I decided to reread the verse the Lord used to speak to the night before and also decided to read the full chapter of Isaiah 57. The title of this chapter is "Israel's Idolatry is condemned". The first two verses talk about how good people die and when they die, they rest in peace because of their good lives. Verse 3 really spoke to me. It says, "Come here to be judged, you sinners! You are no better than sorcerers, adulterers, and prostitutes." What a strong statement. I am no better than sorcerers, adulterers, and prostitutes. After reading about the idolatry in Israel's life, I began to see the idolatry in my own life over the last year. I've allowed sleep, books, movies, spending time with friends and family, amongst many other things to become idols in my life causing my heart to be divided. I'm not saying that any of the before mentioned things in and of themselves are bad, but if they are causing my relationship with the Lord to falter, I need to check myself!

I don't want you to think that I haven't been praying, because I have. Each day I do pray, but I haven't been dedicating myself to a set time, a "date", with the Lord, I've just been fitting Him in where I can. When I really think about that and imagine what a relationship with a friend here on earth would be like if I only fit the other person into my schedule when it was convenient for me, the relationship would die; of course it is the same with the Lord. " the Lord your God with all your heat, with all you soul, with all your strength, and all your mind..." Luke 10:27

For me to return fully to my Lord, I am dedicating myself to a set time each day to seek Him and read His word. I would like to challenge you, if you have turned away from the Lord, to return to Him as well, because the only place we can truly feel at home is in His loving arms. "Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with your WHOLE heart..." Joel 2:12

Sunday, August 7, 2011

One More Saint in Heaven

The past few weeks have been full and have had a few curve balls. I'm sure you are curious about the title of this blog, but I truly do believe it is true. In the last two and a half weeks the Lord has called two of our home-visits HOME. I believe that there are two more saints in Heaven praising our Lord Jesus and praying for us all that are still here on earth. Today I really want to share a little about Doña Raquel.

About three weeks ago Erika and I went to Doña Raquel's house for a visit. We normally visit each person on our list once every fifteen days. Normally when we visit Doña Raquel we also get to visit with her niece Doña Maria, but this time Doña Maria was in Saltillo because she was ill. Doña Raquel is the sweetest little lady. While we were visiting her this time she told us that she was 86 years old and that the Lord had given her such a long life. She showed us a special place in her room where she had placed several medals representing miracles that she has seen the Lord do. All the little bronze things on the red fabric are the medals.
During our visit with her, she started talking about wanting to go to the hospital because she was having pain in her head and legs. We asked her if she wanted us to take her on the following Tuesday. The day we visited her was a Saturday. She said sure. The following Tuesday we went to her house to get her and she started telling us how she normally goes to the hospital on Saturday and Sunday's because there isn't much of wait. Even though she was saying this she had all of her things gathered ready to go. Erika asked her, "Doña Raquel, if you would rather, we can come back on Saturday." Of course Doña Raquel replied saying, "whatever you want." We decided to leave.

We didn't even make it all the way down the street when both Erika and I had this strong feeling in our hearts that we needed to turn around and get her and bring her to the hospital that very day. Thank God we listened to that feeling. I'm learning the importance of following the holy Spirit when He nudges. We picked her up and headed to the hospital. We had to wait for about an hour and a half and the whole time Doña Raquel was making small conversation and acting pretty normal. As soon as we made it to a room and the doctor walked in Doña Raquel started coughing up blood and the vomiting blood. They immediately admitted her and said she would need to go to Saltillo in an ambulance. They asked us if we knew where her family was and we didn't.

For the following three hours or so Toñio, one of our friends, and I searched around town trying to find someone who was family for Doña Raquel while Erika stayed by her side. During this time I was so sad to think that this sweet little lady was so sick and didn't have one family member at her side. I kept thinking that she was all alone and of course this also made me think of my own grandmother who is sick right now and how much that would hurt my heart if she ever felt left behind or all alone. After all the searching we weren't able to find any family so Erika and I decided we would go with her in the ambulance because she was getting worse, needed better healthcare in the hospital in Saltillo, and couldn't go alone in the ambulance. We were all loaded up in the ambulance and started on our way when the driver suddenly stopped. Toñio had found one of Doña Raquel's nieces, so she took our place in the ambulance.

Erika and I returned home after about five or six hours at the hospital feeling spiritually, mentally and physically exhausted. I headed up to the chapel in our house to pray and cry before the Lord and he led me to scripture that comforted me. I was still so upset at the thought of Doña Raquel being forgotten by her family. I was reading Psalm 56:9 which says, "My wanderings you have noted; are my tears not stored in your vial, recorded in your book." I was struck by this and decided to read the footnote on this scripture. The foot note says that the saying "Are my tears not stored in your vial is a unique saying in the Old Testament. The context suggest that the tears are saved because they are precious; God puts a high value on each of the psalmist's troubles." Both the verse and footnote gave me so much peace because I felt that the Lord was saying, "Sarah, not once have I left Doña Raquel's side. Even though it seems that her family has forgotten her, I never have. I know each and every tear that she has shed and they are all precious to Me. I am right there with her and I will not leave her side."

We received news on the following Thursday that Doña Raquel had passed away. We were able to attend the small funeral and I know that she is now in Heaven without any pain at all praising her Savior. I know that Doña Raquel is watching over us all and praying for us.

"It is the Lord who marches before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8