Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Embracing the In-Between

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Thomas

As much as I'm trying, the desire to write isn't there. I stare at a blank computer screen and my heart aches for something more. I know what the ache is for. It's for more of God. 

My time in Guatemala was spent without electronic devices. Being disconnected from all that I allow to distract me was needed.

I'd wake to the sounds of His creations. Some sounds were not so pleasant (something strange was taking place at the pig farm next to us) but I now find I miss those sounds. The less than pleasant sounds would soon be replaced by worship music. I would hum along while preparing for the day.

I grew fond of what we referred to as "Guatemalan time." 
Guatemala moved at a slower pace. People didn't rush to move from one place to another. A church service lasted over three hours. I glanced around during that service expecting to find people either staring at their watch or dozing off. Instead, I found them with their eyes looking up and arms stretched out worshiping God. 

I wanted what they hada heart for more of Him.

The days were spent serving others. Life was no longer about my own needs. There were times Satan tried his best to keep me from stepping over my fears to serve others but God always prevailed. Outside of my comfort zone quickly became my comfort.

Our mission team ended each day gathered in a big room with hearts ready to share. We'd take turns sharing what moved us most. Sometimes it was something big; many times it was something small that stole our hearts. In between sharing our hearts we'd stop to worship God. Before calling it a night our hands joined together and we prayed.

Praying didn't only happen when we gathered in a circle at night.

Praying happened everywhere. There were silent prayers and there were out loud prayers. We would pray for each other and you were grateful for the ones who knew when those prayers were needed. We would pray for those we were serving and they would pray for us. And oh how the beautiful Guatemalan children would pray. It was a beautiful thing.

My dear friend Alene Snodgrass said when she first went to Guatemala she thought she was bringing God there with her. Once she arrived she realized she wasn't bringing God; He was already there.

God was surely present. I was jealous of how present He was. I was jealous of how rich the faith of the Guatemalan people appeared to be. They depended on God to meet their every need and they were grateful for how He provided even though their possessions failed in comparison to what we have. I find myself with a desire for less stuff and more of Him.

I'm struggling with where I go from here.This life changing experience should change my life.

My church had an evening worship service this past Sunday. We stood with "arms high and hearts abandoned worshiping the One who gave it all God." (The Stand, by Hillsong United) We prayed for each other. We prayed for our church. We prayed for our community. My heart was full again for the first time since returning home from Guatemala. I was missing God but I realized He had never left my side.

If I'm not seeking Him though then it's harder to know He is really there.

God is everything I need. He is everything we need. So I'm taking some advice from Jeff Goins and stopping to savor this moment of being between the greatest experience of my life and waiting to see where God will lead me next. (Read about Jeff's challenge here.)

For now, I believe the change God is asking of me is to slow down.

"Learn to enjoy life more. Relax, remembering that I am God with you. I crafted you with enormous capacity to know Me and enjoy My Presence.

The God I saw in Guatemala is the same God here with me. I only need to allow Him to be a greater part of my life. 

The more you focus on My Presence with you, the more fully you can enjoy life. Glorify Me through your pleasure in Me. Thus you proclaim My Presence to the watching world." ~ Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young

So what happens next? My priority will be to devote my mornings to time in His word. I will turn that worship music on and offer my heart completely to Him.

And I will slow down and savor every experience God gives me. As Jeff Goins writes in Day 1 of his Slow Down Challenge:, "Life is not a race. It's a walk around the block, a casual stroll through the park, a deep abiding in where you are right now."

To help me slow down I will also finish reading Jeff's new book, The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and theNext Big Thing. I'm inspired by the words he has shared.

If there are gaps between posts I hope it's because God has me savoring a moment. I’m headed to California to visit my son and his wife who I haven't seen in over six months. I plan to savor every single moment with them. When I return my focus will be on savoring the moments I have with my husband before he deploys.

My time with God and with my family must come before my writing. I will write only as He leads.

Until next time, since praying is on my heart how can I be praying for you?


  1. Guatemala, other friends have recently returned from there. I love the way you are able to express the angst between being there and here and how to bring home what you have learned. Thanks for sharing some of your savoring....linking up a bit behind you at the SDG party on Jen Ferguson's site. Glad I stopped by!

    1. Thank you for stopping in and for leading my to your place today. Loved your post! Many blessings.

  2. Your trip sounds wonderful. How we could all be changed if we just slowed down and truly sought Him with our hearts. This life is too busy and loud, and everything moves at breakneck speed. Enjoy your time off, each day is a gift.

    1. Thank you, Alecia. The trip was AMAZING. I'm grateful God blessed me with the opportunity to go and to then share what I learned with others. I'm praying for His continued leading to slow down and enjoy each day. Blessings to you.

  3. You are amazing my friend. Just be still and allow God to wash over you. He who began this good work in you is faithful to complete it. Thanks for allowing me a glimpse into our very sacred journey.

    1. Thank you, Barbie. Your words touch my heart this morning. I'm so thankful for you and our friendship. Much love to you.

  4. There is so much truth packed into this post. I hope you continue to process it and soak up the people around you. Thanks for sharing and I'm looking forward to hearing more when God gives you more words.

  5. Oh friend, this is so great. Clearly, He is present here -- you started with a blank computer screen and look what He poured out.

  6. Dear Beth
    I have heart so often heard of missionaries hoping to brings god to the people where want to do missionary work, only to find Jesus already living amongst these people.
    Blessings XX

  7. Beth,
    God is truly able to use us and "write through us" to touch people's hearts when we honestly don't know where to begin. Trust...He is using you in a very big way!!
    Much love to you and of course ((hugs)),

  8. Oh how I miss the simple and quiet of Guatemala. I felt even though my soul was broken in two there, I could breath. I felt closer to God and his creation. Oh how I'm counting my days down until I can go back.

    1. I wish I was going with you, Alene. If it was for a business trip I have that week I may have been a last minute join. I'm ready to return already. I will be praying for you and your team.


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