Somewhere Between the Family Photo Albums and The Chronicles of Narnia

June 6, 2014: Yesterday was my two-year anniversary since moving to Honduras as an idealistic recent college graduate. I arrived with nothing more that my large hiking backpack, a couple duffel bags, and a guiding determination that God had called me to be a mom to those who don’t have one.

Yesterday evening we celebrated that raw beginning and the miracle that God has worked out among us over the ensuing time. The community of believers who form the Living Waters Ranch – eleven in all, including my husband and our four kids – put on a surprise two-year anniversary party for me as we remembered the ways in which God has provided and guided as we shared stories and ate around our long wooden table. And of course there were balloons and homemade posters and cards, as is typically our party preference.

After night fell and we all began cleaning the kitchen and putting everything in its place, I wandered back to our home (which is separate from our common-area kitchen that we all share), where I stood in silence in the open doorway to our sons’ room, being taken down a landslide of memories over the previous 730 days, feeling as though I were standing on holy ground in a museum that could quite accurately be titled How God Has and Will Provide or God Alive and at Work in Our World.

The soft light of our porch dimly illuminated the empty room as my eyes traveled carefully, sentimentally, over the shadows to study each object I saw. I took in the large homemade posterboard hung on their light blue wall with ducktape – “Beloved Brayan, Welcome to the Family” – that the children painted in large, uneven letters for their new brother when he came home with us February sixth. I saw Jason’s new cartoon pijamas layed out on his dresser, ready for him to bounce home and change for bed. My eyes wandered to Brayan’s top bunk, made, although messily, with his stuffed bright yellow dragon and two teddy bears tossed about near his pillow. Toy motorcycle, wooden model airplane unassembled, full clothes hamper. Black rubber boots that I emptied the water out of earlier that day, almost expecting a frog or two to come hopping out. Brayan’s Bible sitting on his dresser, coloring books and school notebooks strewn about on top of their shared wooden desk along with art supplies and probably too many bottles of glue. Through their open window our multicolored hammock that we received as a wedding present from our mentors last June also caught my attention as it hung quietly, as if it, too, sleeps during the night. My gaze danced and re-danced over all that I saw, feeling as though I might explode from emotion but at the same time brought down to a very still sense of calm, of awe.

Standing, listening attentively to any word God might speak in the depths of my heart, taking in the significance of all that I saw, I then tried to meticulously erase each item from sight. I took away first the desk, then the poster, followed by the rest of the items in the room one-by-one, chronologically, the most recent items disappearing first. The Lord then led me into the sacred act of remembering, remembering how not even a year ago this room was completely bare, lifeless, a dream waiting patiently yet eagerly to be fulfilled.

My mind’s eye then began filling the empty room – first the dresser arrived, followed by the wooden bunkbed, then the mattresses, then Jason appeared and Brayan shortly after. Now this once-bare room is someone’s room. Or rather two rather precious and naughty someones.

I must have spent close to twenty minutes in that doorway in the still of the night, the muffled voices and activity in our nearby kitchen seeming lightyears away, trying to adequately understand and appreciate all that the Lord has done, provided, orchestrated in these two short years. The stillness – the screaming calm – in our home answered that which reverberated in my heart.

I then shifted my stance in the doorway, turning, and began to study our living room, which always seems to comfortably hold however many people are in it. My eyes began to slowly sweep the fairly small room, from our piano at which Darwin plays and Diana and Brayan practice to our two tall bookshelves occupied by framed photos, art projects, Christian and parenting literature, children’s books, various puzzles, and toys. The girls’ bedroom door also opens into our living room, around which there is a bright pink boa and black cut-outs of butterflies neatly taped in a row. Two large and rather full bulletin boards, bucket of Legos, chipped blue paint on the walls revealing the cinderblocks underneath.

After having spent several hours that day organizing our home, doing laundry, sweeping and mopping, and putting everything in order, I treasured the few minutes I could take it all in in uninterrupted tranquility before several high-energy little people would burst through the door and rather adeptly un-do any housekeeping measures that had been taken. My heart meditated on God’s goodness, how He puts everything in order, has put everything in order. As I mulled this over, kneading it carefully into the fabric of my understanding, I then tenderly packaged up and placed these first two years of faith, of joy and struggle, of God’s provision, on our bookshelf somewhere between the family photo albums and the Chronicles of Narnia.

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