These old stomping grounds…

Warm morning sunshine splashes in the windows and illuminates the wide tile floor.
Birds call loudly from the banana trees outside, heralding a new day of tropical beauty.
Coffee grows just outside the bedroom windows, lemons hang heavily on tree branches.  
All shades of rich foliage and splashes of color paint my panorama.
Pineapple, oranges, tangerines, papaya grow around here…
The beauty is fresh and alive, and warms my soul.

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At the little block church, people mill around, visiting and connecting.
Then the question, “So, is it good to be back in Honduras?” I smile and nod.
It is, in a way. But Honduras holds so very sensitive memories for me.
Sometimes the very thing that God needs to do is take us to that place that hurts,
to face memories that sting, to visit old haunts where life was salty.
But I knew that His grace is sufficient for my weakness, and that He would walk each day with me, easy or hard.
On this soil I faced some of the hardest times of my life, saw days pass through an aching, bleeding heart.
I tried to be bright and cheerful, but when relationships have burned you,
when your brother lies in a freshly dug grave and your mourning family is far away,
it’s hard to always smile, to see the good.
Optimism gives way to reality.
And sometimes that reality is taking life one moment at a time,
trusting God for the grace and joy for each day. 

I know I will cry at the grave. I always do.
But Isaac’s grave has become hallowed ground for me, a place where I go and talk with God.
A holy sanctuary where time stops, the wind blows and the tall grasses dance and nod in the sunshine.
Here I ponder life, and its real meaning. Its good to come face to face with these moments.
To recollect. To see what God has done in my heart over the time
since I last sat on this tear stained hillside.

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But at the same time, this is a very exciting happy time.
Weston and Tirzah traipse happily behind Mandy and Derek,
on daily expeditions that lead them all over the yard, past leaning banana stalks,
swinging under the manzana de agua tree and making bows and arrows…
Their feet and faces sport more grime than imaginable back home.
They try out new, strange-sounding words and attempt conversations with
chocolate skinned children who speak no English. And they are loving it. 

But I really needed to come here to face this old season of life with joy burning in my heart.
With the new knowledge of joy and life that comes through ashes.
I knew it back then, but I’ve experienced it now to a much deeper depth.
I needed to come here to concrete in my own heart the work that God has been tenderly doing.
I’ve been overwhelmed with that knowledge since we’ve been here…
God is so tender with me. So patient while I was hurting.
So gentle when I was reeling with shock, just trying to survive.
Now I see how in my losses and helplessness, He loved me.
Was choosing a path for me, to live. 

Amazing, this Heart that takes us through dark valleys to reveal His stunning light.
Allows us taste to death so we can drink fully of life.
Know deep loss so we can treasure the gifts He gives us every day.
So I am here, back in the place where I fought so hard to smile,
with the seal of His love on my heart.
I realize, all these years, He has sought after me.
Pursued me. Carried me, when I felt alone. 

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This trip isn’t about learning more about me.
It’s about discovering more fully who this amazing Father of mine is.
And it’s breathtaking. 

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3 thoughts on “These old stomping grounds…

  1. Thank you Melissa. You have me in tears. Tonight I felt I needed something….maybe what I need is a heart talk with someone so dear whom I hardly know. I hope the rest of your trip continues to be rich and lovely! Hugs from Carrizal

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