July 24, 2012


Coming back to life in NC, even after only being gone a week, was hard.

I was in disbelief of everything I have here - especially all of the material blessings and excess that we have, simply for being in the US.

I remember driving to church in tears, simply because I was on a paved road, there was no litter or graffiti, it smelled wonderful, I had nice clothes to wear, my own car, a cell phone, an ipod . . . (I could go on and on) . . . I have so much, and I don't need any of it. It was overwhelming.

We have so much . . . God has blessed me so richly, and it's incredibly easy to take these things for granted. Too easy to focus on what you don't have, or on the negative. But something engrained in me since Nicaragua is this - while before the trip I knew that God is all I truly need, I could actually see that in a new way.

The people that we met have nothing. No education, lucrative career, nuclear family, fancy houses, cars, clean clothes, technology, kitchen full of food - none of that. And yet, they were a lot more joyful than most of the people you encounter here.

We don't need those things that we think we need to be happy.

And while our lives might seem trying or hard . . . we do not know poverty or suffering the way they do in third world countries. It puts everything into persepctive.

I know I've said it before, but by simply being born in this country we have so many freedoms, opportunities and blessings that Nicaraguans will never have. We are so much wealthier and fortunate than we can realize.

It. is. overwhelming. I felt like I had been hit square in the chest with a ton of bricks.
(which raises the age-old question, which is heavier? A ton of bricks or a ton of feathers?)

I struggled the first week we were back in the country. I didn't feel like myself . . . didn't want to cook, didn't want to go to the gym, didn't want to do anything. I did like telling the story of what happened during that week, but it was emotionally draining to re-live and re-tell everything.

There have been two things that are the most difficult to process (and there's a TON that I've been trying to process):
- I have done nothing to deserve all of the freedoms, opportunities and wealth here. I have SO much (too much, really), it's overwhelming. Why have I had such and easy life, when there are innocent children suffering in Nicaragua?
- Now what? Now that I have seen the injustices and poverty in Nicaragua, I can no longer turn a blind eye to what's going on in the rest of the World. But what do I do?

I am still wrestling with these things. I don't think that I will ever understand injustice . . . other than it confirms we live in a very broken, fallen, messed up world. But it's just not fair that I've been so fortunate when there are people suffering.

And what do I do now? Am I doing enough with my life? Am I glorifying God? Sure I lead a small group, volunteer at a health clinic, try to pour truth into people, love my friends, volunteer occasionally at church, but what am I doing to bless the less fortunate? Or will this turn into a legalistic game of lists and checkboxes?

I don't feel like sitting here, being grateful for all the blessings is enough. I still feel like a spoiled American princess. I don't think I feel guilty for what God has given me, but I feel that I should do something. If God has blessed me so that I may be a blessing - am I doing that? Or do I need some serious change?

I will tell you that there are a few, small things that I think God has brought to the front of my mind.
- I want to simplify my life
- I want to learn spanish
- I am actually trying to free up my financial resources and sticking to a budget for the first time ever
- I love sharing stories from the trip
- I have a new perspective

So . . . while these things are not answers to the hard questions, I am thankful to see how the trip has impacted me (and even people around me).

I just don't want to forget what we saw and learned and experienced in Nicaragua. I know that the excitement, emotion and passion will fade, but I pray that my perspective would not go back to me just being in my own little bubble. There is so much going on in the world, so much that God is doing and it's amazing.

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