Drinking Deep

When it comes to coffee drinking, I’m a lightweight.  Between a temperamental stomach and nerves that kickback 12 hours post-sip, it’s better that coffee and I enjoy each other in small installments.  Costa Rica produces some of the best liquid caffeine in the world, though.  So I feel obligated do my part and drink in the delicious culture.

At the local Chinese import store, I found some sweet little cups that are a great fit for my dainty joe capacity.  But filled with compassion for friends who come over for cafecito, I also bought an extra-grande mug—the kind you instinctively hold with two hands.

Seeing them hang side by side like David and Goliath makes me smile.  And gets me thinking.  For some things, small cups can be a blessing.  It’s good to have limits on what can turn from a blessing into a curse if taken in the wrong quantities.  Cheetos, for example.  Or television.  Perhaps shopping purchases.  Fill in your own blank.  Small cups can help us keep things in perspective.

But what size cup do I have offered up to the Lord?  I confess that sometimes in this busy season I feel full with a shot of devotion reading before classes, a squirt of bible time during lunch, and a measure of family prayers at bedtime.  Or maybe it’s just my day that feels full.  My heart definitely isn’t.  The schedule holds out a dainty espresso cup while my spirit sighs over the slosh in the bottom of the empty decanter.

And I’m reminded again that if I get everything done, but have not love, I gain nothing.  Flawless Spanish + Balanced Checkbook + Clean House – Love = 0.  I don’t know how to walk this out perfectly, but I’m going to keep trying.  I’m going to pay attention to my empty places and invite the Lord in to fill them.  I’m going to make space to be with Him and trust for His grace over the rest of the To Do List.

I stand before you, busted by my own sentences.  One of the fullest weeks yet has just drawn to a close.  We did all kinds of assignments, spent half a day in the bureaucratic jungle to get our Costa Rican driver’s licenses, and shared a bible story (with a minimum of 23 required grammar elements) in 20 minutes of Spanish for a language exam.  Lots of boxes successfully checked.  But even as I chatted about idiomatic phrases with the friendly faces on my language route, I knew I was running on empty.

2014-02-07 cups 004Thank goodness for the new mercy of this morning.  Praise God that He is a well that never runs dry.  I hold up my cup again, and He is ready to fill it.  When it comes to relationship with Jesus, I want the extra-grande.

This is what the Sovereign Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to me
    and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.”  Isaiah 30: 15a

A Beautiful Day

Today was our last day here at Hogar de Vida, and it was one of my favorites. We returned from our trip to the beach Monday afternoon and promptly took naps. Sun and sand, curvy mountain roads, and good food in combination are always exhausting. We had a lovely evening at Tim and Dena’s for dinner. Tuesday/yesterday, I felt as if I should be packing, even though the weather here had breaks in the rain (unusual for the last few days) and I was tempted to go out and play with the kids. I had fun sorting our dirty laundry and rolling up our clean clothes all into big ziplocks. Yes, I actually enjoyed it, call it a personality flaw if you will.  Did I mention I also packed more than fifty pounds of coffee? We love to share the local blend with our fellow gringos back home. I was following the Spirit, but I thought it was curious to pack up most of our stuff a day ahead of necessity. Now I understand what the Lord had in mind.

Today was gorgeous. Not in the weather, because it rained all day straight in varying intensity, but in the time we were able to spend with the people here. It was my turn to share at devotions this morning, and the Lord gave me a good common ground story and a teaching from John Bevere’s Heart Ablaze book to share, wrapped up with a solid application to our lives. Then we handed out simple stretchy bead bracelets to everyone here old enough to wear one, excluding the dog. Eliana had been making them for two days straight so that people could remember our family as they wore them. Barb, a North American missionary here, quipped that they would certainly remember us as they pick up beads everywhere! Hopefully our knots will hold! Then the kids and I spent the morning going back and forth under our umbrellas making deliveries to the houses of things we had borrowed, food that we had bought but didn’t use up, etc. It was the perfect opportunity to talk to everyone and spend time with them.

We finished off the afternoon with a coffee break with Oscar and Nancy, a newly married couple who invited us to their home two Sundays ago. As we labored in conversation, we felt the Lord connect us in the Spirit, and begin a good work in the marriage relationships here in Atenas. We had hoped to directly accomplish more in that area, but the Lord worked in the background and planted good seed by our example of just being here together as a family.

The Lord is wrapping up this time beautifully. We wanted to leave them with a blessing, and we are finding ourselves blessed. The spirit of the people here is so rich, and I can’t wait until the next time the Lord sends us into their arms.

Please be praying for us as we travel from 5:30 am to approximately 11:00 pm (Central Time) tomorrow, returning to the loved ones and the work the Lord has for us in the states. Dios le bendiga! (God bless you!)