To Brazil

There are tickets in my name for some flights tomorrow, to my country of origin.
Tomorrow, I will see my aunt and grandma, meet my new uncle, and hug a whole whole lot of people I’m related to. I’m ecstatic!

To say I’m excited to be going to Brazil again for the first time in 3 years is an understatement.

BUT…{there’s always a but}

I’ve had to battle a TON of fear and anxiety in the last two days.

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My fear grew into anger.

My anxiety was paralyzing.

I say this because God is so cool and He helps me. But you should know I went through this. You should know I go through these things too.

What were my sources for this?

Well, I haven’t been “home” since January 2012. Before that, I hadn’t been home since 2008. Every single time I go back, I  get a huge dose of culture shock. At first I’m all WOW, then I start to have a broken heart for the things I notice that have worsened or changed. Life goes on without me. New songs play, and people sing the lyrics by heart of songs I’ve never even heard before. Family members move and pass away. Each time I go back, I hug everybody so tight, and just pray they’ll still be there the next time I return. I’ve given last hugs not knowing they were last hugs. My godmother won’t be there this time for me to hug, and that hurts again as if she’d just passed away. It’s been almost 2 years.

It’s like I get a newsletter of everything I knew and came from, and I’m detached until I step on Brazilian soil, and it floods back over me. What I had imagined is usually replaced with something completely different. I see a pace of life that is foreign to my own. I’m… a…. tourist…. in my own home.

That anticipation and expectation in itself is overwhelming. I’ve tried not to think about it, to no avail.

Brazil is not the only ever-changing part in the equation. I’m also completely different than the person who was last there in 2011. I am stepping off the plane with red hair, by myself, and single. Brazilian culture clashes with my lifestyle. I have to brace myself for the ‘when you have a man’ talks and the references to my past. The conversations about my future children, which make my heart swell and ache a little. I have to fight for my contentment and my peace in God’s timing, because the pressure there is unreal. But there is an equal and opposing pressure of the good, perfect, and pleasing will of God pushing away the very things that come against me to discourage me. I trust my God.

I have to remind myself that my age is just a number that marks how long I’ve been on the earth, and that I am not at all tethered to a fatalistic mindset, an orphan spirit, or a poverty spirit. I am eternal, and I am seated with Christ in heavenly places. I’ll be a wife and mother someday, and I will not be dismayed.

Moreover, I am AWESOME and get to experience INCREDIBLE things on the daily. My life is so vibrant, full of adventure, travel, and exposure to beauty. People wait whole lifetimes to do the things I’ve done in the past 3 years, consistently, and sometimes getting paid. I can’t forget what God has done for me in my single years. It’s outstanding. I’ve experienced abundant life, not a monotonous settling into the cultural stereotype of what is expected of a woman ‘my age.’

Lastly, the logistics of it all were stressful. I didn’t have a lot of time, and my sleep is still off. There’s a lot to do, and just one Helena. Leaving my normal busy life for 2 weeks is kind of overwhelming. And it’s not even the 2 weeks that I’ll be gone, but rather the week I return, that is pre-stressing me out. Every loose end will be waiting for me. Super. BUT…. again…. this is why I’m writing this. I’m not complaining, but letting you all know that my life is not just easy breezy. You may be so jealous that I get to go to Brazil for 2 weeks, but do take into consideration that it’s been a bumpy preparation for me.

I’ve been taking deep breaths and singing songs to Jesus out loud. Today at Walmart, I was practically belting out “I’M A LOVER OF YOUR PRESENCE, THAT’S WHAT I WANNA BEEEEE!!” because the tightness in my chest was expanding with every minute that I waited for someone to manifest at the electronics department to help me, for goodness sakes, because I needed to leave within 10 minutes, and nobody came. So if you’re trying to buy electronics in Decatur, go to Best Buy.

I’m learning every single day about how to properly stand in the full authority of my Father. Some days, I find myself slouching, dragging my feet, with my head down. Those are the days, like today, when He counts my tears and promises me that tomorrow will be better, much much better. I wipe my face, sniffle, exhale, and I let my heart agree with His. Unspeakable joy is coming for me, I can feel it. I think of my aunt’s laughter filling the room, and my grandma’s hands holding mine, and God’s face nodding at me. It’s gonna be wonderful.

Okay, Papa. Let’s go to Brazil.

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Healing Party

Life is so beautifully full.

For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Psalm 107:9

My Bethel family is blowing my mind. Last night we got together to throw a birthday party for sweet baby Samuel. Samuel is in the hospital, born premature, and the doctors have given him zero chance. Zero. And we are not gonna take that. We have been praying and his oxygen levels are pretty much staying at 100%, as well as him digesting food for the first time successfully. Tonight we sang children songs, and painted for him. We danced. We made true the meaning of his name, “heard of God” because we are making God hear all kinds of things on his behalf!

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We thought we were showing up to pray for SAMUEL’S healing, to celebrate HIM, and we did. But then there was more. We had one healed ear, comfort for back pains and chest pains, and my weird-hug-itis got healed. I’m back to being a hugging machine. Come and get it.

HOW GOOD IS GOD?! He heals us as we pray for healing. He comforts us as we pray for comfort. It’s beautiful to see Him provide like this, pour out like this. It’s like an infomercial… “But wait…”

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As I was canoodling with my new friend Morgan, this wave of God’s love hit me. I looked down at myself and saw that I was comfortably cozy with another human, and mentally realized that my “weird weird” was done. I started crying! My tears just kept spilling, as I realized that God restored me back to feeling things. My weird funk… done! It’s past! It’s over! I’m okay! I’m huggable! I’m kissable! I’m restored to affection again, after a time of sincere aversion to even the thought of affection. Mama Bear is back, just in time. JUST. IN. TIME.

Psalm 107 is rocking my world, I hope it rocks yours. I mean, it should.

LOVE you.

-H

On Baby Fever

My mind is a bit blown right now. I sometimes think that the things I desire are selfish, or that they reflect a lack, or a discontent heart.

In my latest bout of baby fever, watching all the Asian babies in the airport, I felt that pang for children. Oh, the womb.

Ready for this? Jesus stands outside of time, yes? So He already knows my kids. And grandkids. He is OBSESSED with them. Sick in love with them, their hearts, their laughter, their smiles. They are also appointed to fulfill Kingdom work. They are important to Him, and His desire is for them.

Guess how they’re gonna get to earth?
The method He planned before time?

Ding ding ding: me and my future husband.

So…. Think.

If JESUS desires ultimately more to knit these warriors into life, He HAS TO place a desire in me for marriage and a longing for children that mirrors HIS DESIRE that these things take place for His Kingdom.

It starts in His heart, from the beginning of time.

Not my selfishness or lack, or loneliness, but HIS plan of love, His presence, His fullness that will be reflected in the lives of the much-awaited lineage that will succeed me. Made in His image.

They’re His kids first. I’m feeling the pangs of His heart as Creator and Father. He wants their praises, their love. He wants to hold them infinitely more than I do. So it will happen, and my prayers can chill out, because they agree with the Father’s heart. I don’t have to beg or worry.

Mind blown. Thanks, Jesus, for planting Your desires in me, aligning me with Your will, which I long for: good, pleasing, perfect… and adorable.

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Places To Visit in 2014

In no particular order, here are some places I want to do my very best to visit, so help me God, in 2014. Yes. Within the next 9 months.

  • BRAZIL. It’s overdue time to visit my amazing family. I’m due to have a new baby cousin super soon, AND there’s talk of wedding bells in my immediate family aka I need to be there. Hoping that I won’t go alone, ay?? Let me take you to Rio, Rio…
  • UGANDA. My yearly visit to see my people I love so so much, visit my church families and friends and the beautiful ladies of Dorcas Widows. Hoping and praying that in July there will be 5 of us going. We have a meeting on the 11th to plan this thing. Prayers appreciated!
  • CALIFORNIA. I’ve been before, but this time I feel a divine appointment to meet a few sisters in Christ and set up Phylla House in a new location in the Fall. Oh and visit my teammate from the Race who just had the cutest baby boy ever aka hopefully I’ll have a daughter and they’ll marry.
  • THE GRAND CANYON. Come on. How have I not seen this before. Let it be this year.
  • NASHVILLE. Never been. My next getaway destination.
  • TEXAS & ALABAMA & MYSTERY LOCATIONS. Visiting the familia, floating the Guadalupe, hey Summertime road trip to see my besties and stuff. 😉

We will see…. this is a hopeful list, some is certain, some is still up in the air. I’m excited to see what God makes happen in the meantime, and how He puts it all together. He’s the best Dad ever. He’s still gonna take me all over Europe, to Haiti, to the UAE to see Dubai (world’s largest performing fountain, I will be weeping), to Mozambique (again, weeping), back to Asia, and wherever else He sees fit. I rule nothing out, I just know the journey will be incredible.

ImageWhere do you dream to go? Where will you go?