Sunday, May 30, 2010

Early Sunday Morning with Daddy


I don't know why we try to complicate it.

The simple things, the mundane moments are the ones that we cherish and never forget.

And yes....

Hayden has a six pack and has had one since he was four.  Not fair.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

When God Speaks Through a Kenyan



Third grade...

The year I got the chicken pox

Mom let me stay home for one week

(because I was contagious)

And then another week

(because I was ugly)

Third grade...

The year I got a Mickey Mouse watch for Christmas

"It's a Small World After All" played every hour on the hour

One day I remember being on the verge of tears

I was fighting back the ugly cry.

In that moment, my watch announced a new hour.

"It's A Small World After All" slurped the liquid out of my eyes

and instantly relieved the boo-hoo pressure in the front of my face.

From that day on, I always sing "It's a Small World After All" when I need to push back the tears, push them way back.

Two days ago...

I had another break down

(yes, the whiny baby rides again.  Will this ever end?)

In the middle of moving I realized something...

I hate moving.

I hate packing.

I hate the mother I become when our life is in such chaos.

For three weeks I had been playing tetris with boxes, sorting and crying

I missed my normal life.

I missed my friends.

I missed spending real time with my children.

I'm terrible at tetris.

In that moment it hit me...

Moving

That's all I see on the horizon for us.

The move to the farm.

The move to Haiti.

move, move, move

I downright lost it with Aaron...raised my voice and was a beast.

"I don't want to move for the rest of my life, Aaron...I am too old for this.  I want to settle down.  I want to stay in the same place.  I have moved a life time of moves in the first 14 years of marriage.  I don't want the next 14 to be like the first 14. I want to stay put!"

We went to bed mad at each other, even though the Bible says you shouldn't do that.

I fell asleep telling God I was tired of saying how sorry I am for being faithless.  I just don't want to move so much.  So there. 

The next day...

moving day

A man from Kenya came to help.

(He didn't come all the way from Kenya to help us move.  He's just from Kenya.  And he came to help.)

I don't know the man from Kenya.  He goes to my church and came to help load up our stuff.

While throwing trampoline parts into the truck, he asked me how I felt to be moving. 

sigh

I told him that I feel sad.  Some days I'm not sad, but today I'm sad.

Then he looked at me, and calmly said in his wonderful Kenyan accent...

"You should not be sad to move.  Moving reminds us that we do not belong here.  We're only passing through.  Maybe people should move more often so they remember."

All I said was, "I'm sad."  How on earth did this man know why?  Or that we'd moved a lot?  Or that lots more moves were on the agenda?  There were a million reasons why I could have been sad to leave my home.  No one knew about the break down the night before.  No one.

How can I say this without everyone questioning my salvation?

I'm not someone who goes around looking for God to speak to me through coffeemate or lyrics in a song.  I'm just not that person. Honestly, I think those people are kind of kooky.

But when that sweet man said those words to me right after I freaked out on my husband...

All I could say to him was

"There's some pizza in the house if you get hungry."

I walked away with "It's a Small World After All" cranked up really loud in my mind.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lots of Lost Thoughts Today....

Lost?  What's Lost?

We did not jump on the Lost loony wagon until a couple years into the hysteria.

Our friends, Brock and Megan convinced us to start watching the show.  Us not watching it was causing a wall between us.  It was affecting our friendship.  We convinced the Apels to watch the show for the very same reason.  We flat out admitted to them that we'd like them more and our relationship would go to an all new level if they would start watching Lost.

After two episodes we were so hooked that Aaron looked at me, having done mental math (something I think is so sexy in a man) and says..."We could finish season one if we stayed up until Tuesday afternoon."   Mental math.  Who can do that?

For months...we barely slept.  Aaron threatened to take vacation time to watch the show.  One time he watched an episode without me, and I thought we were going to have to go to a therapist for marriage counseling.  Especially since I threw around the phrase, "cheated on me."

Lost was like a drug.  I'd say, "I'm only watching one episode" and then at the end of the show I would be a wreck, pacing the floor, wringing my hands...all jittery and junk.  I'd look at Aaron and say, "Hit me again...push play..."  Like a good dealer, he'd comply.

The black, saggy bags under my eyes were kind of like my "tracks."

While we were catching up on episodes, all our close friends knew why we'd bolt out of the building right after church.  They knew why we'd show up to a birthday party and leave right when it was over.  They saw the jitters.  They saw the shakes.  They knew we had to have our nightly fix.  Like good enablers they made excuses for us and ran social interference.

For now....a repost:

This post originally debuted on Sit A Spell September of 08.

COMMIT ME?

Know what I just did?

Well...I've been asking God to teach me about praying without ceasing.

"Stop thinking so much, Heather...and instead of thinking...pray."

I'm learning...slowly.

really slowly

Guess what I just caught myself doing?

I was in the kitchen doing the dishes and here's what I caught myself saying...

"God help Claire."

Who is Claire?


A girl off Lost.

LOST IS MAKING ME LOSE MY MIND!

God rolled His eyes at me today...I'm sure of it.

Last night I had to go to bed not knowing what has happened to Claire.

Why did that man take her?

Is she okay?

Will she have her baby without Jack?

What is she going to do without diapers...and orajel...and a pack n play?

Poor Chaw-lie.

His neck looks awful.

I wanted him and Claire to love each other.

I tossed and turned all night in the bed.

Claire!

Where is Claire?

And the baby...

The baby!

This is getting ridiculous.

It's one thing to go to bed too late...lose sleep...because you're watching TV.

It's a whole other thing to not be able to sleep once you do go to bed because you are worried about a person on the show.

It's an entirely different thing all together if you find yourself praying for a fictional character.

Do I need counseling?

Friday, May 21, 2010

And the winner is....





I love that Hayden picked Matt's name.  I mean...I wanted all of you to win this book because I want you all to read it.  But...Matt is going on a mission trip to Haiti in June.  He'll be leaving his sweet family at home.  Please say a little prayer for their precious family.

We're praying Matt takes a little bit of Radical to Haiti with him this June!
Matt and Dayna...email me and we'll get you the book!

The rest of you can buy the book here.  It will be the best 10 bucks you've spent in a long time.

Some time this weekend will you all take a couple minutes to watch this short video?
Please, pretty please...with some sunscreen on top?

Next Five Minutes from David Platt on Vimeo.




One Day I'll Stop Being a Baby about Packing....


Obviously Dante never attempted to pack up his house with four kids running around.

If Dante had attempted such a feat, in one of the levels of hell a mother would be forced to constantly pack up her house with four crazy kids in the mix...one of those kids being a hair shy of two years old.



Hudson thought he should pack the sunscreen in his hair.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

LoVeD


Today

Doorbell rang

Sweet Brandy

on my doorstep

new baby in her arms

plus banana muffins and homemade cinnamon rolls.

Just wanted us to know they are praying for our family.

I blinked back tears.

Thank you, Brandy.

Today...


My sister and sister-in-law

Sat in my living room

Surrounded by a mountain of rubbermaid tubs

Sorting

Folding

Talking

For nine million reasons I'm thankful for these women.

Every day....

Since deciding to do this new, crazy thing

I feel especially needy

insecure.

Like a hurting child..unsure...

Desperately needing to be reminded that there is no airplane that could ever fly us outside of God's gaze.

Please Jesus...tell me it's true.  Tell me that story again..the one where you say you'll never leave us.

Tell me again and again and again.

Till I know it by heart

Like Good Night Moon.


In the moments when panic and sadness overwhelm me

hold me underwater

sit on my chest like a box of bricks

the only way I find my way to the surface

is to remember that the God who said "leave this all behind" is the God who knows the total number of hairs that sit on top of every Hendrick head.

Today...

In my neediness...


Heaven's love whispered comfort

through the sound of a doorbell

and the living room laughter of my loving family.

Tonight...

I am a child who feels held.  Assured.  Loved.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Holla! A Giveaway!


RADICAL from David Platt on Vimeo.

As many of you know, the Radical Series we listened to months ago is one of the main reasons we're picking up our family and heading to Haiti.

Side note:  Maybe I've watched too much Lost, because the fact that Haiti is an island adds some extra creepage to my thought process these days.

Anyway...

There we were totally comfortable in our regular ol' American life and two things happened.

First...

We met Katie.  Well...not real life met her, but internet met her.

Katie's story is incredible.

She's 23, lives in Uguanda, and is a new mom...to 14 little girls.


Sad to say...I pretty much neglected my family for two days as I went back and read Katie's archives.

How does a 23 year old girl find herself in Uganda raising a house filled with girls?

I had to know.

Along the way I fell in love with Katie.  I followed her blog.  Every post she wrote made me get up from my computer, take a hard look at my life and admit...

There's got to be more to life than this.

I envied Katie's faith...is that possible?

For the first time in my entire life I felt a tug.  I'd climb into the bed at night and whisper in Aaron's ear..."Let's go help Katie.  Let's go help that girl."

So unlike me.  I couldn't believe the thought of going was skipping around in my mind.  Fairy like...those thoughts would flutter by.

Not long after we met Katie, we listened to the Radical Series.

Aaron actually read about the Radical Series on Katie's blog.  She referenced it.  I didn't listen to the sermons, because I never listen to sermons when people suggest that I should.  That's just the way I am.  Thankfully Aaron listened to the series and then begged me to listen.

It was a big fat pain in the butt to go through the Radical Series.  I am not an auditory learner.  Listening to the sermons in my kitchen with four loony boys running in and out of the house was not easy.

But I did it.  During those sermons you could find me standing in the kitchen in a daze...like a zombie...or crying.  Good for my soul.  Not good for getting dinner cooked.

The Jesus I met in that series stunned me.  I had never met that Jesus before.  He was there all along...His words plain as day on the pages of the Bible I read every morning...but I had ignored Him...totally blew Him off.

Jesus talks a lot about heaven...about what the kingdom of God is like.  He talks about the poor.  The orphan.  He talks about the danger of money...the trap of "things."  He warns us...plainly warns us that we can't serve God and money.  He tells us to go to all the nations...to proclaim the gospel.

And yet there we were...never thinking about heaven...living for this kingdom.  We never thought about the poor.   We loved money.  We loved our stuff (we still do).  We had never considered going...leaving this country, and we stunk at sending missionaries out.  We were playing no part in world missions.  No part.

We were startled by our disobedience. 

Several of our sweet friends listened to the series with us.  We'd meet.  We'd sit and stare into space.  We'd say crazy things like..."We have to change.  We have to.  Major changes.  We have to hold each other accountable to this."

We'd get angry.  We'd say terrible things.  We'd hash out what we were thinking in that safe beautiful place of friendship..of family.  Some of the things we thought were good.  Some of the things we thought were real dumb.

Here's some of the ways the Radical Series affected our group of friends...

We're heading to Haiti.  Another couple is headed to Guatemala.  One couple is working diligently to get out of debt this year so they can be ready to do whatever God wants them to do.  Two couples are in foster care training.  One of the couples is about to head to California to help rehabilitate women caught up in the sex trade along the border.  Several others are open and willing to "go" for the first time in their life.

Life-changing.  I can hardly believe what God has done or figure out how He did it.

None of us think we're awesome.  We're all pee in our pants, sweat our sheets scared to death right now.  We've never followed Jesus on His terms...and we're all real afraid...have lots of doubt...have great peace....and yet totally break down some days.

We are all terrified, yet excited that Jesus has invited us into His huge, beautiful, beat the pants off the box office story.

David Platt (the pastor at Brookhills who preached the Radical Series) wrote a book called Radical.



I read it on our way to Haiti.  I'm a learn-through-reading kind of person.  The book was wonderful.  It's the sermons in book form.

For many reasons I have day dreamed of kicking David Platt in his man parts.  His sermon series totally wrecked our life.  Poor David Platt.  I don't actually know him, but there were times when I'd take out my frustration with my faith...with my life...with the changes I knew Jesus was leading us to make...on him.  The pastor I've never met.  That was super silly because David Platt was just reading the Bible to me.  I was frustrated with Jesus.  Not Pastor Platt.  When I found out I could have NOT listened to the Radical Series online because a book was coming out, that gave me one more reason to be irked at David.  So much undeserved angst aimed in David Platt's direction.  I feel like I should apologize to him or something.

If you are like me and won't listen to sermons people suggest then how about reading the book?  Want to?  Huh?  Want to?

We're going to give one (or maybe two) away.  My sweet aunt bought a few copies and is letting us do a giveaway.  Hooray!

Just leave your name in the comment section.

We'll draw a winner on Friday.

I may have totally freaked you right out of reading the book.  Don't be afraid.  God says not to be.

For those of you who want to know more about this man who wrote this book...you know, to make sure he's not advocating Kool-Aid drinking or something you can read about him here.
 

Sometimes people will commend a book by saying, ‘You won’t want to put it down.’ I can’t say that about this book. You’ll want to put it down, many times. If you’re like me, as you read David Platt’s Radical, you’ll find yourself uncomfortably targeted by the Holy Spirit. You’ll see just how acclimated you are to the American dream. But you’ll find here another Way, one you know to be true, because you’ve heard it before in the words of the Lord Jesus, perhaps most forcefully in the simple call ‘Follow me.’ Read this book. Put it away for a time, if you need to, while your conscience is invaded by the Spirit driving you to repentance. And then pick it up again. After you’re done reading, I think you’ll know better how to pick up your cross and follow Christ for the advancement of the kingdom and the destruction of false dreams.
—Russell D. Moore, dean, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fear, Donald Miller, and Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle




"The most often repeated commandment in the Bible is "Do not fear."  It's in there over two hundred times.  That means a couple of things, if you think about it.  It means we are going to be afraid, and it means we shouldn't let fear boss us around.  Before I realized we were supposed to fight fear, I thought of fear as a subtle suggestion in our subconscious designed to keep us safe, or more important, keep us from getting humiliated.  And I guess it serves that purpose.  But fear isn't only a guide to keep us safe; it's also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life."  --from Donald Miller's book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

I was thinking about how we're supposed to fear God.  Fearing Him is the beginning of everything.  I wonder if fearing other things instead of God is sort of like idolatry.  We give our fear away to other things...lesser things...small things to God that seem really big to us.  We waste our fear...serve and love fear instead of fearing God.

When fear paralyzes us and keeps us from doing exactly what God says He loves and wants us to do then maybe fear is idolatry.  Fear causes us to waste our life.  For some reason God has chosen to write us into His epic story of redemption.  Fear causes us to take the substantial part God has given each believer and forces us into becoming minor characters...the ones easily forgotten...the ones no one remembers.  The ones who didn't do anything even though the opportunity to do something great for the Kingdom was presented over and over again.

Fear

It's icky.

When you decide to adopt or leave this country you find out real soon that there are lots of people who have daydreamed about adoption and living in a hut their entire life.  We've never been those people.  When we jumped into adoption, the thought to adopt had literally crossed our minds like one week before.  We lived a long part of our lives ignoring the adoptive nature of the God we claimed to love.  It never occurred to us that the God we were commanded to imitate was an adoptive father.  In a nutshell, the Gospel is a beautiful story of adoption.  God says to love the orphan and care for them in their distress.  Before understanding how much God loves adoption, we stupidly thought that adoption was only for people whose fallopian tubes had holes in them.  Like Delberts, we probably even said that out loud and meant it.

Until recently, I never thought about living out the great commission by going to another country because...let's just be honest here...I didn't care about missions.  Even though God says to go...even though He says to play our part in missions, even though the gospel is a story about missions, we ignored that part.  Who cares about the nations.  I didn't.  Who cares if Jesus left his wonderful home in heaven and came to this yucky earth.  Good for Him.  I'm not going.

All that to say...

One of my silly fears when considering adoption or "going" was that I wasn't like all those people who knew they were supposed to adopt or go when they were in third grade.  What if that meant God wasn't preparing me to go?  What if we weren't supposed to adopt or go because God hadn't put that in our hearts around the age when we were learning to ride our bikes?

Fear

It's silly.

Especially when it keeps us from doing things that God loves...like going or adopting.

Yet fear grabbed my heart and turned me into a lunatic when we were considering adoption.  Suddenly the sovereignty of God flies right out the window and thoughts like, "What if we get an ugly child or a kid with webbed feet" flood your mind.  It was a real battle to remind myself that God is the planner of families.  He is in control.  Our new baby would be THE baby God ordained to be a Hendrick....even if that child came with three ears or worse, buck teeth.

When Aaron asked me to consider going to Haiti intense fear seized me yet again.  The kind of fear that wakes you up in the middle of the night.  The fear that makes you sweat on your sheets.  I don't like sweaty sheets.  They smell like Doritos.  What if there is another earthquake?  What if we're robbed?  What if we get malaria?  What if one of our kids dies of some crazy jungle disease?  What about our retirement?  What about the kid's college?  What if I adopt 100 babies.  What if the kids don't have great friends in Haiti like they do here.  What if I get cancer from the crappy food there, or give my kids cancer by spraying deet on their skin every day?  Cancer or malaria...how can those be the only two options?  What if we don't have a close community in Haiti?  What if...what if...what if...

Those were my fears...they are my fears.  Just  a few of them.

Aaron wasn't really afraid of anything until he read the book, Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle.  It's a book about a young, American couple who lived in a remote village in Haiti.

"This morning Shelly and I lie under a mosquito net and whisper as pigeons scratch and coo on the corrugated tin roof.  Cocks crow, mangy dogs bark and a grandmother with a tattered dress and a nine-tooth smile sweeps fallen mango leaves from the ground just outside the door.  The ecstatic drumbeats from an all-night Vodou fete had stopped.  The seven insect bites on my ankle itch, and I worry the mosquitoes might have injected into my bloodstream lymphatic flarial parasites (tiny worms, basically) that would trigger the extreme enlargement and deformation of my scrotum - a malady apparently not uncommon in this region." 

Aaron is afraid that his "boys" are going to blow up and that it will be so hot in Haiti his wife won't want him to touch her body.  That's a really nice way of saying what Aaron actually said when describing his fears to me.

You thought this was a post about something spiritual.

You just got punked.

This post is about how women's fears are more noble than men's.  Probably just as sinful.  But definitely more noble.

Luke 12:4-7
"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Boxes Have Made My Face Ugly

Soon...soon I'll write more about Haiti.

I keep reminding myself that I'll have the next year to write about Haiti.

I only have two weeks left in our home...two weeks to pack up things from the house where I thought we'd stay forever.  Two weeks to take pictures of the kids in their natural habitat....no cleaning up around them...just capturing real life here, the way I want to remember it.








We've moved a lot over the years.  Us and our moving...sort of a running joke among our friends.  We've moved from house to house in the same town always to bigger and better.  When we bought this home I kept singing the theme song from the Jeffersons.

"We finally got our piece of the pie...."

Finally.  The perfect house.  The perfect neighborhood.  The perfect location.

I never thought we'd leave this place.

I started packing up our home the other day.  It's overwhelming trying to figure out how to get from here to Haiti.  What do you take?  What do you sell?  What do you save?  When I was moving from house to house in the same town, I had packing down to an art.  Not stressful.  Highly organized.  Way anal...something I'm usually not.  Packing and moving with four children will make anyone anal.  When you look up and see your 2 year old walking through the room with a butcher knife he got out of an open box you figure out real fast...there has to be a military-like moving plan put into action...and quick.  I had moving down.  I kind of enjoyed it.

Moving to another country...this is new to me.

Every other time we've moved I've been excited.  I've buzzed around the house cleaning out, organizing and dreaming of our next home.  The next destination was always better than the place we were packing.  I'd fall asleep exhausted from packing yet mentally arranging our furniture in the new house and imagining where my kitchen items would go in the new cabinets.

Packing this time hasn't been the same.  We know we should go to Haiti.  We have sweet peace about the move.  But when it comes down to the actual items in my home and saying good-bye to this place there are moments when I wonder if I'll make it.

Several times...the boys have come into a room where I am working and found me crying.

I've decided it's not good to be alone while you pack up your life and head to something unknown and scary.

I literally fell over and sobbed into the carpet of the boy's room as I held their toys.  Stupid toys they don't even play with anymore but my memories of their chubby little fingers holding "green man" and "chocolate man" are extremely attached to those tiny pieces of neglected plastic.

And so I've struggled this week...cried myself ugly and fought with Jesus over what He means exactly when He says to leave our stuff behind and follow Him.  He says, "Come, follow me" and His disciples immediately left their livelihoods and their belongings and followed Him.  How did they do that?  Were they deranged, or was Jesus that lovely?

I've had a hard time saying goodbye to the items in our home that mean nothing to me...no memories attached to them...no life in those objects.

I've come face to face with my greed.  How much I love things.  Pretty things from Pottery Barn.  Soft things...decorative pillows...my treasure pile from Roundtop.

I've had to admit that I have a strong attachment to my possessions...things I swore I held with an open hand...well...it's funny how my grip got a lot tighter once it was time to let them go.

I've seen myself for who I really am this week and that's been difficult.  I love my things.  I'm attached to them.  Even the meaningless stuff.  I love it.  I want it.  I want to pack it all in boxes and bring it with me.  Like a bratty child...reach out, frantically grab it and yank it to my chest yelling, "Mine...Mine."  I've thrown myself on my bed and bawled over the antique well pump that decorates my front porch.  I've been more sad than I am excited about doing exactly what I know God wants me to do...because I want my things.  I want my stuff.

Rich young ruler.  I am one step away from being that man, and my vicinity to him makes me afraid.  It makes me sit in the floor in the middle of french fry boxes and weep.


And then there are the things that do have meaning...the objects in my home that were given life because they are attached to memories.  Love and life touched those items.  They are my Velveteen Rabbits if you will.  The couch that's dirty and makes me ashamed when I host baby showers...but it has held us all as we snuggled together watching movies.  Our school table where I taught my children to write.  The books...stories...that I read to my babies.  The comforters on top of their sweet bodies that have been there as I've tucked them in at night.  The end table my brother made me.  The shutters I bought in Roundtop right after I found out we had a failed placement.  The desk where I've sat and written my heart out.  The rocking chair where I nursed every one of my babies.

Losing those things feels like I'm losing part of my soul.  That troubles me.

I hate that I've ignored Jesus' warning...



Matthew 6:19-21
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  

I've gotten a good glimpse of where my  heart is.  My heart has grown tentacles and wrapped itself around children's books, antique coke crates, metal lockers, and area rugs.  I've stored up treasure and my heart adores it.  I've literally felt the yank...flesh being removed...the bleeding...as I've ripped these possessions out of my soul this week and put them into boxes.

In order to follow Jesus, I've got to say good-bye to these things.  To declare them dead.  To admit they were never alive.  They were never "me."  I've had to admit my greed and unhealthy attachment to things destined for the fire one day.  I've been trying to remember that the living people in my home...these precious souls are going with me.  There will be new memories.  New times to laugh.  New times to weep.  New times to snuggle up.  New reasons to lose it and yell at each other.  New times to say we're sorry.  We'll leave what's dead here.  We'll take with us what's alive.

It's been a rough week of packing...

Putting things in boxes...hurting as I admit that I've liked following Jesus on my terms.  Following God as long as I have a sleep number bed and high dollar carpet.  That's the Jesus I signed on with.

And yet the real Jesus...

Matthew 8:18-20
When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

He bids me to follow Him, and yet guarantees no earthly possessions.  Not even a place to lay my head.  He points my affection away from this place and bids me to turn my eyes towards heaven.

Will Jesus...minus the bling and the glam be enough for me?  Is He all I need?  Is the Kingdom of Heaven where my residence and citizenship really resides?  Am I living like a sojourner?  A pilgrim?  A camper?  Someone longing for home, where my real life is?  Have I ever really lived for that kingdom?

As I've cried and cried this week over the contents of these boxes I've had to grieve the plastic, made up Jesus I had created.  I liked that Jesus.  The real Jesus is a lot more crazy...a lot harder to deal with...a lot harder for me to love.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hello Haiti, Hard to Meet You.

I'm a little afraid

of saying

or writing

or trying to put the words together to describe our trip.

Afraid because there is no way to paint Haiti through a blogpost or a couple thousand of them to help anyone understand.

Afraid because my emotions are raw.

I want to be able to write, but I'm afraid I'll say something wrong...that some self-proclaimed Haiti specialist or longtime resident will read this and think I'm an idiot.

I went to Haiti for four days. I'm not claiming to be an expert. I know very little about Haiti. In all honesty, four days in Haiti has made me wonder if I know anything about anything.

It seems all the rage to talk about what will fix Haiti. That thought makes my mind numb. That's like asking someone to sweep away all the sand at the sea.

I don't know what will fix Haiti. I didn't go there with that question in mind. Even my type A, let's fix this, Bob the Builder personality realized within 1 hour of being in Haiti...there may not be a way to fix this.

Imagine the Bob the Builder song blaring loudly...boldly...then you look out on miles of broken homes and tent cities and that song suddenly sounds like..."Bob the Builder...Can we fix this? Bob the Builder...wha-wha...

long pause

wha...

I know many people...sweet friends who have been to Haiti.

Visiting the country is always difficult. Coming home, even harder.

I'm not wanting to minimize anyone's experience in Haiti by the words that I say here.

I'm praying for a lot of grace.

I keep wondering if I would be able to recover better today, at home in the life that is familiar to me if our trip last week was just that...a trip...a visit.

But our trip was a little different.

From the moment I entered the country the soundtrack playing in the back of my mind was this odd ditty that went a little something like this...

"This is where you're coming to live, Heather...this is where you're bringing your boys...this country will be your new home...the setting of your new life."

I saw Haiti through the lens of "a long time" instead of through the eyes of a visitor.

Can I live here?

Can I bring our boys here?

Can I do this?

The short answer is this...

I went to Haiti hoping that it was going to be worse than I had imagined. I have a great imagination. I excel in creeping myself right out, scaring the crap out of myself and daydreaming up new, exciting identities. A few weeks ago, I had it all worked out in my mind what our life would look like, down to the fabric on my couch, if I became a politician.

I was hoping to leave Haiti and be able to tell my friends I had totally siked myself out. It's not going to be as hard to live in Haiti as I thought. I can totally do this.

What I went there to find, and what I came home with turned out to be different things.

It will be a lot harder to live in Haiti than I thought.

Everything I thought would be difficult has the potential to be terrible.

One and a half hours on an airplane and we found ourselves on what felt like another planet.

I kept asking myself if I just got off an airplane or a rocket.




literally, right outside the airport

A few steps outside the airport gates and the "not like your world" seemed to climb me.

24 hours in Haiti and I felt raped by the poverty and overcome by rage that all the king's horses and all the king's men are not putting Haiti back together again. My ears longed to hear the sound of horse hooves...the rhythmic, pounding that sounded like comfort and meant someone was on the way. In that noisy city the sound of rescue is silent.

There is no one coming.


The "view" from right outside the house where we were staying.



The short answer...

We're going, but it's going to be a lot harder than I thought.

The long answer...

Well...

That will take some time to tell.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Days Like Today....


passport? check

malaria meds? check

typhoid meds? check

tetanus shot? check

bug spray? check

sunscreen? check

I'm finishing up the packing this morning

getting ready

excited

and yet

not looking forward to kissing my babies goodbye today.

Have we ever left them this long before?

I'm trying to remember.

Not Hudson...for sure. I think he's only spent one night away from us. The only time we left him for the night with someone else, was also the only time he has ever had explosive diarrhea in his bed. Poor Crystal.

I'm battling thoughts this morning.

Yucky thoughts.

Thoughts that hit mothers in the middle of the night before a trip away from her children.

Thoughts that only seem to creep into a mother's mind when an open, half-packed suitcase sits at the foot of her bed.

I hate those thoughts.

I've been emotional this morning as I finish packing, finish writing up notes for Aaron's mom...my gosh, I'm so thankful for this woman.

Jesus...keep us safe. Please bring us home to these boys. Please.

Do they know how much I love them? Have I told them enough? Have I shown them enough?

All that time I've spent doing other things besides loving them seems stupid now.

I'm asking God for grace this morning...

Grace for all the things I wish I would have done differently if something were to happen to us this week.

Grace to take these thoughts captive, remembering that God loves my sons more than I do. That's so hard to fathom. No matter what this week holds...or today..or tomorrow...He has a precious plan for all of us. All of our days have been ordained, every word known by our God before it ever leaves our mouths...what comfort that brings a mother's soul on days like today.

Nothing like a suitcase to make you rejoice in the sovereignty of God.

Hopefully I can start resting in how big God is...how He's in control of airplanes, Haitian drivers, and mosquitoes so I can move on to thinking about other things...

Like how my unpredictable, mind-of-its-own, prone to naughtiness head of hair is going to behave in Haiti.

sigh

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Haiti Here We Come



This is going to sound sort of abrupt.

I've been writing this post in my head for four days and still don't know what to say.

This is important. It's big. It's crazy.

I want to tell you, but I want to keep this short.

deep breath.

Aaron and I are leaving Friday to go to Haiti.

Aaron applied for a teaching position at a school in Port-au-Prince.

He's been offered the job.

We're going to see the school, meet the people and try...

try

to wrap our brains around this new life that may be ours very soon.

Have we mentioned that the Radical Series and the Jesus we met in the Bible during those messages has totally ruined us?

There will be many posts coming soon. You are all so sweet to walk with us through each of the journeys God has taken us on as a family. We have felt so loved by many of you.

God, in His weird ways of doing just about everything has somehow brought together a group of unique people. For some reason we're here. Together. In this weird place called the world wide web. Talking about Jesus, being a wife, a woman, a mom...talking about how gross and wonderful our kids can be. Kind of creepy, but nonetheless real. Many of you have changed my life. I'm not the same person because of perfect strangers. See...I told you. That's creepy. But true.

So I will write more later...about our fears...about how God has taken people totally comfortable here in America in a giant, beautiful home in one of the nicest neighborhoods in our town and shaken us...in that rough, loving way that only God can manage.

I'm terrified. I have cried and cried and cried and oh yep...cried more. The community we have here is to be envied. We are so close to our friends they are like family. Their relationship to us is a taste of heaven. Close. Sweet. As in, they know where everything goes in my kitchen and could totally step in and take over raising our kids if something were to happen to us. That close. We see each other several times a week. Talk to each other every day. Spend the night in each other's home. Those kinds of friends. We are blessed. We go to a great church. Aaron has a great job. Our kids have precious friends. Great ball teams. Hip hop. A dreamy, American life. Why would we walk away from that?

We're not really sure why. Right now it seems sort of dumb.

Our church family learned about our plans tonight. They were so sweet and supportive. We have such comfort knowing they are praying with us this week.

For now...

I'll spare you the longest post ever and just say this:

Pray for us. Pray for our trip. Pray that God confirms a great deal in our souls in a few days.

Most importantly...if we go this week and we feel like this is definitely where God is leading us...

Pray that God gives us a great...huge...God-sized...only He can accomplish it vision for what He wants to do in Haiti through us and through...you guessed it...YOU. Each of you. Your skills. Your prayers. Your connections. Your money. Touching precious lives in Haiti.

Here's what we know for sure.

This isn't about the Hendricks moving to Haiti. It can't be.

Are you kidding? I feel like the worst pick. The least capable of doing something like this. The one who is perfectly fine warming the bench when it comes to things that actually require faith. Moving to Haiti cannot be about us. If so, this whole thing is totally doomed from the start. Instead, we see this as all of us, in one way or another, getting a real life, hands on way to live out the great commission...to care for the poor...to love the orphan...to help what may be the neediest country in the world right now. Alone we can't do this...we shouldn't do this. I have no faith..none...in my ability to live in a third world country in a way that brings glory to God. I have a lot of faith in Aaron to do something like this. He's a stud. He can do anything. But if he goes to Haiti, I go to Haiti and let's all admit it...there in lies the problem. Even though Aaron is incredible, there is probably only so much whining he can take before he drowns me in the ocean.

I'm simply not the "missionary" type. Missionaries are super holy. They have great complexions. They like to camp. The mothers wear clothes that match their children.

Just yesterday I was doubting if Jesus was real, we all know what happened the one time I tried to camp, and it would be a cold day in Haiti before I would do the matching clothes routine. I'm not even kidding...I'm the worst pick. worst. pick. least. likely.

Pray with us for vision from the God who for some silly reason is asking our family to go...and take you (one way or another) with us.

Let's hope God still uses broken, C-team people to do big, kingdom things. I'm trying to remind myself that using the worst pick seems to be a consistent pattern of God's.

8 Years of Rip-Roaring Good Times


Joy

You are sweet joy to us, Hayden.

Wild

Creative

Volume knob turned to "loud"

Unpredictable

Messy

Hilarious

Break dancing to the rhythm of a drummer most of us cannot hear or understand.


God has woven into your life the gifts of music, dance, art, compassion, a love for the underdog, a heart that grieves over injustice. And then there's the "all boy" side of you...the double back flip on the trampoline, catch every bug, lizard, tadpole, minnow, snake and frog side of you.

We love you sweet boy.

Your adventurous spirit blesses this home and keeps us on our toes.

We pray God grows each of the gifts He has given you this year.

Keep on dancing son...

Teach this world how to dance to the tune of heaven...the tune of an abundant life...rich...satisfying...compelling...a life worth living and celebrating.

Leave the volume turned on high, Hayden.

We love you brave boy. Our sweet, funny, lover of life, wild, crazy boy.

We thank God for 8 years of adventure.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Garage Sales Are Weird


We recently had two garage sales.

After listening to the Radical Series and watching the documentary No Impact Man, we started thinking some new thoughts.

Thoughts that go a little somethin' like this...

"Why do we have so much crap?"

"Why do we need all this stuff?"

"Even if it's good stuff...if we barely use it, do we really need it?"

We're in the process of re-figuring our lifestyle. After you learn that 24,000 kids die every single day of preventable diseases it becomes a pretty fun hobby to sit and dream about how many needless deaths one family...one church...one community could prevent if we freed up some of our income.

When you find out how little the American church gives to missions, it makes you sad. How much "great commission work" will you let us fund, God...how much?

How much good can we do with your money, Lord?

How can we use our money for eternal things...investing in lives...caring for the poor...the orphan...advancing the gospel?

While we're in the process of reevaluating everything we thought the least we could do to free up some immediate cash is have a garage sale.

I hate garage sales.

I like going. I despise hosting.

It's exhausting work.

People showed up a full hour early.

One guy drove up to the house in the dark. The car barely slowed down. He shot out of his truck and in his best redneck voice says, "You got any guns and knives?" It took him about 1 full minute to ask that one, short question. Talk about a drawl.

Too bad we were fresh out of guns and knives.

Did I mention it was dark outside?

People were going through our stuff with flashlights.

It was awesome.

I had never seen anything like it.

I was standing in the driveway in shock. Kirby looked over at me. She said..."I forgot to warn you about the flashlighters."

We decided right then and there...

The next garage sale ad we place will not mention the word, "early birds."

We'll say...

"if you need a flashlight...you are too early."

After two weekends of garage sales, we made right at $1,200!

Just our family!

I wish I had the total for all of the families combined.

I highly recommend having a garage sale with all your friends. That was the only perk. Sitting for hours with people we love laughing at the things people were buying.

Twelve hundred dollars.

That's a lot of money.

As we sat counting the booty Aaron mentioned that it was pretty sad we made this much money off the junk we don't want and don't use.

We didn't sacrifice anything but our time.
_________________________________-

Kind of separate, but not really...

Last night a guy named Ben, from Africa, came and spoke to New Life. In 1993 he was sponsored by someone here in America through Compassion International.

Literally...he went from having no hope and living in the slums to going to school...to learning about Jesus. As a young boy, his entire life changed. The cycle of poverty (both physical poverty and spiritual poverty) has been broken in his life and in the lives of his family members. Praise God for the work that Compassion does.

Ben is now teaching. Compassion gave him a scholarship to attend college. His story is incredible.

Ben talked last night about getting to meet his sponsor. His sponsor lives in Georgia. I'm sure this man had no idea...no real concept of how much his small gift would mean to a child in Africa. He had no idea that a child's life...a person's soul...would be saved forever.

After our garage sale...and listening to Ben last night, I started wondering about how many kids we could all sponsor through Compassion if we just had a stellar garage sale.

All of us.

What if we went through our homes and really thought through whether or not we need all the stuff in our cabinets and closets.

What about all that junk in the garage? In the attic?

We made $1200.

That would sponsor one child through Compassion for about 32 months.

Two and a half years.

If that's not motivation to get off our rumps and declutter...I don't know what is!

What are we waiting for?

Without sacrificing anything but our extra...our clutter...our junk...our "why on earth do we have this or need this" stuff we could invest in eternity.

That's a good place for all of us to start, right? I will always be a lover of baby steps.