• sarah@healingeyes.org

Tag Archives: life

Earning My Stripes!

Take that leap and go out and live trusting God! Do it! I dare everyone to try it….wow….but don’t expect instant results. It really is a minute by minute commitment to not give up. I’m glad today I stuck it out and went with God’s direction, as much as it confused and scared me.

For some reason God wants me to learn to drive Jeep and crawl up steep scary inclines. For some reason God wants me to learn to public speak by being a tour guide. For some reason God wants me to lose that shyness and let loose with other people. Today I went on my second training with driving Jeep. Now when I say ‘driving Jeep’ I need to clarify what I mean. It will involve being happy and showing a lot of patience and diligence. It means not getting angry when the Jeep breaks or when I am tired from the heat. It means performing for a group of 4 guests per ride and selling the island and its beauty to them. It means letting my needs come last. It also involves driving up some damn steep hills and learning about teamwork to the extreme.

I thought today I was going out alone with the teacher but there was another newbie driver and I had to show him what to do when first looking over the Jeep. Need to check 5 things in the engine and survey the undercarriage for any broken parts. Then we picked up a second driver who used to drive for the company and he turned out to be a bonus in my learning experience.

I picked the same Jeep as before and we were off. 7 hours later I am finally home and exhausted. To sum it up on the way back up the road to the tide pools and being the one to drive while the other 3 guys watched me, I failed getting up the hill and then the Jeep died. The gas line had a leak and the entire tank was dry. Now cell phones don’t work so well out in the bush so me and the second driver walked back down to the tide pools (the ocean) to try and find a signal. Luckily we got thru and a Jeep was on its way with gas (the owner of all people). A nice dip in the Tide pools while waiting was a must! As well as pleasant conversation about life and food. He is also a chef and he asked me how my husband died and I explained how food became our enemy. It’s so refreshing to talk about Andy and cancer! He might cook some meals for me and show me the restaurants that have great food. One thing he said to me was, “We need to not have you being all depressed anymore”.

Some time later help arrived and then the true fun started. I wasn’t getting off that easy from making my first successful trip up that hill. So I have 3 guys telling me how to do it and I am getting scared and frustrated at myself. One of the drivers in training bailed out the back of the Jeep, lol he just has no guts it seems when the Jeep slightly tipped a bit, it made for a good camaraderie experience with the other two guys on the drive back. They assured me that I have more ‘balls’ then that guy and to not worry.

Did I make it?! I sure did! The Jeep stalled a lot but I finally pressed the gas and sucked up my fears (with a little help of a tool box behind my back to support me from falling back in the seat) and drove that Jeep up that incline.

So the owner of the company and his son both had so much patience with me and I learned what true teamwork is today. They didn’t give up on me, and thank you God for giving me the strength (stubbornness) to not give up.

A great day of smelling exhaust fumes, sweating, African killer bees, and conquering one of the inclines on the trail. Maybe, just maybe I earned some of my stripes today!

When God wants to give an abundant life to someone he doesn’t joke around. I’m in the Caribbean volunteering to work with kids and I get to have a piece of Andy back with being around mechanics and learning to drive. Andy loved teaching me how to drive…he loved playing cars with me.

Healing Eyes

Uno

Uno is the card game of choice for the kids at the club. I was a hit since I had a new deck of cards and would play for hours (I mean hours!). Slowly the kids are realizing I am going to be around for a while and they wander up to me while I am sitting at the picnic table. Today’s conversation jumped from if God can die to Jesus Dying on the cross and then finally me explaining the deck of cards were Andy’s but he died before he could play them. Kids are really great listeners.

Another kid read me several books (one was a joke book and the other Berenstein bears) and then later we played Uno for hours. He was a soft spoken kid and a nice change from all the screaming I normally receive. The two girls in the video came by later to play and normally they scream during Uno but I explained this was ‘quiet Uno’ and they respected my request. Each time I go back I don’t know what to expect and I am nervous and hesitant to go but then the kids surprise me and slowly accept me.

The bathroom is broken there so everyone stateside appreciate those flush toilets…the porty johns get very hot in the middle of the day.

Healing Eyes

Ukulele

When I first learned the Ukulele I thought I would never be able to sing while strumming. But now after hours and days of practice I’ve done it! Little by little I got the hang of it.

I wonder if that is what life can be like. Diligence and persistence to learn new things and to stretch oneself beyond what was thought possible.

Maybe that’s why God picked me…put me in these circumstances…knew my stubbornness…and is gonna take advantage of the gift he gave me.

Today I had my first Jeep lesson with Tan Tan tours on the island. Let me say this, being a driver is not just driving a jeep! Holy crap its gonna be like Jeep boot camp. I need to check all the fluids each time and look for broken parts on the Jeep before going out. (The radiator overheated going up the Tide Pools road and I got stuck, I guess no one makes it the first time. I later found out he set me up and he knew the radiator was gonna overheat and he wanted me to experience it)

I will have to learn facts about St. Croix to share with riders and also get them to love me by the end of the ride. So my people skills will be rigorously improved, maneuvering a Jeep over rough terrain, and then mechanic skills will be improved. If my goal is to someday be working in a third world country for neglected kids I think working at Tan Tan will help build my patience and diligence required. From drunk to high maintenance vacationers I should learn to work with a lot of personalities from this training opportunity and flush out that whole introvert personality. When I agreed to God rebuilding my life I never thought he would be so creative in his methods.

Before

After

Healing Eyes

A Small Life

The approach to raise $5,000 for 5 months of service on the island wasn’t the right approach. Well it felt right at the time, thinking of how will I make it after quitting my reliable paid salary job. Every two weeks I got a check that would let me buy food and pay for lodging. It was a very enticing lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong…I miss it terribly! That was one of my passions that is now gone. The laptop is in the FedEx box waiting to go back to Michigan.

photo (11)

I just finished listening to another sermon from Ada Bible. For some reason last sunday’s and this sunday’s keep resonating with me. From the Ant Power to now the Barb Wire discipline. Over last week I would remind myself to be like an Ant, be consistent and diligent even if it was hard. Every morning drag myself out of bed even if I didn’t want to. Eat food even when I don’t want to. Now today I am reminded its the Slow and Steady commitment I am after in my life. My blog is the most consistent thing in my life. It’s always been there for me. I consistently update it even if I don’t like what i’ll write about or how it might affect others. I try to be raw in my writing even when it sounds depressing. Life is broken!

Yesterday I got a gift from someone I never met in Michigan but talked to over email. I am realizing its not My journey now, it’s everyones journey. For the people that can’t pick up and just go, sell everything, live off faith, be a free spirit…that isn’t something everyone can just Do. Inside us all is a passion to make a difference, to touch lives, and to make an impact. Not like what I am doing is that impactful, half the time I feel like I am failing and I see no fruit from my labor. Perhaps when little Divani at the club says, “you came back”, makes a difference in my perspective. It’s not just those moments that make my heart feel good, actually my heart leaps when I see friends and strangers joining me in this adventure. The adventure to live life to the fullest and to not wait for my life clock to run out. Andy didn’t know he was going to die at 34, if he had then he would have lived more abundantly. I want others to feel this amazing gift of compassion, denying self, and pain for others.

It’s the sum of the smalls that wins hearts. It’s the sum of the moments that make a life. It’s living beyond what we think is possible that makes it all worth it. I want to live a resilient life by longing for more than what this broken world can give me.

Yesterday God gave me another $60 thru one of his family members. My Paypal account was empty from paying rent and then he filled it back up with $60.

Everyone can’t have their Mountain top experiences. Life altering moments that rip everything away and we are left to start all over. I pray that not everyone gets that wake up call. It’s not pleasant and it scars you. Every morning I need my eyes constantly reopened to what is around me. I hate being slow at things! I hate being patient! I want everything Now and then act on it. My lesson to learn is patience and resilience. Doing great things over and over again!

It really is the smalls 🙂

 

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Healing Eyes

VBS continues

What if all that we do each day is pointless?

What if the little things could add up to more?

As much as I don’t want to refer back to me and Andy’s days trying to have kids it seems something I can’t avoid. We tried for over 8 years to have a baby and failed miserably at it. Sometimes it just isn’t meant to be and making the choice to stop is a hard one. We invested so much time and money into making a family that it became a mission almost.

Now I am almost done with my first week teaching kids at VBS. Whatever would Andy think of all this? I can’t even imagine since I can’t remember ever seeing Andy play with kids. Deep down he wanted a child but I think to not hurt me he tried to downplay it. We talked one night about how if we were to try adopting we would never have a mini Andy running around. We weighed the pros and cons of that and decided to give up the ‘natural’ way of having a family. When Andy got sick we were almost thankful we never succeeded at children. We still talked once and awhile about how if he was gone that there would be no living legacy of him. I would be left alone and no little version of Andy would be around to comfort me.

Yesterday I was feeling sick but I still started setting up the classroom with the color sheets and crayons. Sitting in the tiny kid chair reading the lesson plan and feeling sad. Then a little kid snuck in and said Hi to me and wanted to see what sneaky stuff I was up to. I told her she’s too early and needed to go eat her food. She said ok but before she left she asked me, “Can I give you a hug first?”

Was that Andy? In that brief second was he looking down at me and trying to encourage me with a hug? It’s hard living on after he’s gone, it’s hard trying to be someone different without sharing it with someone. The days don’t get easier after you lose your husband. Every night the tears come and I curl into a ball missing Andy but that darn sun still rises and still pushes me to get up.

First two days of VBS we had 12 kids, then we had 18, and then there was 21!

 

Healing Eyes

Ant Power

Whatever am I to do? I’m not the person for this job I keep telling myself. Most of my career I hid from people, I was an introvert and proud of it. Put me in front of a computer and I can work some magic and at lightning speeds. Then for some reason over the years I was drawn out of my comfortable seat and made to speak in front of teams and travel around the globe. It made my stomach twist and turn every time I spoke to people. Surprisingly over time it got easier and then I actually liked it. So twisted!

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”

Even while I was doing my own thing and living life I was being molded behind my back. Ugh that’s not what I wanted to hear.

“You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.”

Every fiber of me wants to do the opposite and go back to way of doing things. That image of what my life was. Until it hits me that life can’t be. It can never be exactly as it was, Andy is gone. He was my light in the darkness.

A guy named Jeremiah in the bible didn’t want to do what God wanted, he even thought he was too young and inexperienced for the job. Sigh..that’s me! I am not cut out for so many kids. My ears hurt and my heart hurts. That office job and its air conditioning really does sound awesome right now. I know that world. 

“Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing.. But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds.”

Oh what comfort that is. My mind and heart have been feeling that over and over that this wound will never heal. I will wear this pain for years and it is forever a part of me.

“In the days to come you will understand this.”

How is it possible for words written a bazillion years ago can apply to my situation so perfectly. What’s crazy is another person in the world can be feeling the same exact way and/or read the same verses and see nothing. How can a book be written that is so alive! It hurts my brain to even try and dispute it. I have been beaten, broken, and worn down to the point where I can’t even try to fight it anymore. To top it all off the author of the book Lamentations was written by Jeremiah! Seriously, my favorite book of the bible that I get so much comfort from was written by Jeremiah too!

Today I went to the boys and girls club and as usual was awkward as hell around all the kids. It took hours before it turned around and I ended up being accepted again by the kids. This warm up period is driving me crazy. My heart aches for the boy named Eden. He has such anger issues and has no idea how to control them. The other kids are afraid of him and don’t like him because he is so mean. He wants to be nice I can tell but he doesn’t know how to take the high road and to just breathe when he is upset. He’s seriously going to hurt someone someday. I just have to remember, Ant Power. The sermon from an online church I watched Sunday…to be diligent and consistent. Every day get up and suck up my own problems and desires and show up for kids like Eden. A tedious job that doesn’t pay financially, it hurts mentally, and it’s hot. All this just for those few minutes alone with a boy to try and give him tips to control his anger. Small steps can add up to more…if ants can be diligent as they consistently bite and irritate me then I can try to be just as stubborn.

 

Healing Eyes

Evening with the Stars

So I am struggling with what to share about my day. Part of me just wants to share the ‘Doing’ part and a bunch of kid photos. But my heart is being pulled to a different direction. It is rewinding back to last night and my conversation with God. Be warned this conversation is a mixed bag of emotions and a bit hard to share since it just exposes my vulnerability more. Perhaps that is what I am supposed to do when Go said, ‘Write’.  Plus if I had my way I wouldn’t share my private journal with the public but maybe God’s ways are better than mine.

The sun gives me a reason to breathe.

Helping others gives me purpose.

Is it because of taking care of Andy?

Am I trying to make up for his death?

Help me God!

I can’t do this alone

What lesson am I to learn?

Oh what misery I feel when loves first kiss is gone forever. Never to return again… I long for you Andy.

“I have called you to follow me on a solitary path, making time alone with me your highest priority and deepest joy. It is a pathway largely unappreciated and often despised. However, you have chosen the better thing, which will never be taken away from you. Moreover as you walk close to me, I can bless others through you.” -Jesus Calling book

Don’t let your service become self serving.. Don’t let it become mere busywork, losing sight of walking with God.

Watch carefully that VBS, Girls and Boys Club, and the Lighthouse do not become busy work, pulling you away from me and slowing the rebuilding of our relationship. I must remember to have my solitude – to write and to listen. Take time to enjoy the world God has given us.

“God what do you want? To use me to bless others thru simple interactions that may seem unimportant and are awkward.”

Be in many places for now but do not be busy, calm yourself to be in my presence. Spend time with me – even in guilt – even if others think you are slacking. It is not there ways but mine. Guard your heart and walk slow.

Tell the story of your heart. Do not doubt your ability. If I give you gifts I expect them to be used. Even if you can’t see how or if they exist, trust me. Over and over I say trust me. My love – my child – my gift to you is time. So appreciate it even though you fight it! Embrace boredom – see past what you were taught about living. You were taught for years to be busy. You fought the stillness I sought to give you!

Do not fear the night for tonight the stars shine for you. Sleep in my arms – rest in my love.

Why do you think you disliked the ways of how Christians try witnessing to non-believers for all those years with Andy? Does it feel to forced, scripted, rehearsed, fake, and ungenuine? Only I can change a heart. Only I can lead others, you are to be a follower, let me take your control away. Let your will go. You are finally seeing what it means to be open to relinquishing that control so now let me lead you.

Remember you need to first walk with me and learn how to believe again.

So long you were gone and hid from my face…take this time to remember me.


Soon after writing that I stood up and went out on my patio and saw that the clouds had parted and the stars were the brightest I have seen since living here. I nearly cried with joy as I felt a bit of loneliness lift from my heart. I laid down on the patio chair and stared at my stars and listened. The star Vega shown so bright and I felt Andy near me. I felt God surround me and comfort me in that moment. If I hadn’t calmed my mind and gave God an evening with me than I wouldn’t have slept so great last night. I felt the tears flow from my heart to my eyes and then fell into a deep sleep. It won’t always be like that but I’ll take that moment and maybe those moments will become more frequent as I learn to be still.

Ok enough mooshy stuff. Here Are the photos from my day! At one point I had to swim out into the ocean to save 2 kids who tipped from the paddle board and bring them in, so now I am learning how to be a lifeguard.

Healing Eyes

Experience felt at the Mechanics

I dropped my Jeep off at the mechanic to get the gaskets replaced and the first thing that made me smile and cringe at the same time was the smell of the Auto Shop. The grease, exhaust, tires, tools, and engines all brought back a comforting memory. Me and Andy working in the garage together on our Toyota Mr2, the smells are what bring back memories of times long past. Pre-cancer we could work on cars and play on windy tracks, that all changed after the stomach came out and his strength was lost.
The song on the radio when I first started the jeep was, Follow me..everything is alright. Ironic?

I am trying to follow but I am so sad when the sun sets.
When the sun exits and the moon rises
The ghosts of yesterday return
No more hugs
No more talks
He is gone and does not miss me
He is at peace while I am not
What a cruel twist of fate.

I can find some comfort I suppose in my spontaneous page flipping to these versus that were directed towards my heart in the midst of crying. A few people have compared my journey to the ‘Refiner’s fire’, I am being molded by fire that burns to the touch, it consumes every part in order to produce a diamond.

Isaiah 33:14
…Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning? Those who walk in righteously and speak what is right…

To await that day when the light will finally break and dawn brings that blessed healing of grief’s despair.

Isaiah 58:8
Then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear..

To experience once more a peaceful night once that sun sets over the horizon. No more is it a darkness that enfolds me but a light so bright as if sunset refused to obey.

Isaiah 30:26
The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.

To hope once more that the choices made will bring about change in the heart, healing of the memories long gone, and hope to try each day for an abundant life.
It’s yet to be seen if hope will survive amidst so much loss all around. I see glimmers of it in the eyes of children, thru their frustration with being little and never being heard, as if there size means they aren’t more in tuned with the feelings of the heart. Are we not have a childlike mentality and to trust fully the Father, at what point in our life did that get lost? What evil robbed that innate gift from us and how can we get it back if fear clouds us from action.

Job 11:17
Life will be brighter than morning. You will be secure, because there is hope..

Healing Eyes

Everything is Awesome

A Boy sits across from me and taps me on the shoulder, he says, “My name is Eddie Smith, will you remember me”? I look back shocked, “Yes, now that I know your name is Eddie I’ll remember you”.

My chest feels like its been opened up and my heart and all my vulnerabilities are exposed. Like its been in a deep thaw for years and God is pouring hot water on it, burning off the hardened shell and then taking a sledgehammer to it.

The sledgehammer was when Andy died in my arms. Now it’s a little hammer every few weeks that’s wacking off the thin shell that keeps hardening back over it.

Today I was at the Boys and Girls club all day. I didn’t pack a lunch and didn’t bring enough water so I am shocked I survived until 3pm, but I did! Where to begin? It was very awkward at first as I stood around aimlessly wondering what I got myself into. Eventually all the kids were brought inside and then the manager called out my name, “We have a new volunteer today, Miss Sarah. Sarah come over here, we want to bless you”.

Bless me? What is this crazy mumbo jumbo stuff but I was not in control and I went with the flow. I held my hands out with palms out as the whole group of kids and adults started to Bless the fact that I was there and that me being there was important to them and that it made a difference. They then did a very loud ‘HooRah’ at the end. I won’t lie I got choked up and almost cried. That was the first smack on my heart with the hammer.

I ended up in the 5-9 year old room where I met Eden (which was Eddie, he goes by both names). I think he tells people Eddie until he likes you, than he is Eden. The first boy who talked to me right when I went thru the door was Dante, no idea what he said but he was happy. Then there was Kalina, Frank (who I called Fred and they laughed), and Qui’nyah (such a pretty name). I read books to the few kids crowded around me and had them read back some of the words. Played some games and really just felt so out of my element (but secretly liked it).

Outside for snacks and lunch I sat at a picnic table with boys. Very odd since usually its girls I’ve been around. Eden was there and he has a temper I soon realized. Jackie (pronounced not like it looks, he’s a boy) who is really creative and was playing with some jenga blocks, he was making a fort and zombies were attacking it. I later filmed his debut movie of the zombies attack and got them to sing the ‘Everything is Awesome’ song from the Lego movie. During all of this Eden kept losing his temper and I think he was testing me. Kinda like one special girl at the lighthouse. Then I went on the field trip to the bowling alley. Now by this time all the high school kids that volunteer from the states during summer camp  had left (they did the morning shift). Others thought I was with them since I was white and young but nope, I am solo volunteer.

While waiting for the vans to take us back after bowling Eden was really clinging me to all of a sudden and asking me questions. If I had any kids, a husband, how he died, what age was he when he died, when did my baby die, pretty much all the questions adults are afraid to ask. He made me sit next to him on the bus so I must have made it thru some door where he trusted me more. It’s so odd, sometimes it feels like kids don’t see me but off and on at the bowling alley they kept saying hi and smiling. Was I now more credible than the others that come in the morning? I don’t know what God is up to but I feel like an odd duck amongst everyone, no matter how I look at it I don’t blend in well.

Another thing that happened at the picnic table with the boys was a discussion about God and how you get to heaven. So weird how that conversation got started but it was so surreal.

I noticed though that the kids are so used to having there photo taken and as I looked around in the morning I noticed all the high school volunteers from the states were snapping photos. Do these kids think that is all we are about? They come and come and take photos and then move on with there life. By helping are we just making the kids feel like they are only worth a photo opportunity? Too soon to tell I suppose. But I can’t help but remember Eden saying “will you remember me?”

Healing Eyes

Support

I’m liking the living by faith thing. It takes some of the pressure off of knowing all the answers and controlling everything. This morning I ran out of fruit snacks and I was sad but then this afternoon I got a package from a new supporter and it had…FRUIT SNACKS! Problem solved!

My first supporter mailed me two boxes stuffed full of food and goodies. Yay! Thank you Becca! This past sunday I finally put money in the offering plate and it was a bit more than I thought I could afford being jobless soon but I didn’t have change. Anyways, a friend said I wouldn’t regret it and that God would give it back somehow. So I’m not saying this was directly related but.. ‘it kinda feels like it’.

It’s gonna be ok. My new job will be learning to live by faith and sharing the story as I flounder around. Maybe eventually I’ll get my sea legs on solid ground and stop waffling.

Written on the outside of one of the boxes: Isaiah 53:4-6

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering. Yet we considered him punished by God, Stricken by him, and afflicted; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

To give your life to Jesus fully? Wreckless abandonment?

Be directed even if it means your heart is broken over and over again? Is that possible?

While living in a fallen world there will be sickness, cancer, death. Is it a fantastical dream to want a world where no more sickness lives?

Matthew 8:20

Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head.

Matthew 8:22

Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.

 

We can have all the plans in place prior to following God’s call, we can wait until our timing is ready. But what if all that is meaningless excuses and we must go when called…

I made a huge upheaval after Andy died and now I am on an island. None of it was easy and still it hurts. I grieve Andy! I grieve loss. It’s a great cost to follow this madness. It would be easier to go back instead of forward. Would Jesus accept any of my excuses to give up?

Healing Eyes