Barbed Wire to Branch

I know what you may be thinking as you read this title, what the heck is this Chica  trying to say? Barbed wire to Branch…#what?

Well as you all know, I have been here in Chile since June 15th and it is now June 26th, so approximately 11 days. I would love to tell you that the first 11 days of my time here in Chile have been the grandest upon grandest of times. Usually people experience the mission trip high upon arrival, well since life has just seemed a little backwards for me lately I figured eh might as well experience the mission trip low first. Not that the low has been so extreme as to make me want to go home (okay maybe so for about 10 minutes), but the low has been well low.

Upon arrival to Chile, as you read in my last blog things were a little rough. In turn, I came to Chile with some scars and really frustrating things. I did not really understand why so much anxiety, attack, and everything in between was happening to me and I may never understand it. However, I do know that Romans 8:28 says, “and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Later in that chapter v. 37 says, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Taking these two verses into account, this is what has been pushing me through knowing that because my Savior shed blood on the cross that I am able to come out of tough times victorious. No weapon formed against us is able to prosper!

During my time here, the Lord has begun revealing a lot of where my struggle has come from recently. He has done this by means of other people, prayer, speaking to my heart, and a walk through the country roads where I took that picture of the barbed wire. As I came up on this barbed wire, God was saying to me “Hannah you are that barbed wire, but I am making you into a branch.” It sounds really weird, but I think we all are barbed wire in a way. For me, my barbed wire came from insecurities, desire to be loved but not understanding what love truly was, comparison, hurt, and of course pride. All of these added up to a lump sum of me, barbed wire Hannah, walking around with her life together, so spiritual, Christ-filled, you know the whole idea of what a godly-woman should be. However, the facade can only last so long before you are brought down low and truly realize okay God I have so far to come before I can even compare to how great and magnificent you are. The Church nowadays really encourages us to build our faith, be strong, you are so much more than this. Yes all those things are true, but those phrases have a lot to do with the idol of “me.” The Bible says, put your faith in me, your strength comes from me, and yes you are so much more than this, but you are so much more than this because I (Jesus) have made you so much more.

This Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, the Savior of the World who died on the cross to save my sins, needs me to come to Him in need of savior not in want of one. I for so many years, wanted a savior, wanted someone to help me through life, wanted someone to be my guide, but when things were easier to do on my own I was like “hey I can do this.” This is not the case anymore, everything I have experienced up to this point I could handle on my own or with the encouragement of another person that buttered me up, put me back on the horse, and ready  to grab life by the reigns and take it on again. Nope, not this time, there was no getting back up on that horse by myself. In the case of Peter and walking on water, I needed Jesus to reach down and pick me up. He never let me drown because he doesn’t let his disciples drown, but I was in NEED of a Savior. That strong barbed wire that thought she didn’t need anything else to protect her, was brought low stripped of her pride, her insecurities, and started the process of becoming a branch.

As I have shared before, God told me that during my time here in Chile he would teach me a lot about love. Oh how true that already is, just really understanding the captivating and compelling love of Christ and how much He truly loves and delights in us. He is always with us and guiding us through life even we don’t think we are doing the right thing, or don’t think we deserve this love. He loves us so much, and that is what He is teaching me here so far in Chile. He loves me and wants the best for me, is always fighting for me, and is the only thing in this life that I can lean on. Jesus is enough and everything else in life is blessing. How thankful I am for those blessings, but even more thankful I am for the BLESSER!

Becoming a branch, well it is not always the easiest. Branches are smooth, barbed wire is rough. Therefore, sometimes God has to rub away our pride, expose our hurt, our struggles and our need for Him. Jesus said in John 15, “I am the vine, you are the branch, apart from me you can do nothing.” This is so true, I can do nothing apart from Christ. He gives me the ability to love, the ability to live, and the air to breath. Even though the rubbing away is painful, I am thankful that God is refining me and making me into a branch that bears much fruit. I want to bear much fruit and prove to be his disciple (v.8). From barbed wire to branch may be a process, but restoration and healing is always to be happened!

Love and Prayers,

Hannah

Philly to Chile

Tomorrow is the big day! I am leaving for Philly to Chile tomorrow, and I am very ready to get on that plane! These last couple days in preparation to leave have had their ups and downs. I’ve been battling a lot of spiritual warfare in preparation for this trip. However, I know my God is victorious and holds my life in His hands. I am His precious daughter, and He loves me very much. As I shared with you guys earlier, my journey to getting to Chile has been so blessed, god-designed, but also different than any other mission trip I’ve ever gone on. I usually am at this point just itching to get there, and even though in reality I am (I mean who wouldn’t want to travel to another country for two months, Serve God, speak Spanish, and love other people)! I am honestly super excited to get there! It’s just this journey has been different. It’s been long, exhausting, tiring, but also filled with God’s guidance. I was talking with my former youth pastor just a couple days ago and expressing to him just how honestly broken, tired, and weary I felt. He reminded me of trainers and their athletes. Sometimes the trainer helps the athlete up, other times the athlete has to keep pushing, keep running even though they feel like they can’t go any more. I think sometimes I feel like I have to have my life together in order to show people the great and compelling love of Christ. However, I really don’t think that has been the case with any great people in the Bible. Paul hated Christians, Moses felt ill-equipped, Joshua didn’t know if he could keep going. However, God told these people “be strong and courageous”, “my strength is made powerful in your weakness”, “tell them I am sent you.”
It is indeed the “I am” who has sent me because honestly if I didn’t have Jesus walking right along side of me, I would have given up the fight. I would of turned back and said you know what, I can’t do this? But there is truth in that, I can’t do this on my own. I need my heavenly father, pushing me to be stronger, walking right alongside me saying, “Hannah keep pushing through the mud, keep running, keep up the good fight and stay strong, discipline produces righteousness.” I would be lying to you if I told you that I have been sitting hear bags packed twiddling my thumbs waiting for tomorrow to come. I have been waiting for this trip for over four months and have literally seen God’s hand in everything. As much as my earthly self wants to believe, oh this is just coincidental. God is saying “no I literally have prepared every step of the way for you, just walk Hannah, just get on that plane.” Tomorrow I will indeed be getting on that plane, walking forth in hope and trust knowing that my God is going to do great things this summer. His strength will show in my weakness, and honestly I think God needed for me to understand that in order to be his servant this summer. I am a servant to a heavenly father, and His task for me right now is Chile. I am so thankful and blessed that He has made Chile my task.
I thought my summer was going to be all about “missions.” However, God told me “no your summer is about love…learning the power of my love, what my love means for others, for yourself, and everything in between.” The Bible is pretty clear, God is love. What are his two greatest commandments? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” These are my commandments Lord, I am going to be obedient and follow through.
Just wanted to update you guys on sort of where my heart has been and what has been happening in my final days before leaving. If you could continue to be in prayer for my trip, my heart, and prayers against everything that Satan wants to destroy. My biggest prayers for this summer are just God continuing to teach me about his love, how to love, receive love, and be the love God has called me to be. In addition, a pure heart and pure mind, discernment in all circumstances, and most of all His will be done. Thank you for partnering with me on this journey. I will continue to write and let you all know when I get settled in Chile after those first few days!
Love and Prayers,
Hannah