El Salvador

It was a conversation on one of the hottest days, under a canopy in a back yard, food on a table behind and loud chatter around. I’d written the days into my story, pencilled my plans into the calendar, and then life shifted and changed and the days were wide open. Blank pages. My plans were gone, and underneath that canopy, in slipped His.

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And here’s the thing I was reminded of, in the midst of thick heat and tangled mosquito nets and cackling roosters:

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He’s a good God who gives good gifts.

Always. Even when His gifts come in the form of chapters ending and empty days. Especially then.

Because He always fills them with goodness. He’s always full of the days, or maybe the days are full of Him, and His love always chases us, pursues us, delights in us.

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I wrote it in my journal that I could have missed this. Tears in my eyes, pen in my hand, with darkness settled around so early that far south. I could have missed it. If I’d written my days, charted out the plans, mapped out the time – I would have missed it all.

I wouldn’t have seen her wrinkled face or felt her kiss on my neck as she hugged me each day.

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I wouldn’t have seen grace in hands held together around the one that wronged, praying for changed hearts instead of bitterness.

I would have missed the way the rain fell so hard against the metal roofs, bouncing as if it had been given life of its own, melting dirt into clay into hard work for these soft hands.

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These moments given – lavishly – to this girl who some days, clings so hard to her own plans that she misses the story being written around her.

I don’t want to miss it anymore. 

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Those days, that began with beans and fresh bread and if I was lucky, sweet sandía – those days were good gifts. I slide through each photo and see the story of a God who sees ahead of us – and knows what we need and when we need it. He sees the things that make this girl’s heart dance – laughter on top of a sand pile, mariposa dancing across bright flowers, sour mango dripping down cheeks – and He gives abundantly. Over and over.

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And He pours Love into the cracks, the broken dreams, the broken hearts –

and the lavish love leaves us changed.

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And that Love showed up, in a sweet little country nestled along the Pacific, in amongst cicadas singing and firecrackers popping.

And I am changed because of it.