When I came on my second short-term trip to the DR (2010), I bought a picture painted by a woman who was part of our SI Microfinance Site. The Director of the SI-DR ministry at the time had shared his testimony, which included taking a picture of tall palm trees, which he hung up in his office in the U.S. "One day", he said, "I’m going to live in a place with trees like those." And, he did!It inspired me to put up my picture in my townhouse in Harrisonburg. I would look at it and think, "One day, I’m going to live in a house like that". For months I looked at it, and as God revealed His call to me to come to the DR, the idea of living in a blue house seemed inevitable.
|My blue dream house...|
In fact, I was secretly disappointed when I got to Antigua a year later and lived in Doña Cristi’s yellow house. Equally disappointing was moving into Doña Gloria’s green sherbet colored home. Don’t get me wrong, I learned to love both places, and both of my Doñas! But, I had been so certain I would live in a little blue house near a dirt road, surrounded by flowering trees!Have you ever noticed that when God gives you a gift, it is rarely exactly what you had envisioned?
The other day as Carlos and I were walking from my friend Margot’s house, back to where our car was parked near his parents’, it suddenly hit me. My in-laws' house is next to a dirt road… surrounded by flowers… and while parts of it are green and orange, other parts are, you guessed it… Blue!God is so good! Back when I put my painting up, it was about the physical building. I never contemplated with whom I’d be living, or what might happen. It was just my idea of how cool it would be to point to the picture and say, “See how God made my dream come true?”
|...and the blue house I never could have dreamed!|
|Yinet (Carlos' youngest sister)|
and her youngest son
I often get grandiose ideas, and am just so certain about how my life is going to go. I have my plan, my dream, and my result seems inevitable. What a relief to know that God sees so much farther, and doesn’t limit Himself to my tiny, short-sighted dreams!I have yet to live in a little blue house. Perhaps I never will. But, instead of being disappointed, I now rejoice because God in His goodness has blessed me with a family who just so happens to live in one. I could never have imagined having in-laws who have loved and accepted this outsider with her different language, culture, different traditions and experiences.
The family had a birthday party for Mami on Friday night. The house was bursting! There was lots of food, lots of laughter, a place of joy and peace. Mami looked beautiful and it filled my heart to see the love her children, grandchildren and neighbors have for her. Hers is not a wealthy life, but she is rich in a way I've rarely experienced.
|Mami with Papi and their four sons|
When I look at what might be next in my life, it is easy to go into planning overdrive. I want everything sorted out, and I want to have all my ideas in order. As a planner, it’s not easy to give that up! But, I pray that as I get into my dreaming, I will not forget that God will have a plan that is far, far more than I could have ever asked or even imagined.The difference between a painting of a lone house, and a home filled with laughter and joy… there’s really no comparison. The difference between my little thoughts and God’s amazing, grand design… Nope, no comparison there, either! What a God we serve!!