Eres Mi Buen Padre

We just passed the halfway point of our trip, and man has God done some pretty amazing things. This trip has not fit into any of the expectations that we had leading up to it, but God has completely re shaped lives during the past two weeks and, although I expect him to continue to do so, I wanted to share something that He has worked in me.

In the spirit of expectations being shattered, I’ll start by sharing a comical story that happened on our first day of ministry. Fresh off of a 15-turned-18 hour bus ride, we arrived to the home of our host and began unpacking. Our ministry host then called us together in a hallway of our new home and explained that we had church that night and we needed to lead worship for the service… in Spanish. He laughed after he said it so we couldn’t tell if he was joking or not, but just to be safe, we sat down in a room and picked a song with relatively easy words and found a Spanish translation to learn. We picked “Good Good Father” and I’m proud to say that we learned that bad boy in 2-3ish hours. Turns out he was totally joking and had a good laugh at our attempt to pronounce the words correctly, but that experience (in my opinion) set the tone for the rest of what has been our trip so far.

“You’re a good good Father” translates to “Eres mi buen Padre”. We sing the song almost any time we lead worship at a church, as it’s the only song we have learned completely in Spanish. The lyrics have constantly been running through my head, and I find myself seeing how good of a Father He is each and every day. I’ve seen multiple prayers written out in my journal answered right before my eyes. I’ve seen scenery that has no other explanation except for that it is beautifully hand-crafted by a creative, unique Father. I’ve seen faith in people who are hurting that can split seas in half, and I’ve also seen faith in those who are in seasons of overwhelming joy, yet still depend completely and wholeheartedly on Our God.

The past two weeks have been rewarding, humbling, and full of joy and laughter, but they’ve also been very, VERY hard. It’s hard to allow God to enter into every single crack and crevice of your soul and tear it all apart… but it’s the best feeling in the world to watch Him rebuild it all, remaining completely faithful, completely perfect, and completely GOOD the whole way through.

One of the things the Lord has pointed out to me that I can’t stop thinking about is kids (which is a very typical teenaged-mission-trip answer to give… I’m sorry). We’ve only had a few chances to really spend time with the children here; Most of our ministry has been with adults. However, each moment I spend with the kids brings me back to how darn good our Father is!! As I’m writing this blog on the rooftop of our home, I can hear 30-40 kids screaming and laughing and playing at a playground a few houses back. If I walked over to that playground, I would be swarmed with children who want me to push them on a swing or pick them up or laugh at a joke they tell in a language I don’t understand. One of my teammates said last week, “What if we treated the children back home the way we treat children here? What if we just took the time to spend time with them? What if we would just play with them?” Not that there aren’t people in this world that do that, but there is a sad epidemic happening in America where we just shove a phone or an iPad or a TV show in front of kids just so they’d leave us alone. I’m guilty of it. My friends are guilty of it. I think most of us are guilty of it.

I’ve been reading a book recently called “Love Does” by Bob Goff. Many of you have probably read it, and if you haven’t you definitely should. Bob talks about living a life of “whimsy” and being fully present and focused on becoming the next humblest version of yourself, while also holding on to the 8-year-old version of yourself… which sounds fantastic. However I’ve had a really tough time figuring out what Bob actually means. How can you actually do that in a broken, sad, stressful world? It seems pretty unreasonable to me. It’s much easier to put a phone or a TV show in front of our 8-year-old selves just so it’ll leave us alone. It wasn’t until I played ring around the rosie with twenty kids for almost 40 whole minutes yesterday that I truly understood what Bob means.

There’s this fascinating thing about you when you’re a kid in that all you want to do is be around people. You just want to play. You are full of so much energy and excitement. When I was a child, I remember waking up in the morning with an excitement to see what the day holds; I had an energy and a desire to do whatever my mind could conjure up. I kid you not, there was a solid month of my life where I thought if I could jump high enough on my trampoline, I would legitimately begin flying. Nothing was off limits.

Somewhere along the way we begin to become cynical. We start getting tired. We start to doubt ourselves and our ideas. I know this is a revelation that many, if not all people have realized. I know it’s something that so many people have tried to come up with solutions to, but I think we sell ourselves too short with our solutions. I think people like Bob Goff have it right. Bob says, “Living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy and the kind of things that love does is something most people plan to do, but along the way they just kind of forget. Their dreams become one of those ‘we’ll go there next time’ deferrals. The sad thing is, for many there is no ‘next time’ because passing on the chance to cross over is an overall attitude toward life rather than a single decision.”

There’s something in an 8-year old child that can change the world. In each of us there’s a kid who truly loves this world, who truly loves people, and who still loves to dream impossible things like flying off of a trampoline. Kids are so darn good at loving… which really is the entirety of what the Bible calls us to do.

Yet we allow our tired, antisocial, stressed out adult selves to suppress that child and tell him/her that the world doesn’t need impossible dreams or that that person doesn’t deserve to be loved. Our inner child doesn’t understand what some person did or what those group of people believe… and we tell ourselves that that’s a bad thing, but in watching the simple way that kids love each other here, I’ve begun to find that naivety and innocence to be beautiful.

Fact of the matter is, Jesus never let go of his inner child. The Bible may not talk about his childhood that much, but we can see every ounce of the child that He was in the way that He loves others. No one and no thing was off limits to Him. He was full of whimsy and he was fully present.

It’s hard to love this way. Children are also extremely selfish so there are parts of our inner 8-year-old that we need to leave behind. But my prayer is and has been that each time we see a child, we would be reminded of a life of beautiful, innocent love that lives within us. I pray that we would stop accepting the lie that we’ll “do it next time”. I pray that we would remember the good Father that we have and the way He has loved and pursued His kids. I pray that we would strive to love and pursue our own inner kid, as well as the kid in others like our Father has. For this next half of the trip, I’m going to focus on being fully present. I pray that wherever you’re at or whatever you’re doing, you’ll join me and Bob and Jesus in living a life of whimsy.

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