Monday, December 5, 2016

FIVE

It was just a moment five years ago…a moment that changed everything. 

I came to a working monastery today, knowing that it would be the one place where I could just ‘be,’ and not be asked any questions, as this is a monastery filled with Benedictine Monks who have taken a vow of silence.  It’s a peaceful place which even has a sign as one enters, ‘No hunting allowed except for peace.”  I wasn’t even hunting for yet, yet it found me. 
FIVE. 
It’s just a number. And yet…it’s so much more.
Five years ago, today, marks the moment when my friend came to help me in my darkest hour, and it turned into being the darkest hour for his wife. It’s the moment he gave his life in rescuing mine.  It’s the moment that harnessed on me peace (the enemy tried putting on me conflict), order (the enemy tried putting on me confusion), sorrow (the enemy tried putting on me depression), gratitude (the enemy tried putting on me ungratefulness), trust (the enemy tried putting on me distrust), and a deeper understanding of latwan (the enemy tried putting on me hate). I see the unseen battle of angels contending to keep harnessed on me those things of God. It’s a battle I never chose to be engaged in, yet one I will warrior on with integrity until He calls me Home. 
Five years ago, today, marked the moment I realized just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, they could.  It’s the moment the enemy intended for destruction, but the same moment Christ is faithful to redeem. 

I wait.  Five years have passed, and I continue to wait.  I don’t know what I’m waiting for, but I know it’s going to be something grander than grand. Something too extraordinary for words.  So, I wait.  5 years. 5 years and 5 days. 5 years and 55 days. 50 years.  55 years.  500 years. It doesn’t matter.  I wait because He IS faithful. He will redeem this moment.  It was just a moment five years ago…a moment that changed everything.  IT IS A MOMENT THAT WILL BE REDEEMED.



Saturday, March 7, 2015

It Just Takes One


I've had an overriding thought in all I've done these past couple of months:  It just takes one. You see, sometimes I can get bogged down at thinking of all the hearts that are broken and need to be mended, all the lives that haven't a clue of His name or Love, all those who are trapped in darkness and waiting for an escape, AND then everything appears overwhelmingly difficult. That is until I remember, It just takes one. 

The picture below helps me remember:
It just takes one little girl in a village to be rooted in Christ's love to bring The Good News to all those in her village.
It just takes one child who's loved by someone to grasp their value in Christ and the hope He gives to break the cycle of abuse, and effect Kingdom change.
It just takes one young man who's serious about his conversion to go and make disciples and baptize them in the name of Jesus.
It just takes one woman who's known as 'the crazy one' to receive a miracle of His wholeness, be transformed, and then transform all those who called her crazy.
It just takes one man who's looked upon pathetically by everyone in his village to be healed of his addiction, and then be used as a miraculous example to bring those villagers to the feet of Christ.
It just takes one woman who desires to learn of His Truth, who will then keep spreading that Truth and transform her entire country for The Kingdom.
It just takes one

Whenever I start bogging down on the massiveness of the work before me and Signs of Love, I just need to remember that all of us can love and teach one person at a time. That's all that matters. It just takes one


Monday, June 23, 2014

Deposit L O V E

Even though I haven’t been in Honduras 100% of the time these past three years, my heart has been.   And I continue to learn that the love we deposit – anywhere – remains no matter how much time passes.  That love may get covered with dust, or even mucky dirt, but it’s still there.  It may be masked with destructive facades, but it’s still there.  It may be suffocated by overwhelming circumstances, but it’s still there.  Love remains.  We all are able to rekindle love that has gone dim because once deposited, it will never be completely snuffed out.

The love I’ve been privileged to deposit here these past 15 years has shown the above to be blaringly true.  Love remains.  And although its power may go dormant, it’s not gone.  With a little faith, and speaking of Truth, it can and will consume those what-seem-to-be helpless and powerless situations.  It will bring to life what seems to have laid to rest, and it will prove miracles amidst the impossible.

Let’s continue onward seizing every opportunity to deposit love and doing it without reservation, in a fearless fashion. 


(I speak of “love” as an all-encompassing term – it takes on many facets from teaching, equipping, mentoring, counseling, listening, or simply being there.)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Love Remains

We each have a love story that is all our own, and somehow The Grand Lover weaves our stories into His eternal tapestry.   As varied and treasured as each of our love stories are, they vibrantly blend into His one masterpiece leaving the significance of our details faded and blurred.   

Jeff Harter gave me countless significant details. That man completed me in so many ways. I’ve never known love so complete.  He proved to me that love never fails.  When he was ripped away, I felt completely annihilated.  In an instant I went from what felt like having it all to having nothing. I cried like I never knew it was possible. After several months, I was amazed at the amount of tears I was still producing.  They seemed they would never end. During this time I read about other women (dating back 3,000 years) who saved their tears in tear bottles. 

Tear bottles were commonly used in ancient Roman times – mourners would fill glass bottles with their tears and leave them in the tombs as a symbol of respect for the deceased. They were also used to show the importance of the deceased – the most important people had the most filled bottles. They were also used as a way to gauge the mourning period; when all the tears were evaporated from the bottle, the mourning period was over.

I have a tear bottle, and if its reasons hold true, Jeff Harter must be the 2nd most important man that ever walked the earth, and my mourning period is long from over. I don’t think its reasons hold true, but I do think it’s a beautiful symbol of significance for our pain that will one day evaporate in His presence.  


Part of my love story involves 3 weddings, all within one week, and all to the same man. On April 19th, 2009, I married Jeff Harter on the beach in Honduras. It was exquisite. On April 19th, 2014, I went out to the middle of the desert with my tear bottle and a mini urn of my husband’s ashes. Nothing about this is right…yet, love never fails.



I sat on a sheet amongst the desolate cacti and thorn-filled landscape, and looked through the various photo books we’d made together…I reread our mission statement…I reread a portion of his letters to me – I was engulfed in this fairytale of a romance about 2 lives that became 1 and changed the world – and I felt indescribably loved because that woman was me.  And then in an instant he was ripped away. It all ended…or did it? 

My husband was planning on taking me to the Waldorf Astoria in New York City so we could dance the tango in their Grand Ballroom.  I felt like I was supposed to spend our 5 year wedding anniversary doing just that, and the anniversaries of our other 2 weddings seemed to be the perfect time.  

He had painted it so real in my mind that I had to move forward with this plan. Every time I even thought about following through with it, my eyes would fill with tears, and the raw pain of not being able to feel his touch was as real as the tears in my eyes. Regardless of its difficulty or nonsense, I had to do it.  I had to swirl around the floor of the Grand Ballroom as if Jeff Harter was promenading me around. So off I went to NYC to explore the unknown and rekindle the remnant of a shattered dream.

I was met with a hustling and bustling city that embraced me and treated me well. It was like the city knew it was the 5th anniversary of my 2nd wedding, April 24th.  Oddly enough, in a city packed with people, I felt special & oh-so-very loved. Time flew, and after what felt like a blink it was time to check into the Waldorf Astoria. The receptionist greeted me and asked if my reservation was correct. I shamelessly told her it was, and confessed to that simple room being a stretch for me. She looked me in the eyes, then went back to typing on her keyboard. She then looked at me again, and said, “Well, Mrs. Harter, if you’ll accept, we would like to put you in a luxury room in our private Towers.”  There I went up to the 38th floor to a place more opulent than I’ve ever seen.  My rekindling of the remnant of a shattered dream was making me feel like I was living a remarkable dream.

That night, the voice in my head, that I shouldn’t listen to, kept trying to tell me to back out of that stupid and crazy plan I had because if I didn’t, I’d look like a fool.  I reasoned though that there was no way I could back out since I’d come this far.  It was nearing midnight, so it was time for me to don the black gown I packed and make my best attempt at getting into the ballroom.  There was something magical about it all. I put the mini urn in my hands and left the Tower.

There stood the one man with the power to get me inside the Grand Ballroom. I took a deep breath while saying a prayer, and went for it. “Excuse me Sir, may I please be permitted into the Grand Ballroom for just a few minutes?” He came back with a resistance that my heart wasn’t interested in entertaining. So I asked again, “Please Sir, just for a few minutes,” and he came back with the same, “No, it’s not allowed….” It couldn’t end here, it just couldn’t.  So I decided to share a little of my story. “I understand, Sir. I flew across the country for this very moment. You see, it’s my wedding anniversary (and he looked to the right and left for my husband) and my husband has gone Home (as I pointed upward to Heaven with one hand and extended my other hand with the mini urn in it about an inch or so). You see, he was going to take me here so he could promenade me around your Grand Ballroom. I was,” and he interrupted me and said, “You most certainly may have time in the Grand Ballroom, and I will escort you there.” He ushered me in and left me with these words: “You take all the time you need, it’s all yours.”  As I walked into the Grand Ballroom my eyes saw past its tears and were met with chandeliers, balconies, gold, and grandeur – and I felt love surrounding me in an undeniable way. It was real. Love never fails. I ran up to one of the balconies and spun around in sheer delight. Mine, all mine to make this special memory. 

I went back downstairs to the ballroom floor, and in my mind’s eye I saw my husband asking me for a dance. I broke down, but it wasn’t because of sadness. It was because a certain Hope was filling me, and a resounding validation that love remains. I glided around the ballroom floor, spinning, and twirling, and simply enjoying The Dance.  As much as my heart was breaking in having this moment with my husband’s physical absence, it was full in knowing that Jeff Harter brought me to that very moment.

It was well into April 26th, the anniversary of our 3rd wedding ceremony. There couldn’t have been a better ending to celebrating 5 years with my extraordinary husband.  I promenaded around the ballroom floor one last time trying to soak in the surreal-ness of it all, and as I finished, I found myself thanking God for the fact that love remains.  I ended this magical night realizing that my love story didn’t begin when Jeff Harter entered my life – it began the day God took hold of my heart, and it didn’t end when Jeff Harter went Home – it will never end because . . . love remains. 

It’s not the people, it’s not the events, it’s not the successes, it’s not the memories…it’s only love that remains.