Missions Monday – Part One | How It All Began

Missions Monday – Part One | How It All Began

Hi guys! I hope that you’re all doing well. (: Today, I am very happy to present to you a brand new blog series! It will be much like Cultivating A Joyful Life, in that I have a certain time of week I post a new addition, when I have one to post. So, on the weeks that I have something to share with all of you on this topic, I will be talking about Missions on Mondays!

Back in January, I truly planned for this to be a central theme on my blog. Talking about my calling was really on my heart, and it was also the reason I even started this blog! (Hence its name, haha) However, the deeper I got into blogging, the more of a subtopic it became, only popping up every once in a while in passing conversation, and every few months as a spiritual journey update. Sometimes, this fact has saddened me, but I was also content to let it be as it was; I don’t push the matter of a blog topic that doesn’t inspire me to write. I allowed the Lord to inspire me as He would, and it is now that I’d love to share all of this with you.

What better place to start than the very beginning?

The Concert That Changed My Life

On the 22nd of September 2016, I went to a concert. It wasn’t an event completely new to me; I’ve been to multiple concerts over the past couple of years. But this concert was special, because I had been wanting to go to one exactly like it since I was eleven years old, since I had first heard that particular band sing.

It’s in the pureness of the lead singer’s voice, and the beauty and richness of every lyric … they captivated me from the first song. I’d never heard anything like it, nor have I ever since. That captivation carried me to that beautiful concert, meet-and-greet pass and all. I met them, spent a bit of time with them, got to have my picture taken with them. (I’ve featured that image in my summer desk tour post!) I really couldn’t tell you if I enjoyed meeting them or watching them preform more, as both of those experiences were absolutely huge blessings to me.

However, believe it or not, it wasn’t the band, or the concert in particular, that changed my life that night. I did have a blast, and I still think about it all the time. The thing that truly changed me was, in fact, the organization that the concert proceeds went to. ❤

Before the band came up on stage, one of the men on staff at that church got up in front of us (I had a front row seat) and played a video for us on the two large screens. They were on the high walls adjacent to the stage, much like I’ve seen other churches I’ve visited have set up, as well.

That video discussed the organization’s mission, showed footage of many of the kids who go there (who honestly look like such sweethearts), and also talked about why and how the organization began. That latter part made me nervous because they described the place as being a shelter and refuge for the children in the area (Zone 18 of Guatemala City) because of the rampant gangs and daily shootings, and other awful things like that. I don’t like to dwell on people, especially children, being trapped in situations like that, because of poverty, their family situations, etc … but the closer I have grown to the thought of helping those people, the easier this burden has come to bear.

That night, I finished watching the video, listened captivated as the man who started the organization talked a bit more about it (I had no idea he was going to be there that night haha), and wondered why it kept coming back to mind in the months that followed. I had never felt drawn to missions myself up until that point, and even then I was just considering helping that organization financially.

Little did I know how I would feel on January 1st, 2017.

I’ve heard it said that new year’s resolutions are cliché, and I also believe that a good portion of the time, they are … but this year, it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before or dared dream of. ❤ The fact that it was on the very first day of the year makes it that much more special.

An Evening That Brought Me Peace

Have you ever attempted to recall an event that was so utterly life-altering that you’re only able to remember bits and pieces of it? That’s what I’m struggling with right now – recalling this beautiful evening of January 2017. Why is my brain like this? haha

Let’s see … I remember returning, once again, to Hope for Guatemala‘s website, browsing its informative pages, searching for the answer that my heart was longing for. I hadn’t been able to get the place out of my mind for three months. I realize now that doesn’t look like a very long time, and I only felt like it was because there wasn’t a legitimate reason for me to be dwelling on it then.

I can now see that, even then, the Lord was calling me. ❤

While on the website that evening, I visited a page that I hadn’t been to before. It was titled ‘Internship Programs.’ This next bit may sound strange to you – I started crying so hard that I couldn’t see the laptop screen anymore.

You may be wondering how I felt, or what I heard and saw, the first moment that I knew. I’ve wondered the same thing myself about others who have been called to foreign countries to serve the Lord, and my main assumption was that it must have been pretty spectacular. I mean, it’s the King of kings we’re talking about! And He has a beautiful way of impacting the lives of His children.

When I first began crying, I got out of my desk chair and knelt on the floor beside my bed. I didn’t hear anything different, aside from my own sobbing. I wouldn’t say that I was overcome with tears at that moment; it was more like an overflow of emotions and feelings that my body could not contain. I felt immensely loved and drawn to Him, and in the silence, joy and an intense desire to go consumed me. I don’t remember a word of what I prayed – it’s always like that for me – but I remember smiling with tear-stained cheeks and knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Guatemala was in my future. I knew that He has a purpose for me there, and that He will get me there in His timing, and in His beautiful way.

And the rest was history! (I have shared my progress on the ‘My Calling’ category on my blog, and I will share more information on posts to come!)


Thank you so much for reading! I’m looking forward to sharing a second part to this post series. If you have any questions about my calling, I would love to talk to you in the comments below! ❤

thanks to jirah and elline for my signature! xx

Eight Months of Dreaming of Guatemala

Eight Months of Dreaming of Guatemala

Hey guys! I hope that you’re having a gorgeous day!! x So, as another month has rolled around, I knew that it would be a blessing to me to write another Dreaming of Guatemala (the place and my blog) update! Looking back at how far I’ve come with both of these passions makes me so happy. Are you ready to follow along? Let’s go!

At one month, I could still hardly believe that this Guatemala thing was happening. It is quite possibly the biggest life change I’ve ever experienced, and the passion I felt (and still do) stunned me. Fast forward to four months, and I still felt like I was literally dreaming, continually in awe of how the Lord was working in my life, and I struggled to wrap my head around even a bit of it. The last update I did was at the six month mark, and that was then that I began feeling the reality of it. I’m still stoked about everything Guatemala, and I still want to go – most definitely! – but at the beginning of July, I found myself analyzing the possible realities of that situation, and it made me stress a bit.

Now, let’s jump back to the present. I have known of this specific plan for my life for eight months now. That’s two hundred and forty-eight days, to be exact! I have also had my blog for that long, minus about a week. But it’s not really in the details.

With each day that has passed, I have slowly been accepting it. This dream has been on my mind, in my heart, and lacing my prayers. The uncertainties are most certainly there, but no matter how terrifying of a scenario I come up with, nothing phases me. Whenever I ponder worst-case scenarios in any situation, I freak myself out, but with Guatemala, not one has. Tarantulas? Nah. Earthquakes? It’s fine. ACTIVE VOLCANOES? Why should that bother me? 😂

I am in no way saying I’m okay with any of the three frightening things mentioned above. That’s not the point. While I don’t want to find myself facing a huge spider, experiencing a bad earthquake, or watching one of their volcanoes erupt, I have an unexplainable peace that I will cross all those bridges when I get there.

There’s a verse in Matthew where Jesus says “sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” He has bound my heart with the spiritual ability to instantly combat any fear I may have with Guatemala. My awful little scenarios instantly die in His light. It is unlike anything I have ever experienced before.

When I was first seeing Guatemala show up everywhere in my life, from books to blog posts to items in stores, I became excited every time. Each one is a beautiful reminder of my future, and seeing the Lord so plainly at work in my life and with my surroundings makes me giddy. However, the more it has happened, the more used to it I’ve become, to the point where loving this country isn’t just part of my life; it’s part of me. ❤

I look forward to every event leading up to visiting Guatemala. I long for the day I first step foot in that country. It brings me greater joy than I can explain to know this small glimpse into the future God has for me.

All of my main actions this year have reflected that purpose.

I started this blog to record my progress and entertain myself (and you guys!) while I wait. I began learning Spanish like never before because of my passion to know that language fully. I’m looking into getting a job as soon as I can to save money, and I’m not going to college yet and will most likely take individual classes, instead.

My view of life is different because of this calling. It is absolutely beautiful!

Now, I’d like to touch on my blogging journey a bit, as well. While I have been blogging on and off since 2010, I have never connected with this many bloggers before. This community is absolutely amazing! I know I’ve said that before, but it’s worth saying again. The last eight months of my life have been extremely blessed because of this experience; I’ve made new friends, posted consistently for the first time ever, and my post writing skills have gotten so much better. I’d like to thank you personally, whether you just found my blog, or you’ve been following along for months. I appreciate each and every individual comment, and getting to have a place where I can inspire others is a wonderful blessing!

Visit the ‘His Child‘ category on my blog for more spiritual inspiration.

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Six Months of Dreaming of Guatemala

Six Months of Dreaming of Guatemala

Hello everyone! How is your day going? I hope that you are doing well 💖

A few days ago, I realized that I was coming up on my six-month blogging journey mark! And not only that, but it has been about six months since I was called to serve the Lord in Guatemala one day. ❤

Six months ago today, I created this blog! And on January 1st, 2017 (six months and nearly a week ago today), the Lord placed this calling and desire on my heart: to do His good work in a country that I have quickly come to love. ❤

Before I go on to talking about my calling, I’d like to address my blogging halfway-to-my-anniversary. 🎉

Getting to be part of the blogging community has brought me so much joy. I’ve gotten to meet wonderful people all around the world, experience the creativity all of you display across your blogs, and I’ve gotten to write my own articles and posts, as well! It has had its highs and lows, but overall, having my own little spot on WordPress has been and continues to be such a blast. 💓 I love getting to further connect with all of you, and the support that we all show each other truly warms my heart. Thank you for sticking around my blog for all these months – I’ve loved every step of the way! And I’m looking forward to the next six months. 🙂

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Now, when it comes to my Guatemalan calling, I must say that it has been the craziest roller coaster of emotions in my life so far.

Learning about the country, delving deeper into my Spanish learning, and leaving all the details in the hands of my Lord has been an absolutely beautiful experience. The drive that I feel to do whatever I can to get me there in His timing leads me to tears sometimes. I really can’t fully describe the beauty of this calling, because to onlookers, it might look like it’s taking from my life more than it’s adding to it, but that isn’t the case at all. The positivity it has brought into my life has been powerful, but in the best way possible.

Related Post: Four Months of Dreaming of Guatemala

On the other hand, I have struggled with nervousness because I was recently hit with the realization that I might be living there one day for an extended amount of time. By being away from my home in the US and staying there, I wouldn’t get to be with my family and everything else I’ve called home my entire life. I hadn’t considered up until now the possibility of being so far from my family that my only way or contacting them would be to video call … and it broke my heart.

Going to Guatemala will definitely be surreal, and maybe painfully hard at times. But the One Who is guiding me is also taking care of me; I have nothing to fear. ❤️

In the next six months, I will be working at putting all of my trust in Him. It is not easy, but His Word reminds me of His constant faithfulness and love…

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…” – Psalm 46:1-2

“The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.” – Nahum 1:7

“Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” – Psalm 32:7

Thank you so much for reading. I enjoyed sharing this post with you today 💛 Happy Thursday, y’all!

— Maggie

Visit the ‘His Child‘ category on my blog for more spiritual inspiration.

Four Months of Dreaming of Guatemala

Four Months of Dreaming of Guatemala

The title of this post has a double meaning.

The first one is about this blog; I’ve been publishing weekly blog posts on Dreaming of Guatemala for four, full months now! I’ve enjoyed the experience immensely, and I’m looking forward to the next four months to come. ❤

But the reason I wanted to write this post was actually because of the second meaning; I have known, for four months now, that I will serve the Lord in Guatemala one day. On and off since that beautiful evening in January, I have been ldreaming of Guatemala – literally.

At many different points in these past several weeks, I’ve felt like all of the missions thoughts I’ve been having, the Guatemalan references I’ve been seeing, and the frequent Spanish lessons I’ve been taking were part of some awesome, beautiful dream. But then I realize:

This is my reality!!

I snap back into the present and cannot stop myself from smiling. In today’s post, I’d like to touch on the three things I’ve mentioned above. So, let’s get to it.

  1. Missions thoughts. For most of my life up until this point, I really saw myself as a girl accustomed to all the comforts of home. Whether that’s a hot shower, a home-cooked meal, a bedroom all to myself, or a living space devoid of insects, I’m used to all of those things, and I appreciate them immensely – for a while, I knew that it was impossible for me to be content without them. Throughout 2017, however, I’ve seen myself learning to be okay in new situations, willing to try new things, and go without the things I’m used to. I don’t know what my situation will be like exactly on the mission field – maybe it will be more comfortable, or less comfortable, than I’m anticipating. But regardless of that, I can clearly see that I’m being prepared for something yet to come. ❤
  2. Guatemalan references. Have you ever learned a new word, or read about an event in history that you hadn’t studied before, or heard about a new restaurant in town – it can be anything new! – and then, suddenly, you start seeing it everywhere you go? This is what has been happening to me in reference to Guatemala over the past four months. No matter where I go, under all sorts of circumstances, I keep seeing Guatemala. The country’s national bird, the Resplendent Quetzal, has been popping up everywhere, especially – on book covers, calendars, board games, different websites online … *shakes head* It has been absolutely amazing getting to see the Lord at work, verifying for me that my future in Guatemala is very real.
  3. Spanish lessons. In the five full months that I’ve been increasing my knowledge of the Spanish language on my favorite app, Memrise, I have memorized over a thousand words and phrases. I’m taking any chance I get to challenge my knowledge, especially with my family – I’ll ask them a question in Spanish, and when they look at my like I’m crazy, I’ll happily translate it for them. haha! I know that my love for the Spanish language is a gift from the Lord, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the learning process. I pray that, in the years to come, my confidence in talking to native speakers will be strengthened. ❤

This is what my life is like right now: learning Spanish, growing accustomed to and learning to be okay with circumstances that may be out of my comfort zone, and trusting in the Lord to lead and guide me down the path that is my life. The Guatemalan children are often on my mind, and the country of Guatemala itself is often in my prayers. I act on what the Lord shows me, and for now, I am content and very happy where He has me. ❤

— Maggie

Visit the ‘His Child‘ category on my blog for more spiritual inspiration.

One Month of Dreaming of Guatemala

One Month of Dreaming of Guatemala

It’s been one month since I knew that I would serve the Lord in Guatemala at some point in my future.

A whole month! But I also feel like, it’s only been a month?

I keep expecting to feel impatient, like I’d want to go now instead of waiting on the Lord’s timing. But this situation is unlike anything I’ve ever been in; it’s completely from Him. Because of that, I consistently feel an abundance of peace.

Even though it doesn’t make sense to me, I’m content to wait.

I’m excited for the future, and I can’t wait to see how He will continue to work in my life. ❤

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I’d also like to thank you guys for following along on this journey! Over the one month that I’ve had this blog, I’ve met so many amazing people with absolutely wonderful blogs. I appreciate all of the comments, and I love getting to comment on all of your blogs! ❤

Thanks for reading! Until next time,

Maggie

Visit the ‘His Child‘ category on my blog for more spiritual inspiration.

The Valiant Blogger Award

The lovely Elizabeth over at The Comfortable Coop nominated me for The Valiant Blogger Award! ❤ I’m very honored that she considers me courageous enough to deserve this, as I don’t even see myself as such; all I do is draw from the Lord’s strength on a daily basis. I truly believe that I’m only the person that I am today because of Him and His love for me. It’s all because of Him. ❤

valiant

You can go check out the Hall of Valor to see who else has been nominated and why they are the warriors that they are. 🙂 Now, on to the rest of the post.

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The biggest challenge in my life is trusting the Lord with my future in Guatemala.

I don’t know when the time will come for me to serve Him there. I don’t know how I’ll pay for all the expenses. I have absolutely no idea how anything else will work out. The one thing I do know is that He desires for me to be there one day, and that’s all I need to know.

Despite the numerous uncertainties that bombard me this way and that, I am at peace; He has a plan, and I deeply desire to follow Him.

There will definitely be times when it’s harder for me to trust, and there will also be times when it’s easier. The unchanging truth that continues to ground me in my faith is that His timing is perfect, regardless of the situation, regardless of how I’m feeling, and that is reassurance enough for me. ❤

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I’ve been in some really tough situations throughout my life, and I can’t say that I came out of them having exhibited much strength. But through each trial I’ve gone through, I became stronger; those difficult circumstances strengthened me and helped me to grow.

The best piece of advice I can give to anyone going through hard times is to stay focused on the future.

While we might not respond the way we envision ourselves reacting to obstacles, we can see how far we’ve come upon looking back – both emotionally, as well as spiritually. Learning to trust in the Lord is a life-long process.

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I nominate Valerie over at Living Lighter in Atlanta. She is an incredibly strong woman – and I’m not just saying that because she’s my mom! She’s been through so much, and I greatly admire her strength (especially when it comes to childbirth! 😂).

Thanks for reading!

— Maggie

The Reason Behind the Name

Read on to find out what inspired the name of my blog, ‘Dreaming of Guatemala’! ❤

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From the moment I knew that I’d get to serve the Lord in Guatemala one day, I’ve been so happy. I don’t feel anxious – surprisingly, not in the least! I’m very joyful and excited.

But there really can be too much of a good thing.

The truth is, I don’t know how any of it will work out. That in itself has been occupying my mind. I’m not scared or antsy, but I still feel like I need to play a role in working everything out so that I’ll be able to go when the time comes.

And that’s not what I should be doing.

The Lord has my whole life planned out. I haven’t been called to work alongside Him in coordinating everything; that’s within His power to control, not mine. He has called me to do something else, though, and that is to trust in Him.

I’m tempted to run on ahead. I’m tempted to learn, to plan, to go. I’m tempted to go all out in my growing passion for the Guatemalan organization that has completely stolen my heart. I’d love to think about, talk about, and write blog posts about it all the time … but I realize now that I can’t.

When I was first entering this new chapter of my life, I figured I’d probably begin to feel overwhelmed if it occupied most, if not all, of my thoughts … and I was right.

During this time of waiting, I desire to wait on His timing and trust in His will. I have decided to let my faith rest in Him and Him alone. I’ll write more about the Lord as I feel inspired, but until then … buena suerte (good luck) on your own walk with Him; I pray that you are strengthened daily as you come to know Him more.
❤ Thanks for reading! ☺

— Maggie

This is My Calling

I feel You in the hands of the poor,

I hear You in the song of the weak,

There is no place too far

That You can’t reach…

— Leeland, “I Can See Your Love”

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When it came to missions for me, I didn’t have any idea if I’d ever go on one.

I couldn’t decide if I’d enjoy that kind of adventure or not, as I’m extremely accustomed to the comforts of home.

Would I feel uncomfortable and out of my element being so far from home and in an unknown place – especially if I left my family behind?

All of my views on missions changed a few months ago when I learned about a certain Guatemalan organization.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve confidently known within my heart that it is the Lord’s plan for me to serve there one day.

Even though this is such a new idea to me, I feel like my heart is already there. My love for the children at that organization is consistently growing; I can’t get my mind off their beautiful, smiling faces.

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I’ll be over a thousand miles from home and in a foreign country. I’ll be away from my family, whom I love so much. I have no idea what it will really be like.

Despite all of that, I’m extremely excited. It amazes me that I’m not in the least afraid.

This absence of fear is the assurance to me that it’s from the Lord. If it were not, my anxieties would be countless.

Each time I think about the children, I start feeling enthusiastic all over again. And even though my normal response to things I need to wait on is impatience, I have continually had God-given peace within my heart, for which I am so thankful.

Prayerfully waiting on His timing,

— Maggie