Open

I’m too exhausted to think of anything but settling the girls and falling into bed.

I wash hair, find jammies, and tuck them in.

They’re asleep in an instant, faces still flushed from the second wind they got around 11:30 p.m. {Awesome}

I let the warm, damp towel linger on my face, staring into the mirror at my tired eyes.

I don’t even look like myself.

I’m empty, drained to the bone of any strength I brought with me.

If I had the capacity, I would let myself cry, but I can only think of making my way to bed and letting the dark hide me for a few hours.

I should read. I think. I need His words.I reach my Bible, thumbing for a few seconds and then letting it rest on my lap.

I wake a few hours later with my glasses still on and the pages of 2 Corinthians open wide. I set it next to me without closing it, because it comforts me this way. It feels like home, I guess.

I close my eyes, thoughts like anchors in search of ground, spirit parched desert-dry.

***

We’re up early, hustling to match shoes and comb hair.

The girls have been bickering and I know they’re tired. I’m tired too, but as any mama knows, that’s irrelevant.

We arrive on time, board the bus for an hour-long drive, and let the bumpy roads lull us into a dreamlike state. What seemed like insurmountable fatigue transforms itself to a rush of excitement as we finally pull up to a crowd of children waving wildly. They’re all light and color and the goodness of God, and as our team settles in, I get lost staring out the stained glass windows. I can see the homes, seemingly glued to the side of a cliff-like mountain, and it occurs to me for the thousandth time that I am far from home.

The wooden pews squeak with our weight, and the director begins a slideshow presentation. She explains that there are several children in the Compassion program that are considered “highly vulnerable” due to extreme life circumstances (condition of home, abusive relationship, sex trafficking, child labor etc). While they receive their monthly sponsor amounts, there is an urgent need that warrants additional support, and Compassion has a fund specifically for cases like these.

I spend the next hour or so sharing life with the children, watching them work and (my personal favorite) enjoying the laughter that comes as a result of my butchered Spanish.

Soon after, we pack up and head out to see some of the children’s homes.

I follow the group and as we arrive I am struck by what incredible condition the house is in. Christina, the homeowner, welcomes us in and points to several chairs she has lined against the wall.

I realize this is one of the houses we saw in the slideshow, and it is much more impressive in person. Lace curtains float in the breeze while we marvel at the structure.

Christina tells us about the way her life has been changed, but it is far more factual than emotional. She speaks kindly, directly, but with no extra words or expressions. It almost sounds like she’s telling someone else’s story. I hear someone ask her how it felt the first time she ever walked in her new home.

She thinks for a moment and then says quietly, “I felt like I was living in someone else’s house. How could all of this be for me?”

Listen, Angie. I’m speaking. You aren’t here because of the house. You’re here because of her heart. 

I keep silent, trying to understand the urging I feel from the Lord. I wish He would be more specific sometimes.

“Angie?” Shaun asks.

“Hmm?” My eyes jerk to his, trying to focus.

“I’m going to pray for Richard, and then you can pray for Christina, okay?” I nod.

When he finishes praying, I begin. I don’t remember what I said, but when my eyes open, she has tears slipping down her face. I’m shocked at the emotion because we haven’t seen it from her so far. I ask her why she is crying. She tells me she feels a different peace, and I smile.

As I had prayed for her, even though I didn’t express it in words, I saw visions of chains breaking. I sensed warfare, generations deep, and it startled me.

“Christina,” I start timidly, unsure of what her response might be.

“Do you attend church?”

She explains through the translator that she goes when her son wants to go. It was the church we had been in that afternoon, and because he knew it as his Compassion program, he often wanted to be there on Sundays as well.

His favorite part of the Compassion program is his “God homework.”

“Could you ask her if she knows the Lord?”

I wait for the expression on her face as the translator asks.

She nods affirmatively, explaining that her son’s teacher had come to visit her and had walked through a prayer of salvation.

“It felt like I was in someone else’s home…” I remember her words and I smile.

She needs to be reminded that she’s worthy. Not just of this home, but also of Mine.

I tell the translator that I want to share something with her that I had felt while I prayed, and Christina turns her attention fully to me, eyes searching mine for the first time since we arrived. “I want her to know that the Lord showed me that she is in a battle. It is a battle within her family, and it has continued for generations. She is the one God is using to win this fight. Her children will reap the benefits of her warring on their behalf, and they will know a different life because of her faithfulness.”

She explains it to her and Christina bows her head, her emotion raw and beautiful.

Her face softens and she stands tall. Stronger than concrete, more delicate than lace.

Compassion built the house, yes, but now it’s up to her to make it a home.

“Does she have a Bible?” I ask. The translator says she does, and explains that her pointing motion was indicating it was in her bedroom. “She says yes, she has one. She leaves it open by her bed.”

I smile, and in my mind’s eye I see a bed an hour’s drive from here with an open Bible.

It’s the battle we have to enter to win, and I sense a day of pages turned.

I touch the walls of her home and pray she will know her own strength.

I ask the Lord to remind her daily that her sacrificial love for her children will outlive even this structure.

And more than anything, I pray she knows she isn’t a stranger in this place…

 

Sponsor A Child Today  

There were a lot of questions about how Abby and Ellie were doing during the Twitter chat the other night, so I thought this fun video might give you some, umm…insights? {They’re doing great :) }

peru2 from angie smith on Vimeo.


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  • Steve Jones

    Beautiful. Speaking words of life and light into that wonderful woman today. Well done lady.

  • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

    What a precious, kindred moment, Angie, two bedside Bibles opened to Ancient Words; such a humbling discovery to realize we really aren’t that different from one another, regardless of place and circumstance. I love how you listen beyond your ears–with your eyes, heart and spirit, too. It makes a difference.

    (oh! and I loved this line early on: “… a crowd of children waving wildly. They’re all light and color and the goodness of God.” xo

  • Amy

    “Calm!”

    “Ok let’s get back to Jesus!”

    “Did you just burp on a Compassion video??”

    “You need to sponsor. Sponsor, sponsor.” I think Shaun needs to put some music to that and make a Compassion music video.

    The post made me ugly cry but that video was a RIOT.

  • http://www.facebook.com/godzchild4ever Sheena Mays

    This is cracking me up!

  • http://www.mybeautifulday.net/ Kami

    Angie your heart is so wonderfully beautiful. I loved reading this post – it felt as if I were there with you. I will continue to pray for these people – Compassion is such an amazing organization!

    I understand the weary mama feeling, and I also understand being the goofy, fun mama that you were in the video! I am continually touched by your story and am so grateful to have heard it! I’m praying for you and believing for huge blessings for this trip!

    Hugs :)

  • Beth

    Your daughters are simply amazing. I have a redheaded little girl that is nine as well. This video brought tears to my eyes and joy in my heart.

  • Jess

    Your girls were killing it on that video. Heavens to betsy it was so cute! Excited that you get to share this with them. Saying a prayer now for you and for the people of Peru.

  • Casey Springer

    That was awesome….ya’ll had me crying and cracking up. I can’t imagine the memories that they will have from this time with their mom and sister. What a beautiful legacy that you have began in those beautiful redheads!

  • Karen

    Love it! I watched with my kids (6,5 and 2) and they started talking back cause they thought you were on Skype!

  • http://www.gettingdownwithjesus.com/ dukeslee

    Oh my word. Precious girls. LOVED this. Your girls are doing an amazing thing. I love their spirit, their enthusiasm, and their rock-star-ness. Word.

    (My girls got their passports yesterday. They are 10 and 8. We leave January 16.)

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  • rayhollenbach

    Taking your children to Peru (or anywhere in Latin America) is an life-changing act of love from parent to child. The love spills over from your family to families like the one you prayed for in country, an beyond to friends, family, and even this-here interweb community. Thanks for your story and your very real family video.

  • Linda

    Loved this video of you and the girls just being real! How wonderful that the girls could go with you on that trip!

  • http://twitter.com/annieblogs Annie Downs

    That video. “LET’S GET BACK TO JESUS!” I’m so happy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kellistuart Kelli Martin Stuart

    Wonderful, beautiful, great! Thank you, Angie.

  • kellyskornerblog

    Love this! And LOVE the video of those girls and you!

  • http://ofdandelionsanddaffodils.blogspot.com Sarah

    I love that video. My favorite part is how Abby is giving all the details and Ellie is just wiggling away over there on the other side.

  • Jessica

    What an amazing story!

    You are building some wonderful memories with your girls. Ya’ll are a riot! Loved the video.

  • mindysue

    Love the sponsor song! Your girls were wonderful and definintely inspiring : ) Thanks for taking us along on this heart changing journey.

  • http://candelierious.blogspot.com Lis

    This video is ALMOST better than them ministering to Siri. :)

  • Nicole Glover

    Love it!

  • Kristin

    your girls are great!!!! my Abby ( 9 yrs old, too!) and i were packing our OCC shoe boxes this past Wednesday evening and she started crying – “Mommy, I’m only one kid – what can I do to really help these kids?!” We had the pictorial ( i use that loosely!) talk about a pebble in a lake and the ripples that it makes….she was motivated and happier after that – then she looked through the Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog and selected gifts she wanted us to give as a family — AND, she said she wants to visit these children with us – I told her , definitely yes – we need to plan for a mission trip and I also told her and my husband about Compassion International – prayers are offered for you and your family, the families in Peru and everyone with Compassion International. THANK YOU for sharing your journey -

  • Leslie

    I came here from other Compassion bloggers. That video was hilarious! It made my day!

  • Kayla

    Best. Video. Ever. These girls are great!

  • Sarah Bowers

    Loved it – the story, the message and the video. You have some amazing young girls there…what a blessing!

  • http://twitter.com/hereami68 Anna Radchenko

    I.loved.this. you three are great. :) and just to let you know, God has totally been speaking to my heart as I’ve been reading your posts… my husband and I cancelled netflix and are cancelling our gym memberships tomorrow so we can use that money to sponsor a child :) I’m really excited!

  • Coby

    This is just beautiful. There are no words…

    Except to say the video is hilarious! And I’m glad to know that my twins a aren’t the only ones who feed off of each other and make me say, “Calm!” ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/beneathmyheart Traci

    Heck far, Angie! That video had me laughin’ out loud! Oh those sweet girls are so full of personality! My boys would love hanging out with them! I am so glad you are having a blessed trip, and I have been praying for y’all. Thank you for sharing your heart in these posts. They have touched my heart. xoxo

  • Lindsay

    Your prophetic prayer and the girls’ video…this post had me crying and laughing all in a span of four minutes. God is so good.

  • Julie

    Sponser Sponser that’s all you need to know! What a great video! And your prayer for this woman was filled with the Spirit. Truly. Beautiful. Praying for the remainder of your trip. And praying about how we may be involved with Compassion. Thank you!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/TeenaGrahamPrice Teena Graham Price

    ok, so I am laying here on the couch at 130am with my 15 yr old daughter Lysa and we are rolling! Love the video. Thank you for allowing us to follow you this week. Please tell the girls they did great. Oh how I loved watching the three of you….. laugh. Much love

  • Alicia

    So awesome. :-) Love to see the interaction and love between you and your girls.

  • Jill Foley

    In the video you mention twins are rare in Peru – I found Peruvian twin boys in need of a sponsor on Compassion’s website. I posted about them on my blog…

    http://compassionfamily.blogspot.com/2012/11/peruvian-twins.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512628565 Cari Burnett

    Oh Angie, Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into your life. I adore your daughters and they made smile and laugh. It was such a joy to watch you interact with them and see them put a smile on your face. I too hope that one day my daughter and I can sit and laugh and have a great relationship like you obviously do with your girls. Sending my prayers your way!

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