a heart journey to Santiago, DR

In moments of stillness, my mind races- wonders. Feelings flood my heart like they’ve been caged up for centuries. I have never been too good with feelings. I actually find myself having to remind myself to speak how I feel out loud.

I just forget sometimes.

I think I have a tendency to try to fix my feelings before I admit them by writing them down on paper.

I tend to label feelings as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. But someone wise once told me, “you know, no feeling is good or bad.” I had never heard that before.

Because I always assumed that sadness, fear, & anger were the bad feelings and happy, excited, rambunctious were the good ones. But no feeling is better than another, of course they may feel better at the time but you know you are allowed to be sad sometimes. Mourning is actually a really healthy thing. Anger is also good, it means you feel things… you are passionate. Now, I am not talking about lasting anger or lasting sadness but those momentary ones.

Because it is okay to feel sad, to mourn, to have an off day. It is okay to give yourself grace and feel what you are feeling.

Right now, it is hard to put into words what I am feeling. Sadness mixed with joy mixed with grief. I miss the little babies I was holding in my arms last week (they weren’t so little). Man, I love to hold a little child in my arms and just tickle them. It seems like joy and laughter may just explode out of their cheeks and I have never experienced more of Heaven on Earth than in that moment. When a little 3 year old boy, named Jose, is perfectly content with just sitting on your lap, looking at you, anticipating the next belly blow you’re gonna give him and then throwing his head back in pure laughter… there is so much Jesus in that moment.

I miss the Dominican culture, the people, they way they live life, the simplicity and the beauty found in that simplicity. The way they invite your group of 9 into their house to pray with them and even make you iced tea. The way the kids run up to you, pronouncing your name kind of funny because they don’t really pronounce x’s down there, but somehow they make your name sound more beautiful than it ever has. Then they jump on you and don’t want you to leave and the thing is you don’t ever want to leave either, but you have to for now. And those kids have no idea how crazy in love with them their Jesus is and how beautiful their young minds are.

And it gets me riled up when people make comments about the poverty of other countries because if you go down there and experience those people, you won’t experience true poverty till when you come back home. Because those people have Jesus and that is all they need. And they have joy, this explosive joy where they can dance and sing to the Lord and not care an ounce of what anyone thinks, because it’s not about that.

Man, I wish I could put into words what my heart feels… All I can say is you’re missing out if you never experience a culture different from yours. And you’re missing out if all you see is poverty cause those people are freaking beautiful and they have blessed me more than I could have ever blessed them.

And I read this book, “Riley Unlikely”… now I rarely ever finish books but this one I finished in a month and I think an angel, in the form of my dad, gave it to me. In this book, Riley wrote… “I began to realize that God was crafting those Kenyan kids hearts for mine and my heart for theirs.” And what I think I am beginning to realize is that the Lord is crafting my heart for the Dominican kids hearts and mine for theirs.

And it’s beautiful and it’s challenging and it’s scary and I have no clue, idea, or thought of how the Lord is going to orchestrate all this… but maybe I don’t need to know that right now or even five years from now. Maybe all I need to know is that wherever he takes me, he will not leave me there alone, he will be with me and he will never leave me or forsake me.



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