On Miracles and (Coffee) Mugs

e peru final

I remember the day. It was twenty years ago this past June. (Yes, I’m old, but this particular post isn’t about that.) πŸ˜‰

I stood at the edge of the Amazon River as our team got ready to board a speed boat that would take us back to Iquitos, a city in northern Peru, so we could catch our flight.

I stood there, and I said goodbye.

Wrapped up in more hugs than I could count, that goodbye brought a thousand emotions and even more tears as I watched people, who had become so precious to me in just a few weeks, wave their farewells.

It felt like a forever goodbye.

I couldn’t stop the tears, and I didn’t even try. That morning, the then-20-year-old I was grieved and sobbed over all that came with saying such hard goodbyes…the kind I’d never had to say before.

I didn’t want to go, and I didn’t want to think of life without people who’d found such an important place in my heart.

But the goodbyes were inevitable and had to happen, whether I cried or not. (So of course I let tears fall because I’m me.) πŸ˜‰

When I first returned to the U.S. after almost a month in Peru, I lived every moment for the opportunity to return. I looked for ways to plan for a life there, I prayed a lot, I pushed on doors. I figured that if God had hollowed out such a deep corner of my heart for this place in the world that surely He was going to send me there.

And yet, weeks and months passed, and life went on. The ache for a life in South America remained, but it was less.

And then a year had gone by. I found myself distracted with a new ministry and student teaching, with college graduation on the horizon. Once in awhile I’d still think of Peru. But, really, the plans had stopped, and the dream I’d once had to return…was dying.

And then a year became years, and I found myself even more distracted by a guy named Tobin, who would become my boyfriend, then my fiancΓ©, and then my husband. (And in the God-thing our relationship was, he had a love for the country of Brazil.) As we carved out the new, married-kind-of-life for ourselves, some days we’d come back to the conversation. I think we always believed we’d go back to South America.

But in the ways that God does His thing and in His sense of humor, He moved different mountains and sent us across an ocean or two instead for half a decade.

Indonesia became a forever part of our lives during the years we called it home, and I can honestly tell you I never once wished we were in Peru instead. There were times when I wondered, but I never questioned.

God’s ways had always been bigger than mine. Why would that change?

And then the Indonesia season flipped and switched to Illinois and motherhood, and we found ourselves creating a different life in an unexpected place. While there was a trip here and there to somewhere exciting, I think we’d both come to an understanding and acceptance, even, that the overseas part of our lives was over. For whatever reason, God hadn’t pressed on us the burden to go again. Yet, anyway.

And over the past decade (almost), I’ve been choosing to love (and I really DO love) the life I have here. I’ve dug deep into motherhood and friendship, community and church, and it’s been wonderful. We’ve had blessing after blessing poured out on us in this place, and I hope we’ve returned some of the blessings we’ve been given to others. We often talk about how God put everything in place, just to bring us to where we are today.

And now that I’m at today, I guess I’ll get to the point, too. πŸ˜‰

I’ve been sitting on a little bit of a miracle. It isn’t really a secret, but it’s not something I’ve shouted from the rooftops yet, mostly because I’m still wrapping my mind around all of it.

A few months ago, a friend was talking about a mission trip she and her family were going on. It sounded interesting, and being the girl who loves allllll the things that involve culture and adventure, I was ready to do a flying leap right into it all. But I also clearly heard God say, No. Not yet. And so, in a very un-Mel way, I stayed quiet. πŸ˜‰

A couple months later a similar conversation happened, and this time that friend told me that she kept thinking of me and she thought I should go.

Out of the 195 countries that make up this world, guess where this group was headed?

Yep. Peru.

PERU, y’all.

And even though the flying leap was again tempting, I prayed. I really wasn’t sure this was the right fit or time for me, and so I took it slow. I drug my feet, I prayed, I still didn’t apply for a passport, even though mine (I know…M.I.N.E.) was expired.

But God wouldn’t leave me alone πŸ˜‰ and it seemed like, at every turn, this trip was supposed to happen.

And so I applied. Interviewed. Prayed some more. And finally committed.

And two months from today, I get to board a plane and return to this place that has been tucked away in a remote corner of my heart for over 20 years.

I’m excited, I’m nervous, it feels surreal. But everyone around me has been so encouraging, and God clearly drew this one out for me. And so, I’m going. At least, I’m planning to.

My hubby, who has been incredibly supportive, challenged me to raise the money for this trip. And I chose to take him up on his challenge in a total Mel way.

And so, I want to tell you another (shorter) story…and confess something, too. πŸ˜‰

The artist in me is always doodling and drawing. And lately, some of my favorite things have been created during sermons at church. (Which I have confessed to the pastors…because I listen better when I’m drawing anyway.) :) About a month ago, I doodled something in between singing songs for praise team, and I loved it so much that I joked about getting it printed on a mug.

And instead of leaving it as a joke, I actually did it.

Now to Him Mel finaljpg

And so, for the first time, my art is on a coffee mug, and I sort of love it. And I’m sort of selling them, too. Or, giving them away for a donation…whatever you prefer to call it. πŸ˜‰

If you’d like to support my trip (total cost will run around $1,000), I would love that. For anyone who donates $25 or more, I’ll send you one of these as a thank you. (Local friends, I’ll do $20. I just have to factor in shipping.)

Now To Him final

When I look at this mug and the artwork etched onto it, it strikes me as another God-thing. In all the times I’ve doubted and questioned, God has always been able. And He showed that by opening a completely unexpected door for me to be part of something in a place I’ve loved for so long. He didn’t do it in my timing, but He DID do it.

And I’d love for you to be part of it all.

If you’d like a mug (and to support me), you can Venmo me @barefootmel or send a check/cash. (Message or email me for my address.) And then I’ll get that mug sent off to you as soon as possible.

When we lived and worked overseas, asking for money and support was the hardest thing. I don’t love it, even if it’s for a great cause, and while I’ll happily give to others…it’s tough asking for the money. I appreciate your support, however you can give it…whether it’s through giving or through prayer or through both.

And if you do end up with one of these mugs, I hope it’s a sweet reminder that God always sees your heart and the things you hope for most.

Don’t ever doubt His ability to do above and beyond…because He IS able. Always.

Thanks for reading, friends. Thanks for being willing to still show up even if it’s been about ten months since I’ve written anything. And thanks for your prayers and support, too. Love you all!

Sig

Comments

  1. Mel this is so so happy ! 1) I miss you 2) I was so happy to see you blog again 3) I am so proud of you 4) I want a mug of course /)

    • Oh my goodness, just seeing your sweet face come up here in the comments brought tears to my eyes. I miss you, friend! Thank you so much for your love and support…it means the world. Merry Christmas! :)

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