“Also at that time, people will say, “Look at what’s happened! This is our God! We waited for Him and He showed up and saved us! This God, the One we waited for! Let’s celebrate, sing the joys of His salvation. God’s hand rests on this mountain!” Isaiah 25:9-10
I’m flying back to Colombia after a beautiful month in Mexico doing exactly what I want to be doing with my life. I know I am called to Mexico, someday, but God has spoken and said there are things for me to learn in Colombia. So I obey. It breaks my heart wide open but I leave my daughters again. I don’t know how I am going to be able to learn to love a new house full of children when all I want to do is stay with my little girls in Mexico but I fly back to Bogota anyway.
It’s evening when my plane lands, I’m not expecting anyone to meet me in the airport but as I wheel my suitcase outside I hear a chorus of applause and whistles that sound like love & friendship, because there they are: my new friends “the crazy girls” as Claire has dubbed them. We catch a taxi home together and as it’s while I’m squished between two of them in the backseat that I feel it, the reassurance that I am perfectly where I am to be, even though it’s not at all what I want.
I think, “This is what it feels like to be exactly in the center of God’s will.”
Colombia is harder than I ever imagined it would be. I have learned enough! I tell God. Take me back to Mexico! I beg. Everyday I climb a mountain to get home to Casa Kiwi. A mountain. It so perfectly represents what I feel about my time here: exhausting, difficult, work. An uphill battle. There’s a song I often listen to as I carry on up that hill, one foot in front of the other, slow & steady. I sing along, I pray along:
I know that I can trust You. I know that I can trust You. I know that I can trust You…
I lean not on my own understanding, my life is in the hands of the Maker of Heaven…
I know that I can trust You, so give me a heart to love You God…
I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open. I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open. I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open. I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open…
God has something for me here on this mountain. Something good & sacred. I don’t know what it is and I don’t know when I’ll be able to stop climbing, but I know I want whatever it is that God has for me. So I climb with my hands wide open. I enter into Kiwi with my hands wide open. I help my children do their homework with my hands wide open. I chop garlic & onions with my hands wide open. I fold tiny blouses & scrub porcelain toilets with my hands wide open. I sing my Darlings to sleep with my hands wide open. I struggle to find joy but I chase after it anyway. I cry out to God, How much longer?! But even though I am so tired, and it is so painful, I keep my hands wide open to receive the gifts He wants to give me, to learn what She wants to teach me.
One year, it’s been one year since I first began to melt into this ministry, and one year is all I promised. I want to go, I’ve wanted to go for a long time and my promised year has finished but I know it’s not His time for me to leave. There are no words of prophecy telling me to stay, no verses in the Bible shouting out to me that it isn’t time to go, but I know the voice of my FatherMother God and She is saying, “I have more for you here, my Darling.”
I have climbed so far but I know that if I give up now I’ll be missing out on the gift God has for me. So I stay here and my hands stay open. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be climbing but I don’t want to step outside of this perfect will of God, no matter how painful His perfect will is.
Finally You’ve spoken to me, loud & clear to let me know that I’ve almost made it to the top. With you I will go, You say to me and I know it’s okay now. I can go, Your presence will go with me, and You will give me rest.
One of the crazy girls wants to take me on an adventure before I leave, so we travel out from the city where the mountains are perfect for climbing. Rock climbing, with harnesses and carabiners and chalk and special pants. The air is chilly but the sun is bright, and I am amazed at how cathartic & refreshing it is to climb these mountains. There are many moments when I don’t think I can keep going, I’m way higher than I’m comfortable with, I can’t see the top, and I can’t see or feel anywhere steady to cling to. It’s when I’m frozen there, paralyzed and heart beating wildly when Ingie calls up to me, “I’ve got you.”
“I’ve got you.” She’s right, I can feel her holding me there strong & steady. I can’t see her, all I can see is the rock in front of my face but I know she’s got me. I might fall a little bit, and it will be painful, but I’ll never fall so far that I won’t be able to pick myself back up again. It’s her voice calling up to me that gives me the courage to carry on. I know that I can trust her.
I know that I can trust You… I lean not on my own understanding, my life is in the hands of the Maker of Heaven… so I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open…
I make it to the top of that mountain, as Ingie holds me steady from the ground. It’s when I’m at the top, looking out at the beautiful green grass & the bright blue sky when I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I am bruised & a bit bloody but I’ve made it to the top and Oh the view is beautiful. It’s when I’m at the top that I see what You’ve been trying to show me all along… that it would be worth it. All I can say is, “Thank You.” Thank You for believing in me to climb the Kiwi Mountain. Thank you for holding on tight to me and for being patient with me when I didn’t think I could keep going. Thank you for whispering to me, “I’ve got you, Beloved.” and giving me this gift of climbing. The gift of challenges and perseverance and showing me that I can do excruciatingly hard things. Ingie waits awhile for me to be ready to come down because I am having a Moment with You… yes the countryside is beautiful but I’m seeing the rest of them now too. My Boy J, Little Miss M, Emy, Baby Boy, Tati… I see the faces of my children and it has been an honor to be a Mother to them in this time. Thank You. Thank You Thank You Thank You. They are worth the climb.
I leave my house keys in Kiwi and I walk out that door for the last time. When I return I’ll be a visitor, a guest, not a Mother. I start walking down that mountain and I am crying because this is it, it’s ending. You my God are belaying me down, the hardest of it is over with. I did it. I made it. All the way to the top.
Tonight I am out with the crazy girls, there is dinner and dancing and laughter and treats snuck into the movie theater in our purses before the night is over. We’re in the taxi now, I’m even squished between two of them again. I remember that night I felt so perfectly where You wanted me to be and I feel exactly that way again. This is where I belong, I think, Right here smack dab in the center of Your good & perfect will. I am so proud of myself for not giving up and taking off all those times when it was all I wanted to do. I am so proud of myself for staying right where You wanted me.
I look down at my hands and they’re full now. Full of my sweet children & my dear friends, full of two years of memories, full of beauty from brokenness, full of growth from pain, full of wisdom from the challenges I crashed into along the way.
I climbed the mountain with my hands wide open and I’m so thankful that I did.