God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! Ephesians 3:20 The Message
It is so hard to wait. Patience is not a virtue I have been blessed with. Sometimes it is so hard for me NOT to shake my fist towards Heaven screaming WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? Lately it feels like life has been a constant bouncing around off of one emotional and stressful wave after another... an emotional tsunami that just won't stop. Gasping for a breath or a moment just long enough to experience a moment of peace in the process of healing from challenges and changes of life. It is so easy to become bogged down with all of the things that are important and happen in and around our lives that influence and affect us. Feeling the sense of being forced to accept changes that we do not want to accept and don't even have control over. Health and well being of family members and loved ones, people and friends that disappoint us, hurt feelings, expectations and goals not met, dreams unrealized, injustice, negative self-talk, unable to get "back on track", and on and on.
|The Prieto-Azures Family|
Let me back track. On June 11, 2009 I had the privilege of participating on another Habitat for Humanity "Good News Caravan". I met two amazing families - Betty Monroy and Guillermo and Maria Isabel Prieto-Anzures. Both families are in my heart's collection of most precious Habitat families!
Betty's home was completed later that year and we all celebrated together with her as her family was literally "home for Christmas" in 2009. Guillermo and Maria were selected for our new home ownership program renovating foreclosed properties. House after house seemed to bring hope that they would soon realize their dream of a safe, decent, affordable home for their children - Jazmin and Diego. Months went by, and still nothing was going through yet Guillermo and Isabel worked hard completing their sweat equity long before their home was even identified. As I spoke with churches about the Habitat Mission - Maria and Guillermo would come and share their story with complete strangers. The family supports other Habitat for Humanity Partner Families by attending celebrations for other families and encouraging newly selected Partner Families. They have been patient and they have been gracious in their wait.
I learned that a house was finally identified and the process was started - they were on their way but there were still more delays. Another holiday season and Christmas had come and passed and they were not "home for the holidays". I have to say I was beginning to become discouraged for them - frustrated, really. I have seen the home they have been living in for years. I have been to the neighborhood that is riddled with crime, drugs and gangs. I have seen the small one bedroom, upstairs apartment they all live in. I have seen the living room that has been partially converted to a bedroom with no closet for Isabel to keep her clothes. Guillermo creatively converted a covered portion of the small patio off their "room" for Isabel to have a closet... outside with a wire grate for a closet door - to keep the birds out of her clothes. I was thrilled to learn that we were moving closer to this family getting into a home. I heard that there wasn't too much work that needed to happen to get the house ready for the family to move in. Volunteers came out to paint the house. Volunteers from a church she had spoken to who were touched and moved by her story, and her humble heart. Due to my schedule I was unable to join them and had not seen the house... until today. It's time to begin planning the House Dedication for this family so I needed to do a "site walk" to identify the layout of the event and begin planning a very special ceremony.
As I drove down the lovely, friendly, safe residential neighborhood in Downey "it" began to take over me. As I watched addresses pass and parked in front of a charming gated community that reminded me of a country lane in a place far from Los Angeles, "it" began to consume me. I was fighting back tears... again. But this time my tears were not of frustration or sorrow. "It" was now around me like a warm blanket and I felt that with every step I was taking towards Guillermo and Isabel's home that I was stepping deeper and deeper into gratitude. I was choked up and tears spilled onto my cheeks and my mind was consumed with only one thought: Ephesians 3:20. None of us that were present that day in June of 2009 could have EVER imagined or dreamed of such a beautiful home for this family. It has been worth the wait. This family that patiently and faithfully waited for their safe, decent, affordable home will soon move into a home that is worthy of photographs on glossy magazine pages showcasing beautiful homes. It was as if THIS family had been hand selected for THIS home. They have been hand selected – by the hand of God. Their patience and faithfulness has been rewarded. I left their home not only overcome with gratitude for God's perfect plan and His perfect timing. I left another Habitat home with my heart and mind transformed... again. My "big deal" meter reset... again. My heart and mind reminded AGAIN with another tangible example of God's faithfulness, of His promises and a reminder of His hope again like a fresh breeze.
I called a Habitat colleague and shared with her what I was experiencing as I could not leave the street without sharing the experience and passing along my joy. I left a message on Isabel's voice mail rejoicing and blubbering away to her of my joy for her family. I came into the office with gratitude for our mission and the work we accomplish together, and the team of amazing talented individuals each with a passion for our mission. We get so focused on the details of what we are tasked to complete and we forget WHY we are doing what we do... it's about these precious families, it's about fighting poverty housing and it's about building hope, lives and communities. We have a huge task ahead of us but we have a wonderful trail of victories to be celebrated... celebrating far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!
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