This little light of mine. “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven,” (Matt. 5:16).
I have had this little light my whole life. We all have it, I believe, because we all are created in God's image (Gen. 1:27). However, until I began to serve in the Dominican Republic, which changed my life path and has me living here in Puerto Plata. Until all of this happened, I think it is safe to say that my light was hidden under a bushel. I was made in His image, yes, but I was also a daughter of Adam and Eve, and following in their footsteps, turned from God, the father of lights. I attended church during this time and had strong faith, but I also experienced some shame of this faith. In order to feel at ease with those around me, I hid. It wasn't really a conscious thing, but a way of life I was used to.
This changed when I began attending Virginia Tech in the fall of 2003. As many do in college, I felt free to make some changes. Whereas I had gone to church before and practiced faith in the safety of my own home, I now deeply sought the Reedemer of the light. I moved from being his acquaintance to his disciple, and this is what caused my light to brighten. This is what removed the shame that caused me to hide my light. This is what led me to take part in the first opportunity I saw to visit a third world country, which just so happened to be the Dominican Republic in January 2005. My light continued to brighten and it attracted others. However, it was not long before Satan began seriously trying to whew my light out. Wow, he put up a valiant effort. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” (John 1:5). He had his teeth sunken in deep in many situations I was in. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring looking for someone to devour,” (1 Peter 5:8). My light brought me into situations that Satan claimed as his own...to love people that Satan held onto as his children. But I resisted and he was unsuccessful. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” (James 4:7).
Sharing more details to these dark situations would only give Satan more glory than he has already received. Now, it's time to let this little light shine. I have written a lot so far in my lifetime. For my 15th birthday, my parents got me a journal. My first journal. I filled that thing up quickly and moved onto my next. I don't know the final count of how many journals I filled up by the time I graduated college 7 years later, but it was definitely over 10. It was a need that I had. My family can attest to that. I felt guilty at times when they would call me to mingle with them and I felt unable to come. I could only lie on my bed and spill my heart into my journal... then hide it under my mattress when I was finished. However, I hardly ever wrote accounts of what had happened in my life. My journals were mainly a conversation with God, the father of lights (James 1:17). He already knew what had happened that day, every day before that, and every day ahead. There was no need to write those things. I wrote my thoughts, my fears, my pleas, my praises, my observations, and my conclusions. I cleaned my heart out in these journals and I was unable to function properly if I didn't do so.
There reached a time when this need to write in a journal stopped. I think it was because I was emptying my heart into a work instead. I think it was also because I didn't always understand what was going on in my daily life and God didn't so much invite me to understand but he commanded me to trust. It has actually been a really humbling and refreshing time where I have been in a spiritually child-like state. I have continued to write. I write here (blog was taken down and I published the posts in this book) to let people know about life in the Dominican Republic. I write here to share relevant thoughts and conclusions on international development and non-profit work. I write here to share random things I have learned with others and to earn some pennies. I write here to organize and communicate our work. I write e-mails to maintain family, friend, and work relationships. However, I recently realized that none of this is an account of what goes on in my daily life... in real time... and that is what it may be necessary that I share. I have recorded many accounts of my daily life over the past five years but in retrospect and those are sent out to Project Esperanza's monthly sponsors. A portion of this journal I hope to publish one day, as many have suggested that I do.
But this blog is my new journal. It shares accounts of my daily events, as well as some thoughts and conclusions. However, I know that God is not the only reader, and I will make the main goal to share my daily events in real time. I hope that what I have to say does shine like a little light and also brings glory to our Father in Heaven. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your prayers. (I don't request positive thoughts or vibes, thank you, but powerful requests made to “him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,” (Ephes. 3:20). I don't mean to offend anyone who offers positive thoughts or vibes but am just being honest about where I know and have experienced that there is real power. If you don't normally talk to him, I invite you to start!)