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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Day 1 and 2 on the Ground in Pindobal

I have issues... Day 1 I had major pride issues. I knew this could be and issue from the beginning. After the first Amazon meeting it didn't take long for satan to say to me "Remember you don't have anything important to offer to these people.  You have no medical skills to help with their aliments. What are you going to do? You are not going to bring glory to God! It won't matter if you teach these kids, because it won't affect the Kingdom." This has been twirling off and on in my mind. I am going to be honest the first day I had a bad attitude, because I didn't feel appreciated, like I (we) were doing the "important" work, and  we were getting overlooked because we weren't bringing physical relief or praying with people to receive Christ. This is how I felt after lunch. I had a really bad attitude... A bad taste in my mouth. All day my bad attitude lingered. I know this was horrible... Please don't judge me, but God met me right at my bad attitude. He met me in my pride and pouty attitude. He didn't leave me, because I was acting undesirable. I felt His compassion and repented. Ever since that moment He released me from shame that likes to rear its ugly head every now and again. Shame that I am not smart and will never have anything to offer. But my Heavenly Father lifted my head and put my crown back on me. He reminded me I am His daughter and I have great things to offer His world. My attitude completely changed the evening of Day 1 and moved on to Day 2. We told Bible Stories, made crafts, and played soooo many games with the kids. It was fun and I hope they remember our time with them forever, because I know I will.

The evening of Day 2 was amazing! There were 14 women who proclaimed that Jesus was their Lord and Savior. 14 women took the plunge and are on fire for our risen Savior! Two of those girls were 12 years old. These two 12 year old girls were in our classes, playing games with us, and in and out of Omar's Bible classes. I am blessed and honored to have been part of such a HUGE kingdom moment.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Time and Big Big Things

I am writing this, because I finally have time! Actually I really don't have the time... I should be working. I should be folding clothes that people purchased and packing them up to ship. But, I'm not. LOL! I am going to fill you in on some stuff that has changed in the Greene family.

First, this past year (1 year this month) has been HARD!! Gut wrenching, in the wilderness, drowning in tears HARD! I have been to the depth of not knowing what to do, how to respond, and some days how to even do life... I was in the deep wilderness... Like the Israelites being taken out of the "comfortable" Egypt to the hot deserty baking sand wilderness. It has been a YEAR of this! I was so tired and so weary of the pain... I was so over it! But, God never once left me (and I type this with tears)... He never once gave up on me... He never once dropped me. Because of his tenderness and his constant presence... He has guided my heart to forgiveness. A forgiveness I can't even put into words... A forgiveness I cannot do on my own, but wait for him to lead me and guide me. Because if I go on my own with his forgiveness it will not be perfect it will turn into a human mess! I am praising God through his undying love for me.

Second, in December Bob and I began a new journey. We joined a company called LuLaRoe. This is a company, who designs and makes the most amazing comfortable and modest clothes I have ever put on my body. I wasn't really sure why we joined this company at the time except maybe to help my family out financially, but I have come to realize it is more than that. I have made awesome friends through this adventure and I have found a part of me that has been hidden for a long time. Even though I have been super busy with my new business... Bob and I have had quality time together as we do this together and learning together and growing together. It has been a whirlwind, but so much fun!

Third, God is calling Bob and I on an adventure of a lifetime at the end of this month. We will be joining Kingsland on a Mission Trip to Brazil to travel down the Amazon River to visit with the Munduruku people throughout the forrest. We will travel down the Amazon River in a house boat (as our head quarters) to meet the different tribes. We will disciple the believers, provide medical care to the people (we do have a team of doctors and dentists going), and also pouring into the the kids in these different tribal villages. Bob and I are super excited about this adventure God has specifically called us to go on together. We are in awe of his love, protection, and guidance as we have no idea what to expect.

All I can say is I want more of my Heavenly Father. I have come to this deep realization that I can do nothing without Him. This life is hard, bumpy, and so rough. There is so much pain and torment that the darkness of these heavy things can consume us to a place where we can't get out of... unless we turn our entire trust to Him to bring us out. I have tried to do it on my own... it didn't work and if it did it was only temporary. Temporary is not enough... I think each time the temporary wears off it take us to a new low. We have to stop focusing on what I can do and focus on what can God do to make this temporary into a FOREVER a COMPLETENESS. I am absolutely not perfect and still learning, but I do know anything with our Him is incomplete... Dead.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

My Story...

I thought I had always known my story. I thought I had it down. But, it is amazing the things, the dark things that are hidden so deep that it is out of your consciousness. Things you have known about, but always blew it off… thinking “It was’t that bad.” or “Other people have had it so much worse.”

About 6 months ago I was being flooded with feelings and emotions that I could not figure out. I was filled with anger, sadness, and confusion. I started seeing a counselor at our church hoping for quick answers. I had no idea what to expect from her or what she would do to me or what she would make me do. But, I guess much to my surprise it was what God was going to do.

Let me go back to what I thought my childhood was like… I always thought I had a good childhood. Yes, there was hurt in it and things I knew had happened to me like I was sexually abused, physically abused, and emotionally abused, but I never ever thought it was any different from anyone else’s childhood. Maybe not everyone was abused, but I thought that my childhood was ordinary. I didn’t know any different.

But, God has revealed something totally different. My childhood was not ordinary and it was not good. Sure I had happy moments, but I was not enjoyed for the desire God had for me. I was enjoyed for what I could offer other people.

From the very beginning of life my life would not be normal… my life would be broken. My parents, who made me together were no longer together and soon they would be divorced. Because of those decisions that would bring devastation and brokenness immediately… hurt would end up grappling for something to sooth the pain and bring “pleasure”. This would lead to my mother’s second marriage. It was a quick courtship which quickly led to marriage. But when I heard this story growing up I never thought about or realized “What about the baby? Baby Sterling?”. I guess maybe you don’t think about these kind of things until after you have children.

So now here is my new family… a rushed put together family, but my family. But this family is not what anyone would imagine. This man my mother married was mean. He abused my mom, but most of all he abused me. He was allowed the opportunity to verbally, physically, and sexually abuse me and the absolutely worst part of it all… No one protected me! No one protected the sweet innocent baby. Everybody loved me, knew of some of the pain, or maybe knew most of the pain… No one did a DAMN thing for this precious life!

The abuse went on for a couple of years until finally by the grace of God the second husband moved on. But, the sad thing is he moved on to another family.

I really don’t have much memory of anything. Even after the second husband my memory is not good. But, after the second husband it wasn’t peachy and happy. I still suffered from abuse and neglect. I was never enjoyed for who I was, and through out my childhood and adult life I was only enjoyed for what I could offer other people.

I never realized the deep wounds that abuse causes a human life until I was led by my Heavenly Father to allow Him to go deep, dig, reveal, and heal. I have never experienced this deep sense betrayal I have come to encounter from the lack of care and protection from people who always have said they love me. I have never seen myself as a victim/captive, but I have come to learn I am. I have always been strong, a tough girl… never looked deep into how powerless I was as a child and even as an adult as I deal with people day in and day out. Learning about ambivalence… never even knew this word existed… and all these struggles a have gone through my entire life suffering from enjoying something that I knew was wrong or being hurt by someone who I cared for and would continue to care for even though they made you feel horrible.

Because I have always been strong and tough I wouldn’t ever say I was shameful of anything, but that was a lie too. I was asked to pray and ask the Lord where this lie started… Where was it that satan found the moment in my life to really dig his evil and hurt into my soul. My God is faithful and without fail He was there to reveal the wound that started it all. 

The wound of being left alone, having to care for myself, nothing I did was ever right, nothing I said was worth listening to, and I wasn’t smart enough to do certain things. So satan used this hurt and pounded it in deeper and deeper everytime and rooted this lie that I was worthless. Nothing I have or ever will be will be worth anything to anyone.

I feel like my whole life has been a lie and that can drown me with shame if I forget about the One, who has never left me or has never ever stopped loving me… no matter how far I might have run.

About 4 to 5 months ago when this hit me the hardest I was mad at God… mad that He allowed and allows such hurt and pain to happen to innocent children. I still wonder why, but I have come to know He is God and it is not Him who causes the pain, but what sin has over people. We have a God that does not want our hearts to be controlled like puppets… He is a God who wants us to love and desire Him as much as He loves and desires us. A God, who wants only good and wonderful things for us. A God, who has a purpose and plan for each of us. A God, who knitted us together for such greatness and calls us His children. A God, who looks past the evil and hurt that we have caused if we would simply give Him the opportunity to forgive us.

I don’t have this all figured out and I am not completely healed and I won’t be on this side of heaven, but I do know I am completely loved. Not loved by human love, because that can be wishy-washy… But loved by an everlasting, never stopping, never ending Love that I will never be able to put into words.

My heart hurts, but that is why Jesus was sent to this earth and to die a criminals death… to take all our pain, all the poison of sin and mend it and make us healthy. I trust and believe that with everything in me. If you suffer from sexual abuse or any kind of abuse God does not want you to suffer. He wants to love you and protect you. He wants FREEDOM for you. You can trust Him I promise. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Wilderness

"Thank you for the wilderness
Where I learned to thirst for your presence...
If I'd never known that place
How could I have known You better?"

This song comes from Elevation Worship called "Great Things" (Worth it All). 

I am in the wilderness right now. Not knowing or understanding the road He has me on. I am in new territory.

He is answering a prayer I have been praying for a long time... for my Jesus, my Lord and Savior to be the center of my marriage. My husband, Bob and I have been on separate paths on our journey with our Savior, and now our paths are merging together. While this has been a prayer of my heart for a long time... Merging our walks is hard. It is painful. It is so uncomfortable and I know super uncomfortable for Bob. 

My husband is going through uncharted waters. The Lord is revealing things in Bob that he never thought was an issue, and as he has been wrestling with this storm that has come and rattled him to the core... Bob has turned to the Lord... truly seeking God like he never has before sought after something. Let me tell you satan has taken notice and the evil one has made his presence known. So as Bob is learning to lean on the Lord through these new emotions and feeling... he has also been fighting the deceiver.

"For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush satan under your feet. The grace of your Lord Jesus Christ be with you." Romans 16:19-20

I started writing this blog in the middle of this life-changing event and I stopped... I stopped writing because this change I have been praying for for so long was starting to involve me more than I ever thought it would. I didn't realize the prayer I was praying for my husband ultimately included me. LOL! But I guess when you are married and you become one in flesh then of course it will involve the other half. 

All different kinds of emotions took over one day. I was mad, I was sad, I was distraught over what was going on with my marriage that I thought was good... I literally cried, sobbed out to my Father that I needed Him. I wasn't literally on my face, but I was in an uncomfortable place... A place where I had never cried out to my Father before... I was in the arms of my husband. Right then and there our Father in Heaven met me... He met me right in the middle of the unknown, the ugly tears, and the hardened heart... And He said "I am here...". This most amazing ginormous amounts of peace and comfort flooded over me and He took it! He took the anger, the sadness, and the feeling of not being able to go any farther... He took it and He lifted me.

Ever since that day the Lord has been so evident and alive in our marriage... In a way He never has before. My family is being transformed, because of the desire for His closeness and through our obedience. I have prayed for my husband for  about 8 years... And now... His faithfulness floods in like water after a dam breaks... And we are overwhelmed by His presence. Completely transformed (not perfect) because of His presence.

I feel myself drawn to Him more and more seeking the Lord in everything... knowing and believe He can accomplish anything that is in accordance to His plan. I know He can conquer anything, because I have seen a transformation and I have prayed and I have seen a prayer answered and a miracle that no human could have performed on their own.

Saturday, Bob and Hailee were both baptized. The Lord moved in Hailee's heart this summer during VBS and she decided she was going to follow Jesus no matter what and was ready to tell the whole world. Then Bob, through all the crazy changes and searching he decided it was time to recommit his life to Christ. So, Bob and Hailee took the plunge together and what a beautiful memory that will be for both of them forever! I will say satan has tried many things to keep Bob far far far away from getting closer to Jesus and he is still trying to intervene, but Bob knows and experienced the power of Jesus first hand and wants nothing more than for Jesus... nothing more than the power of our living Savior to conquer and to heal the many emotions and feelings he is struggling with. To God be the glory and the power forever and ever.

Pastor Jon just got done baptizing Bob. Bob came up with the biggest grin.
From Bob: I am so thankful that Sterling and my paths are merging. Satan really took hold of me quickly and without warning. Thankfully I didn't have to face this alone. I turned to the Word, leaned on Sterling, and sought help from my Pastor at our church. This is a whole new bright world and I am loving it!

Psalm 42
"As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?
Day and night I have only tears for food,
    while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
    “Where is this God of yours?”

My heart is breaking
    as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
    leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
    amid the sound of a great celebration!
Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!
Now I am deeply discouraged,
    but I will remember you—
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
    from the land of Mount Mizar.
I hear the tumult of the raging seas
    as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
    and through each night I sing his songs,
    praying to God who gives me life.
“O God my rock,” I cry,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I wander around in grief,
    oppressed by my enemies?”
Their taunts break my bones.
    They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”
Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!"

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Day 7 Peacefulness

"Peace that transcends all understanding." Philippians 4:7

Today I met the most peaceful man. A man, who would throw his life in front of yours if it was threatened. I man, who does not see violence as the answer. A man, who wants to be reunited with Syria, his country and his family. This man we met today is Muslim and we sat in his house hearing about how he would treat us if he was home or had the money to afford an elaborate meal. He is a fancy man, who was dressed very nice in his kefia (head dress) and a galabeya (robe). 

When you think about Muslims you might feel anxiety, fear, maybe emotions you can't describe... But if you have any ill feelings about Muslims he would change your worldview. It is not Muslims who are evil it is the teaching of the violence in Islam. Don't get me wrong... that man of peace is Muslim, but he does not practice the evil. Does that make sense?

I have been think a lot about peace and the lack of it in the states. I can't explain to you the feeling of most of the homes we visited here in Jordan that filled a room with the very presence of peace. I can only think of a few homes in the states that truly have this peaceful feeling. These Iraqi and Syrian families have been forced to leave their homes leaving all possessions behind... And after so much turmoil they still exuberate this peaceful aroma. The only way I can explain this perfect peace is because of Jesus... This peace that transcends all understanding.

The Lord has been teaching me a lot on this trip and he has been widening my peripheral vision to show me things I never noticed before. I have been asking Him to teach me and show me everything He has revealed and how to apply it and live it out when I get home. I want my jar of alabaster perfume to be broken and spilt, so the only thing people will see and smell is Jesus. I want the biggest thing people remember about me is the way I carry my cross, the way I serve, and the way I permeate Jesus through my life.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 6 Can You Imagine?

Can you imagine being happy, having a nice normal home with your family. You have a good business that takes care of all of your families needs. You have friends and family surrounding you. One day you hear about horrible people in a nearby city threatening innocent people with guns and they take all the innocent wives and young girls to do whatever they want with them and sell them for 100 dollars. You hear this and begin to become scared for your lives and your families lives. You consider leaving, but you hear from the military that you should not leave and that you will be safe. So you trust them and believe what they say. Then you begin to hear more stories of what these horrible people are doing and you hear they are moving closer to your city. You decide to leave in the middle of the night when none of the military will know and you plan an exit strategy with other families and the whole town is deciding to do the same thing. You leave in the middle of the night and there are about 40,000 people in the streets fleeing just like you. 40,000 people! Kids, the elderly, some disabled, women, men all trying to seek safety. You have to sneak and be very quiet, because if you are heard you could get shot and killed! All you want is to get your family to the city of safety ASAP! Children and women are crying, but you have to be quiet. You get to safety and you have to leave all your possessions outside the security gates and you go in to find a place to rest your head and there are people everywhere! You end up finding a spot for your family on the street, so you lay down the few blankets you brought in to the city. You sleep outside in the cold nights for one whole month! One whole month of sleeping outside when you were just sleeping in a nice house with a roof over your head and a warm bed to snuggle up in. You are devastated and still fear ISIS will attack! You finally get placed in Jordan, your temporary home for who knows how long... With nothing! The shirt on your back and maybe a couple of pictures or whatever you could carry in a bag. That's it! Now you wait... And wait... And wait... And wait... And wait... You are waiting to hear from the United Nations... Waiting to find out where your new permanent home will be. But as you wait you can not work. There is nothing to do while you wait... Not enough food to eat or snack on... You worry about EVERYTHING! How will I pay my rent? How will I buy the next meal? How will I pay for that doctor visit? How will I pay for that surgery? Will my family and I ever have peace again? Will my family and I ever be happy again? Etc.

This is it, friends! Over 4 million refugees have experienced everything I just had you imagine or worse! Over 4 million people are feeling this type of pain that can not be described into words and everytime I walk into one of these families homes the Lord allows me to feel a tiny bit of their pain. And just by that tiny bit of pain I cry, because I could never imagine that type of pain in a whole.

This trip has been emotionally hard on me. It has shaken me to a new level. A type of sadness and grief I ever never experienced. But you wanna know the amazing part that makes me fall to my knees and give praise to the God of the Universe... He has brought them to safety, protected them, and He is more alive in their lives and ever present, because of their devotion and belief and faith that their Jesus would bring them through the storm. It may not be perfect and they are still grieving and sad, but they know they are not alone in this and God is fighting for their lives. For me their is nothing greater!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Day 5 Sanctity of Life

I will be honest... Before the Lord started sending me abroad I didn't have any clue on the importance of human life... I mean I did, but I didn't. I had no clue of the enormous lack of dignity for the human life around the world. As I have traveled I have learned many things new every trip. This time my horizons have been broadened even more.

I am simply blown away by ISIS! (not in a good way) I know we have all heard stuff on the news and we have our own views on it all, but I (we) have heard the pain from the very lips of the victims. ISIS somehow has no sense of humanity and that I can not wrap my mind around!

I have seen pictures and heard stories of people... Men, women, babies getting blown up or being shot point blank, because they have different ideas or thoughts about things, different religion, or simply ISIS wants what the other person has and they shoot them point blank. Can you imagine having a gun pointed and pressed into your forehead while being yelled at? I simply cannot.

This is the kind of people we have met this trip. This is the kind of stories we have heard over and over and over. And you wanna know something... It kills me everytime!

This man, Peter use to work for the United States Army as a translator when the U.S. were stationed in Iraq. Peter is very proud of the work he did along side the U.S., but once we left he had to find a new job to pay for all his bills. He started working for himself and making BBQ food. The police came to him and said he was Christian and he could not work and feed Muslims, so they ruined his business and they destroyed everything. Peter picked up his destroyed BBQ stand and repaired it and started again working and selling BBQ. The police found him again and began to ruin him... They beat the living life out of him... They broke his hand, arm, teeth, face, etc. he then decided he must leave Iraq. If you ever get the privilege to meet this guy he is the sweetest kindest gentlest man. 

The other day he was leaving our compound and I said "I'll see you tomorrow!" and said probably not, but two days passed and he was here waiting for us when we returned home last night. He longed to be reunited with us and it was our desire to see him as well. Last night a group of us went on a walk I asked Peter to come along and he did. He showed me a picture that was on his phone and it was a picture of a man. I said to Peter "He is very nice looking." (I know odd and random but I usually say what I am thinking) Peter said "Yes, he is. He died yesterday. ISIS killed him." I was shocked and sad for Peter, because I knew this hit him deep. He said "He was a good man." I asked why they killed him and he said "Because he fought against ISIS." I tried to come up with words, but I couldn't. I told Peter I was so so sorry several times. I mean what do you say? He was sad, but maybe numb. 

My heart is aching, because this is what every Iraqi and Syrian refugee are going through (and other refugee ethnicities).  I just don't have words for this pain and sadness I feel for my brothers and sisters.