Get Your Hopes Up

                  “Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Matt. 18:3

          As I think on this scripture and I find myself asking God what does this really mean in the practicality of day to day life and from time to time I get new insights. Maybe it will be encouraging for you too?

           As children it is so easy to hope, in fact it is hard to not hope. Each day something new and amazing could happen. It could be your Birthday or your mom could make Banana pancakes or your cat could be there waiting for you, or it might only be 22 days till Christmas. Possibly it’s the day when you get to go visit your Grandma or your big goal is that today is the day you are going to make it all the way across the monkey bars. For many children the idea that there is a good God is not hard to accept.  Life is so fresh and everything new and the possibilities endless. There is little to stop you from dreaming. Life is so exciting at times you can hardly sit in your chair. Is this a part of what Jesus means when He says to become like little children? Well then disappointments start to happen and sin happens and life is not so exciting and innocent anymore and we become more guarded and we protect ourselves, to hide ourselves behind fig leaves and doubt God’s goodness.

           We attend mass at Keiser University here in San Marcos, Nicaragua. It is a special place because a secular University has allowed the Catholic presence to continue and the student involvement keeps it going. For example they have 24/5 Eucharistic Adoration (many students go home for the weekends) and this is not only made possible by and active student body but also by an amazingly generous and devout priest, Fr. Robert. He says a more or less 50/50 English/Spanish mass. He has a reputation around town for his love of the people and the people love him too, although his Connecticut accented Spanish is a great difficulty for the people to understand.

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 A few weeks ago in a sermon Fr. Robert asked if a bus was waiting outside to take whoever wanted to heaven who would be ready? Only a couple raised their hands, I being one of them. Now don’t think this is because of some super spirituality, its not. Let me explain. I am not much of night person, I am fresh in the morning, I have a horrible time studying at night, but for most of my life I have a natural enthusiasm for the new day, especially the morning. I think it is easy to just assume each part of our life is just who we are without giving God, our loving Father, thanks for even the personality graces He gives until we are without it for a while.

As many of you know we lost our 12th baby, Mark-Jerzy Marcilino Eckstine, almost 2 years ago and you will also recal that we had warning, knowing that his condition was pronounced to us as “incompatible with life” by the doctors. Each day we walked carrying that burden was bittersweet. After Mark-Jerzy, life has not been the same and as anniversaries come and go certain sadnesses come upon Lora and I, mostly unexpected and without warning… this new song expresses some of my feelings, especailly the lines

Whatever is left of me
After my strength has faded
When I don’t have words to speak
I’ll just say Your name

Whatever is left of me
After the nights has ended
When I don’t have songs to sing
I’ll just call Your name

Here is the Youtube video for the song: Found In You by Josh Balwin

        After I heard another song on the same album I realized I don’t have the hope of a new day that I used to and that I want to hope again in the new day and all that our Father has made possible for this day, today! This song reminds me that with our God so many things are possible each day, and with God all things are possible. I believe in the Goodness of our God and I want to believe in it more and more. I want renewed faith in His loving care and the fact that He has a special plan for each of us to change the world around us, not matter how old or young, how beautiful or not so much, full of life or incompatible with life.  His Kingdom is coming upon and in fact is already here.

Get your hopes up
Lift your head up
Let your faith arise
Get your hopes up
Our God is for us
He’s brought us back to life

Get Your Hopes Up by Josh Baldwin

I pray that I would not return to only natural given enthusiasm for each new day that is part of my personality from birth, but to a Supernatural enthusiasm for life because our Father is so good, better than I can even dream of, and with Him all things are possible. I desire to walk through life like a preacher I heard, “to be simple enough and childlike enough that we just think that God actually listens to us.” Yep that’s the childlike confidence I want.

** A special note: Douglas the caretaker at here at Guadelupe Garden, answers people who ask how many children we have with a “12, but only 11 living; they had another baby that only lived a short time and now have 7 with them in Nicaragua” **