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Awakening in Barranquilla

The light begins to seep into the room around 5:30… The expanse of windows are made private by the large palm trees in our front yard. If you look carefully through the palms you can make out a large apartment building that was (thankfully) built before we called the house our home.

The port city of Barranquilla lays on the coast of Colombia with the Caribbean Sea framing it's silhouette. The winds that blow from the sea inland are strong, sweeping up both sand and dust from the construction sights that have taken over the city. The dust appears within hours of mopping the tile floor. No carpets wanted or needed in this hot, dusty climate. The city has rapidly grown to close to 2 million people in a relatively short amount of time.

6:00 am- I reach out to grab the electric mosquito zapper before swinging my legs around to get up for the day. Once my body has left the safe haven of the wind tunnel fan that blows directly on us at night, my flesh is fair game for the mosquitoes. They have been waiting for this moment. I zap a few right off the bat, while my feet search for flip-flops. With the zapper in hand I make my way to the bathroom to get ready for the day.

What shall I wear? What shall I wear?

More often than not, I opt for pants these days. Less skin = less mosquito bites.

I hop into the shower. The cold water is welcomed with the heat and humidity levels rising minute by minute. Some days, the moment I get out, I am already sweating again. Those days I know we will be doing our home-school some where with free air conditioning.

Before you start to get the wrong idea, we do not live in a shack, hut, or shabby house. Our house is beautiful. We have no gates surrounding our front yard, just some security bars on the windows that were carefully crafted to look more like a part of the design than a security measure.

As I make my way down the steps I can hear Reagan already feeding our 9 month old lab, Daisy. Daisy has wisely chosen to sleep in Reagan's room, which also happens to be the bedroom with an AC unit....The trade-off is that it is our guest room, and she will happily share her room when we have visitors in town. What we didn't think about was Daisy pushing the door open with her nose to get into the cool guest room while we have guests...Oops. Oh, well. Her cuteness factor wins more often than not.

6:30 am - I hastily make a pot of delicious Colombian coffee. My favorite part of the day is about to take place. The house is still quiet, the coffee is percolating, and the patio off of our bedroom is still cool......ish. I make my way back up the stairs with coffee and mosquito zapper ready. I sit and look out the open space with no windows. The parakeets are noisily passing from the large oak tree across the street to the back patio of our house where the mangoes are. Many times, I just sit and breathe in the fresh morning air. My senses are awakened as I see, hear, and smell the morning unfold.

I read, pray, write in my journal. Mostly, I relish this time of being alone with God. It is a special place where He has met me time and time again. I come most mornings with anticipation. What do you want to show me today, Lord? What is going on in my heart, Spirit? What needs changing?

My Lord has this beautiful way of stringing together words, phrases, and visuals. The phrase He has stamped on my heart this morning is "Increase my love". It is a prayer. I write it down.

I have been asking Him to give me eyes to see the way He sees. I have been asking for my Father's heart for others.

This communion with Him is precious. In a moment He places the words in my thoughts and I have the rest of the day to daydream about them....

A song comes to mind. Verses soon follow. John the Baptist saying "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). These clues are all woven together for me by an amazing quilt maker. At the center of the quilt that has been in process the past three years is the word HUMILITY. Here it is again in this prayer "Jesus, increase my love."

Essentially I am saying, I don't have what I need. I need you. Receiving from God a divine fulfillment of any and all my needs.

8:00 am- The hours slip by too soon. I don't want to leave. However He reminds me that He goes with me. I am His, and He is mine. There is no separating us, and that quickens my heart as I step into the day.

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