Monday, January 18, 2016

New Year, new adventures...

Happy New Year, Compassion Family blog readers! Almost three weeks into this New Year and I'm just logging into this space to say hello. 2016 has been off to a speedy start, that's why... and I'm here to tell you why.

I wrote the words below at the start of 2015... yet, never in my wildest imagination would I have envisioned what God would have for our family this past year:
... and I have suddenly found myself, at the start of this New Year, in a place of seeking what God's next steps are for us this year and for the longer term.
And so, I will seek... because...
"When you seek Me in prayer and worship, you will find Me available to you. If you seek Me with all your heart and soul, I will make Myself available to you," says the Lord.
Little did I know just how many yeses this resolve-to-seek-God would entail... and just how wild the joy is that would follow them. All year, this quote by Kristen Welch resonated with me:
Our yes to God should scare us.
Not to keep us immobile, but to keep us dependent on the One who asks us to say it in the first place.
Fear keeps us moving towards God.
Yes, there is fear in obedience. But peace keeps us on the journey.
And the joy that follows our yes to God is wild.
One out-of-comfort-zone YES was followed by another and another and another...

Yet, the biggest YES that God asked our family to say came towards the end of the year in the form of a big change for me... in the form of a new job.

I have always loved this quote by Frederick Buechner: "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet."

And, that's just where He has asked me to say YES!

A photo posted by Aimee Esparaz (@mama2greatkids) on

I am beyond excited to share that, in the New Year, I stepped full-time into the role of Ministry Relations Representative for the Greater Toronto Area for Compassion Canada!

I am still pinching myself... as sometimes I still think that this can't be really happening. It is a huge gift to be able to work for an organization where I can live out Micah 6:8 in the most tangible and realest way.

This decision definitely didn't come easy... only after much prayer, contemplation and soul-searching. It is a scary YES, but also equally exciting!

In the early days of considering this opportunity, these verses from Ephesians 3:7-21 have been paramount as God used them to speak to me:
This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.
And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!
All this is proceeding along lines planned all along by God and then executed in Christ Jesus. When we trust in him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. So don’t let my present trouble on your behalf get you down. Be proud!
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
There were also many markers, allowing me to see God's hand in all.of.this.change... markers that God seemingly put in place to let me know that He's got this!

Little details such as the verse from Leviticus 23:22, the verse we found bookmarked, highlighted and underlined in our beloved Papa's Bible as we sifted through his earthly belongings after his home-going to heaven. We have since sought to live out the meaning of this verse in our family's everyday life.
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.
And I don't think it's a coincidence that this very verse is the explanation behind Compassion International's blue corner. I was absolutely blown away when I recently realized the connection. 

Or little details such as this video of Wess Stafford's story. Wess, or Papa Wess as he is fondly known to many, is President Emeritus of Compassion International. In the video, he invites everyone to join him as advocates for childrenall children.

He says, "Maybe it's joining us at Compassion..." and "together, we can make the world a better place for these children."

His story caused me to look back to my childhood and it resonates strongly with me... once a damaged child, now entrusted with a ministry serving the world's most vulnerable children... evidence that God is in the business of transfiguring brokenness into something beautiful! 

And that question at the end of the video... "What about the rest of them?" That question fuels me. It is the very reason our family tirelessly advocates for Compassion for many years now.

Or little details such as God's hand in ensuring that the transition from my current job is done well and that I leave with a good testimony. This is of paramount importance to me as my manager has been such a blessing to me all these years.

I absolutely count these thirteen years that I've worked for her as pure gift because it has allowed me to stay home for my children during their most formative years. Not many mamas have had the same opportunity!

I have been utterly blown away at how impeccable the timing is and how seamless the transition has been. Only God could have arranged those details... for which I will forever be grateful!

Now, a new God-adventure has begun... one that is beyond what I've asked for or even imagined, just like the verse from Ephesians 3:20 says.

How awesome is it that I get to have my family along (sometimes!) with me at work? How awesome is it that they are all equally as passionate about Compassion's mission as I am? How awesome is it that we acknowledge this as God's calling on our entire family, and not just for me?

So breathtakingly awesome. More than words can even express. 

I am utterly humbled and deeply grateful... can't wait to see what God has in store!

Our most favourite thing to do together as a family!

This photo is special to me because it was taken at my last official event as an Advocate... 
 but, once an Advocate, always an Advocate! I will always, always, always be an Advocate at heart! ♥
And did I mention that I get to work with this amazingly crazy bunch of people?
This awesome team represents Compassion Canada across this vast country of ours.
I am blessed. I can bless. Imagine! I could let Him make me the gift!
I could be the joy!
In an endless cycle of grace, He gives us gifts to serve the world. This is how to make a life great and eucharisteo embarks us on the path: "Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave" (Matthew 20:26-27).
It's the fundamental, lavish, radical nature of the upside-down economy of God.
Empty to fill.
Here I can become the blessing, a little life that multiplies joy, making the larger world a better place.
God can enter into me, even me, and use these hands, these feet, to be His love, a love that goes on and on and on forever, endless cycle of grace.

~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.

About Aimee Esparaz... Aimee is mother to two teens and is passionate about living out Micah 6:8 with her family. She is a sponsor, an advocate and, since January 2016, Compassion Canada's Ministry Relations Representative for the Greater Toronto Area. In her spare time, she loves to read and garden, and blogs at A Mom On A Mission.
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