One Word

People are doing this thing.

This thing where they carefully select one word at the beginning of the year.

One word to define your year; a tool to guide your journey through the coming new year in a way that will allow for substantial and focused growth.

I haven’t ever thought much about having one word. In my mind, it’s a great concept- but much like resolutions, they come with a limited lifespan.

However, I’m finding myself returning time and time again to a certain theme in my life. It is something between health, healing, and wholeness…

Coming from a year that has undoubtedly changed me more than any other time or situation in my life, I’m carrying an awareness of how much this season has taught me. Not only taught me, but aged me… taken a toll on my heart and soul, and I’ve come to the moment where the necessity of collecting myself with a deep breath, and focus on what is ahead is crucial for my well-being.

So what’s the word?

I woke up last Sunday morning, knowing I was going to go visit a new church- I had been talking myself into it all week.

Alone.

In a new city.

With no one to step through the doors with me, nothing to stabilize me, and no idea what to expect. Completely dependent on trusting that the Lord would be my security. Mulling through all of these fears that morning, something came to mind….

“All I need is to feel safe as I seek Him.”

As the Pastor began his introduction he mentioned the name of the church, “Sanctuary”, how this place was reflective of its name, a place of “safety to seek the sacred”.

There it was.

I texted a few friends…

“I’m trying a new church this morning. I’m nervous. In fact, I’m sitting in the pew about to burst into tears.”

And then it happened.

Ugly, sniffly, tears.

Everyone saw… at least I was fairly sure they did.

I’ll be honest, I’ve retracted some this year.

My heart has been hurt, my trust has been pressed, and I’ve come out a little less open and much more wary. It is hard for me to feel safe these days; the state of my soul being slightly fractured.

When your soul is splintered in this way, it translates into everything. How your body feels, how tired you are, the effort you put into relationships, how you view the world and the people who fill it…

The refracted light bouncing off these fragmented pieces is shedding some new perspective on what should happen in my life this coming year.

I need to heal.

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My heart, my body, my soul.

I have yet to find out how that works, what direction it will take me, and what it will cost me.

But I do know these things…

It will happen with safe, loving community.

It will happen with a little bit of pain.

It will happen with heartbreak and hard decisions.

It will be freedom.

 

 

Golden Heart and Celeste Eyes

This day was filled with thoughts of you.

Upon awakening this morning; I felt drained, emotional, and like one more roll over might do the trick.

You came to mind.

Imagining you rolling over as well, eyes that my own tend to mimic, hazy on opening, puppy between legs, and cat curled around neck, the stretch and roll was no doubt hindered more than mine.

My eyes that so match yours slowly closed.

In my mind I am wandering the hall from my room to yours… thinking about this new empty space in your morning.

The last one left home not long ago.

My father, the cat, and the dog, now the only recipients of your daily morning grace. 

I know that these mornings are likely hard, just as the afternoons are difficult to pass now, and the evenings bring challenges all their own.

In all the right ways, we are the same. So I know, as your days stroll forward you see our footprints everywhere.

In the driveway, across the lawn, to and from the mailbox, propped up on the coffee table. We’ve left our signs of life in droplets all over your path.

So I know, these days are hard. Empty nest and such.

Take heart.

You let us fly from the highest places- whether a tree fort or a plane… you flung our doors wide open.

Watching the journeys of these days are the reward for your love.

Golden heart and celeste eyes; your hues are splashing all over the world, and touching more lives than you could have ever imagined.

Those who love him, love the strength and wisdom you have passed on.

The ones who treasure the other him, admire the capacity for loyal friendship you have instilled.

Everyone that crosses her path sees how your gentle touch carries on like an innate gene.

And then there are the ones who hear the other her’s words and know the deepness and sincerity in her voice, can only be yours.

You, who are our home

We will always return.

And we will bring with us the gifts of full life- no matter the hurdles and heartache we pass each year.

Because you have taught us; a full life is always present, if we will only walk in it.

So, roll over once more tomorrow morning, blink wide and take an extra few minutes.

Pet the cat, pour your coffee, sit on your porch, and declare that you have done well these past 30 years…

 

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Homecoming.

What has happened?

It has been an incredible journey!

The past 11 months have been some of the most difficult, challenging, powerful, and life-changing months of my life. I have experienced the most real, Jesus-filled, practical-gospel fueled ministry I have ever been privileged to be a part of.

I have been on rescues that have saved lives. 

I have seen God use the talents he’s given me to challenge hearts.

I have seen new life, the sadness of death, and I’ve had to bury a child.

Experiences never to be forgotten.

With these months of growth behind me, there are now new challenges as I move from full-time, support based ministry… to life back in the states.

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What is next?

This next stage of life is exciting, and I have been waiting for an opportunity to share it with you all:

  • My leave date from Guatemala is approximately November 15th.
  • I will be moving to Providence, Rhode Island to take a staff position with Hope of Life International- the ministry I have volunteered for during the last year.
  • My role will include: acting as the lead writer for the ministry, helping with marketing and branding, and being support staff for other ministry related projects and needs.
  • I will be traveling back and forth to Guatemala on a regular basis to gather the stories and news I will need to do my job, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to keep my feet on the ground down here semi-regularly!

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What are the needs?

As many of you know, the Lord provided in big ways as I began my journey to being in full time ministry this year. Within the first month of arriving in Guatemala, my year was fully funded and I was able to put aside the monetary concern and pursue my responsibilities with a full focus.

However, as I head towards this transition, there are a few costs that I am asking for help with as I come out of full time ministry. 

  • I had to undergo multiple dental procedures over the last 3 months. While the cost is minimal compared to what it would be in the states- it was nearly $2,000 of dental work that was necessary. This was emergency cost not originally factored into my budget for the year.
  • Travel expenses home: It will take about $1,000 to get me and my belongings home. I am hoping to purchase a ticket as soon as possible to avoid that being a higher cost.
  • Anything additional would be an enormous help, as I will be looking for a place to live, changing my state of residency, and re-establishing myself in the states!

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Thank you!

I cannot explain the blessing, support, and guidance that has been provided this year through my incredible community. You have sent notes, and care packages, and prayed daily, weekly, and monthly- and you have stuck with me each day as I did my best here.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. 

Thank you for supporting me in prayer and financially. 

Thank you for rescuing lives, for saving babies, for providing food, and for helping in ways you will never ever know. 

You have changed the world this year.


If you are interested in supporting my move home, visit:

http://igg.me/at/tiffanyiscominghome/x/1552510

Or if you’d like more information on needs, prayers requests, or questions email:

tiffanyeriksen@gmail.com

It’s October 5th

It is October 5th, 10:34am

I know where I was on October 5th of last year.

Probably about this time, I was sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee that my Mother so lovingly made me. Maybe even complete with my favorite creamer she had so thoughtfully purchased knowing I was coming home. Accompanied by the cat and bedhead, I was no doubt still swirling every thought and emotion of the previous month.

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“A craft room is going to make for a very inconvenient living space.”

“Drawing unemployment really feels like a defeat.”

“I have to babysit tonight. I’m 27. I just moved home after losing my job. And I have to babysit. This is not ideal.”

(I almost cancelled on the babysitting. This falls as #421 on the list of “Things I’m Thankful I Didn’t Talk Myself Into.”)

Babysitting was not such a bad task after all. I found a kindred spirit that day.

Is it not astounding, the change occurring in our lives each day? These days which add up to months, and the months which add up to a year…. a year responsible for developing some of the most acute heartaches and victories I have ever experienced.

Things I have learned:

  1. Don’t ever use the word “that” in writing. This is challenging, and the best thing I’ve learned about my craft this year. I know- so simple.
  2. A writer has to re-locate their voice about once a month. Especially when there is little to no time to write for oneself. Some days it is easier for me to write as a 60+ year old Guatemalan man than it is for me to write as myself.
  3. It is ok not answer a question simply because it is asked. Revelation.
  4. Friendships span oceans. I have been gifted with incredible kindred spirits in my life, which have encouraged, guided, and validated my humanity with no reservations.
  5. Speaking of humanity. It is ok to be human, and it’s ok to remember that you are. Just don’t stay there. Learn and grow.
  6. At 28 you start seeing wrinkles around your eyes.
  7. Introversion is not a handicap.
  8. Not everyone needs to approve of your life or the decisions you make, or the things that you struggle with.
  9. Everything will be ok.
  10. Pursuing a dream is the hardest work you can do in your lifetime.

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A year removed from what felt like the potential for a world crushing shift in life, a new precipice is settling stoic in the distance. The invitation placed in front of my feet, and this next step simply awaiting a response- a pursuit.

The steps are stepped, decisions are decided, and minds are made.

And what remains- is thankfulness, an acknowledgment and appreciation of the struggle of the last year and an acceptance of the struggle this new year will carry in on it’s back.

Thankfulness for the Providence of it all. 

 

The Most Unnatural of Occurrences

Yesterday, I was the last person to cradle Cristel in my arms.

She had died only a few minutes before… and with everything in me, I will never be able to forget that moment.

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I held a dead child for the first time. 

Dug her grave.

Filled a small hole on the side of a mountain

Buried her.

That is not my typical Monday at the office.

Most days, I get to write:“We saved (insert number) babies”, “She made it, we’re praising God.”, “He needs prayer, but we think he’ll make it.”, “She is only X pounds, but we reached her in time.”

Yesterday was not one of those days.

It was a day to write of loss.

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It was one of those days that you remember the verses that talk of death, and life, and how everything has a season. Somehow it’s a little harder to put those verses into perspective. Like a puzzle piece that fits, but was cut slightly crooked, forcing you to push it in a little harder… the edges creasing the surrounding pieces just a bit.

“For everything there is a season…” for everything? How do you deal with the season of loss? 

And why does it feel like the most unnatural thing we have to experience in this life?

I will never believe when people state that death is just a natural part of life.

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Because it is not. 

We were never created to die.

When God formed our lungs, He did not create them to stop breathing.

When He created our hearts, they were not meant to stop beating.

When He molded the corners of our minds, He intended them to always function.

Death is the most unnatural thing, and the greatest consequence of sin.

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This is why the puzzle piece has to be squeezed in.

Because it was introduced after we were created. After our purpose and intention was formulated. It’s why everyone left behind feels ripped wide open… because we were created for relationships and community, and a piece of us is taken with those who leave.

I will always say it, There are no pretty words for loss.”

Yesterday as I stood over the tiniest grave I’ve ever seen… with no words, it sunk in. There are words for comfort, words for pain, and words for strength… but there are no pretty words for the most unnatural of occurrences.

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