Lily's kids

Lily's kids

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A piece of my heart

I was able to speak at church today and share a piece of my heart for the children at Casa de Esperanza in Bolivia and also share about how WONDERFUL God has been in the past few years. Here it is! :)

1) Can you tell us about your history at SGC?

I came to Sovereign Grace with my family when I was in second grade and pretty much grew up here. It has been such an amazing blessing to grow up in a family where Jesus is the center. I have been so blessed to be able to a member of a church where I can hear gospel centered teaching and be encouraged and led my church family.

2) In general what are you doing in Bolivia?

I am a house mom or “Tia” to the 10 littlest children at Casa de Esperanza. I have three babies, three toddlers, three kindergartners and a teenager in my house. It is definitely a crazy adventure and I learn something new every day about loving and raising so many kids.

I do a lot of little things. Wipe noses, kiss scraped knees, potty train toddlers, help with homework, give baths, sweep the floor for the millionth time, wash clothes, laugh at the goofiness of my little ones... and all those little things turn into one big one. I get to love! Every single day I get to love these precious children. I get to see them grow. I get to tell them that Jesus loves them. I get to teach them a little more each day. I get to hear them call me “Tia Lily” and “Mommy” every single day and I love it.

I can’t fix their colds, their tummy aches, or their hurting hearts. I can’t heal the scars they carry that some of them don’t even realize they have. I can’t fix the desire they will have for a mommy of their own. All I can do is continually give them back to God and love them as hard as I can. I can tell them of God’s love for them and show them my own love. They are not forgotten. They are not unwanted. They are not unloved. They are BEAUTIFUL. CHERISHED. PRECIOUS. And God loves them because they are His!

3) Tell us about what it is like to declare the gospel at Casa de Esperanza.

This looks very different at times. The biggest part is LIVING out the Gospel. God has completely changed my life by saving me out of darkness and  pray that my life would be marked by His love. God is gracious and patient with me as I learn to patiently love and serve in Bolivia.

With the little ones in my home it is daily loving them like Christ loves me. It’s definitely God’s grace helping me learn to be patient with so many little ones, being gracious and forgiving, asking for forgiveness when I lose my patience… But also it is a joy to share with them of God’s love for them. To explain to them that they DO have a loving Father. Every night we have a time of devotions and they love learning about Jesus and how He died for them on the cross.
We sing worship songs in Spanish and they have even learned some in English. Their favorite is “Jesus loves me” and my three year old Peniel always asks me if she should sing in English or Spanish. Before bed I pray with each of them and it has been such a blessing to hear them pour out their little hearts to Jesus.

With the older kids and teenagers at Casa de Esperanza it is very different. Every day during lunch, the kids hear about God’s love for them and the gospel and some of them are very open to hearing the gospel and asking for prayer. But there are others who are struggling with their past and with anger and rebellion. It is God who saves. But God also provides opportunities to speak truth into the darkness. I have been amazed seeing hardened hearts soften as they hear of God’s unfailing love for them. God knows His children and the prayers, encouragement and truth we speak are seeds planted in their hearts.

Another part of my heart is for the other Tias (house moms) working at the orphanage. Many of them are young believers and have not been taught and cared for. Many of them have suffered abuse in their lives and are lonely and afraid. It has been amazing to see the ways God has blessed these friendships that I have with these ladies. God has used me to gently point them to the scriptures and to a personal relationship with Him. There have been multiple times where I will just ask a Tia how they are doing and they will break down crying and ask for prayer. My prayer is that these ladies would cast themselves into the loving arms of their Savior.

4) Can you give us an idea of where orphans at Casa de Esperanza come from?

I have seen so much hardship and pain in the last 3 years living in Bolivia. I have seen children abandoned. I have seen abuse, neglect, fear, shame. I have comforted ladies who had just been beaten and abused by their husbands and boyfriends. I have hugged teenagers still dealing with the affects of abuse from when they were little. I have prayed over sick little ones. I have talked with elderly grandparents dealing with loneliness and pain. I have seen desperation and emptiness. I have seen brokenness. This is the life that the kids are coming out of.

July arrived at Casa de Esperanza. I have never seen a little girl so closed off and afraid of life. Her mother had given birth to her when she was twelve years old and two years later, at fourteen, had committed suicide. July, at two years old, was left living with her elderly grandfather who could not care for her. For the first few months that July lived with me I rarely saw her smile or play. She would look up at me with her giant brown eyes and just watch me. But slowly God started to work in her little heart. As little July slowly adjusted to living in a place where she was loved and cared for and safe, she slowly started to heal.   God’s love is so much stronger than any fear or pain. His love overcame death. His love saves. His love heals. His love is life. I literally watched July transform and blossom. God doesn’t just love us, He gives us life! I remember the directors and the older kids saying things like, “Wow, I have never seen her smile before!” and “Look, July’s laughing!” It was unbelievable and still is to watch God’s love transform lives like July’s. The love we give out is just an overflow of the love that the Lord gives us. It is such a blessing to share that love with these beautiful children and see them bloom and grow.

And in spite of all the pain and fear these kids have experienced, I have seen a love and care far greater than I could ever imagine. I have seen God give hope and a new life to the desperate and broken. I have seen God give strength to the weak, and life to the dead. I have seen time and time again that Jesus is the way the truth and the life.

5) Lily, now that you have been in Bolivia for three years what are your great challenges? How has God met you in these challenges?

There are definitely struggles to living overseas. I am away from my family and church family, dealing with a new language and culture and learning how to love hurting children. I get tired. Really tired sometimes. Trying to sleep through the night with 10 babies and toddlers is not always easy. There is so much to do and it can be easy to be more occupied with getting everything done rather than enjoying each day God has given me with these kids. Being a mom isn’t easy.There are always a hundred things to do and a million distractions that keep you from doing them. So many times I fall into the trap of doing things in my own strength. I try to be a good Tia and keep a clean house and forget to rely on Christ. I forget to rest in Him. I have had to realize that I can’t do it all. I’ve seen that in my weakness, God’s strength is all I need. And the craziest thing is that I’ve learned to rest in that. I don’t have to be perfect. I’m going to mess up. But I know that God’s grace is sufficient. He is slowly conforming me to His will.

6) Lily can you tell us what God has been teaching you during your time in Bolivia.

What I’m doing isn’t because of me. God has been so gracious to use me to love these kids. I lose my patience and fall short but God picks me up and reminds me of the gospel. That I am His and that He has died for me and that nothing can take me from Him. I am His forever and ever and I can rest in Him knowing that He loves me and loves these kids. Sometime’s I feel broken by my sin and impatience but I cling to the cross and God’s grace and Christ’s blood. I don’t deserve this love but cry out in thanks for all the love God gives. I am loved and cherished. A daughter of god and His love for me is unending. Why should I doubt or fear with that love surrounding me?

I have seen God’s faithfulness again and again. There are hard days and trials but I know that God is using these struggles to mold my heart. These struggles hurt. The tears come but God uses them to wash away old hurts and frustrations. These trials are bittersweet. In the midst of them there is pain and I have to continue to cry out to God for strength. But as the trials pass, I see the sweetness of His love for me as He reminds me to be strong and courageous because He is with me. I have a long way to go. I have a lot to learn. God continues to lead and guide me. I can rest in Him because I know that He will never leave me and has me exactly where He wants me. I can trust Him in spite of the hard moments and trials. I rest in my Jesus because He loved me first and every day I want to fall more in love with Him. Every day I want less of Lily and more of Jesus. My life isn’t about me or even about loving orphans. It is a story of amazing grace. Of God sending His son down to change my life and also the lives of 70 kids. As I stumble along, I can feel Jesus smiling down on me, delighting and rejoicing over me. How amazing! The way I l love these kids can’t even compare to how much Jesus loves me, keeps me and delights in me.

7) As we have spoken the past few weeks you have mentioned your affection for SGC. Explain this.

It is seriously so awesome to come home to Sovereign Grace Church. Living overseas, I feel like I have two homes and always miss a part of my heart no matter where I am. When I’m here in the States I miss Bolivia and the kids like crazy and when I’m there I always am missing my family. But coming back here to Sovereign grace is like coming home. Every Sunday while I’m gone I miss worshiping alongside you all and the preaching. We are so blessed to have pastors who really lead us and preach the gospel to us every week. I am so blessed by you all.

  1. How can we be praying for you as a church this next year?

First that God would continue to lead and guide me as I serve in Bolivia. Pray that God would continue to give me strength and joy and that He would be my everything.

Also, that God would continue to work in the lives and hearts of the kids and Tias working at Casa de Esperanza and transform their lives by the gospel. These kids have a gone through a lot of pain and only Jesus can heal their hurting hearts. Please pray that they would turn and cling to Jesus who loves them far more than we can.

I also have a more specific prayer request… I get a message on Thursday telling me that the grandfather of one of the little boys in my house, Ariel, is trying to get him back. Ariel arrived several months ago at Casa de Esperanza and has really adjusted well after being taken out of a dangerous situation from his mother. I have never met his grandfather and so I don’t know what the home situation would be if his grandfather ends up getting custody. Please be praying that God would protect Ariel. I selfishly don’t want to see Ariel leave Casa de Esperanza but I want God’s will and I know that God loves Ariel far more than I ever could. So pray that God would protect Ariel and that whatever decision is made, that it would be the best thing for him.

So blessed by my church family and by all the support I've received in the past few years. God is good and all the glory to Him!!!

~Lily Fluharty

1 comment:

Kristi F. said...

What you shared with everyone at church, Lily, was beautiful. You gave a vivid picture of what life is like at CDE and how God is at work in each and every life there! You are pouring your life into all of those precious children! God is using you in mighty ways to proclaim His love and goodness!