raw & real

Hey, it has been a while. This journal is going to be super raw and real, because life is super raw and real here. If i am being completely honostly, i haven’t journaled in a few week because i feel so broken. I have sat down multiple times to try to write but i just can’t seem to gather my thoughts enough to write something worth posting. But i think i have come to the conclusion that i will never be ready to express how i feel in writing. It just doesn’t do it justice, the words aren’t fitting to the true emotions, the scene isn’t the same through the page, the kids are far greater than my explanations will do. My love for them keeps me up at night, their laughs replay in my mind constantly, their smiles overshadow any beauty I’ve ever seen, their hugs spark something inside me. Almost daily i cry myself to sleep due to the pure helpless feeling that these kids are orphans, they aren’t just living here for 9 months like i am. This is there life, that they got thrown head first into without a warning or even a hand to hold. So no matter how angelic or pure my writing is, nothing will due justice to the emotions i feel like i am drowning in. But i will do my best to give you a glimpse into my life right now. So with that being said, right now i feel like i am constantly in a daze and i think that is just because i have way to many emotions swelling up that i just do not have time to process through. I have seen things i never thought i would see in my whole life, i have felt things i never want to feel again, but i am more content in this life than i have ever been. The reason i feel so broken is because of how vast, uncontrollable, radiant, and wild my love is for these kids. I am broken because i feel helpless. When they hurt, oh the sting of that pain runs through me like electricity, when their joy ignites them into dancing, better take off your shoes and start dancing, when they cry, oh how i want to cherish every one of those tears and hold them until they are confident to stand again, and when they laugh, its the most contagious, beautiful sound this world has ever heard. I am in tears just writing this because just thinking about them sparks something in me. I wish you all could truly understand why each one of these kids own my heart but for now, experience them through my words. These babies are my pride and joy. I will never be the same because of them. I feel so overwhelmed that the Lord chose little ole brinley to do this. I by no means was ready for this but Jesus doesn’t call the prepared, He prepares the called. He is definitely equipping me daily because every day is different from the last, that is for sure. There are so many highs and lows that come with living here. The lows come and break me until i literally feel like i can’t do another day, but the highs are glorious and uplifting, it is a crazy balance i don’t think i will ever get used to. I love all my friends, i love this country, i love these kids with every cell in me, but there are definitely times all the energy i have left is to just cry, and these times have actually become so dear to me. The moments i can’t seem to control my tears is the sweetest opportunity to just sit and let Jesus wash over me. Letting Him into the deepest low moments and just telling Him how big my heart is for these children, He reminds me how big His heart is for me and the love i have for these kids doesn’t even compare to His love for them. I have gotten a whole new glimpse into love and what it really is. Feeling it so deeply in your core that you can barely get up in the morning because it paralyzes you in the best way possible. Not being able to sleep at night because all i want to do is hold these kids to make them feel safe for the first time in there life, waking up in panics thinking about how helpless they are and i wasn’t there if something happened. Not being able to think about anything except for the next time i get to hug them and remind them they have a purpose, their life isn’t wasted. This is love that breaks me. But i love feeling this way and i would not trade it for the world. 

Jesus is worth it

well hey there, it has been a hot second since my last journal entry. Here is a quick update on life. This past weekend i flew home for a few days to attend one of my dearest friend’s wedding (Congratulations Christy & Conner, I love y’all!!) Oh how refreshing it was to see my family and friends for a couple of days, i soaked up all the air conditioning, lack of rats, and took as many hot showers as i pleased…i must say it was glorious. BUT the whole time i craved to love on my sweet babies again. I never realized how much i deeply love every aspect of living in the Dominican until i didn’t have it anymore. So, with that being said, i am so excited to be currently sitting on a plane about to land in Santo Domingo to go straight back to chasing naked babies down the hall who have escaped from the tub, teaching them the phrase “i love you”, because they have never heard it before, holding kids who have had such a lack of nurturing in their life, and tying 13-year-old kids’ shoes because no one ever took the time to teach them. I hate goodbyes more than anything, but it is good to be heading back. 

So, a lot has happened in the past 2 weeks, i moved out of the orphanage and into our mentor’s house. I moved out due to instructions by leaders and unhealthy living conditions. Honestly, if it were up to me i would have stayed in the orphanage. If rats in my bed means i get to wake up a sweet 7-year-old and get him ready for school, i would choose that 1 million times. I am a go all in kind of person, so if i have an opportunity to take a hot shower, i will chose to make it cold because that is what all my little babies have to do every day of their life. But i am grateful for the leadership over me and their wonderful guidance to a better/safer experience as a missionary. They are truly the best leaders, shout out to Tiffany & Carlos. I love y’all!!  Anyway, now that i do not live in the orphanage my schedule has gotten a little wild. Here is my Monday - Friday schedule. My day starts at about 7am with Spanish class, afterwards i go somewhere to plan my curriculum, then i teach a 2 hour English class at the local school, then i ride the bus back to the orphanage and help out there until 6:30, after that i usually go eat with my friends, do homework, or go to a Bible study. My days are jam packed and i have never had to be so dependent on Jesus for strength. Not just physical strength but emotionally. Last week, all my babies (the orphans) had a banquet to go to. The girls spent hours getting ready and were so excited to have a dress of their own. They all could not stop looking at themselves in the mirrors and were constantly asking me to take their picture. I was so pumped for them to get out of the orphanage for an evening because they are there 24/7. As we were gathering all the kids to get on the bus to leave, i couldn’t find my sweet girl Estephany. She is a beautiful 10 year old girl who has my whole heart wrapped around her finger. I looked and looked and finally found her in the corner of an upstairs bedroom. She was sobbing, i mean hyperventilating crying. I raced over and cradled her in my arms. I asked her what was wrong and she said her dress didn’t fit, so i stood her up and did my best to assure her that her dress was absolutely flawless, even though it was definitely way too big. She kept crying and mumbling through the tears “i am so ugly” and i grabbed her little face and said Estephany, “you are beautiful, i wish i looked like you” She grinned but kept crying. I then took off my neckless and hooked it around her neck, i slid all my bracelets off and rapped them around her fragile little wrist. She was elated but still clearly wasn’t confident in her appearance. I took her hand and walked her to the bus, on our way, she grabbed my phone out of my pocket and went to my spanish translation app. She typed for a second and then showed me the translation, it said ‘“i am trash”. This broke me. I grabbed her and squeezed her with everything i had in me, while trying my best to reminded her of her beauty even with the language barrier. It is moments like these i am not prepared for. A 10 year old girl convinced that she is trash is something my heart can’t handle. But in that moment i felt the love of the Father use me as a physical embrace to that little girl. Jesus saw that His daughter was hurting, so He used me as a vessel to hug on this little girl and remind her of her worth. This is why i am here, to love on kids like The Father would. If i were to react out of my own emotions towards this, i would break down and cry due to the hurting little heart of my precious Estephany, BUT Jesus numbed my emotions so i was only filled with pure love straight from the Father so i could comfort her as if it were Jesus doing it Himself. It was pretty cool. Always allow the Lord to work through you, it changes everything.   

This is the life the Lord has called me to and i honestly would not trade it for the world. Yes, it is by far the hardest, most draining thing i have ever done, and i have had to give up way more than i anticipated. BUT what my mindset is towards all of this is, my life is not my own. When i gave my life to Christ, I GAVE it to him. Brinley’s life died when i was 6 when i surrendered my life to Jesus. When Jesus says go right.. I’ll go right without hesitation, when He says go left, I’ll go left in a heartbeat. Sometimes it is hard saying yes but that is when the Lord does a little extra lovin’ and assures you of His protection & guidance over your life. If i had a thousand more life times, i would give every single one up for the sake of Jesus’ love being shared. As a warrior for The Kingdom, it is my responsibility to passionately share His freedom, His grace, His love, and His FUN!! Whether that is across the world or across the street, we are called to proclaim His name. Yes, Jesus called me to live in an orphanage and sometimes i think “whoa is this really my life right now, is Jesus really worth this?”  and it takes about 20 seconds of selfish brinley to leave and i can loudly, confidently, and boldly scream, YESSS. Jesus IS worth it!!! God can take you who are well clothed and fed and he can make you hungry, and thirsty so you desperately seek for His daily bread. This is what i pray for my life. Jesus take away my desires so i solely thirst for You. He wants us to be completely dependent on Him alone. There has never been a moment when Jesus left you alone, there has never been a moment Jesus was not who He says He is. He is love, He is mercy, He is grace, He is strength, He is comfort, and there has never been a second He wasn’t all those things and SOOOO much more. Run the race now that you will wish you had run at the end of your life. Don’t wait to follow Jesus whole heartedly and desperately. It is super fun, trust me on that one.

life in the orphanage

hey ya”ll!!! welcome back!! So here is my journal entry part 2. I have been living in the DR for a week now and honestly it has been the best week of my life. Having no hot water, a head full of lice.. yes lice, no AC, not speaking spanish well at all, constantly forgetting you can never flush toilet paper, having people offer me chicken feet for lunch and accidentally brushing my teeth with sink water because thats what i would do at home but here, thats a big no no. Although i was not prepared to see a tarantula so big that we literally had to drive around it. BUT heres the thing, i can say all that with the happiest heart & the biggest smile on my face because i truly would not have it any other way. I am so content, and i love every second of all this discomfort. And I’m not saying that to brag on my self because i will be the first to admit, i LOVE AIR CONDITIONING, especially when all i am allowed to wear is jeans. I am telling you all that because this love for uncomfortableness , is SO Jesus. My nature is to complain but even before i came i prayed that my words be only from the Lord, and i can truthfully say that He is consuming my words. 

 Here is just an update on whats going on, yesterday i moved into the orphanage. This orphanage has about 120 orphans who are all from trauma situations. I was expecting to walk into a place that had no joy, no life, and really just no Jesus. BUT oh boy i was in for a treat. I walked in and was surrounded with about 30 kids under the age of 7. I was not just surrounded, i think they thought i was some sort of play ground, i had kids playing with my hair, 3 little toddlers in my arms desperetly trying to rap my arms around them as tight as possible, and i even had a little boy specifically whipping his boogers on my left ankle. yeah that was pretty gross but i truly did not care even a little bit. I was more worried about not being able to fit all 30 orphans in my arms. I have never seen such a taste of the joy of Jesus in my whole life. Every one of these kids were just SO excited there was a new person to climb on. And i was equally excited to be there “tia” (aunt) for the next 8 months. Through boogers on my ankles to giggles straight from Jesus, i am so happy to be here. My prayer is that i give every ounce of myself to these kids, so that Jesus has to be the one that refuels me. I could say this 1 million times & it still would not do it justice… i love these kids, & i love this place. 

There are many things that I was definitely not prepared for and last night kind of tipped it all over the edge. So i am on the top of a bunk bed and right next to my head is this shelf to the other room. See our rooms here in the orphanage are kind of set up like bathroom stalls, everyone has there privacy but if you get high enough, you can see everything. Let me just set the scene…it was about 12pm, i was laying in my bed trying to get my mind off of how hot i was. I was just laying on my bare mattress when i heard something. I looked to my left and it was a humongous RAT. A rat so big you could hear its foot steps. I am not one to freak out about stuff like that, so i just kind of watched it for a second pondering what to do. As i set about 2 feet from this rat, i watched it move into my roommates & i’s clothes. Then I’m pretty sure the Holy Spirit was like “come on Brinley, you’ve got to do something” Because honestly, i would not have done anything, i would have just learned to live with a rat in our room hahaha. So then i peaked down onto the bottom bunk and woke up Lily, my roommate. Lily has a massive fear of anything that moves that is under a cat size, so i knew this was up to me to kill it. Also let me mention, we have no light in our room. I ponder all the ways to kill this thing, and somehow grabbing a broom seemed like the best idea. Don’t get too excited, i looked for 30 mins and found nothing. So currently Lily & I have an unseen, and uninvited 3rd roommate. I woke up this morning physically and mentally so exhausted. I will admit, i am tired of being so hot all the time and not having a nice cold glass of water to drink, and yes i am tired of constantly worrying about how many times i was bit by misquotes during the night. And last night was no different, i was mentally just tired. But i woke up this morning with the peace that His mercies are new EVERY morning. He is truly using me completely up until i feel like i can not do it anymore, and then the next morning i am so ready to do it all again. After the rat situation last night, i woke up this morning thinking, well that was bad… but surely it can not getting any worse. Low and behold our electricities goes out. Which means NO FAN. Honestly, i just laughed and kept sweeting. Jesus just whispered to my heart in that moment “my precious Brinley, I am way more than enough”. Yep, that is the Jesus whom i love, whom i thirst to serve, and whom i will gladly give up electricity for. Ya’ll, when the Lords takes away something, He always replaces that void with Himself. So if that means a head consumed by lice means more of Jesus, well dang, give me all the lice ya got!! 

 here are some specific prayer request lily and i have that i would love for you to pray along side us with. 

1. Rest, resting is hard and just kind of not fun when it is so hot and we feel obligated to be somewhere else. 

 2. Health, lily & i have both been bitten by numerous bugs and we are praying against any infections.

 3. Safety, it is difficult to get around here not knowing much of the language.

 Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. It is absolutely fueling.  

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