I’ve Got You {Nicaragua, Day 5}


She was 8 years old when the man in the suit knocked on her door.  She had her father’s eyes but not his days.  She had seen more heartache in her brief years than most of her school friends would know in their lifetime.  She knew that she would always be different and wondered if everyone saw the world in so many shades of  broken blue.  She was sure that the man with the big smile and the shiny shoes lived in a world with brighter colors.  He was so nice. He spoke kind and laughed a lot.  He asked her what she liked to do and if she had ever been to Sunday School.  He asked her mom if she could ride the bus to church with him on Sunday.  Her mom said yes and one little lamb found the Shepherd.

He greeted her often on the rickety old bus.  They bounced up and down as they sang songs of redemption.  She grew into a teenager and he became her youth pastor.  She saw hope in his eyes and  knew that he saw something in her that she didn’t have eyes to see.  He believed in her and she began to dream that it was true—that she was made for a purpose, that she mattered, and that her life could be full of beautiful colors, too. He preached Jesus and planted life in her, until grace took root and flowered love and hope, in shades of technicolor only God could grow.  The seeds he planted 30 years ago twisted like vines toward the Light and took her to Nicaragua, where she found that love had come full circle and Grace was still crushing demons and making all things new.

That little girl was me.

And my sponsor’s name was David Cross.

He changed the trajectory of my life.  He flung open the doors and let the light in.  My world changed colors and deep red ran all through.

Beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news.

For years after he stood in the doorway of my house, his memory  lives large in my heart as the one who came for me.

When I was 16 years old, I went to a church camp and was given a trophy for camper of the week.  The first person I thought of was him. I knew  I wanted to give him my trophy and say thank you.  I remember that day like it was yesterday;  walking into his office full of tears and gratitude, fumbling for the right words.  I wrote him a letter that said what I knew I’d never have the dry eyes to say.  The power of the that relationship set off a series of dominos that is still falling to this very day.

I wouldn’t have called him my sponsor until last week.  I learned that a sponsor is not someone who gives $38 a month.    A sponsor is someone who takes a child by the hand and says, “I’ve got you, don’t worry.”  A sponsor is one who is willing to walk a long, sometimes difficult road with a child, to see that they make it safely Home.   A sponsor is someone who speaks life into a child.  The $38 just gives you the chance to speak.

Pastor Cross and I ended up living two towns apart.  I’ve reconnected with his  daughters, Julie and Amy, online.  His precious wife, Denise, wrote me a beautiful, life-giving letter after our fire.  Their family has given me a gift.  And I’ll never be the same.


If I could sum up this trip in one word, it would be this—repentance.

A steady stream of tears left me crushed.  Why so many tears?  Why so much heartache?  Who am I crying for?

The answer is me.

It’s my heart that needs changing.  It’s my poverty that threatens to break me.  And He has so much love for me that He will do what it takes to reach me.  He was the one coming for me, all along, and He’s still coming to me now, in the eyes of two beautiful little girls that are teaching me about love. This trip was his ‘I’ve got you,” and that Love has made our family and our hearts wider and deeper.

He knows how to take care of His children.  All of them.  And what a beautiful thing when He loves us by giving us others to love.


“I’ve Got You,” by Shaun Groves.  (push play and enjoy a few of my favorite memories from Nicaragua)

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://www.lifeingraceblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/06-Ive-Got-You.mp3″]


Got nothing in my hands to part these waves

Compassion Bloggers Nicaragua 2013 - Project 111 - Day 3
Got nothing in my bank account that saves

Got no more might left to muscle through

Compassion Bloggers Nicaragua 2013 - Project 111 - Day 3
But Oh, I’ve got you

I’ve got you

kmsd  582

Got demons gathered ’round oh laugh it up

Compassion Bloggers Nicaragua 2013 - Project 155 - Day 1
Spreading doubts a plenty I can’t drink this cup

Compassion Bloggers Nicaragua 2013 - Project 155 - Day 1
Got no one left who thinks I’ll make it through

But Oh, I’ve got you

I’ve got you

Compassion Bloggers Nicaragua 2013 - Project 186 - Day 2

I’ve got you, when all I’ve got is gone

I’ve got you, you satisfy my soul

Got faded memories of better days


Got a prayer that they’ll come back around my way

Compassion trip to Nicaragua 2013
You’ve got me and oh that gets me through

Oh, I’ve got you

I’ve got you
Oh, Jesus,  I’ve got you

I’ve got You.


Sponsor a child today and let His ‘I’ve got you’ settle down deep in your soul.  He loves you so much.  He really does.



(Music from Shaun Grove’s album Third World Symphony, which I highly recommend.)

Photography by Mike Varel and Keely Scott, who weave beautiful stories with their cameras.

Follow Compassion Bloggers for a wealth of  blessings.

Love you all and thank you for walking with me.


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  1. My daughter (17) just came back from church camp where she picked up papers to sponsor a child. Your posts have brought tears to my eyes. I pray that we make an impact in this child’s life. Thanks for posting about your trip.

  2. Crying like a baby in the kitchen right now 🙂 Thanks for using your gift of beautiful expression to share this testimony. I get it because I’m one of the many he sponsored as well. And every day I realize more and more how blessed I am to have Dave and Denise as my parents. You’ve blessed me today, and my dad will be so honored you wrote this. 🙂

    • I’ve been a mess all day, Jules! Love you all so much and cherish your love in my heart.
      Those parents of yours? Amazing channels of His grace.
      Sending you big hugs!!

  3. Edie, your writing has done this to me before and it has done it again! It has impacted my life in such a way I find it hard to express. Since you started posting about your trip, I think about these children and their families with every single thing I do or say or complain about. At church on Sunday, our homily was about what burdens do we bear like Jesus beared the cross. Some of the children gave the usual answers: make the bed, set the table, etc. These burdens are blessings in comparison to what these families endure every day! Love you! XOXO

    • I know, everything I see is filtered through their eyes. I hold oranges in the store and think of the little one who picked up an orange peel at the city dump and sucked on it. I climb into bed and think of my little Diana sleeping on cardboard. They are never far from my thoughts. Thank you for reading and for your love and prayers.
      Sending it right back to ya!!

  4. Thank you for going, opening your heart and sharing. My husband and I have sponsored compassion children for almost 10 years. It changes us. Their letters, their pastors’ letters, their pictures, their lives change us. After a lot of years, sponsorship can feel so distant. Your journey has encouraged me to reopen my heart again and again to these beautiful relationships that do exist, even if from afar. I am confident that one day we will meet our girls, even if after this world’s time.

  5. No, thank you for letting us walk this journey with you. I started looking through the bio’s of girls on Day 1 and praying that God would show me the one and by Day 4 he did. I am anxiously awaiting my packet in the mail. I sponsor a boy through World Vision and have wanted to sponsor a child through Compassion for quite a while now and you gave me the courage and final push to do it. Your life and your words change lives. So, thank you.

    • Big tears of joy here, Patty! Thank you for loving on the children of Nicaragua. They are special and you will be on the receiving end of so many blessings.
      Thank you. So much.
      Love to you and yours,

  6. I am wrecked.
    You’ve got me thinking about all the many people who have graciously “sponsored” me throughout my lifetime.

    There’s a post coming..it’s swelling up in my heart. You’re an inspiration…God radiates through you..your words…your story. truly beautiful.

    • I was a big bundle of tears our last night in Nicaragua, when this truth hit me like a rock. I have been sponsored. I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of this blessing. It changed everything for me.
      Much love to you, friend.

  7. Thank you Edie for sharing this. As Julie stated, apart from salvation, the greatest gift God has given me is my parents. I most definitely share in your sentiments. What an incredible testimony of grace.

    • David,
      In my mind, you are still an adorable 4 year old!! I know you’ve grown into a man a lot like your dad by now. I have the fondest memories of you, Amy, and Julie and your family will always hold a special place in my heart. Wishing you love and joy and grace of Jesus; gifts I received first from your dad.
      So grateful for you all.

  8. Thank you Edie, we seldom recognize those who have had such an impact on our lives. You are one of those who have and still are impacting my life. Thank you for your testimony of grace. The entire Cross Family has been a true godly example to my family for many years and continues to be even today. May God bless you as you share the love of Jesus with others!

    • Oh, Connie, what a treat to see your name here. So many wonderful memories of hearing your beautiful voice praising Him.
      My heart is full today, of all He has brought to mind of those tender years.
      Love to you,

  9. Oh Edie, You make my eyes melt! It has been such an honor to travel to Nicaragua with you this week. Your posts have touched my heart and given me tons to think and pray about. You have a gift with words, specifically putting GRACE into words that we can so easily understand. That we can FEEL. Thanks for sharing.

  10. A word from your sponsor… My heart is overwhelmed, Edie, at your God-given ability to express your heart and beautiful testimony of the grace of God. That’s the dearest and greatest honor you can give to me… loving HIM whose love is so amazing, so divine that it “demands my soul, my life, my all” (Isaac Watts). You are a blessing to me. You are speaking life to thousands. Thank you.

    • I was painting my daughter’s room today when I read this. And after I dried the flood of tears, I told them all about you, about you gave and gave and gave. I told them that they were kinda like your granddaughters in Jesus. They thank you, too, as they reap the benefits of your faithfulness to Christ. Wishing you and Denise so much love. Big, grateful hearts over here and a special thanks to your family for sharing you with so many others.

      • **as a reader, this interaction, conversation here on the comments — is a blessing to behold, to witness. Lord help us all to show the love of God to those around us. Bless you both.

  11. your words……your heart……..your love……..the song……..the pictures……….I see Jesus.

  12. So raw, real, life-changin, encouraging and mercy-filled.
    Thank You.
    With many tears, really, Thank You.
    God is at work here, it amazes me how He works through this crazy thing called the internet!
    I am blessed by your post.
    Grace and Peace.

    • Bless you, sweet Amy! I have such fond memories of you as a little girl.
      What a wonderful family you have and I know the blessings of your life with them just keep on giving.
      It’s hard to imagine my life without the influence of your dad.

      p.s. I’ve had those same tears bubbling near the surface all day!!

  13. Edie-
    Your writing and sharing absolutely takes my breath away-
    Thank you for sharing. And making a difference. Thank you to all those who sponsor and lead daily, not only in Nicaragua but everywhere. No act of kindness is ever wasted.

  14. Thank you for sharing these stories with us. I have loved reading about your time in Nicaragua and the love of God that you have both experienced and been able to show through this experience. The Compassion child that I sponsor is in Kenya. I have had the honor of reading his sweet letters since he was in kindergarten- now he’s 13. It’s wonderful to be able to see the good work that Compassion is doing around the world.

  15. I meant to write you earlier this week. Thank you for all of this. My boys were similarly affected by their trip to (I wish I could make this small print, like a whisper!) Chattanooga on their mission trip, although they lack your eloquence.

    We have decided to sponsor a child as a direct result of your week. I wanted you to know.

  16. Oh Edie.. this was stunning and beautiful and moving! It touched me deeply — especially the story of your visit with Diana and meeting her father and how the love of her family makes a home despite the cardboard and rags. Thank you for pouring out your heart and sharing. I followed the trip on the blog and instagram and wished so many times that I was there. I ditto what Cheryl said — my family already supports several ministries, but as a direct result of you sharing your week we decided to sponsor two children with Compassion. I even let my boys help to choose them on the site. So, two more children will be blessed because of you! Thank you! <3

  17. Beautiful song and beautiful words. Thank you for the posts, the words of life, the glimpse into the precious lives there in Nicaragua. I’m so blessed to be part of Compassion. Your words give me new vigor for keeping in touch with my little gal. thank you.

  18. Edie-your words always cut straight through to my heart. This post is so beautifully expressed with your God given gift of writing what your heart truly feels. As I read this post my mind can not help but think of the many children and even adults who need a sponsor. Someone who will bring them not only the Gospel but the gracious love of our Heavenly Father. My heart is overwhelmed with the thought of how many are out there needing someone to sponsor them and give them hope. And it is our responsibility to show them Gid’s love. It is MY responsibility to bring them the Good News of God’s love, mercy, and grace.
    Thank you for sharing this journey with us. For allowing God to use you to remove the scales from our eyes. God bless you sweet friend.

  19. Edie-your words always cut straight through to my heart. This post is so beautifully expressed with your God given gift of writing what your heart truly feels. As I read this post my mind can not help but think of the many children and even adults who need a sponsor. Someone who will bring them not only the Gospel but the gracious love of our Heavenly Father. My heart is overwhelmed with the thought of how many are out there needing someone to sponsor them and give them hope. And it is our responsibility to show them God’s love. It is MY responsibility to bring them the Good News of God’s love, mercy, and grace.
    Thank you for sharing this journey with us. For allowing God to use you to remove the scales from our eyes. God bless you sweet friend.

  20. Thank you so much for putting these thoughts into words and sharing them with us. What a blessing you have given and received through this visit. Your posts inspired me to write to all my kids, so I thank you for bringing the sights and sounds of Nicaragua to life for us here far away. My sponsor daughter Katherine lives outside of Leon, so when you were in Managua, it was quite close. Thank you for this!

  21. That picture of the precious angel praying just captures my heart. This picture should be framed and in all magazines. Thank you for sharing these amazing pictures and such wonderful writing in your visit to Nicaragua.

  22. Reading your words ‘She knew that she would always be different and wondered if everyone saw the world in so many shades of broken blue’ really touches me. That is how it feels and it can be carried and felt until it rubs one raw. We can end up with a lot of (psychologically) ugly scar tissue or, by the Grace of God, a David Cross reaches out and truly sees us. I am so happy for you Edie. I am thankful for the way you share the beauty from ashes. Jesus makes me feel like a Phoenix. 🙂

  23. Oh Edie!
    I am just now reading this post!

    I miss you! And I miss our time together in Nicaragua! Your words bring tears to my eyes, and these pictures just pierce my heart with longing to see those children again.

    Oh the blessings we experienced on that trip! I will never forget them.

    I love you so much!


  1. […] When I met my sponsored child, Diana, for the first time, I was gripped with emotion.  Her dark eyes seemed to see right through me.  I knew right away that she was one of those little ones with an old soul, who knows way more than she can articulate.  We became fast friends over hand games and lip gloss and nail polish.  We sat on her cardboard bed, playing games, getting to know each other,  and hoping that time would stand still.  On the day I was leaving, she held tight to my hand and asked if I was coming back.  She’s too young to care about what $38 a month means, but she knows when hope has been planted in the heart.  I had the same gift given to me and it changed the trajectory of my life forever. […]

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