Monday, March 23, 2015

on a hilltop

“You are the light of the world like a city on hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket . Instead a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your good deeds shine out for all to see , so that EVERYONE will praise your HEAVENLY FATHER.”
Matthew 5:14-16

We are simply vessels reflecting the light of our FATHER/MAKER/LOVER/LORD to reveal truth to the world around us. People are watching us and listening to us ……constantly…their hearts are searching for truth and we may be the only light and love they see in this dark world.

Life is so short. We must live for eternity. Obedience is truly bliss.

Because of our recent travels with my parents to Mount Nebo I was reminded of  Moses’ story.

God’s good is sooo different than our good! Our good usually has something to do with promoting us, our agenda or promoting God in our own way. That is why Moses couldn’t go to the promised land he was only allowed to see it from a distance after 40 years of roaming in the desert.  God wanted Moses to speak to the rock then water would come out…. all he had to do was simply obey God. But Moses hit the rock twice… and did things in his own way for whatever reason… he thought he was doing something pleasing for God that would bring God glory. But he didn’t do what God wanted him to do so he couldn’t go to the promised land.

Today water still runs from that rock as it has for thousands of years. All around people recognize the underground river as coming from Moses’ rock. God still loved his people and gave them water because they needed it… but Moses paid the consequences for not obeying God fully. The Bible said he was an ordinary man, he stuttered and couldn’t even speak to Pharaoh even though he knew God was with him, he questioned God many times, he messed up a lot. A lot like us, really. 

Part of saying YES to God is doing what God wants God’s way. Most of the time God will ask us to do things outside of our ability. He doesn’t need us to help Him….He is more than able but He wants us involved because He knows HE is what is best for us and as we are obeying Him we realize our desperate need for the Holy Spirit and cling to God even closer.

There are many reasons why our family is making a move but the main reason is God is leading us down that path. We don’t know how long, we think it is to set up a relationship with a national leader for the work to continue here. The point is not the why so much as it is the YES. This is God’s work and His plan is so much bigger than ours… none of us know what tomorrow holds…but we can be obedient today and join Him today in what He is up to.

It doesn’t mean it is easy. Before the Bible mentions the light passage.. there are the “Blessed are” verses. God’s good is different than man’s… Man would say “Cursed are” to some of these but God sees these as good.  
“God blesses those who are poor….  who mourn…. who are humble…who work for peace… God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right….God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you, and say all sorts of evil thing against you because you follow me. Be happy about it be very glad...”

It is not easy leaving our families, our friends, not to mention…the comforts of home, indoor heat and cooling …grass…. Ice cream and chocolate chips… ;)  It is not easy being a country where we are learning the language but still can’t communicate past “how are you?”…we are dependent on translators, constantly there are people in need begging for help…. It is not easy helping them or knowing how to help them best…. It is not easy dealing with the mass of problems here, and discipling people. It is not easy managing our responsibilities with GPPD in the states as we are here. None of it is easy. But it doesn’t mean it is not what God wants or that JOY can't be found here.

We joy that God has allowed us to be a part of His work here. Already we have a different perspective. It has allowed us a small glimpse in the lives of our Gpartners who live and serve overseas full time. It has allowed us into the lives of some very courageous followers of God that have suffered much. 

I love being in a place where…. for a such a time as this…..over 1,000,000 people have sought refugee here from neighboring countries. It would be hard to go to these countries but they have come to us and the few true believers of this church and community center are the first light and love many of them have ever seen.

I do know that for whatever any of us have in life… these verses stand true…

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again - Rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. REMEMBER – the LORD is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything INSTEAD pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done! THEN you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. AND NOW…. Dear brothers and sisters…. One final thing – FIX your thoughts on what is true……” Phil 4:4-8

Monday, December 1, 2014

HIS hands

Have you ever tried to prepare a meal with a one year old and a two year old underfoot?

Needless to say, it is challenging.

Their hands are where they shouldn’t be. You feel like you are stepping on them (or you do – opps!), they have wants they are voicing and you are trying to focus on your meal you are preparing. They are pulling things out of the cabinets and drawers. You almost fall over a few times. You try to get them out of the kitchen but they aren’t tempted at all ….they want to be wherever you are…. particularly RIGHT UNDER YOUR FEET.  You feel like you are going to loose your sanity… ”can’t I just cut this chicken in peace”…. “shouldn’t cooking be easier”.

You deal with it because you know ultimately they are not going anywhere without a fight…. That is where they want to be…..and you know that, truthfully, you are thankful for those little ones under your feet.

That is a little glimpse of where I feel like I am at right now. I am trying to fix my eyes back on HIM. I am trying to REJOICE. The circumstances may have not changed. It still maybe a challenge but despite it all you must go on…. And I can’t afford to go on with out that true JOY that comes from Him. I miss it.

 These last few years I have been fixing my eyes on so many other things but Him.

Yesterday I told my car full of kids.. “I hear a lot of grumpy attitudes going on.” My younger boy said, “I am not grumpy now because I got what I wanted”. My reply, “So you’re only grumpy when you don’t get what you want?”  His reply, “Yes.”

I didn’t say much after that…no wise words from this mom….. it hit too close to home.

I too have been grumpy… some things aren’t working out the way I wanted them too and I am throwing an attitude with my heavenly Father. Holly didn’t get to see her kids grow up and i had to say goodbye way earlier than i wanted to,  and i am not living in some other country like i always thought I would be and etc. etc.

Now I know Holly is in a better place and she is doing what she was created to do… what all of us were created to do… she is experiencing the ultimate glory of GOD…. And I know if God wanted me in some other country… He would put me there. And I know for all of the other things too I must trust Him…and He is worthy of that Trust.

Like our little miracle of Nations Hope… there are times throughout these past 4 years when we thought we would never have a little Nations Hope. I cried so many tears.  And now miraculously we have her…. in His perfect timing.

Why do I want my way…. my time…..When HIS way is so much more wonderful?

But my eyes so easily drift from the ALMIGHTY TRUSTWORTHY SAVIOR to the circumstances that aren’t working out my way or just simply to people…. and then I feel like that two year old of mine…. Just collapsing on the ground in protest.

Pathetic I know. But that is where I find myself so many times… throwing an ugly fit.  I may not do it as dramatically as my two year old… but it is inside my heart where it has slowing been stealing true joy.

I have prayed for a “SLAP in the FACE” a “KICK in the bottom”….I want to get out of this pity party, the sadness, this eyes on me attitude.

God has been answering it.  It seems like everywhere I turn this bit of TRUTH shows up. And it means something so different to me now. Now that I have and am having to do it through the trials of life.

Philippians 4:6-9

Don’t worry about ANYTHING, instead, PRAY about EVERYTHING. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all HE has done. Then you will experience God’s peace , which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. FIX your thoughts on what is TRUE, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable, think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you have learned and received from me – everything you have heard from me and saw me doing, then the peace of God will be with you. (Paul was writing from prison – where he still praised God and prayed all day and night despite his sufferings, even for his sufferings).

When we hear a constant complaint from the kids we always make them say 3 things they are thankful for. It is helpful for us adults too.

So if you are down in a pit of sadness or not living in joy and can’t seem to get out. Or just anxious or full of worry. Rejoice HE IS who HE SAYS HE is. Thank Him for all HE has done. – it is like medicine to the soul.    :) It is really helping me. 

I feel like He is taking my little face in his hands, like a loving father, and pointing my face to look in HIS eyes… and when my eyes and heart see HIM … the fruit is JOY… the fruit is thankfulness, the fruit is peace.... and i can breath again.

(This one is interested too... though i do not agree completely with his first thoughts about depression. There are clinical depressions or sicknesses where people need medication and consistant professional help - where people need a real healing miracle from God...)

This one is good on REJOICING through trials-

Monday, September 29, 2014

her new story

My little Nations Hope has been with us for 6 months now. It is hard to remember what life was like before she came and it feels like so much longer… truly she has been in our hearts since before she was born.

Her transition has been much easier than I ever expected. She instantly knew I was mommy and bonded right of the bat. Daddy took a little getting use to which was hard on daddy.

Jonathan was really looking forward to her homecoming so when the instant bond wasn’t there it was hard….. but slowly she has now come to enjoy and look forward to daddy’s affection.  The other day he came home from work and she was so elated to see him she clung to his legs for a good minute or two with a big smile.

Also another great thing that I am going to miss when daddy starts to travel this fall.. is that she listens to everything he says. I try to correct or give direction and she just continues to fuss with me… but if daddy says, “no” or “do this or that…” she follow suit immediately.  I really do think she is going to end up being a daddy’s girl.

Petcha and her are buddies…. their little personalities mesh so well together and part of me thinks it is because we have Perpetua that she has so quickly bonded with our whole family.  She loves her sister…. now don’t get me wrong….. they are full on sisters just like any birth sisters… if Petcha takes her doll away or Nations bats her hands at Petcha… there will be a good sisterly spat. But most of the time they are sweet on each other… and follow each other around everywhere. Petcha is always elated when Nations wakes up from nap... and dances to room yelling, “YAY, Nations is awake!!!”  

Every day watching them play and chat…. I really know more and more that God chose us for her and her for us. There is something greater for this divine union of these two little women. Only time will tell…. But I am excited to see it unfold.

I am getting to know her more. She loves outside, whether it is sitting in a creek or playing in the leaves, she wants to be outside. Also, she is a little artist. She really enjoys painting, coloring, and drawing. In fact I have a unique one of her recent pieces on the door that I just painted over. And I can see she is compassionate … caring for others, sensitive to others feelings. I love watching her play, laugh, and dance.

There IS still something there…. something that won’t let her heart trust us completely. I know time and endless love are the answers for that. And I feel that one day she will be there… her little heart will be free and she will love and accept us. She will let herself be ingrained in our family fully.

Is she all mine? … I feel …yes and no…in my mind I think about her birth mother often. I wonder if she is alive and I pray for her.  In a perfect world… things would have been different. But I see God has taken this broken part of Nations’ story and is putting it back on the potter’s wheel. With water and some pushing and molding it He is making it into something new and beautiful. I pray that for her birth mother too and I do hope that Nations will get to meet her one day if not on this earth.... we hope for eternity.

We protect our little ones from suffering as moms. My heart aches that I couldn’t do it for her…that I wasn’t there the moment her birth mother laid her down. That I wasn’t there to pick her up and nurse her as she cried that first night and so many after. That so many months passed without a mommy paying attention or recording and relishing in her beautiful smile. Without a mommy to touch her to kiss her booboos  or to cuddle and to care. I am thankful to the many faces that did show her love that I know God provided for her over those months…  just wish it could have been me.

I look into her deep beautiful brown eyes and am soo thankful God chose me… I am so thankful that I get to be a part of her new story.