Friday, December 31, 2010
Pray. Praise God. Pray. Praise God. Pray. Praise. Pray. Praise. Pray. Praise. Pray...
God you are faithful. You are love. We pray for a family for "Kevin". Your word says you set the lonely in families. We trust in you Lord. Your will, not ours be done. May your grace be put on display in "Kevin's" life and may you receive all the glory. In the name of Jesus, we pray.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
The Words~Sanctification, Purify, Refine, Holy...
How do they work in the life of a believer? Who is the worker? Who is the receiver?
I prayed to you Lord, that for my whole life, you will take me more deeply into the gospel. You are faithful.
Sanctification-such a large word, one I've not heard often over the last decade, even in christian circles. What are the intricacies of it?
Sanctification: to cleanse or set apart for sacred use; to declare or make holy
(def. from NIV bible)
Sanctify them by the truth, Lord. Your word is truth. -John 17:17
So, I am sanctified by your truth, your word.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. -Hebrews 4:12
Is this why you want me to love your word, to soak in your word, to pray your word, to speak your word, to write your word, to teach your word to my children?
Jesus, you said to Paul, "I will rescue you from your own people and from the gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness into light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. -Acts 26:17-18
I am sanctified by my faith in you, Jesus-that is, my complete trust that you are who you say you are, you have done what you say you have done, and will do what you say you will do.
You say, Lord, in 1 Cor. 7 that an "unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
What about two believing spouses? Are we sanctified through each other? Do we need to be sanctified through each other? Are we a stronger unit because we each believe you are who you say your are and will do what you say you will do?
Can circumstances sanctify? I don't know that they can without the working of the Holy Spirit, the reading and hearing of the word of Truth, faith in you, the marriage covenant of a husband and wife.
Ahh, so many questions I have for you, Lord. And so it is, that today you've stopped my mind on the ferris wheel seat of sanctification and allowed me to peer more deeply into who you are and in this seeing more clearly who I am in you. Teach me, Lord. Search my heart and correct my thinking. Take me deeper into your gospel. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.
And even now, Lord, as I ponder a title for this piece of ponderings, I understand more clearly that sanctification is solely from You. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for your amazing grace.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
How do writers connect the two, Lord?
Is it a fool who would put her heart into the world to be stepped upon, broken, criticized?
Or, is it a fool who will not?
I've learned that being a follower means I will disregard "followers".
I've learned that You, Lord, are my audience. Those reading are special spectators, yearning to know more of who you are. Draw them in, Lord. Draw them to you. Give them ears to hear and eyes to see.
So, tonight I drink from the everlasting well, and pour forth the words from the well of my heart. I understand that my heart is deceitful, so I rely on the One who is ever faithful.
Only you Lord, are faithful and true.
May your Truth pour forth and my words be quenched. Your will, Father, not mine, be done.
Monday, December 6, 2010
These words have me trembling these last few days. I'm learning how each word I say, each word I write, matters. And to add to this, each action I take or don't take, matters. God has entrusted me with such an awesome responsibility in calling me to be a wife and mother and allowing me to have others in a circle of influence around me. Each of us have this influence-for good or for evil. I know that I work from a place of grace, a gift given that I can never repay. (Eph. 2:5) A gift given through Jesus Christ, dying on the cross for me, and becoming the ransom for my sin. (Col. 2:13-15) I am so thankful God is sovereign, that is, in complete control. Yet, I do have a responsibility to handle God's Word correctly, and I will answer for the things I do and don't do, say and don't say. (Proverbs 24:12)
Dear God~Make us careful studiers of your word, lovers of your word, Lord. Help us to see where we reject your word. Thank you for your Word. Thank you, Jesus, for dying for us. It's in your name I ask all these things. Amen.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I used to think the face of a child in an orphanage might shatter my heart, but the other day... The other day I was reminded of children who have no one and they live on their own. Children the age of my oldest son-ten years old. They're not even in an orphanage with adults to care for them or food to sustain them. These are the days when I ask, "How Lord, how can we care for so many?" And He says, "One. One at a time." You do the work I set before you. One at a time."
Are the hard days so hard because I'm relying on myself. Have I forgotten who my Father is? Have I forgotten what Jesus has done for me?
I have begun to think that it is not too small a thing to focus all my energies and affections on the cross of Christ. When I look elsewhere, to the right or to the left, I feel discouraged. I must focus on the Cross because what I feel is not an accurate reflection of whose I am or who I am and most importantly who He is.
Dear God~In the name of Jesus, I ask for your grace and mercy, as I turn from myself and my feelings to You. I ask for forgiveness for relying on anything other than you. Amen
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
In Revelation, after John describes Jesus, he says "he fell at his feet as though dead." MacDonald spoke about how we have this attitude of, "When I see Jesus, I'm going to ask him a few questions." Really?! It's almost as if we have an arrogance about us and we walk around saying what we'll do when we see Jesus face to face. It caught me. I stopped and thought about it for a while. What will I do? Will I fall to my face as if dead? What does Jesus do when John falls to his face? He places his hand on him and tells him to stop fearing. When you meet with Jesus, what do you really have to fear? Jesus says, "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead..." I stop here at this miracle: "I was dead". MacDonald says this is the real miracle, that he died. Jesus, being all he is, in all his glory- he died. He died for you. For me. For all who would believe in Him. Today I rest in this. He is the first and the last, the Living One, who holds the keys to death and Hades. And, he died for us.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
If you have been abused in childhood, the shame and guilt you feel is normal. The difficulty with relationships is normal. The pain and confusion you feel is normal. While all these things are normal, God does not desire for you to stay where you are emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I know the way out of it seems much more difficult and painful than just staying where you are. That is a lie. Satan loves to keep those of us who were abused in a state of immobility. He will tell you you're never going to feel normal like everyone else. He'll tell you things will always be the way they are right now. You have a choice. You can believe your feelings or you can believe God's Word. God promises in 1 Corinthians 10:13, that when you are tempted, he will provide a way out. If you're tempted to remain where you are, He will provide a way out. He is faithful and true. (Rev. 19:11) You are not the only one. Statistics show that approximately 1 in 4 women have been abused. (Have heard this a few times...don't have a reference.) Jesus tells us in John 14:6 (emphasis mine), I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. Jesus is the way out.
One of the most effective lies at keeping me immobile was - "I did not trust God if I needed a counselor for help." I have experienced myself and read several times from others, the importance of one who has been abused going to a christian counselor. I am not saying everyone needs one, because God can do anything, in whatever way he chooses. However, if you are considering going, but haven't taken the step because of fear, just go. The following steps were helpful for me. I don't believe this is "thee" path, but hopefully in sharing, it will give you help you.
1. Came to a point where I had done everything I knew to do (read books, bible study, prayer, individual counseling w/ pastor, talked w/ friends), and I knew I still was not healing. I was circling around and around.
2. Came to a point where I thought I might go over the edge. I wasn't sure what that meant. I was not suicidal, but I felt as though I might be one step away from my brain flying apart in a million pieces.
3. God brought a particular christian counselor into my life through a friend. She had been seeing him. I trusted her, so I thought he might be trustworthy.
4. I called the counselor and made an appt.
5. I freaked. I called my pastor, talked w/ my husband. I had my mind made up that this counselor, for sure, was a perpetrator in disguise. (This is the label most men received in my life at the time. All were suspect and none were safe.)
6. I went to the appt. It was not easy. But w/ each appt., a small crack in darkness appeared, and I could see a little more light w/ each step. I began to trust my counselor a little more each time. When I would leave, I would want to thank him. As I recall, he never said, "You're welcome." He knew who was doing the healing, and it wasn't him.
7. Healing began over a period of several months and it continues today. Through the counselor and books he recommended, God healed many parts of me. I actually came to the point where I woke up one day and knew I could breathe freely. I wanted to run out into the day and shout for joy. At one point, I was settled to say, I was healed completely. I don't know if this is a totally true statement. I believe I may continue to walk out healing the rest of my time on earth. I do know that in Jesus' blood, we have redemption...(Eph. 1:7) I know that I have died and my life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3) I know that Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. (Isaiah 61:1)
~To God alone be the glory for my healing and yours.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
The Knots Poem
Please untie the knots that are in my mind
my heart and my life.
Remove the have-nots, can-nots, and do-nots
that I have in my mind.
Erase the will-nots, may-nots,
that may find a home in my heart.
Release me from the could-nots, would-nots,
and should-nots that obstruct my life.
And most of all, Dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart, and my life,
all the am-nots
that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought that I am not good enough.
Author Known to God
Monday, August 2, 2010
I had lived at Camp Wounded since the age of 10. At Camp Wounded, no visitors came in, and I rarely went out. Walls were erected high around the camp. If anyone knocked on the gate, sometimes I dared to open it a crack, only to slam it shut on the person’s requests to come in. I would pace Camp Wounded, replaying all the times the abuse came. I would think and cry and think and cry. I wanted so badly to leave Camp Wounded, but I didn’t know the way out. To even think of trying to explain it to another soul was heart-wrenching and nearly unthinkable, so I supposed I would live my life and eventually die at Camp Wounded.
His words sounded sincere, as ones that can be trusted. Then I asked him the question I had asked myself at least a hundred times before.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
As my family shopped last evening for a few camping items and other items for our house, I came across a trifle bowl. I've been wanting one for months and never picked one up. When I found it, I showed my husband, and he said, "Sure, go ahead and buy it, if you think you need it." Do I need it? Hmmm. I suppose not. But, can't I just want something? Just this once. (Slight exaggeration-I want things All the time ie. coffee, new floor, naps, and the list goes on and on). So as we drove home, I became quiet, and I suppose a bit angry. I knew in my head it was ridiculous to be angry over a trifle bowl. The funny thing was, I didn't know who I was angry with: my husband for asking the question, myself for wanting it, or God for not allowing me to have it. I knew there was a bigger issue at hand than the trifle bowl, but I didn't know what it was. I'm not sure that I know all the implications today, but I learned something through this seemingly ridiculous experience.
How many times in my life do I choose the trifle bowl over what really matters, for now, we'll call what really matters, "the pan of brownies"? What would the purpose be behind the trifle bowl? It would look pretty. I could prepare beautiful desserts. My friends and family would be impressed. And there you have it. Two sinful deceptions I deal with in my life: pleasure and position. What would the benefits be of a simple pan of brownies? They're quick, leaving me more time with my family. They're nonimpressive, leaving no room for anyone to think about me while they're eating them. They're still delicious, allowing us to give thanks for simple pleasures.
As I thought of the parallel of the "Great Dessert Display Dilemma", I thought of my life, and how God often asks me to choose the simple pan of brownies-the important things in life, the eternal things, and every ounce of my being screams for the trifle bowl-the unimportant, the temporary.
I want to go to a quiet beach somewhere in the Outer Banks. God tells me that a quiet retreat to the mountains close to home is best. I want a few new shirts. God tells me that several shirts I own is best. I want to live in a quiet place in the country with a little land, and God says that our home in the middle of town is best. I want to see my kids graduate from high school and spend the last part of my life here on earth, quietly with my husband, sitting on the porch swing hand-in-hand, but God says there may be other things in store that might disrupt our "quiet simple life" in later years.
No, God's best and my desires do not always match. But, I do trust that His ways are the best ways. It is a constant laying down of my life, including my wants and my desires on a daily basis.
Do I really need more evidence than this?
Thank you, Lord, for showing me what is best, even when I pout like a baby. Thank you Lord, for loving me enough to discipline me. Show me how to do the same with my children, Lord. Thank you for everything. Every single thing you give and every single thing you don't. I love you, Lord.
And because God always says it best,
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ~Matthew 6:19-33
Friday, July 30, 2010
Has God ever called you to something repeatedly and you pray and pray and then pray some more, just to be sure He's really calling you to it? And then, when He tells you, "Yes, child, I'm calling you to this" you go and pray some more. The pattern repeats itself until one day you realize you might be stepping into the land of disobedience.
In Numbers 13, the Israelites were in the desert and the Lord told Moses to send men to explore Canaan, which the Lord told Moses He was giving to the Israelites. So Moses sent out the leader of each of the tribes, 12 in all. He sent Reuben, Simeon, Caleb, Igal, Hoshea (Joshua), Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi, and Geuel. Moses sent them out and told them to explore the land and the people-to get to know both and to bring back some fruit. So, for 40 days, the 12 went up, explored, gathered fruit, and returned. When they returned, they gave the report-it does have fruit, but there are giants present. One man, Caleb, spoke up and told them they should still go up and take possession because they could do it. Lest you think Caleb was relying on his own strength to do this, we find that his heart was set whole-heartedly on following God (Numbers 14:24) But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't..."
How many times in my life, have I listened to the majority, rather than following what God tells me? How many times has God shown me He is leading me to a new Canaan, only for me to see the giants and turn back?
I know God calls us to pray without ceasing. I know Jesus prayed alone to His Father. I know praying is communicating with God. But I believe it's always about our heart, where our heart is on an issue. For example, when we were praying about adoption, God had made it clear to us that it what we were to do. What if we were still praying today, just to be sure, it's really what he would have us do?
Sometimes my praying is not because I want to know what God would say, it's because I don't trust Him. I think I often trust my husband or my friends more quickly than I trust what God is saying to me. There is a particular thing I believe the Lord has called me to. I have reacted similarly to the people who heard the report from the 12 leaders who explored the land. They listened to the majority, rather than trusting God. I have practically declared that I can't do the thing. Like them, I've wept over it. Like them, I grumbled. Like them, I said I just knew I would "die" doing this thing-out of embarrassment-yes, my positiion still is important to me, apparently...ergghhh.
Today I ask myself, Do I really want the Lord to ask me, as He asked them, "How long will you treat me with contempt? How long will you refuse to believe in me, despite all the miraculous signs I have performed among you?
Do you know what happened to the people who didn't trust, who had contempt for God? God promised that they would never see the land he promised to their forefathers. Never.
To me, the thing the Lord is calling me to, has seemed optional in the past. There are so many other people who do it, and I assume can do it with more skill than me. But when I look back on adoption, or quitting my job, or selling our house...anything the Lord has called us to worth eternal treasure, each one initially seemed optional.
Is God's Will, His best for me, really optional?
Oh God, make me a Joshua or a Caleb or a Mary. Make me someone who obeys you without question. Lord, grant me discipline. Grant me wisdom and listening ears, especially from my husband and ultimately from you. Help each of us Lord, to trust you in the new "land" you are calling each of us to today. May we not listen to the majority or grumble and practically declare ourselves as good as dead, as the Isrealites did. Lord, I pray that all honor and glory are yours alone.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. ~John 15:5
It is in this quiet place, that the Lord calls to me and reminds me of who He has created me to be. As the early morning surrounds me, quietness remains, and the Lord beckons me to come. During this time, I sit. I listen. I wonder. I gaze. Tears flow out of grace. It's been some time that I've had quiet, uninterrupted time with Him, but once again by His grace, I long to touch the face of Jesus. To walk side by side, questioning, laughing, just being. He dwells in my inmost being. He surrounds me with who He is. Keep me abiding, Lord.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
What if God had thought I was too risky, I had been through too much, I might not attach to Him, that I might cost too much?
The cost of adoption, financially, is typically thousands of dollars. Is it worth it?
The cost of adoption, the surrender of your will, well, it's difficult. Is it worth it?
The cost of your adoption as a child of God was the death of God's son. Was it worth it?
Adoption. Yes, for eternity, it's worth it.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
A brief description of him states that he is smart, friendly, polite, respectful, and protective of younger children. He enjoys watching movies, playing board games, and performing magic tricks. Feeling safe is important to him.
Proverbs 31:8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
"....If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?"
Could my "everything" mean: the ideas I have of how many children I will "choose" to have, the way my house appears, my reputation, friendships, flying in an airplane again, having "me" time, having just the right amount of time with my husband, playing guitar
These are things I'm currently learning that are a part of the everything Jesus is talking about in my life. Just until a few days ago, I was certain that we were done having children. It is not easy having two babies the age of one. Duh?! Not that I thought it would be-it's just living out the reality of it. A week ago, our oldest son announced that he thinks we should adopt again. A two-year old. From Guatemala or the United States. When he said it, I knew. I knew God was asking me to open my heart to the possibility. I literally put my fingers in my ears and sang, "La-la-la-la-la." I considered for a nanosecond what it would be like to have another child and put it out of my mind. But. Here's the BUT. God is opening my heart to the possibility. I vacillate between two thoughts, "How could we not?" and "How could we?" The babies have only been home for 5 months, so I don't expect it to happen over night, but still. It scares me half to death. I pray often that I will be like Mary or Joshua. They did just what the Lord said with trusting hearts. Will I trust?
Sunday, July 11, 2010
In November 2007, God first spoke to me through prayer about a little boy named Gabriel who lived somewhere that had to do with angels, somewhere around El Salvador, Honduras, or Guatemala. He also said the name Ana. That was it. We started praying fervently, trying to find out who this little boy was. The name Ana was there, but didn't seem as prevalent. We searched, and we found a little boy who the Holy Spirit lead us to pursue. Some people have assumed that I was going on a hunch and that because we didn't adopt Gabriel from Guatemala, I was wrong in what I "thought" I heard from the Lord. I certainly don't claim to be right even most of the time, and I don't claim to know all the Lord is doing in my life, but if you've ever been convicted of doing something and there's a burden in your heart, you know what I mean. I had a burning desire to find him, this little boy. We prayed for him. We pursued adopting him. Ultimately God's plan was so much better. He reunited him with his family.
After Gabriel returned to his family, we still had a burning for Guatemala and adoption. We knew God had laid adoption on our hearts, but we didn't know from where we would adopt. We considered waiting for Guatemala to reopen it's doors to adoption (they closed in Dec. 07 to the US and adoption remains closed at this time), and we started praying about where God would lead us. He lead us to Ethiopia. He also gave us the opportunity to begin planning a trip to Casa Bernabe, in Guatemala, the orphanage where Gabriel once lived.
On July 11, 2009, a team of 20 people from First Lutheran Church, boarded a plane to Casa Bernabe. A full continent away, a baby boy was being born at about the same time-our son, Gabriel. I was SO nervous to fly. It was my first flight. My friend, Kristin, sat beside me, calming my fears, telling me what to expect. She made me laugh, and I needed it. There was a point when she fell asleep, and I was sitting, just letting my fears get the best of me. Jim was sitting a few rows in front of me because our seats got mixed up at the airport. He called back to me and asked me to come up to him. I was seriously thinking, "You must be nuts if you think I'm getting out of this seat." But he beckoned me to come. I reluctantly unbuckled and went to him. He handed me his journal and told me I was to read it. As I sat back in my seat and started reading his journal entry from months beforehand, the tears rolled. He spoke of Gabriel in Guatemala, and he spoke of adoption. How could I be fearful? The God who orchestrated all of these events knows the number of hairs on my head. From that moment on, I calmed down and enjoyed the flight. I'll never forget our reactions when we flew into Guatemala. It was joy mixed with amazement. Kristin was about to meet the little girl her family sponsored, and I was about to meet the people who cared for Gabriel, the little boy who God used to lead us on the path to adoption.
The week at Casa Bernabe was just so amazing. If you have a heart for orphans, and you don't know where to serve, check them out HERE. They receive many many visitors from the US. Most of the staff speaks English, and it's just a wonderful place to be.
On January 29, 2010, my husband and I, along with two of our friends, boarded a plane to pick up Ana and Gabriel. I was nervous on the plane but nothing like Guatemala. I had the babies on my mind, much more than I did the plane. I had also had some lessons the few months prior in God being God and me not being God, so my heart was a bit different this time. I can't explain seeing the babies for the first time. I will just say that you know the moments that God gives you here on earth when you can't believe you are part of something so beautiful? It was one of those moments.
Today we are celebrating the birth of Gabriel. Today we celebrate God's goodness. His love. His mercy. And yes, His amazing Grace. For there is nothing, absolutely nothing, we could have done to orchestrate such a life as the one He's given us. There is nothing good in us, yet, He chose us, through His son's death on the cross, to be holy and blameless in His Sight. And this is all to the praise of HIS GLORIOUS GRACE.
Ephesians 1:4-6 For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.
This is Gabriel, in his daddy's arms, for the very first time. Oh my how he has grown since this day. He is now pulling up on things, saying da da, mom mom, clap, e-i-e-i-o, and hi. We are so very blessed to have him as our son. Happy Birthday, Gabriel. We love you.
(I hope to update with recent photos soon.)
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I'll never forget the look I turned and gave to the congregation on the day of our wedding when the pastor spoke of submitting to my husband. I looked back over my shoulder and rolled my eyes. At the time, it was funny. Now, it makes me sad and half sick in my stomach. I unknowingly made a mockery of God's plan for a wife in front of everyone who knew us. For years, I continued to believe the lie of the enemy that says "wives can be in control of their husbands"..."there's no harm in the wife making most of or even all of the decisions" "husbands should help their wives"...I could go on and on. For years I've not submitted to my husband. For years, I've been confused as to why I was frustrated most of the time.
When God started speaking to me about submission, I listened, but with my eyes half-closed and with fingers shoved in my ears. It's like when you go into a haunted house. You want to experience it, yet you're afraid of what you'll see and hear. Thankfully, God's ways are good (Psalm 119:68 You are good, and what you do is good...") and not scary.
God has been showing me His best for me as a wife through the last few months. He's been speaking to me through His Word, by conviction of the Holy Spirit, in listening to other wives and husbands, and through experiences in my marriage. I feel as though I'm on the submission roller coaster. I submit. I take charge. I submit. I take charge. And the pattern continues. There are times of great hills and times of deep valleys. Last night was a real winger of a night. I was wallowing in self-pity. I was going on and on in my thoughts and in my actions of how miserable I was. "I'm so hot, Lord. Why can't we have central air like we use to or like so and so." "I'm tired of cleaning up after everyone, especially my husband." "I'm tired of doing the same thing over and over with no signs of appreciation from my family." I stood in my laundry room, remembering the words of a friend, "Find something to be grateful for." I started listing them one by one, and the list could go on forever. Yet, my mind kept going back to MY misery, My sacrifice, My suffering. There's good reason that God tells us to "Fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."(Hebrews 12:2). I don't claim to know or understand all the reasons God tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, but I do know that when my eyes are on Jesus, they're not on me.
"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." ~1 Peter 3:1-2
When talking with women about submission, some have said "Submit..ha...you don't know my husband." Women of unbelieving husbands often say they don't know how to submit to a man who doesn't follow God's ways. I personally don't think it would be easy either, but the verse above from 1 Peter, makes it clear that if your husband does not believe the word, that he may be won over by your behavior. (By the way, my husband and I came to know the Lord as adults.)
How do we submit to our husbands during the times we don't feel so loved, even if it's most of the time? We pray. We trust. We lay down what we believe are our "rights" and things we think we deserve. We trust that God is ultimately in control, and He wants what is best for each of us.
I'm learning that marriage isn't meant to make me happy. It's meant to make me holy. There are times of wonderful joy in marriage, and there are times of suffering, too. My husband will not complete me. My husband will not make me happy. Neither will yours. Only Christ will complete us. Only in Christ will each of us find our deepest longings fulfilled.
(I would love to insert scripture here, but babies and older children await. I encourage to search out God's Truth in His Word.)
I don't claim to be the expert on submission. I'm just a wife, trying to learn how to love my husband the way God intends, and ultimately to love Him more and more through my marriage. Hold what I'm saying up to scripture, please. Feel free to leave comments or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), even if you don't agree, as I grow greatly from hearing from other women.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I know in my head that God gets all the glory-yes, Jules, ALL the glory. Sorry, baby girl.
However, do my actions match my head-knowledge? How many times have I acted or spoken to receive the glory due to God?
I am the Lord; that is my name. I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.
In a loud voice they said,
"Worthy is the lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"
Monday, June 21, 2010
I've asked this countless times in my life, but today it resonated deeply. Deeply into my being. Often when our family is discussing aspects of God, my daughter raises the question, "But, who created God? I just don't get it!" And there the question sits. It's as if a wall erects around her heart and will receive no further instruction.
But not today.
Today we were discussing the meaning of HOLY and PRAISE, stemming from the children's weekly bible verse from church. While studying the verse, we were lead to Genesis. In Genesis, it says, "In the beginning, God created..." As we read, more questions were raised such as: "Where was Jesus when God created the earth?
Where was He before he came to earth? Was He in heaven?
How can Jesus be God's son? Isn't God Jesus' dad, not Joseph?
And then it came-"But who created God!?" So today, instead of answering in my normal way (God wasn't created, He just is.") I waited. I waited for what God would say to her.
I hesitantly started,"In Isaiah 55, it says that our ways are not God's ways and our thoughts are not God's thoughts." And then, I heard a question roll off my tongue, "Will you let God be God?" It hit me in my innermost being.
Will you let God be God?
It's what He's been asking me over and over. Will you, Angie, let me be God in your life, the only god in your life? Will you give up control? Are you okay with serving a God who who you may not fully understand? Are you okay with serving a God who may not meet your every whim?
I'd love to answer, "Yes, God. I'm totally fine with it. I trust you with my whole being." But to be honest, I don't think I always am. I like to know the answer. I like to see the big picture. To be honest, I like to have my every whim met.
So, I'm learning, right along with the children, how to trust-even when we don't understand. How to trust-even when we may not receive all the answers. And we're learning how to praise-even when we don't have the feelings to back it up. Because-He is worthy. He is holy. He is God.
Monday, May 17, 2010
I serve myself. Most of my thoughts are about myself. How can I be comfortable? What should I wear to look good? When will I get a nap? When will I get some time alone? When will I get to choose what I want to do?
Do you hear this? Blahhhck! These are some of my self-serving thoughts. I just started reading the book, "Dangerous Surrender" by Kaye Warren. I told one of my friends just two days ago that I probably shouldn't read it right now and had determined that I wouldn't pick it up until I was done resting for a while. Ha. There's this verse in the bible where Jesus goes off with His disciples. And the crowds follow Him. What does He do? He welcomes them. Oh, there have been so many times that I wish He had told them, just this once, to go away. (Luke 9:10,11)
Our family has been encouraged to rest countless times over the last few weeks. I do believe we are to rest, but sometimes I think my definition of rest and the Lord's Truth of rest are two different things. I picture myself having long, leisure naps and peaceful walks by myself. I'm not saying these are wrong, and I'm not saying rest is wrong, but these things would comprise a majority of my day. Yes, truth be told, if I had my way, I'd be alone for most of the day and go out and "serve" God when I felt I was ready. Do you hear me? I, I, I. Welcome to the kingdom of Ang.
The Lord asks me often, will you choose _______(could fill in with several things) or will you choose Me? He's speaking to me of surrender. I'm like, again, really Lord? I thought I surrendered everything. My job, my house, my comfortable family, my friends. What more could you possibly want? But, He says, You've not surrendered yourself: your moment-by moment thoughts, your dreams, your ambitions, your energy, your rest, your time. It's mine, Angie. All of it. If you will surrender it to me. I will teach you how to love outside of yourself.
How about you? Are you totally sold-out for Christ? I wish I were asking this to someone face to face. (There's my "I wish"...again..blah.) What does surrender look like to you? What does it mean to take up your cross? Yes, your cross? Not the cross of someone you think needs "fixing". I've tried that, too. In trying to avoid my own selfishness, I've tried to work on many others-my husband, my friends, my family. Oh my. I foolishly thought my cross was this one big thing, and that if I just surrendered that thing to Him each day, then all would be well. I'm learning that my daily cross comprises my thoughts, my desires, my emotions. Basically, all of me. My will.
I have no idea where surrender may take me. I don't really see the next step. I'm pretty much a "give me the big picture" gal, and I can work out the details. But-we walk by faith, not by sight, right? (2 Corinthians 5:7) In Kay Warren's book, she writes, "Surrender always leads to peace."
Hmmmm. I have to ponder that one for a while.
I've used my past abuse as a support that held certain walls in my life. This past weekend, my supports were taken away when I met two different women who were also repeatedly abused. So, I no longer can walk around with the attitude, "You don't know where I've been or what I've been through" because they do. I also met a woman who has no earthly family, other than a sister. There goes my crutch of, "My family's dysfunctional. You don't know what I've been through." All of these supports, these crutches, were attempts at protecting the kingdom of me. I somehow tried to prove I was strong through holding on to these self-serving thoughts.
Dear Lord~I can feel you breaking away things that stand between you and I. It's uncomfortable. It even hurts. Some days it hurts so badly I think I can't move forward. You're showing me how selfish I really am. You're showing me my attempts at preserving myself. I love you, Lord, and it is my desire to serve you and you alone. Break me of the things that I choose instead of you. Show me how you would have me live my life for you. I often choose the things that get me noticed. Forgive me, Lord. Help me to serve you, even if no one on earth gives me another "thank you". Help me to serve you in joy and peace. May you be made known and praised through my life on this earth. May I decrease and You increase in my life, Lord. I'm so focused on myself, I don't even know how to pray. Thank you for your grace, mercy, and love. Thank you, Jesus, for dying for this sinner. I love you.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
There was a moment that I remember distinctly, sometime last year, when I sat in this same chair telling my husband that I just believed things needed to change. I wasn't content with the way things were. Ha! Nearly everything in our lives has changed in the last month. When we came home from Ethiopia, obviously our family had changed from 4 to 6. Praise God. A few weeks after we arrived home, the kids and I were in an accident with a bus, yes, a bus. The van was gone. No one was hurt. Praise God. The van returned yesterday, all nice and new looking. Praise God. Prior to leaving for Ethiopia, we sold our house. Praise God. Yesterday a family accepted our offer to move to our new home on the same day we close on this one-April 30. Praise God. Yesterday I handed in my keys at work. I am officially (almost officially-just have to write the letter) a stay-at-home mom. Praise God. Julia and Cole love our new house. God renovated their hearts on this one over the last few months. I praise Him. God has called us to a new church. We praise Him, though we don't know where we're going for sure. He's allowed us to rest in a particular church which we love for a time. Truly we are praising the Lord moment by moment in this place.
Truth be told, this last month, and particularly the last few weeks have been incredibly difficult. I would like to say I was trusting that everything would work out, but I wasn't. I was doing some serious panicking and having major control issues over not knowing where we would live. In addition to this, all of us were sick by Jim. I'm not saying this to gain pity. One thing I learned over this past month is that complaining does not please the Lord. I felt a bit like the Israelites in the desert, complaining when God was supplying all of my needs. I was even eating "manna" each day, as I was having my own intestinal issues for a week. (I know-too much info.) The parallels with the Israelites were hard to digest, no pun intended. That was me. A big whiny cry baby, and for what? As Jim said yesterday, I knew the Lord would come through, I just didn't know how. Boy, I wish I could have been in that place of trust. But, as the title reads, He is making all things new. With that, I pray that He is building my trust of Him and Him alone. I pray that He will show me more of who He is and not who I make Him to be.
Everyone is doing well. Julia wants to move to the new house tomorrow. She has plans, baby, for that establishment. Cole has plans to start a gun rack business. Ana is pulling up on things. Gabriel is still sitting well and still laughing like crazy. Jim and I are trying to take things moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. So thankful. So blessed with God's richest blessings.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Quick update to say we're doing well. The babies are falling into a routine, which is wonderful. They are both on soy milk, which has worked wonderfully in clearing up both congestion and rashes. Ana continues to become more mobile each day. She's army crawling and getting into everything. Gabriel is sitting well, though he's anxious to get moving, too. Cole and Julia are doing great! They are such wonderful helpers.
Friday, February 19, 2010
After having sleep for the last few days, I feel normal again. Ana has had sleep, too. It seems that she was having some tummy pain that was causing the crying. Perhaps lactose intolerance, we're not sure on that. We've switched to soy formula. I don't know. I am just SO thankful that we're both sleeping, and daddy, too.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I don't know who you are, but He wants you to know that he sees you and He loves you. He sees your struggles. He sees your questions, your doubts. He loves you more than you could ever imagine. Though all may fail you, He loves you. Though times may be tough, though your father may not be, He loves you. You are worth more than rubies. You are worth more than diamonds. You are everything to Him. He died for you.
I died for you, child.
He wants you to know that. Wherever you are. Whoever you are.
Peace to you.
Love. His love. Not the world's version of love. His love.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Referral of Babies-October 26 (change of family)
Sell car-buy van-Jan. 9 (change of car)
Negotiations underway for sale of home-Jan. 22 (change of house)
Last day at current job for a while-Jan. 26 (change of job)
So, one month and much has changed. I told God many times that I was ready to cross, to cross to the other side. I didn't know what it meant, I just knew He was calling us. I still don't know fully all that it means, but I'm excited to see where He leads.
We're in the midst of packing for our trip to pick up the babies. We leave in less than one week-wow.
I'm so thankful. It's the only thing I can really say. I've tried so many times over this last month to verbalize to our friends, coworkers, family how thankful I am that they have come along side us in this journey. It has been nothing short of a miracle to see how God has worked in others' lives and our lives over the last year.
Praising God that He never changes, for being our rock.
Friday, January 15, 2010
I realize I'm rambling. Perhaps I'm tired. Perhaps I'm overwhelmed with a flood of emotions. Thanking God for the ability to type and get out some of the stuff crammed into my brain.
When I was at CB this summer, there were many times that I felt as though I was on an "observation" mission. I can't really explain it, other than to say, there was so much activity going on around me, and I would just observe. I was learning. I was learning of how things were working together. I watched the missionaries. I watched the house mothers. I watched the cooks. I watched everyone. I described it as feeling as if I was "home". Though, there was a nearly numb feeling I experienced the entire time I was there. Everything was so raw. So in-your-face. I didn't have to talk so much about love those days. I lived it. I was able to love without any expectation of receiving love back. I remember when little Ana Carolina came and sat on my lap. There has always beeen something about her from the time I first saw her picture. Her eyes grabbed me every time I looked at her. And when I was at the orphanage, it was the same way. However, at first, she wanted nothing to do with me. Which was somewhat odd, as most of the children were eager to play with anyone and everyone. She was reserved. On one of the last nights, Jim and I went to the toddler house. This is where Ana Carolina was. As we were playing with children, she sat down on my lap, and I caught my breath. I don't know why. There's just something about her. We have named our daughter Ana,though she goes by Carolina. I don't know the connection, but there is one there.
I must go to bed. It's getting late, and if I don't get some rest, I won't be able to do devotions before C and J awake in the am.
Prayer request: There is a paper needed at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa by USCIS here in the States. Please pray that it gets there smoothly.
We are not frantically packing, as I thought we might be. Much to the dismay of more organized people, our suitcases are in the attic, and they are EMPTY. We've not packed on thing. The babies' cribs are full of things we plan to take for them, so that's a good thing. We leave in two weeks. It's okay, though. We plan to pack lightly for ourselves.
We have shown the house quite a few times over the last few weeks. We currently have an offer and another family is coming to look at the house for the second time today. Praying and Praising God. Also, sweating like a madwoman as I run around cleaning up our home for millionth time this month...slight exaggeration, and actually Jim did most of the work on this one.
We sold Jim's tractor and purchased a van. Praising God for his guidance with this. The kids LOVE it. Because they love it, it makes me love it all the more.
Some friends are throwing us a shower this evening. The only thing they've told us is that our friends Megan and Ken will serenade us with a rendition of "Islands in the Stream"-can't wait! They are singing maniacs :-)
I will be done with work in 6 days. I had a moment as I sat there yesterday, thinking of my students. I realized for the first time how much I will miss them. I mean really miss them. They bring so much joy to my life. They're so funny. So sweet. They're like little golden retriever puppies...they just love you and love you and love you. They keep you young. It's like reliving your childhood all over again some days. You even start to think like a first grader. I find myself laughing at the oddest things. I remember when I first started teaching this grade level, I thought they were a rare breed. They laughed when things fell off the wall, I tripped, said the wrong thing, etc. Now I find myself laughing along with them. Crazy.
And then there's my friends at work. Words can't express what they mean to me and how much they encourage me. I trust the Lord and His best for all of us. It just doesn't take away the "I'll miss them" factor. However, God has provided an awesome new teacher for the students and a wonderful lady to add to mix of women at work. I'm so thankful for His hand in all of this, down to the last detail.
When we started the adoption journey, I had NO idea it would be like this when we brought our babies home. Actually, I didn't ever think we'd actually bring babIES home. Always thought it would be one. I know I've said it a lot in this post, but seriously, just praising God for His goodness. It's not been easy. I could write a year's worth of posts on the struggles and things we've learned along the way. We've learned, however, that God is Faithful. He is always with you, no matter what comes along.
A wonderful friend sent this to me today. How did I miss these verses??!!
"When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid." When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. ~Matthew 17:6-8