Friday, September 7, 2012

The light at the end of the tunnel

Job: 23 Then Job spoke again:
“My complaint today is still a bitter one,
    and I try hard not to groan aloud.
If only I knew where to find God,
    I would go to his court.
I would lay out my case
    and present my arguments.
Then I would listen to his reply
    and understand what he says to me.
Would he use his great power to argue with me?
    No, he would give me a fair hearing.
Honest people can reason with him,
    so I would be forever acquitted by my judge.
I go east, but he is not there.
    I go west, but I cannot find him.
I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden.
    I look to the south, but he is concealed.
10 “But he knows where I am going.
    And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
11 For I have stayed on God’s paths;
    I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from his commands,
    but have treasured his words more than daily food.
13 But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind?
    Whatever he wants to do, he does.
14 So he will do to me whatever he has planned.
    He controls my destiny.
15 No wonder I am so terrified in his presence.
    When I think of it, terror grips me.
16 God has made me sick at heart;
    the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Darkness is all around me;
    thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere.

I think a lot of people stop there. Thick impenetrable darkness......... If you haven't read any other part of Job and if this is the only part you ever read you would think Job is in misery forever. However when we look to the beginning we can see a man who had it all and lost it all. A man lost in the darkness. A man who cried out to God. 

Are you lost? So many of us are today. We lie to ourselves. We lie to our friends. We lie to our family. The feelings of hopelessness. The losses of loved ones, jobs, dreams, and even sometimes hope can cripple you. They can wound you to your very soul, and the wounds they leave behind seem too deep to heal.

So what if Job had stopped there? Why didn't he just give up? What was worth fighting for? 

If you lose everything who are you? If you lost everyone who would you be? Could you go on? Could you trust God?

I want to share an exerpt from a story that Kupendwa Ministries posted:

"Jaja Teresa is a Rwandan lady who is now 80 years old. She ran from Rwanda and settled in Uganda, as she was forced out of Rwanda because of the genocide war that broke out years ago. She managed to escape and settle in Uganda amidst all the turmoil and chaos in her country. Jaja Teresa’s husband and all of her children have died, leaving her a widow with very little help. Her children were kidnapped during the time of Idi Amin’s regime of power in Uganda and her children were taken to fight in the war.

Teresa says she was so grieved that she almost committed suicide. She thought that she would be able to raise her children up, love them and see them grow for many years, but even up to now she still grieves for her children as they were killed, murdered and tortured during the war. She wishes that she could have at least seen them again before they died and were buried. Our hearts were so touched and burdened by this precious woman’s need for both love and compassion, as well as tangible help.
We so desperately wanted to help Jaja Teresa because she is in such desperate need of help and most of all love. Teresa’s house was leaking very badly; she had no mattress and was sleeping on hard plywood on the dirt floor. She has very little food but she tries to garden and plant crops for herself to eat to live. Teresa’s house had many holes in it because it was built out of sticks and mud. She says that snakes would come in and out of her house constantly, and there were many spiders inside when we visited. She would get very cold at night because of the condition of her house."

To read the story further you can click on the Kupendwa Ministries at the top it is a link to the story. This woman lost everything and yet she went on. Job also suffered great loss and he went on. So the question is not how much loss you can suffer, but the question is how much joy can you find? Many people find joy in such simple things after great loss. I once heard a man say the economy took his 7,000 square foot home, his 10 cars, his yacht, and it gave him back his life. 

What do you have to lose before you find God? 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Something to believe in....

My husband thinks I am crazy, which is partly true. How could I not be I married him? I hope he doesn't read that. Of course it is debatable who is crazier him for marrying me or me for marrying him! I guess we both are luckily living in crazy bliss!  But seriously, I have an insane impossible dream. I want to change the world. Those  of you who are my friends on facebook have probably seen my posts about moving to Nicaragua. Again my husband would ask why there? I don't really know why Nicaragua, but for some time I have longed to travel there.

If I could have my dream it would look something like this. A small coffee producing acreage in Nicaragua not too far from a city and close to multiple rural towns. Of course I would have goats, at this point if my husband is reading he is rolling his eyes! Oh and there would be chickens, because I like eggs, and fried chicken!

I would have a space dedicated to a school where I would teach reading and writing to anyone who showed up; catering to the poor people who cannot afford to send their children to school.  I would teach reading in both English and Spanish and basic math skills. I would also share the Gospel and the truth about Jesus Christ.

Now of course none of this could happen without some type of income. So in my dream scenario we would travel to our nearby city and sell Goat Cheese, Goats' Milk Soap, and Coffee in the touristy open air market.Additionally we could import products to the US through a web based sales principal.

I'm sure it would be tons of work, in fact having grown up in a rural area I know it is probably more work than the dream is worth.The chicken coup cleaning alone is totally past my gross out point, not to mention having to pluck my fried chicken!  However, an accessible education could change the lives of so many poor people and it would pretty amazing to be a part of that.

Of course the logistics are impossible to imagine, I've never been outside the US besides Canada, I am not even sure where to start, and I am pretty sure we could never make a living wage selling Goat products and coffee...........................So why is this my dream? What purpose? I'm no philanthropist, but I am a Christian. I believe that the Glory of God is greater than logic. So however illogical my dream is I still dream of it, and if by some chance I ever do end up in Nicaragua I know that it is only through the Grace of God that I could get there and I will give him all the Glory!

Ephesians 3: 20-21  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Changing the World One Diaper at a Time....

So today is like any other summer day for me and my kids. We have actually fallen into a routine of not having to do anything. We got up, had breakfast, watched cartoons, cleaned up, had lunch, made cookies, had a nap, and then a quick shower later everyone is busy fighting with eachother.

So as I sit here in my house sipping my iced espresso I wonder do they realize how blessed they are? Do I realize? How can I show them that in places throughout the world there are children who are suffering, children who will die, children who are hungry. It makes me just want to snuggle their little bodies closer.

However in between diapers and clean underwear before laundry and after lunch I cannot change the world........Or can I? In just loving them. In breaking up a fight over toys and snuggling a little one in my arms I am teaching them what it means to be loved.  As my little snuggle bug with her wild hair and rotten stinky diaper runs up to me I am reminded that love is the little things.

Jesus said let the little children come to me. He challenged us to have the faith of children and if we are lucky we can also experience their joy too. Children are amazing and a wonderful gift from God, but all over the world children are alone and starving. Orphans without someone to cuddle them. Without a mommy to make cookies. Without toys to pick up or siblings to fight with. Without hope for a family and with an uncertain future.

There are so many ways that you can help, and I want to encourage you to look around your house today and reach out. I want to encourage you to look into helping the least of these just like Katie does.
Did I mention I just read the most amazing book called Kisses From Katie. You have to read it. I promise it will inspire you, and if you want to do more here is the link to Amazima Ministries, Katie founded it to care for the children in Uganda. 

I would also encourage you to read her blog!!! Kisses From Katie  
Honestly I just wish I could pick up my kids and husband and go spend a week with Katie. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Love what you have

It's amazing to me how many people are caught up in what someone else has. It's amazing to me how easy it is to get sucked in. When I look around I think it's a culture thing. Our culture teaches us to want the newest, the best, and to throw away that old stuff. But what if you decided to go against the grain?
Luke 21:19 By standing firm you will gain life.
I think that's a pretty powerful statement. By standing firm you get life. If you stand firm going against the cultural norm you keep what works, you trust that the newest is not always the best, and you take care of what you have. In return you will gain life. Read in the context of Luke 21 standing firm against persecution, death, lost family, lost friends, and anything you could imagine. So I guess the big question is where do you need to stand firm, and will you?

I know life gets hard and there are times when everybody feels let down or betrayed. There are times when things don't seem like they could ever get any worse. Sometimes life does give you lemons. You can look back and wonder how did we get here all day long, but it won't change your circumstance.
Joshua 1:9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Wherever you go........................................................

I don't know why, I don't know how, but I know God will be with me......................and I will stand firm. Will you?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Reflections on Time

It seems like yesterday that I had a brand new baby girl, but this week she turned two! Two full years have passed since we brought Hailey home from the hospital. She has changed our lives in so many ways! She is a joy and at times a little terror. I call her my little diva because she is loves attention. Of course it goes without saying that my life would not be the same without her.

So my thought for today is how many times in life do we pass up a life altering opportunity because of fear. Change is scary, it was when we brought Hailey home from the hospital. Change was even more scary as we planned for our new baby. Four kids I couldn't imagine it! Four hungry little mouths, daycare would go up, diapers, and baby gear that we had gotten rid of would need to be repurchased. Of course with all that fear their was the joy of expectation and that joy overcame any apprehension we had!
Philippians 4: 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with tthanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

So the question of course is what if you took every new and frightening thing and treated it like that... Instead of facing your dilemma in fear why not face it with the expectation of something new and beautiful~

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun ta good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ

Life will change. You will wake up and look back realizing the years have passed and so much has changed, but if you trust God and move forward without fear, grabbing hold of each opportunity he presents, and trusting him along the way the result is beautiful!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My strange Dream

I woke up agitated the other night. My dream was like no dream I have ever had before. It was so vivid and the sense of loss stayed with me for days. Even now as I think about this dream it brings back that same sense of loss. So before I tell you about the dream let me give you a bible verse that goes along with it.

James 4:14  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 

This is not a verse I knew from memory. I actually had to google for the reference. I am currently reading Colossians so not even in this book of the bible, but a few nights ago I dreamt of two top hats. You know the kind that you pull white rabbits out of. They were large and into them the souls of everyone in existence were being poured. As the souls went in a vapor arose. White for those who knew Jesus and Dark for those who did not. I was standing there observing all of this. As I watched I felt my heart breaking. So many lost souls. I cried out in sorrow and then was told you can change all of this. One soul at a time.....................

Now that may seem like a crazy dream to you. It was one like nothing I have ever dreamt before, but the message was clear. Life is short and there are so many lost souls out there. What am I doing daily to bring those souls to Christ? My dream was an outcry against complacency. We cannot as Christian men and women sit back and let those lost souls go. Not without a fight. 

So how do we bring those souls to Christ? I believe that there is a simple 4 letter word that outlines it pretty well, LOVE. Through love we show others that we are different. Remember your language counts. Watch your words, be different than society. Show love to those who don't deserve it. Bless those who come to you in anger and most of all cover everything you do in prayer. If you live differently those around you will notice. If you have Jesus and your heart is full of love; those who are seeking will be drawn to you. When they are remember we are all sinners, do not judge them, but show them the amazing power and love of the Savior that came to die for them. The Savior who loves them despite anything they have done or will do.

Because every soul that is lost in eternity is heartbreaking to God, and what breaks his heart should break ours too............... Every lost soul was once a baby, formed in his perfection, somebody's child, a brother, a sister, and most importantly they have the potential to be an earth shaking leader, the next Billy Graham, Mother Theresa, or C.S. Lewis could be sitting next you right now..........What will you do about it?

 I see the king of glory
Coming on the clouds with fire
The whole earth shakes
The whole earth shakes


I see his love and mercy
Washing over all our sin
The people sing
The people sing

Hosanna in the highest 
I see a generation
Rising up to take their place
With selfless faith
With selfless faith

I see a near revival
Stirring as we pray and seek
We're on our knees
We're on our knees

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart from what breaks yours

Everything I am for your kingdoms cause
As I go from nothing to

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A to do list

I'm not big on lists, but there are some great things I want to do this year, and if I write them down maybe I will get them done.

1. Read the books on my list
2. Make goodie baskets for all my neighbors and invite them to church at Christmas
3. Sponsor a child
4. Give money to missionaries
5. Memorize 10 bible verses
6. Complete the family ID
7.Serve others  at least once in a way I have not previously, i.e. soup kitchen or other community outreach
8. Run a 5K

So 9 and 10 are up for debate still................