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Archive for the ‘God’ Category

Are You Coming Along?

I’m pretty sure that I’m maxed out this week . . . but I will be following along here:
Compassion-International-Philippines-2011Will you come along too?

Every Compassion trip that I have followed has been an amazing story . . . no, amazing stories, but even better every Compassion trip that I have followed has changed me, made me want to be more of Jesus’ hands and feet to those in foreign lands and in my neighborhood, made me inspect my own priorities, made me long for the end of poverty, and made me aware of what I can do to change the world (and not just through Compassion, though I do firmly believe that is a great place to start)!

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Humble Offerings

I have come to a place where I feel that all of my offerings are humble.

I look around and see so many who are blessed with so much, so gifted, so able.  And I am.  I am gifted and able and blessed.  I am overflowing with grace, poured into me by a gracious heavenly father.

And yet, I so often look at what I have to offer clenched in my fist, lower my chin as it trembles, and look around hoping no one will notice what little I have to offer.

Then I read, “He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’”  And I am encouraged that all I have to offer might just be enough.

It is with this thought in mind that I am guest posting over at A Bushel and a Peck, one of my long-time favorite blogs.

Verse from here.

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Nice To Look At

Just a couple pictures from Handsome’s latest travels:

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the LORD
-Psalm 96:11-13a

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A Love Letter

I saw in a pictures somewhere recently a heart-shaped stone, and I thought, “Oh, God, to have a solid reminder, like that, of you.  Oh, to have that thing to hold onto with my own two hands, to remind me that your love for me is tangible and solid.  That in these uncertain days I could feel you when I reached out.”

Then on Monday, in the midst of this glorious day, when the sun was shining and Handsome was off work, exploring with all of us and eldest bent down and picked it up.

“A heart-shaped rock, Mom!  Do you want to keep it?”

Our rule, lest the rocks and sticks overtake out home, is generally, “God put it here, so let’s enjoy it then leave it here.”

But this time, I slid the love letter in my pocket and carefully zipped the zipper until we had reached home.

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What Is Really Important

I have a few posts that I have been working on; I have one fun one that I am just dying to share . . . but today I was reading here.  Mid-way thought the post I was reduced to a puddle, and by the end I was crying tears of deep thankfulness to our God and Father.

And I’ve spent time reading here too.

Again, there was crying.

I asked Handsome if I cried through out entire trip to Ethiopia.  He said I didn’t.  I was stunned.  I don’t know how that is possible.  (Just reading about this Compassion trip to Guatemala has reduced me to tears daily!)

Except I do.

I know that our trip to Ethiopia was different kind of trip.  It was the culmination of months of work and years of prayer.  It was the ending of our children being called orphans and the beginning of their being called daughter and son.  While there was deep, deep sorrow for the losses they felt and the pain they have shouldered, our trip to Ethiopia was joyous like the birth of a tiny baby.  We got to bring them home with us.  It was birthday cake with thick icing and candles.  It was ice cream on the side – with all the toppings a girl could hope for.

As I read Ann Voskamp’s story of her meeting her Compassion child, I was absolutely astounded at the emotions I felt.  I was so sad for Ann to only hold her daughter once, yet I rejoiced that her child had the opportunity to live with those two people that she has always called “mom” and “dad.”

The two curly-headed folk that call this house home and call me mom – I wish they had had the same opportunity.  I wish that there were enough sponsors in the world, that there were not children given to orphanages, because they could not be fed.  I wish there were Compassion programs in all the dark corners, to shed light and give educations and share the love of Jesus in tangible ways.

And while I can’t imagine my life without these two blessings, I am always aware that I am blessed out of another mother’s loss, out of the abandonment of hope, out of the lack of basic supply.

Proverbs tell us, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.” (Proverbs 19:17)

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A New Season

These three bags hold my summer’s sum of work – three bags of inspiration and ideas, all ready to share with a class of early elementary-age students . . . I hope!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I have probably quoted that verse thousands of times.  It is one that remains in my memory, always close to the surface.

That was an oft quoted verse during our adoption; that season of paperwork was just so frustrating.  Then once we got the two kids home, I was often exhausted and used that verse to remind me that I could keep calm/stay awake/be patient for just a bit longer.

During my half marathon training, countless times, I prayed a prayer that went something like this:  “Dear God, (even though I am hating this right now) thank you that you gave me legs that work and a body that can run and the will to do this thing that is a little bit nuts.  Thank you that I can do all things – not in my own power (because I feel like I am going to fall over and die!) – but because you are my strength.”

And during my husband’s medical school then residency years, there were so many, many times that I used that verse to remind myself that God would carry me through this thing that He called me to – not in my own strength but in his.  It was usually as my husband worked 30+ hours straight then came home exhausted to sleep or when he had to dash off in the middle of a family event to tend to another family’s needs.  When I was tired and wanted help with our own children, but the pager beckoned . . . then I’d remind myself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

And God always proved faithful.  I didn’t always get it right, and I wasn’t always patient.  But God did allow us to walk through those years with Grace and Peace.  We did all survive, and we have some great memories to show for it all.

Now, as I am standing before a new season, one filled with mystery and fraught with questions, I am reminding myself of the same thing.  Yet, I am reminded that this verse doesn’t come without questions.  I am reminded that I am so much better at relying on myself than the strong arms of my Father . . . but it should be the other way around.  I am reminded that I shouldn’t wait to ask Him to carry me; I should do it early in the journey . . . instead of waiting until I am worn out and bruised.

And so, as I head into this new school year, this year of teaching and learning, this year that seems ripe with challenge and full of exciting opportunity, I am asking God right away, “Please carry me!  Please help me!  Please enable me to be the teacher and mother that I am supposed to be and to encourage my children to be who you want them to be.”  Amen.

{Here’s hoping I can remember Who’s in charge here.}

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My Word is “Thankful”

A little while back I had the opportunity to hear Beth Moore speak.  It was a great weekend, and the Lord spoke into my life through her message – what a blessing.

At the beginning of her talk, she asked us to think of one word that characterized this time in our lives.  Not a phrase, not a couple words – one word.

What would your word be?

Why?

My word was “thankful.”  Anytime over the last few years my word would have been very different.  At any given time it could have been exhausted or emptied or deflated or spent.  It could have been frustrated (during our adoption process) or grieved (after my grandma died) or frazzled (after bring our precious children home to a new culture) or confused (when we started homeschooling) . . . or so many other words.

But this season, my word is thankful.

A change of careers for my husband.  Four years of medical school.  Three years of residency.  My grandmother’s death.  One adoption of two children who were old enough to know – and be terrified of – yet not old enough to understand what was going on in their lives.  Thinking we were moving then finding out we weren’t.  A change of churches. One basement finished.  Taking on homeschooling.

A lot has transpired around here in the last few years.  A lot.

I am thankful that God has remained our stronghold in the midst of the wind and waves.  He has not only held us strong in our times of weakness, but He has shown Himself faithful and true.  He has also strengthened us.  And I am thankful. . .

for the chance to have been there and done that.

for a home that is comfortable and warm.

for four healthy and wonderful children.

for a husband who loves his day job and comes home to work alongside me in our home at night.

for friends who have walked with us through this journey.

for new friends who encourage us.

for laughter.

for the very real knowledge that God will provide day by day and moment by moment.

for grace that is deeper than all my sin.

for my hand held, my heart too.

I am thankful.

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