Mom on a Mission

Mom on a Mission

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sweet 16 Esther!



 Happy Sweet 16
 Mirembe Esther Brewer.


Esther is one of the strongest people I know.  She is strong in body, mind, and spirit.  It is her strength that has made her a survivor and a conqueror.  She has endured many hardships and crazy blessings in her short 16 years.  Esther's life and experiences can explain how she can feel so low and then so high in a short time frame.  She has experienced some desperate lows and some elating highs in her short life.  


 Esther, in the Bible was a strong orphan girl, that against all odds became a queen and ended up saving her people by standing for what was true.  She rose to the challenge and did the hard thing in spite of the fear and risk when she was faced with adversity. 
 I believe Esther was named providentially, she is a princess for sure and she is strong and can do hard things and come out on top.  She has a way with people, that draws them in,  and as she grows and matures she will be used by God in more beautiful and powerful ways.

This daughter of mine has challenged me in many ways, I have learned things about myself through my relationship with Esther, in my faith and in my parenting, and I am so grateful to God for giving me Esther as a daughter and a gift to all our lives.
  We do the hard work together to learn and grow and bond, and we both have learned to love so much better. 
 Esther's life has  taught me so much about my adoption in Jesus. 


 Esther is a daughter and a sister and an auntie and a friend. 
 Esther is funny and playful.

 

Esther is also deep in her thoughts and in her heart.  She can be hard to break through the surface, but man, when you dig deep with her and hang in there with her, there is a treasure so beautiful that it's worth every single bit of the digging.



Charlie and Esther have a very special bond.  He and her connected before I knew anything about her, and he went back to Uganda and brought her home when it was time. 
She is the kid that Charlie was in charge of the "delivery" and he did an amazing job, it was a true labor of love.
 
Esther is Cellie's absolute favorite person in the whole world. 
 You can't fool Cellie, she knows true love and Esther is all
 "her's".

Saturday, February 18, 2017



The words that I felt like God just speaking to me for the year 2017 is:
 REMEMBER and TIMING.

Remember who God is and what He has done, and His timing which usually translates as
WAITING.

My mind and fb page has been flooded with memories lately.

The two big memories that I am camped on right now are when Lashae was a senior in high school, in 2010.  She told us that she had missions BIG on her heart.  She had no idea where or what or even why, but she knew she felt urgent about it!  
 I was soooooooo fine-ish with it, once she just finished high school with the honors that she had worked for all her student life, and had her college career well under way, and had saved all the money needed, and had the perfect opportunity, with the perfect safety measures, with a the perfect experience of 5,000 people around her, and the perfect suitcase and clothes and hair style and 
blah blah blah.

Then, my lovely brother-in-law, Justin, decided to answer God's call and throw together a mission team and go to Uganda and have it just a few weeks before my first born valedictorian daughter  graduated.
(It wasn't actually "thrown" together, there was a lot of planning and prayer that went into it, but to ME, the MOTHER, it felt THROWN together.)
 

  She was positive this was an opportunity that God was giving her.   I was positive it wasn't God at all,  and if it was, He must have forgotten He made me the mother.
  I reminded God, that He gave me a job to raise her and I was doing a pretty fantastic job until He came along and took over her heart, before she was even 18 of all things. 
 I mean I wanted her to love Jesus, but not do anything out of order, she could sing songs and pray and go to a few Bible studies and then, when her life was in order, and she was an adult, she could do something that He laid on her heart. 
 His timing seemed so wrong.


As it turned out....she went, and Charlie got to go,  and God messed him up too.  Charlie spent the whole time NOT watching our daughter, which is what he was SENT for 
(according to me.)
  He was too busy crying and dealing with His own heart that was being changed and lit on fire for Jesus.
  Charlie came back with a passion for Jesus that I had never seen in him, and he was listening to the Holy Spirit and responding in a way that is still effecting lives.

  God's timing messed with me! 
 As my husband was NOT watching our daughter, but falling in deep crazy love with Jesus and sponsoring kids and committing to adopting our daughter, I was at home getting served papers on the foreclosure of our house. 

A few weeks after Lashae and Charlie returned from their first trip, they were at a church sharing about their Uganda trip; it was at that service, Charlie announced that we were going to pursue adopting Esther, as I  was in the car having a wrestling match with God over it.
  I explained to Him that I had a heart for adoption, and I could tell this was our girl by Charlie's love for her, but I reminded Him that we were in a financial hardship and I would be happy to follow His lead just as soon as he straightened out our mess.  God, thankfully did not listen to my plan and timing, He faithfully led us thru the adoption process at the same time that we were dealing with a financial mess.  This was 7 years ago, and  our daughter has been home for almost 6 years now, and our house situation is still not fixed.  God has been faithful and generous to provide, above and beyond everything we need and ask for. 
 He has taught us a lot about  REMEMBERING to trust Him and His TIMING.
  He has taught us to obey even when it makes no sense to us or anyone else at the time.  

 

There have been several things that God has lead us into, without any doubt, that I thought we would be right in that place for a long time.....and it ended up being a short season.
Then there are situations that I'm sure He is going to resolve and fix or get us out of very quickly and we remain right there for a looooooooooooooong time.

I don't get it, and I don't like it,
but I have learned to TRUST Him
(more.)
 It may not look pretty and I can't hear the angels singing, but I can REMEMBER where we were and WHO we are following and it's all worth it.

Following Jesus, and His leading in our lives, is messier than I ever thought it could be, and more beautiful than I can see with my eyes, 
 it's harder than I ever imagined and more wonderful than I ever knew possible.
 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Staying High!

I remember as a kid going to church camp every year and experiencing a new closeness with the Lord and with the people I had been to camp with.  I remember coming home from that "high" and getting kinda
 "down".

I remember feeling changed and excited to only come home and feel a let down when I got back to my normal life, normal chores, normal family.
I didn't know what to do with it all.......
I experience the same sort of high and low when I come home from a mission trip.



Sometimes the things I have experienced are too hard and too wonderful to convey or process.

You see things, that you don't understand, let alone can explain, and you experience things that are too glorious to put into words, so it all just stirs in my heart. 
 If I'm not careful it can stir up stuff like resentment and depression because I just don't know where to go with it all.  This time I experienced the "high" like none other and I could feel that stirring in my heart.  I asked the Lord to stir up my heart and let it be used for Him, not turned into a low.



Don't get me wrong.  I love my normal life, my normal chores, and people.  I was pumped to come home and see my people, my little girls, my big girls and my grands and my man!!  And then I got to travel home home and see the rest of the peeps.  I had missed them all so much.  I had never been away as long as I was this time.   But even all that gave me a bit of a low, because I had to leave my big girls and my grands to come home, and then I was only home for a few days and Kole headed out.
 My heart has felt like a revolving door of hello and goodbyes. 
 I suck at goodbyes.

Early in 2016 I began praying:
 "TURN UP THE GLORY DIAL.". 

I was memorizing,

2 Corinthians 3:17-18(ESV)

17 Now the Lord[a] is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
and it led me to pray,
TURN UP THE GLORY DIAL. 
 I'm needing to see some faster glory transformation, because what I'm seeing is more wrinkles and gray hair than glory on this 'ole girl.

As I started DOWN that road of the LOW, I remembered who is on HIGH.

Isaiah 55:9

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
 

Maybe the glory dial looks like a big whirlwind in the heart.
Jesus is stirring some things in my heart and this time I set some action to it, because I've been down this road before, when He gives a good stirring  and then, within about 24 hours I have talked myself right out of  it and it turns to that low.  


JESUS, STIR ME IN A WAY THAT BRINGS ME CLOSER TO YOU AND BRINGS GLORY TO YOUR NAME!!!

Psalm 61:1-3

61 Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy.



I'm staying 
 HIGH!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sweet Jesus!





The best way to sum up this trip to Uganda is to describe the fruit. 
 The fruit was sweet and plentiful and so
 REFRESHING.



Psalm 34:1-8
34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!




 The fruit that we ate was fantastic, but even sweeter than the fruit that we ate, was the fruit in the relationships that we have with so many beautiful people there. 

People that have given their lives to sharing the Gospel and living for Jesus are sweet and beautiful to be around and we were surrounded.

 

My body might be tired and jet-lagged, but my heart is full and refreshed!
There is no better way to be refreshed than to pour out to others; Jesus always fills us with fresh and living water.
  The more we pour out the more we are filled.


We have had the amazing privilege of pouring into some beautiful lives in Uganda over the last 6 1/2 years.  
We have seen the ups and downs of ministry, of people supporting and cheering for one another as well as criticizing and discouraging.  
 The thing that was on repeat throughout our time there, was the faithfulness of God.
 He works with all us broken and messy people, and even when we make a mess of things...He is faithful to heal us and clean us and use us.
He is God and He is good and He doesn't depend on us, we depend on Him.
PRAISE GOD FOR BEING GOD
all over the world for all of time!!!
 
He doesn't depend on us to do anything, He invites us into what He is doing and we can either taste and see the fruit of HIS faithfulness, or we can miss out. 

On this particular trip He just allowed me taste and see the fruit
 and it was amazing.
 The thing about fruit, is it isn't produced over night. 
 We have seen beauty developing over the years, and we have been encouraged, but for me, this was the trip of harvest season.
Sweet and plentiful!
 
 
                                    2 Timothy 2:10-14

 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:If we have died with him, we will also live with him;12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;if we deny him, he also will deny us;13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.


He showed me that when we stay the course and follow Jesus, through the ups and downs of life and trust in His faithfulness even in the midst of trials, He is working and producing something sweet.

  It's not about what we get done or how we do anything, it's just not about us, it's about how faithful He is, even when we are not faithful
 HE STILL IS.  

Colossians 1:3-8 

Thanksgiving and Prayer

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.



I realize that God is at work all over the world and we don't have to go to Uganda to experience His faithfulness, but I want to thank God for allowing me to experience the extra sweetness of the fruit being produced on the other side of the world and letting me enjoy it.

The relationships we have over there are too sweet to describe in words.
 There is a heart connection that is only a gift from God.
 We have such limited time together but God makes it so powerful that it lasts.


My heart is refreshed and full and ready to GO again, here at home, and God-willing back to Uganda. 
 

 
We got to crash these beautiful ladies trip for a few days.  They are gorgeous women and they work their beautiful heads clean off.  They are mamas, and they know how to get a home in order.  Redeemer House is now in order. 
 Boom! 
 Done beautifully. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Vacation or Mission Trip?

This is a mission trip not a vacation,  I heard these words come out of my mouth. It wasn't to anyone in particular, it was an observation that put things in perspective.  Honestly, I've had as much fun on missions as I've ever had on vacation.  The relationships are so rich and full, and it is such a vacation in so many ways, I haven't cooked, or done laundry or even driven a car for over 2 weeks.  VACATION is what I call that my friends.

We even had a spa session.  All toes were looking and feeling fantastic.


 Here's the reality of our lives when we have surrendered them to Jesus, our lives are to be lived on mission everyday wherever we are.  Even when we are on vacation, we vacation with Jesus we work with Jesus we GO everywhere as His.  We parent, and play and eat and sleep with Jesus as the center.  To people who may not know the JOY of the LORD this sounds horrible and boring, but I can promise you it is the most fun and fulfilling life.

These beautiful ladies serve the Lord with such a joy that it is nothing short of amazing. 

 Our vacations look a lot like missions and our missions feel a lot like vacation.

The thing that we can forget so many times, is our lives are not our own, we are bought with a price, and this means everything we do, and everywhere we go is rooted in who we are in Christ and our purpose to live our lives for Him.


Colossians 1:12English Standard Version (ESV)

12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
This trip has been so fun and we have worked and played and laughed and prayed every day all day over everything and everyone we got to encounter.

When you follow Jesus your life will will be lived on mission and it  will be the biggest blast and it's all just a big blur what is missions, what is vacation and what is serving and what is being served.  We went to Uganda to serve, and we left there so filled up, it was clear we had received as much or more than we had given.



The ladies that we had the honor of sharing with at a ladies event called, "A Day To Remember" even had dresses made for us and a shirt for Reece.  We came to bless, and got our socks blessed off.  This is how the Lord works, it is so opposite of how the world works.



We ended the trip on the last day with Reece getting to join in a kid's camp that CSI was having for the children. Reece danced his heart out.  The white boy has a lot of heart and not a lot of rhythm and nobody even cared.


 


Friday, January 13, 2017

Reece on Mission in Sickness and in Health

I could write pages and pages about how God worked and moved on this trip to Uganda.  I hope to tell some of the amazing highlights very soon, but for some reason the thing that keeps coming to my mind to share first, is the ugly part.  These kinds of stories are usually held pretty private because the good always outweighs the bad and I don’t want to be discouraging but I want people to be encouraged.  But if you have been around me or my blog at all I usually tell all, the good the bad and the ugly……so I will start with the ugly and then flood this blog with the many uplifting stories.

I believe when we share the sick and suffering parts of our lives it makes the beautiful more beautiful, the rainbows more vivid, the victories more celebrated the calm more peaceful, the joy more joy-filled.

Pain and suffering has a way of bringing out the truth of what is really in a person.

On the very first long flight we had on our journey, the 9 1/2 hour flight, Reece and I got sick, sick, sick.
Many puke bags sick.
We had apparently gotten the bug from the little girls after all, and didn’t realize it until we were airborne.
It was a humbling, scary, and miserable experience.
We prayed our hearts out and puked our guts out that whole trip.
At one point I told Reece to be so discreet and to puke so quietly as to not disturb the other passengers, I told him if they knew how sick he was, they may kick him off the flight….he was like, “IN THE AIR?!?!”
Not my best mom moment, but I felt so bad about bringing sickness on a flight, I was trying to keep a low profile and germs and drama to ourselves.

By the time we got to Amsterdam, we were already beginning to feel better, which simply means we felt like we were going to live and we could continue on.
  We hooked up with Teresa and Arianna and continued onto our final destination!
 UGANDA!
We felt good for a few days and then it hit Reece again.  He got puking sick one morning and by afternoon he had already bounced back again.  That same night I had a relapse as well, so as I was walking around my room trying to figure out what to do to settle the stomach ache, I noticed Reece’s mosquito net was not down properly on one side.  I walked to that side of the bed and stepped right on my double bladed razor. 
Wellllllllll, that’s one way of taking care of stomach pain, by sending all blood and pain sensors to my foot.
Let me just explain the situation…..when you are in Uganda your feet are never clean.  They have the most beautiful red dirt stain to them because their soil is so rich and red.  It’s not the thing you want rubbed into an open would all day for the next 10 days.  

God just took total care of me despite my clumsy negligent self, it healed up just fine. 

The final blow was on Redeemer House moving day, one of our last days in Uganda, Reece woke up vomiting repeatedly non-stop for 2 hours.  After the first hour I got freaked out, I sent out prayer requests and woke up everyone I knew in the hotel and beyond.  I was thinking he needed to go to a clinic.
 HE.COULD.NOT.QUIT.PUKING.

Teresa and Simon physically ran to another guesthouse where xHope team was staying and got some meds they had for us to try.  By the 3rd dose he had stopped puking and began to rest.

We were relieved and bummed all at the same time.  Relieved he was getting better but bummed we were going to miss moving day.  He was so weak.

Here’s how God works though, we had to stay back from the move that day, so Reece could recover, but the nicest young man who was working at the hotel we were staying at, was so genuinely concerned and kind to Reece.
Him and Reece just hit it off and by the end of the day when Reece was feeling better, he came to our room to freshen it up and we got to visit with him for quite awhile.

The next morning he brought a few gifts to Reece that he had made that night, and we prayed for him and he prayed for Reece.  It was so sweet and unexpected.
Reece decided he wanted to give Jordan something before we left so he decided to give him his Bible.
Reece has a huge study Bible, that I think weighs more than him, and this is the Bible he brought with him.  He needed the biggest Jesus book with him on mission.  

His Bible had his name on the front but the inside pages had never been filled out, so Reece filled them all out to present to Jordan.
 
Reece bounced back 100% once again, and God even used him in his sick bed to connect with people.

There’s no other explanation than God just had His hand on us every day and even when things got rough they were used for our good and for His glory.

There is plenty more to share that doesn’t revolve around sickness and suffering, but so many times we gloss over it, and it is a part of life that we all have, and if we share in the rough spots together we can celebrate the victories with more zeal.
We remember from where we came!


Psalm 41:1-3

Blessed is the one who considers the poor!  In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.  The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


I've been struggling with what to share.....this trip has been amazing and full and needed and confirming and definitely a faith builder.  

We have been everywhere from the roughest slum I have yet to experience in Uganda to ministering to some of the most beautiful women I have ever met in the whole world.  It has been a wide range and broad spectrum of ministering.  The thing that blesses my heart and gives me so much comfort is that the same God is watching us and guiding us everywhere we go from the most beautiful campus to the poorest slum.  We have not stopped at one place without praying and blessing the people and sharing the love of Jesus.  We have been encouraged and challenged.  We have had the opportunity to love on friends and pray for the sick and the poor and the healthy and the prosperous.  It's a crazy feeling to swing from such beauty to so much suffering, literally across the street many times.  I'm thankful that God is my anchor; I have needed to hold tight to that anchor and not get carried away by emotion but trust Him.



Hebrews 6:19-20English Standard Version (ESV)

19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Teresa and Arianna and I had the amazing opportunity to share at a women's event at Christ Sanctuary International, and it was,
 "A Day To Remember."

Malachi 3:16English Standard Version (ESV)

The Book of Remembrance

16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name.

We prayed and worshiped and dug into the Word of God and took communion and then celebrated with dancing.  It was very special and we felt honored to be a part of such a great event.






We laughed so hard at Reece I thought my face was going to break apart.  He got out there and danced with the ladies and it was hilarious.

Before I came to Uganda I have been discouraged and confused on some things. God has shown me that even as flawed as I am, God can use me.  Discouragement is a waste of time and unproductive and we just need to get over ourselves and quit looking for others approval or non approval and look to Jesus.  He loves messes like me and can use us however wherever He wants.

I had to repent this morning after church because I have let my heart be discouraged and I wasn't following the command to rejoice in the Lord always.  I was letting people and circumstances steal my joy.  To rejoice is to re-joy.  Oh did I need some re-JOY without the pregnant part. (wink).

Philippians 4:4-7(ESV)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness[a] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I got confused between humility and shutting down. God wants us to be humble and bold at the same time.  So I realized I have been wasting time by waiting for people to accept me.  God has given me the green light to live for Him boldly when He saved me.  


God has been so kind to show me fruit on this trip from all the time and resources that we have been blessed to invest here in Uganda.  God is faithful, and when we are faithful to stay the course of what He calls us to do even when it looks hopeless or stupid....He is working and He is faithful and we get to be a part of it and see the fruit of it all in His time.  It's been almost 7 years and many trips since Charlie and Lashae's first trip to Uganda and God has been so so so faithful.

I got to hear more of Simon's testimony on this trip and hear of how the Lord brought Charlie and Simon together for the first time.  I had heard it from Charlie's side many times but never heard it from Simon's end.  Wow!!!!  God works in our lives and is so very personal and I am in awe of how He works in each of our lives for our good and HIS GLORY!!!!




 Charlie keeps telling me to suck it all in and bring it home.  So I'm sucking as much as I can.  I'm pretty good at sucking most times, so for once......I suck in a good way.