Mom on a Mission

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Joy of the Lord is Her Strength




The Lord has once again absolutely provided more blessing than I could ever even think or imagine.
I was praying for my very 13 year old daughter,
  Miss Esther
 a few months back.
  I was more like tattling to God about a few areas we are struggling in.

The Lord heard my prayer and brought
 His Word and some healing and restoration through my good friend Deborah.




Deborah came and spent a week pouring
 God's love and Word into all these beautiful Ugandan girls. 



It is just God's mighty love that He would not only answer my prayers for my daughter, but would make it bigger and better than I could think to ask.
It turned into a week of celebration and connection and growing closer to God and to one another.

 These girls and Deborah all share their birth country and culture. 
 They all speak the same languages. 
 They all started life in Uganda and now call America their home. 
They all still love and enjoy so much about their birth country.
They all have a story and some serious loss  in their lives, but God has absolutely carried them and loved them through it all.

Deborah is a living example of God's faithfulness and healing power, and not only is she healed, she is exploding with JOY!

THE JOY OF THE LORD IS HER STRENGTH!


She truly lights up the room when she's in it without even saying a word.

She probably has the purest heart of anyone I have ever met.
The girls got to listen and learn from the best.


They spent some time celebrating their birth culture with their favorite Ugandan foods and songs and they did 
each other's hair and giggled like girls.



As the girls celebrated their birth culture, me and these kids celebrated ours as well.

We loaded up on McDonald's food and headed to the lake for some time in the sun and water.
Blessings ALL THE WAY AROUND.  

We had to say goodbye (for now) to our special friend and we hated to see her go, but she left us with more of Jesus and His truth and love and we are so thankful to God for sending her and for her willingness to come and love on us and all the girls and their families.



Nehemiah 8:10New International Version (NIV)

10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Resentment Can Creep In

Today I am off on another Ugandan mission.
  Not to Uganda, but to serve some special Ugandan peeps that I dearly love.


  


Much of our time and attention and resources and passions seem to land on "Uganda", directly or indirectly.  I don't know why, it's just the calling the Lord has for us.  We know people, we have connections, we have an adopted Ugandan daughter, we have children we love and support in Uganda.  We have a very special son, that we ADORE that calls me Mom and Charlie Dad, and when we go there, we try to spend every moment possible with him.  We consistently communicate with him and love him from afar, and he is such an encouragement and blessing to our family.



 We have invested in a lot of lives there.  A big portion of our hearts, and our time and conversations are definitely pulled in that part of the world several times a day.



Once in a while, usually when I am feeling overwhelmed and tired, I ask myself....WHY?
  It just gets hard and I begin to let resentment creep in.
 * THIS IS SIN!*
And it creeps in when I look at myself or the people, or the giant tasks and I get my focus on
 ministry vs. JESUS!
  God called us to love on the people we love on.  He is the one that gave us the connections and the resources to help and bless others. 

 None of what we have is our's, it's all a gift from our Heavenly Father anyway, so why would I care how He wants me to use it.  I belong to Him and all I have belongs to Him.

But......needless to say, when I forget THAT for even a moment....I begin to think...
WHAT ABOUT ME AND MINE?

**** just to clarify********

God takes AMAZING care of me,  He gives me special gifts EVERY SINGLE DAY, that I know are directly from Him and they bless me to my very core, but AGAIN, when I take my eyes off of Jesus, I am unsatisfied and frustrated and overwhelmed.

I don't even realize it's happening, it is so subtle and sneaky, but today the Lord spoke to my heart a truth that I will GO BACK TO OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!

I was praying and asking the Lord to protect my kids from resentment for the time and energy spent on "ministry".  I had projected my "feelings of resentment" onto them and didn't even realize it.  I was asking the Lord to keep them from feeling resentment for all the time and energy, money and attention we give towards our "ministry".
  *We don't really have an official "Uganda ministry," I'm just giving it that title for the sake of explanation.*

 I have seen so many times how children can grow resentful of the ministry or work their parents do, because it takes so much away from the "family".

The Lord spoke so clearly to my heart I have to blog it so I am reminded.
 He told me that  I and ALL of my kids will be completely resentful of our time and energy and money that are spent on  ANY ministry or ANYTHING that is NOT about them, if I let them be the focus.

 If our focus is self centered, there will always be huge resentment from everyone.
  If we are Jesus centered IN ALL WE do, and we teach our children to be Jesus centered then there is NO RESENTMENT.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (ESV)

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.



I would rather move to the ends of the earth in a mud hut and be in God's will for my life than to live in a mansion and know that I am not doing what He called me to. 


*Now...I'm not saying it is His will to move me to a mud hut or that He won't move me to a mansion.  He can do whatever He wants.*

If I keep my eyes on Jesus and keep pointing straight to HIM with my kids, He can take care of their hearts and my heart and he can bring joy that all the time and attention and money in the world can never bring.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Week of Olympics

I feel like I've been to a week of the Olympics. 
 The best part of any sport is being in awe of what the body can do when it is pushed and trained and used.

For me, this week has been a week of being in awe as I have been watching God's body in action.  
 God's body in our church, our friends, and our family. The body that He has allowed me to be a part of has been pushed and stretched and used this week. It's as if we have competed in the decathlon as a team.

The property that God is training us on is a busy piece of dirt.

We had a Run 4 Adoption fundraiser.  





We got to worship in our new building for the very first time this week. 




All this, on a pretty bare piece of dirt that I'm pretty sure God must have said, "I will let you use it for my Glory", and the body said,
 "YES, PLEASE!!"

1 Corinthians 10:23-24English Standard Version (ESV)

Do All to the Glory of God

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33English Standard Version (ESV)

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.



The impact of the activities this week reached across the table, the street, the country, and the world.

This is what is so amazing about God, He even saw fit to bring in more of the body to feed peeps during these Olympics.


*And I might add....we were fed with yummy abundance.*
 These 2 girls have fed the masses this week.  Charsie has fed every animal in the area, and Maddie has fed every animal  person in this house.  Charsie has kept the road hot with her feeding program and Maddie has kept the kitchen hot with her feeding program.  It has been such a blessing, because I am here to tell you if you don't feed the body....or the body's animals....things start to break down before they really even get started good.  
Maddie would also take a slight break from kitchen duty sometimes and feed the little bodies with lots of love and care and kept them looking cute...(that is a HUGE priority to Miss Maddie).


This bunch of bodies work together and also rest together. 
 I couldn't be any more blessed with the bodies that God has put together in this house.
I am thankful to God and to my kids for being willing to come together and work together.



 God uses many generations coming together to work for His glory.  Holding a precious baby full of sweetness may not even look like work, it just looks like pure sweetness, but if it wasn't for this part of the body holding the sweetness and keeping it protected and happy...the sweetness can turn sour.












This little mama and her hubby are doing their part in many ways, and they are absolutely taking seriously the command to be "fruitful and multiply"...and that makes my heart just 
CRAZY HAPPY AND FULL OF GRAND JOY.   


My man is wild!!! 
 His part in the body usually involves something loud and dangerous. 

I am thankful today for "the body" that has participated in this week's Olympics.
  I am sad, because part of the body had to go back to Montana.
And I am thankful for how God designed HIS BODY to work together!!!

I am in AWE of how good HE is and how he can take a bunch of dirt and make it into something useful and beautiful!!!




Sunday, July 13, 2014

Endurance!

I'm stuck on this subject of "spiritual warfare".  It just seems the heat is incredible [and I'm not talking about the weather]and the frustrations are hard and many, and it is an effort to keep moving forward.


Spiritual warfare can be many things, and it can take on a lot of different forms. I look at it like a testing or as intense training.


I have ran a few marathons, and half marathons, and something I have learned along the way is this; the race, the actual marathon is not the hardest part. 
 It is the hours and sweat and soreness and dedication that give the endurance to run the race. If you don't put the training time in, you are likely to not make it through the race.  You may not even show up to the race you signed up for, or you could quit or get injured part way through. 

It is the tests and the training that makes us stronger and gives us endurance for the race ahead of us.

 The hard training days when nobody is with you or standing on the side of the road cheering for you that are the hardest.  The decision comes down to you and you alone if you are going to get out there and pound out another hard training run.  

God's Word describes our faith as running a race with endurance and I know there is no such thing as endurance without training, and LOTS of it. The harder and longer the race, the the more time and intensity you had better have trained in preparation.

So, as I have been feeling the struggles and strains of hard core training and testing of my faith and the faith of many around me. I rejoice, (or try to rejoice) because we are going to be fit and strong in our faith to run the race set before us, if we can keep our eyes on Jesus. 


Hebrews 12:1-2

Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.



Here's the thing about a race.  
You can't just listen or read or visualize about how to train for it, you can't pay someone else to do it for you. The only way to gain endurance is to keep putting one foot in front of another again and again and again.  The only way you can have any help, is to run alongside another runner.

Psalm 66:8-12The Message (MSG)

8-12 Bless our God, O peoples!
    Give him a thunderous welcome!
Didn’t he set us on the road to life?
    Didn’t he keep us out of the ditch?
He trained us first,
    passed us like silver through refining fires,
Brought us into hardscrabble country,
    pushed us to our very limit,
Road-tested us inside and out,
    took us to hell and back;
Finally he brought us
    to this well-watered place.






Friday, July 11, 2014

Proof!!! I Need My Wife.



Charsie,

I wanted to wish you a very happy birthday!!  ANNNNNDDDDD, tell you how much I appreciate you and who you are, and also tell you about your birthday present.

Well, it's a surprise and it will remain a surprise until Monday, because when your dad and I don't have my wife (you) nagging  reminding me of the things I need to do or reminding me to remind your dad,
  WE FALL APART.  It's just the truth.

  So anyway, long story short, we were pretty proud of ourselves because we did get your present (without you knowing or telling us too )ordered 5 days before your birthday, but APPARENTLY that is 3 days later than we should have, because it will be here Monday.

So, yes, I gave you this message publicly because I wanted to apologize for my lameness without my wife to help me with EVERYTHING, and make people understand that I am totally NOT kidding about how you run this joint, and also because I think wives give way more grace in social settings.  hehehe

I love you and HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY Birthday.  I won't forget another thing until next year, because you hopefully won't let me.

Your Loving Mother

Thursday, July 10, 2014

No Brakes Necessary

I drive a 2006 Suburban.  I like it.  You would never know it to look at it, because I don’t take very good care of it. 
  I don’t clean it (hardly EVER), and I don’t think about it too much, which is precisely why I really like it.


 It gets me and a whole bunch of other people where we need to go, and I don't have to think about it much.
 It is paid for and it has gotten me almost 200,000 miles (so far) with very little attention.  

I have been worried about the brakes, not because there is anything wrong with them, but I know that brakes wear out and if you wait too long, a simple brake job turns into a way bigger deal.  
*I know this, because I have experienced it with a pickup I used to drive.* 
  It was an expensive lesson.

Anyway, I, for the life of me can not remember ever getting the brakes replaced on this this Suburban.   I got to thinking I better get them babies checked out and pray that I haven’t done damage.
 I wasn't having any problems, THAT I NOTICED.
 Of course, that is part of the problem, I’m just not real in-tuned to the whole car thing;
I only NOTICE a problem if it stops me, or in this case, doesn't stop me.  

So, here is how the conversation with my favorite mechanic went after a brake check:

Mechanic:  Jenay, we checked your brakes out.

Me: Ya, I’m so  sorry, I just wasn’t paying attention….I know it’s bad.

Mechanic: Ahhhh no, the brakes  are fine.  You have a little less than half way to go on them.

*my first thought...is wow, does that mean I can go 400,000 miles on these brakes?*

Me: [thinking I'm totally missing what he is saying] What?  How much is that going to cost?

Mechanic:  Nothing, you are good to go.  Your brakes are fine.  Are those the original brakes?

Me:  I think so.  Is that even possible?

Mechanic:  [with laughter]….I guess so.  You must not use your brakes much.

......................................…LONG PAUSE……………………………..

Me:  SHOOT!!!  Should we check the gas pedal? 

###########################################

Apparently, if my car is any indication….I must be going more than I’m stopping.


 It’s a lot easier to wear those brakes out if you ride them too much. 

 But that gas pedal!!!
  It's very hard to ware out no matter how many miles you ride it.

Lesson learned: 
 Roll on!!! 
 Only apply the brakes if you have to.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Feeling Some Heat!


I had a bit of a revelation the other day concerning
 "spiritual warfare".


 All Christians go through it in some way, to some degree.
It's just part of what you sign up for when you say, 
"Yes LORD".  

There is also blessings ABUNDANT that come with following Jesus.  
Blessings too wonderful to even describe, but there is ALSO this other part (the war part) that is talked about WAY less.  It is just less attractive to everyone.

People may or may not want to admit it or talk about it, but it's just part of the deal.  God's Word tells us to expect it and how to handle it.  He tells us to put on our armor. 
 The only reason we would put on armor,
 is because we need to be ready for battle.

Ephesians 6:10-13English Standard Version (ESV)

The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.


People better get their hard hats on, because God is doing some cool stuff and people are stepping out in faith all over the place, and he is letting us all be a part of building His church.



 Charlie is having more fun than anyone I think....he is like a kid that finally gets to play the game HE PICKED.
  He has wanted to be part of building a church building, and the Lord has granted him that blessing, better and bigger than he could have thought to ask for.


But
 let me just say,
 my man,
 and I'm pretty sure everyone involved are giving their armor a good workout.
 They are making sure those helmets are on tight, and their shields are up, and their swords are sharpened. In the midst of all the blessing and fun, there are flaming darts flying around.


Ephesians 6:16-18English Standard Version (ESV)

16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

The whole thing is so exciting.  So many of us act as if we are having our own custom houses built.  The driveway stays busy with people just excited to see what is getting done and marvel at what the Lord is doing.  

We rejoice and PRAISE the LORD, but also do not think it strange that we are feeling some HEAT.

1 Peter 4:12-13English Standard Version (ESV)

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.


AMEN!!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Relationship

The Lord has been reminding me and showing me how important relationship is.
I thought I was on a mission to take Luke to All-Star Baseball, of which I totally did, but the GIFT in the "baseball mission" was
 RELATIONSHIP.  

I stayed with my cousins Jimi and Becky and I was blessed beyond measure, and so were my kids.
I could have spent money on the nicest hotel with a pool and 
I can GUARANTEE you that the kids would
  NOT
 have had as much fun as they did at Jimi and Becky's house.

Jimi is a big crazy kid himself, and he told hunting stories, showed them hunting pictures, and golfed, and shot a bow and arrows, right in Jimi's yard.

They blessed us with a place to stay, and wonderful hospitality, but more wonderful than that was the conversation, the connection, the laughter and the tears.

GOD IS ALWAYS ABOUT RELATIONSHIP!!

I have found if I let Him lead and I go the extra mile to be with people, it always always always blesses, and becomes more about people than the activity every single time.




Relationship is effort, but effort that is well worth it.
We pressed in, and stayed up late and got up early,
 and talked and visited and got to some real big heart issues.  
We spoke of our 
Savior 
and our purpose 
and our history and our future. 
 We all left our time together refreshed and blessed.



I was thinking of how often we think we are on "mission", of a certain activity or even mission trips, and we get to thinking it's about the activity or building or providing for people's physical needs, but it is
 ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS
 about relationship.
 It's about connecting with people.
God could drop millions of toothbrushes  and soap and medicine into all of Africa, and He could raise every needed structure there ever was, but it is about building relationships and blessing people and showing them God's love with skin on.  If people only needed blessed with stuff, it would be so much better to send money, but people need each other.
 People need to see Jesus at work all over the world through different people from different countries and cultures.
  We have been blessed a few times to host our Ugandan friends from CSI and I can tell you they bring more to us, here in the USA,  than we could ever provide for them.
They bring encouragement and prayers and huge amounts of faith that
ALWAYS
 bless us in amazing ways.

We have some other young Ugandan friends that we will be skyping with in a few days.
They need  to be loved on and they need us to disciple them.
 Why us, why skype?
  I have no clue whatsoever.  There are people right there WAY more qualified and with better understanding of the culture and the language and they can love on these people and point them to Jesus way better than we can.  

BUT GOD!!!

God put us in relationship with these precious  people and they are looking for help and they are reaching out to us, so, who am I to tell God His plan is not cost or time effective.
 We just
 get our obedience on
 and we will pray for them and skype with them, and let God do with it whatever He wants.

Thanking the Lord for letting me be in relationship with a lot of really cool peeps!