Mom on a Mission

Mom on a Mission

Friday, December 23, 2016

Holy Cow He Did It Again.

Charlie and I just celebrated 27 years of marriage a few weeks ago. This man of mine did not sign up for a quiet life of ease when he asked me to marry him.
 His job as leader of this herd, has not been boring or easy,  but he has lead with strength and faithfulness and a whole bunch of sacrifice.


When Charlie and I got married he owned a few cows and sold them to marry me.  My man has spent the last 27 years trying to build his herd. 
 He has certainly built up a herd all right, but not the cow kinda herd.  
Several times during the 27 years,  he has built up a little cow herd and so far he has had to sell it off to provide for something else.  
 Charlie is a cowboy at heart and he has had to hang up all his ropes for a hammer and his horses for a kid hauler.
As we are getting ready for Christmas, Montana, and Uganda all at once; my closet looks like a tornado has hit,  and so does our checkbook.

 This is also our very busiest season and I don't mean busy as in working at making money, that is a given in every season. 
 We have been busy with 3 teens in different winter sports.  Our teens need to sweat a lot, which means my car sucks a lot of gas, which means I drink a lot of coffee.  As you can see it's just a very busy time keeping up with all the sweating, sucking and drinking going on in this herd.

I  have been praying about the checkbook tornado, which is a refreshing approach to my concerns about financially stressed times in our marriage. The first 25ish years were NOT spent praying about such  things.  My concerns sounded a lot more like a high pitch nag, and a lot less like prayer.  I was asking the Lord for help because it's just not looking so good, tornadoes tend to leave damage behind.

 My Father is faithful, I know His Word and I also have a relationship and a history with Him..  He doesn't tell me how bad I have been, and that I drink too much coffee or drive around too much, He hears me and He is faithful to help.  He is a  Father that cares for His children.  My Lord is not a vending machine  or a prosperity gospel kinda god, He is a loving Father that always provides for everything that HE knows we need.

So at the same time that I was praying about our situation, the Lord was prompting Charlie to sacrifice sell our cows.  The funny part of this whole story is, if I would have remembered that we even had a few cows, I would have started that whole nagging siren kinda routine.  I honestly never even thought about the cows, so we were all protected from the nagging siren and once again, in the Lord's perfect timing He did the prompting and providing and we just get to be a part of it all and give Him all the thanks and all the praise.

My man came home from work last week and made his cow deal and never even blinked his eye.  He is such a cowboy at heart, but he is a husband and a father and a Jesus follower, and he knows if he never owns another cow on this earth he will get to run cows on a thousand hills for eternity.  

Psalm 50:9-15English Standard Version

I will not accept a bull from your house
    or goats from your folds.
10 For every beast of the forest is mine,
    the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know all the birds of the hills,
    and all that moves in the field is mine.

12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
    for the world and its fullness are mine.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats?
14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,[a]
    and perform your vows to the Most High,
15 and call upon me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

I share this post for a couple reasons, I want to encourage wives to skip the whole nagging siren step and pray and trust the Lord, He is faithful to take care of us, all of his children, the wives, husbands and kids alike.
 I also want to thank my hubby for being a man that will do what it takes to lead this herd, and the kind of man that is in tune to the prompting of the 
Holy Spirit.
Most of all I want to give God glory and praise and remind myself and my kids the way He works in our lives, thru every situation everyday, in all our relationships, in our finances, and in the desires of our hearts. 
 He wants all of our lives, all of our hearts, all of our praise.
Romans 11:36
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. 

To him be glory forever.
 Amen.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Why I Hate Santa Claus.

I have spent much of my adult life trying to sort out the truth.
  I have had some real crazy misunderstandings and misguided thoughts, and unfortunately most of it has had an element of the truth, but then gets off into some other distorted weirdness.  

I often get a little wild when I discover I've been lied to or think I've been deceived in some way, just ask my poor kids.
  If you want to see mom lose her mind........ 


 I know, I know it's human nature we all do it and it hurts everyone, and we even deceive our own selves, get over it.  I will not get over it, I will spend my life seeking the TRUTH, and here is why; the TRUTH is too sweet to cover up and distort, and especially
 especially 
especially 
 the TRUTH about CHRISTMAS!!!

The TRUTH of the Christmas story is so SWEET and full of MYSTERY and WONDER and BEAUTY and GRACE, it is so AMAZING, it it the BEST STORY EVER TOLD, and it's alllllll TRUE. 
 It's history, and it's future, and it's all our HOPE; wrapped up in a little tiny baby bundle!!! 

 There is so much JOY to be had in the TRUTH of Christmas that we don't need to add one little tiny thing, or one big fat phony thing.

But somehow what has happened is we thought that we had a funner story to teach our kids to believe in.  So rather than the TRUTH,  we made up some crap about a creepy guy in a red suit that watches if we are good or bad or naughty or nice and keeps a tally all year, and we put our kids on this stranger's lap, which defies every good thing we ever taught the little people about stranger danger, for a cute picture that terrifies them, but they will endure it because they want to be good and get presents.

  How do we explain to our kids that kids without parents or with poor parents or kids from Third World countries don't get much for Christmas, or maybe they get nothing........do we just tell them that those kids must have been bad.  I don't know, it just goes from fun to really sick and twisted and wrong.
And then at a certain age we sit them down and tell them it's all been a lie and crush all their hopes and dreams, or worse, a friend tells them, and then they wonder what else we have lied to their sweet little hearts about, but, they don't want to tell us that they know the TRUTH of the lie because they are afraid if they tell us they KNOW, then we will stop playing this whole charade and they will never have fun on Christmas or get another gift as long as they live. There just seems like a lot of fun  gone wrong.

The TRUTH of HISTORY, the real Christmas story, is the best story in all the world throughout all of time. Jesus is the best gift ever given and He was a gift given to all the world by GOD himself.  Jesus is the gift and He is the gift that just keeps giving throughout eternity.  
Why in the world would we want to change that, or add to it or take away from it?

We can celebrate and decorate and give generously and eat and drink and be merry, because He is so worth all our PRAISE and CELEBRATION.
 

The story never gets old or boring, it gets better and better every year, every single year the GIFT gets better and there's more to unwrap and there's more to share and learn and enjoy about this gift that God gave to us.  Why in the world would we not want to tell the story every year and tell it with such awe and wonder and tell more and more and more as the kids grow and learn and understand this precious GIFT.
 

God will never never never sit us down and tell us that we have outgrown the fairy tale.  He will never tell us it's over, move on and grow up.

We have been robbed as adults because of the strain and stress and burden of Christmas and we "do it all for the kids." UGH!  How messed up is that?


  We need to shift our focus and realize that as the years go by and we believe in the TRUTH of Christmas year after year it only gets better and better; we unwrap more and more of this gift, given to us by almighty God, this gift called IMMANUEL, God with us.  We get to spend ETERNITY unwrapping and discovering and being in awe and wonder of this gift of GRACE that He gave us in His son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.


John 3:16

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Here's the best part.  This gift from GOD is not dependent on our behavior, if we have been good or bad or naughty or nice.  The gift from God has already been sent to us and paid for in FULL, by God.  We don't have to earn it, we can't lose it, and we can't break it or outgrow it.  We never have to worry if we can afford it, because we never will be able to......  

All we have to do is BELIEVE in the TRUTH of CHRISTMAS, and RECEIVE this gift given to us by God. The more we believe, the more there is, the more there is to share, and the more we share, the more there is again.  He is the best gift. We get to enjoy this gift forever, the gift is not just about JESUS, it is JESUS.

 Let's celebrate like there is no tomorrow, and teach these kids how to really enjoy Christmas. 

We don't need santa, we need Jesus.

I say shop away and eat up a storm and thank God for every single gift and bite that we get to enjoy to celebrate JESUS birthday.


So, I know the title may be a tiny bit harsh, and honestly, we did the whole santa thing with our older kids and they turned out almost fine... we even go along to a certain extent with the little ones so they aren't ruining other kids' family fun, we enjoy movies like Elf, and fun little Christmas stories, and we aren't throwing eggs at the santas around town or at school,  we just don't give him the time of day.....because we have so many better things to talk about and celebrate.

 One last disclaimer...I know kids may read this...but if they are old enough to read it or be on facebook, you better tell them santa is fake....if not, I just did it for you. 
You are welcome.

MERRY CHRISTMAS
FOR
REAL!!!




Saturday, December 10, 2016

Mission Trip Plan A: Plan BE

I was asking the Lord for a plan for this trip to Uganda, and asking Him what we get to DO this  time.

 Every trip looks different, with different people and different plans. 
I knew this much so far, after much prayer and discussion with Charlie; I am the one that gets to go this time, and Reece with me, and my good friend/ running / prayer partner Teresa and her daughter Ariana.  The way the Lord put it all together was again, all HIM, and I couldn't be more thrilled with His plan so far. 
 (I'm sure he was relieved at my approval.)


We get to be with so many of our amazing Ugandan friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ, our family, our ministry partners!!!!  
We get to spend the entire time with Simon, our Ugandan son. 
We get to see Patrick our other Ugandan son, the list is too long of the people we are so excited to see and spend time with.
 Seriously, if this was the only thing we went for.......it would be worth it! 
 Every single second and every red cent. 
 Worth IT!!!
 We do have an itinerary; we are going to be in Kampala with Christ Sanctuary International for the first week, and then the second week we head to Jinja and serve at Redeemer House with a team from xHOPE.  We have the big stuff penciled in and we have an even bigger eraser handy.  With mission trips (or every day life) it's always pencil, because you learn to go with the flow.....wherever, whatever the Spirit may lead, may lead to a change.
  If we get all bound up in our own plans, we get all frustrated and miss stuff that would be so much better than our
PLAN.  

 I was penciling in the "to-do" list and it was pretty short, and the stuff that is on there is gonna to be too much fun to call work.  Both teams that we get to serve with are a stinking blast, and I would choose to spend my time with them on any given day, doing anything and everything from work to play and everything in between.
 So I was after the big thing.....you know, the plan that motivates and excites people and makes a  good report.

 I have been throwing out a bunch of really good ideas to the Lord.
 (eye roll)
 I mean GOOD stuff. Stuff that would look good, feel good, feel accomplished and successful.
GOOD.
 He just didn't seem to be impressed with my GOOD ideas......I mean I could force my PLAN, but I do have sense enough to know that it would be a disaster.
Here's the truth of the matter; the sweet things that we already have on the "to do" list is all stuff that the people in Uganda are completely capable of doing without us getting in their way and eating their food.    They don't need me or my pathetic muscles or my great wisdom or anything else I can DO.  The people we work with there are the most capable, hard working, faith filled people I know.
I mean seriously....some the the NAMES of the women we will be with are this; Patience, Mercy, Angel, and Prudence......it doesn't get any better than that.  I am completely 100% serious.
Do you really think my good friend Patience needs me????
 No way, but I promise you I need me some Patience!!!

This is a picture of Angel...this beautiful Angel cooks for us in Uganda, and she is also in charge of Reece's hygiene while we were there last time.  She would check his cleanliness before dinner and he rarely passed her inspection without a do-over.
 
So I was still searching for "the plan," and God gave me our big assignment very clearly! 

 Here's the plan:
Plan A is:
 "Be" 
and there is no plan B.

 
Mission statement:  Be All We Can Be.

Be All We Are Called To Do
and 
Do All We Are Called To Be

Mission verse:Ephesians 5:1  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

BELIEVE
Be imitators of God.

Be-loved = be love.

Be light.

Be generous.

Be present.

Be obedient.

Be kind.

Be gracious.
 
Be available.

Be kind.

Be humble.

Be patient.

Be encouraging, be encouraged.

Be a blessing!!! 
 

James 1:22English Standard Version (ESV)

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

As a human and especially the American part of my humanness,  I want a big list, and I want to DO it, and DO it well.  I want to measure my success with numbers and projects and results. 
 This is where pride sets in.  Pride to measure what I'm DOING. Pride that decides if I DID enough to call it a success.  Pride that says I earned something, I affected change, I DID it. 
 Pride that says our value is in what we DO.

This is what Jesus says to DO:

Matthew 18:2-4English Standard Version (ESV)

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 

*emphasis on the scripture are mine*





When scripture talks about missions, it talks about going and making disciples, it speaks of  sharing the Good News, and it says pure religion is visiting the widow and the orphan.  All of this is really hard when we just want to sweat a little and see something DONE and DONE well, so we can hear WELL DONE.

  I'm not against the sweating and DOING, as there will be that too, and there is a time and a place for all kinds of doing.....but, the really hard part that goes against our human nature is the 
BE
 part.


So whether here in Powell Butte or in Uganda or wherever and whatever God allows us to BE on this planet at this time in history.....our DOING is in our BEING.

James 1:22 (ESV)

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

BE DOERS!!!!
 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

This week has been a real heart throbber. 
 Feels like our chests have been heavy.

Everyday had something very heavy to walk thru.  

We have prayed for others and we have asked for prayers.

The final blow was so personal and has awakened my heart in a fresh way.

After a rough night with Cellie being sick on Wednesday night, she declined in a huge way on Thanksgiving morning.  Her chest would retract so deep that you could practically see her backbone with every breath.  She would do this up to 68 times in a minute. 
 I was scared and panicked, it happened very fast.
  I prayed hard and fast while Charlie drove hard and fast to get some help.
  We arrived in the E.R. stressed and half dressed. 
Cellie only had a diaper and coat on.  I left the house with the bathtub water running.
  I was running a steamy bath because that usually solves everything in our house. 
 I realized as the water was running that this was beyond a steamy bath.

 The registration lady at the ER asked Cellie's name, and I could NOT remember.....I stood there, and all I could remember was JOY, and I felt none of THAT, so I figured that couldn't be right.
 I finally got her name figured out.
Then the lady asked her date of birth,
 * are you kidding me*
 I absolutely could not recall, I went completely blank.....finally the lady told me that it was 2016 if that helped at all.....oh dear....she had no idea how much that did NOT help.  

We finally got passed that little quiz that I failed, of which felt like it took 30 minutes
when it actually took about 30 seconds, and we headed back to a room.

 Charlie came in from parking the car and took his normal knee posture and tied my shoes for me.  We were a mess.

Things started to get better real quick once the breathing treatment began.  They helped her a ton.  She was diagnosed with croup with a possibility of a couple of different things going on, but was responding well to all the medicine.  She was much better after several treatments and hours but would not stay better for very long, so the Doc decided she needed to be admitted and transferred to another hospital. 
 We got released the next day at 3:33pm and she has been doing great.  
Sassy and bossy as ever.

We missed Thanksgiving, but I can tell you we were giving
 THANKS all thru the day!!

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18English Standard Version (ESV)

17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I spent the better part of 2 days in the hospital just holding my baby. 
 It was the quietest and stillest  I've been for years. 
Just sat and prayed.
The Lord took our time together to show me some stuff.  We had a little heart to heart pow wow.

I have felt like a bench warmer in my faith for the last year.  I was sidelined, setting out.

As I sat there quiet before the Lord I realized I have been benched. 
 I kept showing up, but I was in the wrong uniform and I was sitting down.

 When I gave my life to Jesus, he had given me armor and I have been wearing shorts and a tank top. 
 He reminded me that this life that I live, is from HIM and for HIM. 
 It's not a game and it's definitely not a spectator sport, it's a battle.  I had traded my armor in for something comfortable and easy and acceptable.  
Armor is heavy and hard and offensive.

Ephesians 6:10-20(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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 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, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak
 

When I woke up Friday morning after a pretty sleepless night in the hospital, I was AWAKE!
AWAKE!
  I was ready to put on my armor and quit running up and down the court like this life is just an exercise. 
 It's not a game, it's a battle.
It's not a jog it's a race.
  It's not an exercise or a practice drill, it's the real deal.  It's the only shot we have, this is our time, our generation, our chance to do what we were created to do and be who God called us to be.

I felt like I had gotten my little heart to heart pep talk and then sent to the locker room, which looked an awful lot like a hospital room, and I was told to change my clothes and my mindset and come out ready for battle.
I got this picture from my dear friend Patience several weeks ago.  It showed how I have felt coming in and going out of the locker room.

I sent out a battle cry in the form of a text and asked people to pray.  I put on worship music in that locker/hospital room and got my praise on. All the Dr.'s and nurses coming in and out just had to talk over the top of it.  I didn't care. 
  Charlie came up to the room a little later and we prayed and confessed sin and asked the Lord for forgiveness and for help with our lives.  We admitted that we can't do this on our own.  
We didn't want ANYTHING standing in the way of our prayers, we were not holding back.
 We asked GOD to help us, to wake us up to live for HIM.

Romans 11:36 (ESV) 

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Romans 12:1-2

A Living Sacrifice

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 This is not a formula or prescription, it's a testimony of God using every piece of our lives to teach us and use us for His glory and purpose on this earth.  No matter how our emergencies and non emergencies play out, it's all part of the testimony of how God speaks to us  and works in our hearts and in our lives every single day.

I am very mindful of the fact that not everyone gets to bring their baby home so soon and as healthy as we did.
  I am very thankful and humbled by God's grace and HIS healing in our lives.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Help Us Lord. We Need You.

I live in a small community, a community that is still a bit like the wild west. 
 We live where kids are "our" kids, we claim them all, and all claim them
 "ours."

  Our kids are wild, they live life on full throttle, running wide open all the time.  
We cheer "our" kids on and cuss them out, all of them, not just our name sake, all of them. 
 We know them, and their parents, and grand parents, and we know where they live and how they live. 

 When we see "our" kids do good, we grab them and squeeze them tight.  
When we see them step out of line, we grab them and squeeze them right.  

Small town people live in big wide and open spaces, and they live and love big and wide open.

Our community is feeling crushed by loss of life and broken bodies.  
Our hearts break for "our" family, friends, and neighbors.

Though many of us have not suffered the loss of a close family member, it hits very close to home.
Many may not have been directly affected by the loss of this loved one, but we are all effected.

 I have seen so many friends posting:
Pray - Prayers - Praying 
We know we need to pray, we know we need God's help,
 but sometimes people have lost so much, they are at a loss for words,
so here's my prayer for my friends:

Father,

The hearts you once gave a beat, and the lungs you filled, have been stopped and shattered, beat up and deflated.

We need you Lord, we need your help!

Our faces are on the ground, we are scared to even look up - we are devastated by loss and pain and we feel fear.
God I pray this fear we feel turns to a holy fear,  fear of a powerful and Holy God that gives and takes away.  
Jesus, you promised to send us a comforter, the Holy Spirit, to comfort us.  
We are giving you our broken heart and cashing in on that promise.

 We need you, we need your Comforter to blanket us with your peace.

Lord, we need your help, please keep us from reaching and grasping for all the world's comforts that are only temporary and  will only turn on us, and cause us more pain and suffering.
Holy Spirit we need your comfort!!! 
 Cover us!!

Father, 
We are flattened, we are helpless, we are hurt and scared.
  While we are down here so low, laying flat on our backs or prostrate on our faces;
 crushed under the weight of grief and suffering,
 come and help us, we need you.

Forgive us for being so arrogant to think we can live even one minute without you.  Forgive us for taking our lives and the lives of our loved ones for granted.  Bring us back to you.
  Show us what to do, we will do anything. 
 We are so scared and full of fear; turn that fear to fear of you, fear that brings awe of you.
 Help us to live in awe of your power and your grace.

How are you so good to give us these hearts that beat and these bodies full of life and then be so cruel to let them break and stop them short?
 We don't get it, and we don't like it.  
We are turning to you, because we need you and we want to believe that you are good.
Help us to see you, and know you, and experience your love and your healing in our hearts and our lives.

We want to be mad because we are hurt, but how can we be mad at you?  
You gave us the very lives that we are grieving for. 
 If it hadn't have been for you, we would have never known the love and joy of life,
 or the crushing pain and devastation of loss. 
 We don't know what to do.  We are turning to you. 
 Help us LORD.


Our Father God,

Help us to remember you are our creator and giver of life. 

 Help us to remember and celebrate the gift of life of the son you gave to a family, friends, and community to enjoy for a solid 15 years.

Help us to remember and give thanks for the gift of sons and daughters.

You gave the world your SON 2000 years ago, that through the life, death and resurrection of your ONE and only SON,
 JESUS CHRIST
  "OUR" LORD AND SAVIOR
we can enjoy ETERNAL LIFE with YOU.

Help us to turn to you and trust in you with our lives; you gave us our lives and you paid for our sins with the life of your only son so we can live free.
 Help us to live free, free of sin and shame and guilt and pain.
GIVE US HOPE.

 Help us to see you, and know that you are good and merciful and full of grace.
  We don't understand, and we don't know what to do......so please 
HELP US TO TRUST IN YOU.

Lamentations 3:16-26 (ESV)

16 He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
    and made me cower in ashes;
17 my soul is bereft of peace;
    I have forgotten what happiness[a] is;
18 so I say, “My endurance has perished;
    so has my hope from the Lord.”
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
    the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
    and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[b]
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.


Again....just so there is no confusion, the loss of life and broken bodies I'm referring to, was not in our family, but a very dear family that is dearly loved by many.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Celebrating Orphan Sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday. 

 I could give a lot of stats about why this day is so important and I wish it would get a lot more attention than it does.....but I decided to just give a piece of our story and why I love Orphan Sunday.
I love orphan Sunday because I have 2 children that were once orphans and now they are a son and a daughter.   

James 1:27(NLT)

27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

 This was the very first time I had ever met Esther.  It was in February of 2011.

  Our lives are forever changed for the better, since meeting this daughter of mine.  This journey has been the messiest hardest work I have ever known.  There are parts of my heart that I had no idea were even there, they were ugly and hard and hidden and dead.  Being given the privilege and responsibility to parent Esther has exposed some things in me that needed healed and changed and also brought to life and used for the glory of God. 
 
 When you open yourself up in a new way to an "orphan in their distress" it exposes some real truth about what is going on in the heart of all the people involved.

  The circumstances that claim a child as an orphan, however that may have happened, is painful and brokenness and loss across the board.
 The reason I think the verse in James talks about pure religion is visiting the orphans and widows in their distress is because there is nothing that can replace or fix the loss they feel and have experienced. 
 The only healing that can truly be done is the healing work of Jesus in their broken hearts... and that's truly all we can hope for, for ANY of us in this life. 
 Jesus is our only HOPE, we are all orphans in need of adoption by our FATHER.

He told us he would not leave us as orphans, that He would come to us.
  He knew nothing could fix us except HIMSELF.

John 14:18 (ESV) 

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

 This was the first day we met Mikiyas in May of 2013.

We adopted Mik thru a totally different set of circumstances and process.  But it's the same heart, we are broken people living in a broken world, and some people, especially children that don't have a voice, are usually the victims that suffer the most loss and pain.  We have gotten the blessing and responsibility of parenting this kid and being part of the healing and growing process.

I learn from Mik every single day.  He has a way of communicating that doesn't take very many words.  Mik kinda "gets it" more that most people.  The most beautiful part about Mik, is he has learned the value of forgiveness in his own heart and life more profoundly than anyone I've ever encountered.  He truly knows what it means to forgive and be forgiven.  He lives it  out every day and it has been a life changer for him, for the rest of his life on this earth and for eternity.  I have always said that Mik has more reasons to be angry in life than anyone I know, and yet.....he is not. 
 He is far from perfect but I can't even tell you the growth and healing that has taken place in his life. He has taught me so much and continues to on a daily basis.
Mik also brings a lot of laughter.  He has a great sense of humor and he can make me laugh like nobody else.
 This picture was taken May 2016.


  God has done a mighty work and we have gotten to be the ones blessed to the heart because we said yes to Jesus when he gave us the chance to adopt; and He has BLESSED us beyond anything we could have imagined.

Genesis 32:24-28 (ESV)

24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

 October 2015.
  I love this picture of Esther and I. 

 We work very hard to figure out how to be the best mom and daughter we can be to one another.  We love each other like crazy and we are both very stubborn and passionate.  We are stubborn enough to hang in there together thru all the stuff that life throws at us. We will never give up on each other, we know at the end of the day, that God put us together and we wouldn't have it any other way. We admire one another, but it has been hard work and continues to be.
   We both blow it a lot, but we always come back knowing that OUR LOVE IS STRONG and love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8 (ESV)

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

  


We have a different Suburban now, and it seats 9.....we only have 8 peeps in our house right now....I keep telling Charlie we had better fill that seat, there's a lot more kids in this world that need a family and a seat in our suburban.  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

A few months ago, when I was in Montana we went to the park to get some energy out before going to the airport to fly home.  I don't dare go to Montana without the little Aunties and Uncle to play with the Grands. So all our visits are filled with lots of kid activities.
 


We were watching the kids play and they started playing with a couple of cuties there.  One was a pre-teen girl and the other was her baby sister that was the same age as Cellie.  I went over to meet the kids' new friends, and the mama bear of the other girls came out of her car to do the same.  We began to visit and became instant friends,  and  ended up exchanging names and phone numbers, because that's what you do when you are at the park for the same reason. ENERGETIC KIDS!



As we were leaving the park Lashae, Charsie, and I all noticed that the car that our new friend (which I will call Precious to keep her name private) had been sitting in, was in horrible shape, I mean HORRIBLE, the worst horrible you can imagine.  We all commented about how we hate HORRIBLE car issues.

 

In the next few weeks, God continually brought the horrible car to Lashae's mind.  When she would be praying or worshiping she would think about that mama and her girls and the horrible car.  Car situations and car troubles have been fresh on all our minds as we have been in quite the car swapping / car buying / car wrecking season lately.  Lashae couldn't imagine how that mama felt loading up her sweet girls and driving around in that HORRIBLE car.

So when God keeps bringing situations to mind and laying people on your heart...He usually has an assignment that He is about to accomplish and He is going to use you to do it, if you are willing to listen and obey.

Lashae met Precious and her youngest daughter one more time at the park, in the following weeks.  They visited and let the kids play and got to know each other a little bit better. It was confirmed in Lashae's heart what God was prompting her to do.


Lashae and Chaney took a crazy leap of faith and bought our beautiful new friend a car.  They just trusted that this is what the Bible means when it says to "Love your neighbor as yourself."  Lashae and Chaney had loved themselves enough to get a car that was safe and reliable for their family, so it would make perfect sense to do that for a park neighbor.
Perfect sense in the kingdom of God that is.



Galatians 5:13-14 (ESV)

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

 We went to buy the car on Saturday while I was there this last time, then on Sunday, Lashae set up a "play date" at the park, so we could visit and let the kids play and
 give Precious her new car!!!!

 

  It was AWESOME!
 I can't convey the JOY that we all felt to be a part of something so special; God had brought us all together for such a blessed event.

 


 After the excitement had settled down, we were just enjoying the moment and the sunshine; words were few, as we were all just taking in the goodness of God.  After a few minutes Precious could not contain herself another second and she just sat right down on Lashae's lap.  It was the sweetest thing you have ever seen. We all just burst in laughter. 



We went to the DMV on Monday and got all the paperwork handled and handed the keys and the title over to Precious.  We prayed and blessed our friend and her car and gave God all the praise and glory for all He had done.

 

God is a blast! He is alive and active, in our lives! He is good! He cares!   He is generous!  He is kind!  He allows His sons and daughters the joy of being a part of all of this when we listen and obey and love HIM and trust HIM to use us to LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR as ourselves.

Acts 2:42-47 (ESV)

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe[a] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What If the Chaos Continues.

Something occurred to me today.....

I have never seen people in this country so fearful and divided on the political craziness going on.  I will be the first to admit, I don't educate and keep up on it all like I should.  I do see a few things though,  I see people praying and crying out to God in a whole new way.  I think most of it is out of fear, rather than anything else.  That's fine....God hears us no matter what our motive.

This much I do know..........

God could fix this nation in one clearing of his throat - He wouldn't even have to get up - He SPOKE the world into existence....so he could give a slight EH - EMMMMM..... and everything could be in perfect order. 

What if..........

He is watching all these people cry out to him for help and He sees the hearts and he knows that if he fixes our problems we all go on our merry way. 

What if.............

He lets the chaos continue and we cry out to God because we are even more desperate and we turn to HIM for REAL, because HE is GOD, not just because we are in a big mess. 

This much I know about myself...........

I pay more attention to God when I'm in a bad way - and when I remain in the - bad way - I often find out what I really needed was God to invade my heart, not just my problems.  He is so much bigger and better and sweeter and more wonderful than an easy simple fix to my problems. 

He is much too kind to only care about the things we can see and know and understand. 

We call ourselves a Christian nation, which would imply that we are a Christ - like nation.
Maybe He is going to do what it takes to make this title true.

Don't think for a minute that I want to see the chaos continue or don't think I claim to know or understand God's ways...His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways. I know from scripture that God is much too kind and serious about his people to settle for a worldly temporary fix.  He is loving enough to do what it takes to draw HIS PEOPLE TO HIMSELF.  He will go to any length.

EVEN to the length of sacrificing His own Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and SAVIOR, so that
WE THE PEOPLE 
may come to HIM.

He means business.  Trusting He has this election in HIS best interest!
Praise Him in the storm.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What the....?!?!? Manna Diet.


We have lived on the "manna diet" for about 7 years.  This has not been by choice or preference but it is definitely what we have been living on.

Manna - in the Old Testament is what God fed his children as they wandered around the wilderness.
They could only gather enough for that day, or it would go bad.  If they didn't gather - they went without.  God supplied everyday EXACTLY what they needed.

This verse has recently taught me understanding of the benefits of the "manna diet."

Jeremiah 31:2 (ESV)

Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
    found grace in the wilderness;

We have learned about grace, the GRACE of God, the grace of His provision, protection, faithfulness and generosity, even while we are in the wilderness living on manna.

In our "wilderness" God has provided everything we need and beyond, and it has only been by His grace.  We can't take credit or criticism for it.  We have tried to take over and do it ourselves and it just crumbles; we have tried to find our own way out of it and it leads no-where.

When God was providing the manna in the desert, the people didn't know what it was. 

Deuteronomy 2:7English Standard Version (ESV)
For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”’

The people couldn't take over and change it, grow it, plant it, or store it up - it was a provision straight from heaven and always enough.

During our manna diet, I can say God has provided every time, and every time it is enough. He has blessed us generously, faithfully, beautifully, over and over for years and years.

He has taught us to trust his faithfulness; 
HE IS FAITHFUL, even when we are NOT.

He has allowed us to not only live by it,  but to thrive on it. 
Our  house, that has been a refuge and a place of learning and growing and celebrating for a lot of peeps in our family, extended family and far beyond; has all been a grace of God.



In the midst of our current wilderness journey of seven years, He has blessed us with 2 babies, 2 adopted kids, 2 marriages, 3 grands and countless trips to Uganda and Kenya and Montana and everywhere in between, all while living in the wilderness on the "manna diet."
As crazy as this sounds, God has been generous with the manna (provision) we have not just survived, we have multiplied and been blessed beyond anything we could have provided or stored up for ourselves.

 


What I mean by "wilderness living" is we have wondered every time one of those big things happened, babies, adoption, weddings, (anything outside of daily living) we would think.......

WHAT THE. . . . .MANNA ARE WE GONNA DO?!?!? 

We can't work enough, be strong enough or smart enough to make it work ourselves. 
BUT GOD.....
 He POURS out His provision
 every.single.time. 
 We stand in awe and say:
WHAT THE . . . . .MANNA JUST HAPPENED???

Part of the grace that we have found in this journey is that when we have tried to take on shame and blame it is pointless and takes us from thanksgiving for what God has provided to 
*selfishness.*
P = Self - pity.
      R = Self - reliance.
          I = Self - indictment.
       D = Self - damning.
        E =  Self - elevation.
PRIDE

We have prayed a million times for things to be different, but now we pray that when things do change, we NEVER forget the GRACE we found in the wilderness, the faithfulness of God, the grace we have learned to 
TRUST.

So here we are 7 years later, and we are advertising the effects of
 "wilderness living on a manna diet."
We have our house up for sale....SHORT SALE......which reminds us constantly that we have come up 
SHORT!


We keep asking, and are asked,
"What the manna is gonna happen - where are we going, what are we going to do, how are we going to do this?"

And then we remember AGAIN, that WE are not ......WE are going to TRUST in the ONE,
 "WHO IS!"
So, we look to the LORD and we ask, "WHAT THE MANNA.........?????" and he responds with,

"I AM!!!"

 We have no manna clue. 
 We don't know what it is, we don't know how to make it, or keep it, or save it or produce it, or find our way out.
 We know the CREATOR and PROVIDER and
 HE  IS 
EVERYTHING.

Psalm 34:8English Standard Version (ESV)

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
We take our Old manna diet, and let it make us New and change us. 
 We remember that no matter how hard we try to earn or produce or save up
 "grace"
 it's a gift from God.

 We treasure it up in our hearts and let it flow thru our lives.

His grace is all I ever need and it is enough and it never runs out.

Ezekiel 36:25-28The Message (MSG)


24-28 “‘For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!