Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of 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.

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.

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
 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 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.


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 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

 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 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.
 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 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:
and there is no plan B.

Mission statement:  Be All We Can Be.

Be All We Are Called To Do
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.

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 

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.