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.

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

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:

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,
 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.  


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 

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

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.
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

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. 
 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!
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.

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.  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Jesus is IN the boat

Anyone who knows me very well, knows that I am a homebody at heart.  I would be happy to spend most of my time within a 10 mile radius of my house.  This may sound crazy because I travel so much, but there's the truth...... I only "go" because I've counted the cost of going vs. staying.  The cost is high for going but the value is priceless. 

Here's another confession of my contradictory ways....I'm usually OVER IT, before I even leave.  I'm homesick before I leave home.  I'm looking forward to coming home before I ever leave the house.  I usually pack in a fit and do a horrible job because I just can't wrap my mind around how this is all going to go so I get "stuck" until it's time to leave and then I throw in a bunch of shirts and no pants or something stupid like that.

This trip is totally worth every every uncomfortable moment and every minute of time and every single red cent.  The value of seeing the grown kids and grands and then heading on to make much of the name of Jesus in Uganda with Reece and seeing all the people that we love in Uganda...

I say all that to say this trip has been very "un-smooth" in some areas so far.  I seem to be constantly going to the Lord for confirmations,
 "I heard you right?  You said, GO, right?"

"You want me to minister to women in Uganda, you want us to continue to love the orphans and visit them and the caregivers at Redeemer House, right?"

"Did you change your mind?"

Now......I know God can guide and direct us and change things up whenever and however he wants...but I also know he doesn't play games with us.
  He is a loving Father and He is steadfast, He doesn't waiver because of my fear, or lack of faith, or hormone fluctuations. 
 He is a  steady ROCK!

So a few days ago I had a MAJOR MELTDOWN DAY.
We had a very perfect day planned to take Luke to the airport, as he was the one big kid that got to help me and the little ones get to Montana.  I try to always take 1, and this time it was Luke's turn.

We loaded up 8 of us in the suburban to take a little road trip to the airport.  It was a very Montana winter kinda day...wind and snow and colder than should ever be.
We got thru the snow drifts in the driveway and made it approximately 15 minutes down the road and Cellie unloaded; the child barfed her guts up.

That was definitely a pull-over kinda puke.  We decided we had left with so much extra time, we could turn around and go home and get cleaned up and start fresh.
We got as far as the snow drifts in the driveway, and got stuck. Stuck. Stuck.
Chaney was home and grabbed a shovel and muck boots and him and Luke dug us out enough to get in the car, he put the pedal to the medal and got us so stuck he couldn't even get the driver door open.  Luke dug the door out and Chaney and him dug some more and Chaney got back in the driver seat and drove like the Montana Man that he is, while we all sat in the car and breathed puke fumes.

We got in the house and changed clothes and grabbed cleaning products (wipes) and headed out once again.

We got in the same area in our travels and Cellie unloaded again.  We pulled over and Reece flew in the back back part of the suburban and started praying and yelling to all that would listen and informing us that he could NOT get sick as he had a trip to Uganda that he HAD to go on no matter WHAT.

We cleaned up as best as you can with 8 people in the car and a box of wipes.  I got on the phone to change Luke's flight.  They basically informed me it will cost me my first born to change Luke's ticket.  

We decided to keep going.  We got 45 minutes further down the road and Cellie pukes again.   SO from there on out, every 20-30 minutes she was barfing, we would pull over and Reece would bale in the back with the bags and make sure we all knew how dangerous these germs were to his very important mission to Uganda.  

We were getting almost immune to the hurling sounds when this time we look back and it's Maezie doing the puking.  I mean that skinny little girl unloaded from clear back to Christmas dinner, I do believe.

We pulled over and tried to handle it and I got on the phone and said I would surrender my first born if they would just change Luke's ticket and get him home before Spring.  They miraculously figured out that there was other options and we turned that puke bucket on wheels around.

We stopped at a gas station to get some more wipes, and bags, and fresh air.  Reece headed into the bathroom and tried to practically bathe in the gas station bathroom sink because he knows he can wash all bad germs off in the nasty gas station sink.  (rolling eyes)

We head on home and get almost there and Cellie has now puked so many times it has gone past the bile stage and was looking like something we hadn't seen before.  We call a nurse friend and she agrees she should be seen especially since we might get home and get snowed in.  

Can I just say this was NOT a calm situation.  We had 2 kids puking - 1 kid curled up  in the back recitatating between loud praying and panicking (Reece) - one baby (Becklee) crying, I'm sure the puke fumes were burning her little fair skin and lungs - 2 worried mothers ( Me and Lashae) trying to make the best decision in the moment for all peeps - 1 very tight fisted  puke bucket driver (Charsie) and Luke, never wavering, never rocked, just solid and steady.

I called Charlie to let him know the situation.  I told him we needed prayer NOW.  He prayed right then and there on the phone.  I cut him off and said we made it to the clinic and it closed in 15 minutes.

I grabbed smelly Cellie and go busting in the clinic and steady Luke follows me in.

I KID YOU NOT, I was still checking in at the front desk and Cellie's little owl eyes popped full open and she started playing with Luke and feeling good and drinking water.

Long check-in story later...... the nurse came out and we decided together that Cellie didn't need seen, she needed a bath more than anything.
I got in the car and the wind had stopped.  Lashae called Chaney to turn around as he was headed to town and rescue the healthy ones from the puke bucket.  He turned around and him and Jesse made sure the driveway was cleared enough to get us to the house.  
We got home and got the 2 pukey girls in the bath and I sat for a moment and asked the Lord,
"What in the world was that about?"
I thanked Him that things had calmed down but my nerves were still shot.  

I remembered the story of when the disciples were in the boat.....

Mark 4 Jesus Calms a Storm

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

He was reminding me who was in charge, it was Him and not me.
He had calmed the wind and the waves of nausea.

Jesus brought to mind how I had laid awake for most of the last week or three and how I had thought of every single thing that could and would go wrong in Montana, Oregon, and Uganda.
I was not trusting the Lord at all, I was living and operating in fear.

Psalm 112:6-9 (ESV)

For the righteous will never be moved;
    he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news;
    his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
    until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
    his righteousness endures forever;
    his horn is exalted in honor.

God is in control and nothing happens without His full awareness and I could just trust Him to take care of us all around the world.  

He may not always make it smooth and comfortable and pretty, but He is on the scene and He can be trusted and to be perfectly honest, what choice do we have,
TRUST HIM or DRIVE IN CIRCLES and live in fear.
He used that horrible pukey situation to calm my heart.  I know He is a good Father.  He is in control and it constantly reminds me who He is.

Reece and I are now in Uganda and we are so glad to be a part of what God has for us here.