Monthly Archives: June 2010

Jungle troubles

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I don’t know why it’s just occuring to me to post something about this, but hey.  Better late than never, right?

Nathan (and a part of the team from GA) is out in the Zoque jungle right now.  They left yesterday morning with a load of the new stoves.  [If you have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s ok.  You can go to our website  and look up the “Pure Air Project” on the “Projects” page.]  Before they even arrived in the village they were headed to, the big flat-bed truck that they were borrowing from my father-in-law died!  So Nathan spent his night hauling a few pieces at a time with the other vehicle they had taken out.  (Thank you, Mom and Dad!!!  This is like, the 3rd time our Yukon has come to the rescue.  Our gratefulness for that vehicle only grows by the day.)  Today was spent moving the stoves piece-mail as well, I believe.  I haven’t heard from Nathan since lunchtime, but of course he was still hard at work.  I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the dead truck and hauling all the guys back here.  I am sure they would all really appreciate  your prayers!  Hopefully they are still able to get the stoves and filters taken care of while they’re out there.  Last I heard, they are planning on coming home tomorrow (Friday) night.  But that was before the truck breakdown.

It’s 11:30 pm.  And I’m really really tired!  The 14 people on the team that aren’t in the jungle with Nathan are going out to the orphanage in Teopisca tomorrow.  Pray for them as well, if you would.  I don’t know what Saturday’s plans are (I just know what I’m doing for meals!) but then the team flies out EARLY Sunday morning.  After that I will possibly have more blogging time.  But for now, I’ve got to get some sleep!  Thanks for reading, and thank you for praying.  You’re awesome.

Being still and busy

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This-morning, my precious 3rd born called to me from her bed (and what has now become her room… not sure what we’ll do with the 2 big girls…) at 6 am.  The second my eyes opened, my mind jumped straight from “park” to “5th gear” and hasn’t stopped since.  My body, however, is struggling to just stay in 1st gear! 

After I fed Brennah and laid her back down, I sat down on the couch and briefly noticed the sunrise throwing it’s colors all over the clouds.  It’s a bummer to wake up to gloomy skies, but amazing the colors they take on when the sun first hits them.  Just for a few minutes, but it’s there.  I glanced at it, then started to run off to do the first thing on my to-do list.  Just then, a still small voice said “be still.”  So I sat back down.  I glanced out the window again and thought “wow, that’s pretty” and then “ok God, now I need to get busy.”  He persisted “no, be still.”  The sunrise continued to change hue and I took a deep breath.  As I’ve done so many times before, I told God that this day was gonna be busy, and I’m a little stressed, and a lot tired, and I need Him.  I need Him to help me be patient with my girls.  To honor my husband.  To think of yummy, semi-healthy things to make for all the people in my house this week.  To think clearly even when my house is a mess.  (Does anyone else feel like their mental clarity is directly linked to the messy-level of their house??)

Right there, in the stillness of 6:20 am, I was able to bask in the stillness.  To breathe in the quiet, knowing that I wouldn’t experience it again until late tonight.  Now, as I feed the baby and get ready for an afternoon of grocery shopping and cooking and preparing for the rest of the crazy week, I am so grateful for those moments of being still.  Of reminding myself that HE is God.  That HE is bigger than any of my current issues.  HE has given me this loaded plate because HE was confident that I could handle it.

So this is me, choosing to believe Him!  And grateful for the stillness of 6:20 am.

Fathers

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Where to even begin typing what’s on my heart tonight?

I am really tired.  We brought home 22 people from the airport last night.  Climbed into bed at 12:30 am and then tossed and turned until 2:30 because of the pain in my mouth.  Though I’m not positive, I think I’ve either cracked a tooth or ground a filling off of it, exposing the nerve.  Ouch.  Between falling asleep at 2:30 and my alarm going off at 6:30, I slept like a log.  During that time, I had a few very weird dreams!  Every one of them involved my dad.  One was the type where you dream of waking up and going on about your day… does that happen to anyone else?  Well it does to me, all the time.  It’s very disorienting!  But this time I dreamt that I woke up, stumbled into the kitchen, and there was my sweet daddy!  Instead of feeding my large crew a huge fruit salad, he suggested we make biscuits and gravy.  So we did.  Together.  It was the best dream I’ve had in a while!  I woke up missing my dad terribly.  And craving biscuits and gravy like only he can make them!  As I stumbled into the kitchen to start breakfast, I choked back the tears.  It’s been too long since I was able to be home with my dad for Father’s Day.  Thanks to being so tired, a large part of me was pulling towards the couch and a box of kleenex for a good cry.  But since I’m not a crier, it wasn’t too hard for the smaller part of me to shake my head, grab some caffeine, and change the subject in my mind.  Breakfast.  Focus.

An hour or two later, my precious missionary came home.  He too crawled into bed at 12:30 am.  But he crawled out again at 4:30 to take Amy to the airport.  “Poor guy,” I thought.  “He’s liable to be very tired and cranky today… I know I would be.”  But upon walking in the door, he was greeted by his two eldest daughters.  Of course they run to him with their arms up and he instantly smiles and says “hi my little dolls!”  He picks them up and hugs them as if he has all the energy in the world.  At that moment, I didn’t have the brain power to do much with this information.  But it’s been sinking in all day.  I still don’t have a lot of brain power for anything, but it keeps coming back to me.  What a good daddy he is.  When Cloe or Gabi call his name, he’s there.  He’s happy to see them.  No matter how ornery they’ve been that day or what they may have just gotten in trouble for, he loves them just the same.

I feel like my dad is still that way with me.  No matter when I call him, day or night, I feel like he’s happy to hear my voice.  He always meets my “hi Daddy!” with a happy “hi Sweetheart” and there’s nothing quite like it.  Sometimes I will call my dad when I’m having issues with my kids or any number of other relationships in my life.  As the phone rings I think “I’m just going lose it and bawl and not be able to tell him what’s going on…” and then he answers.  Something in my heart is comforted and nothing seems as life-shattering as it did a minute ago.  I’m not sure why my dad has that effect on me, but I’m grateful for it.  I can’t imagine my world without him.

My Abba Father is really great, too.  My relationship with Him has never been more dear to me than it is now.  I love how patiently He calls us.  How faithfully He waits for us to respond to Him.  I’ve had this song running through  my head all afternoon…

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

I feel so blessed tonight.  I don’t deserve to be married to a man who has turned out to be such a fabulous daddy.  I hope some day my girls can grasp how desperately Nathan loves them and wants every good thing for them.

I don’t deserve a daddy who puts up with my endless whining.  Let alone one who always has an encouraging word for me.  One who always sounds happy to hear my voice.  Somehow, someday, I hope to be able to be able to bless him back.

I most especially don’t deserve a Heavenly Father who so thoroughly pursues a relationship with me.  Who accepts my “God I’ve messed up…” over and over again.  A Father who is always happy to hear my voice, and is thrilled when I just want to tell Him about my day.  One who, if I am willing to listen a moment, always has an encouraging word for me.  A Father who desperately loves me and wants every good thing for me.  I hope you know that these things apply to you, as well.  He would be just as tickled to hear from you tonight.  He desperately loves you and longs to hear you call Him “Father”.

I pray that you had a good day celebrating the fathers around you.  I am so grateful for all of the ones around me!

Purposeful gratefulness

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I am tempted to whine about things this-morning.  I don’t think it matters that most of the whining takes place in my head… it’s still there, right?  So as these things come to mind, I have decided to take a look around and find something to be grateful for in that same area.  Here’s the list:

*Mountains of laundry.  I want to whine about how much dirty laundry my house (and those living in it) produce.  I’d even like to whine about my tiny top-loader that doesn’t do big enough loads for my liking.  Then I look around.  From my house I can *literally* see a handful of women washing their laundry in the dirty stream that runs just outside our property.  They scrub their clothes on a rock, then wring them out by hand, then toss them over near-by bushes and fences to dry.  These same women are all barefoot, as are their children running around near them.  They are probably washing the one change of clothes that they own.  This is what you call a dose of reality.  I’m complaining about having SO many clothes to wash.  In a machine.  When they’re clean, I throw them in a dryer!

*Filthy tile floor.  Look out a different direction from our living room.  I promise you that many of the houses you can see from here have mud floors.  Not tile, not even a dreaded linoleum.  Just dirt.  `Nuff said.

*Loud children.  I have two little girls, who are so enraptured with their current game, they can’t stop squealing and giggling.  Not only do they like each other enough to play together for hours on end, but they are healthy enough to run and jump and laugh for hours on end!

*Dirty refrigerator.  Not only is a refrigerator a commodity in most indian homes, but a full refrigerator??  Unheard of!  My fridge is a mess because of the drinkable yoghurts that have been knocked over by little hands.  Half-emptied coke cans left by visitors have been toppled in an attempt to locate which coke is whose… a serious dilemma, to be sure!  My fridge is cluttered with leftover containers, full of leftovers!  Excess food!  While you may not live in a 3rd World country, I am sure you have seen people who leave the dinner table still hungry, on a regular basis.

*Smudged windows and mirrors.  Glass is my constant annoyance.  I am forever grabbing the Windex and paper towels in an attempt to keep the mirrors and windows clean!  This-morning as I sprayed a window and reached for the towel, I was struck by a terrible thought.  Some day, I won’t have tiny little hand prints all over the windows anymore.  I am quite sure that some day, I will be in tears because I miss those tiny hand-prints, and not because I’ve washed that particular window 3 times already this week.

*Love handles.  I suppose this goes back to the same thing as the refrigerator.  I *could* be starving to death somewhere, then I wouldn’t have to worry about love handles.

*Slow internet.  Really???  Am I seriously wanting to complain about this???  I happen to know of a missionary family who lives SO FAR OUT in the middle of nowhere that they only get the chance to go to town and check e-mail once a month.  And I think I don’t get to talk to my friends and family enough???

*Being sick.  What better way to be reminded of how great it feels to be healthy?

Now I’m going to go back to putting away clean laundry.  Then I’ll sit and read a few books with my rowdy girls.  So much to be grateful for!

Attn: Beth Moore fans

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I found such a little treasure online!  I’ve known for some time that you could go to Beth Moore’s website and download a whole bunch of her messages, for just $4 each!   I thought that was pretty cool.  There are some series in there, as well as a bunch of individual short studies.  So I went there for the purpose of checking these things out and maybe download one to put on my mp3 player.  What better thing to listen to while washing dishes, right?

But then!  Through a series of clicks, I found myself looking at this huge list of messages you can listen to for free!  Granted, you can’t put it on your mp3 player and take off with it for free.  But you CAN just click on it and it will play through your computer!  Just like that!  I grabbed my knitting needles (don’t be impressed… I only know how to make dishcloths!) and clicked on the first of a series of 3 messages called “What wisdom looks like on a wife.”  For the next 30 min I worked on my dishcloth (how do those mysteriously vanish from my kitchen, anyway???) and listened to Beth.  It was the best 30 min of my morning!

Here’s how you get there.  Go here, to the list of broadcast archives.  And click away!  http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/living-proof-with-beth-moore/listen/broadcast-archives.html

Marriage pick-me-up

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I’m pretty sure I’m not the only wife in the world that will occasionally say “my marriage needs a boost… what can I do?”  Right?  Please tell me I’m not the only one.  Or don’t.  Either way, I know I’m not the only one!  😉

So I’m here to share with you my works-every-time marriage booster.

I think the first time I read through this book, I did about a chapter a week.  The second, third, fourth… well you get the picture.  Every time since the first time, I have done a chapter a day.  What you need to know is that this book isn’t about  how to change your husband through a magic prayer!    But you will be pleasantly surprised at the changes that happen in your marriage.  I promise.  You will be encouraged!

I’m already dead

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I think I’ve mentioned once or twice already the Beth Moore study on Esther that I’ve been doing.  It’s been really good, and I’m enjoying it so much!  Last week in the group session video, she said something that really got me thinking. 

Beth was talking about the “what if’s” that we live in fear of.  She elaborated for a minute on the fear of death.  At one point she said something like “just imagine like Paul said… I’m already dead!”  Of course she is referring to Galatians 2:20 where Paul says “I have been crucified with Christ.”  She went on with her lesson, which was excellent.  But my mind kept spinning around this one thought.

I’ve loved Gal 2:20 for a long time.  I’ve loved (since I was probably… 13 yrs old?) the Phillips, Craig and Dean song that quotes that verse word for word.  But somehow it’s never before hit me the way it did last Thursday.

[Beware the upcoming rabbit trail…]  Isn’t God’s Word cool like that?  You can read a certain verse a thousand times, then one day it just comes to life and smacks you between the eyes.  This is my argument for why Christians should never feel like they’ve read the Bible,  know what it says, and don’t need to spend more time in it.  Because I don’t believe it’s possible for us to ever understand (in this life, anyway) the depth and meaning of every verse in the Bible.  Where a verse might one day go in one ear and out the other, the next day is liable to apply to your situation in that particular moment in a way that makes you think “what that verse there yesterday???”

Anyway, I started thinking about being dead.  If I’m dead, then what am I doing here?  Well the next part of the verse answers it… “it’s not me, but Christ living in me.”  Just sitting here thinking about what my next sentence should be makes my head swim.  Where do you go from there???  This changes everything!!!  Being with my kids is now an opportunity for Jesus to love them, THROUGH me.  A friend or family member who hurts my feelings doesn’t have to bring up hard feelings or anger… because *that* me is dead.  Christ’s response is the one that counts now.  Loving that unlovable person is maybe not so impossible after all.  Because Christ loves them, and the “me” that can’t stand them is dead now!  Convenient, right?

How would this change our every-day lives if we really let it sink in?  How much more patience would I have with my children?  Would it just roll off my back when people criticize me for being a “Jesus nut”?  Would I have an easier time seeing people the way Jesus does and treating them accordingly?  I think so.

Another kind of prejudice

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What’s the first thing you think of when the word “prejudice” comes to mind?  Skin color?  Nationality?  How about church denomination?  No?  Me neither!  Until we moved here, that is.  It never used to occur to me that I couldn’t be friends with someone, work with them, pray for them, or let our kids be friends if we didn’t go to the same kind of church.  Does that sound right to you?  Can you relate?  I hope not.  Because if any of what I just wrote sounds “right” to you… well… I will pray for you. 

That is not how God designed the body of Christ to operate!  Just like a human body, every part is *supposed* to be different and unique.  Each part serves a different purpose… wouldn’t it make sense then that each part is different in and of itself?  What would happen if your hand decided that it didn’t like the your stomach?  “We’re made of different kinds of tissue.  We don’t think alike, don’t do anything the same way, and I’m totally unimpressed with the “fruit” it leaves behind.  I can’t be associated with that… it will ruin my reputation (of if your hand is very spiritual it would say “testimony” instead).  I’m not going to help the stomach anymore.  Not gonna help it get food, and not gonna receive any of the nutrition it sends my way either.”  Ridiculous, right??  I know it’s a silly analogy, but just as silly is some of the stuff I see happening in the church down here.  I am sure these things exist in the US as well, but I never witnessed it firsthand until we came here.

What makes a Christian?  Is it the kind of church you attend?  Is it who your parents are?  Is it how good of a person you are during the week?  I am happy to tell you, no it’s not!  Thank God, your status as “Christian” is only based on one thing… the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  I am a Christian because I have accepted His sacrifice for my salvation.  Because I have chosen to follow Him alone.  I’m happy to report that I have Catholic friends who say the exact same thing!  I have Southern Baptist friends, Independent Baptist friends, Brethren friends, Presbyterian friends,  Assemblies of God friends, and many other friends who are all as genuinely Christian as anyone.  The denomination that your church claims does not make them any more or less holy than the next church.  Whether they speak in tongues or not doesn’t make them more or less holy.  Whether they are ruled by the body or by a single pastor doesn’t make them more or less holy.  Whether they take communion once a week or once a month, use drums or sing all their songs acapella, believe in pre-trib versus mid-trib, or require baptism before communion… doesn’t make them more or less holy!

The ground at the foot of the cross is level!

1 John talks about fellowship.  It says our fellowship is with the Father and His son, Jesus.  If we are all in fellowship with Jesus, it stands to reason that we’re in fellowship with each other!  The reverse is also true.  If we are not in fellowship with Him, we cannot expect to be in fellowship with each other.

I’ve wondered so many times how much different the face of missions would look if we could all work together.  There are actually quite a few missionaries around here!  But everyone has their own thing going, and we don’t really work together.  I think everyone would consider the other missionaries “friends” but why do we rarely (if ever) pool sources and energy and work for a common cause?  Ps 133:1 says “how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”  Another verse in 1 John says that the world will know we are His disciples if we love each other. 1 Cor 13 is a passage we’re all very familiar with… it’s the LOVE chapter, afterall!  In short, it says it doesn’t matter what kind of cool tricks I can do or special gifts I might possess.  If I don’t love my brother, I’m just annoying.

It’s been a dream of mine almost since we arrived here to somehow encourage fellowship among the different denominations and missionaries here.  I thought that, being a missionary wife, maybe that is the place to start!  So I started a monthly brunch.  Not only for missionary wives, but mostly for English-speaking women… who are almost all missionary wives here!  I have one sweet friend and her sweet mama who came every month for 4 months.  We had a great time eating the ton of food I’d made, talk for a while, then they went home.  My 4th of July and Christmas parties have been a tad more successful, but still aren’t producing the result I’ve dreamed of.  If you have any ideas for me in this department, I hope you’ll share them!

I can’t think of a better way to close than this…

“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?  If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be… As it is, there are many parts, but one body…. so that there should be no division in the body, but that it’s parts should have equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.  Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a part of it.”  Pieces of 1 Cor 12

Longing for a baby

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I have some very dear people in my world who have been longing for a baby.  Some for just a few months, others for years.  Some have just started the process of figuring out what’s going on with their systems, and other have been doing everything they can think of (and/or afford) for many many months!

I just want you to know I understand!  I know what it feels like to cry every month when you realize you’re still not pregnant.  Or wonder if you’ll ever get to see a positive sign on that stupid pregnancy test.  I understand how it feels to be mad when you hear a pregnant person whining about morning sickness or backpain or heartburn!  The furthest emotion from your heart at that point is sympathy!  I know the heartache of miscarriage after miscarriage and wondering if you’ll ever get to hold your own healthy baby.  I understand just wanting to be mad at *someone* or the urge to bite a person’s head off when they try to help or encourage you.

I’m going to try my hardest to not make this sound like an info-mercial.  🙂  But I really want to share the one single item that I think turned this issue around for me.

Before Cloe, I worked with a specialist to try and figure out what was going on with me.  We finally got pregnant, only to miscarry at 13 weeks.  Then came Cloe.  Then 2 more confirmed miscarriages, and 1 more suspected.  Then I had 3 different people (who don’t know eachother from Adam) tell me about MannaTech.  Turns out, they are a Christian organization and have a special program for missionaries!  Because of that, I was able to start taking this stuff.  Within 6 weeks of the start date, I was having regular cycles and almost immediately got pregnant with Gabi!  Then Brennah!  Not a single miscarriage in over 3 years.  Of course I believe God’s grace and mercy was involved!  But I really think if it weren’t for “Plus”, the endocrine system support vitamin, I’d still be struggling with infertility.

I’m actually taking what they call their “Missionary Health Pack” which is the Phytomatrix (multi-vitamin/mineral), AO (anti-oxidant blend), and Plus.  But if you’re trying to get pregnant, on a budget and can only afford one, please get Plus!  Here is their website…

www.mannatech.com