Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Dusting Lesson

Last week I was busily trying to get the house dusted.  All dusters of homes know that it is a never ending process.  But I love when I am doing the mundane and God shows me something new.   That is exactly what He did.

As I carefully moved each item I began to think about how much stuff we collect.  Just loads of stuff.  We fill our rooms, closets, attics and garages and when they will hold no more we pay for a storage unit.  Have you ever wondered how much the stuff in your storage unit actually cost once you pay to store it monthly?  As I get older, I hate clutter more and more.  God continually reminds me that we are to lay up our treasures in Heaven and not on earth.  So no, I am not terribly sentimental.  I know that just seems wrong. I am sentimental toward people but do not transfer that value to possessions.

So I continued to dust thinking "I will do this all again next week" and the next and the next and the next.  Then I realized that taking care of so many possessions is being a poor steward of what God has entrusted me with. Clearly not making good financial choices is poor stewardship but what about spending my time to care for all the things. The things cost a lot more than the price the store charges.  They keep me from taking time to be the hands and feet!

How many times has there been something worthwhile to do but I just didn't have time? Was it because I had loads of clothes to wash, a big house to clean, lots of possessions to organize or to dust? How many times could I have been used to make a real difference in someone's life (maybe even an eternal one) but I was too busy taking care of our stuff.

So the Lord convicted me where I stood, dust cloth in hand.  Now I need to practice what has been revealed. Next time there something I would just love to purchase, I hope I will consider the full cost. How much will it cost of my time, talents and resources? It just might not be worth the eternal cost!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Life Interrupted

That is truly what it is.  We lay down our best plans and say to God we are willing.  It is hard, painful even. Our clean neat pretty packaged lives look more chaotic than we ever dreamed we would allow. Our churches look different when we openly invite the troubled, hurt, impoverished and suspicious to join us.  Our families look different when we open our arms to the least of these. But are we willing?

We are currently in the process of licensing for foster parenting. Not the first time, as we did this years ago with the intention of adopting. This time it is much less self serving. This time it is truly because God has moved mountains (selfish desires, plans, etc). We are down to one child being at home full-time and in the world's economy it is time to relax. After all. . . our laundry piles have dwindled to being crazy small, cooking, cleaning, having quiet times, spending one-on-one times, going and coming as we please, and oh it is so much cheaper to have a meal out. These are just a few things that are so nice right now. And yet. . . the Lord called.

He whispered in our ear over weeks of time. He beckoned us. But one day it seemed louder. I said, "We are too old". He said, "you are breathing". I said, "but it is too hard". He said, "I love them and they have no home."  What more needed to be said. From that day on I knew what needed to be done but feared greatly that my husband never would consider it.  He likes writing on the wall (LOL) and practical. But I was wrong and I greatly underestimated him.  The first time I asked, he said "I have been thinking about it too." Wow, God is incredible! It blew me away. We still talked and prayed for a while but I knew. The instant my husband answered that way. . .I knew.  God would have us do it! And why not? His Word commands us over 50 times to take care of the orphans.

So we began the process.  Our worker came out to meet with us and gave us a huge pile of paperwork. Honestly, it looked daunting.  During the process, more than once I have felt it is just too much and there are many other ways to help. But God keeps reminding me that they are His and He loves them as much as He loves me.  He sets the lonely in families. He reminds me of our boys and how hurt and broken they were. A good Christian foster home makes such a difference.

So we plug forward.  The paperwork we got through quickly.  It was best that way. Then you don't spend too much time thinking of all the very personal details you must share.  Done! But each other step takes time as you wait on various people to do their part.  I keep thinking, Why are we waiting when some child may desperately  need to be in a home during the Holidays. But God is sovereign! He is in control! So I rest in Him!  He sets the lonely in families.  And yes, I still at times think that the Holidays will be much easier and more peaceful with our family as is.

But would it be best? Is an uninterrupted life where we find joy? I think mostly not.  It is those very situations we would not have chosen for ourselves that prove to be the most meaningful.  It is when we go out of our way to do something we wouldn't ordinarily do or we are put in a difficult situation and see the Lord's hand.  Life interrupted is most often (in my estimation) where God paints the most amazing experiences into our lives. We see Him most clearly then! So this morning, once again, I laid the fears of moving ahead and the aggravation that we would need to wait at the Lord's feet. Such mixed up feelings. :)

This morning, I also had an opportunity to watch a video from a local church. It was remarkable. They get it!  They have an incredible vision for what God would call a church to do in the face approximately 1,000 orphans in our states foster care system and a great shortage of foster homes. Please watch.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Love. . .

I write this post at risk that some dear sweet friends are going to think that I write about them every time we spend time together.  But they are so inspirational.  The thing is that I don't even think they know how amazing they are.  They just do life. . .loving out-loud their Savior.

So through the night I was thinking (yes I know I should have been sleeping) about all the little snippets of conversation and what makes spending time with them so special.  By morning, the Lord in His great mercy and grace showed me.  They really get it! They understand more about Jesus than any lay person I have ever known.  They don't speak Christian-ease or rush around doing church work.  They definitely serve at church but they serve with their lives.  They live so much like our Savior would if He walked earth in the flesh today.  It leveled me with humility. It made me re-evaluate the way I think and what I do.

Do my actions, motives and words show my love for the Savior? I want to guard those more closely but how?  And then I wept before the throne. For only He can change those things.

When I choose how to spend my time, talents and resources. . .who does it serve? What difference does it make? Is it the way Jesus would spend them? Am I willing to do the hard stuff to really serve Him and the least of these? Or do I do the easier stuff? I especially see this with my passion for orphan ministry (my friend showed me this). It is easier to try to motivate others to help than get dirty in the trenches myself. But my friend, well she is like Jesus telling the children to come to her.  She is their shelter even when she is dead tired herself,  She and her husband awaken the love that was nearly forever lost in these children.  The love that their fragile little hearts had almost decided to be a myth.  Because of these sweet lovers of Christ Jesus, these children know love and thus will be able to understand that God can love them too.  It is a clear reminder that working with orphans has eternal consequences.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Broken Child

As a child, life should be so simple.  Days full of swinging carefree on a swing-set, putting together legos, playing dolls, building the best racetrack.  But for too many, they are busy trying to understand the cracks in their hearts.  It seems that it might be different for other kids.  Could it be that they had all their meals yesterday? Could it be that no one hit them or abused them? But most unimaginable. . .could it be that they were loved?  Could it be that their days are filled with laughter, affirmation, hugs, kisses and sweet words of appreciation?

But as time passes, she is fairly certain that it is always this way or, well maybe, it will just always be this way for her.  The small crack grows.  As hard as she tries, the hurt, abuse and, worst of all, being unloved just continues. At the early age of four, there is nothing left but shards where the heart once was.  People wonder why she won't behave. They can't understand.  Every time she tries, the shards where the heart once was cut deeply.  She wants desperately to get it back together so that she can love but the pain is excruciating. 

What must our Savior think? How must His heart break? Is He wondering why the Christians won't notice and help her? Why won't they tell her of His great love and it's healing abilities? But then He chooses them. A beautiful Christian couple who love Him.  They hear His voice and understand that He has called them to help. 

The days ahead will be challenging.  The little girl comes into their lives as a diamond in the rough.  She is tattered and torn but yet at times the beauty is stunning.  They love on her often with no return. She is afraid and the shards of her heart are far from healing.  But they persist and tell her of their Savior's love. The progress is so slow they can't even see it except looking months and even years back.  But one day. . . they realize she has been redeemed. A bright light shines from her but it is not even her own beauty, although she is.  It is the light that shines brighter than any other and for eternity.  It is the glow of a heart healed by her Savior.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Little Cups

That is truly all they are. . . little cups.  I am talking about the small collection of communion cups which I have collected.  Such a silly thing.  I don't keep them all. Just the ones where the power of the Lord God is so strong I can hardly stand.  Ever since I laid down my life to Christ and He revealed Himself to me, I have loved communion.  But for about a year and half it has been more.  It all started with a trip to the Holy Land park in Florida.  If you haven't been it is both incredibly powerful and a
bit cheesy.  Odd combination to be sure.  They have this cave-like structure there in which they host communion.  They try to make it real as if Jesus is hosting the communion.  As I went in and took my seat at the table, I thought this is definitely going to the cheesy side.  It is just hard to understand anyone playing the role of Jesus (who could ever).  But I was surprised, the Holy Spirit was so strong in that place that it didn't matter where I was or who was standing there acting on behalf of our Savior.  So the collection began with a little wooden cup cut from an olive tree from a theme park of all things.

The next cup would not be added until our first Sunday at our church which we are at our one year anniversary. That Sunday we were so exhausted from just moving and there was little left of ourselves. We humbly approached this new church and the communion service was like nothing we had ever experienced before.  You were asked to meet with Jesus and then come accept His offering.  His Spirit filled that place and His voice seemed so strong and loud.  It blew me away. As we stood, I quickly tucked the cup in my purse.  How could I not want to desperately hold onto that moment?

There is another way that I have learned to enjoy communion with the Lord.  It is through the study and understanding of His names.  They each open my heart to something new and exciting.  They humble me and leave me in awe.  I am so head over heals in love with my Savior. He is fascinating!!!  Remember when Moses approached the burning bush (I love that story) and He asked God to identify Himself.  He said, "I AM".  Then in Isaiah 42:8, He said "I am the Lord".  Both of these mean Yahweh (YHWH). Yahweh means "was, is, and will be."  In other words, God always was, is now, and always will be.  But to truly understand all this word meant, then maybe it would help us to remember how carefully it was used in early times.  Did you know that when a Jewish scribe came to the name Yahweh that they put down their quill.  They then took a new one to write Yahweh and broke it once they wrote that one word so that no other word would flow from it.  The Jews thought this name so holy that they refrained from speaking it aloud.  They referred to it as "the Name", "the extra-ordinary name", or "the ineffable name".  Priest only dared utter the name Yahweh on Yom Kipper (the day of Atonement) or to bless the people (Numbers 6:23-27).

So all this to say, how often do we think this highly of the precious name Yahweh?  When we sing Hallelujah (Praise Yah), are we in communion with Him? Humble before Him. Praising Him with all our being. Hallelujah!!!!   Praise Him that He allows us to have communion with Him! Do you realize how incredible that is? God was, is, and always will be allows us to have communion with Him!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Loving Each Other. . .

We live in a world of tough guys, bullies, selfishness, etc.  In this world, even among many Christians, we are expected to stand up for ourselves (and sometimes this is necessary for safety or a child's well-being).  We are told, fight the battle. . .negotiate. . .jockey for position.  At some point in our days, even those who try to submit to the Lord God find themselves guilty of this self promoting behavior or at a minimum thought process.  But I would like to challenge this idea with Jesus Himself.  As Christians, we are called to become more like Him each day. What a daunting thought.

In John 18 when the soldiers came for Jesus, Peter cut off the ear of one of soldiers.  Not only did Jesus remind Peter of the work to be done but he healed the soldiers ear!  Wow!  He could have simply told Peter to stand down. After all, would it not have been just to cut all the soldier's ears off?  But Jesus was kind, loving and sensitive even at this unbelievably difficult time.

So, should we defend our honor and jockey for position or should we remember:

"A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back."  Proverbs 29:11

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice." Ephesians 4:31

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;" James 1:19

Life is difficult. Sometimes it really stinks.  But I think it is a question of trust.  Can we trust God to defend us? Do we trust Him that even this situation will turn out for our best and His glory.  Can we love those who treat us badly?

"“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."  Matthew 5:43-48

Admittedly, this is hard. When a Christian brother or sister treats you in an un-Christ-like manner, it requires immediate prayer.  Nothing turns away wrath and anger like prayer.  If you are truly blessed . . .they will even think you sensitive! :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Call me silly but I have been thinking lots about eyes lately.  Have you ever noticed how much you can tell about a person and their life by their eyes?  Ask any loving mother and she can certainly tell you.  Ever notice how someone who loves the Lord has eyes that dance with joy or those living in sin show darkness in their eyes. What about the orphan child with the blank stare showing a dull look in their eyes.  If you study a persons eyes, so often you can even determine if they are speaking truth.  Although, sometimes it seems easier to not know! :( So it made me wonder, what does the Bible say about the eyes?  Perhaps one of the best verses I found was Matthew 6:22. It says, "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,"  Wow!!!  Perhaps that is why you can see so much in the eyes.

Another incredible verse is:

"For this people’s heart has become calloused;  they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’  But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it." Matthew 13:15-17

Have you also noticed that Adam and Eve's eyes that were opened when they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. Not their hearts or their minds but their eyes.   As Christians, we speak of eyes often perhaps not even giving real thought to it.  We pray that the Lord open their eyes but do we think about it.  Do we realize that it is not just Christianese but truly that "the eyes are the lamp of the body"?  Do we realize that we are asking for their "while body to be full of light?"  That is an incredibly amazing thought!!!

Once God puts something on your heart, the simplest of things can be so complex and yet at the same time more simple than ever before.  Never again will I take lightly the truths or importance held by our very eyes.  I dare you. . .really look at people eyes for there you may see their heart also. Although, I promise, at times the truths you see there will be hard.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Finding Truth

I have been delayed in posting. It is not because I didn't have anything to say but rather the opposite. My mind and heart have been overflowing. One of the things that I find about blogging is that I must write as soon as God lays something on my heart. Otherwise my muddled mind begins to pile all sorts of thoughts to the one I am holding for the next blog. So as I sit down today to write this. . .it is incredibly mixed up. Where do I begin and how much of the overflow can I share in one short blog.

So I am going to sit on the topic of Job. I don't know about you but this has never been a favorite book of mine. Who in their right mind would think of Job as a favorite? But yet it is rich with so much to learn. I admire Job in many ways. He was strong in the Lord. Through most of his trials, he still trusted in God. He understood his smallness and God's greatness.

"Then Job answered the Lord and said:“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.”"  Job 40:3-5

His story is a beautiful picture of repentance and restoration.

"Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent[a] in dust and ashes.”" Job 42:1-6

I have thought a lot about the fact that God never told Job why he endured all he did.  Don't we always want to know why?  But I feel like the Lord revealed a simple reason.  PRIDE.  That nasty terrible thing that leads to death in many ways.  Had Job known why he was picked and just how much the Lord loved him. . . pride would surely have reared it's ugly head.  But I also think of Romans 8:16-17.

"The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."

The question it provokes is why do we think everything is suppose to be easy.  Believe me, I am a big wimp so this idea of suffering is not one I cherish. But it has been one I am convicted of.  Truly we want our nice, easy, simple life but what about getting our hands dirty for God. What about suffering for Him? What makes us think that our time here should be about self comfort or happiness?  How would it look if I truly laid down my life for Him?

I believe that a life laid down for Him is full of joy, hope, redemption, but also heartache.  I believe to see all the positives then we must endure some negatives.  Now to try to put this into practice.   Then comes the real rub.  Because there are things we are passionate about that truly matter to God and these are pretty easy to do.  But what about the ways that aren't so comfortable.  Those that really make our life seem burdened at times.  It might be mission trips, orphans, helping the homeless, etc.  But it always deals with letting hurting people become part of our life. It always gets messy. BUT GOD is there when we have a heart for what matters to Him.  It is then that we see His hand in such a way that He becomes incredibly real to us. So my prayer these days is that I will have a heart for what matters to God.  Please let it be so Lord.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Orphans & Us

I have written several times on adoption so no doubt you all know how I feel.  But I wonder do you feel the burden that I feel right now. I was just looking over some orphan pages on Facebook. So many faces of little children looking back.  Some show a little smile but many have that blank stare of hopelessness.  Then I came across a teenaged young man who looked like maybe he has downs syn-drown.  My immediate thought when I see an orphan with incredible needs like this,  is that it is too much. Bless his heart. . . no one will be able to take on the level of care that he will need for the rest of his life.

But what if the Lord had looked upon us, our sin and the condition of our heart (which He did). But what if He said. . .Bless her heart that is just too much.  My greed and my selfishness saddens me. I am sure it saddens the Lord.  So often, I am not sure how much I can handle. The truth is that I can handle very little.  But why do I continually decide what Christ (living in me) can handle?  Why do I say "no" before allowing Him to guide?  God is so good and patient with me.  He takes me one step at a time. Prayerfully making me a bit more like Him. I pray He will give me a heart like His.  That I might love unconditionally, show tremendous grace and mercy, and give sacrificially.

There are so many needs.  So many children who have nothing and no one.  How can we get so busy and forget?  Do we even care as we sit down to three plus meals per day that there are children starving right now? More importantly. . .how can we call ourselves Christians and do nothing?  We must step up!!! There are a few hands trying to do a daunting amount of work.  Let's be the hands and feet of Christ.  Here are a few ways to get busy:

The Forgotten Initiative

Miracle Hill

Safe Families

If you want more info or would like to know how to help some local children, please contact me. You can leave a comment if you are not sure how.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Daily Battle

As I mentioned some weeks back, we are having the incredible privilege to have Bible Institute classes at our church.  Each session is absolutely packed with Biblical insight and wisdom.  A couple weeks back, we talked about the Presence of God and it has stayed on my mind.  Perhaps that is because it has been a time in my life when I so needed the presence of God.  Sometimes it feels like life has lots of battles and sometimes it is downright war.   Lately it has definitely been more of a war. Which is odd, since it has also been such an incredible time of learning and leaning on the Lord.  But that lesson based on the Israelite's journey in the wilderness teaches this truth.  God never said that we would not have difficulties, be hungry, have health issues, or even fight against a much more powerful enemy.  Let's face it, even the most basic of relationships are difficult in this fallen world.  However, what He did promise is that if we follow the Holy Spirits leading in our life . . . WE WILL WIN THE BATTLE!!! Woo Hoo!

In some ways, I envy the Israelites.  Can you imagine being able to follow a visible sign from God? They went where the cloud went.  The cloud moved they moved and if the cloud stopped they stopped.  To me in my limited thinking, that seems simple.  Oh how I long for simple.  But truth is that we make it much harder than it need be.  God gave us something much greater than a cloud.  He gave us Himself!Order-of-March

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." Galatians 5:16

Ephesians 5:17-18 goes so far as to tell us to be intoxicated with the Spirit.  As Christians, this should be something that we understand. Yet, I fear based on some of my own history that is often not the case.  Matthew 12: 31-32, truly convicts on this:

"Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."

But there is more! When the Israelite marched, they did so in a certain formation.  You might think that they did so to protect certain people or things.  Perhaps especially the Ark of the Covenant.  But guess what? The Arc of the Covenant was in front!  The war was not a physical war but rather a spiritual war.  With God first. . . they could not loose!  Any battle they lost was because they failed to put God first and trust in Him. Sound familiar? It is the same with us.  If God is first, then we cannot loose!!!  That sounds really comforting.


Numbers 10:35-36 says "And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, "Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you." And when it rested, he said, "Return, O Lord, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel."

I don't want to be like the first generation who lost the Holy War but rather I want to watch the walls come tumbling down. How about you? We don't need the Arc of Covenant because God sent a helper to us. His precious Holy Spirit lives within every Christian.  So many of us fail to hear because we have quenched the Spirit. But it is there if you are a Christian.  My prayer is that I will never again miss the leading of the Spirit but be finely tuned in.  For when He goes first, every battle is already WON!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

What if?

Ever have one of those God moments? One of those moments, when God whispers into your heart something that you thought you would never think.  As the truth settles there, you  stop wrestling with it. . . well because God doesn't get anything wrong.  You know the thought is from Him because it is not something you would dream up. Perhaps it is one of the things on your never list (I will never______________ ).  Perhaps it is something that you have already given all you can give to (but haven't counted on God to help you do more).  Perhaps the timing is completely out of whack. Or all of the above!

Then God quietly but forcefully whispers what He has for you.  What you must do. Shock and denial role through your mind as you consider the bazaar.   Then realization sets in. . . if God says it then I must obey and it is best.  Then turmoil gives way to joy.  Sweet joy always comes with surrender to God's will for your life.  Wow!

It seems that three of the things that God gives this little shove to are full-time ministry, mission work, and adoption. Yep, I believe that God puts adoption way up there.  His own Word says he places the lonely in families.

"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land."

Psalm 68:5-6

It also says that pure and genuine religion in the sight of God is caring for the orphans.

"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." James 1:27

I am sure you have seen or heard of some family that has a large number adopted children.  Their Christmas picture is like a beautiful multicolored puzzle of love. As an adoptive family ourselves, we have come in contact with a number of such families.  We also know first hand that sometimes it is really hard to raise children especially those who had a hard start.  So we have looked upon those families thinking how amazing they are, how gifted they are, and sometimes how crazy they must be.  But what if they are not? What if they truly get it? What if it is not about adopting our token child or two? What if, as Christians, we are called to adopt until there are no more children left to adopt?

I have been thinking about this lots lately.  It is not an easy thought. It requires us to be incredibly selfless. . .giving up our lives.  Fully surrendering to the authority and plan of God. Just like His Beloved Son. . .Jesus Christ.  What if. . .that is the very way to transform most into the image of Christ? What if, we miss that opportunity?

Wendy signature

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Baskets & Adoption

adoptionThis morning I was busy rushing about doing the daily chores and getting ready. In the midst of it, our eight year old (adopted from China) just spurted out how she was just dumped in a street in China in a basket.  We have never kept any part of her adoption story from her so it was not a surprise that she knew.  However, the disgust in her voice was new.  Immediately our hearts were breaking together.  I could not love a child more than I love this girl.  She is so amazing and loves the Lord more than anyone I have ever known (young or old).  But she felt thrown away.

If you doubt the Holy Spirit. . .I wish you could have been there at that moment. He graciously gave every word to say to her. Praise Him!!!! Immediately, I said to her that her first parents did several very loving things.  For one, they allowed her to live and grow in her mommy's tummy.  Then I told her about Moses.  There are so many similarities.  During Moses' babyhood it was the boys who were in danger for their lives.  But the Lord helped his mother (and sister) care for him and protect him.  When they could no longer protect him, they put him in a basket and watched from a safe distance.  Once someone of authority took him, then they knew he would be safe.

Sometimes we think so harshly of those who don't choose to raise their children themselves but we shouldn't always.  I believe based on adopting three children and one failed adoption that the most unselfish thing a mother can do is seek something better for her child if she is not able.  I cannot imagine having to give up a child.  I nearly was crushed under the weight of giving up a child that I did not birth.  So how could I imagine such.

My dear sweet daughter and I sobbed as we talked about her feelings.  Now we are praying that her first mommy and daddy know Jesus (so she might know them in Heaven).  Praise God for His Word! It truly provides ALL we need to know to live.  His Holy Spirit is incredibly God within us! How could we ask for more? And yet He too adopted us into His family that we might have life eternal!  Praising our Lord and Savior!  I would love to hear some of your adoption stories and the ways the Lord has worked through them. Please feel free to comment and tell your story.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Next Step

baby stepsIt seems our lives are full of next steps.  Certainly lately, our family has been taking very frequent "next steps". There is still so much work to be done that it seems overwhelming at times.  But the good news is that the Lord is working. We are seeing changes and improvements. We are learning and slowly willingly submitting our lives.

This seems like a simple thing but it is not. We live in a time when you can go to church religiously and never "get it".  It is so sad. People are desperately broken.  I know this because it was out of such brokenness that I have begged the Lord's help.  In 2 Corinthians 4:5-12, it talks about us as fragile earthenware vessels.  We truly are.  Think of how many deal with depression, loneliness, unforgiveness, fear, anger, etc.  Often the circumstances of our lives in this broken world are difficult but perhaps the biggest problem is that the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9).  We believe the lies of the enemy and our own desires. Then we so often loose hope. Without hope what good is anything?

Because of my own journey, I am convinced that knowledge of the Holy Spirit is often what is missing.  Isn't that what seems missing for so many Christians.  How is that? How is it that we can profess to be Christians and yet not realize that the Holy Spirit Himself lives within us? We have the power and presence of our God within us!!!  If He does not live within you, then you are not a Christian.

“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:25-27

I want so badly to experience His spirit even as never before.  I don't want to miss a moment of Him and His work around me.  I was to be a usable vessel that is over flowing with His love which also fills every broken crack.  Fully submitted! Humbled! All His! Nothing held back! That would be daily victory in our King Jesus.

As God gives me such hunger to be closer to Him and in His will, I take another step forward.  Far too often they are baby steps, but I am prayerfully waiting and hoping for what might be a giant step.  Too much has been held back for too long.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Flooding of my heart. . .after loneliness

God always gives us what we need. Not always what we think we want but what we need.  About six years ago, we moved to beautiful South Carolina. I left behind the sweetest of friends and prayer warriors but was hopeful that the Lord would provide more.  During the time that we moved into our new home, vinyl wall scripture had become a big thing.  So one day while browsing a bookstore. . .we found on clearance a verse that seemed (size wise) to fit a space in our den.  It was, "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10  Little did I know at the time that it was not about decor or even having the words of the Lord on our wall.  It was about a lesson.  The Lord God was teaching a lesson. As our time progressed there we were involved in church. We found many friends who we love but none were those sweet sisters who would curl up on the sofa and pray until tears ran down our faces.  Not only did that make the six years lonely but it was filled to the brim with challenges.  Oh my, what a difficult time it has been.  Due to my recent Old Testament study and readings, I can't help but relate to the Israelites wondering in the desert stubbornly refusing to believe and submit.

During this time, over and over the Lord God has reminded me "Be still and know that I am God".  I honestly feel now that the season was long because I was so incredibly stubborn.  It was so hard for me to rest in Him no matter what.  There were many times over the years that I felt His presence and amazing love.  Still I was filled with anxiety, heartache, confusion and loneliness.  Looking back I  IMG_0253[1]realize that if God weren't so merciful, I could have lost so much more than the six years.  A message that God keeps putting before me right now is this. . .If I don't continually stay filled with Him then anything can get in.  I must have His daily filling and restoration.  Every thought must be tested against His word.  I am far too gullible to the enemies lies.

Last October, we moved again to a small town down the road about 40 minutes.  Not so far really, but in many senses a world away.  As we went to Hobby Lobby looking for somethings to fill the walls of our new home, I couldn't help but be drawn to a rather large cross that is made up of the names of God.  It took a couple of weeks for me to have the courage to buy such a large cross.  But it marks a change in my life.  From "Be still and know that I am God" to seeing who He is more fully.  I love it!  It marks even more of a change though.  I am overwhelmed how God has blessed us these few short months.  He has brought the most loving, caring, beautiful people into our lives.  When Jim and I sit and talk about it. . . .there are no words.  We are stunned! How could we love people and feel so loved in such a short time?  The only explanation is the Holy Spirit. It would take pages for me to tell you all that has happened.  We are overwhelmed by the hand of God and how obedient so many have been.  I even sat on a sofa and poured out tears of love, faith and joy with a sweet sister this week.  Praising God for how He loves us down to every little detail.

Not sure why I am telling you this other than I believe so many people (especially women) are lonely.  They so desperately need a humble sweet prayer partner who will risk revealing the details of her life.  It is not an easy thing. We have no problem sharing health concerns, legal concerns and even money problems to some degree.  But forget about the things that most burden a heart. Just can't risk that.  As we prepared to moved, I prayed desperately that God would provide deep friendships. You know, the kind only found between people who love Christ more than anything else.  Praise God. . .He is faithful and He gives us the desires of our heart when we believe and trust.

I have a feeling that if you are still reading this. . . then you understand.  You either need that friend or you know you need to learn to be that friend.  I know it is hard but it is worth the risk!  I pray you will begin today!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Prayer Request and Study

boomliftI have a prayer request that I have felt the Lord's calling to share here.  Please join with me on this. We have sweet friends serving in Haiti as full-time missionaries. In so many ways their work there is dangerous, but one way is reaching high places in unsafe ways.  They are in great need of a tow-able boom lift.  I won't presume to know how the Lord God will answer this prayer but I believe He will. Please join in prayer that He might hear our cries. Even share this with your Bible Study groups.  I know the Lord is able and willing to answer!

For accountability purposes - I completed week 3, day 1 of the James study.  Oh my word, I love the book of James! There is so much packed in this little book.  It is such sweet enrichment to my soul.

Then for my Old Testament reading, I am on Exodus 10.  The richness of the lives described is amazing. I am daily overwhelmed my how the Lord is using these stories that I already knew to speak new truth. I am also amazed at how exciting these stories have become. For those who love to read a good fiction book, just think how much more exciting it is when you know they are based on a true story. Well, this is even greater. It is exciting like any good fiction book but is ALL a true story.  Praise God for He is a God like no other.

As I have read through the stories of the plagues, the Lord spoke to me about how we often harden our hearts. It could be regarding anything the Lord calls us to do.  As Christians, how often have we not even heard or understood because we didn't know it was from the Lord or didn't have a Godly fear. I thought. . . I read this story so often thinking poorly of Pharaoh when my own sin is no less.  How humbling.  If you are a non-Christian, is the Lord calling you to Himself?  If so, don't drag it out. The pain caused along the way is not worth it.  The eternal punishment is definitely not worth it. As Pharaoh discovered, in the end it doesn't matter what we believe.  God is still God.  We can be obedient and feel His love and peace. . . or go down a path that leads to death and destruction.

Father, please help us to be obedient. Please help us to not act like Pharaoh continuously going back on our word.  Lord, please press your truth upon our hearts and minds that we might truly know that you are God (and there is none like you).  Father, please make us hungry every day for your Word.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Money Worries

I have pledged to myself to make this blog more applicable by letting my guard down. This is not easy. After years of leading Bible Studies, I have learned to keep things pretty impersonal. This is both to not burden people with the details of my life and for fear that I won't seem worthy to the task. Which by the way, I am far from ever being.  It is only by the grace of God that I can take the next breath. Anyway. . .here goes starting with some light reading from James.

"2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass[c] he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[d] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."

Unfortunately those who truly know me know this. . .I am often concerned with figuring out how to help with the family finances.  My husband is most always very gracious and rarely ask for any kind of help. But I feel responsible. As a homeschool mom, it simply cannot be my priority.  Wanting to be self sufficient (urg) that does not sit well lots of times.  Today as I went through my Bible Study, it was a visit to a lesson the Lord has graciously laid on my lap on multiple occasions. Therefore, rather than realize He was telling me something. . .I thought it was review. How foolish!  Rather than review, it was another opportunity to learn.

See I thought it was about needing to take care of the poor (and it is). However, He was pointing to my own sin. How I have refused to see how He has continually provided. How I refused to do what He called me to do and rest in Him.  Praise Him for His patience and His willingness to cut to the chase and speak directly to us.  I am humbled before the Almightly God! He is my provider! He is my King! Praise His name!


"The Lord will provide"

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Time with the Lord

Like always, time spent with the Lord has been such a blessing.  It is so incredible how He blesses us when we do this simple thing.  I spent time reading about Abraham.  His story leaped off the page as if it were the first time I had heard it.  It impressed me that even after he strayed, he would go back and build an alter before the Lord. He would then be greatly blessed.  The Lord God impressed upon me that for us this alter before the Lord is built in our hearts.  Gentle tears flowed as I eagerly moved forward through the chapters of Genesis.  They were tears of joy, peace and understanding.  The Lord's love is so great.  Praise Him for how He speaks through His Word.   Other things I enjoyed is how very specific prayers were answered, how He allowed Abraham to push the issue regarding Sodom And Gomorrah, and the beautiful picture left by Abraham's obedience with Issac. Despite the failures of Abraham, his faith in the Lord was strong.  The beautiful scriptures gave way to a sweet prayer time before the Lord.  I am so humbled by God. I know He will be faithful and answer my prayers. There are many things that I would love to change and cannot. . .but I trust in the Lord!

The James study is also going well.  The battle of taking the good news to the gentiles was much harder than I had realized before. Between the Old Testament reading and doing this study about the time period when Christianity was born. . .I realize that the condition of our world today is not hopeless. God is able to win any battle and has in fact already won!!!!

Also, our sermons for the last two weeks have pressed upon me.  Particularly giving an understanding of the Armour of God that I had not had before.  We have talked about several of the parts so far but not all.  I am hoping to put together a post regarding the parts once the sermons are complete.  I believe that this will be greatly helpful to others if I can find the words to express it correctly. I also hope that these words are encouraging to you. If you are not experiencing a quiet time then I hope it will make you excited to.  It is so worth it.

Then Abraham drew near. . .Genesis 18:23

Lord, please help me to draw near to you.



Friday, January 11, 2013

Sounds crazy!

Day 4 of the James study is complete.  I am loving this study so far.  Mostly I love that it helps me stay on track.  It is funny how it works.  By having the daily lesson that I feel I must do to stay on track. . .I end up doing lots more.  I am also reading through the Old Testament to help with the Old Testament study.  I am on Chapter 12 of Genesis right now.  I do the Bible study in the early mornings and then do the reading in the afternoons. It is hard to stop and take time to sit down in the afternoon but I am enjoying the reading.  Some thoughts:

From Galatians 1 - After Paul's conversion, he spent time allowing God to teach him for two to three years.  Wow! The strength of his testimony was that it was directly from God and not just a passed down story. Paul immediately went to Arabia after his conversion where the risen Jesus taught him "by revelation" for the next two to three years (Galatians 1:11-18).  This really reiterated to me that we must spend time with the Lord.  We cannot depend on pastors and teachers to do our homework for us.  It would like paying the smart kid at school to do the work and trying to take the reward.  Besides who would want to miss the sweet fellowship that comes from spending time with Him? Not me. Yes, I do get off track and it saddens me since I know what I am missing.   Praise God that time spent with Him is addictive. It makes us want more and more!

From Genesis - To be sure there is no theology in this thought. . .but wonder if Noah ever thought he was crazy. I often have thought about how other people probably thought Noah was crazy but wonder if Noah doubted.  Did he ever think, what if I am going insane and that isn't God speaking to me?  How easy it is to explain away the Lord's voice and yet how hard it is to really listen.  Sadly, I know there are times when I have explained it away. We like to put God in a box. . .don't we?  We decide what He can and can't do and leave no room for Him to be God in our lives.

My prayer today is that I would be humble before the Lord. I believe with my whole heart that I must be.  I want to be teachable and willing to listen to Him no matter how crazy it may seem.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Heart, Soul & Mind

I am so excited today!  I have enjoyed some study time and now I am enjoying a nice bowl of Cream of Wheat (trying to not let it drip as I rush forward to write this).  I so want to be wholly owned by the Heavenly Father - Heart, Soul and Mind. I want to surrender my will to His will. I want to drink in all that He wants to teach me and be obedient to His guiding. I cannot wait to see what new thing He will do in my life.

I started an Old Testament class.  We have only had the first class and already it was amazing.  As I listened,  the Lord opened my eyes in a whole new way to Moses and why He wrote much of what He wrote.  I also have a fresh understanding as to why the Israelites spent so much desert time.  Their lives are so important to the precious God breathed book that I am studying.  As I listened to the introduction for this class, it was clear. . . this is what I was longing for.  I was so incredibly excited I could hardly sit still.  Finally, something that would tie together all the Bible studies to make it all more cohesive.  I also began to understand more about differences in churches.  I know I have said it before but understand what your church or denomination believes and why.  It is very important as it colors all you are taught there.  On a slightly separate note, pray and be obedient if you feel that you are not where the Holy Spirit is leading you. It is so easy to stay put but not always God's best for us.  Sometimes we must make changes to learn and do all He wants for us.

I also started the workbook study.  Today I completed the second day of Beth Moore's study James.  The workbook is available at Lifeway Christian Bookstores or online.  So far it is incredible! I also love the way she has given options to do a deeper study in this workbook.  Her ability to help you be there and feel the things that Jesus' earthly family felt are amazing. I think it is going to be the perfect balance to my Old Testament study. I bet the Lord will even use them together to teach new things.

Another big excitement is that I got a brand new Bible.  I am now using the English Standard Version (ESV) and love it.  I have used it for a couple of weeks without making marks or writing in it. But at last I am making it my own.  I love to write in the margins and mark what God is teaching.  The perfectly smooth clean pages are starting to look loved.

At this point I am thinking this blog might provide accountability.  I usually concentrate on one thing at a time but my hunger for the Lord will not allow that right now.  I feel almost guilty to set this much time aside to study but also feel that it is what I need to do right now.  Please pray with me that I can stay on course and the Lord God will bless the time spent studying His Word.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year

Well Christmas and New Years are past.  I have to say that it was truly a wonderful time for our family this year. The Lord has been so good to us.  We had beautiful church services, great family time and really just a sense of peace. So now to move forward with 2013.  I don't do resolutions. Not against them. . . just not interested. Truly I just know that I will fail.  In my power, I have no power.  But still I can't help but think of things I need to change with a fresh new year.

Over the years, I have done lots of group Bible studies. One such study was what the Lord used to capture my attention and turn my heart to Him.  So they are precious to me.  But the last year, again God has been working and I feel the need to take another step.  My vision for this year is a go both deeper and wider.  By deeper I mean to spend more time in the Word than in a workbook. By wider, I want to get a better over-all grasp of scripture (putting the pieces grasped through workbook studies together more cohesively). That is my goal.  Now saying that, I purchased yet another workbook so it is going to take determination. So I step forward prayerfully that the Lord will help me to do what He has set in my heart.  I will post here from time to time and let you know how it is going.

We are also trying to be much more intentional about being host/hostesses.  It is a simple way to show love as God commanded. Plus we are already making some amazing new friends as we do this.  I do find that this requires putting pride aside. I would love to make a big meal every time we have company. . .but I was reminded (the hard way through failure and expense) that this is not the way to go. Simple inexpensive foods but very welcoming home is the winner!  May the Lord bless the effort and those who dine with us. Be sure to check my blog from time to time Family Faith & Dinner. You may see some of these meals there in the future.