Friday, December 25, 2009

Immanuel, God With Us

Learning God’s character, as displayed through His names, was something that revolutionized the way I live my life.  Every need I have finds it’s ultimate fulfillment in Him.   I cling to Him as my Home when I am lonely and longing for stability.  I look to Him as Counselor when I am needing wisdom as a parent.  And I recently cried out to Him as Jehovah Rapha when I went blind in my left eye (in His great grace He has restored my vision almost back to normal). 

This Christmas, more than any other, the name IMMANUEL (God with us) has been so precious to me.  It’s no surprise, really, when I have just been touched by Him in such a powerful way.  I speak not merely of His work as Healer, but also as the One who accompanied me through each test, IV treatment, each moment of waiting.  The One who carried me through each disorienting hour, each sleepless night.  He was WITH me in a way I have never experienced before, and now I have the joy of knowing Him more deeply.  The very One who came as a babe, to die for me, is WITH me.  My Savior.  My Immanuel. 
May He be WITH you today in a special way as well!  Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Side Effects and Lies

It was Monday night.  Willing myself to sleep, I was quietly praying until that moment of surrender would come.  It’s been so elusive and hard gained lately, just one of the side effects of my medication.

My prayers stilled though as He began to speak.  “Child, you’ve been believing me strong and powerful enough to completely heal your eye.  Why won’t you trust me to help you cope with the side effects of your medication?  Have you forgotten how much I care about ALL the details of your life?  Did you not think my Spirit’s power sufficient to give you strength to cope in a godly manner?”
Humbled and a bit stunned I say, “No, God.  No.  You’re right.  I haven’t been believing you for that.”
The realization is sickening.  I’ve been trying to deal with it all on my own.  The heart pounding anxiety that creeps up, the lack of patience I feel when I’m surrounded by chaos and most of all the harsh tone my words take on as they fly from my mouth in an effort to make it all stop. 
It dawns on me that deep down a lie is lurking.  I’ve been believing that God is not enough, that He doesn’t really care about something as pesky as side effects.  The fact that I didn’t even think to ask Him to empower my mind and my will to overcome the negative effects of my medication shows me one thing.  At the core of my belief system, I am lacking faith in His character as the God who is passionately interested in renewing every detail of my life.   
Though tempted to feel shame, I at once feel delight and freedom.  For a betraying lie once captured and identified can be imprisoned and put to death.  And as the traitorous soldier is carried away, I find there is room for truth to enter in and dwell. 
I’m so thankful that His Spirit is faithful to reveal to us the darkness in our own hearts, the lies lurking there that we have yet to confront.  And I praise Him that He really is enough, that His power is unending, that His character is sure, that His works are perfect and His words are right. 
Whatever you are facing today, I pray that you will look to the truth of God’s character and be changed at the core of your being as you cry out together with me, “Lord, I believe!  Help Thou mine unbelief!
“Lord, you have brought light into my life: my God you light up my darkness.”  
photo: egahen

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas at My House

Merry Christmas and welcome to my home!  I’m so glad you’re here!

With my recent vision scare, I really focused on keeping things simple this year and it took me several days to get everything out.  I was surprised at how very enjoyable it was to just do it little by little.  And great news, I CAN SEE IT ALL.  My left eye is still dimmer than the right but I am seeing amazingly well!  Thank you so much for praying for me! 

Hall Table Nativity Small

My nativity from Venezuela (our former country of service) greets you as you enter the room.  Traditionally, Venezuelans do not place the baby Jesus in the manger until Christmas day, which I love the idea of, but can never quite bring myself to do. 

Wrapped Picture Matte Small

Every year I cover the matte of our family picture with some wrapping paper.  It takes about a minute and gives it a festive touch.  Here’s what it looked like last year. 

Curtain Ornaments Small 

A few ornaments in the kitchen make me smile while I do the dishes!   

Nyanduti Ornament Small

My tree is gold, red and cream.  This is Paraguayan Nyanduti that I thought would be beautiful as snowflakes.  They would use these to embellish a top or a dress. 

Bird Small

I just love my little 10 cent birdies.  I think my husband finds them mildly creepy though!  :)

Snowflake Small

My favorite ornaments (also used on the kitchen curtains) were an after Christmas clearance steal at Target last year while we were on home assignment. 

Stocking Small 
With cement walls, we don’t drill holes for stockings, so my ring clips came to the rescue!  I love how “limitations” make you more creative and you come up with something unique that you really love. 

Thanks for stopping by!  I only wish it was in person so I could make you a latte and share some yummy Christmas cookies over a good visit!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Father’s Presence Changes the Storm

I’ve never been afraid of storms.  In fact, I rather love them.  Some of my favorite memories with my father include sitting out on the porch together during a good storm: watching, listening, being awed by a powerful lightening strike and feeling thunder reverberate through my body.  I love storms because my father loves storms. 


Last night, I had the joy of storm watching with my Darling Little Redhead.  We laid on our tummies and watched from the bedroom window.  He talked and giggled and gasped occasionally.  And I smiled repeatedly, because he wasn’t afraid.  On the contrary, he was actually delighting in the storm and in being together through it. 

The thunder is still rolling now twelve hours later.  All through the night she woke me with her groans.  Sometimes near, sometimes far, but consistently reaching my heart with her message.  “I am not to be feared!  I only exist to give you a chance to sit next to Your Creator God, where He can guard your heart with peace, in the midst of me.”   

Are you going through a storm of your own today?  Is fear gripping you?  Keeping you inside your cozy home, cringing at the sound of thunder, frozen so you don’t move?  My friend, step out onto the porch with our loving Father!  Behold the power of the One who made the storm.  There is such joy in riding it out at His side, holding His hand, looking into His heart and knowing NOTHING can touch you that He doesn’t allow .

“Who is this man, that even the wind and the waves obey him?”  Luke 8:24 

photo: nespresso

P.S. With everything going on, I forgot to announce that my friend Alisha in Argentina won the My Two Favorite Things Giveaway!  Congrats, Alisha!  

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bruises Fading, Fears Rising

There are only four of them left.   Streaks of purple and brown, standing as gates marking painful entrance to the river of life, to my life blood.  Gates pried open to give carriage remedy for my blind eye.

Fading to green and yellow now, they’re very unbecoming.  Still, I look at them and cringe a bit as they fade, crumbling away, being toppled by time.  Resentful, perhaps that they are stealing my reminder that I was sick.  That I was blind.  That I was broken.  That I called out to God in desperation, in full trust.  That He was there completely, powerfully encompassing me.

It’s not that I want to stay blind, to stay sick.  I want to see.  I plead with God for His mercy and the complete return of my eye sight. 

But as they fade, these bruises of mine, I find in their wake a wicked host of fears rising.  I should be honest.  It’s really only one fear.  The fear of forgetting.  But this woman, this fear, she quickly gives birth to a thousand children and before I know it they are surrounding me, laughing at me, mocking me.  Their names are mediocrity, normalcy, routine living, lack of the passionate pursuit of Jesus, failure to acknowledge His power and presence in my life again. 

And I don’t want to forget.  I can’t afford to forget.  I want this to be my Ebenezer, an indelible landmark upon the map of my life that God has been my Helper. 

Oh, I know fear will not guide me to the place that I long for.  For my fear is born of self dependence, of self effort, of self importance.  Self would never allow me to circumnavigate these treacherous, rocky straits.  It would not, because it could not for self can only return to self. 

There’s only one way I’ll only survive this storm of reproach and condemnation.  If I look up to my True Compass, God my Helper.  Only then can my ship be guided safely to the peaceful harbor of His grace.  Only then can I arrive whole at the beautiful banks of my homeland and run into His open arms.  Only then can I remain in the land of remembering.

“For the word of God is full of living power.  It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires.  It exposes us for what we really are.”  Hebrews 4:12, NLT

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Word of Praise to Our Great God!

Finally!  I am so blessed to be sitting here in my own home, thinking about you, having the chance to write to you myself.  How can I even begin to thank you for accompanying me through these past two weeks?  For walking through them together with me, holding my hand, leading the way when I myself had fallen blind?  Your unceasing prayers and expressions of love bolstered my faith in our Great God and His mighty power to turn all my darkness to light. 

For though I found myself blind in one eye, I was not overcome by fear, nor did I fall captive to the darkness of discouragement.  Indeed, I was surrounded by great peace and true rest the majority of the time.   Only let me be very clear that it was His light, His peace, and His rest. 

And now the blessed light is returning to my left eye as well, rather much more quickly than we had even hoped.  Each day, I see more and feel less disorientation with the disparity in my vision.  Yesterday I was able to see color for the first time and read large letters without great strain.  The distances are still a blur, but I can identify large objects such as cars and trees easily enough.  God has been so gracious to me. 

I want you to know that I am absolutely CONVINCED that this experience has come to pass so that God will be praised, so that together our hearts could exalt His name together.  “My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection.  That is why I can never stop praising You; I declare Your glory all day long.  I will tell everyone about Your righteousness.  All day long I will proclaim your saving power, for I am overwhelmed by how much you have done for me.”  Psalm 71:8, 15 

As you praise God with me, please also remember to pray for:

  1. For good rest.  I have not been sleeping well for the past week.  Mercifully, friends have been helping with the kids and meals this week!  After today, Honey will be on school break as well so he will be available to help with our two sweet, redheaded boys. 
  2. My continued healing and the ability to know my limits (not a great strength of mine!).
  3. My acceptance of each day, with the vision I have, as a gift from His hand.

I’m so thankful for your part in this miracle! 


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